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February 28, 2012

Perspective and History

This is a thought provoking essay:

For many libertarians, "the road to serfdom" is not just the title of a great book but also the window through which they see the world. We’re losing our freedom, year after year, they think. They (we) quote Thomas Jefferson: “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.” We read books with titles like Freedom in Chains, Lost Rights, The Rise of Federal Control over the Lives of Ordinary Americans, and yes, The Road to Serfdom.

The Cato Institute's boilerplate description of itself used to include the line, "Since [the American] revolution, civil and economic liberties have been eroded." Until Clarence Thomas, then chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, gave a speech at Cato and pointed out to us that it didn't seem quite that way to black people.

And he was right. American public policy has changed in many ways since the American Revolution, sometimes in a libertarian direction, sometimes not.

Brink Lindsey talks of an "implicit libertarian synthesis" in American politics today in his book The Age of Abundance. He argued in 2007:

Nevertheless, the fact is that American society today is considerably more libertarian than it was a generation or two ago. Compare conditions now to how they were at the outset of the 1960s. Official governmental discrimination against blacks no longer exists. Censorship has beaten a wholesale retreat. The rights of the accused enjoy much better protection. Abortion, birth control, interracial marriage, and gay sex are legal. Divorce laws have been liberalized and rape laws strengthened. Pervasive price and entry controls in the transportation, energy, communications, and financial sectors are gone. Top income tax rates have been slashed. The pretensions of macroeconomic fine-tuning have been abandoned. Barriers to international trade are much lower. Unionization of the private sector work force has collapsed. Of course there are obvious counterexamples, but on the whole it seems clear that cultural expression, personal lifestyle choices, entrepreneurship, and the play of market forces all now enjoy much wider freedom of maneuver.

Has there ever been a golden age of liberty? No, and there never will be. There will always be people who want to live their lives in peace, and there will always be people who want to exploit them or impose their own ideas on others. If we look at the long term—from a past that includes despotism, feudalism, absolutism, fascism, and communism—we’re clearly better off. When we look at our own country's history—contrasting 2010 with 1776 or 1910 or 1950 or whatever—the story is less clear. We suffer under a lot of regulations and restrictions that our ancestors didn’t face.

But in 1776 black Americans were held in chattel slavery, and married women had no legal existence except as agents of their husbands. In 1910 and even 1950, blacks still suffered under the legal bonds of Jim Crow—and we all faced confiscatory tax rates throughout the postwar period.

... too many of us who extol the Founders and deplore the growth of the American state forget that that state held millions of people in chains.

... If you had to choose, would you rather live in a country with a department of labor and even an income tax or a Dred Scott decision and a Fugitive Slave Act?

It is that last question that really cuts to the heart of the matter: how we prioritize freedoms. During the evil Bu$hitler years, we were often reminded by our more progressive Brethren in Christ of this Ben Franklin quote, albeit in badly mangled form:

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

- Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

Now of course, we live in an enlightened age of government transparency. Gone are the days when brave, truth telling patriots like Keith Olbermann (God rest his soul) were shipped to airless cells at Gitmo to be taunted with the frilly panties of jackbooted oppression:

Last Wednesday in the White House briefing room, the administration’s press secretary, Jay Carney, opened on a somber note, citing the deaths of Marie Colvin and Anthony Shadid, two reporters who had died “in order to bring truth” while reporting in Syria.

Jake Tapper, the White House correspondent for ABC News, pointed out that the administration had lauded brave reporting in distant lands more than once and then asked, “How does that square with the fact that this administration has been so aggressively trying to stop aggressive journalism in the United States by using the Espionage Act to take whistle-blowers to court?”

He then suggested that the administration seemed to believe that “the truth should come out abroad; it shouldn’t come out here.”

Fair point. The Obama administration, which promised during its transition to power that it would enhance “whistle-blower laws to protect federal workers,” has been more prone than any administration in history in trying to silence and prosecute federal workers.

