45th Anniversary

45 ENEMIES OF FREEDOM

People who have been trying to control your life since reason was founded in 1968

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Click here to cast your own vote for the biggest enemies of freedom.

In 2003, to celebrate 35 years of publishing a monthly magazine dedicated to Free Minds and Free Markets, reason named "35 Heroes of Freedom"—innovators, economists, singers, anti-communists, pornographers, professional athletes, and even the occasional politician who contributed to making the world a freer place since 1968.

These weren't necessarily the 35 best human beings to span the globe. Richard Nixon, for example, was selected for encouraging "cynicism about government" through his rampant abuses of power. And, well, let's say Dennis Rodman hasn't aged particularly well. But the list reflected the happy, unpredictable cacophony that has helped liberate the world one novel or deregulation or electric guitar at a time.

Our 45th anniversary has come along at a darker time. The post-9/11 lurch toward unchecked law enforcement power has now become a permanent feature of our bipartisan consensus, with a Democratic president now ordering assassinations of American teenagers and with millions of Americans unaware that the feds are combing through their telecommunications. Keynesians in Washington responded to the financial crisis of 2008 by ushering in a lost decade of government spending, sluggish growth, and the worst employment numbers since Jimmy Carter was president. And after an initially promising Arab Spring, whole swaths of the Middle East seem  poised for a long, sectarian, transnational war.

So it's fitting that this time around we're anointing reason's 45 Enemies of Freedom. Again, these aren't the worst human beings who bestrode the planet since 1968 (though Pol Pot and Osama bin Laden rank right down there). Some, like John McCain, are even genuine American heroes. What unites them is their active effort to control individuals rather than allow them free choice, to wield power recklessly rather than act on the recognition that the stuff inherently corrupts, and to popularize lies in a world that's desperate for truth.

You'll see some familiar names there (we can't quit you, Tricky Dick!) and some others that deserve to be more notorious. But in our otherwise alphabetical list we'll start with the man who nearly everyone on our staff nominated, a figure who embodies so much that is wrong with public policy and the political conversation in these United States.

1. Michael Bloomberg

Here is how New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg explained the importance of his widely derided 16-ounce limit on servings of sugar-sweetened beverages after a state judge overturned it last March: "We have a responsibility as human beings to do something, to save each other, to save the lives of ourselves, our families, our friends, and all of the rest of the people that live on God's planet." Bloomberg literally thinks he is saving the world one slightly smaller serving of soda at a time.

As grandiose as that may seem, it is consistent with Bloomberg's view of government. A few years ago in a speech at the United Nations, he declared that "to halt the worldwide epidemic of non-communicable diseases, governments at all levels must make healthy solutions the default social option," which he described as "government's highest duty." On Bloomberg's to-do list for government, apparently, defending us against our own unhealthy habits ranks above defending us against foreign invaders or marauding criminals.

Public health is not the only area where Bloomberg's authoritarian tendencies are apparent. There is his enthusiasm for gun control, his illegal crackdown on pot smokers, and his unflagging defense of the New York Police Department's stop-and-frisk program, which portrays the Fourth Amendment as a gratuitous barrier to effective policing. But his determination to halt "epidemics" of risky behavior shows him at his most arrogantly ambitious.

Bloomberg has pursued that goal not only by meddling with people's drink orders but by banning trans fats, pressuring food companies to reduce the salt content of their products, imposing heavy cigarette taxes, severely restricting the locations where people are allowed to smoke (even outdoors), mandating anti-smoking posters in stores that sell cigarettes (a policy that, like his big beverage ban, was rejected by the courts), and proposing a rule that would require merchants to hide tobacco products from people who might want to buy them.

The attitude driving Bloomberg's crusade to "make healthy solutions the default social option" is reflected in another comment he made after his pint-sized pop prescription ran into legal trouble. "It was not a setback for me," said the billionaire with degrees from Johns Hopkins and Harvard. "In case you hadn't noticed, I watch my diet. This is not for me." No, indeed. It is for those poor, benighted souls who think it is acceptable to drink a 20-ounce soda.

2. Idi Amin

The bombastic Ugandan dictator and self-appointed Conqueror of the British Empire lived in luxury during his 1970s rule while overseeing a unique brand of sadism that included mass killings, forced deportations, and torture. 

3. Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Maricopa County, Arizona's chief law enforcement officer is famous mostly for publicly degrading inmates: forcing them to live in a tent city, work on chain gangs, wear pink underwear. Meanwhile, his more serious transgressions receive far less attention. Arpaio has created citizen posses to track down and arrest illegal immigrants, overseen a jail staff that has violently abused inmates (resulting in the death of three prisoners and the paralysis of a fourth), and used law enforcement resources to harass and intimidate his political opponents.

4. Osama bin Laden

His desire to impose an Islamic caliphate marks the late terrorist as decidedly anti-liberty. But Osama bin Laden's real crime against freedom was masterminding the murderous 9/11 terror attacks, which not only slaughtered nearly 3,000 people, but also inspired the U.S. government to react with overseas wars, the PATRIOT Act, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Transportation Security Administration. It is thanks in no small part to bin Laden that the United States is far less free.

5. Leonid Brezhnev

Give Brezhnev credit for this much: He made it a lot harder to imagine that communism would be exciting. If Stalin was the supervillain who made the Soviet Union an empire and Khrushchev was the Cold War confrontationist, Brezhnev was the bland figure who enforced a deadly conformity. An adept at bureaucratic warfare, Brezhnev consolidated his power over the course of the '60s and '70s as he spread his mixture of economic stagnation and banal totalitarianism throughout the eastern bloc.

