Freedom Daily Archive

The Origins and Intentions of Copyright

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In a victory for media Goliaths, the Supreme Court recently ruled that TV-streaming service Aereo “perform ... copyrighted works publicly” and therefore violated copyright law. The ghost of Grokster haunts us. Napster rolls in its grave. Copyright’s muscular hands have once again strangled innovation. What is the purpose of copyright law? Conventional wisdom asserts that it protects the rights of ... [click for more]

Uniting Constitutional Protection for Economic and Social Liberties, Part 2: The Great Depression and the Great Divide

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 In part 1, I traced the evolution of “substantive due process” jurisprudence under which the Supreme Court protected a variety of unenumerated rights, both economic and personal, through the Due Process Clause of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. Many of the unenumerated rights that had been protected ... [click for more]

“Both Together, They Made a Very Good Book”

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The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Left and Right by Yuval Levin (Basic Books 2014), 235 pages. Yuval Levin’s well-written Great Debate is full of useful material, understandable explanation, and interesting reflections. It flows along smoothly and even entertainingly, unless that is a cuss word in serious circles. Levin goes through the Burke-Paine controversy ... [click for more]

Ignoring the Difference between Free markets and State Capitalism

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Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, translated by Arthur Goldhammer (Belknap 2014), 696 pages. The basic phenomenon that Thomas Piketty devotes this book to describing is simple: “When the rate of return on capital significantly exceeds the growth rate of the economy..., then it logically follows that inherited wealth grows faster than output and income.” His historical account ... [click for more]

Jane Cobden: Carrying On Her Father’s Good Work

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Among libertarians and classical liberals, the name Richard Cobden (1804–1865) evokes admiration and applause. His activities — and successes — on behalf of freedom, free markets, and government retrenchment are legendary. Most famously, he co-founded — with John Bright — the Anti–Corn Law League, which successfully campaigned for repeal of the import tariffs on grain. Those trade restrictions had ... [click for more]

Eric Holder: Patron Saint of Trigger-Happy Cops

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Attorney General Eric Holder received a tidal wave of laudatory media coverage for his visit to Ferguson, Missouri, in the aftermath of a local white policeman’s killing an 18-year-old black man. Holder assured the people of Missouri, “Our investigation into this matter will be full, it will be fair, and it will be independent.” But Holder’s own record belies his ... [click for more]

Politicians Ignore the Looming Debt Iceberg

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We libertarians are often accused of “worshiping” the Constitution, but that charge is false. Although we don’t care one bit for the “living Constitution” theory that leads only to the expansion of state power, it does not follow that we think every idea in the written Constitution is ideal. The document is flawed, as many Americans, the Anti-Federalists, argued ... [click for more]

Reining In Out-of-Control Government

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The Classical Liberal Constitution by Richard A. Epstein (Harvard University Press 2014), 701 pages. In Book II of his Two Treatises of Government, John Locke says “that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.” A towering figure in the Enlightenment, Locke is often called the father of classical ... [click for more]

Smedley Butler and the Racket That Is War

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From 1898 to 1931, Smedley Darlington Butler was a member of the U.S. Marine Corps. By the time he retired he had achieved what was then the Corps’s highest rank, major general, and by the time he died in 1940, at 58, he had more decorations, including two medals of honor, than any other Marine. During his years in ... [click for more]
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