Free Society

Winning Freedom Requires Radical Solutions

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Suppose that there was a button in front of you that if you pushed it would, in one instant, abolish all the governmental controls and regulations on the U.S. economy. Would you push that button, and transform America into a society of free men associating with each other on the basis of voluntary exchange, with government limited to protection ... [click for more]

Class Theory, Part 2: Modern Progressive Class Analysis

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 On September 17, 2011, the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement staged its first protests in Zuccotti Park, a location in New York’s financial district. This “direct action” movement has been defined in terms of its opposition to economic inequality, institutional corruption, and the revolving door between ... [click for more]

The Boast in the Machine

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Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation by Tyler Cowen (Dutton 2013), 304 pages. In Average Is Over, George Mason University economist Tyler Cowen delivers good news and bad news with nearly equal enthusiasm. Basically, artificial “intelligence” (AI) is aggregating the “knowledge of the entire world” and intruding everywhere, ready to overturn our lives, ... [click for more]

Proud to be an American: What Should It Mean?

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America! For more than two hundred years the word has represented hope, opportunity, a second chance, and freedom. In America the accident of a man’s birth did not serve as an inescapable weight that dictated a person’s fate or that of his family. The individual owned his own life and was free to shape it as his own mind ... [click for more]

Tobacco and a Free Society

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Yet another successful lawsuit against a tobacco company, one that resulted in a jury’s awarding the widow of a tobacco smoker more than $23 billion because of her husband’s premature death, means that it is apropos to revisit the subject of tobacco and a free society. A jury last month in Escambia County (Pensacola), Florida, after a four-week trial and ... [click for more]

A Treacherous Undertow

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American Coup: How a Terrified Government Is Destroying the Constitution by William M. Arkin (Little, Brown and Company 2013), 368 pages. Among the philosophy of liberty’s core ideas is the well-known precept that a free society must be one of laws and not of men, that the rule of law should stand above the arbitrary caprice of some empowered ... [click for more]

Mr. President: Please Mind Your Own Business

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Dear President Obama, For nearly six years, now, you have declared your intention and desire of being my Nanny-in-Chief. Your original campaign slogan of “Hope and Change” was really a promise of “Control and Command.” Well, Mr. President, I have a request: Mind your own business. Let me start out with some simple questions. How do you know what is right ... [click for more]

Tolerance: Joining the Best of Conservatism and Progressivism

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Many liberals (in the classical sense) are so reluctant to concede an inch to conservatism and progressivism that they insist the latter two political philosophies, and the worldviews that frequently accompany them, have no redeeming features. This is a mistake. There are elements of conservatism worth conserving, and elements of progressivism worth progressing towards. Furthermore, tolerance, the premier social ... [click for more]

TGIF: Jane Cobden: Carrying on Her Father’s Good Work

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Among libertarians and classical liberals, the name Richard Cobden (1804–1865) evokes admiration and applause. His activities -- and successes -- on behalf of freedom, free markets, and government retrenchment are legendary. Most famously, he cofounded — with John Bright — the Anti–Corn Law League, which successfully campaigned for repeal of the import tariffs on grain. ... [click for more]

Misguided Beliefs in Political Leaders

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This is an election year and as in all past election years we are inundated with promises and proposals from candidates, each hoping to attract our votes. For the most part what they are promising is “leadership” and political solutions to our personal, social and economic problems. They almost always fail to remind us, however, that in the political ... [click for more]

Hobby Lobby Ruling Falls Short

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As far as it went, the Supreme Court generally got it right in the Hobby Lobby-Obamacare-contraception case. Unfortunately it didn’t go nearly far enough. The court ruled that “closely held corporations” whose owners have religious convictions against contraceptives cannot be forced to pay for employee coverage for those products. I wish the court could have said this instead: (1) No one ... [click for more]

TGIF: What Social Animals Owe to Each Other

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If I were compelled to summarize the libertarian philosophy’s distinguishing feature while standing on one foot, I’d say the following: Every person owes it to all other persons not to aggress them. This is known as the nonaggression principle, or NAP. What is the nature of this obligation? The first thing to notice is that it is unchosen. I never agreed ... [click for more]
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