Category: Liberty

Online Gambling

If you enter the phrases “betting on” and “stock market” in the Google search function, .12 seconds later you’ll be furnished with 322,000 Web page matches.  Nearly every state in our great union — except for Hawaii and Utah — oversees some form of gambling, including State Lotteries, which serve as a regressive tax and...

Protesting Business As Usual

The normally jovial and celebratory Olympic Torch Relay, a mostly symbolic journey meant to link the entire planet in the joy of quasi-amateur athletics, has been transformed into a kind of Keystone Kops fiasco, without the comedy. In London and Paris, pro-Tibet demonstrators were so civilly disobedient that the riot police had to be summoned...

The Internet: A Safe Haven for Cowards

A beloved 1990s Peter Steiner New Yorker cartoon now adorning countless refrigerators depicts a cute canine seated in front of a computer terminal, where he says, “On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog.”  As we’ve learned in the ensuing decades, on the Internet no one knows if you’re a man, woman, adult, child, Nigerian con...

The Stigma of Prostitution

The fall of the (former) Governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer, was a glorious windfall for comedians, political pundits, and connoisseurs of schadenfreude. But lost amid the jeering laughter (and disappointed tears), the competing tendentious agendas, and the grave scholastic commentary was an opportunity for us to collectively ask: what’s wrong with us?  Perhaps we...

Tortured Logic

Our quasi-elected government, the one that ran successfully in 2004 on the stirring “protecting the institution of marriage from sodomites and dykes” platform, the one that upholds “family values,” the one that consults divine “higher powers” before making tough human decisions — that same government, the one populated by “compassionate conservatives,” advocates the use of...

Newton’s Law

My Dad, who was notorious for repeating useful nostrums as though they were Gospel, had a limited but effective collection of epigrams he liked to trot out whenever his boys required illuminating instruction. Some of these Rules to Live By were gleaned from his formative years in the Marine Corp, where he learned essential truths,...

Cutting Scientology Some Slack

Not long ago I attended a concert at the Celebrity Center, on the campus of Scientology headquarters, in the heart of Hollywood. Independent producers like to rent out the theater there because in addition to a good sound and light system, the Celebrity Center offers below-market rental rates in exchange for subjecting the audience to...

The Impulse to Take Offense

All of us, if we search widely enough, can find ourselves a minority group into which we can fit. Even if you’re a white male, there’s always something about you — your religious or sexual proclivities, your dressing habits, your viewpoint on animals or voting rights or the 2nd Amendment — that will situate you...

A Dystopia Called Nacerima

When I was a boy, one of my grade school teachers passed out a Social Studies article about a faraway country called Nacirema. This crazy place was inhabited by natives with strange grooming habits and fanciful modes of transportation and peculiar foods — or at least it seemed that way based on the descriptions. Eventually,...

Free to Be a Pedophile

Orthodox free-speech advocates must be cringing, certain that donations to their nonprofit organizations will slow to a trickle and, eventually, dry up like an extinct lake. What critics have been saying about groups like the American Civil Liberties Union is true: they stick up for the rights of the worst kinds of people, anti-social crackpots...