Freedom Daily Archive

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]

Children Learn More from Starfish than from Spiders

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The Rebirth of Education: Schooling Ain’t Learning by Lant Pritchett (Center for Global Development 2013), 288 pages. This book, which indicts centralized state schooling in the developing world, engages you from beginning to end. Examples from Pritchett’s own experiences in India and his use of Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom’s spiders and starfish tropes to differentiate centralized from ... [click for more]

Libertarians and Political Violence

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To Shake Their Guns in the Tyrant’s Face: Libertarian Political Violence and the Origins of the Militia Movement by Robert H. Churchill (University of Michigan Press 2011), 384 pages. Discussions regarding the legitimate use of force are not limited to any single ideology. Perhaps the defining quality of any political movement vying for validity is its position on ... [click for more]
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