Regulation Policy & Welfare

Order by Agreements or by Iron Fists

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In his 1651 classic, Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes warned: "To obey the King who is God's lieutenant, is the same as to obey God. We shall have no peace till we have absolute obedience." Many contemporary statists share Hobbes's assumption that near-total control is the only way to avoid near-certain destruction ... [click for more]

There’s No Third Way

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If a gunman approaches you on a dark street and demands your money, you naturally prefer not to give it to him. Apparently our political leaders would consider this an unreasonable clash of extremes. The gunman wants your property. You want to keep it. Surely there's a compromise, ... [click for more]

Cutthroat Competition and Dead Chickens

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President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal created much of the moral framework of contemporary political thought. The National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), a hallmark of Roosevelt's first hundred days in office, symbolizes blind faith in government as moral savior. In a May 17, 1933, message, Roosevelt called for Congress to "provide for the machinery necessary for a great cooperative movement throughout ... [click for more]

Freedom to Farm Washington

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Nothing better symbolizes the collapse of Republican principles than the multiple farm bailouts that Congress enacted late last year. Agricultural subsidies are skyrocketing, and the 1996 "Freedom to Farm Act" - ritually invoked as a triumph of the Republican Revolution - is as much in ruins as a Sudanese pharmaceutical factory. The 1996 act, which supposedly set the following seven ... [click for more]

A Better State of the Union Address

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"My fellow Americans, I, William Jefferson Clinton, am pleased to report on the state of the union on the eve of the millennium and to propose a different direction for our country. "For most of the 20th century, the primary role of the federal government has been to take care of ... [click for more]

Toying with the Free Market

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Here's a noteworthy story from the Washington Post last September: "Toys 'R' Us Inc., the world's largest toy retailer, announced a major restructuring yesterday in an effort to shore up the chain's sales and profits, which have flagged as a result of growing competition from discounters and changes in the way children play." The article goes on to explain that ... [click for more]

The Minimum Wage: Enemy of the Poor

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Whenever politicians wish to score political points, they recommend raising the minimum wage. Parading as champions of the poor and downtrodden, they cry out against all those selfish and greedy employers who are paying less-than-subsistence wages to their employees. The truth is that whenever public officials enact or raise a ... [click for more]

A-Scalping We Van Gogh

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Besides Monica, the other person who's captured attention in Washington, D.C., these days is a troubled man who killed himself more than a hundred years ago. Until January 4, the National Gallery of Art is exhibiting more than 70 paintings by Vincent van Gogh on loan from Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum. The ... [click for more]

Treating Us like Children

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It's getting harder to imagine a Republican keeping a straight face while proclaiming the GOP to be the party of limited government and personal liberty. The latest reason? The Republican-controlled Senate recently voted 90-10 to outlaw gambling over the Internet. The prohibition, tagged onto an appropriations bill, would impose a penalty of three months in prison and a $500 fine ... [click for more]

Dictatorship of Gadflies

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In any catalog of late 20th-century dementia, the historic-preservation movement will take an honored place. A movement that did much to educate the public on the value of historic buildings in the 1960s and 1970s has long since been replaced by "hysterical preservationism." Preservationists have "progressed" from targeting specific ... [click for more]

The Legalization of Prostitution

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Prostitution has long been illegal in the vast majority of the United States. Unfortunately, laws against prostitution often bring out the worst among the nation's law-enforcement agencies — and pose a growing threat to public health. As fear of the spread of AIDS rises, the legalization of prostitution offers ... [click for more]

Our Corrupting Welfare State

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Champions of the free society have long warned that the welfare state-in which the government does for people what they ought to do for themselves-has a corrosive effect on the character of human beings. There is no better evidence of this than what people have come to expect from what we mistakenly call "health ... [click for more]
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