It often seems to me that historical revisionism is very much a function of our current priorities. We see the past through the lens of the present, and that lens distorts the view; magnifying the advantages of bygone ages and minimizing their very real flaws.

When I hear conservatives longing to turn back the clock, I can't help but wonder which of our modern freedoms they would surrender to return to a simpler time? Or perhaps it should be "whose freedoms"?

Discuss amongst yourselves.

Posted by Cassandra at February 28, 2012 07:51 AM

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Comments

When I hear conservatives longing to turn back the clock, I can't help but wonder which of our modern freedoms they would surrender to return to a simpler time?

I'll take "Freedom from Want" for $200, Alex.

Posted by: spd rdr - moonlight through the pines at February 28, 2012 01:24 PM

Dang.... I was so hoping someone would choose me.

Posted by: Fear at February 28, 2012 03:12 PM

It seems to me that most conservatives I know would be willing to accept some version of restrictions on most of these:

1) Freedom of easy divorce.

2) Freedom to abortion regardless of reason and health of the baby. (The terms of proffered restrictions vary widely, but most conservatives would consider at least some.)

3) Freedom to protest the family at a military funeral, especially if it is done chiefly to provoke a response that can be used to sue the family for damages.

4) Freedom to burn the flag.

5) Freedom to go on welfare for 99 weeks, followed by going on disability permanently, with Medicare picking up your medical bills after two years.

6) Freedom to have the Catholic Church buy you birth control.

7) Freedom to demand that any workers at your plant join your union, and pay you dues.

8) Freedom to have the driver's exam administered in a language other than the one in which all the signs on the road will be printed.

9) Freedom to treat military service as a kind of free expression to which you have something like a right, rather than a chance to volunteer if the military needs you and as it thinks it needs you.

10) Freedom to choke atheists who blaspheme the Prophet Muhammed. (There may be some dissent on this one, but so far all the conservatives I know seem to be against it.)

Posted by: Grim at February 28, 2012 04:51 PM

And if we can look ahead to the rights of the future, I think we can agree to sacrifice the freedom to marry one's dolphin, and/or one's virtual girlfriend.

Posted by: Grim at February 28, 2012 04:54 PM


1) Freedom of easy divorce.

Is divorce ever "easy"? In this case, it seems you would like to make it harder for other people to get out of their marriages. While I personally don't think much of divorce, I also don't think much of the idea that making it harder for people to leave unhappy marriages would do anything to shore up the state of marriage.

Looking at historical divorce rates supports this notion. Starting in 1960 (LONG before no fault), the divorce rate goes exponential. You can't blame "easy" divorce because divorce wasn't easy back then. So how would making divorce harder change things?

2) Freedom to abortion regardless of reason and health of the baby. (The terms of proffered restrictions vary widely, but most conservatives would consider at least some.)

So you are in favor of the government doing what here?

3) Freedom to protest the family at a military funeral, especially if it is done chiefly to provoke a response that can be used to sue the family for damages.

Can't argue with this one.

4) Freedom to burn the flag.

This one either.

5) Freedom to go on welfare for 99 weeks, followed by going on disability permanently, with Medicare picking up your medical bills after two years.

Or this one.

6) Freedom to have the Catholic Church buy you birth control.

Last time I checked, no one is forcing the Catholic church to buy birth control. Insurers are being forced to give it away and they will pass the cost to other insured people, but then that's kind of the point of insurance.

I have a problem with the government dictating to a provider of goods or services that they must give them away for free.

7) Freedom to demand that any workers at your plant join your union, and pay you dues.

So should this be a federally protected right (IOW, should the federal government impose federal right to work laws on states regardless of whether the citizens of those states want those laws)?

Because that's the general principle you're advocating here.

8) Freedom to have the driver's exam administered in a language other than the one in which all the signs on the road will be printed.

Again, this is state law, not federal. Do you want the federal government to tell states that driver's exams must be given in English only? Or if they are in Spanish, to dictate that all signs be in English and Spanish?

