Monday, December 03, 2007

In Defense of Corporate America

"It is the corporate form that provides the means to transform the genius of a few into the convenience of many. The inventor alone, while deserving credit for his insight, cannot turn his lab prototype into a product on store shelves. To do so requires one further essential ingredient: enough money in the hands of that inventor to transform his invention into a marketable product. Things like oil wells and iPods cannot be created without both human ingenuity and material resources."

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Yandle on the Tragedy of the Commons and the Implications for Environmental Regulation

Bruce Yandle of Clemson University and George Mason University's Mercatus Center looks at the tragedy of the commons and the various ways that people have avoided the overuse of resources that are held in common. Examples discussed include fisheries, roads, rivers and the air. Yandle talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the historical use of norms, cooperative ventures such as incorporating a river, the common law, and top-down command-and-control regulation to reduce air and water pollution.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Always Capitalism. Always.

This ad is great because it defends capitalism in terms of capitalism, not with reference to charity or community involvement. The ad acknowledges that capitalism creates public goods, regardless of any desire on the part of companies to do so. The invisible heart and hand of capitalism are always at work, but that a company is willing to stand up and publicize the fact? Well, that is just spectacular.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

What is a Masonomist?

"Most economists favor the free market, with reservations. Masonomics rejects the reservations. If John and Mary are free individuals, and John trades with Mary, then John and Mary both are better off. End of story."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Gun, Ammunition Tax Proposed to Fund Health Socialism

by Ari Armstrong

Part of a proposal for "universal," completely tax-funded medicine for Colorado describes "funding mechanisms" such as "taxes on weapons and ammunition to cover firearm-related injuries..."

This "Colorado Health Services Program," selected by the "208" Commission for Healthcare Reform on May 18 as one of four for further evaluation, was submitted by "Health Care for All Colorado," a group drawing on the ideas of the Colorado Coalition for Single Payer, Boulder Health Policy Watch, a former Green candidate for governor, and others. The proposal can be accessed at

The proposal also discusses "Molding healthy behavior" for "Health habits, diet, child rearing techniques, etc." It calls for the creation of a new bureaucracy called "Colorado Health Services," described as "a single, comprehensive, publicly financed program designed for the integration of the financing, delivery, and administration of health care."

On May 17, two Commission members praised this proposal for socialized medicine as "bold" and "refreshing."

But there's nothing "refreshing" about discriminatory taxes applied to a Constitutionally protected right, nor, more broadly, about subjecting our lives to "comprehensive" bureaucratic control.

With respect to firearms, many on the left routinely ignore the benefits of firearms ownership. Because responsible gun ownership enables better defense and deterrence against crime, discriminatory taxes on responsible gun owners would be particularly harmful. A high enough tax on guns and ammunition would constitute a de facto ban.

Unintentional gun injuries are rare, and neither the general population nor responsible gun owners should be forced to pay for them. Nor should responsible gun owners be forced to pay extra for the mayhem of criminals and gangsters. Any such tax on responsible gun owners would violate their Constitutional rights, punish them for helping to reduce crime, and force them to pick up the tab for criminals and gangsters.

The proposed tax on gun owners, and the proposal more generally, would punish the responsible and subject our liberties to the whims of bureaucrats.

Front Range Objectivism

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Self-Defense on the Defensive in Colorado

Send a message to Gov. Ritter and join CSSA (see link in sidebar). This is merely the beginning of what we'll see now that both the Legislature and the Governor's mansion are controlled by leftists.

"Senate Republicans are denouncing Democrat Gov. Bill Ritter's decision to sign two bills this week that narrow Coloradans' right to hold concealed-weapons permits. House Bill 1174, which was signed by the governor on Monday, and Senate Bill 34, signed today, were passed during the '07 legislative session over the fierce opposition of minority Republicans.
"Not only did our new governor essentially endorse a couple of solutions to problems that don't exist, but he also took a major swipe at our Second Amendment rights in the process," said the GOP's Sen. Dave Schultheis, of Colorado Springs."

Monday, April 30, 2007

Unwittingly Armed: The Hypocrisy of Hillary

"If you outlaw guns only outlaws will have guns." The old saw is not quite true; it misses a huge group of people who will remain well armed in the wake of gun prohibition.

I realized this while watching the Democrat Presidential Debate. Brian Williams asked the candidates to raise their hands if they had kept a gun in the house during their adult life. Several raised their hands to acknowledge that guns are an important part of the American tradition of individual freedom and responsibility. Sen. Hillary Clinton did not raise her hand.

Yet, Sen. Clinton most assuredly did have a gun in her home from 1992-2000. Unless the Secret Service was armed only with batons during the Clinton administration, she had many guns in her home. Even assault weapons. The only reason she did not think to raise her hand is that she did not have to concern herself with the nitty-gritty of firearms self-defense. She could afford to have someone else worry about it for her. Those of us who do not have access to the U.S. Treasury for our self-defense needs must take responsibility for ourselves, or remain defenseless.

Why is a professional, semi-private security force like the Secret Service (or a private force like Rosie O'Donnell's armed guards) any different from private gun ownership? Training and firepower for professional bodyguards and private gun owners differ - but only in relation to the likely threats. Is one a legitimate exercise of the right to self-defense, but the other not?

If private ownership of guns is outlawed, the only people with guns will be those who can afford them - both the criminals who can afford to go to prison if caught with an illegal gun and the wealthy who can afford to hire armed guards. These groups will not feel the sting of gun prohibition.

It's the rest of us who will be defenseless.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Gun Ban at Virginia Tech Fails

Do I want to "feel" safe, or be safe?

