Here's something infuriating: even after nearly 1,500 local businesses were damaged or destroyed in rioting, Minneapolis still won't let business owners install pull-down security shutters. I've got a new post at @CatoInstitute taking a closer look. /1…
A Minneapolis liquor store owner who'd lost $1 million in inventory to looters was eager to rebuild -- but found the city forbade him to toughen his premises with the shutters. His windows alone cost $50,000 to replace. /2
All of which (I write) reminds me of the appalling Philadelphis ordinance in 2017 telling owners of many corner stores they couldn't use see-through acrylic partitions to protect themselves from robbers. Doing so might stigmatize the neighborhood and so forth. /3
Note in the Philadelphia case "that the objection is not to a neighborhood’s *being* physically dangerous, as to the display of visible cues that might *alert* people to that fact." /4
Both laws "show a contempt for the natural human right of self‐​defense. Some expect us to pool this right with our neighbors collectively and vest it in the authorities — even though these same authorities in practice take no legal responsibility for defending us." /5
The authorities in these two cities consider the right of self-defense to be of so little worth that they will subordinate it even to aesthetics, vague concerns about neighborhood image, etc. For good measure, I tie in gun control debates. /6
My conclusion: "The primary task of government is that of protecting individual rights." Cities like Minneapolis and Philadelphia "are failing at that task."… /7, efn

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More from @walterolson

10 Sep
In my new WSJ piece (paywalled for most) I offer character and the Constitution as the two main reasons I will not vote for Donald Trump… /1
I recall the “character counts” conservatives of not so long ago, who went back past the Federalist Papers to the ancients to ground statesmanship in civitas and virtue. They thought hard about the dangers presented to the republic by the demagogue and man on horseback. /2
And I dispute the “Flight 93 election” theory, in which "every four years we face a last-chance, bet-the-country abyss. I don’t buy it. Our country has a system of rotation in office. The other party gets its turn, and the country survives." /3
Read 4 tweets
2 Sep
By emergency edict, CDC purports to ban all residential evictions for nonpayment of rent through Dec. 31 nationwide. Is there some federal law giving the feds anything like this authority, and if so, how constitutional is that law? /1…
It's one thing for the feds to attach strings re: eviction to housing they're involved with financially. This appears to be broader and without that nexus. More (scanty) details here:… /2
Under the Constitution states have added levers at their disposal such as some discretion over their courts' operation; some have imposed moratoria. A federal ban thru year end would ensure what would amount to an expropriative outcome for some landlords that did no wrong. /3
Read 16 tweets
31 Aug
Team Trump is hitting hard on the fact that @KamalaHarris as well as some @JoeBiden staffers backed bail funds for arrested protesters. A legitimate issue? Not going to try to resolve that here, but.... /1
It's bound to remind voters of Donald Trump's long history of promising, or talking up, legal fees for supporters who engage in outright physical violence against protesters at rallies. For instance... /2
Early 2016 Iowa rally: "if you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? ... I will pay for the legal fees. I promise, I promise."… /3
Read 9 tweets
6 Aug
An outrageous show of government legal force with the aim of suppressing advocacy on issues of public concern. This is as much an assault on the First as on the Second Amendment. #CatoSCOTUS
Listen with care. Many of those praising @NewYorkStateAG's legal attack on @NRA are already talking about wanting to take down the org's influence. Even if James's office is smart enough to distance itself from such talk, it's an important clue. /2
Against crimes of non-profit insiders such as self-dealing, there are plenty of lesser but potent sanctions such as disgorgement and separation. Had NYAG James called for those, we wouldn't be here. Dissolution is a qualitatively different sanction, not just a "tougher" one. /3
Read 6 tweets
24 Jul
About this letter from nearly 300 WSJ staffers who want changes on the paper's opinion side, a few observations: /1
A demand (paras 6-7) that guest opinion pieces not "selectively present facts" or "cherry-pick studies" to reach "erroneous conclusions" is a demand that no op-ed page in the country could meet if applied objectively across the board. I doubt it would be applied that way. /2
Para 14, which invokes employee recruitment, makes clear that details of the @HMDatMI piece aside, they believe no piece disputing the idea of systemic police racism should be published in Opinion, whatever new arguments or line of evidence it might offer. /3
Read 5 tweets
17 Jul
No matter how genuine the problem of violence and disorder in Portland, this is categorically unacceptable as a way for government to act and must not be allowed to stand.
Apparently I'm some sort of weird centrist squish for simultaneously thinking 1) attempts to burn down federal courthouses require a response, and 2) in that response, police need to wear clear badges & insignia, arrest only w/ warrant or probable cause, and ID detainment cars.
The feds/Department of Justice tried out some of these methods in early June in Washington, D.C. Legal and factual background on that from @lawfareblog:… /3
Read 7 tweets

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