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Sure, But Obviously the Feds Made Them


Today in highly principled federalist arguments:

Derrick Belcher, a libertarian in Alabama, is so furious that the government shut down his topless car wash business that he’s organized a petition for Alabama to secede from the union.

Understandable! Only…

There’s just one catch: the government that shut him down is the state of Alabama.

I hope the petition also demands that the federal government get its grubby paws off our Medicare.

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  • Surreal American

    Waitaminute, JenBob’s a real person?

  • I used to consider myself a libertarian in high school and even then I never understood the fetishization of states’ rights among conservatives and other libertarians. The way I saw it was that only individuals have rights and the very idea of giving a government “rights” struck me as authoritarian.

    • Murc

      Actual libertarians (and yeah, they exist) actually tend to be more wary of state and local governments, not less, because they tend to be more corrupt and less transparent than the feds, and because they’re often responsible for far more egregious violations of peoples rights and freedoms than the feds are.

      Unless, of course, you’re not actually a libertarian, but a neo-feudalist who views freedom through a prism of how low his taxes are and how badly he’s allowed to mistreat his fellow citizens. Then of course you’re worried about the big, bad, federal government.

      • Craigo

        The fact that state and local governments possess a general police power that the feds do not should be a red flag for libertarians.

      • Pestilence

        Actual libertarians

        have these ever been seen in the wild, or can they only be bred in captivity?

        • DrDick

          They tend to congregate with the unicorns and leprechauns in the forest primeval.

          • Manju

            They tend to congregate with the unicorns and leprechauns in the forest primeval.

            …and the socialists.

            • DrDick

              You would not know one if you saw him.

            • cpinva

              kenyan socialists

              …and the socialists.

            • Timb

              And the Coomunist segregationists

          • Karen

            Since the only place I’ve ever seen a large group of libertarians was at Armadillocon, this is more accurate than you knew.

        • Murc

          Well, they’re sort of like moderate Republicans. Do they exist? Sure. You meet’em on the street or at work all the time. Many of us are related to one.

          But are they significant, in that are there many (or any) of them operating as major opinion makers, policy makers, etc? And the answer to that is “no.”

        • They can’t be bred anywhere because there’s just Radley Balko, all by himself. I keep thinking he’s going to turn around and go “holy shit who let all of these racists up in here?” and leave libertarianism. But now he’s blogging at HuffPo, sure to give him the worst possible opinion of…um, what are those people? Alleged currently registered Democrats, I’ll go with that. So yeah, he’ll stay where he is on the imaginary political spectrum for now, in all likelihood. He’s awesome, though. Actually caring about victims of the state, even when said victims are black, righting wrongs like a blogging super-hero. He looks like he’s about to start firing from inside his well-fortified encampment, but he’s totes not like that.

      • Major Kong

        Seriously. It at least takes a General Electric or Boeing to buy the federal government.

        A modestly successful real estate developer can buy your local government – assuming it isn’t already run by one family.

      • NonyNony

        Actual libertarians (and yeah, they exist) actually tend to be more wary of state and local governments, not less, because they tend to be more corrupt and less transparent than the feds, and because they’re often responsible for far more egregious violations of peoples rights and freedoms than the feds are.

        Sure. And they also tend to be far more wary of large corporate power than they are of state or federal or local government and recognize that in most cases the Federales are their best hope for countering the power of the other more corrupt and more corruptable power groups.

        Those folks tend to call themselves “civil libertarians” these days, if they use the word “libertarian” near their political beliefs at all. Because the word “libertarian” has become a punchline due to the sophomoric neo-feudalists who have laid claim to the term for themselves.

        • DrDick

          This would be approximately 99.999% of people who call themselves libertarians. I know because we have a quantum assload of them up here in Montana. If Manju or Brad would like to put them up, I will pay for shipping, because I am sick to death of the mofos.

        • David Nieporent

          There is no “actual libertarian” who is “more wary of large corporate power” [sic] than of government.

          I love when socialists try to tell actual libertarians what we think. When supporters of a particular movement try to rhetorically write others out of that movement, it’s the No True Scotsman fallacy; what’s the name for the logical fallacy in which opponents of a particular movement try to rhetorically write people out of the movement?