9) Freedom to treat military service as a kind of free expression to which you have something like a right, rather than a chance to volunteer if the military needs you and as it thinks it needs you.

Agreed.

10) Freedom to choke atheists who blaspheme the Prophet Muhammed. (There may be some dissent on this one, but so far all the conservatives I know seem to be against it.)

I'm generally not in favor of responding to objectionable speech with choking, but I get the sentiment.

The problem here is that the specific freedoms you cite aren't neatly severable; they are based on broader principles. If they were, then I'd probably agree with most of your items.

Here's what I'd like to know: rather than objecting to specific implementations of a broader principle (and the world is full of bone headed applications of otherwise wise principles), would you be willing to dispense with the broader principle altogether (in other words, to see the general rule enforced even when you don't like the outcome)?

Posted by: Cassandra at February 28, 2012 06:07 PM

As for (1) and (2), you asked what conservatives would be willing to give up; I suggest that these are common answers. They would be willing to give up these "freedoms." I suspect that the precise answer to what new restrictions would be imposed vary from person to person.

What I think I am responding to is a kind of excluded middle in your argument: you can't have the good of 1797 or 1950 without also accepting slavery, racism, etc. It seems to me that doesn't follow: the excluded middle is that we could let go of some of the "freedoms" we have gained, without also losing the good things.

Nor do I accept the premise that there is something about the American founding that necessitates slavery or racism. Jefferson himself would have been only too glad to have inherited a world without slavery (he called it "having a wolf by the ears"), but didn't know how to end it when it was in practice without a massive disruption (which, indeed, is what it took). I think he would have believed, and I do believe, that most of his vision is positive and good.

So we don't have to choose between 'a world with Dred Scott' and 'the present world.' We could have a world without Dred Scott and also without every last aspect of what our brethren on the Left call "progress."

(6): Since the Church is often self-insured, by forcing 'their insurer' to give away birth control (which must be bought before you can give it away), 'you' (meaning, women using the new HHS rule) are in fact forcing them to buy it for 'you.'

(7) & (8) That's not the general principle I'm advocating; I'm saying that this is a freedom that I think conservatives would be prepared to give up. Whether that is done at the state or Federal level is a separate question, surely; at least, I'm not sure why you're treating it as a unified question. If I support X, must I support the Federal Government doing X? I wouldn't think so.

[W]ould you be willing to dispense with the broader principle altogether (in other words, to see the general rule enforced even when you don't like the outcome)?

Which broader principle do you mean? In terms of divorce (and marriage generally), I certainly would be willing to dispense with the "contract" view of marriage that underlies modern jurisprudence; but you and I have discussed this at length, and you understand that I believe in the older principle that structured it. That idea is that marriage is a kinship bond that unifies families across generations, which means that a debt is owed not only to your spouse, but to their ancestors (and your own), and to your (actual or hoped-for) children.

That might mean (almost certainly does mean) getting stuck with some in-laws you could do without; it certainly means that you live under obligations greater than your own happiness. All of us who have been long married, even those of us who love our spouses dearly, have shouldered such responsibilities and made such sacrifices -- even when they were very costly.

As far as freedom of speech, one does not have to abandon it entirely to ask for restrictions on the Fred Phelps of the world. There are two freedoms at issue here: his freedom of expression, and the family's freedom of religion -- the freedom, that is, to bury their son or daughter in a solemn and dignified manner, according to whatever forms they find most sacred and appropriate, and without disturbance. The point is not to dispense with either freedom, but to achieve a balance that produces the most just result.

When fundamental freedoms collide, as they do, the question of how to balance them is what is at issue: not the question of which one to abandon. I would suggest in this case a general rule would be: balance strongly in favor of the side that is not intentionally trying to hurt someone else. (That actually tends to advocate against the atheist Zombie marcher; but I think I can live with that.)

Posted by: Grim at February 28, 2012 07:26 PM

What I think I am responding to is a kind of excluded middle in your argument: you can't have the good of 1797 or 1950 without also accepting slavery, racism, etc. It seems to me that doesn't follow: the excluded middle is that we could let go of some of the "freedoms" we have gained, without also losing the good things.

