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Michael Hamilton is a libertarian writer living in Washington, D.C. His main interests are economics, drug legalization, immigration, and land-use policy.
“The plans differ; the planners are all alike.” — Frédéric Bastiat
It’s common to hear libertarians pejoratively referred to as “Republicans who smoke pot,” the idea being that libertarians don’t really favor freedom in areas where it would lead to outcomes they do not like. For the most part this is false. There is one policy area, however, where this is an accurate criticism: land-use policy. On this issue, the dominant libertarian narrative does not live up to its name.
The narrative, to put it briefly, is that most Americans prefer detached, single-family homes, and zoning laws reflect this for the most part. Save for eliminating certain regulations aimed at curbing sprawl that make homes expensive such as open space rules or growth boundaries, it says policymakers should avoid making major changes to traditional zoning laws lest we fall into the hands of the “planners” and have to live under “smart growth” policies. The narrative associates suburbs, homeownership, and cars with mobility and better living. Libertarians main goals, so it goes, should be relatively inexpensive (or at least not “artificially expensive”) single-family homes and decent traffic. Note that libertarians who support traditional zoning do not consider themselves planners
This narrative is not only wrong, but distinctly unlibertarian. Before I attack it, two small concessions:
First, smart growth is something that libertarians should oppose for both philosophical and utilitarian reasons.
Jeff Edgens is a member of the Executive Committee for the Libertarian Party of Georgia and a member of the Cigar Rights of America. He lives in Statesboro, Georgia.
Cigars have a family tree that can be traced back like that of a pencil. I,Pencil - the classic article written by Leonard Reed describes how a pencil is made. In his essay, Reed chronicles the business transactions seen and unseen in the manfuacture of a pencil. He distinguishes between the invisible hand of the marketplace that brings willing buyers and sellers together from that of the planned economy foisted on to the marketplace by a regulatory agency.
I, Pencil reminds us that no single person has the knowledge to make a pencil and the same holds true for making a cigar. Both are made by a myriad of individual business transactions that cooperate and bring to bear their respective talents toward a final product.
In this case, besides rolling the cigar there are all of the steps that come before the final product reaches the hands of the customer. There are those who provide the raw materials to build the tools used to harvest the tobacco. There are those who harvest the leaf, those who ship it, those who buy the leaf, those who roll it, those who market it, and those who sale the final product. Other steps are unseen and those are the ones that take place long before a cigar ever reaches the marketplace. There are entirely too many transactions for one person or an agency of people to know how to direct or control.
Jorge Gonzalez is a motion designer and political activist living and working in Midtown Atlanta. In his free time, he enjoys filming, photography, and reading.
I recently had a discussion with a close friend of mine who is a very “progressive” guy. He’s the type that buys into all the horror stories about Republicans and libertarians. You know, we don’t care about the poor or women’s rights or worker’s rights and we’re cruel, intolerant etc etc. He started off the conversation by claiming “Romney panders to stupid people. Obama does not…Obama doesn’t bend his beliefs to fit an uneducated and sensationalistic base.” If you didn’t fall out of your chair just now at the sheer stupidity and myopia of a statement like that, then I ask you to read on, dear Reader, because what follows may be of interest to you.
This post was written by Richard Schrade, an attorney from Georgia and member of the Libertarian National Committee, and gun rights proponent.
The problem with all of the Second Amendment discussion is that very few people are willing to address this issue directly and accurately. The purpose of the Second Amendment is to protect the right to and ability to conduct an armed revol…ution. The Second Amendment was to protect the ability of the people to violently overthrow the government.
Even if one agrees with the “Militia limitation” on the Second Amendment, the Militias to which the Amendment refers were State Militias which would have been used to fight the federal government.
When viewed in this light, it is apparent that a limitation on automatic weapons would be an infrigment on the purposes of the Second Amendment. If we want to have an honest discussion about the issue of gun control, then let’s frame the discussion correctly, “Should the people have the right to keep and bear arms that could be used to violently overthrown the central government”.
Let’s remember that this country was formed in a violent revolution. Let’s remember that at Lexington and Concord citizen fired on and killed government solidiers sent by the central government to confiscate their weapons and arms.
If we are going to have gun control then let’s not dicker around the fringes. Let those who would limit the law-abiding citizen’s access to arms first repeal the Second Amendment. That would be the intellectually honest way to address the issue.
Charles Sipe is Executive Editor of Criminal Justice Degree Schools where he manages news coverage of the latest topics in the criminal justice field. He is also a graduate of University of Washington and US Army basic training.
A groundswell of opposition and concern has risen regarding the growing military use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to attack suspected terrorists overseas which has included American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki last fall. The idea of faceless killer machines flying overhead is no longer a figment of science fiction. Earlier this year, Congress approved the use of drones in U.S. airspace that could lead to the widespread proliferation of drones above U.S. soil. The following infographic provides some important facts that you should know about military drones.
Infographic by Criminal Justice Degree Schools
Jorge Gonzalez is a motion designer and political activist living and working in Midtown Atlanta. In his free time, he enjoys filming, photography, and reading. **Please note, this post contains spoilers. If you haven’t seen the film and don’t want to hear all about it, then stop here and read it after you’ve seen it. If you don’t care about spoilers, then by all means, read on.**
I’ve seen Act of Valor twice now. It’s a visually stunning movie, it is —unlike what the critics seem to suggest— a moving story, and has raised some important questions for me about valor, honor, war and how I should understand it given my worldview.
