Civil Liberties & Privacy

John Stuart Mill and the Three Dangers to Liberty

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JOHN STUART MILL’S 1859 ESSAY “On Liberty” is one of the most enduring and powerful defenses of individual freedom ever penned. Both advocates and enemies of personal freedom have challenged either the premises or the logic in Mill’s argument. They have pointed out inconsistencies or incompleteness in his reasoning. But the ... [click for more]

The “Good-Government” Attack on Free Speech

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I keep waiting for a swell of sanity to wash Senators John McCain and Russell Feingold’s campaign finance “reform” bill away once and for all. But I am beginning to despair that there isn’t that much sanity around anymore. The polls show that most people don’t care about campaign finance issues. ... [click for more]

Yahoo! We Have Free Speech

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A RECENT RULING by a French Court in a lawsuit brought against Yahoo.com reflects the dramatically different way in which Americans and Europeans view the importance of individual liberty. The case involved Yahoo’s online auctions of Nazi memorabilia. In France, as in Germany, such sales constitute a severe criminal offense. While ... [click for more]

The Rule of Law, R.I.P.

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THERE IS LITTLE LEFT of the rule of law in the United States of America. To be sure, things are worse elsewhere, but that gives no comfort. We live under a regime in which the traditional features of the rule of law are largely absent. No one claims to be against the rule of law. Quite the contrary. But most ... [click for more]

The Drug War’s Assault on Liberty

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ROBERT DOWNEY JR. is a perfect example of the war on drug’s tremendous assault on liberty. Downey is the famous Hollywood actor who has a drug problem. To punish him for being a drug addict, the state has arrested him, prosecuted him, incarcerated him, released him, and arrested him anew. The state won’t leave ... [click for more]

The Fundamental Rights of the European Union: Individual Rights or Welfare-State Privileges? Part 2

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Part 1 | Part 2 IN NOVEMBER 1934, during the dark years of growing tyranny throughout Europe, British historian Ramsey Muir penned a short article that appeared in the pages of the journal The Nineteenth Century and After. His theme was “civilization and liberty.” He asked how it was that of all the civilizations around the world, only the ... [click for more]

The IRS: Still a Grave Threat to Freedom

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THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION just succeeded in brow-beating Congress into giving the Internal Revenue Service one of the largest budget increases in the agency’s history. Clintonites had warned that, without a windfall for the revenuers, America was at grave risk of insufficient tax audits. Clinton persuaded much of the media ... [click for more]

Background Checks

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"Why do we need the FBI doing background checks on presidential appointments? Are FBI agents determining whether China, Russia, or Cuba have planted communists among the people selected by the president? Or is this simply an excuse to pry into the private lives of the citizenry? Why aren't the president, ... [click for more]

The Second Amendment Protects an Individual Right

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THERE IS A popular misconception that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution refers to a collective right rather than an individual right. Both history and reason argue against this misinterpretation. The right to self- (and collective) defense does not originate with, nor is it dependent upon, the Second Amendment. Man has ... [click for more]

Census Bureau: A Threat to Freedom

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THERE ARE three certainties in life — death, taxes and the continuation of the Census Bureau’s proud tradition of keeping information it collects about individuals strictly private.” So announces the Census Bureau’s web page, seeking to assure Americans that they have nothing to fear by opening their lives to the prying of this year’s census. Regrettably, after seven years of ... [click for more]

Limit Government, Not Contributions

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"Money is property; it is not speech." Thus did U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens pithily sum up his opinion concurring in a ruling that states may impose limits on campaign contributions without violating the First Amendment to the Constitution. While Justice Stevens conceded that money can accomplish the same goals as speech, he added, "It does not follow, however, ... [click for more]
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