And I would say that you're not understanding that part of the "good" of 1797 or 1959 was having the freedom to infringe upon or ignore the rights of others.

I am genuinely mystified by some of your responses.

Nor do I accept the premise that there is something about the American founding that necessitates slavery or racism. Jefferson himself would have been only too glad to have inherited a world without slavery (he called it "having a wolf by the ears"), but didn't know how to end it when it was in practice without a massive disruption (which, indeed, is what it took). I think he would have believed, and I do believe, that most of his vision is positive and good.

Really? When it came right down to it, who prevented Jefferson from freeing his slaves?

No one. The bottom line is that when he weighed his own comfort and self interest against the injustice of OWNING another human being, self interest won out. It was more important to him than doing what (according to you) he believed was right.

Whether that is done at the state or Federal level is a separate question, surely; at least, I'm not sure why you're treating it as a unified question. If I support X, must I support the Federal Government doing X? I wouldn't think so.

I'm not treating it as a unified question. The fact of the matter is that most of the freedoms you said you'd be willing to give up were state granted freedoms.

If you are interpreting my question as, "What would you as an individual be willing to give up?" then I suppose there's no difference. But if you interpret it as "What freedoms would you be content that *everyone* should give up?", (and that was precisely the point of asking, "Or perhaps it should be "whose freedoms"?) then the only way to accomplish that is for the federal government to override state law.

In terms of divorce (and marriage generally), I certainly would be willing to dispense with the "contract" view of marriage that underlies modern jurisprudence; but you and I have discussed this at length, and you understand that I believe in the older principle that structured it. That idea is that marriage is a kinship bond that unifies families across generations, which means that a debt is owed not only to your spouse, but to their ancestors (and your own), and to your (actual or hoped-for) children.

That happens to be my view, but it's not one I'm sure I want to force others to hew to. The value of the promise is that it is voluntary.

You sort of ducked my question: how would making divorce harder make the institution of marriage stronger? Clearly you feel the "ease" of divorce is the root of the weakening of the institution of marriage. I disagree, and the undeniable fact that the divorce rate went through the roof long before divorce became "easy" calls into question the notion that limiting individual freedom is justified by some unestablished benefit to society.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 28, 2012 09:21 PM

Well, let's settle that question before dealing with the other matters. I had meant to answer that question, but I forgot to go back and look up the article you had written earlier. Didn't you write some lengthy piece about how no-fault divorce was preceded by an earlier reform that was associated with the rising divorce rates?

I'm afraid I can't remember what the technical term for that mode of divorce was, but I remember coming away from the discussion with the impression that repealing no-fault alone would not be sufficient; we'd have to go back even farther. I don't remember coming away with the impression that the reforms had nothing to do with the rising divorce rate, so I was surprised when you framed it that way.

Posted by: Grim at February 28, 2012 09:59 PM

4) Freedom to burn the flag.

I'll argue this one. I've thought long and hard about this. I consider flag burning (outside of destroying an unserviceable flag respectfully) reprehensible and could even consider it "fighting words". HOWEVER, on principle, I'll defend someone's right to do it on two major points.

First, if it's their property, they can dispose of it how they wish. Property rights MEAN something. And you might not like it if your neighbor burns a stack of $100 bills, but if it's their money, they can do with it as they choose (as long as they're not endangering your property with the fire). I'll accept SOME limitations on property rights with respect to community standards (negative financial impact on the value of your home by the state of theirs, as an example), but I am VERY leery of telling other what they can and cannot do with the objects they own regardless of how sacred I hold those objects. You have every right to be offended if someone submerges a crucifix into a jar of their own urine. You even have every right to be offended if someone burns a copy of your holy book (*cough*). What you DON'T have a right to do is have them arrested for doing it.