          • NonyNony

            Fuck you and your neo-feudal mentality Nierporent. Nobody cares what you think about anything you giant hypocrite.

          • Malaclypse

            I love when socialists try to tell actual libertarians what we think.

            You mean like the Principled Libertarian Policy of going to war with a country that never attacked us?

            Brad Potts is a libertarian. So is Radley Balko. You’re just a conservative hack who wants to pretend he’s as cool as Nick Gillespie. And congratulations – you are.

          • sharculese

            But you’re not a libertarian, you’re just a self-righteous ninny with a hatred for poor people and a crippling fear of girls.

          • DrDick

            And David shows up to prove my point. Thanks Dave, don’t ever change. You continuously reaffirm my conviction that libertarians are completely evil.

            • David Nieporent

              That’s okay; your posts always confirm my conviction that socialists are both dumb and immature. (It’s a tough contest to see which attribute wins out in your case; you never have any intelligent contributions to make, but you back that up by spending most of your life hurling playground insults.)

    • David Nieporent

      I always love an argument that starts with the admission that one doesn’t understand a particular view and then jumps from there to drawing all sorts of conclusions about that view and the people who hold it. You are quite correct: you don’t understand it. Libertarians do not fetishize states’ rights. Libertarians do not believe in states’ rights, for precisely the reason you identify: only individuals, not governments, have rights. (Google the phrase, including the quotation marks: “states do not have rights,” and you will see millions of results in which libertarians are making that exact point.) But federalism isn’t the same thing as “states’ rights.”

      Federalism is not based on the principle that states possess any rights. As a legal matter, it’s based on the notion that the federal government simply was not granted certain powers; therefore, it cannot legitimately exercise them. As a structural matter, preventing aggregations of power is an important tool in protecting individual liberty; splitting up powers between different branches of government and splitting up powers between different levels of government both serve to combat tyranny. Finally, as a practical matter, devolving powers to lower levels of government makes it easier for individuals to avoid the exercise of those powers, by allowing individuals to vote with their feet. It’s far easier to leave one’s town than one’s state; far easier to leave one’s state than one’s country.

      (Catholics have a similar doctrine, called subsidiarity; that, too, is not based on any notion of “states’ rights.”)

      • DrDick

        So, David, did you just voluntarily give your soul to the Devil? I can’t imagine that he would actually pay for such a shriveled and rancid offering.

        • David Nieporent

          See what I mean? Dumb and immature.

          • Dave

            I know you are, but what am I?

          • DrDick

            You keep talking to your reflection in the mirror and thinking it is someone else.

  • Michael H Schneider

    I hope the petition also demands that the federal government eliminates restrictions on owning gold bullion and coin.

    And something to protect religious liberty, to prevent establishing secular humanism as the state religion, and sharia as the civil law.

  • I’m sick and tired of the federal government stealing one sock out of the dryer every time I do a load of laundry.

    Also, I’m pretty sure the squirrels who keep raiding my bird feeder are from HUD, or possibly FEMA.

    • Craigo

      Sounds like they’re taxing you – no doubt to give the seed to those lazy black squirrels on the other side f town.

      • Rob

        Don’t forget the Marxist professors! They are taking his nuts too!

        • Major Kong

          Do squirrels like pancakes?

    • Anonymous

      “I’m pretty sure the squirrels who keep raiding my bird feeder are from HUD, or possibly FEMA”

      Dont be silly, those are UN squirrels
      read about Agenda 21!

      • Walt

        You think it’s bad now? Just wait until the Mexican squirrels start scampering up the NAFTA superhighway.

        • CD

          I hope your bird feeder has a bilingual menu.

      • ploeg

        I was wondering what those red squirrels were doing here in North America.

        • expatchad

          ohjesus…..that was truly awful, meriting congratulations….

    • somethingblue

      Also, I’m pretty sure the squirrels who keep raiding my bird feeder are from HUD, or possibly FEMA.

      Surely the squirrels are from ACORN?

      • Win.

      • Second best pun I saw today on internets. First one on Deadspin, RE: soccer player having affair with someone not his wife, for whom he created a totally fake identity with the other party not knowing his real identity as super famous soccer player in town. Anyhow, commenter states that his crime was surely “A DUAL TOURE”

        So good!

