Alabama’s War on Margaritas

Joining the show is Cameron Smith general counsel and vice president of implementation for the R Street Institute, where he oversees how R Street implements and communicates the policy solutions its experts develop. He also handles a wide range of the institute’s legal matters.

Cameron, and his team at R Street uncovered Alabama’s over zealous Alcohol (Nanny) Control board attempting to ban the sale of pitchers of Margarita’s to adults. Why? Your guess is as good as ours but there may be something to do with trying to stay relevant in a world that needs no such thing as an Alcohol Control Board.

Cameron explains how his team was able to, almost overnight, pressure the nannies in Alabama to reverse their decision and let consenting adults voluntarily purchase pitchers of Margaritas once again.

Also how we can replicate the success R Street is having!

Read Cameron’s articles on the Mississippi Margarita ban here and here!

Sunday Equality

Buying beer and mimosas at 10AM on Sunday! When did North Carolina become so edgy!

Eric Rowel, local Mecklenburg County activist, the figure behind #sundayequality, and concerned citizen joins the show not just for a victory lap but an explanation of how a bill over Sunday alcohol sales was passed in North Carolina. While other states have eradicated blue laws, getting 2 hours extra on Sunday was a huge achievement for this Old North State.

We discuss the vicotry, how future alcohol reform can succeed, and why this policy gained such traction and support.

Also, listen into the surprise at the end where Eric reveals a surprise about my future.

Check out Eric’s Blog, but be sure to “Check your Emotions at the Door”

Or follow on Twitter @EricWRowell

Why 21? Why not 18…19?

Jake Curtis, Associate Council and Federalism Litigator at the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty Center for Competitive Federalism, joins the show to discuss how the drinking age has played a role in shaping federal precedent for the last 30 years since the Supreme Court on “South Dakota Vs. Dole” (The 6th least populated state challenging the status quo!)

The Federal government of these United States and each of the 50 states are in a constant tug of war over power to regulate, but figuring out the role for each is not necessarily set in stone. Jake uncovers how precedent set by liquor and alcohol have shaped not only the drinking age but have created a domino effect with implications on future Supreme Court rulings.

Don’t worry folks, my Alcohol Commerce Clause was met and as a bonus, we argue over the Packers place in the NFL. (Go Vikings!)

Check out Jake’s wonderful explanation of the drinking age here:
Thirty Years of Federal Coercion, on the Drinking Age and More

Be sure to keep up with Jakes latest research and articles at National Review.

Initiative to ban smartphones for kids ignores benefit of technology

If a Colorado initiative manages to get on the ballot and pass, then 49 other states are going to be looking like anarcho- capitalist havens. Initiative 29 or the “Preservation of Natural Childhood” would make selling smartphones, tablets, and any sort of handheld wireless technology to be used by anyone aged 13 and younger illegal.

This is anything but “natural”.

The title attempts to conjure up delightful images of a childhood free from responsibility, being driven to hockey practice, playing late into the night, and the parental figures providing all necessities of life. However, this image is very unnatural. Neither electricity or cars are part of a natural childhood, and as comedian Jim Gaffigan puts it, neither is using the bathroom indoors. We are surrounded by the unnatural. Initiative 29 capitalizes on your feel-good impressions, disregarding centuries of positive advancements.

Expectantly the announcement has raised concern over state paternalism, but there are much more meaningful and deeper issues at play. Advocates are overlooking huge benefits of these technologies, are seeing smartphones as the cause of idleness rather than as the symptom, and seek to turn families and businesses into criminals overnight.

Look to the positives.

How could parents be so oblivious to the problems this technology is causing? The answer is parents are aware of the problems wireless devices can have, but they are also fully aware of the benefits too.

These wireless handheld-devices are improving lives. Children can call parents after post school activities, they promote independence, and are a lifeline when in trouble. Children can connect with grandparents or loved ones across the world, tutors, research, and yes play games.

These devises can teach children responsibility, respecting personal property, limits for online time, and online critical thinking in a dangerous world. Skills that can be cultivated at a young age with parental advice instead of a hormone peer pressure world of middle and high school.

