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75 responses to “Reason Touts Trey Garrison Touting A More Lively Dallas”

  1. Council member Angela Hunt didn’t at all like the line of inquiry, but she lost the fight. While she may have been on the losing side, that doesn’t make it the wrong side.

    Very Firefly-ish of Trey. I like it.

  2. Yeah, that should be “official” and not “offical”.

  3. Jean Val Jean — bingo.

  4. amanda says:

    Trey, excellent, as always. Makes the whole issue…

  5. D Magazine has done a good job at publishing articles of varying points of view.

    Like it or love it, some of the things that Trey mentions in the article are things that citizens wanted. No one will agree with all of the laws cited by Trey, including me. That’s life.

    Example: the convenience store laws which include signage. We have been trying the warm and fuzzy approach for years with store owners to stop plastering windows and outside walls with signs. It didn’t work. Now they have to comply.

  6. LakeWWWooder says:

    When did Trey move back to Dallas?

  7. My first draft actually included the line “With a nod to Christopher Hitchens…”

    I’m a big fan of his writing. It didn’t survive the editing process.

  8. Grant says:

    Michael Davis,

    It is not clear to me what the warm and fuzzy approach consists of, but did you ever think of the free enterprise approach?

    According to Dwayne Caraway in the article using fewer window ads is a more effective way to run the business. Do you agree with him about that? If so, that implies that you could have bought the stores for prices higher than they were worth to the owners (with their misinformed approach to running their businesses), yet still below the value of the stores to you. Voila, you get stores that look the way you want and you turn a tidy profit.

  9. history buff says:

    If the writer had taken so much as a glance at any history of Dallas, he would have seen that the city has had progressive movements throughout its history. A few examples: In the eary 20th century Dallas was a leader in comprehensive planning. There was a strong women’s suffrage movement and the city rebuffed the Ku Klux Klan. I know right-wing idealogues would rather screed than read, but if they pretend to be journalists they should at least make a passing attempt at objectivity.

  10. history buff says:

    As for “wussy” smoking bans, Dallas (and hundreds of other cities) passed laws a half century ago aimed at other public health crises, including tuberculosis. It was against the law to spit on the sidewalk. (This, of course, when people walked more.) Those “wussy” laws were passed in the so-called Wild West era you tout as the glory days of Dallas. The laws are probably still on the books.

  11. Grant says:

    history buff,

    Forgive my ignorance of the city’s half century old anti-spitting laws, but I have a question. Did they also outlaw spitting in private businesses like bars and restaurants or did they allow the owner to make his own rules?

  12. history buff says:

    If you walked into a private business and started spitting, any number of things would happen to you — none of them good.

  13. Grant says:

    I can imagine, but did the law you referred to apply to private business or just public property like a sidewalk?

  14. history buff says:

    Look it up. Dallas city ordinance. But it’s likely that in the case of spitting in a restaurant, common sense applied and no law was needed. Unfortunately, common sense is in much less supply these days. Eh Grant?

  15. Grant says:

    I think there is just as much common sense it is just less widely held.

  16. history buff says:

    Good argument. But should government completely stay out legislation of private business, whether for public health or other reasons? In that case, would you be ok if, for example, the Duncanville sex club started operating in a house next to yours? Should the government no longer enforce anti-drug laws in fraternities and other private establishments?

  17. Gwyon says:

    History Buff, I’m as liberal as they come. And I don’t think it’s anyone’s business who’s having sex next door or who’s doing drugs in the privacy of their frat house.

  18. history buff says:

    On the whole, I agree with you. I’d like to know if right-wingers like Grant feel the same way because essentially they’re saying “laissez-faire” to anything in private establishments. But Gwyon, liberal or not, you might want to read a story in the current Texas Monthly called “An Isolated Incident” about something that happened at an SMU fraternity and then tell me if you think it’s still nobody’s business.

  19. SB says:

    It’s funny how things come full circle. It’s now apparently a trait of the “right-wingers” to think that personal freedom should trump a nanny state. I always thought it was the free-love liberal, hippie philosophy to “live and let live.”

    Nowadays, liberals just want things like drugs legalized so that they can tell you that they’re not good for you and re-ban them.

  20. If we throw away our principles at the first incident of a bad outcome, we’re not very serious about out principles.

    If we’re not free to make the wrong choices, we’re not so free at all.

