Freedom Daily Archive

Bartolomé de las Casas: All Mankind Is One

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The 16th-century Spanish historian and Dominican Bartolomé de las Casas (1484–1566) fought against the violent colonization of and enslavement in the New World. He spoke against imperialism and for universal human rights. “All mankind is one,” he insisted; every individual possessed an identical, natural right to liberty. Las Casas was born in Seville at a fortunate time. The Italian Renaissance ... [click for more]

How Laws Are Passed, Maintained, and Changed

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Madmen, Intellectuals, and Academic Scribblers: The Economic Engine of Political Change by Wayne A. Leighton and Edward J. Lopez (Stanford Economics and Finance 2013), 209 pages. Have you ever wondered why democracies so often generate public policies that are wasteful and unjust? Have you asked why such policies persist over long periods, even when they are known to ... [click for more]

How the Pentagon Really Gets Funded

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Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War by Robert Gates (Knop 2014), 640 pages. The most interesting parts of former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’s memoir, Duty, are about how he navigated the Department of Defense (DoD) bureaucracy and the special interests who live off it. A recurring theme is the difficulty Gates had in getting the DoD ... [click for more]

Imaging Patterns

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The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory by Jesse Walker (Harper 2013), 448 pages. What is the substance of American paranoia? From where does it emanate, and why is its study important? These are some of the questions that, without preaching or bludgeoning us with elitist pretensions, Jesse Walker, books editor at Reason magazine, addresses in The United ... [click for more]

The Middle East Harvests Bitter Imperialist Fruit

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The wall-to-wall coverage of the disintegration of Iraq ought to carry this credit: “This bloodshed was made possible by the generosity of British and French imperialists.” The stomach-wrenching violence in Iraq — not to mention the horrendous civil war in Syria, the chronic unrest in Palestine/Israel, and problems elsewhere in the Middle East — are direct consequences of the imperialist ... [click for more]

Freedom Lost in Obama’s Secrecy-Censorship Crossfire

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On June 2 the Supreme Court provided invaluable aid to the Obama administration’s campaign to protect Americans from evidence of federal abuses. The Court acceded to the administration’s appeal and refused to hear a free-speech case involving New York Times reporter James Risen. Risen, a courageous Pulitzer Prize winner, has been in the federal crosshairs since his 2006 book, ... [click for more]

Command Posts: Roads, Railroads, and State

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As any viewer of the British Channel 4 Time Team series will have noticed, almost everywhere below Hadrian’s Wall that the archaeological team digs, they have a fair chance of finding an Imperial Roman road, or a local road leading to it. The Romans were great engineers and road builders (and not just in Britain). Roman roads were all ... [click for more]

Government-Rigged Markets

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Crony Capitalism in America 2008 – 2012 by Hunter Lewis (AC2 Books 2013), 399 pages. Ayn Rand called it “the aristocracy of pull.” That was her term for the political-economic system in which people can get ahead (and even become exceptionally wealthy) by virtue of their connections with those in power, rather than by their work, innovations, and ... [click for more]

The Worst Government Crimes

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Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder (Basic Books 2010), 560 pages. We can locate the deadliest place and time in world history, certainly for the modern West, in the stretch of land between Berlin and Moscow in the 1930s and 1940s. That setting hosted an unimaginable bloodbath thanks to the worst killers ever to plague Europe — ... [click for more]

The Presidential Authority to Torture and Assassinate, Part 1

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Part 1 | Part 2 If our American ancestors in 1787 had been told that the Constitution was going to bring into existence a national government that would have the powers to torture and assassinate people, including American citizens, there is no reasonable possibility that Americans would have approved the document. They would undoubtedly have instead chosen ... [click for more]

On Work

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I hear therefore with joy whatever is beginning to be said of the dignity and necessity of labor to every citizen. There is virtue yet in the hoe and the spade, for learned as well as for unlearned hands. And labor is everywhere welcome; always we are invited to work. — Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The American Scholar,” 1837 Work! (Exclaimed in ... [click for more]
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