[COLUMN] Time To End Death Penalty

SQ_Lethal_Injection_Room

It’s time to make our justice system more equitable. It’s time to make our justice system less barbaric. It’s time to end the death penalty, in Ohio and nationally.

This was brought home in Ohio on Jan. 16 with the suffocating execution of Dennis McGuire. It took 20 minutes for McGuire to die as he was gasping for breath.

The state used an experimental cocktail of drugs that had never before been used in a lethal injection. It resulted in the state’s fourth botched execution in a decade. And the state, in its wisdom, has five more executions scheduled this year using the same combination of drugs or, perhaps, experimenting with other combinations, essentially using humans as guinea pigs.

Two weeks after the torture of McGuire, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced the federal government would seek the execution of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the accused bombers at last year’s Boston Marathon where three people were killed and 264 wounded.

I get the desire for retribution. McGuire was convicted of doing horrible things. Tsarnaev is accused of doing horrible things. Does that excuse the government doing a horrible thing?

Two wrongs, the ancient wisdom tells us, does not make a right.

Aside from the moral problem associated with state-sanctioned murder, there are very practical reasons to eliminate the death penalty.

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Posted in Column, Courts, Death Penalty, Justice System | 34 Comments

[COLUMN] Every American Should Read ‘The Law’

Bastiat, Frederic

“Self-preservation and development is the common aspiration of all men, in such a way that if every one enjoyed the free exercise of his faculties and the free disposition of their fruits, social progress would be incessant, uninterrupted, inevitable.” Frédéric Bastiat, “The Law”

A friend recently asked me a question about Frédéric Bastiat’s “The Law,” which, of course, prompted me to reread this classic.

If I were to compile a list of books every American should read, near the top would be such great works as Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” (1776) and the “Rights of Man” (1791). Also, you would find Adam Smith’s “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” (1776); Alexis de Tocqueville’s two-volume set “On Democracy in America” (1835 and 1840); and “The Federalist” (1788) and “The Complete Anti-Federalist” (1981). And, of course, no list of required reading would be complete without “Two Treatises of Government,” published anonymously in 1689 by the father of classical liberalism, John Locke.

However, were I forced to narrow that list down to one book, it would have to be “The Law.” Because this masterpiece was written in 1850, it is available freely online or you can pick up an ebook version for less than a dollar.

Bastiat was a 19th century French economist, but his work describes 21st century America to a T.

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Posted in Column, Constitution, Economy, History, Libertarianism, Welfare | 16 Comments

[COLUMN] Big Government Killing Economic Freedom In USA

World Map of Economic Freedom

The Wall Street Journal and Heritage Foundation published its 2014 Index of Economic Freedom last week and the results, while not surprising, portend a dire future for the United States and liberty if we continue down President Barack Obama’s path to poverty.

This year’s report (http://j.mp/Ldrr5X) is the 20th anniversary gauging the economic freedom of various nations. The Index covers 10 freedoms — from property rights to entrepreneurship — in 186 countries.

So what is economic freedom? According to the report:

“Economic freedom is the fundamental right of every human to control his or her own labor and property. In an economically free society, individuals are free to work, produce, consume, and invest in any way they please. In economically free societies, governments allow labor, capital and goods to move freely, and refrain from coercion or constraint of liberty beyond the extent necessary to protect and maintain liberty itself.”

In the report, the United States has fallen out of the top 10. In 2008, the United States was ranked sixth, a “free country.” Now, after five years of Obama, the United States is ranked 12th, or a “mostly free” country. A precipitous drop for a nation that once stood as a beacon of liberty in a world of tyranny. The old cliché, “It’s a free country,” is quickly losing any relevance thanks to big government lovers who would rather sell themselves into slavery in exchange for some future hope that Big Brother will take care of them.