  21. history buff says:

    So….it’s ok to open a sex club next to your house? Whooopie. Let’s bring back dueling while we’re at it.

  22. SB says:

    Don’t you see the irony? You’re supposedly the free-thinking liberal who’s against people expressing sexual freedom. Meanwhile, you’re claiming anyone who’s alright with that to be a “right-winger.” I thought right-wingers were conservative, church-goers. It’s just assuming to me how the definitions for the labels we attach to each other come full circle.

  23. SB says:

    “amusing” – not “assuming”

  24. Grant says:

    history buff, I am curious what I said that caused you to identify me as a right winger?

    Along the lines of Trey’s last comment, I think personal freedom/responsiblity are more in keeping with a free society than rules that intrude upon property rights.

  25. “Let’s bring back dueling while we’re at it.”

    I’ve been saying this for years.

  26. history buff says:

    @SB: I said absolutely nothing about being against sexual freedom, etc. Where you got that is beyond me. What I said to the folks who advocate for property rights above all is are they willing to have the courage of their convictions? If a sex club — or for that matter a liquor store — wants to operate next door to where you or Grant or Trey lives, is that ok with you. So far none of you has answered the ultimate NIMBY question.

  27. history buff says:

    @Grant: I identified you as such because right-wingers as a rule are opposed to any sort of regulation in the public health arena (as well as other areas). They were loudly opposed to seat belts, to anti -pollution controls (in cars and factories, etc.), and now to measures aimed at second-hand smoke. If you’re not a right winger, my apologies. If you are, well then, what’s the problem?

  28. If it meets the established zoning for a residential neighborhood, it’s none of my business.

    If I don’t like it, I can move. Or I can organize my neighbors to create a fund to buy the property from the person in question.

    It’s called taking responsibility and acting like an adult, rather than running to a parental figure every time something comes along that you don’t like.

  29. history buff says:

    Trey, thanks for answering. I appreciate it. But isn’t zoning the regulation of property? If one is to follow your logic, then you should be against all zoning, right?

  30. Grant says:

    history buff, Yes, while neither is something I am hoping for, it would be ok with me. I trust that the benefits to society overall if we were so free that someone could open a business like that in my neighborhood would outweigh any negative impacts on me that I was not able to resolve.

  31. history buff says:

    Good, thanks. Not many people have thought this through. We may disagree but I admire the courage of your convictions. My only objection is that people who work toward public health goals, whether in Dallas or in Tanzania, should not be belittled as mere do-gooder nannies. Disagree with their methods, maybe, but not their principles.

  32. “But isn’t zoning the regulation of property? If one is to follow your logic, then you should be against all zoning, right?”

    Oy vey.

  33. mm says:

    Great point, history buff. And remember, if someone catches you in an inconsistency, speak Yiddish and refuse to answer the question. Works every time.

  34. How about learning the difference between basic, pre-existing zoning, and ex post facto laws that target specific businesses for PC reasons?

    Or is that too much work?

  35. mm says:

    It’s for PC reasons in your eyes. Reasonable people (I’m including history buff, not necessarily myself) might not agree.

  36. history buff says:

    PC? Oy vey.

  37. history buff says:

    Trey: “Ex post facto” laws are those that would criminalize behavior that has already been done. Clearly that is NOT what anti-smoking laws aim to do. They are not ex post facto, which is unconstitutional. If you smoked in a bar years ago (as I did), nobody is going to come looking to arrest you for pete’s sake. If you’re going to throw words like ex post facto around, at least google the phrase first.

  38. What Duncanville did to the Cherry Pit was the dictionary definition of both ex post facto and a bill of attainder.

  39. Bill Marvel says:

    The left and the right are not, nor have they ever been, consistent. Consistency is not part of their mental makeup. At their extreme, both would deprive everyone else of freedom.
    Libertarians like Trey are really the only consistent folks left. Unfortunately they’re pretty consistently wrong. Their assumption that folks left to themselves will pretty much do the right thing is touching, like the faith of a small child with shiny eyes, clutching a daisy. And just as useful as an intelligent foundation for public policy.
    Trey can be hugely entertaining. Should we take him seriously as a social thinker or prescriber? Of course not. That’s why there isn’t a single society anywhere in the world run along libertarian lines. Such a society would destroy itself within, say, two weeks.
    Anybody here remember the libertarian communes of the late 1960s? Where are they now?

