Liberty

Consider carefully all costs of gambling in Wichita

Writing from Miami, Florida In a free society dedicated to personal liberty, people should be able to gamble. But that's not what we have, as in a free society dedicated to personal liberty, people wouldn't be taxed to pay for the problems that others cause in the pursuit of their happiness. How does this relate to the issue of casino gambling in Wichita and Kansas? There is a document titled "Economic & Social Impact Anlaysis [sic] For A Proposed Casino & Hotel" created by GVA Marquette Advisors for the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation and the Greater Wichita Convention and Visitors…
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A Return to republican (small “r”) government

Writing from Miami, Florida Would you rather live in a republic or a democracy? In an article by the economist Walter E. Williams (Are we a republic or a democracy?) we discover the difference between a republic and a democracy: So what's the difference between republican and democratic forms of government? John Adams captured the essence of the difference when he said, "You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments; rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights derived from the Great Legislator of the Universe." Nothing in our Constitution suggests that government is a grantor of…
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Economics In One Lesson, 50th Anniversary Edition

Economics In One Lesson, 50th Anniversary Edition Henry Hazlitt Laissez Faire Books, 1996 This book, first published in 1946, explains common fallacies (a false or mistaken idea) that are particularly common in the field of economics and public policy. At the very start of the book Mr. Hazlitt explains: Economics is haunted by more fallacies than any other study known to man. This is no accident. The inherent difficulties of the subject would be great enough in any case, but they are multiplied a thousandfold by a factor that is insignificant in, say, physics, mathematics or medicine -- the special…
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Lack of Literacy is Threat to Liberty

Writing in a recent commentary, Stephen M. Lilienthal of the Free Congress Foundation expresses concern over the literacy skills of recent college graduates. The findings of some recent studies are quite troubling. A recent study by the American Institutes for Research ("AIR") contains what should be very unsettling news. The study, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, surveyed the literacy skills of graduates of four-year colleges and two-year community and junior colleges. The ability of the students to analyze newspaper stories, comprehend documents and balance a checkbook was assessed. Over half the graduates of four-year colleges and three-quarters of the…
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Consider carefully all costs of gambling in Wichita

In a free society dedicated to personal liberty, people should be able to gamble. But that's not what we have, as in a free society dedicated to personal liberty, people wouldn't be taxed to pay for the problems that others cause in the pursuit of their happiness. How does this relate to the issue of casino gambling in or near Wichita? There is a document titled "Economic & Social Impact Anlaysis [sic] For A Proposed Casino & Hotel" created by GVA Marquette Advisors for the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation and the Greater Wichita Convention and Visitors Bureau, dated April 2004.…
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The misplaced morality of public officials

In Wichita some public officials, particularly mayor Carlos Mayans, are seeking to eliminate adult businesses and stores selling pornography. This focus on private morality lies in sharp contrast with government's large-scale acts of public immorality. If government allows people to gamble, look at nude dancers, or buy pornography and sex toys, it is not government that is "sinning" or acting immorally. Government is not requiring that we do these things. Government is merely allowing those who wish to do so to engage in these activities. But when government -- say the Wichita City Council -- takes the property of one…
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The Law by Frederic Bastiat

About a year ago I became acquainted with the writings of the economist Walter E. Williams. After reading his foreword to this book, I understand -- as Williams says himself -- how important Bastiat's writings are. As Williams says: Reading Bastiat made me keenly aware of all the time wasted, along with the frustrations of going down one blind alley after another, organizing my philosophy of life. The Law did not produce a philosophical conversion for me as much as it created order in my thinking about liberty and just human conduct. And then this: ...Bastiat's greatest contribution is that…
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Let free markets, not laws, regulate smoking

Today, in the town of Hutchinson, Kansas, an indoor smoking ban takes effect. I hope Wichita does not pass the same law. I believe the evidence that shows smoking is tremendously harmful to the health of the smoker, and also dangerous to those around the smoker. Personally, I don't care to be around smokers and I take measures to avoid places where I will be exposed to cigarette smoke. So shouldn't I favor a smoking ban in Wichita? We should let free markets instead of the government decide whether there will be smoking in places like restaurants and bars. In…
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Vioxx and personal liberty

A recent column by Thomas Sowell titled Free lunch 'safety': Part II (a link to part one is here) started with this paragraph: "The government will allow you to risk your life for the sake of recreation by sky-diving, mountain climbing or any number of other dangerous activities. But it will not allow you to risk your life for the sake of avoiding arthritis pain by taking Vioxx." I was quite astonished to see the issue of Vioxx framed this way, but it is perfectly valid to do so. It appears that taking large doses of Vioxx increased the risk…
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On Seatbelts and Helmets

I believe there is little doubt that it is foolhardy to be in an automobile without wearing seatbelts, or to ride a motorcycle without wearing a helmet. Someone inevitably claims that it is better to be thrown clear of the wreckage than to be trapped inside. But ask any race car driver -- they who witness crashes all the time and may have even been in several -- if they would dare take to the track without making use of their extensive belting systems. I believe it would be nice if we had the right to drive automobiles without wearing…
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