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The following is a transcript of the remarks shared by Connor Boyack at this week’s anti-Common Core rally at the Utah Capitol.
We care because we support parental stewardship in education — the ultimate local control.
Michael Novak, a prolific cultural commentator, once wrote: “Between the omnipotent state and the naked individual looms the first line of resistance against totalitarianism: the economically and politically independent family, protecting the space within which free and independent individuals may receive the necessary years of nurture.”
Our organization fights for life, liberty, and property in Utah. Because we are concerned about liberty, we are concerned about preserving the ability for families to raise free and independent individuals. Education, of course, is central to this process. Dictators throughout history have recognized this and used compulsory education to propagandize the rising generation. One of the more popular of these dictators once said, “He… who owns the youth, gains the future.”
Last night, Governor Herbert delivered his “State of the State” speech for 2014. Key themes included economic development, clean air, education, population growth, and state sovereignty.
Towards the end, the Governor encouraged government officials to “renew our commitment to the principles of good governance, of fiscal prudence and of individual responsibility”—a call to action that we can readily stand behind. Unfortunately, mere commitment is not enough; Utah needs to see consistent application of these principles to effect any noticeable change in the size and scope of government, and more importantly, the freedom of each Utah resident.
In a similar article last year, we outlined a lengthy and foundational snapshot of the state of affairs in Utah. Of course, nothing has changed in the past 12 months, and therefore that snapshot remains an accurate depiction of how things stand in 2014. This year’s article will therefore highlight key developments of interest that have occurred over the last year.
Another year, another legislative session.
It’s true that Utah’s part-time, limited-salary legislature has its benefits. I mean, just look at California (my home state, which I’m not so fond of admitting these days).
But packing a year’s worth of political activity into 45 calendar days has its downsides, too. The sheer chaos that results from considering 7-800 bill proposals—some brief and easy to understand, others lengthy and insanely complex—leads to bad decisions and dangerous deference.
A prime example of this is the asset forfeiture bill that ran last year which gutted private property protections. Every single legislator voted for it. Why? It was 51 pages of “new” text that nobody had time to read, so they relied on assurances from the bill’s sponsors that it was innocuous and a good thing.
We’re excited to announce the selection of our new policy analyst here at Libertas Institute: Josh Daniels!
In looking to hire for this position, we sought out candidates with educational backgrounds in economics, political science, or law. Josh’s broad educational experience is in all three! Needless to say, we were immediately impressed.
Josh began his studies at BYU in pursuit of an economics degree. As he proceeded through the technical upper-level coursework his interest became more focused on economic theory and policy. He decided to switch to political science where he took courses in American politics and statistical research. During that time he served on the student team for the Utah Colleges Exit Poll where he participated in a large-scale statewide study of voter opinion and analyzed large data sets to prepare a major policy research paper. For another of his papers, he argued that the colonial-era emphasis on property rights was due to the belief that individual liberty was inextricably linked to private property, and that liberty could not exist in a government that did not respect the primacy of property rights.
Yesterday’s public opinion poll (and by extension, all of the ones we’ve done) has met with some professional criticism, to which I feel it’s important to respond. (Perhaps unsurprisingly, the only ones I’ve seen spiking political touchdowns with the response have been those who support the proposed anti-discrimination law.)
First, it was claimed that the questions we used were “unbalanced and inaccurate.” Specifically, the objection was made that we referenced “jail time” in our questions about anti-discrimination law, and that this punishment is “non-existent” in regards to anti-discrimination law. The purpose of this question was not to gauge reaction to any specific proposal or bill language, but to test the degree to which voters would be willing to use the violence of the state against a peaceful business owner. Further, a business owner who would be fined under the proposed law, and who objected to paying that fine, could easily find himself in a legal battle that escalates to the point of jail time. Thus, we felt it was not inaccurate to raise this as a possibility when discussing the state’s prohibition on peaceful behavior.