This week I join thousands of libertarians at a conference in Las Vegas called FreedomFest-the world's "largest gathering of free minds."
BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING: The phrase "Big Brother" comes from George Orwell's novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four," where government watches everyone constantly. Is that America today? Yes, say Matt Kibbe of FreedomWorks and Jenny Beth Martin of Tea Party Patriots.
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MONEY MANIPULATION: Steve Forbes, Editor-In-Chief of Forbes Magazine, says government controls us by manipulating our money: "weak money always means a stronger government."
FREEDOM DEMOGRAPHICS: Sadly, Emily Ekins of Reason Foundation says millennials prefer larger government. But the good news is: when you ask them if they prefer larger government and higher taxes, they say no. Also, 58% of young people think government agencies generally abuse their power, and 63% say they don't trust government regulators.
THE NANNY STATE: The maker of the movie, Freedom from Choice, Tim Delmastro says "most people would actually prefer freedom from making important decisions in their lives" over the freedom to choose.
EXECUTIVE POWER: President Obama uses executive power when congress doesn't do what he wants. But he doesn't do it more often that other presidents have. Obama issued 182 executive orders so far, but George W. Bush issued 290, and President Eisenhower, 480. Attorneys Tim and Christina Sandefur say it's not the number, but the content of these orders.
WAR ON THE MIDDLE CLASS: The middle class is doing pretty well by historical standards: their average disposable household income has increased 40% since 1979. But radio host Wayne Allyn Root disagrees. I argue with him about whether or not the middle class is being "murdered."
MY TAKE: Lots of libertarians love Vegas: there's no income tax, gambling and sex work is legal, and people are free to carry concealed weapons. But Nevada is among the worst states when it comes to government colluding with business. Casino magnates like Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn fund ads that try to kill online gambling because it will compete with their casinos. Even though libertarians think of government as Big Brother, let's not forget that our friends in business often push government to limit competition.