Reason Magazine

Nanny Staters Should Mind Their Own Business

Nanny State

In the midst of the debates about banning firearms with certain features, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s failed attempt to ban New Yorkers from drinking soft drinks he felt were too large, and the debate over whether or not same sex couples should have the ability to enter into a legal contract to have the same legal rights and responsibilities as married heterosexual couples, a thought occurred to me: “Gee there are a lot of people out there who just want to ban things!”

Why is this impulse so prevalent in our society? It seems that nearly everyone wants to be free to live their lives as they see fit. I haven’t met too many people who favor any notion of limiting their freedom because elected officials passed a law or majority of fellow citizens took a vote. When it comes to one’s own personal liberties, everyone is a libertarian! Consider that the Gadsen flag underneath the coiled rattlesnake reads: “Don’t Tread on Me.”

But far too many of these same people who jealously defend their own liberties are more than eager to limit someone else’s when that someone else engages in an activity that, for whatever reason, offends them. No, when it comes to other people, these people who don’t want their liberties tread on are not libertarian but majoritarian (i.e. political might makes right).

Reason is Wrong: Austrian Economics Doesn’t Explain the NHL Lockout


Reason has a piece out ostensibly using Austrian economics to explain the NHL lockout. I love Reason, I really do, but this article is garbage. First, the fact that it quotes super-douche hockey agent cum wanna-be-twitter celebrity Alan Walsh almost immediately makes the rest of the article lack any real credibility. Quoting Alan Walsh on what Gary Bettman thinks makes less sense than quoting Paris Hilton on what Barack Obama thinks.

Election Eve Meditation

Cross-posted from The Dangerous Servant.


I don’t like to make political endorsements and, on principle, I certainly don’t discuss my vote before an election (the protection a secret ballot offers me from harassment and intimidation only works if I keep my preference a secret). I was stunned to read in an email yesterday, “I had no idea high-information, intelligent undecided voters even existed!” You know, as if the choice between an underwhelming incumbent president, an underwhelming challenger, a list of names with no mathematical chance to win, and not voting at all is an easy one to make. If your only goal is to beat the incumbent, then your decision is easier than mine. I, however, don’t only want to beat the incumbent; I want to elect a president worthy of the exercise of one of my most sacred rights, the right to vote.

TSA: Drinking the bong water

TSA gets a tough rap.  Let’s face it folks, these people do a tough, tough job, and all they get from us is nothing but derision, despite their hard work  They keep us safe from terrorists and all we can do…

…OK, sorry, I just can’t keep typing that crap without laughing my butt off.

Seriously, TSA is about as idiotic an organization as could possibly exist.  Even if they were a good idea, the Department of Homeland Security can’t seem to get all that much right.  The TSA, and their idea of keeping the nation safe is a prime example:

A recent TSA blog post cites several cases in which the agency’s screeners stopped travelers from carrying guns or knives onto airplanes: “the passenger in Boston who had a steak knife in his carry-on bag; the El Paso passenger with a 6 ½-inch hunting knife in his carry-on bag; the LaGuardia Airport passenger who had eight rounds of 9 mm ammunition in his bag; the JFK Airport passenger who had a 6-inch butterfly knife in his bag; and the New Orleans passenger who had a loaded .380 caliber firearm—with a bullet in the chamber—in his carry-on bag.” I’m not sure those eight 9mm rounds posed much of a threat, unless the passenger planned to hurl them at people. And as a commenter notes on the TSA blog, there is no indication that any of these passengers intended to harm anyone. But at least guns and knives are weapons (or potential weapons) that theoretically could be used to hijack a plane.

VIDEO: Alfonzo Rachel on Libertarians

I’ve long held that, to be effective politically, conservatives and libertarians (or center-right independents) need to find common ground, and that if libertarians want to see policy and political change, it needs to be an inside job.

While this video isn’t surprising, it’s sad to me to see an outspoken conservative like Alfonzo Rachel divisively deriding libertarians as the 2012 cycle begins to pick up. It’s the kind of stuff that makes me want to stay home on Election Day.

