"We really appreciate the great work that the Colorado Freedom Report does. You're really sort of the founding father of pro-freedom Colorado webbing." -- Dave Kopel, Independence Institute, November 14, 2007
"Colorado journalists and politicians who fell in line [with]... the bogus 'Food Stamp Challenge' probably didn't anticipate that a Colorado blogger would... call their bluff." -- Tom Blumer of BizzyBlog, July 20, 2007
"Great critique of the Club 20 [health-mandate] 'proposal'." -- Jeff Wright, April 17, 2007
"Ari Armstrong's... column on health care is one of the best I've seen in a long time and it makes a critical point. Well done." -- Katy Atkinson, April 11, 2007
"GREAT great [audio] clips! ... Again this was great independent work..." -- Chris Goldstein, NORML, November 1, 2006
"Do you have credentials? ... I want to see your credentials... If you were a legitimate reporter, you'd have credentials... You should have credentials... I doubt that you're a legitimate reporter." -- Sheriff John Cooke, October 27, 2006
"[T]he Colorado Freedom Report did a fine job reporting, photographing and recording the event." -- Jon Caldara, Independence Institute, March 31, 2006
"Ari's Colorado Freedom Report is well worth reading, more so all the time." -- Diana Hsieh, January 2, 2006
"Ari Armstrong... who produces the Colorado Freedom Report, has done some useful research into state spending." -- Ed Quillen, The Denver Post, September 25, 2005
"In the Colorado Freedom Report, Ari Armstrong writes what we all could have surmised, 'The legislature has failed to find efficient ways of reorganizing state government, and it has failed to cut wasteful and low-priority programs'." -- Paul Jacob of Common Sense, TownHall, July 31, 2005
"Well done on your investigation [about misspent tax dollars]!" -- Gunny Bob, Anger Management, 630 KHOW, July 28, 2005
"[T]he self appointed Lord High Minister of Libertarian Purity..." -- LPCO Chair Norm Olsen, July, 2004
"I detest Ari Armstrong... I dislike Ari Armstrong... [T]he Pied Piper of Colorado." -- Rick Stanley, April 28, 2003
"I think you did an excellent job analyzing, interpreting and criticizing my views..." -- Jeffrey Schaler, author of Addiction is a Choice, March 12, 2004
"It's been good to see [the Colorado Freedom Report] in our newsfeed so frequently; you're doing great work!" -- Louis James, Free-Market.Net, June 19, 2003
"Ari Armstrong... works very hard to add original research to his opinion pieces." -- David Kopel, Rocky Mountain News, December 22, 2002
"Thanks, Ari. The story was terrific." -- Randy Barnett, author of The Structure of Liberty, April 16, 2003
"[K]udos to Ari Armstrong, whose Colorado Freedom Report Web site [(www.freecolorado.com)] first exposed the problem." -- David Kopel, Rocky Mountain News, June 2, 2002
"Thanks so much for the great article on my CU talk! ...Keep up the fight!" -- Boston T. Party, May 2, 2003
"WOW! Great write-up! I'll be posting it in various places on the net." -- Maria Heil, National Spokesperson, Second Amendment Sisters, May 8, 2003
"[A] writer in the Colorado Freedom Report... was quick to add... that 'other members of the TRT, as well as members of the Libertarian Party and Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, behaved civilly'..." -- Rocky Mountain News editorial, May 1, 2001
"The Colorado Freedom Report... [and] GunTruths.com... [are] gun-rights... zealots..." -- Diane Carman, Denver Post, September 9, 2000
"I did want to say that I appreciate the respectful and reasoned tone of your discussion." -- State Senator Ken Gordon, February 21, 2003
Please See New Page
This page now contains the archives of Ari Armstrong's Free Colorado, 1999 through 2007. See Ari's new page at AriArmstrong.com. Material that used to appear here dated 2008 through 2010 has been imported into AriArmstrong.com. This note was posted on September 15, 2014.
