Regulation Policy & Welfare

The Slippery Slope of Nanny-State Politics

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On December 5, 2006, the City of New York banned the use of transfats in restaurants and food preparation. Ironically, many of the experts proclaiming the dangers of transfats were the ones who urged us to embrace them as “heart-healthy” in the 1980s. William Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at Harvard University, who was one of the ... [click for more]

Liberty versus the Morality Police

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Liberty for All: Reclaiming Individual Privacy in a New Era of Public Morality by Elizabeth Price Foley (Yale University Press, 2006); 287 pages, $35.00. Most Americans have settled somnolently into the view that whatever laws are passed are all right because they’re the product of democracy. To be sure, there ... [click for more]

“It Can’t Happen Here”

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Also see: “The Critical Dilemma Facing Pro-War Libertarians” “The Pentagon's Power to Arrest, Torture, and Execute Americans” “The Islamo-Fascist Rationale for Abandoning Liberty” In my article “The Pentagon’s Power to Arrest, Torture, and Execute Americans,” I explained that the post–9/11 power to designate Americans as “enemy ... [click for more]

Public-Access TV: Fascism in Action

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Imagine a public-access aisle at your local grocery store. The store would provide the goods it can profit from on other aisles, but there would be a special aisle where certain merchandise would be offered because the local government required it to be offered. Local residents would go to city council meetings and produce petitions signed by their neighbors saying ... [click for more]

Freedom? Fat Chance!

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Harper’s magazine reports that Americans burn an extra 938 million gallons of gasoline each year because we’re too fat. That estimate of how much the nation’s chubses are wasting in gas comes from a study by Sheldon Jacobson, professor of computer science at the University of Illinois and director of the ... [click for more]

Taxicab Absurdity

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When one hears words such as “crackdown” and “sting” and “bust” the image that comes to mind is that of daring police officers engaged in some colossal operation that nets really bad people doing really bad things. At least, that’s the image that ought to come to mind. In the charming little city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, there are taxicab companies ... [click for more]

No Need for Energy Subsidies

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For a guy who claims to believe in limited government, President Bush is awfully good at dangling subsidies and threatening coercion when he wants to encourage or discourage something. That’s the lesson to take from his State of the Union Address. Look at what he said about energy: “For too ... [click for more]

The Bush Torture Memos

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President Bush is proposing to medievalize the American legal code by permitting the use of coerced confessions in judicial proceedings. This is one of the most stunning proposals in U.S. political life since Franklin Roosevelt banned private ownership of gold in 1933. It is vital for Americans to understand the ... [click for more]

The Federal Ripoff

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The Big Ripoff: How Big Business and Big Government Steal Your Money by Timothy P. Carney (Wiley, 2006); 285 pages; $24.95. Frédéric Bastiat called it legal plunder — the process by which people and organizations use their political connections to obtain wealth that doesn’t belong to them. When a government ... [click for more]

Zoning’s Attack on Liberty and Property

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One of the most coercive tools that public officials have at their disposal is zoning. City councils and county boards throughout the country use zoning regulations to dictate which uses are permitted and which are not on every parcel of land within their jurisdiction. While sometimes well-intentioned, zoning regulations nevertheless ... [click for more]

The Eminent-Domain Origin of Shenandoah National Park

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The establishment of Shenandoah National Park in 1926 is one of the greatest abuses of eminent domain in our country’s history. With the Commonwealth of Virginia condemning the entire area and removing more than 450 families, many by force, the park would eventually encompass 196,000 acres. After people were evicted, Virginia transferred the property to the federal government and ... [click for more]
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