6. Fidel Castro

His iron grip over Cuba lasted for more than 50 years of individual, physical, and social ruin. Though Castro formally stepped down as leader in 2008, he passed the reins of the police state to his brother and still serves as an elder statesman of the least free country in the Western Hemisphere.

7. Dick Cheney

Dick Cheney makes the list instead of George W. Bush or Barack Obama because the former vice president provided the intellectual and legal template that both presidents followed to curtail our freedoms. In the wake of 9/11, Cheney, a lifelong defender of executive branch power, pushed the Bush administration to increase secrecy, surveillance, and war. It's the most lasting legacy in a four-decade career that includes intimate involvement in both Iraq wars, plus the conflicts in Afghanistan, Panama, and Somalia. 

8. Hillary Clinton

"It takes a village," Hillary Clinton famously wrote, and we've learned since that her meaning encompassed villages in Iraq and Afghanistan to house American troops, villages of taxpayers to fund her favored programs, and villages of snoops to staff a national security state. Those villages must be prudish, too, given Clinton's longstanding fear of video-game sex. To Hillary's credit, she does advocate Internet freedom for villages overseas. Too bad she doesn't promote the same idea at home.

9. Paul Ehrlich

In 1968's dystopian bestseller The Population Bomb, this biologist predicted that "hundreds of millions" would die in massive famines in the 1970s. Erlich lamented that it was technically and politically impossible to sterilize people through the water and food supplies, the antidote for which would be rationed by the government. Meanwhile, on a mostly voluntary basis, the global fertility rate has fallen by more than half since the 1960s. Freedom, and the economic growth it generates, turn out to be the best contraceptive. 

10. Dianne Feinstein

Say Feinstein's name in front of anybody who takes the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution seriously and watch that person's face curdle. The California senator's federal assault weapons ban, which passed in 1994 and expired in 2004, failed to have any noticeable impact on crime rates. She didn't allow such facts to keep her from using the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012 to unsuccessfully attempt to reinstate the ban. Like the National Rifle Association, she also blames youth violence on video games and has threatened new regulations on that industry as well.

11. Daryl Gates

Inventor of the SWAT team and four-star general in America's war on drugs, Gates is as responsible as any other law enforcement officer for the blunt, pseudo- military instrument our police forces have become. Thanks to significant incidences of wrong-door raids and dangerous prank calls that send SWAT teams to innocent families' homes, Americans don't even have to be doing drugs or breaking any laws to witness the fruits of Gates' labor.

12. Newt Gingrich

Gingrich rose to fame as a politician, but he's more like an annoying dinner-party guest: He'll say anything to get attention. During the 2012 campaign, the former speaker of the House called fellow Republican Paul Ryan's budget proposal a "radical" form of "right-wing social engineering"—but later said he'd vote for it. In 2005, he declared his support for an individual mandate to purchase health insurance, even going so far as to predict that it could be done in a way to "make most libertarians relatively happy." By 2012, he was saying the mandate was "fundamentally wrong" and "unconstitutional." Gingrich never truly stands for anything except himself.

13. Steven Hayne

For 20 years, Mississippi prosecutors looking for a way to put a friendly thumb on the scales of justice turned to Dr. Steven Hayne. A graduate of Brown Medical School, Hayne performed roughly 1,500 autopsies per year at the behest of prosecutors—1,175 more per year than is permitted by the National Association of Medical Examiners. The result? A lot of bad evidence and a lot of faulty convictions. Thanks to Radley Balko's investigatory work in reason and elsewhere, Hayne is no longer performing autopsies in Mississippi. Sadly, the number of false convictions he contributed to is suspected to be in the hundreds.

14. Eric Hobsbawm

Until his death last year at the age of 95, British historian Eric Hobsbawm enjoyed the dubious honor of being perhaps the world's most prominent academic apologist for communism. Asked in 1994 if the murder of "15, 20 million people might have been justified" if the result was the establishment of a Marxist society, the lifelong Communist Party member replied, "yes."

15. J. Edgar Hoover

The FBI's investigations into militias during the 1990s and Muslims in the 2000s trace their roots to the tenure of James Edgar Hoover. The agency's longest-serving director, Hoover was famous for investigating groups that challenged the American government and its empire. He spied on and entrapped leftists, and he smeared and undermined civil rights leaders.

16. Jeffrey Immelt

In fairness, anyone who ran General Electric would probably make this list. Not because the blue-chip energy/media/whatever company is particularly evil, but because it's particularly big, and as such it's a natural poster boy for modern-day crony capitalism. GE has spent more than $200 million on lobbying already this young century. Immelt, head of President Obama's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, reacted to the 2008 financial crisis by claiming, "The interaction between government and business will change forever.…The government will be a regulator; and also an industry policy champion, a financier, and a key partner." That's exactly the problem.

17. Michael Jacobson

The most zealous of the foodie nanny-staters, Michael Jacobson is the guy who makes Mayor Bloomberg seem like a reasonable moderate. The Ralph Nader protégé co-founded the Center for Science in the Public Interest in 1971 to fight for fat taxes, ominous warning labels, and laws requiring that broadcasters give a minute advertising time to broccoli for each minute of Froot Loops. His group, he once said, "is proud about finding something wrong with practically everything."

18. Ed Jagels

During the 1980s, Kern County (California) District Attorney Ed Jagels led the nation in prosecuting bogus Satanic child molestation cases. Without any physical evidence, Jagels, his prosecutors, and local police coached and cajoled children into accusing their parents and neighbors of sexual abuse that never actually happened. Years later, when witnesses recanted, Jagels called them liars. Eventually, 25 of his 26 Satanic molestation convictions were overturned.