A New Year for the Legislature
Unfortunately, if legislators articulated their New Year's resolutions, some of them would go like this: "Pander to special-interest groups," "Tax the disorganized masses in order to reward the politically powerful," "Talk about freedom while increasing state power," and "Figure out how to spin my opponent's record so that I can win votes without having to debate the real issues." ...[W]e will offer... resolutions that even this year's legislature might consider.
208 Commission Rejects Free Markets
The 208 Commission... has rejected the only free-market proposal submitted to the Commission in favor of four plans that would dramatically increase political control of medicine in Colorado... [O]ther Commissioners spoke glowingly of socialized medicine; two Commissioners described it as "bold" and "refreshing."
God Wins in Iowa
The big winner in the Iowan caucuses is Jesus Christ. Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama are the two most religious -- politically religious -- candidates of their parties. I'm surprised that those candidates came in first. However, I don't believe that they'll win the nominations... Indeed, I would be stunned if either candidate made it to the general election. If both make it, that will demonstrate that this country is in worse shape than I thought, and that we are likely headed toward more expansive religious-based politics.
Drugs, Health, and Rights: An Exchange
The proper political standard is individual rights. We have the right to control our own bodies and resources, provided that we respect the equal rights of others. Quite simply, there is nothing about drug use per se that violates rights. Now, some people who use drugs (including the legal drug alcohol) also commit criminal acts, but they should be punished for those criminal acts, not for the drug use. ... The proper purpose of government is to protect individual rights, not force people to otherwise behave as they should.
Christmas Eve Celebrates New Life
Christmas Eve is the night of anticipation. It is the night when children sleep anxiously, awaiting the wonders of the new day. It celebrates the night when Joseph sat with Mary in a dirty barn in a strange city, in anguish that this was the best he could offer his young wife as she suffered labor pains with the hopes and the worries that comfort and plague every new mother. It is the night when the wise travel from afar to worship new life, when the very skies seem to sparkle in wonderment at the first breath a baby draws into his lungs.
Celebrate Bill of Rights Day
Unfortunately, our rights of free speech are eroding even here in the United States. The left, which often pretends to champion free speech and occasionally even does so, increasingly calls for censorship when it comes to radio broadcasts and political campaigns. Incredibly, the left calls its censorship "the Fairness Doctrine." By "fairness," the left means that government bureaucrats will force owners of radio stations to offer "equal time" to the left -- as defined by those bureaucrats -- or else. With the help of President Bush, the left has also censored select political speech prior to elections. But the right wing is no better and very often worse.
Debate Over Term Limits Continues
Your authors usually agree on political principles, but the matter of term limits pertains more to optional political organization and strategy. We don't dispute the wisdom of George Washington's self-imposed limit, nor of term limits for president. We want to risk neither monarchy nor dictatorship. Yet for lower offices, the rationale for term limits is less obvious. Linn will present his case for term limits, while Ari will offer some notes of skepticism.
Laura Ingraham Rallies Conservatives
It was the conservatives' night. The only two known Democrats at the Independence Institute's Twenty-Third Annual Founders' Night Dinner held November 14 were David Kopel, research director for the Institute, and a friend of Tim Travis... [who] received the David S. D'Evelyn Award... Laura Ingraham, popular conservative radio host, offered the keynote address.
Same Old Corporate Welfare
To fund corporate welfare, politicians and the bureaucrats they empower take money by force from some people in order to give the money to others who have not earned it. The practice is immoral because people have the right to decide how to spend their own resources. You have the right to spend your income with the business of your choice, rather than the business that politicians force you to subsidize. Each taxpayer is made a bit worse off so that the favored few can collect the extorted wealth.
7News Features Food-Stamp Debate
Denver's 7News featured a substantive if brief debate over food stamps in a story that aired October 14. My wife and I took the position that food-stamp subsidies should not be increased and that voluntary charity is a better alternative to food stamps. The station also interviewed a woman who takes food stamps and who argues that the payments are not enough.
Doubts About Ritter's "Climate Action"
I wonder whether Ritter's "ambitious call to action" will accomplish much, other than to force Coloradans to spend more money for cars and electric bills. ... [T]he only way that we could reduce our emissions by "80% by 2050," assuming that we are not prepared to descend into mass poverty, is to take advantage of yet-to-be-invented technology and/or nuclear power... If there is no technological revolution in energy, then how does Ritter know that the best response is to reduce greenhouse emissions, rather than simply adjust to the slightly warmer temperatures?
