Legalize Marijuana, Don’t Socialize It

The campaign to end the War on Drugs has gained momentum in recent years with state ballot initiatives legalizing recreational marijuana use in Colorado and Washington, and a similar referendum coming to Washington, DC on this year’s general election ballot. Along with the push to reform sentencing laws, even retroactively, for nonviolent drug offenses, it appears that huge strides are being made in allowing free citizens the right to enjoy relatively harmless substances as they choose. But as with any government effort, the reality is far from the idealized campaign promise.

In Washington state, which decriminalized small amounts of marijuana possession and consumption on the 2012 ballot, state-sanctioned retail sales just began in July. However, as this is still deep blue Washington we’re talking about, there is far from a free market for the stuff. The state has a strict licensing program that only allows certain retailers to sell marijuana legally, from only certain licensed producers, resulting in only one place to buy in all of Seattle on opening day. This isn’t exactly Starbucks for weed.

Free to Obey

Josh Barro
(New York Times’ Josh Barro)

For years, a variety of secular liberal causes have campaigned for “tolerance,” “personal freedom,” or some variant of those things. It is ironic that as they have advanced their agenda, particularly in the areas of LGBT and abortion policy, they have become increasingly intolerant of anyone who disagrees with them.

Theologian Ravi Zacharias has spoken about the paradox of tolerance in America, noting that Americans pride themselves on living in a culture that values autonomy. Autonomy values the idea that every individual should have the right to make their own political and theological choices. America, seeking a model that would allow a pluralistic people to coexist, became the first autonomous model of the modern era.

The alternative to an autonomous culture is a heteronomous culture, where a small group of people direct the masses what to believe and how to live. Heteronomous models have governed most of the world for most of history. Secular Marxism and radical Islam are modern examples of the heteronomous model.

Secular liberals want a heteronomous culture where an elite few dictate the values that everyone else must hold. But in selling it to Americans, they refuse to own the heteronomous label. So they use different names for it. “Tolerance” and “acceptance” are common choices. They claim they only want to be left alone, and provided that, will allow everyone else to go on with their lives. Yet they are lying, and Zacharias points that out:

Here’s how interventionists are demagoguing Rand Paul’s foreign policy views

Late last month, a Pentagon official under the name Joseph Miller criticized Rand Paul for stating that he was opposed to more ground troops in Iraq. Miller was late to the party, unfortunately. Just a week prior to this op-ed being published, Rick Perry published his own op-ed addressing similar concerns. Given that they are so similar, I’m actually unsure if Mr. Miller actually read Perry’s foreign policy indictments, or Rand’s rebuttal to those arguments.

It would seem that Miller not only missed Perry and Paul’s exchange, but fundamentally misunderstands Rand Paul’s foreign policy, the results of all our efforts in the Middle East, and the actual cost that the United States has paid so far for the Iraq war.

Miller calls Paul an isolationist in the very first paragraph. I could discuss at length how this demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of Paul’s foreign policy views, but Rare’s Jack Hunter has actually already covered that. The last thirteen years should serve as indictment enough that our foreign policy has failed. We cannot reliably identify who our enemies are. When we can, we usually end up funding them or are found of providing them with armaments in the first place.

American Failings

I don’t write much over here these days.  It’s not from a lack of caring about our great nation, but trying to provide for my family. It’s just how the world works, and you’re not going to hear me complain about that.

Unfortunately, in this nation, that seems to be the exception, rather than the rule.

Every day, someone somewhere in this country writes something about how people are being exploited. Workers, they say, are being exploited by greedy employers who only want to make money. They write that workers should be paid more.

They never mention how it’s fine for employees to expect more money but not fine for an employer to want money at all.

So many people spend time talking about the “little guy.” Everyone wants to root for the “little guy.” I get it. We love to see people succeed. Hell, half our entertainment involves the underdog winning against the more powerful foe. Why else do we love things like Star Wars?

However, when the “little guy” succeeds, he becomes the “Man.” We love stories about Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Bill Gates when they rise from the dregs of society, then turn on them when they work to keep the wealth they earned.

If we have a failing as a society, it’s that we spend so much effort on the “little guy,” when it should be just about the “guy.”

We should respect the individual and his efforts to achieve, but we should also respect his efforts to keep what he lawfully earned. We need to stop assuming that every employee who makes minimum wage actually should be earning a hell of a lot more.

You’re unskilled? Get some skills and get a better job.

You’ve got a degree in English Lit and you’re working as a waitress? Quit complaining about the system when you took a crap degree in the first place, knowing there weren’t jobs out there in your major.

To the Political Left, Dissent Equals Hatred

A recent Twitter exchange between the Heritage Foundation’s Ryan T. Anderson and New York Times reporter Josh Barro perfectly captures the growing political polarization in America today.

Anderson, rapidly becoming the go-to voice in defense of traditional marriage (his book was cited twice by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito in last year’s same-sex marriage cases), is about as unassuming a character as one can imagine for a defender of such a suddenly controversial issue. He is, by his own estimation, “bookish,” and your never hear him raise his voice during debate, nor hurl a personal insult at someone who disagrees with him, even when he is being attacked.

While defending the position of traditional marriage, Anderson has also made it perfectly clear that he believes that ALL human beings have intrinsic worth, and should be treated with kindness, respect, and civility. The NYT’s Josh Barro, on the other hand, disagrees mightily. In that recent Twitter exchange, Barro accused Anderson of being “anti-LGBT,” and declared “some people are deserving of incivility.”

