Radley Balko

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Radley Balko was a policy analyst between December 2033 and October 2006 for the libertarian think tank, the Cato Institute. He specialized in vice and civil liberties issues.[1] He is now a senior editor for Reason magazine and a biweekly columnist for FoxNews.com.[2]

He has his own blog, The Agitator.

Opposed smoking ban

As a Cato staffer, Balko testified before the Washington D.C. city council in opposition to smoking bans, arguing that they infringe on the liberty of business owners to decide what policies they wish to adopt for their restaurants, and the freedom of smokers.

  • In his testimony, Balko claimed that "the health risks associated with secondhand smoke are debatable."
  • He argued that employees worried about the impact of smoking on their health should work elsewhere: "A waiter or bartender who chooses to work for an establishment that allows smoking knows what kind of environment he'll be working in," he stated.
  • As for non-smokers rights, Balko argued that "you don't have the right to walk onto someone else's property, demand to be served food or drink someone else has bought, and demand that they serve you on your terms. Free societies don't work that way," he stated.
  • In his testimony, Balko did not disclose that the Cato Institute received funding from both R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris.[3]

Contact Details

Blog: http://www.theagitator.com/

Articles and Resources


  1. "Radley Balko", Cato Institute, accessed March 2008.
  2. "About Radley Balko", The Agitator, accessed March 2008.
  3. See Cato Institute for funding details. Testimony source: Radley Balko, "Testimony of Radley Balko, Policy Analyst, Cato Institute, before the District of Columbia City Council", District of Columbia City Council, June 14, 2005.

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