Sunday, December 29, 2013

My latest letter to the editor

is in The Washington Post here:
In expressing opposition to the proposed casino in Prince George’s County, Margi Willis [“ ‘Vegas on the Potomac’? No thanks, ” letters, Dec. 24] wrote that she and her husband would never go near or support any of Maryland’s casinos. That is exactly the point. Ms. Willis is free not to patronize them, while others who have different tastes are free to visit them. That is what freedom is.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

We're for religious freedom, except when we're not.

A federal judge in Utah has recently held that Utah's law prohiting cohabitation violates a polygamist family's rights to free exercise of religion and due process of law. The National Organization for Marriage and the Family Research Council are calling the decision "the next step along the path blazed by same-sex marriage advocates...." The NOM and the FRC are in effect opposing that family's freedom of religion.

I thought that opponents of marriage equality were simply trying to protect bakers' and photographers' free exercise of religion. It's almost as though their stated and actual reasons differed somewhat.

My first thought was that LGBT advocates should take every opportunity to point out the chicanery of groups like the NOM and the FRC. Then, however, I remembered how often our advocates have said that free exercise of religion should yield to anti-discrimination laws. We thus have two sides in the debate, both of which think that their preferred outcome should trump the First Amendment's free-exercise clause.

See also: The great big (non-zero-sum) game of life and Same-sex marriage and freedom of association (2)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Faux News: Residents of Nightlife District Complain to City Council About Noise, Crowds

VALLEY HILLS (Faux News): Residents of Valley Hills’ 18th Avenue nightlife district attended last night’s meeting of the city council to demand that the city government take action against the noise and crowds.

Residents of the neighborhood, famous across the state for its vibrant after-hours scene, complained of having to listen to music and crowd noise from the clubs and walk past tipsy suburbanites on their way home. Said one person who had recently moved to the 18th Avenue corridor, “Does anyone on the city council seriously believe that I would move from the suburbs to a condo directly above Club Splondeed to subject myself to that? Why isn’t anything being done?”

Another recent purchaser in the same building concurred, adding, “Condos on or near 18th Avenue are among the most expensive in the city. For what we pay to live here, we’re entitled to a little peace and quiet. Why does the city keep approving commercial land use that is clearly out of place in this neighborhood?”

Others who were fed up with the noise and crowds have found a different solution. Said one resident, “I used to have a roommate who got tired of the whole situation, so he bought a house in the county agricultural preserve. He no longer has to deal with the nightlife, but now he has to smell fertilizer. Why won’t the county board of supervisors step in and do something?”

See also: MILMOT: Make it like my old town

Thursday, December 5, 2013

On this day in history (whose lesson we mustn't learn)

On December 5, 1933, that spectacularly failed attempt at social engineering known as Prohibition ended. Everyone surely knows about its unintended consequences; even a progressive acquaintance of mine who tried to defend it acknowledged what he called "the Al Capone syndrome." The fact that so many people pursue modern-day versions of Prohibition shows statist stupidity, mendacity, or some combination thereof, depending on the statist.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


Recently, I have been making short posts directly to my Twitter feed rather than to this blog. If you don't follow me on Twitter, the terrorists will have won! Also, I follow back, and I retweet if you have something good to say.