Liberty With A Price Tag Isn’t Liberty. Colorado’s Legal Marijuana Isn’t As Good As You Think

Recently it was announced that Colorado’s overwhelmingly successful venture into legalizing recreational marijuana has generated so much tax revenue, that the people are owed a refund.

Before I condemn them on this tax, I must at least give them all due credit for having a clause in their state constitution that limits the amount of tax revenue that Colorado is allowed to collect before it must refund a portion to the people. It’s referred to as the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TaBOR), and it’s a very pro-liberty thing to do.

Sadly, Colorado Republicans and Democrats alike are now upset they may have to give some of this money back however. I understand the Democrats being upset, they’ve never met a taxpayer dollar they didn’t genuinely believe they could spend better than the person who earned it. But it’s sad that the Colorado Republicans, the party that’s supposed to be about limited government, are somehow upset with this too.

Forget all of that though, because there is a much deeper issue here. This Colorado legal-pot situation is not as libertarian-friendly as one might think.

Marijuana Harvest
Marijuana Harvest

Colorado was smart enough to embrace the science that shows that marijuana is a fairly benign drug that is often less risky in its consumption than alcohol. They were also non-hypocritical enough to know that allowing alcohol while not allowing marijuana made little sense—kudos to them on both counts. But that’s where the liberty segment of their new pot-friendly legislation ends.

Sadly, politicians love new revenue streams more than I love my mom. Because the legislators in Colorado decided that instead of just giving people more freedom to choose what they put in their body, they would give them a way to do it prosecution-free, if and only if, they paid an additional tax over and above the normal sales tax, which exceeds 25% when all of them are added together.

Knowing this would generate a significant amount of tax revenue was certainly part of the equation, if not the impetus for legalization, when the one and only reason should have been that in a free country (or state in this case), it should have never been illegal in the first place.

What Colorado is essentially doing is no different from the sugary drink tax in Berkeley, California, cigarette taxes across the country, or any other tax on a product over and above the standard sales tax. They are using the tax system to encourage behavior like a backwards carrot on a stick. No rights are being protected, nor is any governmental service being offered.

Berkeley Soda Tax
Berkeley Soda Tax

As someone who supports a consumption tax system like the FairTax.org proposal, one might think that I and other libertarians would support a marijuana tax, but it’s very anti-libertarian on multiple fronts.

When sin taxes such as these are passed, it assumes that government has an interest in what you do to yourself and should penalize you for what they have determined is bad behavior. But government’s duty is to protect you from others who would harm you, not from yourself. They have no right to tell you how to live your life or be the arbiter of what is good behavior. Are you comfortable letting them tell you what shows you should watch or what kind of mate you should choose?

The reason to support a consumption tax is that it’s effectively a fee for services rendered. If government builds infrastructure, and enforces contracts between enterprises which allow all of these products to freely come to market, it’s a fair way to charge people for that government service. But what service is Colorado providing for the marijuana tax?

For instance, I can fairly argue it’s okay to add a diesel/gasoline tax, because that money then pays for roads. You’re being charged a fee for services rendered. However, there is no additional service Colorado is providing with their multitude of tacked on taxes to marijuana, it’s simply a revenue stream that goes into the state’s general fund, and the oh-so-common “It will go towards helping schools” argument is also part of the equation.ColoradoMarijuanaTax.thumbnail[1]

I’ll set aside my argument that there shouldn’t be public schools in the first place, but why exactly is a pot smoker disproportionately responsible for educating Colorado children or paying for other non pot-related issues?

If we love liberty, we should never support a tax that cannot be directly attributed to the item being taxed as a fee for a service government is providing. With government, we are often forced to accept compromise to appease the statist-minded voters and politicians, and I’m sure Colorado’s marijuana tax is no different, but we are most certainly not to a point where we can call Colorado’s legal marijuana system a victory for libertarianism.

It’s no more of a victory than if a football team were losing 70-0 and in the closing seconds scored a field goal to avoid getting blown out. Sure it feels good to put points on the board, but you still lost in the end.

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Drug Testing For Government Checks? How About Work For Government Checks?

For nearly as long as we’ve had government entitlements, we’ve had people wanting government to drug test the people receiving them. The purpose being that if I have to take a drug test to get a job to pay into this system, they should have to take a drug test to get the money out of it.

