Principles and Plastic Bags

Galveston is the latest Texas city to consider a ban on disposable plastic bags. (Eleven cities currently have such a ban.) Conservatives, as well as bag manufacturers and some businesses, are fighting the ordinance. But not all Galveston businesses are opposed.

“As business operators we typically don’t like this type of business regulation,” said Steve […]

Concretes, Cheese, and Cronyism

A Chronicle editorial last week illustrates the dangers of focusing on concrete issues and ignoring the principles involved. The editorial, which defends earmarks, states that

earmarks have “helped glue Congress together by giving members a kind of currency to trade: You support my pork, and I’ll support yours.”

“Earmarks,” Chris Cilliza of The Washington Post […]

Prohibition in The Heights

Since 1912, it has been illegal to sell alcohol for off-site consumption in The Heights. On November 8, residents of The Heights voted to end Prohibition. (Texas law allows voters great discretion in the sale of alcohol.)

Interestingly, those on both sides of the issue cited quality of life issues as the reason for their […]

Quality of Life

We hear lots of talk from politicians and various organizations about improving the quality of life in Houston. But the quality of life advocates never define what they mean by the term. They assume that we all know, and agree to, its meaning.

More than 2.2 million people live in Houston. Some prefer the ballet […]

The Voluntary and the Coercive

If your neighbor broke into your house to steal money for his transportation needs, you would recognize his action as immoral and criminal. He took your property without your consent. The principle does not change if a government agent acts as your neighbor’s proxy.

If your neighbor needs assistance, he has two methods by which […]

The “Public Interest”

It is almost impossible to get through a day without hearing some politician, activist, or special interest group talking about the “public interest.” A cursory examination of nearly any political issue makes it clear that there is great disagreement on what constitutes the public interest. No matter the issue, each side claims that it represents […]

The Right to Property

For decades, property rights have been under attack in Houston. From the landscaping ordinance to the preservation ordinance, from the billboard ordinance to the zoning ordinance, the City of Houston has engaged in a relentless assault on the right to property.

The right to property means the freedom to create, use, dispose, and trade material […]