The Dysfunctional Society

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Badnarik for President
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Number 282, August 1, 2004

Happy 50th Birthday Michael Badnarik!


I think most of the bugs are swatted by now. Everything is probably where it is supposed to be in the new site. Probably.

There is no weekly cartoon this week. I couldn't find one that struck my fancy.

And now a word from our Publisher, L. Neil Smith:

["The Dysfunctional Society", by Butler Shaffer] is almost certainly the best political essay I have ever encountered. I'd like to run it in The Libertarian Enterprise, if that's all right with you. [To which Mr. Shaffer said "You certainly may run it!!"]

So we did!

Ken Holder
Editor, TLE


Letters to the Editor
Letters from the Badnarik Campaign, Rex Curry, and Stephen P. Gordon

Guns Are Good For You
by Chris Claypoole
Sometimes it's really strange how random inputs come together. Earlier today, I was reading an essay by Eric Raymond that had been linked in a post by Russell Whitaker on the smith2004-discuss Yahoo group. While very good on its own, the theme of this very insightful essay thudded home like a dropped anvil because of a conversation a few days before.

The United States of Prohibition
by Jonathan David Morris
As I've said a couple of times in this column, I'm leaving New Jersey after 26 years when I get married in August. My soon-to-be wife and I are leasing a townhouse in a magical paradise called Pennsylvania. In fact, we began moving stuff in this past weekend. We won't be living there till after the wedding, though. We don't want to live in sin. But anyway, all the shuffling around I've done lately has led me to think long and hard about the way laws differ from state to state--especially when it comes to liquor laws. Some states are better than others, but none are ideal. All want to stand between you and your idea of a good time.

The Lesser Evil vs. The Greatest Good
by Lady Liberty
The 2004 election is now only three months away, and at the height of summer, the campaign rhetoric continues to heat up. We're inundated with negative campaign ads; we're flooded with media reports of who is campaigning where; and most of us are left shaking our heads over the futility of finding even one candidate that's wholly acceptable. It's that lack of acceptable candidates over the course of many years now that's had most of us shrugging our shoulders and resignedly casting a ballot for the lesser evil, and which has finally come to mean that some no longer go to the polls at all.

Are You Going to be Free or Not?
by Ron Beatty
Imagine, if you will, a country that was born in blood, blood shed to purchase freedom from oppression. Imagine a country where for many years, even though government was intrusive and annoying, as all governments are (at best), the people were still free to innovate, to experiment, to learn, to grow, without government supervision. Imagine a country where all you needed to make a fresh start was the guts and will to move on, to find a new land, where you could make a complete new beginning, if you had the strength and courage to take advantage of the opportunity, to face the inherent risks of settling a comparative wilderness. Imagine if you will, a country where the people were free, and more importantly proud of being free, where they could and would do whatever it took to make a better life for themselves, where the only unforgivable sin was lack of trying.

The Dysfunctional Society
by Butler Shaffer
Like the Titanic, the American ship-of-state has hit an iceberg, and it is not timely to ask the ship's orchestra for an encore of "America the Beautiful!" A recurring theme in these articles is that the American branch of Western civilization is in a state of complete collapse, and that only a fundamental change in our thinking about the nature and forms of social behavior can reverse our destructive course. I return to this topic not because I enjoy playing Cassandra -- the "disaster lobby" is already packed -- but because I am unable to count myself among the "ignorance is bliss" crowd that would prefer such probing questions as whether Janet Jackson should be fined for exposing her breast on television; the propriety of Arnold Schwarzenegger's "girly man" comment; or whether gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry.

AIDS Efforts Undermined by U.N. Politics
by Wendy McElroy
During the 15th International Conference on AIDS held earlier this month, the Bush administration refused to pledge an additional $1 billion to the United Nations to fight AIDS. The U.N. expressed outrage. Instead, it should have apologized for politicizing AIDS and explained where its figures are coming from.

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2004 Issues
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