Recent comments

  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 39 weeks ago Web link Westernerd
    "...city-owned trees..."????????? Hmmmm, I thought if they were on the "public right-of-way", i.e. the "common right-of-way", that they are common property, i.e. everyone owns them. Damaging the bark. [laughing] Then I suppose woodpeckers and squirrels will have to be notified as well.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 39 weeks ago
    Natural Law
    Web link Don Stacy
    "...we need to promote the idea of natural law, that an act is lawful or criminal on its own merits, and not because of the decree of some group of rulers. The idea of natural law is more important than the specifics of its content, because once this idea is accepted, the state and its statutes are no longer relevant when discussing the lawfulness of an act." ~ Rule-of-law Anarchism: A Strategy for Destroying the State's Legitimacy by Kevin S. Van Horn
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 39 weeks ago
    Natural Law
    Web link Don Stacy
    Natural law. This is the rules of conduct necessary for people to live and work in peace, based on human nature. A central feature of customary or natural law is that law is not made, it is not legislated, it is not decreed; it is discovered. The development of customary law is an ongoing effort to discover what the natural law is. It always focuses on resolving the specific issues of the specific parties to a specific case, and thus is far less vulnerable to lobbying and politicking than the process of legislation. The main elements of natural law as commonly understood are these: lawful behavior means to avoid physical damage to another's person or property; to honor one's contracts; and to compensate those whom one has harmed by infringing on their person or property. In other words, Ayn Rand didn't invent the Non-Aggression Principle; it is of ancient origin. The natural law has no notion of victimless crime; there is no case without a plaintiff to claim injury. Thus customary law tends to focus on compensation for injuries suffered, rather than on punishment. The purpose of law is to see that justice is done — that injured parties are made whole, to the extent possible — rather than to exact vengeance against evil-doers. ~ Excerpted from Rule-of-law Anarchism: A Strategy for Destroying the State's Legitimacy by Kevin S. Van Horn
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 39 weeks ago
    Natural Law
    Web link Don Stacy
    Word for the day: Isonomy
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 5 years 39 weeks ago
    Anti-Smoking Fascists
    Web link Michael Dunn
    The issue is not whether or not smoking tobacco causes lung cancer (I think excessive smoking probably contributes to the risk of lung cancer. I could be wrong about that). The issue is whether or not one accepts agents of state as serving a socially useful purpose (I don't). "No government anywhere, at any time, has ever brought net benefit to any society, and there is no desirable function that any government performs that could not be performed better, or less expensively, by free people operating on a voluntary basis for profit or for charity". ~Jim Davies http://www.takelifeback.com/tdaw/
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 5 years 39 weeks ago
    My Son: Klan Reformer
    Page Stefan Molyneux
    That was a nice tribute to John Pugsley. From "The Alpha Strategy", Ch 3: The Early Embezzlers Tribal chiefs and kings discovered early in history that there were great advantages to controlling the issuance of money. They started by minting the money metals into coins, usually stamped with their own likenesses.* Ostensibly, this was the king's guarantee that there was a certain amount of gold or silver in the coin. In practice, the politicians soon found a way to turn a profit from the business. First, they profited from "seniorage," a price charged for minting the raw metals into coin form. This was a very small percentage, though, usually not much more than the actual costs involved in the minting operation. The real profits came from debasement or clipping. After years of use, individuals would begin to trust these government coins, accepting them as being of a certain weight and fineness without weighing them. Anytime the king could not raise enough taxes to finance his wars or his preferred standard of living, he would tamper with the coinage. As the coins came through the royal treasury, he would secretly file a bit of the metal off each coin and then pass the coins off again at full value, while taking the filings and minting a few new coins. The crafty monarch might also issue new coins in which the gold or silver was alloyed with cheaper metals. Some resorted to "clad" or "sandwich" coins, in which they plated cheaper metals with gold or silver to simulate the real thing. Or again, a kind might simply issue new coins of smaller size, while calling them by the same name as the older, larger coins. In all cases the supply of gold or silver in circulation remained the same but the supply of coins increased. The king, being the first user of the new coins, gained by the amount of real goods those new coins bought. The public, however, now had fewer goods but more coins. The result was an increase in the supply of coins that eventually led to a lower value for each coin. In other words, rising prices. The king was a thief. John had the capability to put the whole story of monetary skulduggery that has resulted in the economic "crises" from time immemorial until right here, right now. * Sam's Note: This was going on as early as 30AD as evidenced by a famous story among religious types in a Hebrew Book that has maintained all-time best seller status in religious "nations" ["render unto Caesar", Hebrew "Bible", Book of Luke, Ch 20, vs 22-25], and undoubtedly had its beginning many centuries prior to that. Sam
  • DanClore's picture
    DanClore 5 years 39 weeks ago
    Anti-Smoking Fascists
    Web link Michael Dunn
    This actually tries to tell us that smoking tobacco not only doesn't cause lung cancer, it protects against it.