The initiative advocates are somewhat correct in finding that overuse can have certain ill wanted effects on children. Whether lashing out when taken away, or as proponent of initiative 29 Tim Farnum says, “ there’s just no good that comes from that.” However, if one only looked at negatives of any technology then bicycles should be banned. Every year they cause thousands of boo boos and are involved in severe life ending crashes with motor vehicles. However, bikes are not banned, because like smartphones they offer more benefits if used responsibly than if they did not exist at all.

No work, and no play makes Jack an idle boy.

Children’s inactivity is a major rallying cry for the advocates of the initiative. However, smartphones are not the cause of this idleness, Smartphones are the symptom. Decades of regulations and cultural norms are treating children as delicate flowers leading to these unintended consequences.

In Free To Learn, educational psychologist Dr. Peter Gray found “Surveys of game players in the general population, indicate that kids who are free to play outdoors as well as with video games usually, over time, choose a balance between the two.” Not only do children strike a balance in their life, but “Video-game play appears to compete much more with television watching than with outdoor play for children’s free time.”

Dr. Peter Grays concludes resorting to screen time is more than likely a result of decreased un-monitored play time and less freedom via helicopter parenting. “The nine-year-old may not be allowed to walk to the corner store by himself, but he is allowed to enter into and explore freely an exciting virtual world filled with all sorts of dangers and delights.” Adding, “When kids are asked, in focus groups and surveys, what they like about video games, they generally talk about freedom, self-direction, and competence”.

Personally, I acquired my first job selling/harvesting produce at a farm when I was 13. Securing this job was nearly impossible due to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules, the minimum wage, and the fact that as a 13-year old I was practically worthless, having no useful skills. For me the most important piece of this opportunity was the failures I made that later led to success setting myself up for an independent life.

If these “feel gooders” with initiative 29 wanted to help children become active, then encourage work like lemonade stands, apprenticeships, getting a job below the minimum wage (because a 13 year old is not worth $9.30/ hour: I know I wasn’t).  Give them freedom to fail, and encourage exploration. Let them realize how creating value in exchange for a desired goal is a moral endeavor.

Jeffrey Tucker critiques our culture well, “We push these kids through the system and deny them any chance to realize their human value in gainful employment in a community of productivity and real learning.” School programs are even designed to mimic what is learned “on the job.”  Why are we afraid of letting children discover the workplace and learn firsthand during the best time of their lives to fail and make mistakes!

Who’s a criminal? Your Mom!

The initiative seeks to penalize retailers requiring stores to “interrogate adult consumers” over the intended use of the device, forcing parents to lie about who is using the device. Overnight, voluntary transactions are turned criminal. A parent giving a smartphone to a child to call if in trouble, a tablet given to a cranky kid at a nice restaurant, or a wireless device used to conduct research online could all be criminal acts under the auspices of initiative 29.

Parents and children all place unique and diverse values on connectivity, while this initiative looks to set a one size fits all negative value using the coercive enforcement power of the state. Parents are and always will be the best judge of values and needs for their children. Why then would any parent sign a petition demanding someone coerce their “natural” values on their wonderfully “un-natural” children?

Know what else idleness causes? Awful initiatives, like initiative 29.

Matt Kibbe and the Beer Freedom Index


Wonderful show with special guest Matt Kibbe joining the podcast! Matt is the former President of “FreedomWorks” and current President and Chief Community Organizer of “Free the People“, an economist by training, public policy expert, a best-selling author, and first and foremost craft beer lover!

As a disruptive force in politics, Beer is the perfect microcosm example to discuss problems of top-down central planning and the forces of government planning. Matt, explains the “Beer Freedom Index” (wish I thought of that) and why the less freedom a country has, the less likely it will have a tasty brew…. if at all!

We also dive into the correlations the industry has with technology, the sharing economy, the war on drugs and if we have learned anything from prohibition. Finally, we answer “Is beer the perfect example of liberty in action?”

Be sure to check out “Free The People” and Matt Kibbe on their “Beer Is Freedom” project. Here, Here, and Here.

Follow Matt Kibbe and “Free the People” on Twitter: