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Editor’s note: The following is a lightly-edited transcription of an interview with the director of the Doctors’ Volunteer Clinic in St. George.
Libertas Institute: Please tell us who you are and what you do.
LI: How did your clinic get started?
DS: In 1999, Dr. Doxey was president of the local medical society and they were trying to think of something they could do to give back to the community. They decided to start a free clinic, which took about a year of preparation work, meeting with agencies in the area.
The local homeless shelter volunteered their site, which was a tiny house with five rooms. They gave us one room, the size of a bedroom. We turned the closet into a medication closet, put a sink and shelves in. Somebody donated $3,000 to start, and that was our budget for the first year.
In only three months, we were overwhelming them and needed to find somewhere else to operate. We only had two doctors volunteering, and nobody to help with mental health or dental. We found volunteer counselors from the community to help start our mental clinic, and found dentists that were willing to take patients in their offices.
That was for the first couple years. We put an ad in the paper to see if anybody wanted to donate land or a building so we could move, and found somebody who donated land to us. The local homebuilders association volunteered to build it, and we were able to pay them about $80,000 for all of that work. That was in 2003, and the building was about 3,000 square feet. It had three exam rooms, one counseling room, and one dental chair.
Editor’s note: The following is a lightly-edited transcription of an interview with Blake Ballard, owner of Spark Restaurant in Provo.
Libertas Institute: In your understanding, what is the “Zion Curtain”?
Blake Ballard: I believe it’s actually now called the “Zion Wall.” A lot of people don’t know that, and even the Salt Lake Tribune was referring to it inaccurately throughout this legislative session. The curtain was the old way in which drinks had to be prepared. They got rid of the old system, and the wall is now the premise that any alcoholic product, whether it’s beer, wine, or liquor, has to be stored and prepared outside of public view.
LI: So when a customer orders a drink, you can mix the non-alcoholic portion of it in their view, but if you add alcohol, you have to take it elsewhere?
Ballard: Right, and this is an area of a little bit of confusion. I’ve talked to various members of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (DABC) and initially they told me the entire drink had to be prepared outside of public sight. I had a meeting recently with Senator Valentine and he felt like he was willing to push so that only the alcoholic portion had to be done elsewhere. But then I called DABC afterwards and they said no, it’s only the pouring of the alcohol that has to happen in private.
Whatever the legislative proposal or policy issue may be, a few primary arguments are used time and time again. Like the “think of the children!” appeal, the suggestion that law enforcement officials should be given whatever tools they need to do their job is one which is frequently used. We find the degree to which it is cited to be very troubling, for it almost always comes at the expense of individual liberty.
Taken at face value, the proposal to give law enforcement the tools they feel they need to ensure public safety comes with no qualifiers; if police officers think that X will enable them to better accomplish their job, then many will emphatically agree that taxpayers should fund and provide X. Lacking any qualifiers, no recognition is made of the competing interests involved. No discussion is had as to whether X is unjust, immoral, prone to abuse, or violates liberty.
Taken to the extreme (which of course never happens with regards to law enforcement), tools and procedures that are established to supposedly pursue public safety inevitably become abused by increasing the frequency of their use, decreasing the standard with which they are applied, and broadening the types of individuals who may be subject to them. Benjamin Franklin’s recognition of this problematic trend led him to note that, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Indeed, essential liberties are routinely “given up” through the political process and as law enforcement agencies aim to use new tools, new tactics, and acquire new powers. Utah has been witness to a number of examples proving the wisdom of Franklin’s remarks. A few such examples will help prove the point.
“In levying taxes and in shearing sheep it is well to stop when you get down to the skin.” —Austin O’Malley, Keystones of Thought
Over the decades, Americans have been programmed to believe that they all must “pay their fair share” for the multitude of infrastructural provisions, assumed by lawmakers over the last century to be the responsibility of the state. “Fair share” means different things to different people; for some it’s a flat rate, for others it’s a dollar amount. Most tacitly agree that taxes are legal, necessary, and just. For this reason, it is difficult for principled arguments against taxation to gain solid footing, because we repeatedly and without much protest have allowed so many “reasonable” taxes. Precedent for taxation is further strengthened every day with the expansion of leviathan government into new market frontiers.