19. Leon Kass

As the propounder of the idea of "the wisdom of repugnance," philosopher Leon Kass holds that viscera trump reason. Kass opposed in vitro fertilization on the grounds that it was dehumanizing, but the more than 5 million IVF babies born since then have been quite human. As head of George W. Bush's Council on Bioethics, Kass sought to ban research on potentially lifesaving technologies such as human embryonic stem cells and cloning. He argues against using human ingenuity to liberate ourselves from the natural horrors of disease, disability, and death.

20. Ruhollah Khomeini

Leader of the Iranian revolution that overthrew the Shah, the ayatollah created the modern blueprint for an atavistic, Islamic revolution. As Iran's supreme leader, Khomeini ordered the murder of his political opponents, waged a deadly war with Iraq, supported the sacking of the U.S. embassy in Tehran, and offered a bounty on the head of Salman Rushdie. 

21. Henry Kissinger

As secretary of state and national security advisor under presidents Nixon and Ford, Kissinger embodied a ruthless, amoral vision of America's place in the world. From the "secret" bombing of Cambodia to the "Christmas" bombing of North Vietnam, from his complicity in the coup that installed a repressive dictatorship in Chile to his green light for Indonesia's bloody occupation of East Timor, Kissinger may not be the only answer to the question "Why do they hate us?"—but he's a far larger part of the answer than any one man should be.

22. Naomi Klein

Before her 2007 book Shock Doctrine slandered all of modern libertarian thought as a scam dreamed up by the dictator-loving rich to screw over the poor, Klein had a noisy and altogether self-defeating career as an anti-branding activist. Her "No Logo" campaign and 2000 book, designed to ride the wave of anti-globalization to lead a revolt against advertising, instead became a go-to manual for marketers seeking to exploit the yearning for authenticity. Meanwhile, the anti-globalization movement died a richly deserved death.

23. Paul Krugman

The Nobel-winning economist and New York Times columnist is a reliable advocate of economic intervention and deficit spending, arguing that the problem with failed government stimulus programs to fight the recession of the '00s was that they didn't go far enough. Krugman's low point in 2012 was recommending (only mostly in jest) that it would be a good thing if the government wasted huge sums of taxpayer money preparing for an alien invasion. Keep this man's hands away from any rocks—he might try to break nearby windows to "stimulate" the economy.

24. Loki

The sneering (fictional) baddie in the 2012 superhero blockbuster, The Avengers, sticks to a familiar supervillain playbook: His aim is world domination, and he's got a cosmic doohicky and an army of alien invaders to make it happen. But the justification he offers for his global power grab sounds more like a terrestrial dictator: "It's the unspoken truth of humanity," he tells a cowering crowd, "that you crave subjugation. The bright lure of freedom diminishes your life's joy in a mad scramble for power, for identity. You were made to be ruled." Fortunately, like all supervillains, he was made to be defeated. 

25. Jeffrey Loria

A successful New York art dealer (unlike you, he owns an original Picasso), Loria spent years pleading poverty to the taxpayers of Miami-Dade County so that they would pay for a fancy new stadium to house his professional baseball franchise, the Marlins. Locals finally agreed to cover what's projected to be $2.4 billion in costs, only to discover that Loria had actually been turning large profits while fielding a mediocre, underpaid team. With his stadium safely finished, Loria promptly dismantled his club, which is now the worst in Major League Baseball. 

26. Mao Tse-Tung

As the founder and leader of the People's Republic of China, this Communist despot's cruelly stupid collectivist policies killed at least 35 million Chinese citizens. He kept the hundreds of millions who managed to survive in impoverished bondage until his death in 1976.

27. John McCain

It is possible to be both an enemy of freedom and a genuine American hero. John McCain endured unbearable punishments and greatly boosted camp morale during his five-year Viet Cong prison stint, for which he deserves our gratitude. He has also been among the most consistently interventionist politicians in the United States Senate, agitating for never-ending "rogue-state rollback" while focusing his war at home on political speech and the healthy American trait he derides as "cynicism." It's fitting McCain would close out his career barking sporadic insults (like "wacko bird") at a new generation of more libertarian legislators.

28. Jenny McCarthy

A second-string actress who has managed to stay in the limelight by promoting the bogus theory that vaccines cause autism, McCarthy traffics in pseudoscience and fear. Partly as a result of her widely publicized yet scientifically ignorant pronouncements, hundreds of thousands of fearful parents have needlessly endangered the health and lives of their children. 

29. Robert McNamara

Did anyone fuse the roles of technocrat and destroyer more completely than Robert Strange McNamara? He was a functionary from Ford Motor Company when John F. Kennedy brought him in to run the Pentagon, and in that role he systematically escalated the Vietnam War as though the conflict were an assembly line. When he took over the World Bank in 1968, he continued to couple technocratic planning with mass destruction, sponsoring vast "development projects" whose most notable effect was to evict peasants from their land. Robert McNamara: the Organization Man as monster.

30. Newton Minow

The godfather of boob-tube nannying, Minow was chairman of the Federal Communications Commission from 1961 to 1963. There he was a key advocate for the regulation of television. In a 1961 speech to the National Association of Broadcasters, he famously described the era's television programming as a "vast wasteland," railed against the medium's "mayhem, violence, sadism, murder," and proposed that TV content should be strictly regulated in the name of the "public interest."

31. Robert Moses 

The most authoritarian city planner in New York history, Moses wielded eminent domain and many other government powers, unleashing his bulldozers and wrecking balls on the homes, businesses, and churches of as many as half a million powerless citizens, many of them black, brown, or poor.

32. Robert Mugabe

The racist, homophobic, and corrupt president of Zimbabwe has overseen record levels of inflation, destroying the purchasing power of citizens in a previously much more prosperous country. Forbidden from exiting the country with any assets, Zimbabweans have had to live under Mugabe's brutal misrule for decades.

