Freedom Daily Archive

Collapsing the Tent on the Mercantilist Revival

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Harvard professor Dani Rodrik’s recent mercantilist apology attempts to illustrate the unappreciated benefits of a much-maligned political-economic system: mercantilism. “Today, mercantilism is typically dismissed as an archaic and blatantly erroneous set of ideas about economic policy,” Rodrik acknowledges. Thus his essay provides a defense of this system, which he believes has much to offer over the alternative ... [click for more]

The Cataclysm of World War II

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Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization by Nicholson Baker (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2008), 567 pages. World War II was the great event of the 20th century. It greatly altered political boundaries, ushered in the Cold War, effected a total transformation in American governance, and consumed more lives than any other event ... [click for more]

National Defense, Foreign Policy, and Gun Control

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One of the most popular mantras in the post–9/11 era involves praising the troops for “defending our nation” and “protecting our rights and freedoms.” But how many people ever really think about what those mantras really mean? Indeed, how many people ever give serious thought to what would happen to our nation and to our rights and freedoms if ... [click for more]

Venturing into Mali

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Murray Rothbard once observed that it was getting harder and harder to use the reductio ad absurdum device to ridicule U.S. government policy. Things haven’t changed. Thanks to recent events, we may no longer use “Timbuktu,” a name associated with a far-off middle-of-nowhere location, in a reductio about U.S. interventionist foreign policy. The U.S. government has helped the French ... [click for more]

How Drug-Courier Profiles Begot Terrorist Watch Lists

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Friends of freedom have been chagrined over the past decade to learn that federal terrorist watch lists incorporate criteria — such as openly praising the Constitution or the Second Amendment — that put them in the crosshairs. More than a million names are now included on the catch-all terrorist watch list maintained by U.S. government agencies. The feds’ definition ... [click for more]

Who Killed Greece?

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The Greek tragedy began in 1981 when PASOK, the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Party, won the national elections. Andreas Papandreou, who had been a member of the Greek Communist Party and had received his Ph.D. in economics at Harvard in 1942, founded and led PASOK. He had published significant scholarly works with a Keynesian slant and served as chairman of the ... [click for more]

Food Safety: A Market Solution

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The FDA is trumpeting, with unseemly giddiness, sweeping implementation of new rules within the now thoroughly moldered food-safety bill, passed two long years ago. Like any dish served past its prime, this one smells a bit off. As a producer in the ascendant food renaissance (defined by a sudden respect for all things small and local) I’ve noticed a curious ... [click for more]

Regulatory Herding, Regulatory Stampedes

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Perfect storms occur when many factors align. Sandy was one of the most damaging hurricanes in the history of the United States, but it took the confluence of a number of elements to make it so. Under normal conditions the storm would have moved northeast, away from the U.S. coast. Instead, a high-pressure cold front forced Sandy to turn ... [click for more]

Book Review: What Reality Teaches Us

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No, They Can’t: Why Government Fails — But Individuals Succeed by John Stossel (New York: Threshold Editions, 2012), 324 pages. John Stossel is the well-known host of Stossel on Fox Business. A graduate of Princeton, he has won an incredible 19 Emmy awards, is a five-time honoree for excellence in consumer reporting, and is a New York Times bestselling ... [click for more]

Chile’s Gun-Control Lesson for Americans

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One of the popular arguments for gun control is that people don’t need assault rifles, high-capacity magazines, and certain types of high-powered pistols to shoot deer. That argument, however, ignores the primary rationale for the Second Amendment, which was to ensure that people retained the means to resist tyranny at the hands of the federal government. Statists give short shrift ... [click for more]

James Buchanan’s Subjectivist Economics

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James Buchanan, the Nobel laureate who died at 93 in January, was well known for his pioneering work in Public Choice (the application of economic principles to politics), constitutional economics (as a device for limiting government power), and many other key subjects in political economy. His voluminous work has long been of interest to libertarians and classical liberals for ... [click for more]

Obama and His “Most Evident” Right: Equality

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In his second inaugural address, Barack Obama quoted the Declaration of Independence and hailed “the most evident of truths — that all of us are created equal.” Obama never explained why “created equal” was more evident than the right to liberty. He understands that he can capture far more power by invoking equality than he could by promising to ... [click for more]
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