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Archive for June 11th, 2008

She was 82. He was 95. They had dementia. They fell in love. And then they started having sex.

What happened next? Read this to find out.

Speaking strictly for myself, I will do everything — and I really mean everything — in my power to ensure that my freedom can never be curtailed by a loved one or anyone else. I’d sooner end my life than give in to a situation where someone else has the power to vet my actions. 

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Ronald Bailey explains why a Windfall Profits Tax on oil companies, currently favoured by Obama, will end up driving prices higher.

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So Bob Barr, former Republican, presently the Libertarian candidate for president, was once at the forefront of the war on drugs. How did he change his mind?

Now, you may be asking how this happened and my answer is simple: “The libertarians won.”

For more than three decades, the Libertarian Party and small “l” libertarians have done their part to prove to America that liberty is the answer to most of the problems that we face today. Over the past several years, I was one of the many people influenced by this small party.

Whether through the free market or by simply allowing families to make their own decisions regarding the education of their children, libertarians have taught us that liberty does truly work.

In stark contrast, when government attempts to solve our societal problems, it tends to create even more of them, often increasing the size and depth of the original problem. A perfect example of this is the federal War on Drugs.

For years, I served as a federal prosecutor and member of the House of Representatives defending the federal pursuit of the drug prohibition.

Today, I can reflect on my efforts and see no progress in stopping the widespread use of drugs. I’ll even argue that America’s drug problem is larger today than it was when Richard Nixon first coined the phrase, “War on Drugs,” in 1972.

America’s drug problem is only compounded by the vast amounts of money directed at this ongoing battle. In 2005, more than $12 billion dollars was spent on federal drug enforcement efforts while another $30 billion was spent to incarcerate non-violent drug offenders.

The result of spending all of those taxpayer’s dollars? We now have a huge incarceration tab for non-violent drug offenders and, at most, a 30% interception rate of hard drugs. We are also now plagued with the meth labs that are popping up like poisonous mushrooms across the country.

While it is clear the War on Drugs has been a failure, it is not enough to simply acknowledge that reality. We need to look for solutions that deal with the drug problem without costly and intrusive government agencies, and instead allow for private industry and organizations to put forward solutions that address the real problems.

(Link via The Volokh Conspiracy)

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Also, read this amusing article.

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One of the many good arguments libertarians and other advocates of complete free speech offer in support of their position is the slippery-slope argument. Basically, once you restrict certain types of speech, the bar is lowered and the censorship gets more and more oppressive with the passage of time. The result is a slow but steady decline into a society without any real freedom of speech.

Just how bad can this slippery slope be, sceptics may wonder? Surely those at the helm of affairs are sensible people and will know where to draw the line?

Well it can be really, really bad. For an example, look at this decision out of Canada, more specifically the Alberta Human Rights Commission. The heroic Ezra Levant, who faced the same commission a few months later in this video, calls it the most revolting order he has ever seen in Canada. Eugene Volokh calls it a “breathtakingly broad prohibition, which extends far beyond the terms of the (already troubling) statute.” So what does the ruling say?

Well, ladies and gentleman, it orders Stephen Boisson, the defendant, and an organization called “The Concerned Christian Coalition” to 

cease publishing in newspapers, by email, on the radio, in public speeches, or on the internet, in future, disparaging remarks about gays and homosexuals.

That’s right. Because a certain letter that Boisson sent to the editor of a newspaper contained his opinion that homosexuality is immoral he can never again express any opinion of that nature in speech, writing or even email. This isn’t China or Iran or some ancient autocracy but 21st century Canada. A country that, unlike rigid US of A, was `progressive’ enough to write a hate-speech exception into its free-speech laws. The result was a hate-speech law which — unlike defamation — does not differentiate between factual claims and opinion nor allow truth as a defence. It was meant to be used in only the most extreme of circumstances. Canada’s Supreme Court dismissed fears of abuse in its upholding of the law, saying,

as long as human rights tribunals continue to be well aware of the purpose of [this law] and pay heed to the ardent and extreme nature of feeling described in that phrase, there is little danger that subjective opinion as to offensiveness will supplant the proper meaning of the section.

Welcome to reality, Sirs. 

(For more accounts of assaults on freedom by Canada’s human rights commissions, check out Ezra Levant’s excellent blog. Also, check out this article on the ongoing Maclean’s trial.)

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