33. Richard Nixon

This American president launched the modern drug war, imposed wage and price controls, kept a pointless war going in Vietnam long after he knew it was hopeless, and imposed massive new bureaucracies on the American economy. Nixon's vision of government in general had no clear limits, and his view of executive power helped him commit and collude in crimes that he thought were not crimes because he did them. Richard Nixon should be a cautionary tale for all future presidents, but all too often he serves as an example.

34. Henry Paulson

When the nation's financial markets collapsed in the fall of 2008, Hank Paulson, secretary of the treasury for President George W. Bush, came in with guns blazing. In September of 2008, he proposed the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP), a scheme he falsely advertised as a way to remove "illiquid assets that are weighing down our financial institutions and threatening our economy." Instead it became a justification for an endless series of bailouts, including of non-banks like General Motors. Even TARP's biggest proponents acknowledge that the economy has underperformed the past five years.

35. Sean Penn

When not chewing the scenery in overrated Oscar-winning films, the multimillionaire brother of Christopher Penn spends much of his time acting as an apologist for authoritarians like the late Hugo Chavez and the still-breathing Fidel Castro. When Chavez died, Penn said: "the people of the United States lost a friend it never knew it had. And poor people around the world lost a champion." That's one way of putting it.

36. Pol Pot

A French school flunkie turned peasant revolutionary, Pol Pot might have been the most efficient murderer in communism's grisly history. It took the dictator and his Khmer Rouge less than four years to kill and centrally plan to death up to 3 million people—20 percent of the Cambodian population.

37. Vladimir Putin

While many were optimistic that Russia would manage to modernize after almost a century of Marxist misery, the former KGB agent and Russian president has vindicated skeptics of liberal progress while clamping down on free speech, mucking about in Russia's "near abroad," and supporting horrid governments such as the Assad regime in Syria.

38. Bruce Ratner

A real estate tycoon and serial beneficiary of eminent domain abuse, Ratner partnered with New York officials in 2001 to forcibly evict some 55 midtown businesses standing in the way of a new headquarters for the New York Times Company. A few years later in Brooklyn, Ratner and his government allies seized and razed dozens of homes and businesses in order to build a basketball arena for a team then owned by Ratner himself.

39. Diane Ravitch

A school reformer turned union flack, this New York University professor did an about-face after four decades as one of the nation's most prominent charter advocates. Part of the right-wing think tank braintrust that hatched the initial policy proposals for vouchers, she now says "Vouchers are a con, intended to destroy public education." She has been welcomed with open arms by defenders of the status quo.

40. John Rawls

The philosophical father of 20th century liberalism, Rawls' seminal Theory of Justice (1971) has dominated moral and political philosophy for decades. His framing of "justice as fairness" and his notion that societies should be arranged to improve the lot of the least advantaged subtly underpin nearly all of our national policy debates, lending a justification to multitudinous extensions of state power. His longtime rival, the libertarian thinker Robert Nozick, offered an alternative based in property rights and personal liberty. Sadly, Rawls has been more influential.

41. Charles Schumer

If (bad) conservative screenwriters set out to create a smugly liberal, lens-hungry New York senator, they'd come up with Charles Schumer—and they'd be criticized for creating a strawman. But Schumer is, somehow, real. He crusades sneeringly against guns, drugs, breakfast cereal, cybercurrencies, and caffeinated powders while supporting security-state legislation and cozying up with crony capitalists on Wall Street.

42. Steven Seagal

Starring in 20 of the worst action flicks ever made, all with titles like Above the Law and Executive Decision, Seagal also produced several ludicrous environmental message-movies, including one that ends with his character giving a four-minute speech about how "the internal combustion engine has been obsolete for 50 years." He has made two truly awful records and been serially accused of sexual harassment, but what separates Seagal from most Hollywood scumbags is that he has also actively participated in gross law enforcement abuse, including a raid in Arizona that damaged a man's house and killed his puppy.

43. Lamar Smith

The Internet threatened to shut down in protest last year when Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) introduced the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a bill that sought to grant movie studios and record labels unprecedented power to police copyright. Under SOPA, studios and labels would've had the power to block offending sites from showing up in Google search results, and the authority to tell service providers which sites their customers couldn't visit. In an Orwellian twist, SOPA also would have empowered "content creators" to prevent Internet users from discussing—on Facebook and other social media sites—how to circumvent SOPA.

44. Aaron Sorkin

A virtual assembly line for fictional authority-worship, Sorkin is the dramatist of choice for progressive technocrats. In the worlds detailed in West Wing and The Newsroom, all of America's problems could be solved if those dumb, undereducated conservatives and independents would listen to their incorruptible Ivy League betters. Sorkin longs for an imaginary golden age of American government that never existed. Bonus points for being just as misogynist as any of the archconservatives he loathes.

45. Elizabeth Warren

One of the left's foremost academic activists, Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat recently elected to the Senate, is a Harvard professor with a history of using shoddy scholarship to promote dubious public policies. She has exaggerated the prevalence of medical bankruptcy, argued that student loan rates should be set equal to bank loan rates, and pushed for controls on everything from credit cards to home loans. Warren's life project amounts to an argument that most people are too stupid to know what to do with their money unless the government steps in to help.  

Click here to cast your own vote for the biggest enemies of freedom.

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  1. I think that Barack Obama and Lindsey Graham should have made that list, somewhere between Pol Pot and John McCain.

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    1. You can’t put Obama on the list and still expect to get invited to all the DC cocktail parties, duh.

      1. I’m not being political, but Obama has done a hell of a lot more damage to freedom than, say, the Manchurian Candidate (as bad as he’d been).