And the second reason I oppose the criminalization of flag burning is because of what that flag is. It is a symbol of freedom. Yes it's a symbol of our nation, but I challenge you to tell me that that flag does NOT stand for freedom. In fact, I can honestly think of no better symbol for the concept. Nor do I think historically, any other symbol HAS stood for freedom like the American flag. And, regardless of how reprehensible I think it is to desecrate a symbol of freedom, I also think it's disrespectful to the very ideals which the flag stands for to restrict freedom in order to preserve it.

Posted by: MikeD at February 29, 2012 09:02 AM

I'd give the freedom for old fat guys to wear speedos. At least until the pill that allows you to unsee that which has been seen makes it onto the market.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at February 29, 2012 09:37 AM

" I'll accept SOME limitations on property rights with respect to community standards (negative financial impact on the value of your home by the state of theirs, as an example),..."

"Some limitations"? Where is the line drawn between *none*, *some* and *too much*? And can I assume that you're willing to pay part of the property taxes for every house in the 'community'? Part of the mortgage? The insurance? Will mow the grass and help with the landscaping and general upkeep for every house in the community? Cause, imo, if you're not willing to shoulder all of the burdens of property ownership/rights for every house, then you have no place telling me what I can, cannot, must or must not do with my property. I have shouldered the financial and physical burden of ownership. What I do with it is my business and nobody elses.
Now, does that mean that I like seeing the hot pink house with lime green and purple trim? Not necessarily. Nor do I appreciate neighbors who don't believe in cutting the 'living, breathing organism' inhabiting their yard. (yes, I've had just such neighbors) But my energy and time is better served being applied to the larger problems in life than whether or not someone's house is an eyesore.
You know...things like what exactly is the timeline for judging caption contests? And if Mr. DeBille releases his pic of a very blonde Cassandra, how quickly will the trivet hit the back of his head?
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at February 29, 2012 10:16 AM

I'm not arguing positively for any of these things in this case; I'm just making the case that there are plenty of conservatives who are willing to part with certain freedoms. Arguments against the burning of the flag have been common enough among conservatives, especially military conservatives who think of the flag as something friends have died for and been buried beneath. It may be a good idea or bad one, but it has often been advanced.

Personally (as I said above), I'm of the opinion that we need to rethink how we balance freedom of expression with other core freedoms. Should you be able to do what you want with your property? Unquestionably, in private. Should you be able to burn your flag as part of a noisy protest outside a military funeral? I don't think so, and I don't think it's an unacceptable limitation on your freedom to say so. Rather, it's a way of ensuring the religious freedom of those engaged in the burial service.

Posted by: Grim at February 29, 2012 10:24 AM

Cause, imo, if you're not willing to shoulder all of the burdens of property ownership/rights for every house, then you have no place telling me what I can, cannot, must or must not do with my property.

I LOVE it that Sly out Libertarianed me! :) Big hugs Miss Sly! But yes, the fact is, I think if you're raising a breeding ground for bugs, mice, and snakes next to my house, we should be able to apply just a BIT more pressure than "stop being a jackwagon and mow yer damn lawn!" I'm not advocating jail time or anything, but a fee assessed by the HOA (which in THEORY is a voluntary association of the home owners in the area) or the local government (if it trespasses into health hazard for the surrounding homes).

Now, as for the "eyesore" house, that's beyond legal action (unless it violates a signed HOA covenant). Yeah, hot pink vinyl with the lime green shingles MAY (and probably will) harm my neighbors' property values, but it presents no health (or physical property damage) hazards. It's obnoxious as hell, but that's not illegal (nor should it be). You ask where the line is drawn? Health risks or property damage to the neighbors is pretty much it for me. You can't raise termites in your shed just this side of the property line. That's going too far. You can't keep a garbage dump in your back yard.

Should you be able to burn your flag as part of a noisy protest outside a military funeral? I don't think so, and I don't think it's an unacceptable limitation on your freedom to say so.