  • Guest's picture
    livefreeretiree (not verified) 5 years 39 weeks ago
    My Son: Klan Reformer
    Page Stefan Molyneux
    John Pugsley was a dear friend and mentor to me until he died about 6 months ago. Knowing him changed my life. "The Alpha Strategy" was one of the first things I ever read that started turning me onto the paradigm of liberty. He was a good teacher and a great man, I wrote this tribute to him the morning that he died: http://www.suscivinst.com/2011/07/22/parting-words-for-a-recently-deceas...
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 5 years 39 weeks ago
    My Son: Klan Reformer
    Page Stefan Molyneux
    I had watched and listened to Molyneux's video of this article some time ago, but was not aware of it in essay. Thanks to Stefan for this timely work. I have children and grandchildren beating the bush for Ron Paul, and this helps me to explain to them why I cannot join in their enthusiasm for his "campaign". I love them and do "grandpa duty" regularly while Mom, Dad and older grandkids (they have 9 children) are on the campaign trail for Dr Paul. And thanks, Vahram, for posting the link to John Pugsley's "Open Letter to Harry Browne". Pugsley also wrote The Alpha Strategy (pdf), available online for free -- a worthwhile read. I was a kid not long home from Korea when I was exposed to Harry Brown's "How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World", written around 1971. I had traveled the roads and cow paths of Texas in ardent support of Barry Goldwater for "potus" in the summer of 1964 on summer break from teaching. Totally disillusioned with politics after his sound defeat to Lyndon Johnson, I never again registered or voted -- 48 years now (I'm 75). That was the last year for the poll tax in Texas. That experience also introduced me to the grave compromise in basic principles that must be met if one wants to fool with the evils of politics. As Stefan outlined, you have to accept a few lynchings to succeed in politics for "high office" (or any government "office"). So I try not to come down too hard on my sons and their families in their promotion of Dr Paul for "Grand Wizard" (I haven't used that epithet with family, but may soon give it a try -- gently). Analogies such as Molyneux's help to plant seeds. Sam .
  • Guest's picture
    livefreeretiree (not verified) 5 years 39 weeks ago
    My Son: Klan Reformer
    Page Stefan Molyneux
    This is probably the clearest and most easily understandable argument against Ron Paul and minarchism I have ever read, perhaps besides John Puglsey's Open Letter to Harry Browne (http://www.tortoisepressinc.com/Pugsley%20_Harry%20Browne%20letter_.pdf). Well done, Stef.