That question crossed my mind as I watched the news coverage of the Virginia Tech tragedy and I asked myself what I would do if a madman targeted my school. Given CU-Boulder's policy banning the lawful carrying of firearms on campus, I and my classmates could do little to protect ourselves from an armed killer.

The illusion of safety offered by gun bans is comforting, until a tragedy like this shatters the illusion. The question going forward is whether we will rebuild the illusion with more gun control, or endeavor to create schools that are actually safer by allowing law-abiding guns owners to carry on campus.

Those who were not directly impacted by the Virginia Tech tragedy do not have the luxury of mourning quietly; we must demand our right to defend ourselves be recognized by the state. The deeper horror of these school shootings is that in nearly every case the government has disarmed the innocent. People legally licensed to carry should be allowed to carry on campus.

Rocky Mountain News
Virginia Tech Gun Ban

Rep. Alice Madden:
Sen. Ron Tupa:

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Intrawest Boycott

Dear Intrawest:
I was at Copper on April 7, 2007, skiing with a few friends and enjoying the bands playing at the Sunstation event. I am sorry to report that this will be the last time I will be skiing at Copper, or any other Intrawest resort.

I have been a season pass holder at Copper for the last two seasons, but I saw a display of prejudice and ignorance this weekend, apparently endorsed by Intrawest, that has influenced my decision to take my business elsewhere.

Displayed prominently at each entrance to the Burning Stones Plaza was a sign stating a few simple Sunstation event rules, including: "No Firearms." While the other rules seemed reasonable enough, this rule is wrong for several reasons.

First, nothing is gained by asking law-abiding customers to disarm. Certainly anyone with nefarious intent will not mind ignoring the event rules. Even someone irresponsible enough to drink alcohol while carrying a gun is likely not interested in following Copper's rules. So, the only people with guns at the Sunstation event were likely people who wished to do others harm, or were indifferent about it.

Second, even if violent criminals do not come to free concerts in the mountains, the event rules gave petty thieves a heads-up: Everyone coming to this concert who carries a gun has been asked to leave it in his or her car. Anyone inclined to break into a car has a double incentive; they can hope to collect ski gear and guns. Thieves do not need added incentive to break into cars.

Lastly, the rule evinces an ignorance about firearms and the people who choose to carry them that offends me as a gun owner and an American.

When this rule is revoked and repudiated I will consider coming back to Copper and Intrawest. Until then I—and my friends— will be skiing and riding elsewhere.
Please send your own message to Intrawest:

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Great Global Warming Swindle

The essential companion to Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth." Not becasue this film is accurate and Gore's isn't; rather the two perspectives on global warming remind us that scientific knowledge in this area is far from complete.

That is why incremental change is generally preferable. It allows us to correct mistakes in our knowledge before those mistakes cause serious harm. Of course, the speed and scope of change should match the imminence of the problem. Here, any negative effects that might be attributed to anthropogenically-caused global warming have been incremental or marginal, thus our response should likewise be incremental. Market responses to global warming such as carbon footprint credits achieve positive results without exposing us to the economic risks incumbent in a wide-spread global warming remediation program like that envisioned by Al Gore, et al.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

An Inconvenient Parallel

"Deep greens look exactly the same to me at this point: straining to don the mantle of science to defend and spread their religious convictions, rather than participating in science to discover the truth. For any religious rationalizer, the (religious) ends justify the (dishonest and damaging) means -- and you will find that in spades in both movements."

Saturday, March 03, 2007

USFS Urban Front Country Project - Environmental Assessment

I just returned from a public comment period regarding campfires, camping, and recreational shooting in the National Forests (NF) in the Boulder District. Most of the time was spent focused on shooting. There were probably 50 people there and after a brief and generally uninformative introduction we were split into smaller groups to discuss solutions to these “problems” facing the NF on the Front Range. My group was split evenly between people who vocally opposed shooting and vocally supported it. This was unintentional, because groups seemed to be assigned at random.

The people in charge have decided that recreational shooting is a problem and therefore shooters have a problem.

The Forest Service folks didn’t seem concerned that they have no data to support the notion that these are actually areas of concern, but that is beside the point. The people in charge have decided that recreational shooting is a problem and therefore shooters have a problem. While the lack of data may prove troublesome if the Forest Service proposes new regulations (see below), for now it seems the best course for shooters is to offer information that helps put the “problem” in perspective for non-shooters.

This conclusion is informed in part by my experience today. The meeting was productive and positive in that it gave (at least in the group I was in) shooters and local residents opposed to shooting a chance to sit down and discuss the issue. At least two people who live near Allenspark proposed banning shooting in the NF. Their desire for a ban, or a 5-mile no-shooting radius around any residential area, or even a professionally-managed range seemed motivated by a genuine lack of knowledge about shooting. By the end of the time even these folks seemed open to the idea that shooters were genuinely courteous and nice people that needn’t be excluded from or specially regulated in the NF.

If we in the shooting community can take opportunities like this to reach out to the folks that live around the areas where we shoot we can do a lot to ensure access to the NF for shooters by creating valuable allies in the non-shooting community. Perhaps the next Colorado AR-15 shoot at the North site should be advertised in Lyons and Allenspark. Understanding, more than anything else, will help to ensure that we can shoot in the NF for a long time to come.

Incidentally, a ban would almost certainly fail under a legal challenge because the Forest Service must, by law, accommodate multiple uses that are not incompatible. While some regulation of shooting might be justified, e.g., distance from structures, it would be impossible to show that recreational shooing is incompatible with other uses to such an extent that it must be banned. Also, any regulations promulgated by Forest Service must be reasonable and supported by a record. The lack of any data supporting a shooting ban (or even changes in the shooting regs) would pose a major problem in court.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Philosophy of Liberty

"You own your life, to deny this is to imply that another person has a higher claim on your life than you do."