But see, I do. Freedom of Speech was never intended to protect the things we WANT to hear (or see), but the things we DON'T. Otherwise there's no need for it. The proper counter balance is not to make undesirable speech illegal, it's to support the legal defense that it's "fighting words" to use it. You have EVERY right to call my wife all sorts of vile and disgusting things (NOT that you or any here would). But that simply will not protect you when I physically assault you for it. Provocative words can and should be considered "free speech", but certainly not "consequence free speech". The problem lies with a legal system that allows users of intentionally provocative speech to avoid the natural consequences of using it. I'm not saying it's appropriate to kill Fred Phelps and his brood of slack jawed mouth-breathers (that's FAR out of proportion for insults). But I am saying that as a judge, I'd throw out any case they brought saying they were "unjustly" assaulted for what they do. And I DO think that it would be appropriate to award the victims of their protests damages for intentional emotional distress. Because having the RIGHT to say something does not make it consequence free. It merely means the government can't prohibit you from saying it. And I DO see that as a fine distinction. Disallowing the government to silence what you say is fine. But by no means should that EVER be construed as an absolute protection from the consequences of that speech.

Posted by: MikeD at February 29, 2012 01:36 PM

The proper counter balance is not to make undesirable speech illegal, it's to support the legal defense that it's "fighting words" to use it.

Well, see, that's just another kind of legal rebalancing. You can say, "Since the atheist was mocking Muhammad with his Zombie Muhammad 'joke,' while he was well within his rights to do it, by all means the court understands that of course you beat the crap out of him." All that means, though, is that you're structuring the law to prohibit an attempt to avoid a riot (as by refusing to license a parade route that runs through Dearborn, MI, or by a mosque); but then removing the legal consequences of a riot.

What do you expect to get as a result of this legal maneuver? A riot.

Which is fine, when we're talking about Fred Phelps -- Lord knows he's as deserving a candidate as I can easily imagine -- but it seems to be something conservatives don't like when it's Muslims enforcing their idea of what counts as fighting words. I think I can side with the Muslims on this one, but nobody else much seems to want to do so.

Posted by: Grim at February 29, 2012 01:50 PM

Which is fine, when we're talking about Fred Phelps -- Lord knows he's as deserving a candidate as I can easily imagine -- but it seems to be something conservatives don't like when it's Muslims enforcing their idea of what counts as fighting words. I think I can side with the Muslims on this one, but nobody else much seems to want to do so.

I think you're not actually alone on that one. I think that there SHOULD be consequences to being a jerk. Certainly the case you're citing is hardly the most sympathetic one, but it does fit. But the riot mention does kind of put a sour note into it. Because you're right. Then we have courts needing to make judgement calls as to whether the violent response to "fighting words" was appropriate, or disproportionate after the fact. Now, I do see that this is part of the risk of taking violent exception to "fighting words". Yes, you did indeed punish the miscreant for crossing the line. But if you get an unsympathetic judge, you may do jail time. Now, if the transgression was egregious enough that you consider it worth the risk, hey... it's your life. Screw it up as bad as you like. Personally, I'm not advocating the Wild West here. Not that the Wild West was exactly as we think of it, but that's a topic for another day. What I am advocating is not allowing bad actors to feel free to enrage everyone around them, and then scurry beneath "Momma Gubmint's" skirts and say "Hahaha! You can't touch me!"

Perhaps simply allowing civil legal action against perpetrators of "fighting words" is the most equitable solution (to avoid the whole nasty business of riots and blood feuds).

Posted by: MikeD at February 29, 2012 03:17 PM

"I LOVE it that Sly out Libertarianed me! :) Big hugs Miss Sly!"

