Free Society

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]

Abolish the ATF

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The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) is under fire by Republicans and conservatives yet again. And for good reason. First it was the “Fast and Furious” operation in Phoenix, where ATF agents allowed illegal gun sales that were believed to be ultimately for Mexican drug cartels in order to track the buyers and sellers. It resulted in ... [click for more]

The Big Lie of a “Rape Culture”

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April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, and it will be used to promote a big lie — namely, that we live in a “rape culture.” The term “rape culture” was coined by politically correct (PC) feminists in the 1970s. It refers to attitudes, beliefs, and values that allegedly normalize sexual violence against women and encourage the ... [click for more]

Making Men Rapists

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It is called “affirmative consent.” It is a new front in the growing regulatory oversight of the most intimate aspect of personal life: making love or having sex. If the White House Council on Women and Girls gets its way, then the doctrine of affirmative consent will regulate sex on a campus near you. It may already ... [click for more]

Freedom versus Medals of Freedom

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Though proximity to power is its own reward, rulers have long recognized the benefit of distributing trinkets to potential sycophants. From medieval times onwards, the English king was seen as the “fount of all honors.” The British government created endless ribbons, orders, and titles to attach individuals to the crown. Cash was sometimes necessary to clinch the allegiance. Samuel ... [click for more]
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