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More Election-Related Thoughts

Via The Blog Father, I have come across a most excellent piece in Reason magazine. Mostly it covers Kerry’s record on civil liberties. This raises even more doubt in my mind about a Kerry presidency. You should read the whole thing, but there are a few key points that jump out at me.

1) Kerry was for the cryptography export laws. Essentially, he was for punishing technology rather than criminals who use technology. Kerry is basically in favor of making all software have a “back door” for law enforcement. For obvious reasons, this should disturb any civil libertarian greatly. John Ashcroft, oddly enough, was against this.

2) Kerry favors asset forfeiture laws that allow the property of people who are not accused of crimes to be seized. Kerry was in favor of any property used in drug-related crimes being taken by the government, even if the owner was not charged. The owner would then have to sue, and prove that he/she had no knowledge of the crimes in question, in order to get property back. I’m against government seizure of property under any circumstances, even that of criminals, because private property is one key to individual freedom. Ashcroft was also against these laws when he was in the Senate. Some bits were, apparently, recinded after the bill to do so was made weaker by the Reno DOJ.

3) Kerry is in favor of imposing undue regulations on the banking industry. For the uninitiated, banking is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the nation already. There are required reserve ratios, laws about deposit insurance, myriad securities laws, banks cannot own certain types of assets, and they are required to report any withdrawls over $10,000 to the government. Kerry would have all electronic fund transfers monitored, and would not give banks or their customers any privacy what so ever. Not to mention that he authored the hyper-obnoxious banking bits of the PATRIOT Act.

It’s clear that Kerry favors government power over individual liberty, at least on some issues. What Bush’s positions on those issues are is probably not too dissimilar, except the banking thing, probably. Although, the cryptography regulations were undone in 1997 and the PATRIOT act and Ashcroft DOJ made no effort to reinstate them. I also have a feeling that Bush’s take on private property might favor individuals more, but given that he’s definitely for the War on Drugs, as it were, those two things probalby come into conflict. There are, of course, other civil libertarian issues that Bush has got wrong (abortion, gay marriage, stem cells), but Kerry hasn’t up to this point said terribly much to give me confidence on the gay marriage thing, and he’s made rather cryptic statements about abortion. Overall, things in this regard look like a toss-up, and as stated below, there are other issues that are important enough to make me go Bush.

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