        1. Okay, I read it. I guess part of the goal was to go broad and not strictly political, but I’d definitely include Bush and Obama as separate line items. I don’t think I completely buy Cheney as their proxy, especially when there are several fairly minor players on the list.

          1. For instance, I think Loki could go in favor of even a joint Bush/Obama entry. I mean, he is fictional and not that influential.

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  2. Huh. Are these supposed to be in order? Shouldn’t the murdering dictators be at the top? I certainly think so. And you apparently misspelled Episiarch, because I couldn’t find his name.

    1. I thought it a bit odd that Pol Pot was so far down that list.

      As much as I don’t like Bloomberg, I’m not sure that Pol Pot should have ranked so far below him.

      1. The evil of Pol Pot is often overstated. He did not ‘centrally plan’ the murder of 3 million Cambodians. Somewhere in the neighbourhood of 1.5 million Cambodians died during the Pol Pot years, and they died due to incompetence, bungling and negligence. compounded by a malicious attitude. Pol Pot did not plan their deaths any more than he planned the American bombing that drove terrified and hungry peasants into the ranks of his army.

    2. Are these supposed to be in order?

      Bloomberg aside, it’s alphabetical.

      1. Bloomberg comes before Amin in an alpha sort?

        1. No, which is why I used the words “Bloomberg aside.”

          Or, to quote the article: “in our otherwise alphabetical list we’ll start with the man who nearly everyone on our staff nominated.”

          1. Crap, missed that. Never mind, I’ll just read it more closely and save my commentary for later.

          2. Right, I got it now. That flew right past me, but I realized it before you replied.

      2. See, you can’t expect me to unravel your cryptic alphabetical code. But okay, I’ll withdraw my objection. Though for the statists who see this, you might want to call that out.

  3. No love here for Jenny McCarthy, but is she really an “Enemy of Freedom”? As ignorant as her beliefs about vaccines are, isn’t she really fighting for the freedom not to be vaccinated.

    Now you can argue about herd immunity and free-riders all you want, but the end her issue is about not being compelled by the state to violate an individual’s bodily integrity.

    Somehow I think Ron Bailey was the one who got her added to this list.

    1. It’s because she dismisses anyone who does not have an abnormally large penis. If that doesn’t make her an enemy of freedom, I don’t know what an enemy of freedom is.

      1. Suddenly everything about you makes a lot more sense.

        1. Sorry you didn’t make the list 🙁

        2. As always, nothing about you makes any sense.

      2. What percentile would be the cutoff for “abnormally large?”

        1. Oh, please don’t mention “cutoff”s!

    2. Jenny McCarthy *CORRECTLY* points out that vaccines can cause serious neurological damage in a subset of children, so PARENTS not the government, should decide what vaccine a child is given and when.

      This is not even a debatable point. Read a vaccine package insert or the federal government’s vaccine injury table.

      Since when is someone advocating for families to make their own health choices, NOT A CORRUPT FEDERAL HEALTH AGENCY, an enemy of freedom? Adding her was stupid.

      And there are now at least 68 studies showing vaccines can cause what is diagnosed as “autism,” The federal government has paid around 100 autism cases from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, and last fall Congressman Issa held hearings on Vaccine Induced Autism, and CDC is refusing to submit the research that they have that backs up their claim that THEIR bloated vaccine program is not causing autism. Issa is holding another round of hearings to follow up in a few months.

      Reason… stop being pretentious and start paying attention.

      1. Payouts only mean that a John Edwards type sleazeball trial lawyer convinced twelve people too stupid to get out of jury duty that correlation is causation.

        1. While I am far from convinced that vaccines cause autism, I am quite surprised how when it comes to the question of vaccine safety many here seem to believe that the government wouldn’t lie about this issue for some reason I can’t comprehend.

          My default is that government will lie, even to the point of risking your health or life. Government coercion producing good results? I will have to remain skeptical.

          1. The FDA has pulled things off the market that they had previously approved because of previously unknown side-effects. That tells me that they’re less likely to lie than other agencies that steadfastly refuse to ever admit to being wrong under any circumstance.

            1. the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act gives complete liability protection to everyone involved in the making, regulating and administering of vaccines for all injury and death.

              Because of that it has become functionally legal to lie about vaccine safety.

              The vaccine program does not function like any other program in medicine, or any other product line in this country. There is no public accountability.

              They never HAVE to admit to being wrong.

        2. Obviously you know nothing about how the vaccine court works. There is no jury, unless you can’t the Special Masters, who are also the judge, and, btw, also on the payroll of the defendant, the U.S. Govt. There is no discovery either. The burden of proof is degrees higher in vaccine court, so the fact that *any* “payouts” have been made at all is nothing short of miraculous and should prove beyond reasonable doubt that vaccines can and do injure children all the time.

        3. There is no jury in the VICP… all cases are heard and decided by “Special Masters” Government employees who act as judges. This is not an actual court system. HHS tries their damnedest never to compensate autism cases, but sometimes the evidence is so overwhelming that they can’t wriggle out of it.

      2. Of course, when you refuse to vaccinate your children my children run the risk of catching an infectious disease from them – thus infringing on my children’s freedom.

        1. Really? So are you freely admitting that your own children aren’t vaccinated or are you admitting that the vaccines they got don’t really offer protection and therefore don’t work?

          1. You should be lawyer.

        2. Heya, Wesley. How’s life been treating you?

        3. So your children have the RIGHT not to catch a disease? And I and my children bear the burden of preventing you and your children from catching a disease?

          So we should take a product that is known to cause immune damage, neurological damage and sometimes death?

