The Shotgun Blog
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
A few bright spots for lovers of liberty in US election
Here at the Western Standard, we were busy watching a few more particular races and ballot initiatives. We sort of figured Obama would win, and also figured that the Democrats would sweep up in the House and the Senate. So many of us (me in particular) tuned out the big races for small victories here and there.
For example, I watched with breathless anticipation to see if a bona fide hero for liberty, Arizona's Jeff Flake in the sixth district, would re-capture his seat. And he did with a glorious 61.9 per cent. Huzzah!
I also watched Ron Paul's House seat in the 14th district in Texas, although there was really never any doubt (because it was uncontested). Ron Paul, back in Congress. Huzzah!
Michigan voters approved a medical marijuana measure, while Massachusetts voted to loosen marijuana laws making possession of one ounce or less subject to a fine of $100 (although the voters there voted "No" to ending the state income tax. North Dakota also voted against a 50 per cent cut in income taxes and a 15 per cent cut in corporate taxes. Those were ballot initiatives that I really, really wanted to see pass).
"Tonight's results represent a sea change," said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, which backed the Massachusetts and Michigan ballot proposals. "Voters have spectacularly rejected eight years of the most intense government war on marijuana since the days of 'Reefer Madness.'"
Washington State approved a physician-assisted suicide ballot measure.
Maine voted to repeal new taxes on beer, wine, and soda.
In Colorado, you can't raise taxes without approval from the voters. And the voters rejected all four initiatives to increase taxes.
Nebraskans voted to ban affirmative action.
It's the little things, sometimes. Small, tiny victories. Little, tiny glimmers of "hope" that portend "change."
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Re: Massachusetts ballot initiative to end the income tax loses.
For Question 1 backers, it was an evening of disappointment.
"I really don't think they (voters) like things the way they are in Massachusetts," said Barbara Anderson, the executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation and a Question 1 supporter. "They seem to understand the scams and the corruption and the benefit packages. ... They just haven't found the nerve to do anything about it."
Dennis Corrigan of Boxford, a Question 1 supporter, said opponents of the initiative spent millions of dollars in a last-minute advertising blitz — something his side simply couldn't compete with.
"I think the spending was probably the key thing," Corrigan said.
in the most recent two week period, antis spent 2.5 million, pro $5000.
99.5% of that 2.5 million was from union coffers; 93.5% from Teachers Unions.
Remarkably the main argument of the antis was ... get this ... antitax. "If you pass the end the income tax initiative your property taxes will go up! Be afraid; be very, very afraid!!!"
Very small silver lining there.
Posted by: Dennis | 2008-11-05 7:59:59 AM
Assisted suicide is a good thing?
No. Doctors should not be in the business of killing. You can be sure that the freedom to die will turn into the obligation to die. Family members will put pressure on sick people to end their lives and stop being a burden. It's not a pro-liberty measure. People should be upholding Life, not working towards death. People have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, not death and the infliction of harm.
Posted by: SUZANNE | 2008-11-05 8:58:58 AM
If people own themselves -- own their lives -- shouldn't they be allowed to contract with another to end their lives?
Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2008-11-05 9:05:22 AM
It is by far less selfish of families and friends to assist and/or support ones wish to die without undue pain and suffering surrounded by their loved ones. It is nothing other than selfishness to want or need that persons prolonged illness for the sake of their presence. This is absolutely a step forward for our liberty.
Posted by: maija | 2008-11-05 9:52:41 AM
Great post, Peter.
Those state marijuana law reform initiatives are great news for liberty.
In the past, state initiatives to liberalize marijuana laws, especially as they apply to medical marijuana use, have been stymied by the Feds and the DEA.
In a good article by Jacob Sullum of Reason Magazine on this issue, he points out that McCain abandons federalism when it comes to his opposition to medical marijuana.
With Obama in the Whitehouse, will he reign-in the DEA and respect state initiatives to liberalize marijuana? I think so given Obama's stated sympathies for relaxing marijuana prohibition.
This is a small victory for liberty -- but a victory.
Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-11-05 11:29:53 AM
SUZANNE: I appreciate your objection, and your concern about a slippery slope. But that's a dispute about the facts (whether or not that slope is slippery), and not yet about values. Since I value liberty, and individual autonomy is a part of liberty, I also value patient autonomy. I believe approving physician-assisted suicide is consistent with an expansion of patient autonomy.
It's important that the slope not be slippery since, as you point out, it might serve to actually undermine patient autonomy by making physician-assisted suicide nearly impossible to refuse through social pressure (and no one should want that).
But I don't believe that the slope needs to be slippery, or that it in fact is slippery. Which is why I believe that it improves, rather than undermines, individual autonomy and individual liberty.
Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2008-11-05 11:40:29 AM
Michigan voters said yes to reducing anti-stem-cell-research rules - That's a win in my books.
Posted by: Alex | 2008-11-05 5:48:10 PM
California rejected gay marriage.....another win.
Posted by: peterj | 2008-11-05 9:21:16 PM
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