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Blue States Should Consider the Appeal of Self-Ownership

By: David Unsworth - @LatinAmerUpdate - Jul 5, 2017, 3:10 pm
Blue states like Massachusetts have led the way on legalizing marijuana, but continue to advances state control and collectivism in other legal realms (
Blue states like Massachusetts have led the way on legalizing marijuana, but continue to advance state control and collectivism in other public policy matters (High Times).

Across the United States voters have approved laws to decriminalize or legalize marijuana. While the original wave of such states largely approved referendums or passed legislation to legalize medicinal marijuana, recent election cycles have seen several states approve recreational marijuana. On November 8, 2016…the earth-shattering day that installed brash billionaire Donald Trump in the White House, voters in blue Nevada, Massachusetts, and California voted in favor of legal marijuana, joining Alaska, Colorado, Washington, and Oregon, as well as the District of Columbia.

This brings to a total 7 states with recreational usage, and an impressive 28 states that permit medical usage. Yet, the inquiring libertarian might ask: if voters in blue states are so enthusiastic about letting people make their own choices when it comes to marijuana, why are they so favorable to state-controlled and statist policies in other areas of their lives?

Unfortunately, many in America, particularly in blue states, have never considered the principle of self-ownership. It’s a theory that has long constituted one of the foundations of the libertarian movement; something that Ayn Rand made a pillar of her political philosophy…which had been so shaped by her experiences growing up under Soviet totalitarianism.

It’s easy to convince blue state America that the state does not have the right to use the lethal force of police departments and the threat of fines and imprisonment to prevent adults from smoking or consuming marijuana. Human beings are rationale actors who make their own choices…for better or worse…and suffer the consequences thereof. Provided that their interaction with marijuana does not infringe upon the rights or violate the liberties of others, then they should be allowed to make their own decisions.

Yet, with regard to numerous other issues, the American Left is enthusiastically allowing state and federal governments to make decisions for the individual…governing without the consent of the governed. Take healthcare: under the terms of ObamaCare the government imposes a “one size fits all” healthcare plan, obligating citizens to buy coverage through an individual mandate. There is no choice in the matter. Despite the fact that there is absolutely nothing in the Constitution to suggest that the government can obligate its citizens to buy a good or service, this is of little concern to the big government socialists in the Democratic Party.

Or take retirement planning: the government obligates workers to contribute to a horribly managed, government-mandated retirement fund called Social Security, which provides dismal returns on investment, far inferior to what the private sector would provide. Workers should be free to invest for retirement in the asset classes that they desire, free of government interference.

Or take education: parents who wish to homeschool or send their kids to private or parochial or charter or magnet schools are obligated to pay to fund public education, even when numerous studies have showed that public schools cost a fortune while producing inferior educational outcomes.

Americans, and indeed people all over the world, must teach their children the principle of self-ownership: the idea that you as the individual are responsible for your own life. Not your community, not your town, not your state, not the federal government…but you.

Many Americans, on both sides of the political aisle, seek to continue drug prohibition on the grounds that society and government must look out for the best interests of the individual. It’s a reasonable enough argument on face value, but one that has harmed more than it has helped.

Is the government responsible for caring for its people? Or are people responsible for caring for themselves?

There are many actions taken by individuals on a daily basis that are harmful, but that would be ridiculous to criminalize. Should the government prohibit unhealthy foods and sugary drinks? Should the government ban sappy soap operas and trashy reality TV devoid of any intellect or thought? Should the government ban tobacco and alcohol (which in many ways are far more harmful than illegal drugs)? Should the government ban people from saying mean things about their friends, family, and neighbors? Should the government mandate that its citizens exercise 3 times a week?

It is clear that eating McDonalds food, drinking sodas, watching The Real House Wives of Orange County, smoking cigarettes, drinking excessively, gossiping about your neighbors, and being a couch potato have the potential to be harmful to society. However, it is parents, not the government, who are responsible for teaching their children to avoid fast food, cut back on sodas, select quality TV programs, not smoke, drink in moderation, be discrete with their words, and hit the gym several times a week. And ultimately, it is the responsibility of the individual.

Blue state voters have begun to realize that it is a fool’s errand for the state to ban marijuana…the individual liberty of a human being…the “self-ownership”…if you will…informs us that smoking marijuana is a choice. These Democratic Party stalwarts, however, fail to realize all of the other ways in which the government abuses its authority, taking away individual liberties in the supposed name of the collective good.

