I’m saddened to learn this morning that Siobhan Reynolds died over the weekend in a plane crash.
I met Reynolds several years ago when I attended a forum on Capitol Hill on the under-treatment of pain. Her story about her husband’s chronic pain was so heartbreaking it moved me to take an interest in the issue. I eventually commissioned and edited a paper on the DEA and pain treatment while I was working for Cato.
Reynolds was fierce and tireless. She ran her advocacy group the Pain Relief Network on a thin budget, and often used her own money to travel to towns and cities where she felt prosecutors were unfairly targeting a doctor. And then she’d fight back. And sometimes she’d win. And the DEA and the federal prosecutors she fought weren’t really accustomed to that.
Harry Browne was the Libertarian Party nominee for President in 1996 and 2000. Harry passed on in 2006. This article was originally published in 2003.
On this date in 1886, the Statue of Liberty was first unveiled in New York Harbor.
You're probably aware that the Statue wasn't built in America. It was built with money voluntarily raised from the people of France — and then erected in New York Harbor with money voluntarily raised from the people of the United States.
Then & Now
Today, 117 years later, that America doesn't exist anymore — even though politicians love to talk about "our freedoms."
In 1886 America had an open hand to the rest of the world. America didn't fear anyone and no one feared America. Today Americans live in a state of siege.
The idea of invading the Philippines or bombing the Sudan or intervening in Nicaragua or overturning a government in the Dominican Republic or starting a war with Iraq would have seemed ludicrous to the American people in 1886. As John Quincy Adams put it, America didn't go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. Today America has troops in over a hundred foreign countries.
Last May, New Jersey’s Supreme Court delivered the 21st Abbott vs. Burke decision, appropriating $500 million more from the state treasury for Abbott school districts. However, New Jersey’s history of court-ordered taxation to fund education originated with the Gross Income Tax Act of 1976. Advertised as a means to lower property taxes and limit the growth of public spending, the income tax was forced on residents by the court in order to improve student performance in economically disadvantaged districts by increasing per-pupil spending to the level of the wealthier districts.
For Immediate Release
Friday, September 16, 2011
WASHINGTON - In honor of Constitution Day, Libertarian Party Executive Director Wes Benedict released the following statement today:
"Tomorrow, September 17, is Constitution Day: the anniversary of the agreement on the U.S. Constitution by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787.
"When I think about that anniversary, I am saddened by how far we have strayed from our original respect for the Constitution. But I am hopeful for the future.
"The value of a constitution is that it binds government and prevents pure majority rule. Without it, government tends to grow without bounds as political majorities find ways to constrain and take money from political minorities.
"Fortunately, the American Founders were well aware of this problem. They created a Constitution to limit the federal government's powers to just a few narrow functions.
While Article VI of the U.S. Constitution states that “…no religious test shall be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States,” throughout history, there have been those elements in society that have attempted, and sometimes succeeded, in applying that which the Constitution strictly forbids.
In the presidential election of 1800, those elements applied the religious test to Thomas Jefferson in his contest with Aaron Burr solely because Jefferson was a Deist. In 1928, the test was applied to Al Smith because he was a Catholic. In 1960, the test was applied to John Fitzgerald Kennedy because he was also a Catholic. In 2011, these elements, in which a majority of them can be found in the mainstream press, are applying the test to Republican candidates Michelle Bachmann, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry.
Since the Progressive Era, a belief has been established by the American people that when something is wrong in society, that it is the duty of government to act and get involved. Often times, the remedies that they put forth and enact make matters only worse for the people that it is suppose to serve. Furthermore, when the situation does make the matter unbearable, government cures it all with more government intervention. For example, if there aren’t adequate housing apartments in a great metropolis, government forces landlords and landowners to reduce their rents through Rent Stabilization laws, i.e. Rent Control. This causes even more of a shortage of housing apartments (We see this case in New York City). If people are worried about high incidents of crime being committed afterhours in big cities like Newark, New Jersey, they call on the City Council and The Mayor to act. Recently, the City Council passed and Mayor Cory Booker signed a law that if business establishments were open afterhours, then these businesses must hire contract security. This law will cause some businesses to close and will cause others to lose money. If the automobile industry is not building enough hybrid or fuel efficient motor vehicles, then government uses CAFE standards to punish these businesses until they comply, never mind that some of these standards causes safety hazards in designs and construction.
Suppose that the welfare state, with its promise of cradle to grave entitlements and its promise of wealth redistribution, “social justice,” and “benefits,” ceased to exist. Suppose that the welfare state, constructed during the progressive and New Deal era and afterwards, ended totally and permanently. What would happen? If we are to believe the progressive philosophy, old people, the unemployed, the weak and the needy, children, the disabled and others would suffer immensely. The progressives, along with “moderates” and “compassionate conservatives” would claim that the streets of every town, hamlet and city would be littered with a sea of human misery and awash in human tragedy. I believe otherwise.
If the welfare state were to end, the following would transpire:
In his book, ‘Leviathan,” it was Thomas Hobbs that wrote that in the state of nature, man is entitled to everything. He or she is not only entitled to his or her own property and possessions, but also to the property and possessions of others. To some in this society, this kind of reasoning is a sacrilege and an abomination to civilized and human norms. However, when one survey’s the environment and the politicians not only in Washington, D.C. but around the globe, there is no question that Hobbs’ philosophy is followed down to the last letter.