How did slavery and involuntary servitude become active issues in the 2016 Colorado election? What is the significance of Amendment T, the ballot measure that addresses slavery and involuntary servitude with respect to criminals? Would Amendment T affect current criminal justice practices regarding in-prison work, work release, community service, or mandatory employment for parolees? Continue reading
To expand “choice,” the Denver Post supports Proposition 107 on the Colorado ballot to create a presidential primary in which unaffiliated voters help pick the major parties’ nominees.
But open primaries let nominally independent voters try to sabotage the party they hope will lose. Countless Democratic supporters voted for Donald Trump in other states’ primaries because they judged him a weak candidate. Continue reading
I agree that people facing a very painful end of life have a moral right to choose whether or not to take their own lives. (This is an emotionally difficult topic, obviously.) Continue reading
“The U.S. isn’t one of the top 10 most free countries in the world, study says.” So blares the headline of a recent McClatchyDC story. If a “study” says it, it must be true, right? Well, not exactly. But, even though the study in question is deeply flawed, clearly people in the United States are not fully free by the standard of individual rights. How free are we, really? Continue reading
After the vice-presidential debate between Tim Kaine and Mike Pence, it is even more painfully obvious that neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump is fit to be the next president of the United States. As I Tweeted, I’d vote for either Kaine or Pence over either Clinton or Trump. I even found myself wishing for a Pence-Kaine ticket. And I have substantial disagreements with the policies of both men. Continue reading
Philosopher Michael Huemer makes a claim that will surprise many attorneys and observers of the legal system: With some important exceptions, lawyers should not help a clearly guilty client go free or otherwise evade justice. This runs counter to the common notion that attorneys can or even should help their guilty clients go free (within the boundaries of the law). Huemer presented his case, based on his 2014 paper on the subject, at a September 12 meeting of Liberty on the Rocks in Westminster, Colorado. Continue reading
The legally mandated minimum wage is an economic issue, of course; but it is more fundamentally a moral issue. Unfortunately, usually only the left, with its claims about the alleged fairness of higher minimum wages, talks about the moral dimensions of the policy. That needs to change. Continue reading
If only society could be governed by a rational elite, what a wonderful world it would be. Or at least various theorists have speculated since Plato penned the Republic.
Astrophysicist and science popularizer Neil deGrasse Tyson is the latest in a long line of utopian theorists. He set off a spirited debate when, on June 29, he Tweeted: “Earth needs a virtual country: #Rationalia, with a one-line Constitution: All policy shall be based on the weight of evidence.” Continue reading
The vast sums of money transferred by the governments of wealthy nations to the governments of poor nations do not help the world’s poor, for the most part. Rather, such foreign aid serves to prop up corrupt dictators, finance a giant network of Western nonprofits, disrupt local markets, and keep many of the intended beneficiaries dependent and poor. Even private aid often has deleterious effects. Or at least Poverty, Inc., a 2014 film by Michael Matheson Miller of the Christian, free-market Acton Institute, plausibly argues those points. Continue reading
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are vastly different in terms of style, background, and platform. But, at a more fundamental level, the candidates are remarkably similar: Each embraces policies to violate people’s freedom of contract and, more broadly, their freedom of association. Both candidates are essentially statist in orientation: They want to employ government force to achieve perceived benefits for some at the cost of others’ wealth and liberty. Continue reading
Sore loser. Snake. Self-absorbed. Traitor. These are just a few of the stones cast at Ted Cruz following his Republican National Convention speech of July 20.
After congratulating Donald Trump for winning the nomination, Cruz nevertheless noticeably did not endorse Trump or ask people to vote for him. Instead, nearly twenty minutes into his speech, Cruz told those assembled to “vote your conscience”—eliciting noticeable boos.
What reasons might Trump’s supporters have to turn on Cruz? Here are a few. You might be outraged at Ted Cruz if . . . Continue reading
Recently my wife had to pay $1,500 out of pocket to crown a molar. This was necessary because, years ago, a dentist over-drilled a cavity in the tooth and then packed it badly, resulting in the tooth eventually cracking.
It turns out that the drilling probably wasn’t even necessary. A dentist could have simply brushed a treatment on the cavity, and that would have been that—except that the treatment, used widely elsewhere, was illegal in the United States, thanks to the onerous medical approval processes Congress imposed via the Food and Drug Administration. Continue reading
Terrorism is violence perpetrated against peaceable people to foment social or political change. The murder of police officers in Dallas was an act of terrorism.
On the evening of Thursday, July 7, at the location of an otherwise peaceful protest of recent troubling police killings of black men, Micah Xavier Johnson murdered five Dallas police officers and shot seven more for explicitly racist reasons. Continue reading
When fossil fuels advocate Alex Epstein learned that his organization, the Center for Industrial Progress (CIP), was listed in a subpoena to Exxon from Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey demanding forty years of communications regarding climate change, Epstein sent Healey’s office a terse reply: “F**k off, fascist.” Continue reading
Donald Trump is wrong about nearly everything, but he is right about this: America’s political leaders properly may refer to the movement motivating terrorists to act in the name of Muslim beliefs as “radical Islam.” However, as we’ll see, Trump misses the key distinction between theocratic Islam and substantially secularized Islam, and he therefore draws the wrong policy conclusions related to Muslims. Continue reading
Dear Members of the Elections Study Group,
Thank you for taking up the important matter of how to properly handle the caucus-primary season for major parties in Colorado. Continue reading
For those who advocate liberty, this is a frightening election year. The next president is likely to be Hillary Clinton, who as Secretary of State played fast and loose with sensitive government information, who seems to have used her official position to generate “Clinton cash,” who parrots the anti-producer rhetoric of “democratic socialist” Bernie Sanders, and who wants to radically weaken the First and Second Amendments—or Donald Trump, whose loutish, anti-capitalist nativism almost makes Clinton seem like the voice of reason by contrast.
Given the sorry state of the major parties, and given that the Libertarian Party has nominated someone eminently more qualified than Trump for the presidency, the question naturally arises: Should liberty advocates support the Libertarian, Gary Johnson? We begin to answer this question by evaluating the candidates in terms of policy. Continue reading
One of the great dangers of the 2016 election is that many Americans will mistake Donald Trump for an advocate of capitalism. Although he is a wealthy businessman, Trump is anti-capitalist in ideology. Continue reading
Donald Trump’s leading competitors for the presidency during the last few months in both major parties—with the exceptions of Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina—are far better-qualified than Trump for the position.
Even more remarkable, for the first time in its history, the Libertarian Party is set to nominate a candidate for president more qualified—and eminently so—for the office than the Republican. Gary Johnson, the likely LP candidate, served eight years as governor of New Mexico after building a successful construction company. Trump has never served in public office, although he has operated a largely successful real estate business.
This got me wondering: Has any major candidate for the office ever been less qualified than Donald Trump? Continue reading
Recently I argued that liberty advocates should remain or become active within the Republican Party rather than join a minor party (unless a viable new party can replace the GOP, which I doubt). This gave rise to a number of questions: Does that mean everyone should be a Republican? Should everyone be active at the level of party politics? Do people even need to be active in politics at all?
My answer is that most liberty advocates should indeed be active in politics at some level—not as some alleged moral duty, but as a means of protecting their values. Only for some people does this mean activism at the level of party politics. Continue reading