Aside from that, many would like to know that their hard-earned tax dollars are not going towards buying drugs instead of food, water, and shelter—the things these programs are supposed to be for. It’s a fair point that I used to agree with it. However, as I see the issue, this is frankly a red herring.failed-drug-test[1]

If our concern is about misspent monies, then why give them money at all? With food stamps for instance, they would just get actual food, not cash to buy food. While that still doesn’t prevent trading food for drugs, it would at least make it significantly more difficult since most drug dealers are usually not apt to take two steaks for a dime bag.

What about the people who use the money for new Air Jordans, wheels for their car, fur coats, or other frivolous items. These are no more what that money was intended for than drugs, but no drug test will sniff out other frivolous waste like this. Not to mention, alcohol is equally wasteful, equally mind-numbing, and very commonly where money from government entitlements ends up.

Getting away from those who rightfully qualify for these programs, what about the fraudsters? Many people do side work under the table, easily make enough to support themselves, but because there’s no W-2 to rat them out, they get a government check because it appears they qualify for assistance.

These people could be people doing illegal work like selling drugs or prostitution (which should be legal in my opinion), or these could be people who are doing legal work, but just getting paid under the table for it tax-free.prostitution-car[1]

The system, no matter how you work it, is always highly corruptible, and thus the reason most limited government advocates like myself feel government should not be in the business of salvaging the lives of those who have chosen a path that doesn’t afford them their basic food, drink, and shelter needs.

If we move off of the corrupt things people might do with government entitlement monies, does someone failing a drug test mean that they used taxpayer money to buy drugs? Not necessarily.

For instance, pot smokers in general are usually rather friendly in my experience. While I’ve never used marijuana myself (no joke), I’ve been offered it more times than I can count. Maybe this person who might fail a dug test was just at a friend’s house Friday night and benefitted from some “puff-puff-pass.”

Insuring that government money is used for the purpose intended is nearly impossible, and as such, a fool’s mission. This is why libertarian-minded people like me would simply argue that you can’t corrupt what doesn’t exist in the first place, and end all such programs. As heartless as it may seem, we honestly believe charities would do a better job, and people would be more charitable if given those tax dollars back.

But there is another way. While most libertarians want to quash entitlements altogether, there may be a more capitalistic way we all benefit from them doing it, and the answer is in community service.

Instead of offering money for doing nothing, why not offer government on-the-spot labor? Instead of having to apply for government handouts, you simply go to a government office, and say, “what can I do?”help-wanted-marijuana-legalized-jobs[1]

In any town around the country, there can be litter and trash lying around, infrastructure that could use improvement, graffiti that needs cleaned off walls, schools that could use adults standing guard, or any other myriad of things we’d like to do, but we don’t often have the money to do it.

Local citizens might contact their government office with needs that these people could fill such as help mowing a lawn or shoveling a driveway even. Or companies could broker deals to get on-the-spot labor through local government assistance office. Local businesses often need an extra person due to employee illnesses, random promotional events that may require extra help, etc. The citizens or companies would pay the people directly, the welfare office would simply connect the two parties.

No one has a right to get paid for doing nothing, and government is a guarantor of rights, not a charity.community-service-trash

The jobs they’d be assigned would be menial, difficult, unrewarding tasks that no one else wants to do, thus  ensuring that people will seek gainful employment elsewhere, doing community service for no longer than is necessary to bridge the gap between jobs.

It has never been, nor ever will be government’s business to know what you put in your body, and suggesting we should drug test people to get government assistance is a violation of their rights after my rights were violated by stealing from me to assist them, despite my objections to it.

Under my proposal, I frankly don’t care what they do with that money. If they provided a valuable service, they earned it, and like me, should be able to spend it however they see fit. They win, the taxpayers win, and nobody got something for nothing.

 

 

Libertarians Are Far Too Often Libertarianism’s Worst Enemy

When I launched LogicalLibertarian.com, my intent was to not only spread the message of why liberty and science are important, but also to incite reasoned debate. Through such debate, I believe we evolve for the better.

My last post about vaccinations, and why I believe that making them mandatory if you are not going to self-quarantine, was a prime example of what happens when someone is forced to challenge their own beliefs. Mine changed 180° from when I was first presented the issue and about three hours later after considering it critically.

When I became an adult, mostly thanks to the economic recovery during the Reagan era, I considered myself a Republican.

Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan

Adulthood also brought me to the embracing of science. While I hadn’t fully understood the scientific method and the concept of being a skeptic, my questioning of the world around me led me to leave religion behind, and become agnostic.

The term agnostic is not always understood as to how it varies form an atheist. An agnostic would say that they have no evidence to support there is a god, but are open to all evidence. A devout atheist actively believes no god exists, just as theists believe there is a god, and are generally not open to evidence supporting a creator.

Even though none of these really affect me personally, things like blue laws, the drug war, preventing gay-marriage, and other such laws with an obvious religious underpinning, were areas where I simply didn’t agree with my beloved Republican Party. “No victim, no crime” just made sense to me.gay-marriage1[1]

My friend Pat and I share a common love for the game of poker, which is how we came to know each other. Like me, Pat is also atheist and libertarian.

Despite it’s sometimes seedy reputation, poker is a game that attracts brilliant minds who often like to discuss just about anything. Occasionally, the subject of politics comes up, and as far as I know, Pat has always been libertarian.

At first, I didn’t know much about the party other than what I saw from a couple of interviews with Dr. Ron Paul I had seen on TV. While I often agreed with Dr. Paul, I always found his delivery to be a bit whiny, and sometimes he came off almost kooky. It wasn’t until I came to understand Dr. Ron Paul years later, that I began to listen to his message, despite his unappealing delivery, and appreciate his logic.

Ron Paul
Ron Paul

As we discussed politics, it was Pat who convinced me, through reasoned debate instead of personal attacks, that I was in fact, more libertarian than Republican. While I was always for legalizing pot, even though I don’t use it, it was Pat who convinced me that we should legalize all drugs, not just cannabis; again, using reasoned debate.

So the libertarian collective was increased by one person, thanks to my friend Pat, and I’m happy for it.

There is no doubt I’m opinionated as hell, but I’ve always felt it’s important to have as few sacred cows as possible, and these days, I have two. Logic and liberty—hence my website.

The one difference between Pat and I, is that if there were no libertarian option, he would choose a Democrat, and I would choose a Republican. So when Dr. Rand Paul voiced the “vaccines may lead to mental illness” hypothesis in a recent interview, Pat brought it to my attention in an unflattering way, since he knew I was a fan of the junior Dr. Paul.

At first, I was annoyed that he did it, because I know it was somewhat of a dig at my Republican-leaning views, but knowing that I love science, he was right to point this out to me. Indeed, this is one time I don’t “Stand with Rand.”

Senator Rand Paul (R)
Senator Rand Paul (R)

But that’s OK, because I’ve always made it clear, I champion ideals, not people or parties. As long as I agree with Rand more often than I do any other presidential contender, he’s going to get my nod.

What I didn’t do, is troll Rand Paul on Twitter and call him a “So-Called-Libertarian,” or demean him as a person in any way.

Instead, I gave the subject serious thought and decided to come to my independent conclusion, regardless of what Dr. Paul or my friend Pat had to say. So I did my research, challenged the science in my post, and respectfully agreed to disagree on the matter with Rand. Thankfully, I’m not the only libertarian doing this, but if we want libertarianism to grow, we need more.

Austin-petersen-libertarian-republic
Austin Petersen

For instance, recently, Austin Peterson from Libertarian Republic talked about how Sarah Palin wouldn’t be that bad of a choice for the VP if Rand Paul were to win the GOP nod. This despite most libertarians disliking her immensely, he argued she’s actually pretty supportive of libertarians, and far lass combative with us. It’s this kind of open-mindedness from Austin, putting logic over party, that I strive for myself. Yet, as expected, if you look at the comments, the libertarian trolls came out in droves.

It is important to understand that it’s this kind of open-mindedness that will attract independent voters to the libertarian cause, which I hope is what we want, not slinging insults like monkeys fling poo.

Have you ever changed your views because the person challenging that view called you an idiot? I know I often don’t. It usually closes my mind completely—an effect I’m assuming is often the opposite of what the “libertarianazi” wanted.

If libertarianism is about freedom, then it should be about free thought too. I can disagree with Ron or Rand Paul on a couple of issues without losing respect for them as a whole.

Many libertarians were incredibly disrespectful towards Glen Beck when he stated he was becoming libertarian. But let’s think about the logic of this for a second. He is a man with a huge following due to his own internet media site, who can clearly spread the message of libertarianism more than most of us, and instead of trying to welcome him with open arms, some libertarians act like they don’t want him in our party?