World Series a Boon for Scalpers
The general feeling is that, when the Rockies return to the World Series next year (for hope springs eternal), the club should institute some sort of lottery system, so that everybody has a fair chance to scalp tickets. ... There's one very simple way that clubs could make sure that they sell tickets only to fans and that scalpers don't walk away with any of the profits.
Mandates Threaten Your Health
Insurance mandates are morally wrong because they violate the rights of individuals to control their own lives and resources. The government has no more right to force us to buy health insurance than it does to force us to buy shoes, houses, hamburgers, or Bibles. ... Instead of trying to force people to buy health insurance, why doesn't Dr. Pramenko take a look at why health insurance is too expensive for some people to afford?
Restore Liberty in Health Care
Richard Watts writes, "The role of government in regard to health care should be to cease and desist. The proper role of government is not to force anyone to do anything. Government's proper role is to protect every person's right to liberty. But subsidies, tax distortions, insurance mandates, employer mandates and individual mandates violate this right and wreck the market. Government's policy in regard to health care, and health care financing, should be 'hands off!'"
Celebrating Atlas Shrugged
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand's seminal novel about producers who go on strike to oppose their treatment at the hands of political plunderers. The novel celebrates the greatness possible to the freed human mind in pursuit of life-enhancing values. The work unabashedly endorses the moral doctrine of rational self-interest.
'People Mover' Doesn't Need City Force
Mayor Jim Doody wants to bring Robert Redford's "people-mover" to Grand Junction... Others in the Grand Valley had visions of "people-movers" long before the "Sundance Summit: A Mayors' Gathering on Climate Protection." Henry Rustler Rhone's vision was to move people, goods, and animals from Grand Junction to the Mesa-Garfield county lines [via the] Rhone Toll Road...
$2.57 a Day Buys Food, Perspective
A two-person household can receive as much as $284 per month in food stamps, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Nevertheless, my wife and I spent the month of August eating for $159.04, or $2.57 per person per day. ... I was reminded at a very personal level of the importance of a free-market system of capitalism, in which the rights of the individual to control his own life, resources and property -- as consistent with the equal rights of others -- are fully protected by law. It is because of that system of liberty -- and to the extent that we maintain it -- that we prosper and thrive.
To Help the Poor, Preserve Capitalism
Far more important than giving the poor a hand out is protecting the economic liberty that allows people to grow wealthy. Capitalism has done immeasurably more to help the poor than all the socialist schemes of world history combined. Nevertheless, the justification for capitalism is not that it helps the poor. Rather, capitalism is just because it protects the rights and liberty of each individual to control his own life, resources, and property, as consistent with the equal rights of others. As a consequence, capitalism promotes mass prosperity.
Liberty Food Challenge Log
During August, our maximum food budget will be $180. We'll donate very dollar that we save out of that budget to the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI). Moreover, eleven other people have agreed to match or exceed our donation, such that around 17 times our donation will be given by others to ARI or other nonprofits.
Free Markets Make Food Affordable
Within a few paces at the local grocery store, a shopper can find fresh vegetables for less than a dollar a pound and more than $12 a pound. Wild salmon goes for upwards of $20 per pound at the fancier stores, while boneless, skinless chicken breasts can be purchased on sale for $2.50 per pound. I've purchased chicken with skin and bones for as little as 69 cents per pound. Wild salmon contains healthy Omega 3 fat, you say? True, but bulk flax seeds, which contain even more Omega 3 fat for the weight, cost around $1.50 per pound at Whole Foods.
More Labor for Political Medicine?
Some health "reformers" are celebrating this Labor Day by trying to force you to labor more to pay exorbitantly higher taxes. A recent AP story carried the headline, "$26 billion tab to provide health insurance to all Coloradans, panel says." But that figure refers only to the most outrageous plan. The danger is that the legislature will reject the worst of the five plans under review by the "208" Healthcare Commission, then pass a "compromise" package that massively expands the political control of medicine, but falls short of government monopoly financing.
