Civil Liberties & Privacy

Henry David Thoreau and “Civil Disobedience,” Part 3

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 Thoreau’s criticism is aimed at the form of obedience that springs from a genuine respect for the authority of the state. This obedience says, “The law is the law and should be respected regardless of content.” Through such attitudes, otherwise good men become agents of injustice. Thoreau dissects the notion that ... [click for more]

Book Review — Against Leviathan

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Against Leviathan: Government Power and a Free Society by Robert Higgs (Independent Institute, 2004); 405 pages; $18.95. The era of big government is over, famously proclaimed President Bill Clinton. Alas, a decade later Leviathan is still with us, an ever-present threat to our liberties. In his new book, Against Leviathan: Government Power ... [click for more]

Book Review: Against Leviathan

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Against Leviathan: Government Power and a Free Society by Robert Higgs (Independent Institute, 2004); 405 pages; $18.95. Readers familiar with the writings of the 16th-century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes will immediately understand the thrust of this exceptional book. Hobbes attempted to justify an ... [click for more]

The Bill of Rights: Unenumerated Rights

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A common misconception among the American people is that their rights come from the Constitution. Even lawyers and judges are guilty of believing this, oftentimes suggesting that whether a right exists or not depends on whether it is listed in the Constitution. Law-enforcement agents read criminal suspects “their constitutional rights,” which ... [click for more]

An End to Eminent Domain Abuse?

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Among the many ways in which American citizens have become less secure at the hands of government is the possibility that they will be victimized by eminent domain. At one time limited only to seizures of land necessary for some public use — and then only with ... [click for more]

Henry David Thoreau and “Civil Disobedience,” Part 2

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 Although many Quaker writers had argued from conscience for civil disobedience against war and slavery, Henry David Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” essay is not tied to a particular religion or to a specific issue. It is a secular call for the inviolability of conscience on all issues, and this aspect may ... [click for more]

Henry David Thoreau and “Civil Disobedience,” Part 1

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862) was an introspective man who wandered the woods surrounding the small village of Concord, Massachusetts, recording the daily growth of plants and the migration of birds in his ever-present journal. How, then, did he profoundly influence such political giants as Mohandas Gandhi, Leo Tolstoy, and Martin ... [click for more]

Bush’s Presidential-Papers Power Grab

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On November 1, 2001, President Bush issued an executive order entitled “Further Implementation of the Presidential Records Act.” His order effectively overturned an act of Congress and a Supreme Court decision and could make it far more difficult for Americans to learn of government abuses. Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University ... [click for more]

Equal Rights for the Disabled, Indeed

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... a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government. — Thomas Jefferson, 1801 Of all the misunderstandings that exist in ... [click for more]

The Bill of Rights: Eminent Domain

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One of the bedrocks of a free society is a system of private property. The concept of economic liberty is founded not only on principles of free enterprise but also on the principle that people have the right to accumulate the fruits of their earnings. If government has the power to arbitrarily seize a person’s wealth or property, then ... [click for more]
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