The report is an indictment big government generally and the Obama administration specifically. According to the report on the United States:

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Posted in Economy, Government spending, Individual Liberty, Libertarianism, Regulation, Taxes | 4 Comments

[COLUMN] Longer Jobless Benefits Help No One

unemployment-line-great-depression_large_imageThe argument for jobless benefits is another example of Obamanomics: Why help people when you can simply hand them a check and make them dependent on government?

This has been the underlying theme of President Barack Obama’s administration. Don’t let them become self-sufficient. Do not let them help themselves. Just give them a check and make them a slave to the government.

But handouts, while making liberal lawmakers feel good about themselves, do not make a sound economic policy and, in the end, do not help anyone.

If you need proof, just look at the fact that we are in the weakest economic recovery since the Great Depression, when another economically illiterate president thought he could improve the economy by putting the country on the public dole building dams and by creating the biggest boondoggle in U.S. history, the Ponzi scheme commonly called Social Security.

Fortunately for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a world war saved his legacy, at least among the uninformed masses.

Fortunately for us, no world war is going to save the Obama administration.

Unfortunately for the economic health of the United States, the administration wants to extend long-term unemployment benefits. Apparently, it is easier to write a check than actually fix the problem.

And there is a problem. More than 11 million people are unemployed and millions more have left the workforce.

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Posted in Column, Economy, Obama | 21 Comments

[COLUMN] New York Times Launches Clinton Campaign

Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Mike Mullen and Commander, U.S. Strategic Command, Gen. James E. Cartwright, testify during their confirmation hearings for appointment to Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

If anyone had any doubt about the bias and untrustworthiness of The New York Times, its Dec. 28 report on the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and its Dec. 30 editorial on the same subject should have put all doubt to rest.

Indeed, the whole ridiculous report by the Times was nothing but the opening salvo in its effort to put Hillary Rodham Clinton in the White House in 2017. The Times’ editorial demonstrates that Clinton’s possible 2016 presidential run was on their minds.

“Republicans long ago abandoned common sense and good judgment in pursuit of conspiracy-mongering and an obsessive effort to discredit President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who may run for president in 2016,” the editorial board wrote.

At the crux of the Times’ so-called “exhaustive investigation” was the ridiculously ignorant claim that the whole melee that resulted in the deaths of four Americans stemmed from a YouTube video, which was an awfully campy trailer for the homemade anti-Islam movie, “Innocence of Muslims.” The movie itself does not appear to actually exist and even the actual title is in dispute.

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Posted in 2016 Presidential Election, Column, Elections, Media, Obama, War, War on Terror | 4 Comments

[COLUMN] Jesus Was More Libertarian Than Statist

The Sermon on the Mount Carl Bloch, 1890As you might imagine, I receive quite a bit of correspondence in this job. It used to be largely through the Postal Service or hand delivered. Today, it is, of course, mostly email or messages through other social media services.

Last week, I received an old-fashioned letter through the mail from a reader. I won’t say who it is from, but he has written before and his arguments are refreshingly thoughtful and well-articulated, unlike the vast majority of remarks opposing my views. Most people, unfortunately, will simply tell me I am wrong without any counterargument or even facts to back up their statements and then proceed to utter some foul remark concerning my mother or some other hateful comment.

Alas, that is the state of public discourse in 21st century America.

But I digress.

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Posted in Column, Constitution, History, Individual Liberty, Libertarianism, Religion | 1 Comment

[COLUMN] Nativity Story A Warning Against Big Government

Gerard_van_Honthorst_001On earth peace to men of good will.” Or, as one modern biblical translation has it today, “(O)n earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Or, if you are a King James fan, “(O)n earth peace, good will toward men.” More popularly, “Peace on Earth and good will toward men.”

Regardless of where you fall on the age-old debate on the exact translation of the Annunciation to the Shepherds episode in the Nativity story in the Gospel of Luke, the sentiment has come to reflect the meaning of Christmas through the ages.

I’m not a fan of Christmas. I prefer more serenity in my holidays and Christmas in 21st century America is anything but serene. Yes, one could argue that Christmas is what you make of it, but it is hard to avoid the madhouse that Christmas has become.