Glen Beck
Glen Beck

It was the saddest display of nonsensical arrogance by some libertarians I’ve ever seen, and it certainly wasn’t done with libertarianism’s best interests in mind.

We cannot insult other libertarians who aren’t anarchists, some of us feel there is a role for government. Instead we must respectfully challenge them with reasoned debate, possibly outlining the unforeseen outcomes they may have missed in their proposal. But otherwise, encourage them to join us wholeheartedly where we agree.

We must also encourage Republicans and Democrats alike that we’ll stand with them in times when we agree on an issue.

And lastly, on a side note, for the love of God, the Guy Fawkes masks so many libertarians use as a social media icon is not helping either. The masks are creepy at best. But more importantly, they are certainly not libertarian.

Guy Fawkes
Guy Fawkes

If you’re libertarian and proud of it, show your own face. Hiding behind a mask tells people you have something to hide and that you’re untrustworthy. Do you want to attract good people, or do you want to attract people who are one run-in with government away from blowing up a building with innocent people in it? Guy Fawkes was a would-be terrorist, not a libertarian. People like that will not help our cause.

Vaccine Or No Vaccine: The Facts And This Libertarian’s Opinion

The latest litmus test for politicians seems to be the idea of mandatory versus voluntary vaccinations. Even libertarians are somewhat divided on this, but the liberty-minded factions seem to support pro-choice, and the statist-leaning folks are going towards making them mandatory.

First, let’s point out that most people agree that vaccinations are one of mankind’s greatest medical achievements. Whether you’re pro-choice or not, I think we all agree that science has proven them to be overwhelmingly effective.

Rand Paul recently weighed in that he supported a pro-choice position, but he got himself into trouble when he stated, “I have heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines.”

If I were to give Rand Paul the benefit of the doubt here, I would like to believe he was simply arguing that some people are afraid of vaccines because children have been diagnosed with mental disorders after being vaccinated, as a means to explain why people might not want to vaccinate, even if this is anecdotal evidence, which is definitively not scientific.

I would like to think he was not arguing that there was any causality, since studies have almost universally debunked this myth. But if he was, that is sadly a very unscientific position for someone who is currently practicing medicine to posit.

While it has been reported that some vaccines may cause temporary issues, I don’t think any credible studies have supported the notion that any permanent complications have arisen.

But either way, let’s explore what actually happens when you’re given a vaccine. A vaccine is essentially a dead, or severely weakened version of a real virus.

Influenza Virus
Influenza Virus

To over-simplify things a bit, living things introduced into your body that don’t have your DNA will be seen by your immune system as a threat, and your immune system will go about trying to destroy it.

This is the reason that your immune system must be suppressed when you receive a donor organ for instance, and why organs harvested from your own DNA are much safer and advantageous.

On a side note, as fantastic as this may sound, I don’t think I’m overstating this one iota when I say that this particular field of research will revolutionize the world of medicine forever; we are truly on the cusp of never needing organ donors again.

Think of the vaccine as a new first-person war-simulating video game you just bought. At first, you don’t know any of the levels, how to defeat any of the enemies, etc. So you play the game on its easiest mode until you learn the most effective means to slay your enemies. Once you’ve mastered it, you are ready for the more advanced levels.

Characters from Halo 5
Characters from Halo 5

This is what vaccines are effectively doing. Because the vaccine is a dead or weak form of the virus, it’s like the game on “easy” mode where it’s of little to no threat to you. In this state, your body can train itself to kill the virus so it’s better prepared to kill the full strength version down the road, if it’s introduced into your system.

So why does it not work sometimes? Well, what if the copy of the video game you received was Halo, but the real disease is Call of Duty? You’ve prepared for the wrong game. There isn’t just one influenza virus, there are various strains. So it’s important that the medical field do their research well and introduce a vaccine that prepares you for the influenza strain that is expected to be most prevalent.

Now, let’s also explore the effects on your body when you get a vaccine. Your immune system is not magic, it uses energy from what you consume—energy you would otherwise use to run, jump, and play.

So it’s not uncommon for some short-term effects as your body diverts its resources to the battle you’ve just entered it into with the vaccine. When you get sick, you get weak also, right? It’s because your body is diverting energy to fight the virus you have. Whether it’s a vaccine or a live virus, your immune system has a lot of work to do, and you will be affected in that moment.

