Thursday, October 25, 2007

Las Vegas As A Libertarian Experiment?

( The following is the opinion of the author and not necessarily the staff and management of WHV. )

I am mostly apolitical lately, Republicans and Democrats seem to blend into each other like the choice between Pepsi and Coke; or more accurately, Pepsi and Pepsi Light. I lean towards the Republican party, only because Hillary Clinton as president would take this country to an extreme socialism and government control from which we may never recover. It seems strange that in the past presidential elections, people have voted not only (as they traditionally do ) for their self interest ( with their pocketbooks ) but also for what they consider to be the lessor of two evils. The crisis we are currently experiencing in this country has as much to do with the lack of leadership as it does the moral values of the people.

I do not think it is a good idea at the moment to introduce a serious third party candidate that might remove votes from the Republican side. But increasingly I see more wisdom in what the Nevada libertarian party stands for, although the devil lurks in the details:

The Libertarian Party of Nevada is committed to Nevada's heritage of freedom:

  • individual liberty and personal responsibility
  • a free-market economy with a low tax rate
  • minimally intrusive state, county, and city government

Who could disagree with all that? On the surface, it is hard for me to disagree with these principles, its just seems much harder to put them into practice.

I think that Las Vegas, Nevada would be the perfect place for a "social experiment" to reduce government control a la Libertarianism. Here, of all places, the assumption that people can accept freedom and the responsibility that goes with it could be tested. Why not try decriminalization of drugs, legalization of prostitution, enforcement of individual privacy, etc. and carefully monitor what works and what does not work? Why not take away or at least mollify the laws regarding: prosecution of victimless crimes that are filling our prisons with non-violent offenders; control by government agencies of what we ingest into our bodies ( including foods and nutritional supplements ) ; overbearing, complicated tax laws that burden small businesses; attempts to control what we do in the privacy of our homes, etc.?

The mayor of Las Vegas, Oscar Goodman, has recently supported the idea of legalized prostitution in Clark County. Legislation has been proposed to decriminalize Marijuana. Nevada has the strongest laws to protect financial privacy. With legalized gambling as a start, the experiment has actually already begun in this "crucible in the desert" known as Las Vegas. Nobody can say what the long term effects of legalized gaming have been, but I would bet the final outcome would have a lot to do with individual choice and responsibility.

If it does not work here in Las Vegas, if the "social experiment" fails, it won't work anywhere, at least in this early 21st century. It will not be a refection on the overbearing government if we the people fail to accept the responsibilities that would come with these new liberties. We might have to wait another million years for mankind to evolve to the level necessary for people to truly govern themselves.

Maybe OJ thought that because he was in Vegas he could get away with threatening another person by force. But freedom does not mean acting in a way that is irresponsible and can negatively affect those around you. OJ confused liberty with license (freedom that allows or is used with irresponsibility; disregard for standards of personal conduct ). If liberty is abused, then we lose the right to liberty. Freedom ultimately means that individual conscience replaces governmental laws and makes them unnecessary.

Read about why Hillary Clinton should not be president at

The Nevada Libertarian website is here.

Oscar Goodman's opinion on legalizing prostitution in Las Vegas from Wikipedia:

Legalized Prostitution

Currently, prostitution is legal in Nevada only in counties with populations under 400,000, which excludes Las Vegas. Mayor Goodman supports legalizing prostitution in the city, although a majority of Nevadans polled in 2003 opposed the mayor's position. Goodman's views on prostitution have been criticized by New York Times columnist Bob Herbert and Las Vegas Sun columnist Jon Ralston.

WHV blog entry on Legalizing Marijuana In Las Vegas.


Anonymous said...

I agree totally with this well-written blog. If we are not going forward, we are going backward. Amsterdam has the right idea and it seems to be working there for quite some time. You are right about responsibility; people must assume it if they are to have more freedoms. Gretchen

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