David Unsworth David Unsworth

David Unsworth is a Boston native. He received degrees in History and Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis, and subsequently spent five years working in real estate development in New York City. Currently he resides in Bogota, Colombia, where he is involved in the tourism industry. In his free time he enjoys singing in rock bands, travelling throughout Latin America, and studying Portuguese.

CNN Has Only Itself to Blame for its Post-Trump Loss of Credibility

By: Ben Jackson - Jul 5, 2017, 2:42 pm
CNN's Van Jones was recently busted admitting that the Russia collusion story is a big "nothingburger" (

For years, CNN has enjoyed the status of being arguably the most respected and prestigious cable news network despite palpable insincerity and a notorious leftist bias. Regardless of where one chooses to get their news from, if you've spent any significant time in an airport lobby, reception area, or other public space whose management has chosen CNN as their supposedly neutral and supposedly innocuous programming choice, you will have a general grasp of the flavor and intention of the product. Recent developments give hope to CNN critics, such as myself, that the conventional wisdom about, and public opinion of, the organization will never again be what it once was. Their reputation in the public eye continues to plummet as scandal after consecutive scandal arise, causing a cumulative, discrediting effect on the perception of their journalistic integrity. Read More: Rudy Giuliani Stands up for Trump Again, Decries "Media Bias" Read More: How Trump Should Have Turned the Tables on Clinton and the Media Most recently they have stooped as low as to threaten to dox a 15-year-old Reddit user who mere days ago created a now viral video meme depicting Donald Trump handily out-wrestling a wrestler with the CNN logo superimposed over his face. The meme has gotten nation-wide attention since being tweeted by President Trump himself on Sunday morning. https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/881503147168071680 One could make the argument that tweeting such a thing is immature, inappropriate, perhaps even unpresidential, but CNN's unwillingness, or inability to take the higher ground by allowing a kid on the internet the liberty to creatively criticize them is not going to do them any favors as far as salvaging their reputation. It is ridiculous at best, and Orwellian and tyrannical at worst, to suppose that a major cable news network can or should attack an underage internet user for merely mocking them. This incident is only one in an ever-increasing series of recent foibles by CNN. From one-off shockers such as the staged Muslim Anti-Isis protest in London, and the recent retractions due to libel without evidence concerning president Trump, to the longstanding extreme bias for democratic candidates, to the gross, amateurish irresponsibility of publishing a National Enquirer article without checking the title, to the debacle surrounding footage published by Project Veritas that shows CNN staff talking very flippantly about the unsubstantiated nature of the coverage of alleged Russian election interference,  the nails in the CNN coffin have been coming in rapid succession. Although the footage released by Project Veritas may be the most eye-opening as far as dropping the proverbial curtain protecting the non-existent journalistic integrity and respect for their audience, personally the things John Bonifield and Van Jones have been filmed saying come as no surprise to me at all. For as long as I have been aware of CNN I have despised and distrusted their plastic smiles and false enthusiasm, as well as their feigned confusion whenever faced with a non-canonical –read conservative or libertarian- point of view. It is not uncommon for news television personalities to have an android-like artificial air, but for CNN these obnoxiously, saccharine-fake qualities seem to be part of their company policy. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); }); Bonifield´s admission that the stories run have more to do with ratings than their potential relevance is probably not as disturbing for most as his fast-and-loose attitude while talking about how foolish and easy to deceive they consider their own audience to be. Bonifield’s comments demonstrate, unequivocally, the disdain and disregard that I have long suspected CNN of having for the public. Playing devil’s advocate, one could dismiss Bonifield’s comments as being his personal feelings, and not representative of a CNN mentality as such. After all, Bonifield is a mid-level executive, a mere supervising producer. Enter Van Jones. Van Jones, on the other hand, is a more iconic exemplar of the CNN approach to news at large. And while the term ¨nothingburger¨ may not factor into my own regular vernacular, I believe its connotation is clear enough to anyone for whom this news is relevant; the primary story that has dominated CNN programming for weeks has been predicated on deliberate deception, a hallmark of the "fine journalism" practiced on a regular basis at CNN. CNN appears to have abandoned its attempts to appear unbiased, and jumped on the anti-Trump hysteria bandwagon, bolstered by the ratings that his presidency have garnered for Trump critics, apoplectic over the brash billionaire.

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