Free Society

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]

The EU Threat to Liberty

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“Each year the takes and spends more of our money without EU auditors being able to reliably confirm where much of this money has actually gone. The number of EU bureaucrats rises ever upwards. Ever more bureaucrats seem inevitably to lead to ever more rules and regulations, allowing the EU to expand its influence to almost every ... [click for more]

TGIF: We Can Oppose Bigotry without the Politicians

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Portuguese Should the government coercively sanction business owners who, out of apparent religious conviction, refuse to serve particular customers? While such behavior is repugnant, the refusal to serve someone because of his or her race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation is nevertheless an exercise of self-ownership and freedom of nonassociation. It is both nonviolent and nonviolative of other ... [click for more]

TGIF: Rights Violations Aren’t the Only Bads

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More than a few libertarians appear to hold the view that only rights violations are wrong, bad, and deserving of moral condemnation. If an act does not entail the initiation of force, so goes this attitude, we can have nothing critical to say about it. On its face, this is strange. If you observe an adult being rude to his ... [click for more]

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]
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