Support for gun rights grows

Reversing the trends of the last few decades, a majority of Americans (52%) now say that protecting the right to own a firearm is more important than controlling gun ownership.  The question now is why that is. [Read more...]

Ignorance of the law

“Ignorance of the law is no excuse,” according to one legal maxim.  And yet, in order for people to obey the law, there must be a “presumption of knowledge of the law.”  Today, though, we not only have laws passed by legislatures, we have regulations passed by bureaucrats.  These have the force of law, and if you violate them, you can go to prison.  But whereas traditional laws have a connection to a moral principle–and so are knowable and understandable to the conscience–regulations simply promote a governmental goal.  And there are so many of them that is almost impossible to know them all.

So says Michael Anthony Cottone in “Rethinking Presumed Knowledge of the Law in a Regulatory Age,” in the Tennessee Law Review.  George Will reviews the article after the jump. [Read more...]

Today is the safest time to be a kid?

We’ve blogged about the Maryland parents who have been charged with child neglect for letting their children walk home by themselves.  There are similar  cases in Texas, Florida, and South Carolina.

The government is cracking down on “free range parents” in order to protect children from crime and other hazards.  And yet, according to the data, crimes against children are lower than they have ever been.  Other dangers–abductions, traffic accidents, children going missing, and other parental nightmares–are also lower than ever, including in those more carefree days of yesteryear when children were allowed to roam at will.

[Read more...]

Our established religion

Yuval Levin says that the religious liberty issues raised by the response to the Indiana Religious Freedom law involves not just the First Amendment’s right to the “free exercise” of religion, but maybe even more so to the clause forbidding the “establishment” of religion.  What we have today being imposed is a single, authoritative religious ideology, equivalent to a state church:  that of progressive liberalism.

Levin then delves into James Madison on this subject and contrasts his position to that of John Locke, who advocated “toleration” of different views on the part of individuals but would not allow their institutional expression, since that had to be limited by the ideology of the state church. [Read more...]

Totalitarianism reconsidered

Some intellectuals are arguing that democracy cannot effectively address climate change–and, indeed, makes it worse–and that what we need to save the planet  is to eliminate political freedom and to turn towards a totalitarian government.  Others don’t go quite that far, but they hold up as the role model for effective government the People’s Republic of China.  (Never mind that China has the worst pollution on the planet!)

After the jump, an excerpt that demonstrates this from a study of the “Sustainability” ideology by the conservative academic organization the National Association of Scholars.

[Read more...]

Authoritarian envy?

The dictator of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, died recently, to nearly universal praise in the West for the way he built his country into an economic powerhouse.  Columnist Richard Cohen thinks that we have “authoritarian envy” because “too much democracy” keeps government from being able to do what it needs to do.

Mr. Cohen, a liberal, decries Lee’s harsh rule and his running roughshod over any kind of human rights, but he seems to share that envy, expressing frustration over our government’s inability to get things done, due to all of these political conflicts and checks and balances.

Conservatives, I would think, would be glad of the limits on government and would especially dislike an authoritarian like Lee, even though he did promote free markets and economic growth.  But as the presidential election season gets under way, I worry that all sides may be investing too much hope that what we need is a powerful leader and are expressing frustration with our constitutional system that, by design, checks and balances an activist government.  Might America be getting more and more open to authoritarianism?  [Read more...]


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