For the last 20 years one frontier to largely escape the pervasive reach of the tax man has been e-commerce. However, politicians have been foaming at the mouth in recent months at the idea of an internet sales tax. The last legislative session here in Utah saw SB 226, a sales tax on out-of-state internet transactions (sponsored by Republican Wayne Harper), advanced in the Senate despite concerns from legal counsel that the bill would likely not pass constitutional muster. It was later defeated in the House despite heavy lobbying from brick-and-mortar retailers like Schubach and RC Willey.
Editor’s note: The following is a lightly-edited transcription of an interview with Utah polygamist Joe Darger, conducted on March 28, 2013.
Libertas Institute: For the benefit of our readers who may not know who you are, please explain who you are and why your story is important.
Joe Darger: My name is Joe Darger, and I published a book along with my wives, and co-author Brooke Adams, titled Love Times Three. It’s our true story of a polygamous marriage. I have three wives and 24 children all together. I’m a strong advocate for the decriminalization of the polygamous culture and plural families.
LI: Many people who have seen you in the news, or the cover of your book, observe that you and your wives don’t look like polygamists they’ve seen in the media who are part of the FLDS. Why is that?
Darger: It’s a natural tendency to judge everybody on outside appearance. We make strong judgments on what a polygamist looks like, and many don’t understand that there’s huge diversity in the polygamist community. One size doesn’t fit all. Even the FLDS didn’t quite dress the way they do now until Warren Jeffs took over, so even they became more extreme.
One of the first things that has been helpful in shifting paradigms is people realizing “Oh, you look like us!” The reality is, even if we didn’t look like the average person on the street, I don’t think people are that far different. We’re all people.
The following article is a submission from Representative Brian Greene.
Given the history of the early LDS Church with respect to discriminatory laws and practices, and in particular with the practice of polygamy, the modern-day aggressive defense of an absolute legal definition of marriage is confusing to me. While I unquestionably defend the right of any individual or religion to endorse a particular concept of marriage, I struggle to understand why the LDS Church is so adamant on the use of government coercion to advance a particular definition (even one with which I personally agree). A quick review of early Mormon history regarding the institution of marriage is instructive on this question.
In 1874, the federal government was pursuing prosecution of LDS members practicing polygamy in the Utah Territory in violation of the 1862 Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act. Confident that the law would be declared to be an unconstitutional violation of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, the leaders of the Church agreed to furnish a defendant for a test case. George Reynolds, a member of the LDS Church and secretary to Brigham Young, agreed and was indicted for bigamy after marrying a second wife. Reynolds was found guilty by a jury, and his conviction was upheld by the Territorial Supreme Court.
Why are legislators elected? For what purpose do they wield their power? Perhaps more fundamentally, what is the proper role of government?
These questions were all implied in a simple question I asked a few Senators last month during public comment on a controversial bill. The question I asked to each Senator on the committee was, simply, “Who are you?”
I further asked if they were lawmakers or economic developers. The reason for my clarifying question was to draw a sharp contrast between the two; too many legislators abandon the rule of law and focus on economic development, giving tax revenue, job creation, and related economic benefits far greater consideration in their analysis than more important things like whether they have the authority to do what they intend to at all.
And that’s the point I further emphasized, in relation to the bill in question—one which would have provided taxpayer dollars and tax-based incentives to help fund the creation of a mega hotel and convention center in Salt Lake City. “I understand there are compelling incentives and reasons to do so,” I said to the committee. “But I propose that you do not have the authority to do so.”
Article 1 Section 6 of Utah’s constitution states, “The individual right of the people to keep and bear arms for security and defense of self, family, others, property, or the state, as well as for other lawful purposes shall not be infringed.”
Today, Governor Herbert is hanging his hat, not on that particular sentence, not on the fundamental principle of liberty, not on the inherent right of the individual to bear arms, but on the second part of that clause which says, “but nothing herein shall prevent the Legislature from defining the lawful use of arms.”
Governor Herbert has chosen to veto House Bill 76, which would allow law-abiding Utahns to conceal carry an unloaded firearm without needing a permission slip (conceal carry permit). The bill passed through both the House and Senate by over a 2/3 vote.