Liberty Blog’s Top 10 Articles in 2012

In April 2012, we launched LibertyBlog.org (LB) to allow more citizen journalists to promote liberty. Since then, we have published such insightful articles as the following:

Below are LB’s 10 most-read articles in 2012. We are grateful for our writers and readers, and we look forward to 2013!

10. Pat Cuadros’ Business Ethics and Environmental Economics in ‘The Lorax’

Pat reviewed the movie “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” and discussed how it unfairly attacks capitalism and businesses. She explained as follows:

The film is framed as an attack on capitalism and corporate greed, pitting the blame for environmental ruin upon the market. Even the song “How Bad Can I Be?” casts the Once-ler’s activities in the light of Social Darwinism, with survival of the fittest and maximizing profits as his highest goal. However, “The Lorax” fails to accurately represent issues of the market. Certainly, the aim of business is to maximize profits, but not to the extent of driving yourself out of business.

9. Paul Wilson and Dan Smyth’s Hell or Horsewhipping? Religious Authority versus Government Force

Paul and Dan discussed criticisms of religious authority vis-à-vis the government use of force. They tackle the New York Times’ and others’ false claims that religious authorities force rules on followers and citizens at-large, and argue that religious authorities have no constitutional or other legal power to force religious rules on anyone:

Religious critics such as those on the New York Times’ editorial board who claim that religious authorities “force” their followers or even citizens at-large to obey religious rules are clearly mistaken.  Perhaps these critics could instead complain that governments force their citizens, through threats of fines, imprisonment, and other earthly punishments… to obey….government rules.

8. Dan Smyth’s The ObamaCare Absurdity and the Creation of New Powers

Dan argued that ObamaCare’s Individual Mandate to purchase health insurance is unconstitutional according to the original meaning of the Constitution’s Necessary and Proper Clause.  This clause allows Congress to pass laws “necessary and proper” to execute Congress’ few enumerated powers. The Obama administration argued the Individual Mandate was “necessary and proper” to execute Congress’ enumerated power to regulate interstate commerce.  However, as Dan noted, legal scholars Gary Lawson and David Kopel have argued that a “necessary and proper” law can’t be a greater or equal exertion of congressional power as the enumerated power that the “necessary and proper” law executes.  Lawson and Kopel argued the following:

The power to compel the purchase of a commercial product [as the Individual Mandate does with forcing purchases of health insurance] is…an extraordinary power of independent significance…that would be enumerated as a principal power if it were granted at all to the federal government…It is a power at least as significant…as the power to regulate [interstate commerce].

Dan warned that, given ObamaCare’s creation of a congressional power to force purchase of a product, Congress could again use the Necessary and Proper Clause to create new, expansive powers.

7. Katie Yoder’s The Awakening: Fighting for Religious Freedom

Katie reported on the Stand Up for Religious Freedom rallies earlier this year, which attracted 63,000 attendees in over 140 cities. She discussed how the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ contraception/abortifacient mandate, the reason for the rallies, will require most religious employers to provide their employees “free contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortion-inducing drugs, regardless of any moral or religious objections.”

Katie concluded with the following call to action:

Fellow fighters for religious freedom, we must remind the world we are not dead. We are a sleeping giant arising from a deep slumber. We are a people fighting for the liberty that has been the bedrock of our country’s growth and prosperity—a people ensuring the legacy of good men.

6. Katie Yoder’s Dragging Our High Heels: D.C. Drag Queen Race Attracts Thousands

Katie reported on the 26th annual Drag Queen High Heel Race in Washington, D.C. Katie discussed how Christian conservatives can sometimes treat the gay community as a group that threatens traditional values. However, she argued that Christian conservatives are called to love homosexuals unconditionally:

We must learn to love others different from ourselves to show them their beauty and potential as people. We don’t attract others to Christianity with hate. We don’t change others with negativity and abandonment. Rather, we win others to God and our political ideology by startling them with patience and kindness. We surprise others by accepting them and loving them unconditionally as God does, even though we may disagree with their actions.

5. Fergus Hodgson’s Honduras and the Future of Competitive Governance

Fergus described Honduras’ experiment with having the world’s first “free cities,” which are “largely autonomous regions…[that] write their own laws, have their own courts, and even handle their own immigration policies.” As Fergus mentioned, “[t]he idea…[was] to wipe the slate clean of [Honduras’] governmental failure and allow for a fresh start in specific parts of the country.”

