Free Society

Biting the Cultural Imperialism that Feeds You

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On November 21, the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA) was introduced in Congress for the fourth time since 2007. I-VAWA seeks to embed the prevention of gender violence and the empowerment of women and girls into American foreign policy. In 2010, while serving as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton declared such global empowerment to be a “central ... [click for more]

Let’s Make 2014 the Year of Freedom for Low-Wage Workers

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The federal budget deficit was big in 2013, but not as big as the freedom deficit. We should all resolve to make 2014 the year that we secure our freedom from government, the biggest threat we face. We can start with freedom for low-wage workers. Hundreds of occupations are closed shut unless one has a license. To get the license, one ... [click for more]

Contested Ground: The Semantics of “Laissez Faire”

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One frequently runs across accounts of the modern world which hold that laissez faire (or some ideally free market) never existed but yet was (or is) somehow responsible for most ills that have faced mankind for several centuries. The writers seem to have it both ways. How, you might well ask, can that be done? Rather easily, it seems. On ... [click for more]

TGIF: The Moral Case for Freedom Is the Practical Case for Freedom

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If I say that a government activity — “public” schooling, perhaps, or the war on selected drug merchants and users — helps turn the inner cities into hellholes and otherwise makes people’s lives miserable, is that a moral objection or a practical (utilitarian or generally consequentialist) objection? Some libertarians are inclined to say it’s a utilitarian objection, but I’ve long ... [click for more]

Workplace Discrimination and a Free Society

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Lately, it seems as though everyone thinks he is being discriminated against in the workplace. According to a national survey of employed American adults who were asked about their experiences with religious discrimination at work, “What American Workers Really Think about Religion: Tanenbaum’s 2013 Survey of American Workers and Religion,” More than half of employed Americans agree that there ... [click for more]

TGIF: Crime and Punishment in a Free Society

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Would a free society be a crime-free society? We have good reason to anticipate it. Don’t accuse me of utopianism. I don’t foresee a future of new human beings who consistently respect the rights of others. Rather, I’m drawing attention to the distinction between crime and tort — between offenses against the state (or society) and offenses against individual persons ... [click for more]

Roger Williams: The Separation of Conscience and State

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There was a whole country in America ... to be set on fire by the rapid motion of a windmill in the head of one particular man ... one Mr. Roger Williams. — Cotton Mather, New England Puritan minister Roger Williams (c. 1603–1683), founder of Rhode Island, was a key figure in forging the distinctive American character. The American was ... [click for more]

AmeriCorps: Idealistic Triumph or Usual Buffoonery?

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National service is the latest fashionable panacea for all that ails America. Time magazine ran a July cover story, “How Service Can Save Us,” on the potential benefits of pressing all young people into service. The article approvingly quoted a retired Air Force veteran: “There isn’t an 18-year-old boy who doesn’t need to get his butt kicked by someone ... [click for more]

Whither Power?

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The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being in Charge Isn’t What It Used to Be by Moisés Naím (Basic Books 2013), 320 pages. The topic of Moisés Naím’s book is the decay of power — the shift of power “from brawn to brains, from north to south and west to east, ... [click for more]

TGIF: Treating People Like Garbage

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The government “closed” this week. The quotation marks are meant to indicate that the worst parts of the government remain open at some level. It would be preferable to keep the monuments and national parks, like the Grand Canyon, going while closing the Pentagon, the State Department, the CIA, the NSA, ICE, FBI, ATF, and all related so-called national-security ... [click for more]

Voting Rights as Bogus Panaceas

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The Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act last June. “Liberals” were horrified and reacted as if the Civil War had been fought in vain. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg denounced the decision for its “hubris,” Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) condemned it as a “dagger” stab at civil rights, and Attorney General Eric Holder ... [click for more]
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