Secession in Virginia Would Defuse the State’s Conflict over Guns

Secession in Virginia Would Defuse the State’s Conflict over Guns By Ryan McMaken Earlier this month, West Virginia state senator Charles Trump introduced a senate resolution requesting that the citizens of Frederick County consider joining West Virginia. That is, the West Virginia Senate invited the county to secede from Virginia and join West Virginia.  The Senate later adopted the resolution. Resolutions like these don’t change any laws, but the Senate vote was in part a response to the dissatisfaction voiced by some Virginians over the legislative agenda of the new…

Read More

2019 Was a Bad Year for the “Only Cops Should Have Guns” Narrative

2019 Was a Bad Year for the “Only Cops Should Have Guns” Narrative By Ryan McMaken On December 29, an armed gunman entered the West Freeway Church of Christ in Texas and shot two members of the congregation. Within six seconds, a third member of the congregation drew a weapon and shot the gunman dead. The events were captured on live-streamed video, with the dramatic events — in the minds of many observers — highlighting the benefits of privately owned firearms as a defense against armed criminals. Moreover, the gunman,…

Read More

Six Graphs Showing Just How Much the Government Has Grown

Six Graphs Showing Just How Much the Government Has Grown By Ryan McMaken Federal spending and federal taxation in the United States set new records in 2019. And the federal budget deficit swelled to more than a trillion dollars. Europe is in the middle of an enormous spending binge. But apparently hard-core laissez-faire libertarian purists have taken over the world’s governments. At least, that’s the case in the minds of many leftists and conservatives who have convinced themselves that “market fundamentalists” have conquered the world’s institutions, and have enacted a…

Read More

Homicides in the US Fall for Second Year as Murder Rate Drops in 38 States

Homicides in the US Fall for Second Year as Murder Rate Drops in 38 States By Ryan McMaken As 2018 came to an end, politicians and media pundits insisted that “gun violence” was growing and hitting crisis levels . While a homicide rate of anything greater than zero is a measure of very-real human misery, it nonetheless turns out that fewer people were murdered in 2018 than in the year before. Moreover, 2018 was the second year in a row during which the homicide rate declined. According to new homicide…

Read More

The Trillion-Dollar Military Still Isn’t Enough for the War Party

The Trillion-Dollar Military Still Isn’t Enough for the War Party By Ryan McMaken Since the end of the Cold War in 1990, US defense spending has increased 182 percent in nominal terms, and 44 percent in inflation-adjusted terms. In inflation-adjusted terms, defense spending is now about equal with the all-time peak reached in 2011, and the White House’s Office of Management and Budget estimates that defense spending will reach an all-time high in 2020. Source: Office of Management and Budget, Historical Tables, Table 3.2. In 2018 dollars, defense spending hit…

Read More

Decentralization Is The Solution To The Government Shutdown Problem

Decentralization Is The Solution To The Government Shutdown Problem By Ryan McMaken The partial shutdown with the federal government has helped, perhaps more than any other recent political event, to illustrate some of the biggest problems that come with centralizing an ever-larger number of government activities within a single, centralized institution. Were the US government more decentralized, we’d not now be facing a nationwide systemic failure that has continues to cripple the private sector in many ways. Held Hostage by a Shuttered Regulatory State The federalization of resources and regulatory…

Read More

Imagine if the Media Had as Much Sympathy for Small Business Owners as it Does for Federal Employees

Imagine if the Media Had as Much Sympathy for Small Business Owners as it Does for Federal Employees By Ryan McMaken During this partial government shutdown, it’s become nearly impossible to avoid news articles, and segments on television and radio outlining the many ways that federal employees are apparently suffering financially as a result of the partial government shutdown. The stories are very diverse in topic. Some take a “human interest story” angle, simply looking at how the daily lives of some of these employees have been affected. Others look…

Read More

The Government Shutdown Exposes Another Reason to Abolish the TSA

The Government Shutdown Exposes Another Reason to Abolish the TSA By Ryan McMaken The Transportation Security Administration, a federal agency, is facing a no-show problem with employees, as paychecks are put on hold during the partial government shutdown. This is reportedly leading to longer lines and security problems at airports nationwide. According to CNN, Hundreds of Transportation Security Administration officers, who are required to work without paychecks through the partial government shutdown, have called out from work this week from at least four major airports… TSA spokespeople, meanwhile, insist everything…

Read More

The Creepy Line: A New Documentary on the Immense Power of Tech Giants

The Creepy Line: A New Documentary on the Immense Power of Tech Giants By Ryan McMaken The Creepy Line, a new documentary by director M.A. Taylor, is now streaming at Amazon Prime. It takes a disturbing look at how Google and Facebook influence their users’ view of the world, and how the companies have pioneered new ways of doing business. It’s a business model in which personal data harvested from users is exploited so as to offer targeted advertising to third parties. The Creepy Line takes its title from a…

Read More

Europe’s War on Free Speech Continues

Europe’s War on Free Speech Continues By Ryan McMaken A European court has ruled that people can be fined and prosecuted in criminal court for saying things about religious figures. Specifically, saying things about the Muslim prophet Mohammad is verboten, and state punishment is appropriate: The European Court of Human Rights has ruled a woman convicted by an Austrian court of calling the Prophet Mohammed a paedophile did not have her freedom of speech rights infringed. The woman, named only as Mrs. S, 47, from Vienna, was said to have…

Read More