          Wow… I am super responsible for your welfare, aren’t I?

          1. You and your little tard kids are welcome to catch all the polio, measles, mumps, RSV, and rubella you wish.

      3. GingerTaylor:

        If all Jenny McCarthy did was to correctly point out the warnings on vaccines then why would you or anyone care? Your doctor (assuming you see an actual medical doctor which is probably a bad assumption) does the same thing.

        And there are NOT any studies that have not been discredited or that are peer-reviewed that connect vaccines and autism in any meaningful way. Please provide a citation for your “68 studies” so anyone who is confused about this can see for themselves what a crock your statement is.

        And a congressman can hold hearings on damn near anything, you know that, right? https://reason.com/reasontv/201…..censorship

        1. High number…

          Actually Tripedia (DTaP vaccine) lists “autism” as an adverse outcome on their package insert.

          And there are actually at least 67 studies (peer reviewed… Harvard, Hopkins, NIH, even) put this doc together last night… one study is missing as it was just published… will add shortly. http://adventuresinautism.com/…..dies68.doc

          And this is not just crappy epidemiology, these include hard science on the mechanisms on HOW different vaccines can cause the metabolic problems that result in autism.

          So many people have been conned for a decade by idiot media heads yelling “ONE STUDY THAT WAS RETRACTED!” while this whole body of research was being built and treatments based on it were coming out.

          Why do you think I am telling Reason, and its readers like you, TO START PAYING ATTENTION!

          Governments lie, bro!

          What do you think they are going to say… “Yeah… turns out 14 years ago when we got busted putting 250 times the EPA limit for mercury into a two month old getting their shots, we were actually causing a TON of neurological damage… and instead of fessing up, we just lied and threw a scapegoat in front of you. So now there is like this mountain of evidence that we can’t sweep under the carpet any more… so … OUR BAD! Sorry… you forgive us… right?”

          1. You must must have linked to the wrong page. I perused the first few abstracts or excerpts and they did not say what you said they said.

        2. And on the congressional hearings. They grilled CDC and the Federal Autism Coordinating Committee. They lied under oath. Several congressman called them on it and said, “send us your research that backs that up.”

          So CDC sent their final report two months ago, they sent ZERO research to back up their claims, and they get away with that… you know what? Because people like you WHO ARE SUPPOSED TO BE LOOKING CRITICALLY AT GOVERNMENT CLAIMS are not thinking critically, not making them back up their assertions that the vaccine program is safe, and not paying attention to people when they hand you hard science that shows that CDC is full of crap.

          I have showed you my science… CDC was put under oath, and then wouldn’t do it.

      4. ^This^ +100

        Oh, and Dr Andrew Wakefield’s study was exonerated by the British General Medical Council. New evidence of links between gastrointestinal health and vaccines and autism continue to be published almost daily. Mercury is still a poison, it’s still in vaccines (despite what the manufacturers tell you), and, thanks to FedGov, you still can’t sue them for damages. (If vaccines are so safe, why do their manufacturers need immunity from suit?) Herd immunity may make great sense, but has never been demonstrated.

        India has a greater rate of whooping cough among the vaccinated than among the unvaccinated. Plus, the incidents are substantially more severe in the vaccinated population.

        Reason has genuflected at the altar scientific correctness.

        1. Whoops. My This ^+100^ was for GingerTaylors post, not highnumbers.

          1. You were right the first time.

            What do you mean Wakefield’s study was “exonerated”? I think that word does not mean what you think it means: http://scienceblogs.com/insole…..se-john-w/

            I’m not going to bother responding further (no time at the moment and I’m no longer the type who likes to get into pissing matches with on the internet) other than to provide a link to good info on vaccines for those who can take the time to read:
            http://www.sciencebasedmedicin…../vaccines/

            1. To be exact, Andrew Wakefield, John Walker Smith and Simon Murch were ruled to be guilty of misconduct for the study, and stripped of their medical licenses by the General Medical Council. The whole thing was a witch hunt and a farce to protect UK vaccine makers.

              The three docs appealed the bogus ruling, however Wakefield’s malpractice insurance would not fund the appeal, so he dropped out. The British High Court overturned the ruling on appeal, saying that the conclusion of GMC trial was characterized by, “inadequate and superficial reasoning and in many instances the wrong conclusions”.

              By that time, Wakefield had moved to the US and is doing research in TX. Then the BMJ printed a bunch of lies about the trial, so he is suing them in federal court.

              http://www.telegraph.co.uk/hea…..Smith.html

              And none of that matters anyway, because the paper was actually about the GI damage that we find in autism (there was only a small note about the MMR’s potential role) and GI damage in autism is completely MAINSTREAM NOW! http://www.theatlantic.com/hea…..ut/276648/

              1. The paper remains retracted, for political reasons, not because it was errant. And again.. does not matter in the least. We have a mountain of evidence. But every time a new study comes out, rather than covering it, the media drags out Wakefield’s body for another beating. Or Jenny McCarthy…

                Do you REALLY think that this many smart people (and all of the research shows that the educated class is leading the way on opting out of one or more vaccines) are deciding not to take CDC’s vaccine advice because of one blond with big boobs and one study (on a vaccine we don’t even use in this country) that was published 16 years ago and then retracted?

                Pay attention… think critically… if someone wants to sell you a medical product, do your due diligence!

              2. How’s Wakefield’s lawsuit going? I can’t find anything recent about it. I saw some articles from over a year ago saying it was dismissed but nothing much since.

            2. Also… David Gorski… the man who writes that stuff… spent five years writing it, and failing to disclose that he was developing a drug for vaccine maker Sanofi, that had applications for use in autism.