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 5 years 39 weeks ago Page Westernerd
    Robert: "...the heart and soul of order is anarchy and freedom. Liberty is the mother, not the daughter, of order..." Dead on, Robert! Good essay! Thanks! All too often I've seen on some of these sites well-meaning libertarians who lament "...we must work to bring about a libertarian society..." or similarly worded theses. But that very wording implies someone (or someones -- busybodies, perhaps) must "manage and control" society until "it" becomes free (or libertarian, or anarchic). That's not the way freedom works. If I practice freedom I'm free. I might inspire freedom by my example for you, but your freedom is your responsibility, not mine. My only responsibility is refraining from trying to manage your freedom. That can take skill and self-discipline -- especially for you young parents. I know -- I had 7, long grown up and producers of grandchildren and great grandchildren. Small children need loving, but sometimes firm, direction from Mom & Dad. Remember Hanoi. Resist the temptation to install traffic signals in life. Be free. Thanks again for the essay! Sam
  • Westernerd's picture
    Westernerd 5 years 39 weeks ago Page Robert Kaercher
    Great article, Robert, I enjoy hearing on the ground reports from people that are actually at a protest. I, too, have experienced similar teeth-gnashing at anti-war protests here in San Francisco, though like Chicago, there always seems to be plenty of Ron Paul supporters and End the Fed signs.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 39 weeks ago Page Robert Kaercher
    "One Leftist spoke of how he was one of nearly two dozen anti-war activists harassed by the FBI last year. He literally woke up early one morning to the ominous sounds of somebody pounding on his door. He opened it up and some 20 or so Federal agents marched in and rifled through all of his and his wife’s personal papers and effects, eventually carting off some 30 boxes of the couple’s private belongings." Hopefully someone told this "Leftist" that should their desire for collectivism come true, history tells us, in no uncertain terms, that (s)he could expect more of this, not less. And someone should have shown that "Lefty professor from the University of Illinois at Chicago" the "bloody history" of socialist/communist governments against their own citizens (members).
  • Jack Oldson's picture
    Jack Oldson 5 years 39 weeks ago Page Robert Kaercher
    Enjoy seeing people wake up... especially when they wake up all the way!
  • Mark Davis's picture
    Mark Davis 5 years 39 weeks ago Page Mark Davis
    The first question was "Who do you like in the GOP race?" and Hank answered emphatically "Nobody." He later said Herman Cain makes more sense than the others "Right now." and was later prompted to comment about his previous support of Palin to which he said "Did I." So he clearly stated that he didn't support any of the "GOP field" and later gave non-committal off hand comments after prompts on two persons of which one is running. This will help his career more than hurt it. Country music fans like their singers to have some balls, at least those of the male variety. Hating Obama is a good start on the road to hating the state. When more people figure out that our problems are systemic and not due to personnel issues, support for the state will fade quickly. Anarchy is a Big Tent and Obama haters are welcome to come learn about the alternatives outside the mainstream organs. I'm just trying to help them.
  • Guest's picture
    donjuancho (not verified) 5 years 39 weeks ago
    The Spinnerians
    Page Leonidas
    I doubt bad cops (sorry for the redundancy) read this forum.
  • Gwardion's picture
    Gwardion 5 years 39 weeks ago Page Mark Davis
    I find it interesting that so many people, including Democrats, automatically assume that Obama would be the Hitler. Why is it that even his supporters automatically assume he has to be the Hitler in the analogy? I find it is very revealing that anyone that hears that analogy automatically assumes the Obama-Hitler connection. Why couldn't Obama be the Netanyahu?
  • rita's picture
    rita 5 years 39 weeks ago Web link Jad Davis
    Oh, please! The "drug threat"? If the Russians think that eradicating the crops of desperately poor third-world farmers would end the "drug threat," why didn't they do it? Obama is, indeed, the leader of the world's most dangerous criminal organization. More dangerous than any drug; more violent than any drug cartel. They CREATED the "drug threat;" the drug threat makes them strong. It defines them; it justifies their existence.
  • mikehauncho's picture
    mikehauncho 5 years 39 weeks ago Page Mark Davis
    I don't know if Hank is that black and white but the hitler remark was blown way out of proportion compared to the current rhetoric used today and he certainly did not deserve to get canned for it.
  • Mitrik_Spanner's picture
    Mitrik_Spanner 5 years 39 weeks ago Page Mark Davis
    Wait a minute! Hank did say he likes Sara Palin. And that Herman Cain is the candidate he likes best in the current contest. He shot his career in the foot with the Hitler remark and proved he's a Obama hater and not much more. A tempest in a teapot.
  • Leonidas's picture
    Leonidas 5 years 39 weeks ago
    The Spinnerians
    Page Leonidas
    I know, but hope springs eternal. If they have any sense of self preservation, they will act to rein themselves in.
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 5 years 39 weeks ago
    The Spinnerians
    Page Leonidas
    Leonidas your piece was great until this part: "Cops, end the childishness. Fix yourselves. Do it now. If we have to do it for you, you are going to wish we hadn’t." Reformist claptrap. State employed security agents are gonna be goons. Period. That is just the nature of that kind of beast. That's reality.
