Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob


Florida, Proposal 97, Constitution, democracy, voting, initiative, Constitution Revision Commission

New-Fangled Vote Counting

Call me old-fashioned, but when you go to the pols to cast your vote on a ballot measure, your Yes vote should count for yes and your No vote for no. And if you choose not to vote, your non-vote should count for neither yes nor no. That’s just common

Oklahoma, votes, democracy, initiative, marijuana, State Rep. John Enns, ballot

Fear of Voters

You are a state legislator, say. And an issue could be placed on the ballot on which a majority of your state’s citizens might not vote according to your preference. What would you do? Educate your fellow citizens on the merits of your position; or Dawdle while calling a lobbyist

instant-runoff elections, Memphis, city council, government, term limits,

Graceless Memphis Politicians

“We could care less about instant runoff voting,” fibbed Allan Wade, the city attorney for Memphis, Tennessee. Wade was rebutting the recent Commercial Appeal revelation that Memphis’s “City Council worked behind the scenes to find a sponsor for legislation this year that could ban instant-runoff elections statewide.” After long relying

The Human Freedom Index for 2017, CATO, Fraser Institute, and the Liberales Institut at the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom Switzerland, US, United States

Winning Too Much?

“We’re Number 17!!!” This lacks a certain triumphant note. It is nothing like the “We’re Number 1!” the Swiss are now hollering as they pump their arms into the air, waving giant #1 foam fingers against the backdrop of snow-covered Alps. Actually, knowing the Swiss, they are probably a bit

Tim Eyman, doll, petition, taxes, Washington, initiative, democracy, voters

What Unlimited Government Costs Us

“Olympia can’t restrain itself,” Tim Eyman wrote the other day, a judgment on legislative irresponsibility hardly unique to the Evergreen State. Citizens around the country have cause to lament the difficulty of obtaining anything close to a good legislature. Too often the merely “bad” would constitute a significant improvement. Which

Illinois, Supreme Court, term limits, initiative, democracy, gerrymandering

Illinois’s Chicken-and-Fish Supreme Court

A constitution is the law of the land only to the extent that it’s enforced. And in Illinois, the right of citizen initiative — provided for in the state constitution — is not enforced. The constitution’s wording is explicit: “Amendments . . . may be proposed by a petition signed

term limits, Congress, 74%, polls, Rasmussen Poll

Agreeable America

Americans actually agree on a lot of things; it’s a pity that today’s media and political debates play up the discord. Or so argues A. Barton Hinkle at The Richmond Times-Dispatch. Sure, he admits, “[a] lot of people seem willing to tear your head off over the smallest thing.” But

Truth in Accounting, TIA, Financial State of the States, Sheila Weinberg, initiative, democracy

Initiative Surplus?

Only nine out of 50 states can pay their bills and meet their obligations; 41 cannot, barring major tax increases or spending cuts. That’s what we learn in last month’s “Financial State of the States” report from Truth in Accounting (TIA). Alaska is in the best shape, “with $11 billion

Spain, Catalan, self determination,, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Mises

Self-Determination, Anyone?

An election can be a clarifying event. So can the suppression of an election. Over the weekend, more than two million Catalans, greater than 40 percent of those eligible, voted in a referendum on independence from Spain. To which Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy declared, “There was no independence referendum in

great fiction, government, citizen, initiative, term limits, Paul Jacob

The Great Faction

Politics isn’t a pretty business. Frédéric Bastiat called the beast it serves “that great fiction” not because it doesn’t exist — intrusive state power sure persists — but rather because what it promises cannot really happen: “everyone living at the expense of everyone else.” What can we do? How do

Tim Eyman, Washington, initiative, free speech, tax, taxes

Know Your BS

“Help me get my B.S. in the voters pamphlet,” read the subject-line of Tim Eyman’s email.  Eyman is a practitioner of the art of the voter initiative, foremost in his state, Washington, and one of the most effective nationwide.* This particular call to action concerns the voter pamphlet statements about

Milton Friedman, democracy, initiative, referendum, Free to Choose, public interest,

Free to Choose

“I think that the most effective way one could possibly move toward greater freedom in the United States, toward a smaller role of government, would be if we could only have a more democratic society.” Who said that? A Democrat? No. The speaker quickly added, “I don’t mean a capital-D,

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