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.

Ending the Burden of the Regulatory State

Joining the show is Yaël Ossowski the Senior Development Officer for Students For Liberty, Public Relations Director for the Consumer Choice Center, and North Carolina Native.

We discuss a wide array of topics and the effects many regulations from UBER to Sunday alcohol sale laws not only have on the companies they are directly imposed on, but also on the choices the consumer is then faced with. Surprise surprise, quite often the consumer is left behind, then adding insult to injury is told its for their own good.

Be sure to check out what Yaël Ossowski is doing alongside his podcast The Innocents Abroad.
Follow  on Twitter at @Yaeloss

Find out what Consumer Choice Center is doing next!


Brewers Quest for Free Market Policy

Jim Caruso, CEO of Flying Dog Brewery, joins the show to clear things up about the fight in Maryland to raise the limit of on-site taproom sales. Guinness (owned by Diageo) is moving into the state but will the state general assembly create a special carve-out in the law for Diageo or will they enact policy that allows all breweries the same opportunity to grow?

We also have an in-depth discussion about the state of regulations on an industry that has been plagued with archaic laws pushed through by special interest groups. On top of that, we distinguish the difference between Pro-Business Policy and  Pro- Free Enterprise Policy.

A do not miss show!

Be sure to check out Flying Dog Brewery.

Also, check out the First Amendment Society which aims to raise the public consciousness of these rights by advocating on behalf of and organizing events that promote the arts, journalism and civil liberties.


5 Ways Prohibition Exists Today

Ever wonder about a weird law or policy you have no idea how it got started? If it deals with alcohol, today you may find out!

Angela Logomasini of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) joins the show. Angela Logomasini is a CEI senior fellow who specializes in environmental risk, regulation, and consumer freedom. In addition to her work with CEI, she manages SafeChemicalPolicy.org, is a senior fellow at Independent Women’s Forum, and is a wine educator and real estate investor.

Be sure to read Angela’s recent article “5 Weird ways Prohibition Still Exists Today” She dives into Mandatory Franchise laws, Sunday sales, Shipping regulations, Monopolies, and supermarket sales.