Friday, September 17, 2010

The little pig that couldn't

Back when I was in high school, I used to be a fairly strict libertarian. Over the years I've soften on that; however, every now and then I am reminded why I have libertarian leanings.

In Michigan, a boy with severe pet allergies and his family where not allowed to keep a small pig.

If someone can take care of the animal and its not a danger to others than why not let the poor kid have the pig? In fact, I wish more people kept chickens, goats and small farm animals as it is better for the enviroment, cheaper for use to produce food, and maintain our lawns and gardens.

If no one else's property or life is threatened than its really no business of the government to act this way.

And, in the end, don't you just feel bad for the kid and the pig?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Well that was fast

Yesterday, I wrote at length about how Russia was using anti-piracy measures against dissident political groups.

Now the very next day, Microsoft has come out against using such tactics. Essentially, once the American press (MSNBC and the New York Times) got wind of this it was corrected the very next day.

This is why the news media is very important to spreading political rights at home and around the globe. Public perception is a powerful weapon indeed. Russia will continue its slow march towards political freedom.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Russia, Microsoft, and protesters

I recently read an article about how Russian may be using international copyright law as a way to disrupt opposition political organizations. I have also been keeping track on Medvedev's efforts to modernize Russia (which is needed very badly).

(Just as a note the idea of Russia enforcing copyright law is hilarious. I've been to the faux Disneyland ins St. Petersburg. It is just way too obvious.)

The problem with Russian politics in general is that it tries to blend two mutually exclusive things. Russia gets away with doing this by saying "Well this is Russia and we are different from you."

Point taken, Russia is very different (I love the country and hope to go back). However, you can't have a democracy (aka nobody lives in a democracy its called a republic) without having a way of organizing, protesting, and meeting publicly. Russia is not against freedom of speech necessarily, I didn't feel like I had to watch what I said when I was over there, but they don't like people saying things in groups or newspapers.

Reason why is because United Russia, pro-government political party, is the freaking government. Russia is a one party state. Elections are really just a formality and more represent a coronation. Still it would be wrong to compare Russia to say Saudi Arabia, North Korea, or Iran. There is some freedom in Russia. In fact, modern Russians have way more freedom than their ancestors could have dreamed.

Unfortunately, in the west we lump Russia with the axis of evil out of nostalgia for the Cold War. The biggest misfortune however is the west biggest asset in changing Russia to a freer state is actually helping the Russian government. Russians want an American lifestyle (just not the politics) our corporations have a duty to say "to have an American lifestyle you have to be a free country." Yet, Microsoft sits back and lets Russia (allegedly) abuse its citizens.

Luckily, we in America have freedom of assembly and freedom of the press so Americans can put pressure on Microsoft to help Russian political groups. Russia will gradually modernize and get freer, it has to to survive, our only question is how long do we want to wait?