'Choice' Matters Only with Rights
We do not have only the options of "giving" the poor other people's tax dollars or micromanaging their lives through bureaucratic agencies. The third option is liberty. People have the right to control their own lives and resources. You have the right not to buy other people's Twinkies, if you don't wish to do so. Indeed, it is morally wrong to force one person to buy the Twinkies of another. Or the broccoli, for that matter. ... [T]he tendency is for voluntary charity to work better.
Payment Improves Health
We economize when buying groceries, clothes, electronics, cars, and the other goods and services we need. That is, we seek the greatest value for the money. ... Yet, when it comes to medicine, many of us act as though no choices are available. Why is that? It's because the market in medicine has been largely stifled by government controls.
Preparation Can Prevent Crime
How many of us know that our safety begins with our own mental conditioning? Are you going to comply, scream, flee, or fight? ... Your home is your castle, so make it difficult to enter.
Rush's 'Arrows' Target Religion
Rush's new album "Snakes and Arrows" ...displays some of the band's very best composition. While the Rush I want to listen to depends a lot on my mood, several of the tracks from "Snakes" have already joined the ranks of my favorites. The new songs "Armor and Sword," "The Way the Wind Blows," and "Faithless" join classics such as "The Spirit Of Radio" and "Tom Sawyer," as well as more recent tracks such as "Driven," as the band's most successful efforts.
Interior West Needs Reinforcements
Significantly more resources should be spent in the Interior West to build on the demographic tendencies toward liberty. The result of such a strategy, I hope, would be to tip politics in the direction of liberty rather than of increasing controls. This would in turn make Colorado and the Interior West more welcoming to independent-minded entrepreneurs and advocates of liberty, fostering a virtuous circle. Ultimately, the Interior West could provide a needed check on runaway federal controls, and it could serve as a model to the rest of the United States, and to the rest of the world, of the benefits of liberty.
Harry Potter Joins Dangerous Books
[S]ometimes we need to live dangerously, in the right ways, or life is not worth living... [W]e salute the gloriously dangerous J.K. Rowling, who has now completed her series of novels about Harry Potter. Perhaps more than any other person, Rowling has ensured that the youngest generation is exposed to dangerously crucial ideas... [In] Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix... Harry and his friends continue to carry their dangerous wands with them wherever they go. They challenge the foolish policies of the Ministry of Magic. They break any rule that gets in the way of doing what they know is right. They defy the school's new horrible headmistress through vandalism, sabotage, and underground self-defense meetings.
White Wants Bureaucratic Medicine
Rocky White has got the "good 'ol boy" Western outfit. He's got the personable demeanor and country charm. No doubt he's a fine doctor when it comes to healing people's bodies. But when it comes to health policy, White is peddling snake oil. In defiance of the Western values of independence, personal responsibility, and liberty, White calls for nearly total government financing of medicine and dramatically more bureaucratic control of medicine in Colorado.
The Liberty and Prosperity Challenge
During "The Liberty and Prosperity Challenge," scheduled for the entire month of August, my wife and I will spend no more than $180 jointly on food, or less than $3 per person per day. We will donate every dollar we save out of that budget to the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI). Others may participate in the challenge by agreeing to donate the same amount of money either to ARI or to the nonprofit of their choice.
Happy Birthday, Atlas Shrugged
"Who is John Galt?" The opening line of Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand's most ambitious and famous novel, has intrigued readers for 50 years. This week the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) is hosting a conference in Telluride to celebrate the anniversary of the work's publication.
Writers Pitch Politicized Medicine
State Representative Claire Levy... rightly points out that some Coloradans lack health insurance and that too many health-related dollars go toward administration. And what is the cause of these problems? Levy offers no explanation. The cause is a myriad of government controls, starting with the tax distortion that entrenched high-cost, non-portable, employer-paid health insurance in the first place.