Unfortunately, in October 2012 the Honduran Supreme Court declared Honduras’ “free cities” unconstitutional, and thus “free cities” won’t exist in Honduras.  Nevertheless, as Fergus noted “other nations—including Belize, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Panama, Rwanda, and Senegal—are considering similar initiatives. In a few decades, we may well see thriving and competing free cities dotting the globe and bringing prosperity to many.”

4. Katie Yoder’s Kneeling to Stand: Hundreds Fight for the Unborn at D.C. Planned Parenthood

Katie described the gathering of hundreds of prayerful folks at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Washington, D.C, in October 2012.  In this world full of “disrespect for the unborn,” Katie called us to action:

As Christians, we believe in the human dignity – the importance – of each individual as a child of God. This belief extends in a special way towards the protection of the weak and vulnerable unborn child. As Christians, we also believe Christ triumphs in the end. The question is how we journey to the finish – the question is will we dare to play a role? Will we kneel down to stand up?

3. Maggen Elizabeth Stone’s To Speak or Not to Speak about Abortion; That is the Question

Maggen responded to Senator John McCain’s (R-AZ) suggestion in November 2012 that Republicans should “…leave the [abortion] issue alone…” Maggen argued Republicans should instead have “an honest discussion regarding abortion,” even though this discussion may upset some voters.

Maggen concluded with the following reference to Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” (1927), a short story about avoiding honest discussions of abortion:

Any attempt to ignore the topic will merely create in the background of the current political scene hills like white elephants that will stand as ever-present reminders of the thing about which not talked. Surely the more virtuous course of action is to persevere through the admittedly formidable discussion on abortion, and to continue a charitable defense of the unborn.

2. Pat Cuadros’ John Stossel Hits the Road in ‘No, They Can’t’ Book Tour

Pat reviewed John Stossel’s latest book, No, They Can’t: Why Government Fails—But Individuals Succeed,” noting that “Stossel argues that individuals and the market are more effective at finding better solutions than government ever could.”  Pat concluded with the following synopsis:

John Stossel’s [book]…is a welcome addition to any reader’s bookshelf. His book joins a resurgence of books addressing the misconception that government can figure out everything we need and create a utopian society…It would be unsurprising if Mr. Stossel’s book also makes an impact on readers across the nation ready for real solutions.

1. Dan Smyth’s Got Religion? HHS’ Mandate and the Founders’ “Religious” Employers

Since August 2012, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has forced many religious employers, including Catholic businesses, to fund their employees’ contraception and abortifacients through health insurance plans. HHS exempts only “religious employers” who, among other qualifications, primarily employ and serve persons of the same religion. HHS’ narrow definition of “religious employers” excludes many religious employers, including Catholic hospitals, which serve the public and not primarily Catholics.

Dan argued that the Founders understood religious employers to be “employers who, in any way, are disposed to religious duties or teach religion” and not employers who primarily employ or serve persons with the same religion.  Thus, examples of the Founders’ “religious employers” include employers who simply display in their front offices such religious items as the Ten Commandments, Star of David, or Wheel of Dharma.

Dan also argued the original meaning of the First Amendment’s guarantee of “free exercise [of religion]” is to forbid Congress from impeding individuals’ liberty to profess and practice their religion.  Thus, Dan claimed, HHS shouldn’t hinder Catholic or other religious employers’ “practice or profession of sexual chastity or pro-life virtues through a contraceptive/abortifacient/ sterilization mandate.”

Dan concluded HHS, to protect religious employers’ “free exercise [of religion],” “should exempt all employers who, in any way, are disposed to religious duties or teach religion, including Catholic…businesses, schools, charities, and hospitals.”

About Dan Smyth

Dan Smyth earned his Master of Public Policy from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. His articles have appeared in the Washington Times, American Thinker, the Freeman, and other publications. Find him on Twitter at @DanielSmyth7.

6 comments
DanielSmyth7
DanielSmyth7

And @PCuad24 @FergHodgson and, of course, @maggenelizabeth! Thanks for everyone's awesome writing and insights!

DanielSmyth7
DanielSmyth7

And @PCuad24 @FergHodgson and, of course, @maggenelizabeth! Thanks for everyone's awesome writing and insights!

LibertyBlog_org
LibertyBlog_org

@TheStatelessMan Thanks! It's all made possible by great contributors and readership.

LibertyBlog_org
LibertyBlog_org

@TheStatelessMan Thanks! It's all made possible by great contributors and readership.