The Shotgun Blog
Thursday, May 07, 2009
Interview with the BC Libertarians: 'goo goo', civil forfeiture and all that stuff
The BC Election is now a week away. Just before we go in to cast our ballots, a few words with ‘the home team’ - the Libertarians. The Western Standard is a libertarian and conservative site -- it’s in the mission statement -- and while obviously I’m not speaking for everyone on the site, the Libertarians are the closest thing to my standard bearer in the upcoming election (though I think I’m going to follow the voting advice of this shouting pothead I found outside of the federal Liberal convention last weekend).
The BC Libertarians have six candidates running this time around, including two here in Vancouver. Their party president, Paul Geddes, answered a few questions for me on libertarian issues. First off, I began by asking him if he supported the BC Government’s restrictions on third party advertising:
Paul Geddes, President of the BC Libertarian Party (PG): No, of course not. We believe in free speech and free speech during elections should be especially important. Restrictions of this type are exactly what you would expect when insiders try to block the emergence of new ideas and new groups.
This is just another example of the government using its might to restrict competition.
The Western Standard (WS): Are you aware of the Steyn/Maclean's ‘free-speech’ case which was brought before the BC Human Rights Tribunal last year? If so, would you support a reform of the BC Human Rights Code to eliminate sections which criminalize many forms of (non-violent) political speech?
PG: We see little need for government organizations such as the “BC Human Rights Commission” . The use of force in society should be used only to prevent others from using force (assault, robbery etc.,) or to gain compensation for a previous unjustified use of force.
Although we appreciate the benefits of good manners, we don’t understand why a coercive government entity feels justified in delineating and enforcing their subjective concept of good manners. We much prefer having competing voluntary organizations (religious and social groups) issuing their condemnations of perceived injustices and trusting Canadians with the good sense to judge when an action truly merits voluntarily ostracisizing an offender.
WS: The Civil Forfeiture Act puts a reverse onus on property owners to show that they did not acquire their property with proceeds from crime. Do you support a reform of this act to put the onus back on the crown, and to put a cap on the amount of property that can be seized by the government?
PG: Government should not be entitled to seize property, except to return it as compensation to a previous victim of an unjustified use of force or fraud. This law is designed with only one purpose: to reward police forces with the funds seized for wrongfully interfering in the voluntary drug market.
Not only is this policy wrong, but it will increase the harm that prohibition is already doing to us. This law will only encourage more violence in drug dealing if it drives out all dealers who want to keep their earnings and assets safe from arbitrary expropriation.
WS: Will your party support more experimentation in private health care delivery?
PG: Of course. People are different. We don’t all fit into the “one-size-fits-all” lowest common denominator government monopoly health plan. Some want more service. Some want less. Some want completely different services.
The government should not prevent BC citizens from making private agreements with the health providers of their choice. We should be allowed to buy extra service, extra insurance, different service. Health providers and private insurance companies should be allowed to deliver such services to citizens who are willing to pay for such services.
WS: What has your party done to advance the cause of liberty in British Columbia during the last term?
PG: We have continued to make noise about the problem of depending on coercion for funding government services with our annual tax protest (see www.wclf.org) as well as suggested private voluntary alternatives for many government programs.
WS: When will BC recover from what the IMF is now calling, ‘the Great Recession’? And what measures would you introduce in the next session to assist in the recovery?
PG: Our lives are improved thanks to the continual innovations and breakthroughs made by productive peoples all over the world. Despite confiscatory taxes and interfering regulations, human ingenuity usually finds a way to deliver mutually advantageous trades. The best thing that the BC government can do to get us out of our current economic troubles is to first promise “to do no more harm”. Quit taking the money we earn to spend on their dreams.
BC needs drastically reduced taxation and less interference in our everyday lives, so that those with productive, innovative ideas know that they will not be interfered with and their earnings won’t be confiscated.
WS: Besides those questions, I’d be interested in learning your views on the state of your party, and of the Libertarian movement in BC. Who do you see as your party’s natural constituency and how do you intend to reach them over the course of the election?
PG: Currently, the world is experiencing a bubble of goo-goo (good government) feelings no doubt due to the personality and warm feeling of hope brought by the election of Barack Obama south of the border. Unfortunately, no man can deliver what the crowds think they have been promised. Government can not be a force for good. As reality bites, disillusionment will set in. We must be ready with our alternative message of true hope and trust in human ingenuity freed from government constraints.
Already there are growing doubts about government. More and more people around the world call themselves libertarians as they realize that government coercion holds us back from achieving our full potential. We are happy to hold up the flag for these ideas in BC.
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