Freedom Daily Archive

Lysander Spooner on the National Debt

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Once again, last autumn we were inundated with dire warnings about what would befall the American people and the world economy if Congress did not raise the debt ceiling — or, as I call it, the debt sky, because apparently the sky’s the limit. As he has each time this issue has come up, Barack Obama emphasized that increasing the ... [click for more]

Common Sense versus Obama’s Next War

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The Obama administration tottered on the edge of launching a cruise missile attack on Syria this past August and September. Obama hesitated and decided to seek congressional approval before blowing up many targets on the Syrian landscape. After Americans made it loud and clear that they did not want another war, congressional opposition helped curb his bellicosity. But he ... [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]

Exit over Voice

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By what standard should we judge collective decision-making? In the liberal-democratic tradition, the overwhelming consensus affirms the supremacy of process. On this view, the justness and efficacy of collective decision-making depend on the inclusiveness of the process. That concern, what philosophers and social scientists call “voice,” has manifested itself in many familiar and important ways, chiefly through an expansion ... [click for more]

The Classical Liberal legacy of Percy Bysshe Shelley

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“I have deserted the odorous gardens of literature to journey across the great sandy desert of Politics.” In this manner, the English Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822) announced a political treatise entitled A Philosophical View of Reform (1819). It states, “The first principle of political reform is the natural equality of men, not with relation to their property ... [click for more]

The Great Writ

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The Power of Habeas Corpus in America: From the King’s Prerogative to the War on Terror by Anthony Gregory (Independent Institute/Cambridge University Press 2013), 390 pages. Among libertarians generally, there is a somewhat dependable tendency to hark back to the halcyon days of a supposed free age somewhere in the past, and to spotlight certain related features of Anglo-American ... [click for more]

The Origins of America’s Warfare State

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Given that most Americans living today were born and raised under a massive military establishment, the CIA, and the NSA, a large number of Americans very likely believe that the United States has always had this type of government. Not so, as Michael Swanson shows in a new book, The War State. Swanson points out that America’s warfare state didn’t ... [click for more]

One Hundred Years of the Federal Reserve

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Two days before Christmas 1913, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act, creating America’s latest and current central bank, the Federal Reserve System. It’s a sobering thought that in the 100 years since the Fed’s creation, the dollar has lost 95 percent of its value. Had the Fed never been created, America would be dotted with Nickel Stores ... [click for more]

A Supreme Rebuff for the USDA’s Ruinous Raisin Regime

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The Supreme Court in June finally opened the door for farmers to escape from one of the most dictatorial bureaucratic regimes in the federal government. But it remains to be seen whether farmers will secure freedom and justice or be dragged into another endless array of court battles and appeals. The latest squabble has its origins in the New Deal. ... [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]

“Trust Us”

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On June 7 Barack Obama made his first public statements about the NSA surveillance programs leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowden. After justifying the programs as subject to congressional and judicial oversight, he insisted he did not want “to suggest that, you know, you just say ‘trust me, we’re doing the right thing, we know who the bad guys ... [click for more]

The Killing Years

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The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth by Mark Mazzetti (Penguin Press 2013), 400 pages. Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield by Jeremy Scahill (Nation Books 2013), 680 pages. The young man reached across the table and pushed the timer’s red button. Looking up ... [click for more]
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