The most disappointing thing about Justin Corr’s piece at KTVB.com called “More drug dogs help Idaho cops battle traffickers“ isn’t that its author expresses unwavering faith in the hopelessly failed “War on Drugs”; it’s that Corr misses a great opportunity to do some actual reporting and thereby potentially improve the Treasure Valley. Rather than question even a single claim made by government officials, Corr chose to act as a mouthpiece by simply parroting the conventional wisdom of current drug policy that has done very little to actually protect and improve our communities. Continue reading
Water Rights and Wrongs
The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is gearing up to regulate “literally all streams, no matter the size, within the United States,” according to IdahoReporter.com. And this new power to dictate the use of canals and that tiny stream on your back forty comes from which new law, you ask? Why, none at all. It comes from an old law – specifically, the EPA’s reinterpretation of the Clean Water Act of 1972. In other words, a Washington, D.C. agency of unelected bureaucrats created by Congress will redefine a 42-year-old law on a whim. Continue reading
Idaho lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow anyone with Idaho’s enhanced concealed-carry permit to carry a gun on campus. In spite of my devotion to firearm freedoms, I am hardly moved by the predictable knee-jerk reactions on both sides. I embrace the right to self-defense, but the 2nd amendment – along with the rest of the Bill of Rights – was only meant to restrain the federal government, not state governments. Recognizing this would go a lot further toward increasing the freedom of Idahoans than blind ideological devotion to a certain conception of political or natural rights. Continue reading
Note: This article is the fourth of a series on the political concept of secession. The series will explore some historical aspects, and we certainly welcome comments on the historical record. But it will largely focus on contemporary questions of a theoretical and practical nature, striving to shed light on how the principle of secession relates to political life today.
Secessionist of all stripes – yes, they exist across the entire political continuum – are sometimes thought of as (or accused of) having a “secessionist ideology.” But to defend secession in principle and to hold a secessionist ideology are two very different things. Principles are the reasonable, meaningful general ideas that guide action, but ideologies should be recognized as corrupted principles detached from reality.
The distinction is a meaningful one. Principle and ideology are meaningfully distinguished, and we ignore the difference at our own political peril. Continue reading
I wanted to share this insightful piece by Michael Munger, originally published in the Freeman magazine and addressed to libertarians, explaining how democracy can destroy democratic values. What do I mean by this? Well, I think we can define democratic values as those that empower the individual to self-govern. I don’t think anyone who speaks of “democratic values” favorably thinks literally of what democracy often ends up being in practice: a tyrannical majority voting for someone so that he or she can tell us all how to live.
Alexis de Tocqueville wrote about this problem in Democracy in America, where the problem he saw in French democracy was that people were so isolated and therefore ineffective because they had few intermediary institutions between themselves and the state. Most French came to see the government as the only organization that could affect change.
Here is the money quote by Munger:
Tocqueville criticizes his countrymen in France. He had seen, in the legacy of the French Revolution, the damage that political democracy and a reliance on majority rule could do.But when I read his critique today, I get a sick feeling. His criticism of France in 1831 is an even more scathing indictment of American society today. We have become a political democracy: Voting is the extent of civic action, and interest-group lobbying for power and wealth is the only route open to solve civic problems.The American spirit does not allow for sitting back and waiting for the State do it. If you are my neighbor, I’ll help you, and you’ll help me. We have direct, powerful, voluntary connections based on a thickly woven moral fabric of reciprocal obligations, complex organizations, and intricate relationships voluntarily negotiated and voluntarily ended.Democracy, to the extent that it substitutes votes for action and taxes for charity, enfeebles the natural impulse people have to help each other. State action crowds out voluntary private associations. If the government is supposed to take care of all of us, then I have no moral obligation to pitch in, to help out. I see you attacked, and I look up and down the street and cluck to myself, “Why don’t the police do something?” If I see a bad school, I wonder why the state doesn’t improve it. If I see a broken pump, I wait with my neighbors, and we watch our children play in the dust. The great Murray Rothbard diagnosed the problem perfectly when he said that leaping from the necessity of social connection to claims about the necessity of State action is the world’s greatest non sequitur.
Tate and Jackson B. discuss different philosophies about voting, both in the context of the nation-state and at a more local level. Is it your duty to vote? Do you have a right to complain if you don’t vote? Or, are you endorsing the system by voting? Find out what we have to say and let us know what you think!
by Chris Felt
On April 23rd, while Lindsey Rinehart was on camping trip with her husband and others, her two children were taken from their home by Boise City police officers and forced into foster care. This police action was preceded earlier in the day by a fifth grade boy consuming a “leafy green substance” and becoming ill. The boy happened to be a friend of Rinehart’s oldest son, Laustin. After the illness was reported, Laustin was taken to the principal’s office and questioned about where he had gotten the substance and if he was responsible for bringing it to school. Laustin was driven to tears and denied knowing anything about the substance. The police were called and were led to believe that the substance was marijuana. It was later in the evening when Rinehart’s home was raided and her children taken away. Because her children were separated from her, they were subsequently diagnosed with PTSD.
Marijuana was found by the police who believed it was “accessible” to the children and put them in “imminent danger”. This belief is what led to the children being removed from the home. The police found marijuana in Rinehart’s bedroom night stand and inside a refrigerator that Rinehart claims was locked. What is believed to have initially led the school to question Laustin and the police to raid Rinehart’s home was her prominence as a medical marijuana advocate.