Despite that, the life story of a young stonemason who, in three short years, forever changed the course of human history, is still the greatest story ever told, even if you don’t believe he was the Christ. Think about it: Most of the world is preparing to celebrate his birth some 2,000 years later, and it’s not just the religious. Even nonbelievers.

It seems so unfortunate, though, that Christmas has degenerated into an orgy of unbridled commercialism. That is not to say I am opposed to commercialism and people are certainly free to mark holidays however they wish. Still, that does not mean I can’t dream of a Christmas holiday filled with tranquility rather than Black Friday, Cyber Monday and all the other little gimmicks retailers use to guide the flocks to their stores.

But I digress.

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Posted in Column, History, Holidays, Libertarianism | 10 Comments

[COLUMN] Rejecting Libertarianism Is Perplexing

libertarianism

Americans in larger numbers are embracing the ideas, at least to some extent, of libertarianism. This is in large part because of the increasing degradations of our personal liberties over at least the last couple of decades thanks to big government liberals and authoritarian conservatives.

Still, I am amazed that more Americans do not embrace libertarianism, or what I prefer to call it, classical liberalism. After all, our Founding Fathers were, largely, classical liberals. This country was found on libertarian values.

The problem seems to be a lack of understanding of libertarianism mixed with an active misinformation campaign from Democrats and Republicans, because the last thing the two major parties want to see is an upsurge of people advocating for liberty. It is a threat to their duopoly on power.

Libertarianism is simple. It is not a Utopian philosophy. No one claims that a libertarian society would be a perfect society. But it would be a fair and just society. And, perhaps more importantly, it would be a flourishing and prosperous society without the yoke of massive and costly government regulations beyond those needed to protect people from fraud.

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Posted in Column, Constitution, Economy, History, Individual Liberty | 10 Comments

[COLUMN] Ending Democracy with a gavel, not a bomb

Harry Reid

The hypocrisy of the left has soared to new heights and the American people are the ones being damaged.

In what can only be classified as a raw power grab, the likes of which have rarely been seen in the history of the Republic, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and 51 of his Democratic buddies have shamefully overturned more than two centuries of lawmaking precedent.

And the legions of uninformed voters with D’s on their voter registration cards cheered the collapse of another pillar of freedom as the American march toward totalitarianism picks up speed. Indeed, after the vote Reid threw a party. Nothing like popping Champagne after a hard day of radically transforming America into something it shouldn’t be.

Reid’s move eliminates the ability of the minority party to filibuster most presidential nominees and gives President Barack Obama carte blanche power to appoint hundreds of socialists/communists/fascists to important federal posts, including judges who serve for life. And all without any check whatsoever by the minority party.

Indeed, this allows 51 Americans to fundamentally alter American society for generations.

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Posted in Column, Constitution, Obama, Obama Voters | 3 Comments

[COLUMN] Uninformed electorate killing America

jefferson-portrait

The capacity of the human mind to believe the fanciful when it comports with preconceived notions or desires is fantastic.

This is the reason, at least in part, why Thomas Jefferson despised the media of his day.

As Jefferson told Walter Jones in 1814, “I deplore … the putrid state into which our newspapers have passed and the malignity, the vulgarity, and mendacious spirit of those who write for them. … As vehicles of information and a curb on our functionaries, they have rendered themselves useless by forfeiting all title to belief. … This has, in a great degree, been produced by the violence and malignity of party spirit.”

Still, despite his understandable hatred of the media, Jefferson famously told Eward Carrington in 1787, “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. … I am convinced that those societies (as the Indians) which live without government enjoy in their general mass an infinitely greater degree of happiness than those who live under European governments.”

Jefferson tolerated the newspapers because, like government, he saw them as a necessary evil. This is because he knew knowledge was the fundamental key to a free society.

Once again, in his own words, “The cornerstone of democracy rests on the foundation of an educated electorate.”

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Posted in Column, Elections, Media, Obama Voters | 4 Comments