Free Society

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]
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