Think about that. To the liberal left, people who disagree with them on certain topics are worthy of condemnation, disrespect, and incivility. No longer can reasonable people approach the same issue from different perspectives, with different worldviews, philosophies, and political or religious viewpoints, and still be friends. No, for the left, to disagree with someone is to attack them personally, to discredit their intrinsic worth, to demonize them. Barro, exposing a deep sense of insecurity, claims that Anderson’s differing view on the topic means that he thinks “you’re better than me.”

Don’t feel sorry for Eric Cantor: Ex-House leader stands to do well working as a lobbyist

Former House leader Eric Cantor couldn’t wait to quit Congress after the 11 years he spent in the leadership were unpredictably brought to a close after his loss to economics professor Dave Brat.

He couldn’t wait to get his hands on the money the private sector wanted to offer for his expertise, either. At least that’s now former colleagues and aides have been suggesting.

According to Politico, the move to simply quit Congress four months short of his official departure plays well into a possible shift into the private sector. By leaving now, Cantor doesn’t have to offer any details to the public on what companies he’s been considering to work for.

Close allies and friends claim he was ready to move on the day after his loss.

Sadly for us, people like Cantor often move out of Congress to continue to work on shaping policy, but from the outside. Whereas in 1974, about 3 percent of retiring Senators found a job with some lobbying firm, about 50 percent of Senators today are able to successfully quit Congress to become lobbyists.

The presence of a Senator in a firm’s lobbying team is valuable because, over time, former lawmakers are able to use their contacts, meaning more access to means of tilting policies toward what the firm’s clients have in mind.

Kill The Ex-Im Bank: Let Free Markets Work

If Congress kills the Export-Import Bank it would be a massive win for those who love free markets. Both Jason Pye and Alice Salles have pointed out how the bank is a massive cronyism scheme, which doesn’t really help anyone except a select few. Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan made an excellent comment on the bank saying, “Republicans should be pro-market, not necessary pro-business.” This is something more people need to realize. Liking the free market doesn’t mean liking massive corporations, unless their products or services are great.

That isn’t stopping President Barack Obama from demanding Ex-Im be reauthorized. He said last week Americans would lose jobs if the bank wasn’t kept alive. Obama even made a comparison to owning a Ford dealership which doesn’t offer financing, while a Toyota dealership across the street does.

Jason Lewis Goes Galt; Quits Halfway Through Show on Air

Jason Lewis

Over the past week, talk show host Jason Lewis has been letting on that something big was going to happen on his show. July 31, 2014 he dubbed “Judgement Day.”

Being an avid listener of his, I thought it probably had something to do with his political activism site Galt.io* and probably something to do with his cause called “Starve the Beast.” Was he going to announce that he was going to move his show from the high tax progressive state of Minnesota to a more tax friendly/liberty friendly state?

As it turns out, I wasn’t too far off but he took his “starve the beast” thing a step further. You could say he had “gone Galt” on the air halfway through his radio show.

The following was his epic final monologue:

All over the continent of Europe there are castles. Castles that children are taught to admire. But these monuments are not shrines to liberty but are a stark reminder of an oppressive past that we are quickly forgetting. These elaborate fortresses were built to honor the riches of royalty. Such wealth was not derived from the cooperation of capitalism but from the conquest of collectivism. It was stolen through taxes and fees collected from the serfs. It was not earned.

Today in Liberty: CIA apologists pushing back against criticism, federal contractors plan to fight Obama’s latest power grab

“Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.” — Benjamin Franklin

— CIA apologists pushing back against criticism: Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) defended CIA Director John Brennan in an appearance on CBS News’ Face the Nation after the Agency admitted to spying on Senate Intelligence Committee staffers. “If I thought John Brennan knew about this then…certainly we’d be calling for his resignation,” said Chambliss. “But I will tell you that these five staffers that did this — if they worked for me, they’d be gone now. But the accountability board has been convened, and they will be looking into this, and they will be dealt with accordingly.” Chambliss also defended torture techniques, specifically waterboarding, and claimed that the Senate’s probe into the CIA’s use of those methods is partisan. Research, however, shows that torture isn’t as effective as the likes of Chambliss and others suggest. President Obama said on Friday that he has “full confidence” in Brennan.

It just keeps getting worse for Democrats: Obamacare disapproval hits an all-time high

The Kaiser Family Foundation released a new poll this morning showing that unfavorable views of Obamacare have jumped to an all-time high since they began tracking opinions of the law in April 2010.

Kaiser’s July tracking poll shows that 53 percent of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of Obamacare, a significant jump from June’s 45 percent. Thirty-seven percent view the law favorably, down from 39 percent last month.

The crosstabs reveal that the unfavorable views of Obamacare increased across party lines, though Democrats and independent-leaning Democrats still remain the law’s biggest supporters. Republicans and independent-leaning Republicans remain the law’s biggest opponents.

Fifty-nine percent of self-identified independents, however, have an unfavorable view of Obamacare, while 31 percent have a favorable view.

Sixty percent want Congress to “work to improve” Obamacare, while 35 want to repeal and replace it. “Even among Republicans and those with an unfavorable view of the law,” Kaiser explains, “about a third would prefer to see the law improved rather than repealed and replaced (32 percent and 36 percent, respectively).”

 


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