Thursday, February 27, 2003

What is a Nevadan?
By Alexander Marriott
UNLV Rebel Yell: October 31, 2002

Nevada Day commemorates the day that Nevada became a state, which occurred on October 31, 1864. The War Between the States, aka The Civil War, nearly destroyed the idea of people being from their states or being loyal or proud of their states as independent, sovereign entities. I'm not one of those, I'm glad I'm a Nevadan, this is one of the only states remaining that still respects the ideas of limited government and protecting individual rights.

It's not perfect though, Question 2 is an example of a problem one gets through the referendum system, namely, should the people be able to vote away individual rights? But there is no income tax, which is probably one of the greatest things about this state, but it is somewhat offset by the presence of the large 7.25% sales tax. The state legislature only gets together for four months out of the two-year term, which greatly limits the time they are around to meddle with things and even then they just throw many of their issues onto the ballot. A tax increase automatically needs voter approval, which is quite good considering with that mechanism in place a tax increase ought to be nearly impossible. There are a couple of pockets of environmentalist statism here unfortunately, both in Vegas (Yucca Mountain Protesters) and up around Lake Tahoe, fortunately the latter is mostly on the California side. I mention that because environmentalists in general use the force of the state to advance their policies, Question 1 being typical of this. They could raise money and buy up the land in question, but no, that's not what they propose. They want everyone to be extorted of money for the government to buy up land. This is a looming menace for the future of whether Nevada will continue to support individual rights and property as it has generally done in the past.

I used to live in a state that didn't respect individual rights or property, Illinois, and the atmosphere there reflected that. In a city that used to be expanding all the time and busy with the sounds of countless businesses at work, founding, and expanding it had slipped into a nearly lethargic state. No businesses, except well established large corporations would consider moving to Chicago or starting up there unless they absolutely had too. And rightly so, the large taxes, state, county, and city as well as onerous regulations of every level of government make for an unfriendly environment for anyone who is working and any potential entrepreneurs. Illinois is still in my memory as a nice place though, as Chicago was a great place with great museums, the Cubs, the Bears, the Sears Tower, and of course, a must for any Chicagoan, the Taste of Chicago.

But there is no comparison between the amount of freedom maintained and protected between the two states, fond memories or not, reality tells me which is superior in this respect. Nevada is one reason why many people move from the eastern side of the Mississippi to the western side.

New York is a good example, it lost two electoral votes in the last census, which means it lost about one million people over the last ten years, and most of that was people emigrating out of the state. I don't know how many of these people came to Nevada, but I bet it was a more than 1/49 of the total as Nevada is a good place to come and retire.

I've been talking of all of this because it is the essence of why people form governments to begin with. Mainly, to protect individual rights, from foreign and domestic aggression and to maintain the rule of law. Nevada is still in that mold, though some things that it does are inconsistent with this mission and that is what we must remain vigilant against; if we still wish to live in a mostly free state, that is. I'm proud to be a Nevadan, proud because it is a state that realizes that it has no rights other than those we give to it, proud because it is a state that understands, on the most part, that it is in place to protect my individual rights, and proud that except for the sales tax it lets me keep my money.

On Nevada Day, this one and future ones, one should always evaluate the state of freedom in Nevada as compared to other states, particularly our leviathan neighbor to the west, and realize that despite this state's many flaws it is still one of the few states in this voluntary union of states worth sticking around in.

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