college-experienceIf you live near a college campus—especially if you have occasion to drive by at midnight on a weekend—it’s clear that there’s a lot of eating out, a lot of drinking, and a lot of whatever else goes along with those things. There is no good reason to force us to subsidize this.

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Why Not Try Freedom?

May 17, 2016

Why not try freedom

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Ross Douthat makes a very concise case for torpedoing Trump’s candidacy:

All presidents are tempted by the powers of the office, and congressional abdication has only increased that temptation’s pull. President Obama’s power grabs are part of a bipartisan pattern of Caesarism, one that will likely continue apace under Hillary Clinton.

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A left-leaning friend of mine explains in a recent Facebook post that he’s not pro-choice, he’s pro-abortion.

If he were talking about anything else, he would sound like a great Lockean libertarian:

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Doesn't Pay Her Interns

Hillary Clinton wants to raise the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour.  At a speech last year, she said,

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At Hot Air, Ed Morrissey has great further discussions of how today’s Supreme Court decision threatens conservatives’ and Christians’ freedom, and what Republicans in Congress are doing about it.

2005: Our marriage won’t affect your rights.

2014: Bake a cake or be destroyed.

2015: We won’t touch your church. Promise. Tee hee.

Current events provide a reminder that however ugly our disagreements, there’s a lot of value in preserving a pluralistic, (classically) liberal society, where we leave each other free to make our own choices and live our own lives, to the extent possible.

If Germany makes it illegal to buy or sell Mein Kampf, how do they know people weren’t going to buy it in order to study history and make sure it isn’t repeated?

If we pressure Walmart etc. to stop selling Confederate battle flags, how do we know people weren’t going to buy them in order to burn them?

Speaking of Obamacare…

Both educational and entertaining, this video by Remy and Reason TV explains one of the reasons health care in America is so expensive:

Shouldn’t we get to choose what we want our health plans to cover?

Mike Lee provides a useful reminder that conservatism values the rich tapestry of voluntary associations and private organizations that grow organically in a free society over a long period of time.  (As conservatives, we certainly care about the poor; we believe that it is better for care to be provided in the context of those institutions, rather than mechanically transacted by the government.)  To the extent that the government imposes a stunted, flat vision for society—in which there is increasingly only the state and individuals, and nothing else—it destroys that complex ecosystem, which will not easily be rebuilt.

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NSA T-shirtVia Mark Steyn, this is pretty interesting (and so unconstitutional):  Someone creates a shirt making fun of the NSA, and puts it up for sale on Zazzle; it quickly gets yanked.  Salon has the story: “The parody shirt the NSA doesn’t want you to wear”

Two days after the world learned the National Security Agency logs practically every American phone call, the agency had started cracking down on entrepreneurs who made fun of it.

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Under SiegeThe Blaze reports that Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, have closed their cake shop.  In January, they declined to make a wedding cake for a Lesbian couple; liberals responded with an avalanche of hate mail and, more sinister, a campaign of harassment not only against the cake shop itself but also against vendors and others who normally did business with them.  (Their lawyer describes it as economic terrorism.)  This liberal bullying succeeded.

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Here’s another story we can all agree on, maybe.  Courthouse News Service reports on the following police abuses in Las Vegas, according to the legal complaint (the victims are now suing the government):

“On the morning of July 10th, 2011, officers from the Henderson Police Department responded to a domestic violence call at a neighbor’s residence,” the Mitchells say in the complaint.

It continues: “At 10:45 a.m. defendant Officer Christopher Worley (HPD) contacted plaintiff Anthony Mitchell via his telephone. Worley told plaintiff that police needed to occupy his home in order to gain a ‘tactical advantage’ against the occupant of the neighboring house. Anthony Mitchell told the officer that he did not want to become involved and that he did not want police to enter his residence. . . .

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Here’s a pretty interesting news item.

When a half-dozen men and a woman in street clothes closed in on University of Virginia student Elizabeth Daly, 20, she and two roommates panicked.

That led to Daly spending a night and an afternoon in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail. Her initial offense? Walking to her car with bottled water, cookie dough and ice cream just purchased from the Harris Teeter in the Barracks Road Shopping Center for a sorority benefit fundraiser.

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Yesterday, on the 11th anniversary of September 11th, “Egyptian protesters scaled the walls of the U.S. embassy . . . , tore down the American flag and burned it” (Reuters) and “U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens was killed when Libyan militants stormed the U.S. consulate” (ABC News).  (Apparently three others were also killed.)  The first, and perhaps the second, was apparently prompted by the making of an independent film about Mohammed.  ABC:

The attack on the consulate in Benghazi came shortly after protesters in Cairo, Egypt, scaled the walls of the U.S. embassy and tore down the American flag in an angry demonstration against a movie about the life of the Prophet Muhammad, depicting the founder of Islam as a fraud and a womanizer.

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Mark Steyn, as usual, is must-read material:

And when America slides off the cliff it lands with a much bigger thud than Greece or Iceland. I’m not certain that the Republicans will be able to prevent that happening. But I know that the Democrats can’t. America owes more money than anybody has ever owed anyone in the history of the planet. But millions of Americans don’t see it, and millions of those who do see it don’t see it as a problem.

. . . Sexual liberty, even as every other liberty withers, is all that matters: A middle-school girl is free to get an abortion without parental consent, but if she puts a lemonade stand on her lawn she’ll be fined. What a bleak and reductive concept of “personal freedom.”

Liberty Defined, Briefly

July 27, 2012

A reader recently asked how I would define liberty.  Great question!

I claim no special expertise, but here is how I would outline the topic:  By “liberty” in a broad sense, I mean to comprehend at least three main categories: life, liberty in a narrower sense, and property.  (These three categories are probably not exhaustive, but that may depend on how narrowly you construe them.  They may also not be perfectly separable—if you think about them enough, they may inevitably blur into each other.  I think they are nevertheless useful categories.)

(See also rights to life, liberty, and property in our state constitutions.)

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More on Obamacare

July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day!  What better way to celebrate than with another depressing Mark Steyn column about our increasing dependence and the slow death of liberty?

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Drudge and the AP are reporting that the Supreme Court has judged the individual mandate not unconstitutional.  Glenn Beck suggests that the reason Chief Justice John Roberts joined the liberals on this vote (making it 6-3 rather than 5-4) is so that he could write the opinion and make it as narrow as possible, minimizing the damage it can do in the future.  (Given the impressions I came away with from constitutional-law class about the two partial-birth-abortion Supreme Court cases, I can believe it.  Roberts is a wily one—that is, according to some people’s interpretation of his actions.)

(Correction and updates below the fold.)

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Glenn Beck has organized lemonade stands and bake sales across the country today to help children learn to about enterprise and “entrepreneurship”, and to raise money to feed the poor.

Find a location near you and drink to our freedom!

Related entries:

I ran across this while doing Internet searches and reading up on the American Progressive movement, and thought it was pretty well put:

When a liberal says our government is “dysfunctional,” what he invariably means is that it does not vigorously churn out the sorts of egalitarian, freedom-destroying legislation that will propel us (even more quickly) in the direction Europe has already traveled.  When conservatives contemplate what a liberal means by “functional,” we say “bring on the dysfunction, baby!”  The American system’s separation of powers, checks and balances, bicameralism, federalism, and pluralism routinely result in the government’s utter failure to get anything done.  Thank goodness.  While there are important things that need doing, nearly all of them fall in the category of “undoings”—undoing the achievements of all that “functional” government liberals love, which have made us less wealthy and less free.