Tag: Featured

Proposed DC Law Would Lower Voting Age to 16

By Colin Louis | United States

The actions of March for Our Lives have led many to believe that youth are competent when it comes to politics. In turn, the City Council in Washington decided to consider giving the ability to vote to those 16 and older, lowering it from 18. The legislation was introduced last Tuesday by Charles Allen (D-Ward 6.)

In an interview Alex Shyer, a 16-year- old sophomore at Woodrow Wilson High School expressed his support for the idea. Shyer states,

“We work, we pay taxes, we care for family members, we can drive, we can do so many other things. So, adding voting onto that isn’t going to be that big of a responsibility. We can handle it.”

The law would make DC the First Nation in the country to allow minors to vote.

The last time a major youth movement led policy was during the Vietnam War when Congress lowered the voting age to 18 after widespread youth protest.


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The Legalization Movement Only Hurts Libertarians

By Ryan Lau | United States

As the beloved 4/20 approaches, legal marijuana advocates will take to the streets and smoke across the country. Many locations, including Burlington, Vermont, even have established “smoke-outs” for protesters to participate in. Yet, their actions, however well-intentioned, only hurt the liberty movement, for a number of key reasons. First of all, the use of marijuana in this recreational setting serves as an inhibitor to change. Also, the specific goals of these movements only harm the future of liberty by restricting further progress.

As it currently stands, government forces us Americans to play into a system of representative government. Those representatives, whether they have a right to do so or not, make decisions about the lives of other people, decisions which come down in the form of laws. I am in no way disputing the notion that the law is unjust, but rather conceding its unfortunate existence. Due to the majority’s belief in it, the law stands. The state is thus able to use this belief to tighten its grip over the citizens. So, what can we do to get our freedoms back efficiently? Certainly not a smoke-out.

Ultimately, libertarianism centers around the principle of self-ownership. In order for a society to function on the principle of self-ownership, individuals must also exhibit personal responsibility. As a free and equal individual, each of us is able to do as we please, provided that we do not restrict any other equal individuals from doing the same. Yet, usage of recreational marijuana does exactly this, not to others, but to ourselves.

Some short term side effects of consuming marijuana include dizziness, shallow breathing, and slowed reaction time. Thinking about this, one realizes that a dizzy and slow activist is probably less likely to bring about real change. Perhaps, rather than getting caught in the crippling hazes of majority and smoke, these activists should save the blaze for others, or at least for their own homes, instead focusing on professionalism in order to make real change.

Allegedly, these activists have a goal of marijuana legalization. Yet, it is the government officials that they need to convince with these movements. By placing a bloc of disoriented fools under public scrutiny, they only push moderate politicians further away from their cause by embodying some of the negative side effects. Of course, the disoriented fools are not representative of the majority of marijuana users. However, when media gives them the most attention, they become the stereotype of the marijuana user. A mob of stoners will garner considerably more views, and become a much more entertaining stereotype, than a businessman eating a brownie after a long week’s work will. Yet, the politician will more likely see the story of the businessman as legitimate. Hence, exemplifying current stereotypes through foolish movements will only continue to hurt the movement.

Despite the clear pitfalls of the marijuana protesters’ images, this is only the beginning. Much more important to discuss is the fact that these people are simply not advocating for liberty. Essentially, they are only calling for more government regulation, and normalizing asking government officials for permission to act. In fact, the biggest qualm for this movement comes in its very name. By using the word “legalize”, marijuana advocates cede all permission to run their own lives.

The word “legalize” has a very dark, underlying connotation that most will not pick up on. Essentially, it implies that the entity doing the legalizing has full control over the people’s lives. By setting legalization as the far boundary for discussion in the direction of liberty, government only gains power.

Furthermore, the term legalization implies a certain degree of state control regarding it. More specifically, it allows for various forms of taxation and regulation on the plant. Though it becomes a legal substance, it is still very much a controlled substance. Thus, this change is not a step towards freedom, it is merely a slight change in the circumstances in which government will take away individual freedoms.

In fact, this change actually makes the situation worse for true liberty advocates by pacifying moderate supporters. This worsened situation comes as soon as legalization advocates begin praising regulations and taxes as valid reasons for the legalization of the substance. By doing so, government has now successfully framed the debate in a way that entirely excludes liberty as an option. Just as the Republican and Democratic parties are framed to represent two opposing sides within a relatively narrow ideological chamber, the same is now done to the marijuana debate. When we use the word legalize, we allow government to control both sides of the debate. We allow authoritarianism to seep into the libertarian viewpoint. When this happens, true freedom is lost.

Without a doubt, asking the government permission to use a substance under certain circumstances is not freedom. If an individual is not directly preventing anyone from acting freely, they may rightfully act freely without permission. Unfortunately, most legalization movements have lost sight of the ideals of liberty that they claim to stand for. As increasing numbers of reports praise marijuana tax revenues and regulations, freedom advocates lose, and governments win. By bringing the substance into the legal scope, they control it far more than they ever did through criminalizing it.

Hence, if legalization is not the answer, then true deregulation is. We must, as a society, resist the bait of legalization, as it only sets back the movement. We must avoid using the substance in scenarios where we need to be at the pinnacle of mental focus and quick reaction. Most importantly, we must not lose sight of liberty, rather than any one particular policy victory, as our end goal. True liberty does not come through taxation or regulation. One cannot become free by asking permission.

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Why Does Jeff Sessions Hate Herb?

