"American voters increasingly split along religious lines"

J. Andrew Rogers andrew at ceruleansystems.com
Wed Dec 17 00:05:23 PST 2003

On 12/16/03 8:48 AM, "Owen Byrne" <owen at permafrost.net> wrote:
> Um, isn't Utah in this region?  And how do reconcile the Mathew Shepard
> incident (and the people who want to be up a monument celebrating their belief
> that he is burning in hell) to your view of this libertarian paradise?

Utah has its Mormon influence (as does most of the West), but it is waning
as their relative numbers decline.  And in truth, the Mormons are pretty
nice people, friendly to a fault even if you don't agree with them.  In
terms of religiousness, I'll take Utah over Mississippi any day.  The two
biggest political factions in Nevada politics are the Mormons and Basques
(the senior Democrat Senator Harry Reid is a candidate from the Mormon
faction), and yet Nevada is hardly a seething pot of religious legislation.

The Matthew Shepherd bit in Wyoming is anecdotal in the worst sense of the
word.  Every year in the ultra-liberal San Francisco Bay Area people are
beaten to death or murdered purely because they are homosexual.  It only
makes local news in the Bay Area, but then it happens more often here than
it does in Wyoming.

You have ignorant dumb asses everywhere.  The primary difference between a
hate crime against a gay guy in San Francisco and a hate crime against a gay
guy in Wyoming is that in Wyoming the gay guy could have been packing heat
and plugged his attackers in a clean shoot without getting dragged into
court by the DA. (see: Pink Pistols)

> Except of course for Nevada, whose economy and apparently
> tax structure is based on - hey - guess what - a government-protected
> monopoly. Legalize gambling in all 50 states and Nevada will look like
> California (in debt) in 20 years.

Nevada's economy has been diversifying over the years.  More and more
segments of high-tech and Internet business are moving operations there.
Energy is becoming an increasingly large business for the state.  Every time
I go to Reno, a new biotech or major online retailer has moved offices and
operations there.  Most of that 5% annual population growth is folks from
Silicon Valley and Los Angeles moving there, and the state makes it very
cheap to do business there with delightfully little red tape.

Of all the States that allow gambling in various forms (and there are
several), Nevada has one of the lowest gambling revenue taxes of any of
those states.  The major "profit centers" are use and sales taxes that come
from tourism in both southern (Las Vegas) and northern (Lake Tahoe/Reno)
Nevada.  Most of the state funds come from sales taxes, about a quarter of
which are provided by tourists.  While this slips some people's minds,
Nevada is one of the most popular destinations in North America for outdoor
sports independent of the casinos.  Most of my friends do not gamble, yet we
all spend quite a bit of time up in northern Nevada skiing, camping, or
attending one of the many major national events that is held in Reno or Las
Vegas every year.  Nevada is about tourism in the broadest sense of the

Nevada funds many of its expenditures with use taxes rather than a general
fund, and has an aversion to bond measures to pay for things.  Ignoring the
screw up that is the current governor Kenny Guinn (who may not survive his
fiscally liberal ways), Nevada has generally been a relatively cost
efficient government that has retained many of the negative feedback loops
that keep things relatively sane.

The current governor of Nevada has proven to be one of those fiscally
liberal Republicans who has grown the budget beyond reason, but there are a
lot of people in the State who are extremely displeased with his fiscal
performance and he'll have a tough time in the next election.

> In my opinion "libertarians" are usually massively subsidized by the
> rest of us, once you dig a little.

What does libertarian have to do with this, really?  In the sagebrush
country, the government doesn't actually do much nor do they regulate much,
so people are generally free to do what they want as long as they aren't
messing with anyone else.  Tax policy is only one small facet.

Let me put it another way:

In Nevada, I can spend an evening shooting coyotes with a machinegun while
smoking a joint and getting a blowjob from a prostitute, all from the back
patio of my house.  Depending on the circumstances, I *might* be subject to
a misdemeanor or two.

In "liberal" California, the above would constitute at least a half a dozen
felonies ipso facto.

Libertarianism is about *freedom*.  I can't see myself doing most of those
things I mention above, but at least I have the option without getting
dumped into San Quentin for a couple decades in Nevada.  The bit about taxes
has more to do with the government making you pay for things you don't use.
States like Nevada rely heavily on direct use taxes, which is a much more
palatable form of taxation to a libertarian than many other forms used by
states (such as the truly vile income tax).

> How many federal dollars the state gets for every dollar it sends off in
> taxes to DC:
> Arizona $1.18
> Colorado $0.85
> Idaho $1.30
> Montana $1.59
> Nevada $0.69
> New Mexico $2.03
> Utah $1.09
> Wyoming $1.09

What does this have to do with libertarianism?  Seriously, this doesn't
follow.  I see that my benchmark state, Nevada, is at a mere $0.69, making
it one of the lowest of any state.  I would point out that part of the low
return for Nevada from the Feds is punitive for not complying with
"conditional" Federal regulatory mandates that are tied to funding carrots.

There is a very cogent point that apparently escaped your analysis.

Nevada is a little smaller than Germany.  New Jersey is the size of a Nevada
county.  In terms of non-Federal lands (i.e. the effective land area for all
intents and purposes), Nevada is only 50% larger than New Jersey.   Yet
Nevada has to build Interstates, highways, and infrastructure for a region
the size of a large European country.  A lot of this Federal money is spent
crossing vast expanses of Federal land that Nevada citizens are not allowed
to use or exploit economically.  After you subtract the huge economic drag
the Federal government has on the Nevada economy that New Jersey doesn't
have to put up with, I would say that the scales tip in favor of Nevada.

> I think by this measure, New Jersey looks like a libertarian paradise -
> since it gets the least from the federal government (.66 for each
> dollar) - ah, legalized gambling again.

Non sequitur.  Again, you are very confused as to what constitutes
"libertarian".  New Jersey is morass of laws and regulations.  Not
libertarian by any stretch of the imagination.  If you thing "gambling" is
the only legal peculiarity of Nevada, you need an education.  Beside being
tolerant of vices (and exploiting them), there are fewer restrictions on
what you can do, what you can own, and what you can do with what you own
than just about anywhere else in the US (a relative measure to be sure).
The region has a very different culture and history than the South-like
characteristics it is often painted with.  For example, the racism and
racial segregation has been unusually muted in Nevada's history; Chinese and
Mexican politicians were prominent in Nevada's political history for about
as long as Nevada had a government.

Another strongly libertarian aspect of Nevada (and sagebrush in general,
though I most familiar with Nevada) is property rights.  Your car is a
literal legal extension of your house for all legal intents and purposes.
You can pay a one time tax to the state that allows you to never pay
property taxes again as long as you own the property.  You have the right to
defend your property against felonious intent with lethal force without any
further justification.  The State of Nevada has strict privacy laws, up to
and including the state not sharing personal or corporate information with
Federal agencies (and famously, the IRS), which is the State's legal right.
Nevada has stricter and more literal contract law than many states (e.g.
California); no wishy-washy judicial non-enforcement of clauses.

(WORTH NOTING: Do not assume "unenforcibility" of certain clauses when
signing contracts under the auspices of the Nevada legal system.  The courts
and precedents there do not fancy such concepts and will hold you to the
spirit and letter of any contracts you may sign, no matter how absurd you
may find some of the aspects of the contract.  Or in the words of my
lawyers, "contracts mean a hell of a lot more in Nevada than they do in

J. Andrew Rogers (andrew at ceruleansystems.com)

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