The path that led Rinehart to activism began in 2007. That year, Rinehart was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease that attacks the spinal and nervous system and causes spasms of intense pain. For Rinehart, her episodes came in the form of a burning sensation felt all over her body. She told Ladybud.com that, “It feels like (I’m) being dragged across hot pavement in 90-degree heat by a semi truck (sic).” The pain was so debilitating that she would not move for fear of aggravating the symptoms. She refused to touch or be touched by anyone because that would cause the pain to be unbearable. Her husband and two children could not show their affection for her by embracing, hugging, or even holding her hand. Because of her intense pain, she was denied the comfort of her family.
Before Rinehart began using marijuana she was treated with pharmaceutical medication. Her monthly bill for the medicine reached between the amounts of $5,000 – $6,000. Besides the overwhelming financial burden, another disadvantage to taking prescribed pharmaceuticals was the amount she had to take. At one point, she was taking thirteen pills to manage the various symptoms of MS. After doing research on the internet, Rinehart decided to try marijuana to help her cope with the painful symptoms caused by MS. After using marijuana, she did not experience as many spasms and only needed to take four pills instead of thirteen. Also from her inquiries, she found that marijuana may slow the progression of the disease.
Shortly after she started using it, Rinehart quickly became a prominent activist for the legalization of medical marijuana. She held drives for signatures that would put legal medical marijuana on the ballot in Idaho. She also became the director of Compassionate Idaho (a medical marijuana lobbyist group) and a member of Moms for Marijuana.
Rinehart and her children are some of the most recent victims of the Federal War on Drugs. It is a war that has taken away the right of states to decide what their drug policy should be. It is also a war that has proven to be unnecessary, ineffectual, and very harmful to vulnerable segments of the public. The Federal War on Drugs stifles free speech, hampers research into alternative medical practices, punishes those who are harming no one, and gives those in the federal government greater scope for coercion and control. If marijuana had the same legal standing as prescription drugs, then Rinehart would not have had to endure the hardships imposed on her. She could have spoken freely about the benefits of marijuana without having the school authorities and police taking her children from her.
If medical marijuana was legal, Rinehart and many others could freely choose how to treat their ailments instead of being forcibly medicated by the government sanctioned pharmaceutical monopoly. It is unfortunate that the people in Idaho don’t live in a state where medical marijuana is legal. Instead they live in state where a mother can be tormented for using a substance that eases her pain enough to allow her to embrace her children.
After three weeks of traversing the obstacles of the legal system, Rinehart was able to reunite with her children. However, it is unclear whether or not she will be criminally charged. Rinehart has since moved to Oregon where she is free to use medical marijuana. She is still dedicated to making medical marijuana legal in Idaho where she has, until recently, lived her whole life.
On Friday, November 18, Boise Chief of Police Mike Masterson wrote in the Idaho Statesman about the BPD’s acquisition of a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle (MRAP). Ostensibly, these vehicles that were previously used in war zones and given to local police departments by the federal government are supposed to increase public safety. Chief Masterson asks a prudent question: “Are we seeing the militarization of local police?”
For many local police departments, this question can be answered undoubtedly in the affirmative (see this map of botched paramilitary police raids). However, I don’t believe this to be the case for the Boise PD (yet). Fortunately, policing is still largely under state and local control, but, as with everything else, the federal government continues to assert itself in these affairs, such as through these giveaways of military hardware, or even heavily funding the salaries of local police departments. Continue reading
Media sources in Idaho cheerfully announced the arrival of 1,800 new jobs last July when Virginia-based firm Maximus, Inc decided to open a call center in Boise. Aside from a couple threatening notes that caused its building to be evacuated for several hours, Maximus has been out of the spotlight in Idaho. This isn’t particularly surprising, considering Maximus employees are forbidden to speak of the company, even on social media, without permission.
Who is Maximus? Its motto is “Helping Government Serve the People” – which sounds harmless enough until you remember some of the egregious ways the federal government “serves” the people of Idaho. As a government contractor generating over $1 billion in revenue for 2012, Maximus handles the profit side of the increasingly familiar crony capitalist equation. Continue reading
I spotted the above bumper sticker while cycling through Boise’s North End. On its face, it seems rather straightforward: one should be able to vote regarding one’s own health. Well, certainly we should all be able to make our own health decisions if we are mentally capable; that only seems right. But while the message of this sticker might seem to be one of personal empowerment, I would argue that it is exactly the opposite.
“How can this be?” one might ask. Surely a woman is more empowered when she is allowed to vote on her health than when she is not. Would I sooner have some bureaucrat or politician or insurance company make her decisions for her?
But the idea that she is either allowed to vote on her health or else she is not in control of it is a false dichotomy with a rather nefarious assumption: the State ought to be the one fundamentally making the decisions about her health, whether or not she is able to give her opinion on it through the ballot. Ultimately, by advocating her right to vote on it, she is acknowledging the State as the final decision maker, not herself.
This fallacy that “voting = empowerment” is not uncommon. We are taught that “democracy” is synonymous with freedom, political equality, and good government. But should we really think about democracy in this way?
There really is no magic in majorities. In US history, majorities thought it was perfectly fine to enslave human beings. No sensible person, I imagine, would think that a majority voting for such a thing would justify it.
We must conclude, then, that there ought to be some limits to democratic decision making. Most of us do not want what foods we eat, what books we read, the places we go, or the people we associate with decided for us, regardless if a majority makes the decision. So my question is, “Why would we want our health decisions made for us by anyone but ourselves as individuals?” Continue reading