Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Rightful Liberty Versus Both Police Abuses and BLM Violence

All lives matter, including black lives, and it’s great to attempt to remedy inequities in how our society values people. Such noble ends have been proclaimed by Black Lives Matter, but BLM protestors have engaged in terribly-counterproductive means, such as pillaging-and-burning while attempting to foment a violent Marxist revolution. Their violence even touched Provo yesterday, as some rioters committed attempted murder and property damage. Such destruction does not build both unity and mutual respect, but it can help victims (whether real or fancied) to become oppressors.

Both tyrants and criminals feel emboldened whenever public officers do nothing. And some have readily accused Provo police of “standing down” under orders from Mayor Kaufusi; however, this author has not yet seen any credible evidence to support these claims. Although we have definitely criticized the mayor (and her predecessor) for many statist policies, we desire to comment ONLY about things that she has actually done, and not about imaginary grievances. And we also like to applaud her when we notice her getting things right. So, at this time, we express our gratitude that (unlike some other mayors) she has NOT treated such crimes with astounding permissiveness. Or proposed bad policies (yet) in response, as far as we’ve noticed.

Unfortunately, responding with bad policy is something that we will need to counteract in the near future. Marxists have repeatedly employed a “pincers” movement of applying pressure from both above and below—for example, they will use street groups to foment riots and then use politicians to propose bills that allegedly address rioters’ concerns but that actually further the Marxist agenda. Which is arguably why some federal politicians are now considering legislation that would begin to nationalize our local police officers. Police nationalization, along dumbing-down and militarization, is part of the long-term Marxist agenda for our nation. Such dangerous trends would render our local peace officers more like a federal standing army that some aspiring Caesar could potentially wield to subjugate our nation from within.

National police are normal in totalitarian regimes, but are antithetical to free societies. Ideally, with respect to our fellow mortals, we should each be kings or queens of our own figurative castles, and nobody else’s, free to love/serve God and our neighbors according to the dictates of our own respective consciences. Whether or not we choose Him as our Master, the state should NOT be our master but our servant, with the specialized duty of expertly helping us to defend our equal God-given rights from others’ aggression so that we may remain free. The state’s larger jurisdictions exist NOT to rule but only to serve the smaller jurisdictions within themselves, of which the smallest units are individual households.

So, to preserve a free society, we need to actively oppose efforts to nationalize and dumb-down and militarize our local peace officers, including by electing like-minded municipal officers. Politicians who incentivize our police to wantonly behave like brutal thugs will only give increased legitimacy to anarchic BLM rioters, which will only provide further excuses to corrupt politicians to enact counterproductive reforms, thereby perpetuating a vicious cycle toward tyranny. As in the movie “WarGames” (1983), the only way to win such a power struggle is to NOT participate in it. Let’s keep this cycle broken by actively promoting liberty, instead, along with peace, respect, and the value of EVERY human life, whether black or blue or both or neither.


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Provo’s Budget for FY 2021

Provo’s city council recently adopted a budget for fiscal year 2021, which was reduced somewhat due to the COVID19 pandemic of 2020.

During this budgeting process, some citizens advocated defunding Provo’s police force in response to recent incidents of local police abusing their power to violate citizens’ rights. These calls derive from valid concerns because police, like other public officers, should act within the limits of their delegated authority (including due process) to expertly help people to defend their equal God-given rights from others’ aggression. And it’s sad when police become aggressors themselves. Such trends toward police aggression are arguably facilitated by ongoing nationwide efforts to nationalize and dumb-down and militarize our local peace officers. Such a national police force could be used as a standing army to conquer our nation from within, and is a normal part of totalitarian regimes. We should resist such trends, including abuse of our local SWAT team, but we should definitely NOT eliminate our police force. So, I applaud our city officers for rejecting such calls.