              I spent many years trying to have a good faith conversation with him about vaccines and autism, and finally gave up in 2009. Come to find out, he was on the payroll the whole time.

            3. “I’m not going to bother responding further”

              WAIT A MINUTE!! You mock me, demand I show you the science that you claim does not exist… I show it to you… then you cannot dane to debate me any more?

              How about.. “wow… I had no idea that there was actually so much research on this… I might have to rethink my position? Thanks Ginger.”

              Instead I am accused of getting into a “pissing match?”

              So this was never actually about “good science” in the first place, then.

        2. (If vaccines are so safe, why do their manufacturers need immunity from suit?)

          Because the government, in a quasi-fascist arrangement, essentially operates vaccine makers on its orders. The fact that the government forces people to get vaccinated, forces vaccine makers to make the vaccines they need, and consequently offers immunity to the vaccine makers who do their bidding has no bearing whatsoever on the actual safety and efficacy of vaccines.

          Of course, it’s important to note with whom you are debating. For the edification of all present Kyfho is a 9/11 Truther. Adjust your standards of evidence accordingly.

  4. I still cannot fathom how the O missed that list. Especially after the ordering of government employees to snitch on each other, under threat of criminal penalties. That’s right up there with Stalin in degree of tyranny. when someone goes to that extent, what is next? Gulags?

  5. 40. John Rawls

    Good too see Will Wilkinson and those other market-socialists hero on the list.

    I wouldn’t include Jenny McCarthy. A celebrity offering bad advice doesn’t rise to the level of an “enemy of freedom”. Sean Penn actually embraces dictators but I’m not sure he belongs either. Sorkin looks to be your best Hollywood enemy.

    1. The Newsroom sucked so many balls, it was unbelievable.

      1. I watched a few minutes of an episode the other night. The protagonists soundly defeated all the straw men that came at them.

  6. I suggest revising the list to include Barack Obama. The man’s an unholy abomination.

    1. Jenny McCarthy but not Barak Obama?!

      Someone needs to come forward with the killer bud. They must have been extremely high when they made this list.

      Loki? Reducing the number to 15 or 20 would have made a little sense, where this list just doesn’t make any.

  7. I put Michael Moore on my personal list. I would have included Morgan Spurlock, too, if I hadn’t run out of room with all the Karl Roves, Obamas, Soroses, et al.

    1. If ever we suffer a shortage of meet and potatoes, you’ll know it’s Moore’s fault.

  8. Can’t see Pol Pot without playing some Dead Kennedys.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KTsXHXMkJA

  9. I don’t really do enemies lists, but it’s safe to say you’re all on mine.

  10. I think Bush and Obama belong on that list somewhere.

    1. We’d have to drop the dead people then, and Jenny McCarthy…does that make sense to you?

      1. Of course. I don’t know what I was thinking.

  11. I’ll just read it more closely and save my commentary for later.

    I am disappoint.

  12. I see enough support here for adding Obama to the list, that I think a revision is in order.

    And yeah, drop the dead people, as they aren’t really a big threat to liberty at the moment, because there’s plenty enough living tyrants to make that list much longer.

    1. That was a great scene.

  13. “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy”

    1. You haven’t been to Sacramento then.

      1. so true.

  14. Beardsley Ruml should hold a place of prominence on this list. He was the father of FICA.

  15. You included dead people but not Rachel Carson?! She has more blood on her hands than either Stalin or Mao. WHAT THE FUCK?!

    1. Needz moar Al Gore.

  16. Aaron Sorkin, worshipper of petty authoritarians and master of cliche recycling scripts:

    http://youtu.be/S78RzZr3IwI

    It’s like he has a database of stupid lefty cliches and uses some VBA program to randomly assemble them into a script. I guess he doesn’t have much time to write, saving people from themselves and jerking off to Ezra Klein’s latest wonkery are already full time jobs.

  17. If Dick Cheney is on the list because he “provided the intellectual and legal template” followed by GWB and BHO, then shouldn’t Saul Alinsky be included for the same reason vis???vis Hillary and BHO? And while we’re at it, as long as we’re including dead guys, what, no Hitler?

    1. Unless he was still living in Bolivia in 1968, he falls outside the time span for the list. And even if he was living in Bolivia as a hat check clerk at an ice rink, I suspect his glory days as an enemy of freedom were still behind him.

  18. Indeed, the vast majority of the 45 were democratically elected, more than a few more than once, some by huge margins nearing 100 percent. Most of the rest were appointed by those elected to office. At least one, while not elected, was in power by a near unanimous consensus among his peers.

    The majority of people across the globe are either idiots, or while not stupid are easily led by despots.

    It’s obvious democracies suck.

    Maybe a constitutional form of governance in which by the highest law of the land placed strict limits on the government’s powers while guaranteeing protection of essential individual liberties would be a system that could work. Well, at least work for awhile, until wanna-be rulers devise ways to use democracy to defeat the limits on their powers.

    Just a thought. Or maybe more of a rant.

    1. Sounds like the sort of thing a bunch of white slaveholders would debate about and then document with goose quill pens.

      Such a thing would never last, even it it was initiated.

      1. You know that Washington let his slaves go, right?

        But sure, okay, dismiss everything said or done by the men who gave us a document helping create the most powerful, wealthy, and influential nation in human history…because a few of them participated in an (abominable) institution commonplace at the time. Some of which actually argued against it and suggested that it would eventually come to an end, but who recognized that it wasn’t as easy as abolishing the practice overnight.

        Maybe you can find me an incident where Madison was rude to his wife or mean to his dog.

        1. You can turn in your sarcasm detector for maintenance at the exit.

    2. The majority of people across the globe are either idiots, or while not stupid are easily led by despots.

      So you’re agreeing with Loki then.