  • LosGatosCA

    Fucking secession libertarianism logic – how does it work?

  • LuckyJimJD

    Are topless carwashes a thing? There’s one in the city where I live too. Never been tempted to take my car there. I can’t imagine your car leaves cleaner than it went in.

    • Depends if you are sitting in it going through the wash

      • JKTHs


    • herr doktor bimler

      There is a market niche for a half-naked tow-truck business. It would be called “The Topless Towers of Ilium”.

      • wjts


      • Dave

        OK until they had to claim on their fire insurance…

        • herr doktor bimler

          “Was this the face of the arsonist? OK, how about this one?”

          • wjts

            “Are you kidding? That face could only launch 750 ladder trucks, tops.”

    • Dave

      Reminds of the joke about the guy who reports his wallet was stolen by a woman who distracted him at a stop-light by rubbing her boobs on his windshield.

      “So when did this happen?”

      “Once on Tuesday, twice on Wednesday and Thursday, and three times on Friday…”

    • Are topless carwashes a thing?

      Try driving a convertible through the regular kind.

      I won’t make that mistake twice.

      • herr doktor bimler

        Baptism thrown in for no extra charge.

  • DrDick

    The phrase “a libertarian in Alabama” was the tell here. Guaranteed to be butt ignorant and totally delusional.

    • Surreal American

      “Libertarian in Alabama.” Southern conservative who still believes the GOP harbors too many Lincoln fans?

      • DrDick

        Them Northern Republicans are just too liberal!

    • Njorl

      A libertarian in Alabama walked into a bar.
      “Damn federal government!”

  • Snarki, child of Loki

    Yeah, ha ha and all that, but surely there’s a colorable First Amendment argument that can be made in favor of topless car-washes?

    Okay, maybe not “free speech”, but how about the religious angle?

    I’m sure you can line up a bunch of customers that will swear that going through the topless car-was is a religious experience, and it sure sounds like exercise to me.

    ACLU to the rescue!

    • IM

      No USA, no ACLU.

      Or is there a Alabamian Civil Liberties Union, too?

      • Pestilence

        yes but they’re against all them liberties

      • Mike G

        They like civil liberties as much as they like unions.

    • You can’t expect the ACLU to stay abreast of every boob with something to get off his chest. Other matters require their support.

      • Manju

        I’m sure they could nip off a couple of lawyers, just to look through his briefs. But if they end up in front of a hard judge, the risks are bottomless.

    • Ken

      The topless car wash was making money.

      Money is speech.

      Speech is protected by the first amendment.

      Therefore, topless car washes are protected by the first amendment.

      • Davis X. Machina

        Are sorites permitted in arguing appellate law?

        • Ken

          Only if they reach the conclusion that Justice Scalia prefers.

        • mds

          If this were a movie about topless car washes, I’d expect sorite girls to be involved somehow.

    • Hogan

      Your Honor, we invoke the Supreme Court’s holding in the case of T vs. A. And when I say “holding” . . .

  • Sev

    Well, we can’t let them impose sharia on us through Agenda 21′ let’s damn well secede. Establish a government to our liking, you know, a proper Christian theocracy. Topless car washes? Why not? As long as they wear their crucifixes.

    • Karen

      This is rural Alabama, where crucifixes are the Mark of the Whore of Babylon. They wear WWJD bracelets.

      • JoyfulA

        Rural Alabama is also the site of Mother Angelica’s Eternal Word Television Network. Some of those nuns wear really big crucifixes.

        • Mr. Upright

          Irondale isn’t rural. It’s a suburb of Birmingham, indistinguishable from the eastern end of the city. Then again, EWTN is very close to the Irondale Cafe, Fannie Flagg’s inspiration for the Whistle Stop Cafe.

  • Manju

    The Liberal Media misquotes him. He just wants his state to succeed. And it’s not an Alabama secession petition. It’s a suck session one. We’re talking about sex workers here, for Christ’s sake.

    Why can’t you liberals understand the southern accent? Jeezus.

    • John

      Not one of your stronger efforts.

      • Davis X. Machina

        I’m not convinced that’s Manju, and not ‘Manju’…

        • Bill Murray

          judging by the comment, I think it’s manjuice

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