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 39 weeks ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    In reply to: 12-Year Olds in CA Can Be Vaccinated Without Knowledge or Consent of Parents, I asked the the question that no one likes the answer to, "And, who is subject to this law?" Here, in this lead-in, we find the answer. "Lawmakers in Louisiana have effectively banned its citizens from freely using..." Which is why I do not consent to be a "citizen", i.e. a member of any of their body politics.
  • Guest's picture
    donjuancho (not verified) 5 years 40 weeks ago Web link Michael Kleen
    Sorry, double post.
  • Guest's picture
    donjuancho (not verified) 5 years 40 weeks ago Web link Michael Kleen
    I was a little disappointed in this. The interviewee obviously hasn't thought out his position. I don't see how this is productive.
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 5 years 40 weeks ago Web link Michael Kleen
    This just doesn't seem healthy. If you kill animals for yourself you know it's fresh and can appraise the natural condition of the animal and not have to wonder what's happened to it while it was lying beside the road for a few hours, days, or whatever. There are easier ways to save money on food.
  • Guest's picture
    livefreeretiree (not verified) 5 years 40 weeks ago Web link Michael Kleen
    An excellent perspective is explored when one exposes the ad-hoc nature of statism... a concept I expounded upon in this piece, "History's Most Elaborate Ad-Hoc Hypothesis": http://strike-the-root.com/historys-most-elaborate-ad-hoc-hypothesis
  • AlephT's picture
    AlephT 5 years 40 weeks ago Page Michael Tennant
    Nice writing Michael and you're right, we don't need to kill anyone to save thousands lives but for me, there are times that we need to sacrifice in order to reach our goal, which is peace. I know that it'll be hard to attain but as long as there are people who believes that there will be peace on earth, I am not losing my grip. Saddam Hussein is just a man like us. We both live on the same planet, we breath, we eat, we need shelter and so on. The only difference is our view and principles. He's actually an icon for some and I don't wonder why there are people who even kidnapped his Egyptian look-a-like to earn from making a sex video.
  • buzaman's picture
    buzaman 5 years 40 weeks ago Web link Michael Dunn
    Keyword Search: "Official", Check. Keyword Search: "Informant", Check. Drink!
  • Suverans2's picture
    Suverans2 5 years 40 weeks ago Web link strike
    And, who is subject to this law?
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 5 years 40 weeks ago
    A Dangerous Precedent
    Web link Don Stacy
    More of the "if we just followed the Constitution" claptrap. No system of statism will have a good result. I'm surprised STR posted this at all.
  • suzeikew's picture
    suzeikew 5 years 40 weeks ago Web link Westernerd
    Isn't that what "Occupy Wall Street" is all about?
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 5 years 40 weeks ago Page Michael Kleen
    Well Mike that's just what states do. Feds busting people's chops for alcohol taxes goes all the way back to the Whiskey Rebellion in the 1790s.
  • DennisLeeWilson's picture
    DennisLeeWilson 5 years 40 weeks ago Page Scott Lazarowitz
    As Paul said: "...The real difficulty, post-crash, will not be martial law, but keeping economic life going. The way to do that is form associations with the more worthy of your neighbors, business associates and relatives." For those interested in HOW such associations MIGHT be created, I recommend the Covenant of Unanimous Consent. tinyurl.com/Galts-Oath-and-the-Covenant For more detail regarding the Covenant, see articles at tinyurl.com/Covenant-of-Unanimous-Consent Dennis
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 5 years 40 weeks ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    Attention all you Lone Wolfs: Those who present the greatest threat to you and those you love are now targeting anyone with the cajones to disagree with establishment thinking. If you are an individualist you might be -- might well be -- a "terrorist". I like the way Justin illustrates the ignorant buffoons: "...the lunk-headed cluelessness which dominates the FBI’s corporate culture..."
  • Persona non grata's picture
    Persona non grata 5 years 41 weeks ago Web link Westernerd
    Revolt slaves, revolt!
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 5 years 41 weeks ago Web link Michael Kleen
    Bummer. She should look into solar panels, a windmill or a generator. Just to tide her over. The utility bureaucracy has no real incentive to move fast on clearing this up sadly.