  40. history buff says:

    @bill: Can’t argue with that. Wish I could. I love to argue. But I think you just had the last word.

  41. SB says:


    Those 60s communes you speak of were run under Communistic principles, not libertarian. That is why they failed.

  42. history buff says:

    You mean there were Commies behind those bushes?

  43. SB says:

    I would think a history buff could connect the concept of a commune with Communism. Not a real big jump there.

  44. history buff says:

    @SB: (thump on the forehead) Communes flush with communists — did J. Edgar Hoover know about this? I bet they were naked too. Naked communists are the worst.

  45. Youngblood says:

    @Bill M:

    I suppose I’m somewhat of a Libertarian, though I acknowledge that there need to be effective laws to deter people from making the “wrong” choice. I don’t believe that many people (Trey included) are naive enough to believe that all people will make the right choice all the time as you seem to think. My personal belief is that there are natural consequeneces for making the wrong decision in an unregulated society that would deter most rational people. The wrong decision in my opinion is any decision one makes in which the outcome affects my right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. Any other choice can only be judged by yourself, i.e. did it have the outcome you had hoped for. Having said that, there are grey areas in which the natural consequence of someones wrong decision leads to the impairment of anothers rights. I don’t believe this can ever be avoided no matter what laws we pass, they will always be broken. That’s why I’m of the opinion that any action by an individual that doesn’t affect my rights is none of my business, however, on the opposite end, if your action does inhibit my right to life, liberty… then you should be punished to the fullest extent possible (life in prison or death, I don’t care either way). That’s my idea of a utopia anyway.

  46. Bill Marvel says:

    Nobody who was there — and I was — could possibly believe most of the communes were run along any principles, Communist or otherwise. A few made a try. The folks of the San Francisco Mime Troupe, which I visited in the early 1970s, operated as a true collective, in the classic Marxist sense, and still do, I believe. Maybe the secret of their longevity.
    But few communes ever managed the internal discipline necessary for collectivism. Most of them dithered out in a haze of sex, drugs, and rampant individuality — i.e., libertarianism.
    But then, SB, if you believe that anything with the word “commune” attached to its title is run under Communist principles, you probably believe those labels that assure us that products are “New and Improved.”

  47. “Their assumption that folks left to themselves will pretty much do the right thing is touching… ”

    The assumption that that is my assumption is neither touching nor correct. My assumption is people should be left to themselves with the freedom to do right and wrong, because that’s what freedom means. The “freedom to do what is right only” isn’t freedom at all.

    “That’s why there isn’t a single society anywhere in the world run along libertarian lines.”

    “There isn’t a single society anywhere in the world run along the lines that slavery is wrong and women should vote”
    -random statesman, 1730

    The United States, for much of its history, was run along libertarian lines, as was Hong Kong in t he 1950s, which led to it rising from war-ravaged third world to an economic powerhouse.

    No one is demanding all or nothing, and libertarians are the last to expect people will always make the right choices. We just believe people should be free to make choices — ones that don’t tread on the individual, negative rights of others — and that they should have to live with the consequences.

  48. Youngblood says:

    “We just believe people should be free to make choices – ones that don’t tread on the individual, negative rights of others – and that they should have to live with the consequences.” – Trey

    Just wondering Trey, we appear to have the same basic ideology, yet in my only other post on Frontburner (though I’ve been reading it since before the “comments were turned on”) you didn’t seem to agree with me at all and in fact appeared to be agitated. That post was based on this ideology regarding gun control. I had said that, essentially, I don’t care if you own a gun or not, but use it to infringe on my rights and you should receive the death penalty. So are you just a staunch gun rights advocate, or do you truly believe the statement you made above?

  49. For one, I’m against the death penalty.

    For two, why should the tool you use determine your level of punishment? You’re just as dead if I stab you as if I shoot you.