Clint Sharp|United States

It’s no secret that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is strongly opposed to the legalization of marijuana. In fact, the former U.S Senator’s staunch rejection of cannabis has cemented him in the minds of pro-weed individuals and groups across the country as the single greatest threat to their cause that currently exists. Upon taking office as the Secretary of the Department of Justice, Sessions wasted no time in enacting his plan to keep the Devil’s lettuce out of the hands of citizens. In order to do this, Sessions redacted several Obama-era guidances that allowed states to legalize marijuana, with little to no interference from the federal government. Love him or hate him, Obama’s actions fell in line with the 10th Amendment of the Constitution which states:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

This left many, both conservative and liberal alike, with a bad taste in their mouth for Sessions. However, this wasn’t the first time that Sessions has expressed his resentment for marijuana.

The earliest known instance of Sessions’ hate for weed occurred in 1986 while he was trying to become the District Court judge for the South District of Alabama. Here, a fellow attorney by the name of Thomas Figures, testified against Sessions for saying that he thought the Ku Klux Klan was “OK until I found out they smoked pot”. This statement, in conjunction with other negative testimonies, resulted in the withdrawal of his nomination to the district court. While he later said that he meant it as a joke, it exposed his misconstrued priorities to the nation and set the standard his future marijuana policies. Later, at a Senate drug hearing in April 2016, Sessions made repeatedly attacked marijuana and the users of the plant, stating “Good people don’t smoke pot”, angering those who support the legalization of pot, as well as disregarding those who use marijuana medicinally.

It is unclear what birthed Jeff Sessions’ hatred for cannabis, but what is clear is the threat that he may pose to the booming legal weed business. Unless we do something to prevent him from infringing on state’s rights, we may soon be living in Sessions’ dream. One where weed is illegal and a highly valuable resource is left discarded, waiting for those wise enough to recognize its power to use it.

Happy 4/20 everybody!

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The Fight To Legalize Cannabis Nationwide Continues

Nick Hamilton | United States

As many Americans know, today is April 20th, otherwise known as “420.” Today, marijuana advocates around the country come together to celebrate this plant, whether it’s legal in their state or not.

People have demanded the legalization of weed for a long time now, however, our federal & state governments simply won’t budge. That hasn’t stopped Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Colorado, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and– get this– WASHINGTON DC from legalizing the plant. New York is considering legalization, and an overwhelming majority of states have legalized it for at least medical use. As of now, the only states who still prohibit marijuana on all levels are Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Idaho. However, there’s a huge push to get the plant legal for all uses nationwide.

In Bexar County, which covers the San Antonio area in Texas, there has been a cite and release program to help prevent people with a small amount of weed from getting jail time. However, on February 10th, 2018, a group known as “Open Carry Walks” organized an open carry walk in San Antonio to fight for the right to carry marijuana openly in public. Not only that, but in 2017, a campaign known as the Global Marijuana March set up marches in eight different Texas cities: Dallas, Fort Worth, El Paso, Amarillo, San Antonio, Houston, Lubbock, and the capital city, Austin. Texas is a medical marijuana state, but only 15 doctors in the state are allowed to prescribe it, so it’s very difficult to obtain.
Legalization has proved to be very effective for the good in states like Colorado.

Colorado raked in $76M in revenue in their first year of legalization and used $35M to fund their education system. In 2015, that revenue increased to $135M. In Washington, $83M was made in revenue off of weed in the first year, and in 2017, $230M was made off the plant by the government. But “weed is bad,” am I right?

Putting money aside, an unexpected result of legalization was that in 2014, according to the American Journal of Public Health, Colorado saw a 6.5 percent DECREASE in opioid deaths, a trend that had been increasing for fourteen years straight. In the US today, we’re trying to fight opioid addiction. I smell some hypocrisy there.
So on 4/20, remember, our work is not done. Our duty to make the United States a marijuana welcoming nation is not done yet. Work doesn’t stop until it’s not illegal to possess this plant that can make this country money, especially after that atrocity of a budget passed just four weeks ago to this day. Enjoy 4/20, everyone!

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An Honest Plan for the Future of Our Liberty

Michael McFarland | United States

Libertarians must become leaders in business, in politics, in education, and in science. More importantly, we must become leaders in our community, for it is in taking up that responsibility that we demonstrate how the philosophy of peace and prosperity is vastly superior to the authoritarian alternatives. That is how we win.

From the pothole filling anarchists who take it upon themselves to repair damaged roads, to the volunteers at the rec centers, and community gardens, we can see everyday examples of liberty in action.

You don’t have to wait for the election of a candidate to public office, or the passing of particular legislation to make a real impact. These things aren’t what truly matter.

Instead, I’d like for you to take a look around your community, and look for ways you can help improve it. I want you to look for actions you can take to improve the quality of life in your immediate area.

Is there trash you could pick up?

In addition, could your neighbors use some help with their yard or their home?

Also, how are the schools? After school activities? Your local religious institutions?

These are just a few examples.

The more we show how well taking responsibility for your own community works, and the more responsibility the community has for itself, then the less likely it is that the community will want to relinquish that responsibility to government bureaucrats and their goons.

Let’s not wait for the government to relinquish control. Let’s take it back by taking back our communities one neighborhood at a time. It’s time to show that government action is not necessary.

That’s how we win. That’s how we ease the fears of accepting responsibility for one’s own life, and that’s how we see more libertarian ideas penetrate this authoritarian system of control and subjugation.

#Rise #TakeHumanAction #GoldRush2018

***Michael McFarland is a guest contributor and he is currently running for Arizona State House. For more information, please visit his website at https://mcfarlandforaz.com/