Aww, Mike, ya big sweet talker.
However, I have a nit to pick here wrt where do you draw the line? And, to clarify, I am not including HOAs in this since that is a compact one voluntarily signs on to with their neighbors. That said, one man's *garbage dump* is another's *composting pit*. IMO, composting pits can smell just as badly, if not worse, than a garbage dump. And what of people who raise insects like bees, for example? I am allergic to bee stings. Should I be able to pressure that neighbor and make them get rid of the bees? Their presence in much more than nature's random numbers greatly increases my chances of being stung and therefore poses a serious health risk to me.
So, I ask, where do we draw the line?
*she asks as she realizes just how much like the Blog Princess she is beginning to sound*
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at February 29, 2012 06:50 PM

We draw the line with you wearing long sleeves, and me sharing my mead with you.

Posted by: Grim at February 29, 2012 07:32 PM

IMO, composting pits can smell just as badly, if not worse, than a garbage dump. And what of people who raise insects like bees, for example? I am allergic to bee stings. Should I be able to pressure that neighbor and make them get rid of the bees? Their presence in much more than nature's random numbers greatly increases my chances of being stung and therefore poses a serious health risk to me.

Trust me, I understand bad smells traveling. Back when I lived in rural Virginia, a neighbor about half a mile away fertilized his garden with chicken poo. And there's a stench you won't soon forget. But bad smells aren't physical harm. If you can get a doctor to agree that physical damage is occurring, then fine. Take it up with the community. I was more of referring to a breeding ground for rats. While I've seen some compost piles attract wildlife, the heat of decomp tends to keep them mostly at bay.

As for keeping bees, I don't see a problem at all with keeping bees. But, just like owning any other potentially dangerous animal, I think you have a responsibility for their actions. And if one of your bees stings your neighbor, you are financially liable. And no, I don't feel the burden is on your neighbor to prove it was YOUR bee. And moreover, I think it's completely reasonable for your neighbor to protect their home from said bees with traps and pesticides. If you cannot contain your livestock, the burden is on you to protect them, not the neighbor. So, short answer? Bees are livestock, suitable for land zoned as agricultural other than residential. Trying to raise them in a subdivision is probably a good way to get sued and lose your bees.

Posted by: MikeD at March 1, 2012 09:37 AM

'But in 1776 black Americans were held in chattel slavery'

Excuse me, but are not black male americans still being geld in chattel slavery?

The majority of their children are born out of wedlock, they only are granted custody less than 4% of the time (essentially when mother is so psycho that even the courts cannot ignore it.

And then their child support orders can easily exceed their actual income.

Posted by: Nick at March 1, 2012 02:29 PM

Excuse me, but are not black male americans still being [h]eld in chattel slavery?

*blink*

*blink*

Huh?

Seems to me that if black males don't want to be "slaves" to children born out of wedlock through child support payments, they can choose to keep their zippers up like the rest of us.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at March 1, 2012 04:08 PM

Excuse me, but are not black male americans still being geld in chattel slavery?

I'm going to assume the "geld" was unintentional :p

Seriously, though, what part of not getting someone pregnant if you lack the means to support a child do these folks not understand?

wrt only getting custody 4% of the time, what does that tell anyone?

White guys are way underrepresented on professional sports teams. Does that prove discrimination?

Unless we know how many of these guys actually asked for support (and further, what the grounds were for awarding custody to the mother) we know nothing. Case in point:

There have been studies as to fathers' chances for success in contested custody cases. In one study, involving cases which were not contested, mothers received custody in approximately 90% of the cases. In cases that were contested, fathers won custody in approximately 60% of the cases. Overall, the percentage of cases in which mothers received custody was greater than 88% of the cases.

and from Massachusetts:

We began our investigation of child custody aware of a common perception that there is a bias in favor of women in these decisions. Our research contradicted this perception. Although mothers more frequently get primary physical custody of children following divorce, this practice does not reflect bias but rather the agreement of the parties and the fact that, in most families, mothers have been the primary caretakers of children. Fathers who actively seek custody obtain either primary or joint physical custody over 70% of the time. Reports indicate, however, that in some cases perceptions of gender bias may discourage fathers from seeking custody and stereotypes about fathers may sometimes affect case outcomes. In general, our evidence suggests that the courts hold higher standards for mothers than fathers in custody determinations.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 1, 2012 04:14 PM

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