Since every person is different, people’s reactions will vary. Some people might get the vaccine and feel almost nothing, others may get the vaccine and feel like their energy level has been reduced by half. It’s for this reason that Rand Paul suggested staggering these immunizations so that your body can tackle one virus at a time to keep the short-term weakening effects to a minimum. Plus, if your immune system is busy fighting one battle, it may not be well-suited to fight another, which should make basic sense.

Now that we’ve covered the facts, let’s get towards the opinion of whether it should be optional or mandatory.

Vaccines are rather effective, but they’re not bulletproof. Depending on the vaccine, you will see here that the CDC has found the effectiveness to vary anywhere from as low as 59% and as high as 92%. This is the single most important factor I used in forming my opinion.

Some people online have posted memes asking the question, “If vaccines work, and you’ve had one, why are you concerned if I get one?”58737535[1]

On the face of it, it seems like a fair question, but it’s one born out of ignorance. As I stated above, at best, they seem about 90% effective. So imagine a scenario that I am interacting with you, and you have the virus in question. If you haven’t been vaccinated, there’s a 1:10 chance I may get the disease from you. But if you’ve also been vaccinated, that means my risk now goes from 1:10 to 1:100 (1/10 x 1/10 = 1/100). The more people who get vaccinated, the more the odds go down.

If enough get vaccinated, the odds will eventually exceed the number of people in an area, and the disease will likely be eradicated. Meaning that if the odds of you catching it get to 1:1,000, but there’s only 900 people in your community, the odds would then favor eradication of the disease—basic math.

Assuming you’re not an anarchist, almost all of us believe government’s duties are to protect our rights. Statists think government has many more duties, but I don’t know of any non-anarchists championing government causes that don’t include protecting rights first. The most important of these rights? The right to life.

So if vaccines are anything less than 100% effective, which they are, government enforcing you to get one isn’t for your benefit, it’s to protect others from you if you catch the virus.

What so often happens is people want to create a paradox to sound smart, something no one should ever intelligently do. For instance, it’s like asking a Christian if God can build a wall so high even he can’t climb it—a purely nonsensical  question.

The Pet Paradox
The Pet Paradox

Arguing that vaccines should be a choice creates a similar liberty-paradox. Because while you’re giving liberty to one person, you’re effectively taking it away from everyone else they’ll come in contact with, which mathematically, is a net loss for liberty.

It would be no different from arguing that slavery should be legal because it gives liberty to the slave owner, or as Greg Gutfeld pointed out (I don’t want to take credit for his argument), it would be like legalizing drinking and driving because you’re restoring liberty to the future AA member.

The only way you are truly for liberty is if you champion the view that gives the greatest amount of liberty. Giving one person liberty while denying the rights of ten others, is not a libertarian position, it’s a selfish one, in my opinion.

Now, you can rightfully argue I’ve created my own liberty-paradox by denying the right of the anti-vaccine person, but I have an answer for that. If they choose to self quarantine in some way, then by all means, let them not vaccinate. I’m perfectly OK with that—problem solved, paradox gone.

Otherwise, I think the only fair libertarian position is that you cannot own a slave, you cannot drink and drive, you cannot drive a car without insurance to cover me if you hit me, and as much as I hate government mandates, I feel you should not be allowed to introduce yourself or your children into the public arena unless you vaccinate.

 

 

 

 

 

Interesting Science Facts You May Or May Not Know – 02/02/2015

Commercial Space Flight

It is well known that Sir Richard Branson has founded Virgin Galactic to eventually take civilians into space. At first, the space-tourists will go up and come back down again to the same port, simply going to see the view from space first-hand. But eventually, space flights will go from point A to point B. What are the advantages of this, besides the view?

Virgin Galactic's Space Ship Two
Virgin Galactic’s Space Ship Two

Currently, a normal flight from New York to Australia takes 21 hours in an airplane, which usually travel at around 500 mph. But when Branson’s space-plane achieves orbit, outside the Earth’s atmosphere, like the International Space Station, it will be traveling at around 17,500 mph, 35 times faster than the aforementioned airplane. Do a little math, and a 21 hour flight, 35 times faster, is reduced to 36 minutes.