Food Challenge Gets First Taker
Stephen Raher has become the first sponsor of The Serious Food Economy Challenge... Not all of the replies have been as complimentary... On June 22, somebody... posted the libelous comment, "Oragnic [sic] milk for $1 a gallon is a lie." ... Yes, anticipating that some numskull would question the claim, I took a picture of the milk. Of course, the reason it was so cheap is that it was nearing or beyond its expiration date. [This page has been updated with additional commentary!]
Wyoming Draws Freedom Lovers
The unique value of living in the Interior West is the "live and let live" attitude. If Colorado continues to move in the direction of "live the way you're told," those who don't want politicians and bureaucrats to run their lives will increasingly look to parts of the Interior West with less-corrupted souls. Such as Wyoming.
Sovereigns of the High Frontier
Independence Day Brings Memories
Linn Armstrong recalls, "It was a tough situation there, yet my all-time favorite memory of the Fourth of July is from Vietnam. In the middle of all the combat, Americans just celebrated that holiday, maybe more-so than any other. There was this tremendous patriotic outpouring, just a strong feeling. We weren't supposed to shoot off ammunition unless there was a clear and present threat. But it seemed like on the Fourth of July there were threats all over, because soldiers were shooting up in the air anything and everything they could find that made a bang."
Feeling Blue Over CO Liquor Laws
One way Democrats could show their seriousness about such statements is to repeal Colorado's "blue laws," which prevent people from purchasing cars and alcohol (from liquor stores) on Sundays. Other laws prevent the sale of most alcohol in grocery stores anytime. Such laws have no place in a free society.
Grocers Have the Right to Merge
Even by the contorted view of monopoly power entrenched by antitrust law, the FTC's claim that the Whole Foods buyout would somehow hamper competition is laughable. Yet the case does illustrate the broader absurdity of the government's use of force to impede voluntary, market transactions.
The Serious Food Economy Challenge
The "2007 Food Stamp Challenge," in which various public officials, activists, and journalists ate on $3.57 or less per day, resulted in numerous calls for increasing the tax dollars spent on food stamps. Ari Armstrong replied, "The original Challenge was not a fair test. The participants I've read about didn't make a serious effort to economize in their food purchases... My wife and I are so confident that we can eat on less than $3 per person per day that we're willing to do it for a full six months, not the mere week specified by the original Challenge. There's a catch: for each dollar we come in under budget over that period, supporters of increasing the food-stamp subsidy have to collectively pay $10 to a nonprofit of our choice."
Norquist Visits Colorado
Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform visited fiscal conservatives in Colorado on June 11 before heading to Utah. He offered his views on transparency in government spending, health policy, Republican politics in the West and nationally, and the race for president. Regarding transparency, Norquist discussed the efforts nationally and in various states to place complete documentation of government spending on the internet.
Health Socializers Reject Liberty
Advocates of socialized, government-controlled medicine argue that U.S. medicine is too expensive and unresponsive to patients and that more-socialized medicine in other countries is better. However, U.S. medicine is too expensive and unresponsive precisely because it is already mostly controlled by politicians and bureaucrats. Nevertheless, the U.S. system is better to the degree that it remains free... The socializers ignore the evidence and arguments in favor of restoring liberty in medicine.
Lessons of Eversol Rummy
I have two main purposes here. First is to describe the game in case others want to play it. ... Second is to discuss the significance of the game to me personally. While I don't want to claim that "everything I needed to know I learned" playing Eversol Rummy, I did learn a few important things.
Democrats Try Their Hand at Economics
Recently I've encountered two Democrats who -- gasp! -- actually tried to justify their policies using economic arguments. That's odd in a way. Democrats have been motivated fundamentally by egalitarianism, the view that goods and services should be more evenly distributed (by political force).
French Medicine Offers Poor Model
[The] argument that France's heavily-controlled medical system is better because the French live longer is a non sequitur. Actually, the French live longer despite having worse access to quality medical services. If you get sick, you're better off in America.
Leave Health Decisions to Individuals
Those unwilling to let you make your own health decisions want to force
you to get health coverage of their choosing. If Colorado adopts the
central plan of several proposals recently submitted to the Blue Ribbon
Commission for Healthcare Reform (the "208 Commission"), you will be
penalized if you don't sign up for the health coverage that politicians
and bureaucrats design for you.
