About Nicholas Hooton
- Website: http://nicholashooton.com
- Profile: Nicholas Hooton is an editor and strategist for Utah Liberty Alliance.
One of the greatest threats to personal liberty can come from law enforcement officers. Contrary to popular belief, police officers have no obligation to protect individual citizens. Their job is to enforce the laws of the state, even when those laws are unjust or unconstitutional, even when they harm people or property, even when they violate individual rights. Experience has shown that police officers generally have more legal protection than everyone else. They are exempt from many laws, and when they do break the law, their punishments are generally petty compared to what anyone else would receive.
Boxing is an unnatural act. Cos everything in it is backwards. You wanna move to the left, you don’t step left, you push on the right toe. To move right, you use your left toe. Instead of running from the pain – like a sane person would do, you step into it.
– Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris in Million Dollar Baby
I love the movie Million Dollar Baby for many reasons, but one of them is the portrayal of the training itself. Boxing, like many disciplines, requires one to actively abandon many natural inclinations and replace them with behavior that works. As humans, we have an impressive set of instincts, instincts that have served us well as a species for thousands of years; however, those same instincts can sometimes hinder us, sometimes fatally.
Effective immediately, the “manufacture, distribution, use, possession, purchase, attempted purchase, sale, attempted sale, giving, trading or bartering of spice” is a class B misdemeanor in the city of Ogden and is punishable by six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Ogden is the first municipality in Utah to pass a complete ban of the drug.
In phone interviews conducted by Utah Liberty with the city council members that were available, it became evident that popular opinion and the safety of children were the motivating factors behind the legislation. Council member Bart Blair admitted that government doesn’t have the “right” to prohibit consenting adults from putting harmful substances in their bodies, but that the safety of the community’s children made it necessary. However, despite the concern for the children, the legislation bans use for people of all ages. Blair said this was intended to reduce exposure to the drug anywhere in the city. When asked if a law that incarcerates a consenting adult and seizes his property for consuming something is a just law, Blair responded, “In our city it is.”
Unless we can make the philosophic foundations of a free society once more a living intellectual issue, and its implementation a task which challenges the ingenuity and imagination of our liveliest minds, the prospects of freedom are indeed dark. But if we can regain that belief in the power of ideas which was the mark of liberalism at its best, the battle is not lost.
– F. A. Hayek, “The Intellectuals and Socialism,” in Studies in Philosophy, Politics, and
Economics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1967), p. 194.
As a Latter-day Saint, liberty is a means to an end. In order to achieve the goals I have for myself and my family, I must be able to choose. Liberty is a prerequisite.
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
– Benjamin Franklin
However, as a libertarian, liberty is not a means to an end, but the end itself. I believe that the only legitimate function of what we know as “government” is to maintain and protect individual liberty. This is what defines my political philosophy. In fact, I have found that every political philosophy can be defined by what it values more than liberty.
Take conservatism, for example. Living in Utah necessarily means interacting with a lot of conservatives, and I’ve noticed lately (with the rise in popularity of the liberty movement) that conservatives initially react very positively when I tell them I am a libertarian.
“Oh, really?” they respond enthusiastically. “I actually kinda consider myself a libertarian. I’ve read Atlas Shrugged and am a big believer in free markets. I think the government should just leave us all alone and let us run our own lives.”
“That’s great,” I reply. I then ask the only question you’ll ever need to know to flush out a fake libertarian. “So you are all for legalizing drugs, gambling and prostitution then?”
I hate to pick on the Deseret News again, but they keep making it so easy. The paper called on Americans to condemn the planned burning of copies of the Quran by the Dove World Outreach Center in Florida. In doing so, the News has joined the U.S. government, thousands of Indonesian protesters, General David Petraeus, the U.S. embassy in Kabul, the White House, NATO, Hillary Clinton, the Vatican, and the United Nations. All of this attention and condemnation aimed at a 50-member church that wants to burn some books.
As with the “Ground Zero” mosque debate, both sides are completely missing the point on this issue. Those defending the mosque pleaded for religious freedom, while those opposed called for sensitivity. Those defending this little church in Florida are asking for religious freedom and crying free speech, while those opposed are worried about sensitivity and national security. But none of this matters, because both of these issues boil down to one principle: property.
In an editorial on Sunday, Deseret News called for a statewide ban of “spice”, an herbal substance with properties similar to cannabis and its active drug, THC. Utah County has already passed a ban on the substance, which was being sold in some convenience stores.
There is an understandable need for concern with this relatively new drug. It is readily available to minors, not much is known about it in the public eye, and it is said to be addictive and more harmful to the body than marijuana. However, once again, public officials are approaching the problem with a statist mindset: if something is bad, we must past laws against it.
This didn’t work out too well back in the ’20s with alcohol prohibition. For those who don’t know, prohibition resulted in increased alcohol consumption, increased alcohol sales, a dramatic increase in prison populations and a significant increase in the homicide rate. All of these measures dropped after the repeal. The violent gangs associated with the criminalization of alcohol simply disappeared.
Utah Liberty Alliance seeks to bring about a free society through journalism and activism, starting right here at home.
Recent Forum Posts
In development: Utah Copwatch (utahcopwatch.org)
posted in forum Incubator by Dallin Crump on August 14, 2012 at 1:09 pm
In development: Utahns for Privatized Education (u4pe.org)
posted in forum Incubator by Dallin Crump on April 30, 2012 at 1:54 pm
Utah juror information
posted in forum Incubator by Nicholas Hooton on April 30, 2012 at 8:56 am