All posts by Thomas Savidge

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Great Power Will Not Save Us

The terrorist attack in Orlando was horrible. Omar Mateen and ISIS are monsters who have no sense of the value of life. We should not rely on government power to save us and abandon what makes America great.

What makes America great is our ability to look out for ourselves and foster close ties with our neighbors through voluntary cooperation and exchange.

Already, presidential candidates and political figures of all stripes resume the usual talking points: the left is calling for tighter gun laws and the right demands that we “take the gloves off” and do everything and anything to take ISIS down.

Neither of these tactics will work. Abandoning the rule of law by giving the government more power to restrict personal freedoms and expand surveillance will not make us safer.

Allowing the government to restrict the second amendment will not stop terrorists. Tighter gun laws will only hurt law abiding citizens. Terrorists already have no regard for the law. No matter what laws are in place, someone looking to do harm will find a way to do it.

The Second Amendment protects our right to self defense. While we can count on law enforcement to protect us, they cannot be everywhere and in a situation where every second counts, the police are minutes away. We must be able to look after ourselves.

Mass surveillance is already conducted in the U.S. We’re told it’s to keep us safe. Yet the people running the programs are just as human as everyone else. They make mistakes and cannot watch every little detail all the time.

What’s even worse is the potential for the abuse of power. There are so many ways that mass surveillance can be abused.

Our right to due process is trampled when mass surveillance allows illegally obtained evidence. Our freedom of speech and expression are strangled because we become afraid to say the wrong thing.

Read the rest at The Daily Caller.

Cigarette

Raising The Smoking Age To 21 Is a Terrible Idea

California has raised the smoking age from 18 to 21, and jurisdictions around the country are following suit.

New York City and Chicago have already passed similar legislation, placing America’s three largest cities at the heart of a growing nationwide push for “Tobacco 21.”

This is a terrible idea. It treats 18 to 21 year olds — who are encouraged to work, vote, and fight for their country — as people incapable of making basic life choices. And it won’t even reduce youth smoking rates.

The legislation’s motive is can be found in a 2014 Surgeon General’s Report about the negative effects of tobacco on “young people” below the age of 21.

he report warns of the pressure teens face to smoke. “The tobacco epidemic”, the report states, “was initiated and has been sustained by the aggressive strategies of the tobacco industry, which has deliberately misled the public on the risks of smoking cigarettes.”

Some people may be influenced to smoke. But the negative health impacts of smoking are now so widely known — they are displayed on every pack of cigarettes — that it’s ridiculous to assume the health consequences haven’t been considered.

Some people, young and old, evidently weigh the risks and choose to smoke despite the potential health effects. For those who are addicted, there are ways to get help.

Unable to understand this choice, the surgeon general’s report, and the advocates of “Tobacco 21,” have resorted to assuming that “young people” must be incapable of resisting the “indoctrination” of the tobacco companies. They are therefore calling for legislation.

But this attitude is completely inconsistent with how 18 year olds are treated, both legally and culturally.

Eighteen year olds help decide who governs the country; they pay taxes; they routinely take on potentially crippling levels of student debt; fight our nation’s wars; and if they commit a crime they are tried and sentenced as adults.

Surely they can be trusted to choose whether or not to smoke.

For all this coddling of young adults, raising the smoking age won’t do anything to reduce smoking rates among actual adolescents.

Read the full article at The Daily Caller.

Bernie Sanders

Socialism Is Not The Answer, And It Never Will Be Read

With Senator Bernie Sanders sweeping to Victory in the New Hampshire primary, it is safe to say socialism’s popularity is rising in the United States.

Bernie claims his form of socialism, democratic socialism, is completely different from the socialism that arose during the Cold War. He’s dead wrong. Democratic socialism is just as bad as any other form of socialism, it makes life for ordinary people worse.

Bernie says his democratic socialism is a continuation of FDR’s New Deal (which he claims was socialist), and he often cites the Nordic states as prime examples of democratic socialism in action.

Read the rest on The Daily Caller, here.
Medical

Albany shouldn’t play doctor

New York’s medical marijuana program is a step in the right direction, but the regulations involved will inhibit patients’ access to medicine, and leave New Yorkers asking, “What are lawmakers in Albany smoking?”

The problems start with the requirement that Albany play doctor. There are 10 approved ailments, including cancer, HIV and AIDS, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, and epilepsy, for which marijuana can be prescribed.

At the bottom of this short list is the phrase “any other condition added by the [Commissioner of Health].” But why should a single person have sole responsibility for determining what ailments can be treated with medical marijuana?

The current health commissioner, Howard A. Zucker, may be a doctor, but the problem is he’s not your doctor. When you’re sick or need a physical, you don’t go see the commissioner; you see your own doctor. Your doctor knows your personal circumstances, which can only be gained through meeting and talking to you. Your doctor is in a better position to recommend treatments than the commissioner will ever be. The commissioner also doesn’t know your medical history and he’s incapable of monitoring your reaction to a particular drug.

Who does this hurt the most? The patients who are unable to receive treatment because their illness is not on the list.

The law, much less a single bureaucrat, should not be responsible for deciding what should be prescribed to a sick patient.

More problems arise from Albany deciding who gets to grow medical marijuana and who doesn’t. All interested applicants must first pay a nonrefundable application fee of $10,000. On top of that, there’s a registration fee of $200,000.

That means that if you’re looking to grow and sell medical marijuana in New York, it will cost you $210,000. If you want to keep growing in New York, you’ll have to pay that same amount every two years when your license expires.

Read the full article at the Albany Times Union ($).