Free Society

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]

America’s Surveillance State

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J. Edgar Hoover and the Anti-Interventionists: FBI Political Surveillance and the Rise of the Domestic Security State, 1939-1945, by Douglas M. Charles (Ohio State University Press, 2007), 197 pages. The domestic surveillance state is sometimes called the electronic police state. Those in political power use law enforcement to closely monitor the opinions and peaceful behavior of citizens in order ... [click for more]

Gun Control and Drug Control

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The Democratic attempt to enact additional or more draconian gun-control legislation is dead. Liberals in and out of Congress — many of whom would prefer that only members of the military, the Department of Homeland Security, and the police be armed — have lost the momentum they thought they had after the Sandy Hook school shooting last year in ... [click for more]

Government Is the Problem

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Last spring Barack Obama told the graduating class of Ohio State University, Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems.… They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is ... [click for more]
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