What they should actually defund—or, better yet, privatize—is most everything else in Provo’s municipal budget. As we’ve noted before, Provo’s city-owned businesses include a redevelopment agency, a power company, an airport, a television channel, a library, a performing arts center, a recreation center, a fitness center, a golf course, an ice rink, a water park, a beach, a park service, a gun range, a garbage-collection service, a recycling service, and a cemetery, none of which are involved in defending our rights. It would be better for Provo’s municipal officers to spin off all of these divisions fully into the private sector, and then sever all lingering ties with them. As competitive private enterprises, these former agencies would become far more innovative and efficient and effective, serving customers better—and simultaneously allowing public officers to focus better on defending rights, and perhaps also on a few other tasks like maintaining local roads. It’s always easier for public officers to focus on performing their core duties well whenever they aren’t needlessly overwhelming themselves with excessive responsibility over other parts of our local economy. And our economy always works best whenever politicians stop trying to subjugate it to their will and, instead, simply help defend everyone’s equal God-given rights from others’ aggression.

But such structural change won’t happen without electoral change. For at least 20 years, Provo’s public officers have remained rather enamored with big government. And this is partly because Provo’s municipal elections have remained dominated year-after-year by big-government voters. And they prevail NOT because they constitute a large percentage of Provo’s population, but because most voters don’t bother to participate. So, we who value our rightful liberty need to change this sad status quo. We won’t reverse these statist trends unless we grow our ranks in both numbers and effectiveness. And there’s no time like the present to begin—so, please make a plan and implement it.


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Public Health Never Justifies Municipal Tyranny

Provo’s city officers are currently using their “bully pulpit” to encourage Provo residents to voluntary follow Governor Gary Herbert’s guidelines to “stay safe, stay home,” which is certainly within the limits of their political authority. But this blog entry (unlike most) isn’t directly about them—it’s about our state legislators who are currently debating a bill to enable them with tyrannical powers. We’ll consider these alarming current events in a moment, but let’s first consider the principles involved…

Political systems exist NOT to reign over us, wantonly commanding us in all things, but ONLY to serve us—and, even in serving us, only in a very specific manner, which is by expertly assisting us in defending our equal God-given rights from others’ aggression. This is the only proper use of the coercive power that they wield over us. And, even in helping us to defend our rightful liberty, American politicians are all further limited by Constitutional law, which they have all sworn a solemn oath-of-office to uphold, and which includes various power-restricting civil liberties such as due process.

These principles do not change at all during alleged emergencies, such as the ongoing coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic; instead, emergencies are times for politicians to do what they should do at ALL other times—to defend our rightful liberty in accordance with Constitutional law. So, for example, its fine for politicians to thwart one sick person from knowingly-and-willfully exposing another person to a deadly disease, all within the confines of due process. But it’s never fine for them to enforce draconian policies that impede the vast majority of healthy citizens from peacefully exercising their basic rights to worship or work or protest.

Despite such facts, seeming crises may provide ample false excuses for power-hungry politicians to usurp power from us citizens, which is usually hard for us to ever regain fully. Sadly, many American politicians, especially governors and some mayors, are currently doing exactly this in the name of keeping the public healthier than it would otherwise be. Although public health is a laudable goal, it should never come at the expense of our rightful liberty. Instead, our politicians should be defending us citizens in our efforts to freely go about our daily business as long as we don’t infringe upon other people’s equal God-given rights. And this includes allowing us citizens to freely take our own sensible precautions to remain healthy.

Utah’s state legislature is currently meeting in an online special session to consider “emergency” legislation to deal with the ongoing coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic. Such bills include HB 3009, which would empower local public officers (such as Provo’s mayor and city council) to declare emergencies and then exercise unchecked power in the name of keeping the public healthier than it would otherwise be. Such power would include ignoring due-process-of-law, detaining us indefinitely without charge, wantonly closing our churches or businesses, and prohibiting our Constitutionally-acknowledged rights to assemble and even protest. Such laws are unconstitutional and, therefore, they are also innately invalid—but they still shouldn’t be enacted.

Some defend this bill on the basis that these same powers are already granted to local health departments, and that this bill would simply transfer these existing powers from unelected bureaucrats to elected politicians—but neither party should wield such power. Police should only have power (within the limits of due process) to restrain sick people from engaging in behaviors that carry a reasonable chance of injuring and/or killing other people. Anything more than this is tyranny and usurpation. Please contact your state legislators to remind them of their oaths-of-office, along with the implications of those oaths, and also to urge them to oppose this bill as long as it continues to defy our rightful liberty and/or Constitutional law!


