Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Armed, Polite, and Free

"An armed society is a polite society," as the saying goes. Of course, it's an American saying. Rasmussen tells us that after the Supreme Court upheld citizens' second amendment right to bear arms--hand guns in particular--that branch of government rose eight percentage points in popularity with the American people.

We continue to befuddle foreigners, even Canadians, our neighbors to the north who are becoming more foreign in their political culture all the time. Read Colby Cosh's description of Justice Scalia's defense of the right to own handguns--not just a reluctantly legal defense, but vigorously moral one--and how perplexing it is to Canadians ("In America, a Man's Home is Still His Castle").

While we're on the subject, it seems that love for individual liberty is doing very poorly in Great Britain, the land of its birth, so the Economist reports. Of course there are all those closed circuit cameras not only all over London but in many town centers.

Vast computerised collections of information have become popular too. Britain possesses one of the largest police DNA databases in the world, containing the records of over 4m of 60m citizens (including a third of the black men in the country). Records are kept for everyone who is arrested, meaning that many on the system have never actually been charged with any crime. The government's identity-card scheme, the first phase of which is due to start later this year, aims to record the fingerprints and biographical details of everyone in the land.
And of course parents cannot be trusted to govern and nurture their children.

Other big databases are justified on grounds of administrative convenience rather than crime-fighting and security. One such is a plan to centralise the records of all patients of the National Health Service. Another would allow social services to monitor every child in the country, including how parents spend their money and how many portions of fruit and vegetables they feed their offspring each day.

But if it saves even one child from escaping salad, isn't it worth it?

We can also learn from Canadian mistakes. My associate at Principalities and Powers, Harold Kildow, alerts us to Mark Steyn's recent difficulties with Canadian Star Chambers creeping into this country: "Beware my friends--there are many Democrats in Congress and abroad in the land who would like a way to threaten their opponents like the Canadians do--via kangaroo courts of various devisings. The imminent return, for example, of the "Fairness Doctrine", driven by Komissar Pelosi, is a step in that direction. But note well, it is only a first step. David Warren of the Ottawa Citizen ("The Resistance Must Continue") surveys the swamp Canadians have been force marched into--the one we will be looking at if we don't watch out."
Oh, by the way, happy Dominion Day up there!

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