  50. Bill Marvel says:

    That the United States was run along libertarian lines would greatly surprise our founding fathers, who were pretty sure they were establishing a republic under the rule of law.
    Here’s a principle so basic to human beings living together that it should be tattooed in the fleshy folds of our hearts: First comes the rule of law. Then comes liberty. Not the other way around.
    Our ancestors already lived by the rule of law. They brought it with them from the old country. It made their freedom possible. Unfortunately, not that of their slaves. This is why intelligent men everywhere have always agreed to limit the liberty of some in favor of the liberty of all.
    How much do we limit liberty? That’s where the intelligence comes in. There’ll always be push and shove. That’s a necessary concomitant of freedom. Trouble is, libertarians want no ush, no shove. They want the freedom without the limits, without the law.
    I ask you, how intelligent is that?
    I tend to agree, Trey, on the matter of smokers and smoking. Here the school marms amongst us have pushed too far. If you can’t light up in a pool hall, then something’s wrong. And I remember our former Lady Mayor objected to the sound of city roosters in the morning. (Apparently was under the impression that chicken came in cellophane wrap and eggs in cartons.) On the matter of drugs, we arew decidedly in disagreement, for reasons we’ve already discussed.
    But these disagreements are all part of the push and shove that comes with a well-regulated — but not libertarian — society.

  51. “Trouble is, libertarians want no ush, no shove. They want the freedom without the limits, without the law.”

    I think you confuse libertarianism with anarchism.

    They really aren’t the same.

  52. history buff says:

    @Trey: Hong Kong is a tiny island with one dominant ethnicity/culture that governs the way people act. We live in a huge country of many cultures, faiths and languages. Therefore we have to find some common ground. The founding fathers decided that the common ground should be the law. That’s why American citizens use laws to make change or, if they so choose, to undo laws in place that are no longer acceptable (i.e. Jim Crow laws).

  53. At what point did I say there should be no laws?

    Strawman #2

  54. history buff says:

    So you are for laws, but you’re against laws that you don’t like. Welcome to America, Trey. Politics, it’s a grand thing, ain’t it?

  55. I’m against laws that aren’t specifically for the protection of individual rights.

    I’m not exactly alone in this.

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. —That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men…”

    See, nothing in there about government being instituted to ensure you don’t smoke, that I don’t look at dirty pictures of adult women, that Bill is not offended by other people’s language, that Tim doesn’t set up a poker house where the only people at risk are those who voluntarily play, or whatever else.

  56. history buff says:

    Second-hand smoke has been shown to be cancerous. Personally, as an ex-smoker who still gets a hankering for Marlboro Reds ten years after he quit (who’s counting) I think that coffin nails should be banned outright. But that’s my own bias. But right to life? Heck, I think you’re making a case for the nannies to get rid of smoking bars.

  57. I don’t think you’re really understanding the concept of a right.

  58. Youngblood says:


    The post had evolved into a discussion on gun control, therefore my comment only pertained to gun control. I don’t feel the instrument you use to KILL someone determines the punishment, kill someone and you should get the maximum penalty. I just believe that using a gun to say rob someone should be punished to the maximum penalty as well. I say this because I believe that a society based on the ideas you seem to champion could only be successful if natural consequences exist. A gun, I’m sorry – a handgun, immediately shifts the balance to that of the criminal element.

  59. history buff says:

    I understand rights perfectly well. That’s one of the reasons that states have laws against suicide — and assisted suicide. I may or may not agree with them, but I understand the founding principle. Do you?

  60. Youngblood says:

    @history buff

    “Heck, I think you’re making a case for the nannies to get rid of smoking bars.”

    The problem is that by prohibiting a business owner from allowing smoking in their establishment, you infringe on his right to pursue financial gain through legal means, i.e. not robbing someone. Non-smokers are not forced to patronize a smoking bar. The decision to allow smoking should be dictated by the market. If enough people were outraged about being subjected to second-hand smoke and refused to go to them, then bars would succumb to those cries and ban smoking. I think you can tell that’s not the case. If it is, and the market has not yet responded, open a non-smoking bar and if it’s profitable, I’m sure it would catch on.

  61. If someone is mentally unfit and contemplating suicide, the state has a proper role in protecting them against themselves. Same as the state’s role in protecting children whose guardians or parents are dead or unfit.

    Should a sane, mentally fit person choose to commit suicide, the state should have exactly no say, because the individual, not the state, owns his own life.

  62. Third sentence should read, “Should a sane, mentally fit adult choose…”

    Minors are not equipped to make such decisions, and for the same reasons they are or should be forbidden to enter contracts.

  63. history buff says:

    And trying to figure out, among other things, the difference between whether someone is sane and mentally fit, or insane is where politics comes in. Once again, we’re back to the fact that we’re a land based on laws and not a land of no laws.

