Freedom Daily Archive

Wage War on Poverty with Libertarianism

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Almost 50 years ago Lyndon Johnson declared a “war on poverty.” Ever since then, the federal government, through a wide array of welfare-state programs and regulatory programs, has waged its war, aiming to end poverty or at least to greatly alleviate it. After a half-century of poverty warfare, has the war been won? Not according to Democrats. They say that ... [click for more]

The Pope Dabbles in Economics

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Pope Francis wrote in his recent apostolic exhortation, “Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality.” He’s right — but not in the way he intends. Before I elaborate, let’s look ... [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]

Money and the Constitution

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Constitutional Money: A Review of the Supreme Court’s Monetary Decisions by Richard H. Timberlake (Cambridge University Press and Cato Institute 2013), 257 pages. Most Americans would be surprised to learn that the Federal Reserve Notes in their wallets and the balances in their various accounts are not constitutional money. Yes, what they have is money, but not the kind ... [click for more]

Lincoln-Worship Overlays the Corporatist Agenda

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Lincoln Unbound: How an Ambitious Young Railsplitter Saved the American Dream — and How We Can Do It Again by Rich Lowry (HarperCollins 2013), 390 pages. One of the central themes in James Scott’s Seeing Like a State is the ideology he calls “authoritarian high modernism”: It is best conceived as a strong (one might even say muscle-bound) version of ... [click for more]

What Does It Mean to Be Free?

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Johann von Goethe once wrote, “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” Goethe’s statement perfectly captures the plight of the American people in our time. That’s one of the principal challenges that we libertarians face, for if people are convinced they’re free, they have no incentive to break free of their servitude. Even ... [click for more]

One Moral Standard for All

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Libertarians make a self-defeating mistake in assuming that their fundamental principles differ radically from most other people’s principles. Think how much easier it would be to bring others to the libertarian position if we realized that they already agree with us in substantial ways. What am I talking about? It’s quite simple. Libertarians believe that the initiation of force is ... [click for more]

How I Learned Not to Shovel

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The Obama administration has touted government jobs and training programs as one of the solutions to America’s high unemployment rate. Such programs can teach young people invaluable lessons — especially about the unreliability of political promises to provide kids with valuable skills. I learned a lot about the nature of government work during the summer I spent on the ... [click for more]

Corporatism as Theory and Practice

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When I first discovered corporatism, about 1966, it was not exactly a household word. The term was known only to specialists, who mostly looked for it in the recent (pre–1945) past. Between about 1960 and the early 1970s, a few New Left and libertarian scholars stirred up greater (but still quite small) interest in this arcane term. My original ... [click for more]

How the Castle Crumbled

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Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces by Radley Balko (Public Affairs 2013), 400 pages. “A man’s home is his castle,” the old English saying goes. Since the American Revolution, Americans’ homes have been considered sanctified space. Under the Castle Doctrine, first expressed in English common law, a person’s home — whether it’s a shack or ... [click for more]

Two Brothers in Search of Monsters to Destroy

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In celebration of the Fourth of July, 1821, John Quincy Adams delivered a speech before Congress that is famously titled, “In Search of Monsters to Destroy.” Adams used the occasion to describe the foreign policy of the United States: Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her ... [click for more]
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