Why Taxing Bicycles in Colorado Is a Dumb Idea

Stunningly, some Colorado Democrats have finally found a tax they don’t like. After Republican State Senator Ray Scott suggested he might propose a bicycle tax similar to one Oregon just imposed, Democratic Senator Andy Kerr slammed the idea as an “anti-business, anti-freedom policy,” Colorado Politics reports. If only Colorado Democrats were always so skeptical of taking people’s money.

And yet the case for taxing bicycles seems compelling, at least on the surface. Continue reading “Why Taxing Bicycles in Colorado Is a Dumb Idea”

What the Study on “Closed-Minded Atheists” Really Proves

If I say that two plus two equals four, and someone else insists that two plus two equals five, am I closed-minded if I do not find that person’s mathematical arguments persuasive? Am I closed-minded if I reject the idea that two plus two can at the same time equal four and five? A recent study implies that the answer is yes. And that study, along with various media accounts of it, conclude that, by comparable standards, atheists on the whole are more closed-minded in certain ways than are theists. Clearly something has gone wrong. Continue reading “What the Study on “Closed-Minded Atheists” Really Proves”

Jared Polis’s Fantasy that Aspen Runs on 100 Percent Renewable Energy

Let’s talk about a little place called Aassspen. Jared Polis, member of Congress from Boulder and a Democratic candidate for governor of Colorado, touts a “bold goal of 100% renewable energy” in the state by 2040. Surely Colorado can do it, he suggests on his campaign page, given that Colorado’s own Aspen “became the third city in the country to already achieve 100% renewable.”

But Polis’s claim about Aspen is pure fantasy, and, insofar as Aspen does run on renewable energy, various aspects of its power program are unique to the wealthy ski town and cannot be scaled statewide. Continue reading “Jared Polis’s Fantasy that Aspen Runs on 100 Percent Renewable Energy”

Why Vouchers Subsidize Religion

When government helps to finance the operations of a religious organization, it violates the rights of the people whose wealth it forcibly takes for the purpose. Such funding violates not only people’s right to control their resources, but their right to follow their conscience, insofar as they are forced to propagate ideas with which they disagree. I’ve argued these points in a first, second, and third article responding to the Supreme Court’s decision that a playground operated by Trinity Lutheran Church must be considered for government grants available to others.

But when exactly does government funding constitute a subsidy to a given party, when does a subsidy promote a religious purpose, and what are the ethical implications of various government programs, such as tax-funded vouchers that parents can spend at religious schools? Continue reading “Why Vouchers Subsidize Religion”

Conservatives Play the Bigotry Card to Support Tax Funds for Religious Groups

Tax subsidies to religious organizations are not justified just because laws that ban such subsidies arose from anti-Catholic sentiment.

We expect people on the left to argue that government should counter bigotry by forcing private parties to do things they otherwise would not do, such as, in the case of a Christian baker who opposes homosexuality, bake a cake for a gay wedding.

We do not usually expect conservatives to make comparable arguments, but, when it comes to tax funding for religious groups, many conservatives do just that. Continue reading “Conservatives Play the Bigotry Card to Support Tax Funds for Religious Groups”

Cakes, Playgrounds, and Conservative Hypocrisy on Religious Liberty

Many conservatives back freedom for religious business owners but not for taxpayers when it comes to matters of conscience.

Many conservatives are logically inconsistent when it comes to religious liberty, as their positions on two prominent legal cases illustrate. Continue reading “Cakes, Playgrounds, and Conservative Hypocrisy on Religious Liberty”

The Religious Liberty to Spend Other People’s Money

The forgotten person, whose freedom of conscience and right to direct his wealth are ignored, is the one forced to help finance a project a government agency deems best.

Religious organizations have the same right as nonreligious ones to use wealth taken from others by force, according to the Supreme Court and its conservative cheerleaders. Continue reading “The Religious Liberty to Spend Other People’s Money”

Chocolate Milk Does Come from Brown Cows

The gullible ones are the journalists who unquestioningly swallowed the survey claiming that seven percent of people think chocolate milk comes straight from brown cows.

Seven percent of Americans are so gullible they think chocolate milk comes straight from brown cows, right? Wrong. The gullible ones are the news reporters and their readers who unquestioningly swallowed the incredible survey result on the matter. Continue reading “Chocolate Milk Does Come from Brown Cows”

The Abstract Artist We Need in the Age of Trump

A critical review of Dark Times: A Visual Dialectic in Four Parts, by Q. E. Armstrong

The first panel of Q. E. Armstrong’s innovative Dark Times series reveals a playful conversation between black and blue, with other friends chirping in the background. Q. E.’s choice of canvas, simple 8.5 by 11 inch paper from a common retail store, dares us to compare the artist to a two-year-old boy whose father is too cheap to buy him proper supplies, strikingly undercutting the visual independence of the piece. Continue reading “The Abstract Artist We Need in the Age of Trump”

The Nonsense Economics of “Climate Action”

The climate apocalypse is coming now that Donald Trump has stepped the United States away from the Paris climate agreement, if we believe some critics. Never mind that compliance was voluntary and that, at least absent tighter controls in the future, the agreement was unlikely to have much effect on global temperature increases by 2100.

The effects of continued industrial emissions of carbon dioxide—and what (if anything) governments should do about it—are important discussions. Unfortunately, those discussions frequently are derailed by nonsense economic claims by some advocates of “climate action” that throttling fossil fuels and subsidizing solar and wind energy somehow deliver an economic boon rather than a painful cost. Continue reading “The Nonsense Economics of “Climate Action””