Freedom Daily Archive

The Cuban Embargo and the Perversion of American Values

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It would be difficult to find a better example of how the adoption of America’s post–World War II national-security state perverted the morals, principles, and values of the American people than the 54-year-old U.S. embargo against Cuba. Now that the issue of lifting the embargo has fully erupted into the political sphere, Americans have an opportunity to question not ... [click for more]

“And the Pursuit of Happiness”: Nathaniel Branden, RIP

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Libertarians and others have wondered why Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of In-dependence concludes its explicitly incomplete list of unalienable rights with the pursuit of happiness rather than property. The website Monticello.org states, Unfortunately, Thomas Jefferson himself never explained his use of the phrase “pursuit of happiness” in the Declaration of Independence. However, he was almost certainly influenced by George Mason’s Virginia ... [click for more]

Know-Nothing Democracy on Capitol Hill

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“You can lead a man to Congress but you can’t make him think,” quipped Milton Berle in 1950. Last December’s congressional approval of the 1,603-page, $1.1 trillion omnibus bill (known as “Cromnibus,” because it was also a Continuing Resolution) also shows you cannot make congressmen read. Unfortunately, as usual, politicians refused to let their ignorance restrain their power over ... [click for more]

Official Homicide and Legal Rhetoric in Mr. Barron’s Memo

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The Barron Memo released last summer — if “released” means badly mangled — is an interesting literary production. Its full title is “Applicability of Federal Criminal Laws and the Constitution to Contemplated Lethal Operations Against Shaykh Anwar al-Aulaqi.” Here, David J. Barron, who was acting assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), argued as of July ... [click for more]

A Most Radical Libertarian Book

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Real Dissent: A Libertarian Sets Fire to the Index Card of Allowable Opinion by Thomas E. Woods Jr. (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform 2014), 338 pages. In his foreword to one of Tom Woods’s previous books, former congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul described him as “one of the libertarian movement’s brightest and most prolific scholars.” Paul mentions his endorsement in ... [click for more]

Cruel Compassion

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Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed by Jason L. Riley (Encounter Books 2014), 407 pages. When he was asked, following the abolition of slavery, what the country should do with the Negro, Frederick Douglass issued this thunderous reply: “I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing ... [click for more]

Missing the Point about Flourishing

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Mass Flourishing: How Grassroots Innovation Created Jobs, Challenge, and Change Movement by Edmund Phelps (Princeton University Press 2013), 392 pages. Nobel Laureate Edmund Phelps evaluates economic systems with a view to how they promote human prosperity, or “flourishing”: engagement, meeting challenges, self-expression, and personal growth.... A person’s flourishing comes from the experience of the new: new situations, new problems, ... [click for more]

Unjust Immigration Law Is Not Law

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As 2014 and the Democrats’ control of the Senate neared their conclusion, Barack Obama issued an executive order to defer deportation of five million people who lack government papers — mostly parents of children whom the government deems citizens or legal permanent residents. Under the order, most of those folks have received permission to work. Obama increased the number ... [click for more]

Obamacare Racketeering and Intellectual Knavery

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Paternalism is a desperate gamble that lying politicians will honestly care for those who fall under their power. This axiom has been made stark with the controversy arising from a video of Jonathan Gruber, one of the architects of Obamacare, in which he admits that the administration conned the American public and blames dumb voters for the flimflam. Gruber, an ... [click for more]

Power and Knowledge: Socialist and Militarist Calculation Problems

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Economist Ludwig von Mises argued (1920) that real prices arise only from exchanges of privately owned goods; having abolished such prices, socialist systems could never calculate rationally. Economist F.A. Hayek agreed with Mises that central planning would produce poverty and totalitarianism, but made the use of knowledge in society the central weakness of socialist calculation. In his view (1945), ... [click for more]

The Real Story Remains Untold

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Liberty’s Dawn: A People’s History of the Industrial Revolution by Emma Griffin (Yale University Press 2013), 320 pages). Emma Griffin calls this a “People’s History of the Industrial Revolution,” and uses documentation of much the same kind as E.P. Thompson in The Making of the English Working Class — a work she explicitly frames her work as a ... [click for more]
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