Free Society

State Heretics and State Infidels

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The term statolatry refers to worshiping the state as the source of goodness to which all else should be subordinated. In statolatry, instead of having a separation of church and state, the state replaces the church and becomes its own religion. In his book Omnipotent Government: The Rise of the Total State and Total War, Ludwig von Mises ... [click for more]

The Origins and Intentions of Copyright

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In a victory for media Goliaths, the Supreme Court recently ruled that TV-streaming service Aereo “perform ... copyrighted works publicly” and therefore violated copyright law. The ghost of Grokster haunts us. Napster rolls in its grave. Copyright’s muscular hands have once again strangled innovation. What is the purpose of copyright law? Conventional wisdom asserts that it protects the rights of ... [click for more]

“Both Together, They Made a Very Good Book”

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The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Left and Right by Yuval Levin (Basic Books 2014), 235 pages. Yuval Levin’s well-written Great Debate is full of useful material, understandable explanation, and interesting reflections. It flows along smoothly and even entertainingly, unless that is a cuss word in serious circles. Levin goes through the Burke-Paine controversy ... [click for more]

The Berlin Wall and the Spirit of Freedom

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This November marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. On November 9, 1989, as the shaky East German communist government resigned, the Berlin Wall came tumbling down. Large crowds formed on both sides of the Wall. East and West Berliners climbed on top, and then people began using sledgehammers and ... [click for more]

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 co-founded — with John Bright — the Anti–Corn Law League, which successfully campaigned for repeal of the import tariffs on grain. Those trade restrictions had ... [click for more]

Reining In Out-of-Control Government

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The Classical Liberal Constitution by Richard A. Epstein (Harvard University Press 2014), 701 pages. In Book II of his Two Treatises of Government, John Locke says “that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.” A towering figure in the Enlightenment, Locke is often called the father of classical ... [click for more]

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]

American’s Fading Love of Freedom

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Tea Party protesters, some Republicans, and many libertarians perceive the federal government as a vast engine of oppression. But are anti-Obama activists mistaken in presuming that most Americans still care about freedom? A Gallup poll released in July asked a thousand Americans, “Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your freedom to choose what to do with your life?” Admittedly, only ... [click for more]

Imaging Patterns

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The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory by Jesse Walker (Harper 2013), 448 pages. What is the substance of American paranoia? From where does it emanate, and why is its study important? These are some of the questions that, without preaching or bludgeoning us with elitist pretensions, Jesse Walker, books editor at Reason magazine, addresses in The United ... [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]

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]
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