Plus, there’s generally much less fuel used as well, which will make environmentalists happy. Whereas a plane will have to maintain 500 mph using its engines the entire journey, once the space ship is in orbit, it will coast the whole way until the moment the pilots slow it down and let gravity return it to Earth.

Safer isn’t always Safer

In 1975, professor Sam Peltzman outlined a theory referred to as the Peltzman effect. What it states is that when you increase the safety of something, people will engage in riskier behavior that will potentially offset any gains in safety, or even be more unsafe.

He based his theory on traffic, but it is a simple human behavioral analysis. It is the reason many people, including former Steelers great, Hines Ward, are championing the idea that if you got rid of helmets in football, there would be less concussions, not more. This is buoyed by the fact that rugby, a sport nearly identical to American football, has far fewer head traumas.

Imagine, I were to ask you to walk a tight rope between two buildings, assuming you’re not part of the Wallenda clan, you’d probably say no. But put an airbag or safety net underneath the tightrope, and now you’re far more likely to do it.

Nick Wallenda
Nick Wallenda

If you had initially said no, you were in no danger whatsoever, you said no after all. But if you walk across with the safety net, you could still fall and hurt yourself if the net failed, or you didn’t land right, thus increasing your danger.

 Navy Rail Guns

Ever hold two magnets together, and have them repel away from each other? That’s the science behind the Navy’s latest weapon, a rail gun. Using electromagnets, the guns repel the projectile out of the barrel at a staggering 4,500 mph, or 6 times the speed of sound. Why so fast?

This has to do with kinetic energy, which is calculated as 0.5 x mv². M = mass, V = velocity. So the faster something is traveling, the more energy it will impart on something when it hits it.

Think about it this way, would you rather get hit by a 10-ton truck moving 10 mph, or a 1 ton car doing 100 mph? Assuming you would choose the item that is ten times faster, not heavier, why? The fact that the velocity in the equation is squared tells you velocity is significantly more important, something you instinctively already knew.

Current Navy warship guns, the 5″ 62 caliber Mark 45 mod 4 delivers about 18 megajoules of muzzle energy, whereas the new rail guns can deliver 32 megajoules.

Notice the fire coming off the projectile in the video, that’s not because explosives or gun powder were used to fire it, that’s because wind resistance is burning it up, just like when space ships return to Earth and generate heat, or how comets become fireballs when they enter the Earth’s atmosphere.

Not only is this more destructive power, but the rail gun’s projectiles are inert, with no explosives in them, they’re just a metal projectile. So sitting on the ship waiting to be shot, there’s no chance they might accidentally get detonated, making it safer for the ship’s crew to handle them.

They do significantly more damage because of their velocity, so they don’t need to be explosive.

Hybrid Vehicle Technology

Thinking of buying a hybrid vehicle? There are some things to consider. Hybrids effectively have two engines, a gas engine, and an electric one. Why both? Because electric engines don’t have a very good range at the moment, and where you can fill your gas tank in about five minutes, an electric car takes overnight to charge.

But here’s the problem; since hybrid’s have two engines, They are much heavier than a normal car, and therefore require more energy to lug around the added weight of the electric motor? So how do they make it up? Regenerative braking.

When you apply your brakes on a normal car, two pads in a fixed position, clamp down on a spinning rotor inside your wheel, not that different from the hand brake on your bicycle. What this does from a physics perspective is converts kinetic energy into heat energy through friction. Your brake rotors will sometimes get glowing red if used often and hard. See this Corvette C6.R race car below, it’s brake rotors are glowing from the massive heat created, and this is normal.

Corvette C6.R
Corvette C6.R

This heat is a large amount of energy being wasted. Think of it this way, a 3,000 lbs. car is barreling down on you at 60 mph, and you have to stop it with your bare hands, how much energy do you think you’d need to do so?

Since brakes convert this energy into heat, they’re basically just wasting that energy, venting the heat into the atmosphere around them. But hybrids put electric generators on the driveline of the car so that when you apply the brakes, instead of pads and rotors converting kinetic energy into heat, the electric motor is essentially placed into reverse and the electric motor charges the batteries as it slows the car.

What does this mean to you, a potential buyer? If your driving mainly consists of highway driving, and you don’t do much braking, such as you might do if you do mostly in town driving, a hybrid vehicle is a very bad idea for you, since you won’t be taking advantage of what makes hybrids more efficient. You’d be better off with something like a Volkswagen clean diesel.