  • livemike's picture
    livemike 5 years 41 weeks ago Web link Mike Powers
    Yeah this sort of insanity has been around since Wickard v. Filburn in 1942. Thank you Roosevelt.
  • Persona non grata's picture
    Persona non grata 5 years 41 weeks ago Web link Mike Powers
    Fuck the government!
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 5 years 41 weeks ago Web link Mike Powers
    Rita, you got that right. Sam
  • rita's picture
    rita 5 years 41 weeks ago Web link Mike Powers
    Duh.
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 5 years 41 weeks ago Page Bob Wallace
    Marc: Constantine was the first Christian Roman Emperor. .... He imposed a head tax throughout the empire payable (every four years) in gold and silver coin only. Constantine also crowned the first pope who was crowned (previous popes were not crowned). He crowned Sylvester, which was prelude to and eventually became known as "The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation", The First Reich. The German word for Empire is "Reich". Most of us know of and have studied to one degree or another The Third Reich under Adolf Hitler. But few of us have studied or given any thought to The Second Reich. Or The First Reich. Or what conditions would need to be in place for The Fourth Reich to come into fruition. An observer today can look at the American Reich and understand that in our lifetimes (I'm 75) we've seen this nation deteriorate into the most egregious police state on earth -- more prisoners behind bars per 100m population than any other nation on earth, or in the history OF the earth. Leaving undeclared wars for another topic, we see a U.S. "president" who deems it prudent to assassinate U.S. citizens on his say-so -- no due process of law. And it is not going to get any better under more religious "presidents" and/or congress critters. Hang onto your hats, mates. Sam
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 5 years 41 weeks ago Page Bob Wallace
    Tony: Is God an anarchist? Your typical Christian-Zionist (sic) neocon will balk at the suggestion. But if God is love, how can He not be an anarchist? It's important to remember that most of us had to come out from under a host of fallacious ideology before we ever landed on this web site. Anarchy does not come easily. With that, my answer (for what it's worth) is "yes". From everything I can see objectively -- not colored by preconceived religious and/or political emotional ideology -- there is nothing in Hebrew scripture to indicate otherwise. Of course that's assuming "Hebrew scripture" is the final word on Deity, which ignores all Islam, Buddha -- and how many other religious movements larger than those subscribing to Hebrew scripture. The Book is a Testimonial to anarchy as we generally understand it (although the word is never used or implied). From stem to stern it is an admonishment to eschew political entanglement. That's why it's such a hoot for me to stand back and watch political types -- right, left, across and hold -- getting themselves stirred up in promotion of or opposition against war or abortion or same-sex "marriage" or other state machinations. Sam
  • Tony Pivetta's picture
    Tony Pivetta 5 years 41 weeks ago Page Bob Wallace
    Interesting take on the Garden of Eden account! My lifelong interest in matters of faith and state notwithstanding, I was not familiar with it. It makes sense, though, especially in light of I Samuel, Chapter 8: "Samuel delivered the message of the LORD in full to those who were asking him for a king. He told them: 'The rights of the king who will rule you will be as follows: he will take your sons and assign them to his chariots and horses, and they will run before his chariot. He will also appoint from among them his commanders of groups of a thousand and of a hundred soldiers. He will set them to do his plowing and his harvesting, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. "'He will use your daughters as ointment-makers, as cooks, and as bakers. He will take the best of your fields, vineyards and olive groves, and give them to his officials. He will tithe your crops and your vineyards, and give the revenue to his eunuchs and his slaves.'" There's also St. Augustine's *City of God*, in which this Doctor of the Church likens kingdoms to "great robber bands." He goes on to write: "A fitting and true response was once given to Alexander the Great by an apprehended pirate. When asked by the king what he thought he was doing by infesting the sea, he replied with noble insolence, 'What do you think you are doing by infesting the whole world? Because I do it with one puny boat, I am called a pirate; because you do it with a great fleet, you are called an emperor.'" Is God an anarchist? Your typical Christian-Zionist (sic) neocon will balk at the suggestion. But if God is love, how can He not be an anarchist?
