The question is not, “Is the measles vaccine is safe and effective?” (I presume that it is.) The question is, “What are the limits of government power?” A person should not be forced to inject something into their body against their will. Period. Everyone else can take steps to defend themselves. Maybe not perfectly, but that is a price we pay for freedom. Neither government nor any majority should be able to use force against those who are peaceful and honest, and who don’t use any force or fraud against others.
President Obama should be commended for opening up diplomatic relations with Cuba. It is clear that the 50 year old policy of embargo and isolation has not worked to end the communist dictatorship. Yes, Raul Castro will try to use this change in U.S. policy to his advantage. If only for practical reasons, the embargo should end and relations should be normalized. As President Obama paraphrased, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” We need to do something different.
There are also important philosophical reasons why relations with Cuba should be normalized: people who act honestly and peacefully should not be prevented in their actions by the force of government. Voluntary free trade, including tourism, is the best way to foster good will and build better friendships. Allowing Cubans to interact more and more with U.S. citizens will ultimately change the opinions of the masses of Cubans. Hopefully, it will lead to a peaceful overthrow of the dictatorial regime similar to that of the U.S.S.R. and of East Germany.
A Supreme Court ruling today (6/30/2014) upheld our fundamental right to use our own private property in accordance with our own moral beliefs. The ruling gives priority to natural religious and private property rights over the politically created guarantee that private business owners will provide employees with a health insurance benefit that covers certain birth control pills.
The owners of Hobby Lobby objected to the Obama Care legal requirement that they provide their employees with an insurance benefit that covered morning after “abortion” pills. The law was in direct conflict with their sincerely held, honest and peaceful religious beliefs. Hobby Lobby has never used force or fraud to get people to either work for or patronize their business.
Governments are the only organizations that can legally use force against peaceful people. We created our government to use force, if necessary, to protect our fundamental right to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. Government force should not be used to make peaceful people act against their own religious beliefs – no matter how good the cause or the intentions.
By the way, I am a peaceful, honest, pro-choice, atheist, libertarian.
Should there be some limit to government spying on we citizens? Remember, we the people created our government to protect our lives, our liberty, and our property. We granted only limited powers to our government. We retained for ourselves and the States all powers not specifically granted to the federal government in the Constitution. We believe that people are innocent unless proven guilty and that there needs to be some “probable cause” before our government is allowed to search our property or intrude into our private lives. A key question is: Should private data that is held by third parties be subject to search without any probable cause? Specifically, should our government be able to “scoop up” data related to our phone calls, internet activity, or banking activity without a specific warrant based on probable cause. Today, the answer appears to be yes, our government can do that to us. I think the answer should be no. I understand that if the answer is no, that it will be more difficult for our government to protect us from terrorists. The price of freedom and liberty is not free. Along with our freedom, including privacy, comes risks: risks from which our government may not be able to protect us. At the same time, the history of humankind is littered with oppression of people by their governments. That is why our founding fathers intentionally made it difficult for our government to expand its powers.
Patents are not natural property rights. They are government created and enforced monopoly rights. It is debatable whether patents encourage or hinder innovation and inventiveness. Even if patents promote inventiveness, there is no specific optimal number of years of protection. In many instances, there is a good case to be made that no patent right,s or very limited patent rights, might spur more invention. The case of pharmaceuticals and medical devices is more complicated because of government regulations that require much greater spending before a product is allowed on the market. Even in those cases, we should err on the side of more limited monopoly rights and less use of government force and protection. Humankind has made tremendous progress by being free to copy the ideas of one another. What if fire, or the wheel, had been allowed to be patented? Would that have spurred invention? Our elected representatives should support shorter periods of time for monopoly patent protection.
Marijuana is now legal for recreational purposes in both Colorado and Washington. It will be regulated like liquor. This is a great step toward liberty and freedom. Marijuana is mostly like alcohol, but its use is unjustly discriminated against by government.
What if police burst into your house and found a six pack of beer – and arrested you – and made you attend rehab classes – and your “criminal record” made it much more difficult for you to get a job? Why is marijuana so different from alcohol? The voters of two states said it is not that different.
It is a proper role of government to create and enforce regulations to reasonably protect the general safety of citizens. Driving while intoxicated, whether by alcohol or marijuana, should be a crime. But if an activity does no harm to others, it is not a proper role of government to prohibit that activity.
The new state laws will likely be tested in the Supreme Court. I hope the Supreme Court finds it is not a proper role for the federal government to regulate the recreational use of marijuana. Alcohol and tobacco are mostly regulated by the States. Marijuana should be no different.
Leonard Read wrote the book, “Anything that’s peaceful.” It expressed the fundamental libertarian philosophy that we are each born free individuals and should be left alone by our government to pursue happiness any way we want as long as we don’t use fraud or unjustified force against anyone else. The force of government should not be used against people acting honestly, peacefully, and voluntarily with one another. Government may be the price we pay for a civil society, buy government force should not be used to take the life, liberty or justly owned property of peaceful and honest individuals. Taxes should be voluntary and users of goods and services should mostly pay their own way. Government power should be limited to those same powers that are morally justified for individuals to use. For example, you can morally capture and punish a person who attacks you, so our government can have a criminal justice system and a national defense program, But, you cannot morally take justly owned property from another person because they have too much and you have too little, or because you want to spend it on defense or roads or something else that everyone might benefit from and which will otherwise have some “free riders.”
I ask you, what is the moral justification for using the force of government to take the life, liberty, or property of a peaceful person?