Wrong Way on North American Integration

U.S. Will Demand Passports from Canadians, CBC News, 5 April 2005, http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2005/04/05/passports050405.html (from Democratic Underground).

Sad news in the quest for One North American

In response to a new rule requiring most Canadians to carry passports for entry into the U.S., Public Security Minister Anne McLellan said Americans may also have to carry the document to enter Canada.

Our system has really always worked on the basis of reciprocity,” McLellan said outside the House of Commons.

And therefore we will review our requirements for American citizens and we’re going to do that in collaboration with the United States.

Exactly wrong. The reason Canadian passports will be needed is that the Canada’s very loose immigration rules. While the United States has beefed up security since the 9/11 attacks, the Canadians have not. This is despite the fact that several known terrorists, including the would-be Millennium Bomber, resided in Canada.

Canada should fully harmonize its immigration rules with the United States and Mexico. There should be one North American frontier. North American citizens should be able to freely move between their states and provinces, secured by common border policies.

Canada’s policies only promote division and do nothing to bring us into the future together.

Social Engineering Defeated in Colorado

Colo. Governor Vetoes Rape Bill,” Associated Press, 6 April 2005, http://wireservice.wired.com/wired/story.asp?section=Breaking&storyId=1014841&tw=wn_wire_story.

Colorado’s governor has heroically vetoed legislation which would have stripped Hospitals of religious freedom and instituted new vertical control

Gov. Bill Owens vetoed a bill that would have required hospitals to tell rape victims about emergency contraception, saying it would have forced church-backed institutions to violate their own ethics guidelines.

Owens, a Roman Catholic Republican who has campaigned on conservative values, said the measure was well-intentioned but probably unconstitutional and did not provide victims with balanced information needed to make a deeply personal decision.

Without informed consent, a woman could innocently violate her personal, moral and religious beliefs about when life begins,” Owens said Tuesday.

II’m sketptical of the Governor’s reasoning — adults have a duty to know the laws and their rights — but his decision was a good one.

The issue is not post-conception birth control — with which I am fine — but the state threatening to use force to prevent Hospitals from being truly voluntary associations. Good for Governor Owens!

Marginal Marriages

A really, really, really long post about gay marriage that does not, in the end, support one side or the other,” by Jane, Jane Galt, 2 April 2005, http://www.janegalt.net/blog/archives/005244.html (from Stanley Kurtz at The Corner).

Jane Galt uses economic analyzes in the homosexual marriage debate. Many homosexualist-apologists don’t consider marginality and so make important mistakes.

Social conservatives of a more moderate stripe are essentially saying that marriage is an ancient institution, which has been carefully selected for throughout human history. It is a bedrock of our society; if it is destroyed, we will all be much worse off. (See what happened to the inner cities between 1960 and 1990 if you do not believe this.) For some reason, marriage always and everywhere, in every culture we know about, is between a man and a woman; this seems to be an important feature of the institution. We should not go mucking around and changing this extremely important institution, because if we make a bad change, the institution will fall apart.

A very common response to this is essentially to mock this as ridiculous. “Why on earth would it make any difference to me whether gay people are getting married? Why would that change my behavior as a heterosexual”

To which social conservatives reply that institutions have a number of complex ways in which they fulfill their roles, and one of the very important ways in which the institution of marriage perpetuates itself is by creating a romantic vision of oneself in marriage that is intrinsically tied into expressing one’s masculinity or femininity in relation to a person of the opposite sex; stepping into an explicitly gendered role. This may not be true of every single marriage, and indeed undoubtedly it is untrue in some cases. But it is true of the culture-wide institution. By changing the explicitly gendered nature of marriage we might be accidentally cutting away something that turns out to be a crucial underpinning.

To which, again, the other side replies “That’s ridiculous! I would never change my willingness to get married based on whether or not gay people were getting married!

Now, economists hear this sort of argument all the time. “That’s ridiculous! I would never start working fewer hours because my taxes went up!” This ignores the fact that you may not be the marginal case. The marginal case may be some consultant who just can’t justify sacrificing valuable leisure for a new project when he’s only making 60 cents on the dollar. The result will nonetheless be the same: less economic activity. Similarly, you–highly educated, firmly socialised, upper middle class you–may not be the marginal marriage candidate; it may be some high school dropout in Tuscaloosa. That doesn’t mean that the institution of marriage won’t be weakened in America just the same.

Jane has a second insight. Homosexualists may be trying to change the definition of marriage for the first time in history.

Also, a lot of readers are saying that I’m wrong about marriage always being between a man and a woman, citing polygamy. I have been told this is a “basic factual error.”

No, it’s not. Polygamous societies do not (at least in any society I have ever heard about) have group marriages. Men with more than one wife have multiple marriages with multiple women, not a single marriage with several wives. In fact, they generally take pains to separate the women, preferably in different houses. Whether or not you allow men to contract for more than one marriage (and for all sorts of reasons, this seems to me to be a bad idea unless you’re in an era of permanent war), each marriage remains the union of a man and a woman.

No to New Style Marriage.

Calling Jackie Chan

Singapore fair puts brides on display,” by Tran Dinh Thanh Lam, Inter Press Service, 2 April 2005, http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/GD02Ae01.html (from A Singapore Angle, and others).