  • rita's picture
    rita 5 years 41 weeks ago
    Illegal Lemon Tree
    Web link Michael Dunn
    "I would expect these actions against someone running a drug house . . . " The lemon tree lady says it all. If they can take my stuff they can take yours too.
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 5 years 41 weeks ago Page Bob Wallace
    If one is to ascribe credence for the Hebrew Book it becomes obvious The Creator, in admonishing the first human beings to abstain from the "...fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil...", was in fact warning them away from faith in political authority. Throughout that book the term "fruit" as coming from a "tree" or "vine" is analogous to "works (authority) of men" (the authoritarian sense has no adequate equivalent English translation that I know of). This holds true in all the dozens and hundreds of versions and translations of that all-time best selling Book. The analogy is used many times throughout the Book. My understanding of the metaphor is this: The Creator is quoted as instructing them, "I am offering you government OF The Creator, BY The Creator, and FOR the people!" The Law was later inscribed upon two tablets of stone as a contract between The Creator and the family of Israel. Well, along came the first recorded smiling, waving gangster we know of today as a "politician". The translation "serpent" is grossly inaccurate -- the Hebrew would be more like "whispering enchanter". That political shyster was easily able to convince that very first woman and her man that The Creator had lied -- that he (political authority) could offer them government "...OF the people, BY the people, and FOR the people!" (Lincoln plagiarized at Gettysburg) That Book is a chronology of the desire on the part of human beings to be ruled by human authority ("...we will have a king..."), and the results thereof. I believe we are about at the end game of the storyline of the Hebrew Book. The "protesters" have no idea what the protest is about -- their "demands" appear to be for "the hair of the dog that bit us." Voters have no idea for whom or why they vote. The depredations of unfettered agents of state appear to have finally resulted in the squandering of the productive efforts of the people who have craved to be ruled -- and who have provided legitimacy to those parasites of state. Total economic collapse appears to be in the offing. None of them see, as we here at STR see, the incestuous relationship between "Wall Street", "giant corporations" and "Our Country" (the ancestry of that first recorded deceiver), that has given rise to the debacle now upon us. The enormity of the truth is incredible. Sam
  • Tony Pivetta's picture
    Tony Pivetta 5 years 41 weeks ago Page Bob Wallace
    I have a problem with force, period. Government by definition refers to the entity in society enjoying a legal monopoly on the use of force. Mixing anything with force--even freethinking, godless humanism (e.g., the Soviet Union)--is a bad combination. Ask the 20 million or so Christians who perished in the gulags.
  • Marc's picture
    Marc 5 years 41 weeks ago Page Bob Wallace
    How true. If you literally reversed all of Christ's teachings it would more closely approximate the madness swirling around in the head's of those Christians who who have made careers out of attempting to influence government policies - particularly those relating to foreign and military affairs. Let's travel back in time to the very first instance of Christianity melding with state. Constantine was the first Christian Roman Emperor. One would assume a new era kinder, gentler, more compassionate authoritarianism during his reign. Well, not quite. He imposed a head tax throughout the empire payable (every four years) in gold and silver coin only. Since the Roman Empire had been in serious decline for over a century not many people had any gold or silver coins. Fathers were forced to prostitute their daughters or face the consequence of possibly getting beaten to death by Roman soldiers. He eventually disbanded the 25,000 soldiers comprising Rome's Praetorian Guard and moved the capitol to Constantinople. Rome was left just another defenseless town on the Italian peninsula, a shadow of its former self. I personally have no problems with any religion so long that it does not mix with government. Government = force and religion + force is usually a bad combination.
  • Mitrik_Spanner's picture
    Mitrik_Spanner 5 years 41 weeks ago Page Bob Wallace
    The Occupy Wall Street protests seem to be a kind of left counter weight to the fascistic wing of the American statist culture. Too bad both sides are mired down in kooky ideas.
  • KenK's picture
    KenK 5 years 41 weeks ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    Bon vivant and literary poo-bah Dorothy Parker said upon hearing news that taciturn former president Calvin Coolidge had died replied: "How can you tell?" Same here. We've lost so much personal freedom just in the last decade or so that it is hard to not feel that we are not that free any more even using a relative comparison with the condition our liberty as of 2000.