Consider this an open thread.

Podcast: Chatting with Radley Balko

We’re kicking the United Liberty Podcast off again this week with Jason and Brett speaking to Radley Balko, senior editor at Reason magazine and blogger at The Agitator (a favorite of ours here at UL).

The discussion centers around the alarming trend in police militarization and the murders Kathryn Johnston and Johnathan Ayers. We also discussed Cory Maye’s case (video here) in Mississippi and Radley’s work in exposing the questionable methods of Dr. Steven Hayne, a forensic pathologist whose tesitmony at Maye’s trail was essential the death sentence handed down by the jury.

Maye has since been granted a new trail by Mississippi Court of Appeals.

To download the podcast, right-click here and choose “Save Link As…” The introduction music is once again “Silence is Violence” by the always lovely Aimee Allen.

Watch Reason’s absolutely amazing response to the call for a disastrous minimum wage increase

So, last week, Funny or Die released a video featuring actress Kristen Bell as a Mary Poppins who is struggling to work as a nanny on a $7.25 hourly wage. Basically, it’s a nearly 3-minute video making the case for President Barack Obama’s $10.10 minimum wage increase.

“Just a $3 increase can make a living wage,” Bell, star of Disney’s hit animated flick Frozen, sings to the tune of “A Spoonful of Sugar” from the 1964 film, Mary Poppins. “It makes a living wage. It makes a living wage.”

Well, Reason TV respond with its own Mary Poppins-style short. In the video, Remy, a comedian who frequently works with Reason on videos that parody current events and policy in hilarious videos and equally funny songs, plays a chimney-sweeper who explains the unintended consequences of a minimum wage increase.

“Just 3 pages of Econ. And perhaps your mind will change. When free people arrange
Voluntary exchange,” Remy says. “Just 3 pages of Econ. With this talk of ‘living wage,’ tell me, what do you folks pay?”

Watch the video below:

Republicans must abandon corporate welfare and learn to leave Americans alone if they want to win elections

The Republican Party has a fever, and Sen. Rand Paul has the cure. In an interview with Reason’s Nick Gillespie at last week’s Lincoln Labs’ Reboot Conference, the Kentucky Republican explained that the GOP can find electoral success if they learn how to stay out of Americans’ personal lives and abandon corporate welfare.

Paul and Gillespie chatted about several topics — including the seemingly shifting political dynamics in Silicon Valley, innovation and regulations, and foreign policy — before moving onto

“I think Republicans could only win in general if they become more live and let live — ‘leave me alone,’” said Paul. “Grover Norquist will talk about this sometimes, this ‘Leave Me Alone’ Coalition.” He explained that the GOP may not be a “pro-choice, pro-gay marriage party,” but he envisions one in which people with differing views on social issues work together to limit the federal government.

“And I think that live and live, agree to disagree kind of amalgamation in the party will allow us to be big enough to win,” he said, adding that Republicans can reach out to reach out to Millennials with a pro-privacy, anti-NSA message. 

It’s time to end Ex-Im: This New Deal relic costs too much, doesn’t boost exports, and is rife with cronyism

President Barack Obama and Big Business have teamed up with politicians from both sides of the aisle to push reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, a New Deal-era federal agency that makes billions of dollars worth of taxpayer-backed loans to politically-connected businesses.

In a new video from Reason TV, Nick Gillespie gives three reasons why Congress should end the crony Export-Import Bank.

The first reason, Gillespie explains, is expensive. “In 2012 alone, Ex-Im authorized $36 billion in loans, guarantees, and insurance,” he says. “The bank can carry a portfolio of up to $150 billion, meaning that taxpayers could be on the hook that much money.”

ReasonTV: Happy (Tax Day Edition)

See Video

ReasonTV has put out a video in honor of Tax Day to the tune of “Happy” by Pharell Williams. They point out that we DON’T want to pay for things like outhouse in the middle of the woods, a camel statue from Pakistan, and studies on quails.

As they say in the video, “It’s crappy!” But if you don’t pay up, you’re going to jail. Happy Tax Day!

The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.