[ba-liberty] Re: libertarian analyses of license plate cams?
- From: Jeff Chan <webmaster@xxxxxxxx>
- To: ba-liberty@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Thu, 23 Sep 2021 13:16:00 -0700
On Wednesday, September 22, 2021, 10:33:58 PM, Joe Dehn wrote:
On 2021-09-22 22:01, Jeff Chan wrote:
On Wednesday, September 22, 2021, 9:04:46 PM, Adam Petty wrote:
You raise interesting questions here about the Right to be Forgotten. >> I
suspect this will become a significant social conversation in the >> United
States in the coming years. (We can only guess which side Left and >> Right
will respectively take at that time.) I would love to hear some
liberty-informed dialogue both for and against, if anyone else wants >> to
There can be no "right to be forgotten" for the same reason there
can be no "right to health care" -- in each case this supposed
"right" can only be implemented by using force to take away the
rights of some other person.
In order for me to have the "right to be forgotten", I have to be
able to use (directly or through government) force to modify your
memories, your papers, or your computer files. Since those things
all belong to you, I have no right to modify them without your
Yes, you're right (no pun intended). What you describe are positive
rights, which are rights that require someone else to give up
something in order for you to get yours. In that sense the right to
be forgotten requires others to give up their information about you
and uses government force to enforce it.
They contrast with negative rights, such as the right to free speech
or arms, which are restrictions on government power.
I think a very strong argument can be made that negative rights are
libertarian and support freedom, and positive rights are statist and
require government force.
If so, then only negative rights are compatible with freedom, which in
turn is why America's founders mentioned only positive rights in the
Bill of Rights, for example, and this came from natural rights under
natural law, which underpinned the Enlightenment philosophy which the
American Revolution was based on.
The right to housing, food, education, etc., are all positive rights.
They require taking from someone else and are therefore incompatible
with freedom. They are also mentioned in the U.N. Declaration of
Rights, a mix of both positive and negative rights.
Note that this is already addressed in the LPC Platform, as part of the
"Freedom to Think" plank:
The right to be forgotten under CCPA is forced by government
on private businesses. It does not apply to governments.
On the other hand, I see no problem with legislation that would
apply this concept _only_ to governmen (and not to private
individuals or businesses). Governments in general have been
collecting too much information, and governments themselves have no
"rights", so limiting government power in this way -- sort of a
"sunset law" for government records -- would be perfectly acceptable
and might be helpful.
These are like negative rights: they restrict government power, and
attempt to preserve freedom against statism. So yes, good idea.
Unfortunately government power tends to grow through increasing
regulation, not shrink. Only very rarely does legislation reduce
government power: its natural tendency is to grow.
Legislators think they are making progress by adding new laws; it's
their personal measure of success to pass a new law. The net result
is a growth of government power and corresponding loss of freedom.
As you mention, sunset laws (expiration dates on legislation) are one
type of counterbalance to growing government power. Another are
popular referenda, where citizens vote to strike down unpopular laws.
For example, certain types of taxes in Switzerland are automatically
subject to referenda. If enough voters do not explicitly approve the
new tax (proposed by legislators), the tax fails. This is obviously a
good idea since it limits the growth of government power.
The initiative process in California is sort of like a popular
referendum, in that it's democratic and comes bottom up from the
people instead of top down from the Government.
"Switzerland exported democracy to America by being a shining,
stable example of freedom which America's founders imperfectly
copied. It did not invade America and replace its government."
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