      1. Loki and I go way back.

  19. Loki, that was funny. Bloomberg numero uno, good call. McCain, check.

    Jenny McCarthy? How does protesting for the right to be free from government goons medicating your child make you an “enemy” of freedom? Sounds more like a friend, even if her arguments lack scientific merit.

    1. If we are including fictional movie bad guys, why not Vigo from Ghostbusters 2?

  20. Where’s Woodrow Wilson?!

    That lying hound gave us: WWI, the Draft, The War on Drugs, Alcohol Prohibition, the Income Tax and the Federal Reserve. Any one of those things should put him on the list.

    But you put Jenny McCarthy on the list????

    1. Hey, why not Al Capone? The criminal activity he organized probably helped justify the continued existence of Prohibition, right?

      Pretty flimsy list, actually. It’s inclusion of Dianne Feinstein and Bloomberg (and assorted banana republic dictators) is about all that keeps it from falling into the abyss of worthlessness.

    2. Again, the list is from 1968 (the founding year of Reason magazine) forward. Hence the 45 enemies. It’s commemorating the 45th year of the magazine.

      1. Sure. But Woodrow Wilson still sucks and much of his legacy is still screwing us. Now more than ever.

        And I have it on good authority he’s rotting in the lowest levels of hell existing solely on a diet of Satan’s vomit.

        Which is still too good for him.

  21. The allegations made here against Joe Arpaio sound like hearsay and half-truth. The Left has made a villain out of him because he’s advocated for stricter control of our border and deportation of people who aren’t supposed to be here. Apparently actually doing something to help control criminal activity in your community is now “racist.”

    1. In all fairness, the major gripe was his treatment of prisoners. Although I would agree the assessment is pretty retarded. Depriving people of liberty after they’ve been convicted by courts of law of crimes is kind of, you know, the entire fucking function of a jail/prison. Yeah, yeah, I’m sure plenty of people who’ve been through his system were drug offenders who should never have been arrested. That has no bearing on an assessment of his methods, which are applied universally. I think on the scale of liberty-trampling, putting convicted criminals in pink undies, depriving them of CNN on their cable TV, and putting them to work is a pretty trifling offense. Even in libertopia, “don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time” is a good adage to live by.

  22. Wasn’t it originally the Toxic Asset Relief Fund? Troubled just sounds so much nicer.

  23. teenagers and with millions of Americans unaware that the feds are combing through their telecommunications. Keynesians in Washington responded to the financial crisis of 2008 by ushering in a lost decade of government spending.
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  24. I appreciate mixing it up by switching from heroes to villains, but holy crap is this article depressing. Let’s switch back 😛

  25. My 10:
    John McCain
    Barack Obama
    John Boehner
    Chris Matthews
    Sean Hannity
    Jay-Z
    Harry Reid
    Rush Limbaugh
    Rick Santorum
    Michael Bloomberg

    1. Hannity had people defending Snowden on his radio show recently, and Hannity didn’t disagree. So I really don’t think he should have made the list.

  26. George Soros, Barack Obama, Bill Ayers.

    The thing is, there are thousands of committed enemies of freedom. The list could go on forever.

  27. Impressive! Following the logical path established in the post, the number of people filling each category multiplies or, perhaps, skyrocket with a geometric progression. Happy 45th Reason. Keep up the excellent work. http://coldwarwarrior.com/

  28. Jenny McCarthy? Really?

    Of the “hundreds of thousands” of parents who have not vaccinated their children, how many have “endangered” their children? As John Stossel might say: “show me the bodies”. When you point to one case or one death,you are pointing to only one in “hundreds of thousands”. When did Reason.com abandon statistical analysis? http://christopherfisher.wordp…..ulderdash/

    1. You can thank those evil vaccines for the lack of prevalence of those diseases.

      You vaccine-phobes seem perfectly willing to go back to the days of epidemics just because you’re afraid you’ll produce socially-retarded kids.

  29. Seriously noone thought to put the “Unknown Policeman who shot unarmed person” on the list? Where police kill unarmed people and the departments won’t release the shooters name.

  30. Joe Arpaio? Good grief. Oh well, guess it’s time for me to send him money again.

  31. I think that you can remove Jenny McCarthy from the list. As evil devils go, she was a very minor imp to begin with.
    http://hollywoodlife.com/2010/…..ad-autism/

  32. upto I looked at the paycheck ov $6978, I accept that…my… mother in law woz like really earning money in there spare time at there computar.. there aunts neighbour had bean doing this 4 only about 21 months and resently cleard the depts on there home and bought audi. we looked here, Go to site and open Home for details
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  33. Freedom is for everyone, right ?

    http://www.truthdig.com/eartot….._20130908/

    So why does Elizabeth Warren make the list as one of the few asking government to stand up for everyone instead of simply the corporately connected ?

    Meanwhile, regular readers and commenters offer support for sheriff joe arpaio who makes ‘less free’ any one of color ( though joe is and deserves to be on this list ).

    Friends of freedom are against all wars, corporate, economic, educational, health, insurance and physical.

  34. cacophony that has helped liberate the world one novel

  35. pornographers, professional athletes, and even the occasional

  36. Where are George W. Bush and Barack Obama? I think the way Bush rammed through the Patriot Act and Obama hustled the (un) Affordable Care Act should have qualified them both! The Fourth Amendment was all but decimated by Bush and the TSA, while the (un) Affordable Care Act was a lie from the beginning- (remember ” You’ll be able to keep your doctor.” Hogwarts!), and the fight the Little Sisters of the Poor went through to simply defend their freedom of conscience? How soon we forget!

    1. Read: Dick Cheney. It explains where they are.

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