First, I was amazed at the realness of the movie. From the actor’s cadence to the weapons, the tactics to the sound engineering, the movie is frighteningly real. The action scenes were relentless. The sound of the M4’s (the assault rifle used by the SEALS) was spot on. I’ve never watched a movie where the M4 sounded as it actually does when fired. Not to mention, the Soviet weapons used in the movie were also very real sounding. That may seem like a minor detail but to me, I’ll never forget the sound of an AK or the sound an RPG makes when it’s passing by. Nor will I ever forget the sound an M4 makes, especially when fired repeatedly. That sound does stick with you and this movie brought back some memories.
Peter Mains is a blogger, political activist and technology consultant living and working in the Phoenix metro area. In his free time, he enjoys writing music, reading voraciously, and trying exotic food.
Rick Santorum’s comments to George Stephanopoulos about John F. Kennedy’s 1960 speech to the Houston Ministerial Association are making the rounds. Apparently, the speech so unnerved Rick, that he wanted to throw up. He thinks you should be just as offended as he is, In the interview, Santorum encouraged people to look the speech up and decide for themselves. Having followed Santorum’s suggestion, I couldn’t disagree more.
The worst part is, I want to root for Rick Santorum. Recent revelations paint Kennedy as something of a moral monster. In contrast, Rick Santorum seems like a good family man. When it comes to religious matters, one might think that Santorum would come out on top. Nevertheless, JFK wipes the floor with Santorum — even from beyond the grave.
The one point where I am ambivalent in regard to Kennedy’s speech is his insistence that government not give any funding to religious institutions whatsoever. Bush’s faith-based initiatives and various voucher programs show that public funds can be redirected to religious institutions without creating a de facto established church or violating freedom of religious exercise. Nevertheless, such issues could be completely avoided if we were to reform education, healthcare and so on such that government gets out of those businesses altogether.
Stephen Slivinski is senior economist at the Goldwater Institute. Previously he was director of budget studies at the Cato Institute, senior economist at the Tax Foundation, and a senior editor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Mr. Slivinski is the author of the book, Buck Wild: How Republicans Broke the Bank and Became the Party of Big Government, published in 2006.
One thing that makes Newt Gingrich an attractive presidential candidate to many conservatives is his term as Speaker of the House and his role as the captain of the Republican Revolution of 1994. But a closer look at the history of the years between 1995 and when he stepped down as speaker in 1998 show that Gingrich was usually at odds with those pushing the Reaganite vision of a truly limited federal government. In fact, when the Republican Revolution succeeded at all it was often in spite of Newt Gingrich, not because of him. Unfortunately, too many conservatives have forgotten this or perhaps may not have known it at all.
Gingrich does indeed come across as an eloquent defender of limited government principles. In 1995, he envisioned the new GOP congressional majority presaging a cultural revolution in Washington, D.C. “The real breaking point is when you find yourself having a whole new debate, with new terms. That’s more important than legislative achievements,” Gingrich told a reporter on the first day of the 104th Congress. “We’ll know in six months whether we have accomplished that.”
Joel Aaron, Grassroots Director for the Georgia chapter of Americans for Prosperity, sent along this piece about the REINS Act, which would curtail regulations placed businesses and, ostensibly, consumers. It’s tailored to Georgia, but this is an issue that Democrats in swing districts across the country may have to contend with in 2012.
Last week, Georgia Democrats John Barrow and Sanford. D. Bishop, Jr. casted votes in favor of alleviating excessive regulatory burdens with minor procedural hindrances. Today, Georgia legislators have the opportunity to confront Washington’s over-regulation problem head-on, by supporting the Regulation from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act.
The REINS Act was inspired in 2009 when Kentucky activist Lloyd Rogers approached U.S. Representative Geoff Davis after EPA water regulations had doubled his county’s taxes without so much as a congressional vote. Unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats should not have the power to make laws in this country, plain and simple. This basic, founding principle is given to lawmakers who must account for their votes and listen to the voice of the people they represent.
Rogers challenged Rep. Davis with language from the U.S. Constitution which says “all legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” Rep. Davis took this challenge to Washington and thus H.R. 10, the REINS Act, has become a centerpiece of the Republican House agenda.
Thomas McGarvey, who submitted this to UL, is a writer living in East Africa.
As an American expat living in East Africa, I have been amazed at how actively involved the US Drug Enforcement Administration is in these parts. I never imagined that a sub-saharan country like Kenya would be seen as warranting its own DEA office, but it does.
The amount of illegal drugs being routed to the United States via Africa is extremely small. Most drugs on the continent are routed through Western African countries, and most of these drugs are destined for European markets. So it is safe to say that the amount of illegal drugs entering the US through the East African Community is probably less than 1/100th of 1 percent. Yet, the DEA is here. Why?
The most obvious reason can be attributed to law-enforcement support the US regularly provides to allies like Kenya in enforcing its own laws and also in dealing with challenges like the Al-Shabaab terrorist organization strongly present in Somalia— Kenya’s troubled neighbor to the north.
Through this support network, the US government has established an elaborate, well-funded, and intricate web of “busy-bodies” that stretches around the globe. And this intelligence community scoops up any information that is thought to be of interest to itself or its allies. The problem arises when this information is wrong and is publicized (either by accident or design). When this happens, the lives and reputations of innocent people can be harmed or destroyed.
Recently, I met one victim, whose story is a tragic example of Big Brother’s overzealous and sometimes irresponsible intelligence-gathering and sharing practices.