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Provo’s City Council Starts 2020

Provo’s city council recently met (with 4 of 7 members replaced) for its first time in 2020 to consider its current projects. This partly involved considering input from Envision Utah about county-level central economic planning (as detailed in our previous two blog entries), which we shouldn’t be surprised if they cooperate in implementing.

Councilman Handley seemingly learned (as should the rest of us) that, although Utahns remain relatively unconcerned about climate change, which environmentalists are using to excuse collectivistic policies, politicians’ appeals to local concerns about “water” and “air quality” may be used to achieve similar outcomes. So, please remember such tactics when considering proposed changes to city code.

Councilman Handley’s interest in radical environmentalism, along with councilwoman Ellsworth’s interest in identity politics, suggest that they harbor rather collectivistic political views. Which is interesting, considering that they represent one of America’s most conservative cities. But it shouldn’t be surprising, considering Provo’s municipal policies for the last two decades or more.

If we want more city policies that actually favor rightful liberty under Constitutional law, then we need to elect better municipal officers. Thankfully, we have two years until our next city elections to alert our neighbors and build our ranks. Please make good use of that time and, if our website helps, then please use it. Thank you.


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Utah County in Transition

Although this site focuses primarily on Provo’s political issues, we are definitely affected by politics at all levels, including the county level. And our Utah County government, over this last year or so, has been enduring three major trends that arguably merit the scrutiny of all Provoans who value their rightful liberty.

Firstly, some politicians are currently seeking to reorganize Utah County’s government from a simple three-person commission into something more complex. Proponents of this reorganization like commissioner Nathan Ivie (who spearheaded this process) have repeatedly asserted that it will allow effective separation of our county government’s legislative and executive functions, which is very sound in principle—but others like commissioner Bill Lee have expressed deep concerns about the details of the proposals that his fellow commissioners have embraced for reorganization, which he asserts could allow both ever-higher taxes and ever-more regulations, as has become characteristic of Salt Lake County. This is a very interesting observation, considering the other two trends that we’re about to highlight.

Secondly, our current county commission (by a 2-to-1 vote) has just raised county-level property tax rates by an astounding 67%. We applaud commissioner Bill Lee, who voted firmly against this needless tax hike and is now trying to rally opposition to it, but we feel severely disappointed with his fellow commissioners Ainge and Ivie, who apparently favor us spending even more of our hard-earned money on being told what to do. This huge tax increase may render a newly-expanded county government awash in cash to spend on new responsibilities.

Thirdly, new responsibilities are currently being contemplated by Envision Utah, which is seeking to lead Utah County (as it’s already done successfully with many other parts of Utah) away from its libertarianish past of both local control and free markets toward a statist future of regional central economic planning. Since late 2018, Envision Utah has studied public opinion, devised scenarios, and evaluated options, in order to compose a common vision for Utah County’s future—a central plan that will dictate where everyone will live, what sort of homes they’ll live in, how they’ll landscape their yards, et cetera. It’s not guaranteed that a newly-reorganized Utah County government will ever arrogate such responsibilities or not—but it’s definitely more likely if we keep electing candidates like commissioner Ivie, who has already stated publicly that he welcomes a countywide central plan for economic development, partly to inhibit development from spreading into undeveloped areas. Such goals happen to be consistent with longtime socialist goals to regulate markets, reduce land ownership, and increase urbanization.

It may be more than coincidental that these three trends are occurring simultaneously. Franklin Delano Roosevelt once asserted that: “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.” In any case, we would do well to monitor these ongoing trends and encourage the best possible outcomes, lest we end up living under Soviet-style central planning, whether overseen by Commissar Nathan Ivie or perhaps someone even worse. We don’t need a county government that reigns over us in all things, but one that helps us to defend our rights against others’ aggression so that we may remain free. The plans of the many, negotiated among free equals, are normally superior to the plans of the few, dictated by political masters.

As Edmund Burke once noted, “evil triumphs when good men do nothing.” So, please don’t do nothing. Instead, please shake off any apathy that impedes you, get educated and/or informed about these pressing issues, get active and organized, and help your neighbors to do likewise. And become the hero that our society needs. If our website helps, then use it. Ditto with these voluminous references below. And, if you do nothing else, then please sign commissioner Bill Lee’s Utah County Petition!


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