Haley's Poker Blog

No bad beats, but still a poker blog... hence the anguish.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Civil Libertarian Time

(Warning: Read the following at your own peril. I ask no quarter, nor give none. There's something in this post to offend just about everyone.)

If you want to understand just how much of a civil-libertarian purist I am, let me shake your beliefs in me with the following: I'm against gun-control legislation of all but the most automatic and semi-automatic weapons, the exception being those which are clearly designed for use in modern/mass warfare. The reason is this: the greater the access of the collective populace to weaponry, the greater the ability to defend one's collective self in times of need. (It sounds corny, but its logic is unassailable.) But I weep at the cost. That America pays a terrible price for this freedom is a given, in the thousands of violent deaths our society suffers each year.

It is, sadly, the price of living in what's supposed to be a free society, though a price, like some others, that relatively few are willing to acknowledge or accept. A free society is not necessarily a lawless one, nor is a nanny state a lawful one, the Newt Gingrich butt-sores of the world not withstanding. A civil libertarian who favors gun control is a fair-weather civil libertarian... and you read that here. That person doesn't believe in civil liberty; he only believes in the use of the "civil liberties" banner to try to shape society closer to his personal preferences. And don't even get me started on the ACLU, selective-filter abomination that it is. I know first-hand about deeper forms of societal discrimination than most of you can imagine, but that tale is private and personal, and is not yet to be shared.

But my real target here is not the left, but the right. Besides the fact that the next fucking Baptist or Mormon who comes proselytizing to my doorstep is likely to catch a most unwelcome earful, let me just say that there is no greater target for loathing than the politician who professes a love for freedom, but understands not what freedom is.

While America's need for freedom is an absolute, our defining reason for existing as we do, so is the need for each of us to develop a high personal ethos to support and warrant that freedom. However, we have to grant everyone the high ground, the clean slate, at the start, and only after evidence and actions prove otherwise should an individual's --- not "individual," in the collective sense --- freedoms be removed. And I believe that our current legislators' ethics are so appalling that this blog will add/shift focus in the months ahead. It's going to become a "free poker speech" portal, where workarounds of every sort will be promulgated and published.

It won't be for personal profit, but will exist just because information --- and Americans --- need to be free. (And I'll say this as a general aside --- if I'd been a Washington State resident, I'd have been damned if I'd pulled down my general poker content as some others have done.) That said, one or two things here may need to change, but rest assured that I'm not going anywhere. Fuck you, Senator Frist, you slimy cat-carving piece of shit. Fuck you, all you Bible-thumpers. You create a theocracy out of the United States over my dead body.

For all the talk about liberty and freedom, remember that the societal responsibility to not infringe on others' freedoms is the vital other half of the pie. In other words, your right to swing your fist stops somewhere short of my nose. I've never had a problem with someone smoking a bit of pot, assuming that they didn't rob someone to purchase said toke, and that they have a purpose to life besides said self-enjoyment, and don't freeload at others' expense. (I actually don't smoke pot, by the way; just thought I'd clarify.) Same thing with virtually all personal vices.

But, the conservative right has been swinging at my --- and all Americans' --- noses, lately. Time to swing back.

The conservative right has made an enemy, as it should have made millions of enemies, and this here enemy fights hard and dirty. As for the rest of you, see you from the front lines.


Blogger r0nin47 said...

I'm with you! I've been disgusted by the right wing for a long time now, but this was just sickening! What the hell is it going to take to get people to start standing up for themselves in this country?!?!

I certainly don't consider myself a pro, but with the economy as bad as it's been in the last few years.. I have had to make ends meet by playing online poker and I'll be damned if I'm going to let these bastards take money out of my hands! Internet gambling prohibition! What's next? This country is going to hell because people are too fucking lazy and uninformed to stand up for themselves!!

If you have any ideas as far as doing something about this crap I'd sure love to hear them!

It's like I tell people all the time.. If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.. and this country has fallen BIG TIME!

3:44 AM  
Blogger KGBlovesOreos said...

*giving you a standing ovation*

8:09 AM  
Blogger C.L. Russo said...

Time to take it to the streets.

7:38 PM  
Blogger Haley said...

ROnin, I think it's going to be a week or two before we can judge the full impact and pick proper courses of action, but I'm already gathering information. One thing I find most disappointing is the PPA's current empty posturing.

Uhh, PPA folks, the time for lobbyists is past. Get some lawyers and prepare some motions for injunctive relief, on First Amendment grounds if nothing else. The provision about address blocking at the ISP level is to my mind the lowest-hanging fruit, absolutely ripe for a lawsuit.

You other guys, thanks for the kind words. I'm not the best-connected person in the poker world, but I did talk to a couple of knowledgable sorts today.

10:29 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Beautifully said. To those that don't think we are losing our civil liberties by the bushel every day, it's only because you are not paying attention.

See you in the foxhole!

7:04 AM  
Anonymous mkw said...

I would implore you to reach into history and understand the difference between conservatives and the right wing.

My brand of conservatism believes in a constitutional purism that finds this type of intrusion of liberty not only a troubling manifestation of the nanny state we have become, but it is also simply unconstitutional.

It is all too often forgotten that our most important, our root freedom, the un-enumerated one which is the basis of the constitution in whole is our freedom FROM government. Our constitution is a contract given by the people through their states to the central body, it specifically identifies the things the central body CAN do. If we as a people did not grant something to the federal government then it is not their jurisdiction to exercise authority in an area we have reserved for ourselves. I know such concepts are foreign to most as for the past 60 years now we have seen a federal government trample these concepts and have likely never seen a politician stand up at the Capital and say we cannot regulate X or pass Y because the states never granted us that power.

I say all this to defend true conservatism, at its root is this form of constitutional purism that is difficult to recognize in our modern affairs but our desire is to best conserve the liberties we have, too stop this slide further into the nanny state. Don’t confuse the morality drum beating right wing with conservatism.

I am a conservative and a republican and this week a very pissed off poker player…And yes I did call both my senators and my house rep and gave them (or those poor secretaries) an earful.

7:14 AM  
Blogger Haley said...


It's an excellent point you make about the difference between "conservativism" and the sort of neanderthal socio-political activism that defines the modern right. It is indeed not "conservatism" in the classic sense, but rather the usurping of another important conceptual word. But they stole the word, as they stole the phrase "American values." When a pol utters that, you know the rest of what he says is shit.

That said, the more mainsteam, clear-thinking elements of the right wing are finally getting a lesson into just how much a tool of political convenience they really are.

Not mentioned in this blog, but only in a story in the KAP blog, some months back, is how well I know one of these vapid Congressman, that being Nussle from Iowa, who I've been on a first-name basis with since we attended school together some decades back. Nussle's every bit as disgusting as the rest, as shallow and deceptive as they come.

I know that breed very well, and I have always despised them.

9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great commentary Haley!!!



8:40 AM  

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