On-Location Responders Need Training
Law enforcement officers called to the scene of a mass murder typically arrive too late or react too slowly. This points to the need for better training not only for law enforcement but for on-location responders.
Spencer Smears Doctor Hsieh
What's crazy is that Spencer employs a snarky smear against a doctor of the highest skill, training, intellect, and integrity... Dr. Hsieh argues eloquently that government-controlled medicine "would be a disaster," thereby harming doctors and patients and corrupting medical practices.
Health-Insurance Mandates Inflate Costs
In a free society, people have the right to voluntarily contract for services, including medical care and insurance... In the mid-1990s, state and federal governments subjected health insurance to a myriad of controls and mandates.
Reject Club 20's Health Proposal
Club 20 calls for the blatant violation of people's rights, the use of political force to control us... It is not the state's proper concern to force us to get "basic health care" as defined by politicians and bureaucrats. Indeed, existing problems in medicine are the creation of political interference.
April 20 Update: Ari Armstrong replies to a letter from Reeves Brown, Executive Director of Club 20.
Dems' Energy Bill Hurts Economy
The Democrats' strategy to "Energize Our Economy" in Colorado is to increase utility bills, destroy real wealth, and impose more central controls on the energy industry... If the environmentalists and their supporting politicians actually took their own claims seriously, they would not stop at forcing a mere 20 percent "renewable" energy. They would require a full 100 percent.
Smoking Ban: Reply to William Autrey
[T[he area inside of a privately owned business is not "the public commons." Smoking in a private establishment impacts only those who choose to enter that establishment... If you don't like a particular establishment, for whatever reason, then don't go there. It's called freedom.
What's Right with Colorado Health Care
We've heard plenty about what's wrong with health care. Perhaps we've heard too much about what's supposedly wrong from those who hope to turn sky-is-falling hysterics into political advantage. True, there are some real problems with medicine and health insurance in America; problems that can be solved through greater liberty. Yet, despite the problems, nearly everyone has ready access to the best medicine in the world.
Meddling Undermines Health Insurance
Doesn't it strike you as odd that we purchase life insurance, car insurance, and home insurance as individuals or families, but many of us buy health insurance through our employers? Employer-paid health insurance is neither portable nor cost effective for the insured, and it's a constant headache for business owners... Tax distortions created employer-paid health insurance...
Smoking Ban: Bias Clouds the Issue
I do wish... papers had made a greater attempt to discuss the heart of the argument against the ban. People have the right to control their own property and associate freely. The owners of private establishments have every right to set smoking policy there, and patrons and employees are free to come or leave as they wish. The smoking ban is an assault on private property rights, and property rights are a centerpiece of a free society.
The Threat of Socialized Medicine
The advocates of socialized medicine reframe the debate with seductive euphemisms and push through their program piecemeal. They blame the allegedly "free" market for the problems caused by previous and existing state interference in medicine, thereby generating a cycle of control that creates crisis that spurs calls for new controls.
Steve Horner Violates Rights
Steve Horner is a buffoon. He claims to oppose feminism, yet he champions the very worst strains of feminism. He claims to oppose Marxism, yet he fights for state control over private property. He pretends to advocate civil rights, even as he violates the civil rights of others. He invokes the Constitution while acting to suppress "the right of the people peaceably to assemble." Either Horner is an imbecile, and therefore incapable of recognizing his own contradictions, or he is a publicity hound who doesn't care about the absurdities of his claims or the rights he tramples.
Lewis on Solon's Political Thought
What do ancient Greek political thinkers have to do with our world today? John Lewis, a history professor at Ashland University, addressed aspects of the issue at Ridgeview Classical School in Fort Collins on January 26... Lewis [gave a talk based on his book,] Solon the Thinker: Political Thought in Archaic Athens.
A Defense of Marriage for Couples
Does gay marriage open the door to polygamist marriage? ... [G]ay marriage (or "domestic partnership") rightly puts homosexual couples on equal footing with heterosexual couples, but it does not imply that polygamist marriage is appropriate.
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin
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