Death Is Easy

Russell Madden

Freedom As If It Mattered

As If
It Mattered
Russell Madden

Guardian Project

The Guardian
Russell Madden


Russell Madden



In this space, I offer brief comments and analysis of current events. I also provide this as an opportunity for readers to ask questions on politics, philosophy, or other items of general interest. (Thanks to my wife for suggesting the title of this daily feature.)
(This daily commentary is an experiment. If it generates donations or pledges from readers who value what I do, I'll continue it. If, however, after a few months, little support is offered, I'll have to cut it back to an occasional feature.) If you enjoy these columns, please tell your friends. Tell me, too...
Commentaries are archived on a (generally) monthly basis.

Archive #1: May 24 to June 30, 2001.

Archive #2: July 1 to July 31, 2001.

Archive #3: August 1 to August 31, 2001.

Archive #4: September 1 to September 30, 2001.

Oct. 04, 2001

Schedule Revision

Based on feedback I've received, I have decided (for now, anyway) not to continue this daily commentary on a gratis basis. I will post occasional short commentaries here as the mood strikes me.

What I am offering as an alternative is a paid subscription service. For $50/year (or $5/month with a year's commitment), I will email daily 300-600 word commentaries to you directly. With two weeks of vacation time per year, this would be approximately 350 short commentaries for about 14 cents each; hardly a munificent return for a writer. Even the lowest paying magazine pays 1 cent per word. I am willing to do this, however, to continue my connection with my readers.

If I can get enough paid subscribers to justify my time, i.e., at least half a dozen, I will return to daily commentaries in two weeks. If not...

As a subscriber, you will get first look at my analysis of and thoughts on today's events. After two months, I will post the commentaries per month on my website (e.g., Oct. commentaries will appear on Jan. 1).

Thanks for your support.

Oct. 03, 2001

Supreme Irony

Ex-prez Bill Wait-a-Minute-While-I-Zip-My-Pants Clinton was barred by the Supreme Court from arguing before it. This was mostly an automatic response; lawyers who are given suspensions in other venues routinely are barred from appearing before the Supremes. The ban was also mostly symbolic since Billy boy has never presented a case before the top court and is unlikely ever to do so.

Of course, since Clinton's entire career has been one of putting style above substance, he is opposing this ban. Wouldn't look good on his resume, don't ya know.

Justice has nothing do to with any of these wranglings and petty maneuverings. If anyone in Washington gave a rat's behind about justice, Clinton would be in jail making intimate small talk with Bubba or facing the ultimate end for his war crimes and violations of the Constitution.

Sadly, though we're all supposed to be equal before the law, as in Orwell's Animal Farm, some of us are more equal than others.

This all flows easily from yesterday's commentary. The "law" is crafted these days to protect or punish favored or disdained groups of individuals. Power and money and fame still garner special treatment. Standing up for what is proper and right more often than not these days will get you hatred, fired, or imprisoned.

The world will be better when the Clintonistas sink beneath the waves of history, never to bother us again. With luck, the Kennedy clan will be gurgling closely behind them...

Oct. 02, 2001

The Rule of Law

Rudy Giuliani gave a speech recently discussing the differences between dictatorships and free countries. One thing he said was that a country that respected the rule of law was a free (or "democratic"; what a pukey term) country; one that did not was a dictatorship.

Oops. Hoisted (almost) by his own petard.

The "rule of law" is sagging in jagged tatters in the United States. Acceptance of the "rule of law," i.e., the belief that objectively valid laws that apply to everyone equally, would preclude ninety-plus-percent of what passes for legality in this country. The abandonment of this essential principle of liberty runs from the local level to the highest realms of government in Washington, D.C.

Here in Cedar Rapids, for instance, the sheriff -- one man -- gets to decide whether or not you can legally exercise your right to self-defense. Bad enough that we are required to have a permit to purchase a weapon; worse, that we are supposed to have a license in order to carry it outside our home; worst of all is the fact that we need the sheriff's permission to do what is our right. Only "business" people who carry lots of money can obtain such a license in this county. Otherwise, forget it. Money, apparently, is worth defending; your life is not.

What an a$$h*le.

At the state and national level, we have commissions and regulatory bodies whose members force rules on us according to their prejudices and ignorance. We have laws that favor one group -- whether gays or farmers or women -- at the expense of another group. Or we have laws that penalize one group -- gun owners, property owners, or taxi drivers -- for doing nothing wrong.

The rule of law?

Ha! What a joke.

By Giuliani's own criteria, the United States is barely a step above a dictatorship. With all this nonsense arising from the WTC attack, that step is growing shorter and shorter everyday.

Oct. 01, 2001

Wars Galore

I find it ironic in the extreme -- and extremely sad -- that the Taliban in Afghanistan earn the billions they need to purchase the guns, tanks, and other weaponry they use against their enemies by heavily taxing the heroin their people produce. In other words, the worldwide War on Drugs -- including its chief cheerleader, the United States of America -- is financing our opposition in this putative "War on Terrorists."

It's akin to handing over your credit card to a thief who uses your wealth to purchase the tools he needs to break into your house.


In Afghanistan, the poppy farmers are left alone -- despite claims that from the Taliban that they are ceasing such production -- as long as they do not become addicted to their own wares. _That_ can get you arrested. With "hits" going for the equivalent of fifty cents, not exactly outrageously priced to get your fix.

Even if the Taliban did force a cutback in what their people could farm, they are reputed to have large amounts of the poppy paradise goods stockpiled.

As others have suggested, if we really want to hurt the Taliban and bring them to their knees, perhaps we would be better off simply re-legalizing currently illicit drugs than sending in our troops to die. Money fuels the terrorism machine. While we do, of course, need to attack the symptoms, i.e., the individual terrorists and the governments supporting them, we will be better off in the long run eliminating the foundations that feed those direct problems. Remove the profits from drug production and remove the power that is derived from that illicit wealth.

End the Drug War (aka, the War on People). Kill as many of these terrorists as we can. Then follow the advice of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and remove our "foreign entanglements" and rely solely on trade to influence others around the world.

Everyone but the statists and power-mongers will benefit.

More freedom is good for you. Trust me.

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