Culture & the Libertarian Heritage

Can You Really Love Your Country?

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Why do people get upset with Barack Obama for not wearing a flag pin on his lapel or with Michelle Obama for suggesting she’s not been proud of her country until now? Why is failing to “support the troops” regarded as a sin? Because it’s a secular blasphemy to do or say ... [click for more]

Why I am a Libertarian

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Over the years many people — family members, co-workers, and others — with whom I have come in contact have asked me why I think and believe what I do with regard to politics, economics, history, philosophy, and related topics. To put it another way, these people are curious as to ... [click for more]

Paul Krugman’s Nobel Prize

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On Monday, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced that the 2008 winner of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences is Princeton University economist Paul Krugman. Krugman, probably the best known economist under the age of 60, is known to the public mainly for his regular column in the New York Times. Yet those columns ... [click for more]

A History of Libertarianism

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Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement by Brian Doherty (Public Affairs, 2007); 741 pages; $35. With Radicals for Capitalism, veteran libertarian journalist Brian Doherty (whose work is most often found in Reason) gives the world what he calls a “freewheeling history of the modern American libertarian ... [click for more]

I’ll Think of Something!

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Often when some unexpected challenge faces a person, someone asks, “What are you going to do about this?” The answer, frequently delivered with casual confidence, tends to be: “I’ll think of something.” No answer and attitude better characterizes how to think about problem solving in a free society. ... [click for more]

The Media Versus the State

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Good Night, and Good Luck was the television sign-off of Edward R. Murrow (19081965) the journalistic pioneer often considered to be the finest broadcast news commentator produced by America. Good Night, and Good Luck (2005) is also an Oscar-nominated docudrama that explores the conflict between Murrow (played by David Strathairn) and U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy over the anti-Communist crusade he ... [click for more]

Individualism, the Collectivists’ Nemesis

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It is individualism that the American Founders elevated into political prominence and it is individualism that most politicians and governments, including Americas, find most annoying because it is the bulwark against arbitrary power. If, as the Declaration of Independence states, individual human beings have unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, no one may violate these rights. ... [click for more]

Do Americans Owe Service to the Nation?

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Why does the idea of “national service” never cease to attract American intellectuals? Every few years some prominent “thinker” proposes that young Americans “serve their country” in either a civilian or military capacity. Such service is always promised to have a profound effect on both the nation and the ... [click for more]

Benjamin Ricketson Tucker, Part 2

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Part 1 | Part 2 Liberty first appeared on August 6, 1881, from Boston, where Tucker worked as a journalist with the Boston Globe; later, in 1892, Liberty moved to New York City, where it was published until its demise in 1907. Fittingly, Liberty’s superscript was a quotation from Proudhon — “Liberty: not the daughter, but the mother ... [click for more]

Benjamin Ricketson Tucker, Part 1

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Part 1 | Part 2 The first issue of the radical individualist periodical Liberty (1881–1908) opened with the words, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, these three: but the greatest of these is Liberty. Formerly the price of Liberty was eternal vigilance, but now it can be had for fifty cents a year. The publisher and author of those words, ... [click for more]

Libertarian Paternalism

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On April 1, 2007, the New York Times published a review of Brian Doherty’s new book, Radicals for Capitalism, an extensive history of the libertarian movement that focuses on such libertarian luminaries as Leonard Read, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Ayn Rand, and Milton Friedman. The book review, “Free for All,” ... [click for more]

Libertarianism: Left or Right?

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My own notion of politics is that it follows a straight line rather than a circle. The straight line stretches from the far right where (historically) we find monarchy, absolute dictatorships, and other forms of absolutely authoritarian rule. On the far right, law and order means the law of ... [click for more]
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