  64. If you see anywhere I suggested there be no laws, please post a link. Otherwise, drop the strawman.

    Insanity is a medical condition, not something to be determined by the whim of the electorate. Science is not (or should not be) the province of politics or popular consensus.

    And in case there is any question, an example of a sane person choosing to commit suicide is the terminally ill patient facing years of painful, undignified degeneration.

    Another would be the non-religious person who, for whatever reason, is medically sane but just doesn’t want to live, or chooses to suicide as a form of protest — the Buddhist who set himself aflame in Vietnam to protest the war, for instance.

    We are a nation of laws, not men, and that is a good thing. But we can’t lose sight of the fact that the rights of individuals are antecedent to government — not granted by it — and that any law that violates those rights is an unjust law.

  65. Drop the “non-religious” qualifier from my last post — I started to make a different point, rewrote the sentence, and accidentally left it in. My mistake.

  66. Ted Christopher says:

    I miss the days when people used to say “Live and Let Live” and “Different Strokes for Different Folks” and “It’s a Free Country” and “None of my Business.” Now it seems we are living in some kind of blossoming Therapeutic State where anything bad for you is illegal. That film Demolition Man is becoming true. Everyone laughs at PETA with their proposed Meat bans, but there was a once a time when the thought of the State banning smoking in bars was laughable, too. How long will it be before meat is banned, because the smell and sight of meat makes life unbearable for vegetarians eating out in a “Public Space?” It’s about as silly as banning smoking in a Cigar bar on the grounds that an anti-smoker might be sick in there, but that’s what we are seeing today. If CSPI can get transfats banned, how long until they can get salt banned, too? If you read the agenda of the anti-drinkers, they sound just like anti-smokers from 10 years ago. And they are well funded, just like the anti-smoking groups, and PETA and CSPI. It all smacks too much of Prohibition. In the years leading up to Prohibition, it became more and more politically incorrect to drink, because good people didn’t drink, just as good people don’t smoke today. Must we embrace the policies of the Nazis party, with their smoking bans, and the party line, “Food is not a Private Matter?” I’ll take Freedom anytime even if is more dangerous and unhealthy.

  67. Bill Marvel says:

    Reluctant to enter this again, but must clarify.
    I don’t believe for a minute that Trey would get rid of all laws. Where I disagree is that I think he is waaaaay too permissive, and that things that are demonstrably bad for the common good get a pass from him. Drugs being an example, smoking in certain paces being another. Some kinds of firearms.
    This is what makes libertarianism objectionable — its refusal in the interest of personal freedom to draw rational lines. Where do the lines belong? That’s part of the push and shove necessary to all democracies. Libertarians get all clutchy in the midst of this push and shove. So do the school marms and over-regulators. As usual, wisdom lies somewhere in the middle ground.

  68. history buff says:

    OK Ted: You’re playing the “slippery slope” game. Very tired argument. The slippery slope was what got us into Vietnam. “If we let Vietnam go red, then one country after another will go Commie and the next thing you know we’ll all be speaking (Russian…Chinese…Swedish, etc.) Well, guess what, Vietnam went commie and that’s about it. Here’s a slippery slope for ya. First you roll back the anti-smoking laws and the next thing you know they’ll roll back seat belts and then un-require vaccinations and then stop giving out flu shots and then they’ll put out all stop lights and then we’ll all be driving willy-nilly and then it’s compelte mayhem…oh no, Mr. Bill…. Give me a break with the slippery slope arguments, will ya?

  69. You mean a silly argument like, if they ban smoking they’ll ban transfats and then they’ll even ban salt?

    Yeah, that’s ridiculous, isn’t it?

    Except….it’s happening…

  70. Ted Christopher says:

    history buff,

    Think back, are there more restrictions now on alcohol or less? Is the trend to make it harder to drink in public or easier?

    Take a look at this report on the Second Effects of Alcohol use:

    Those guys have about a billion dollars to spend to prevent you from drinking.

    It’s not going to stop with smoking.

  71. history buff says:

    Sheesh, Ted. Sounds like you NEED a drink, man. You’re all wound up.

  72. history buff says:

    Trey: So… you’re against food regulations, right?

  73. Nonsequitur. It’s a habit of yours. Inspecting food to ensure it is properly processed is a very different thing than banning foods that may be bad for you if eaten to excess.

  74. Ted Christopher says:

    history buff,

    Good answer. Really clever. You really disproved my point.