Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Stewart Treated Badly Because She is Successful, Not Because She is A Woman
By Alexander Marriott
UNLV Rebel Yell: June 16, 2003

To the cheers of many onlookers Martha Stewart was indicted last week for making false statements about her alleged involvement in the ImClone insider trading scandal, which has just recently landed the former CEO of that company in jail for seven years.

Stewart’s legal team is already suggesting that the Bush administration is going after her because she is a successful woman and because she didn’t contribute to Bush’s campaign for the Presidency. There are only two problems with this defense. First, the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as the economic interventionist ideas that created it, is the intellectual property of leftists like her friends Hillary Clinton and Al Gore (who aren’t jumping in to help her), not George Bush. Second, administrations, Republican and Democrat, go after successful people all the time, not because they are women or didn’t contribute to their campaigns, but because they are successful and have money to take.

Think about it, if Sam Waksal (the CEO who is going to jail) had called up me, because we’re good friends, and told me to sell of my 100 shares of ImClone because the government was about to adversely effect the stock price, what would I do, but sell? Of course I’m a pauper with little to no money and even though I broke the law, the SEC would never bring me to court for it.

The previous point of course brings out why this whole thing occurred in the first place, government drug regulations. If ImClone didn’t have to submit to drug regulations, that can make or break a company if it invests all of its money in new developmental drugs that don’t get approved, there never would have been a situation where a massive stock fall could have been foreseeable.

Here is another point that makes the government’s case entirely untenable. The beef with Stewart and Waksal is that they new about the price dip that would occur before the drug announcement went public, because the government told Waksal about it, who then told his broker, who then told Stewart. No one is talking about bringing the government to court for insider trading or the fact that even if Waksal and Stewart hadn’t sold their shares of the stock, it still would have tanked, ruining all the portfolios of people who don’t pay enough attention to their stocks.

Most of the public glee in seeing these people going to jail isn’t that they broke insider trading laws, something everyone would and should do as such laws make no sense and are unjust, but merely a sick and perverse desire to see successful people be stripped of their money and thrown in the slammer. In the particular case of Martha Stewart the added incentive of her being seen as a b**** makes the joy of most increase all the more.

This is a sad state of affairs in a country where people used to enjoy watching the successful rise of the able to pinnacles of wealth through their own determined efforts and ability. Now people get their kicks watching government bureaucrats devise laws in realms where they have no authority in order to destroy those who dared to be successful.

Of course none of this would be possible had it not been for the kind and consenting help of Martha Stewart. Through her tireless efforts to get liberals elected, the realm of economic interventionism has only gotten bigger. She is a victim of her own misguided and self-defeating philosophy. If she would only stand up for herself and proclaim her right to sell stock and buy stock for whatever reason she wished, regardless of whatever unjust laws were crafted to stop her she might save herself. But seeing as she has already set herself against such a path her only fate can be the one Sam Waksal now faces.

Thursday, June 05, 2003

Save Your Own Life or We’ll Make You Pay
By Alexander Marriott UNLV Rebel Yell: June 10, 2003

Nationally, Police agencies are stepping up enforcement of seatbelt laws, and in the case of Nevada this means that if you’re pulled over for something (you can’t be pulled over for not having a seatbelt on) and aren’t wearing your seatbelt you will be given a ticket requiring you to pay a fine.

Never has such a blatant scheme for fleecing citizens been cloaked in such disturbingly tyrannical rhetoric. The supposed justification given for this renewed interest in seatbelt laws, coming at the convenient time of state budget crises, is to save lives. Because it’s common knowledge that saving lives is the purpose of government, right? Well, not a free government, if you that is what you want.

For if we wish to be truly consistent then the government should prevent all travel, because there is risk of death when one drives a car, seatbelt or not. There is a risk of death in walking, even in your own home, especially if you’re old and fall down the stairs; your weak and brittle neck could break. Where is the life-saving government for these real risks?

What business is it of the police if I don’t wear a seatbelt? If I’m in an accident and are not wearing a seatbelt the only one I injure is me. My not wearing a seatbelt infringes on no one else’s rights, which brings up the only legitimate function of the law and the police, to stop or arrest those who infringe on the rights of others, like rapists, thieves, and murderers.

Of course the ultimate response of the person who really believes seatbelt laws are reasonable is that saving lives is more important than this minimal infringement of one’s rights. It may be acceptable to some to willingly given up their right to do with their lives, risking them included, whatever they see fit, but a government cannot be subjective with its citizens and cannot be inconsistent with its laws if it expects to remain free.

Either people are free to do with their lives what they will as long as they don’t infringe upon the rights of others or they aren’t. There is no gray area or compromise in a subject of such import. When Patrick Henry said, “Give me Liberty or give me death!” he was quite serious and quite right, life without liberty is death in practice.

But how does this tie in with seatbelt laws? Very few dictatorships happen overnight or suddenly, and are more often than not the result of constant erosion of the rights of men. This seatbelt law and the enforcement of it represents one such an erosion, albeit a small one, but an erosion nonetheless. It is unjust and logically fallacious in a free country for such a law to exist, and as such the police, as citizens, should refuse to enforce it and the rest of us should refuse to obey it or pay the fine.

Of course the people who thought up and passed these laws and are now trying to more vigorously enforce them probably aren’t mini-Hitlers or Stalins-in-training, they are merely miserable bureaucrats trying to come up with nice sounding ways to extract money from us to bribe us so that we don’t fire them. Not only won’t they be able to steal our money, but they’ll get fired to boot as long as we refuse to be fleeced any longer.