My 2016 Colorado Ballot

I originally composed these notes for Facebook. -AA

What to do about the Colorado ballot? I had a request to reveal how I’m voting. I’m happy to oblige, with links to my articles where relevant. (I’d appreciate no comments here, as those quickly could get unruly. Yes, I realize there are people in the world, as strange as it may seem, who do not always agree with me.) Continue reading


Colorado’s Amendment T and the Meaning of Involuntary Servitude

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

Reply to the Denver Post on Open Presidential Primaries

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


Why I Oppose the Colorado End-of-Life Options Act, Proposition 106

In principle, I support an individual’s moral right to choose whether to commit suicide for the purpose of alleviating profound suffering, as may be caused by a terminal illness.

I oppose Colorado’s end-of-life ballot measure, Proposition 106, primarily because it flagrantly violates people’s moral rights to freely associate, to dispose of their property as they see fit, and to operate their businesses as they see fit. Whatever one’s views about other aspects of the measure, it is clear that in the ways mentioned the measure violates rights and undermines liberty. Continue reading


Legatum’s Mismeasure of Freedom in the United States

“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


Clinton and Trump Should Both Drop Out for the Good of the Country

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

Michael Huemer

When It’s Wrong for Lawyers to Help Guilty Clients Go Free

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

Neil deGrasse Tyson

The Irrationality of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Rationalia

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


Hurting the World’s Poor in the Name of Helping Them—Poverty, Inc.

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

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

The Statist Convergence of Trump and Clinton

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

Ted Cruz

You Might Be Outraged at Ted Cruz If . . .

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

Teeth with Dentist

FDA Deserves Some Blame for Unnecessary Teeth Drilling

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


Seeking Justice after the Racist Murders in Dallas

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

Alex Epstein Testifies

Fossil Fuels Advocate Alex Epstein Denounces AG Subpoena: “F**K Off, Fascist”

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


Debate over “Radical Islam” Misses the Key Distinction between Theocratic and Secularized Islam

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


Should Liberty Advocates Support Gary Johnson for President?

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