I thought I’d share my current views on various Oklahoma ballot initiatives, for information and commentary (I’ve already had my mind changed on one of these, and my information corrected on another, so do please help).
776: No. It makes no sense to separate what has, by a strong tradition in Anglo-American law, always been closely associated: the passing of a sentence and the presence of specific means for carrying out that sentence. Nobody should be sentenced to “death by some means or other,” and no judge or jury should be able to separate “death” from the act of killing by some specific method. Reforms to the death penalty that make sense in Oklahoma include a blanket moratorium and a prohibition on methods of execution that do not require some specific person to knowingly carry out a sentence of death by means known to be ordinary, swift, and effective. 776 weakens and distorts the law in an effort to protect Oklahoma from its own incredibly bad record of botched executions and poor administration of justice. No, no, no.
777: No. I’m for farming and ranching. This is facially ridiculous. A constitutional “right to farm”? What would such a positive right even mean in any natural law schema? What is it even meant to accomplish when viewed simply as an adjustment of burdens and scrutiny? Nope.
779: Nope. Millions for defence, but not one penny for a failing prison–er, education–system that should be disestablished and disassembled. Wow. I don’t have enough words for the amount of NO, here. Amend the Oklahoma constitution to create a slush fund to put increased taxes in (on a percentage basis) to create a one-time, flat-rate increase in pay for teachers. And of course this won’t result in decades of renegotiation, raiding, and corruption. Of course it won’t. Regulator and administration power grab disguised as “help the teachers and not the superintendents.” Corrupt balderdash. Quelle surprise! No, no, no, no, and NO.
[UPDATE: Corrected responses to 780-81–FURTHER update to change views on 780. Removed previous strikethrough updates.]
780: Hesitant Yes. I started at a hesitant No, or Abstain. I am convinced overcriminalization is a problem, and that these reforms are pretty much steps in the right direction, subject to a little fine-tuning. It seems, however, that this ought to be a matter for the legislature to debate and reform, and I am tentatively persuaded that “No or abstain” is the default option for popular initiatives. However, I have been persuaded that this is more urgent, or that the institutional barriers in the legislature are more intractable, than permits this better option, so I will vote Yes.
781: Somewhat less hesitant No. I do not like the pathologization of crime or politics, and do not think “involuntary” and “mental health treatment” actually work together well. I also think legislators should be required to take responsible positions on such things. Should I be persuaded that adequate barriers to involuntary “treatment” and treatment of dissidence or criminality as pathology have been put in place, I could hesitantly move into the Yes column.
790: YES. Emphatically YES. I don’t give a rip whether a Ten Commandments monument ever graces our Capitol (and, yes, if asked I would vote for it and against Satanic, Russellite, and Donatist statues; but I’d be fine if most of you said “No” to all of the above, too). The Blaine Amendments have got to go. They are a grave injustice “baked in” to the Oklahoma regime, a legislated lie about the meaning of religious liberty.
792: YES. Buying wine for dinner should not mean going to a liquor store; I shouldn’t need to shop at two places to make a gin & tonic. Easy call.