I saw this movie. It ends with Jackie Chan saving everyone with light-hearted kung-fu stuntery. It was pretty awesome.

News of the public exhibition of Vietnamese brides for “instant marriage” at a recent fair in Singapore along with the sale of young Vietnamese girls to single men in neighboring China seeking wives has shocked the public here.

On March 17, police in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, arrested four young Vietnamese men ranging from the ages of 19 to 23 for selling their girlfriends to a Chinese syndicate. These men first made friends with the eight girls by chatting to them over the Internet. They were then enticed to travel with the men to Lang Son province in the north. Once there, they were sold to the syndicate for 5,000 yuan (US$600) each.

These guys all are very young, but have wicked hearts. The ringleader, Dao Ngoc Dung, is evil enough to sell his two lovers,” read a statement on VietnamNet, an online news portal.

I think that was dialog, too. If only Jackie would stop making terrible American movies and realize his Korean heritage.

Barns, not Bits, for Developing Countries (Sun Actually Insane)

Sun criticizes popular open-source license,” by Stephen Shankland, CNET News.com, 5 April 2005 (from Slashdot).

Corporate nonsense followed by some commentary

Sun Microsystems President Jonathan Schwartz on Tuesday proclaimed ardent support for the open-source software realm but criticized the General Public License, a widely used foundation of the programming movement.

The GPL governs Linux and countless other projects in the free and open-source software arena. But a key tenet of the license creates a situation that amounts to economic imperialism, Schwartz argued at the Open Source Business Conference here

Economies and nations need intellectual property (IP) to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. I’ve talked to developing nations, representatives from academia and manufacturing companies that had begun to incorporate GPL software into their products, then…found they had an obligation to deliver their IP back into the world,” Schwartz said.

The GPL purports to have freedom at its core, but it imposes on its users “a rather predatory obligation to disgorge all their IP back to the wealthiest nation in the world,” the United States, where the GPL originated, Schwartz said. “If you look at the difference between the license we elected to use and GPL, there are no obligations to economies or universities or manufacturers that take the source code and embed it in (their own) code

“Open Source” software development is a collaborative way of writing software. It finds its roots in IBM’s early philosophy towards software and is often used today. In open source, anyone can change a computer program, but then they have to share those changes with anybody. Open source products are typically free. Tivo, parts of new Apple computers, and many popular internet tools are made with open source software. In contrast, other types of software development don’t let other developers modify programs like that. Open source is not perfect, but it is a pretty good idea that has real popularity.

The GPL is a legal document that many open source projects use. It uses legal language that can stand up in court to extend the open source movement. But the important part is this…

Schwart’s statement makes no sense. Developing software requires a massive national infrastructure. Money needs to be poured into education and human capital before a country can have a significant software industry. Every country consumes software, but almost no countries produce it.

For Schwartz to say that open source is “imperialistic” is amoral, at best. Saying that free software is bad because it hurts software makers is like saying the Sun is bad because it harms lightbulb makers. Worse, saying free software is bad because it prevents the emergence of Gap software makers is like saying the Sun is bad, because one day Siemens may open a lightbulb factory in Nairobi.

Developing world economic gap must be based on real economics, not Schwartz’s neo-managed-economy dreams. End Agriwelfare to help end world poverty. Don’t turn to deluded mercantilism.

Update: Blind Man’s Eye sees Schwartz’s statement as a diversion from the bigger problem of patent reform. Did I play into Sun’s plans?

Antihomosexualism Rolls On

More Americans oppose gay ‘marriage,’ poll finds,” by Jennifer Harper, Washington Times, 2 April 2005, http://washingtontimes.com/national/20050401-114205-2153r.htm (from Stanley Kurtz at The Corner).

Kansas Voters Approve Gay Marriage Ban,” by John Hanna, Associated Press, 6 April 2005, http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-4916964,00.html (from Stanley Kurtz at The Corner).

Homosexualist marriage is truly New Style Marriage. It is found nowhere in history. It track record in thousands of years of human development. It has no forerunners. It is a dangerous innovation. And it will not be coming to Kansas

Kansans overwhelmingly voted to add a ban on gay marriage and civil unions to their state constitution, but supporters and opponents predicted court battles over the amendment.

The ban reaffirms the state’s long-standing policy of recognizing only marriages between one man and one woman. It also declares that only such unions are entitled to the “rights and incidents” of marriage, prohibiting the state from authorizing civil unions for gay couples.

With final, unofficial results from 104 of the state’s 105 counties on Tuesday, 414,235, or 70 percent, voted “yes,” and 178,167, or 29 percent voted “no.”

Happily, the nation may be trending the same way

Public opposition to “marriages” between homosexuals is at an all-time high, according to a poll released yesterday.

When asked whether they thought same-sex “marriages” should be recognized by the law as valid and come with the same rights as traditional marriages, 68 percent of the respondents in the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll said they should not.

The 2004 collapse of the Democrat Party is like a big bang — it keeps generating waves of change. It weakened every faction of the Democrat Coalition. The success of antihomosexualist initiatives in every state they were tried in 2004 sent the message. Now that message has the momentum.