Sheldon Richman's TGIF

TGIF: Monopoly and Aggression

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The concepts monopoly and aggression are intimately related, like lock and key, or mother and son. You cannot fully understand the first without understanding the second. Most of us are taught to think of a monopoly as simply any lone seller of a good or service, but this definition is fraught with problems, as Murray Rothbard, Austrian economists generally, and ... [click for more]

TGIF: “And the Pursuit of Happiness”: Nathaniel Branden, RIP

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Libertarians and others have wondered why Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence concludes its explicitly incomplete list of unalienable rights with the pursuit of happiness rather than property. The website Monticello.org states, Unfortunately, Thomas Jefferson himself never explained his use of the phrase “pursuit of happiness” in the Declaration of Independence. However, he was almost certainly influenced by George ... [click for more]

TGIF: Tackling Straw Men Is Easier than Critiquing Libertarianism

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Maybe I’m being unreasonable, but I think it behooves a critic to understand what he’s criticizing. I realize that tackling straw men is much easier than dealing with challenging arguments, but that’s no excuse for the shoddy work we find in John Edward Terrell’s New York Times post, “Evolution and the American Myth of the Individual.” In his ... [click for more]

TGIF: Unjust Immigration Law Is Not Law

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So President Obama is going to defer deportation of five million people without government papers, mostly parents of children whom the government deems citizens or legal permanent residents. Under his executive order, most will get permission to work. Obama will also increase the number of “dreamers” — children brought here illegally by their parents and raised in the United States ... [click for more]

TGIF: Free-Market Socialism

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Libertarians are individualists. But since individualist has many senses, that statement isn’t terribly informative. Does it mean that libertarians are social nonconformists on principle? Not at all. Some few libertarians may aspire to be, but most would see that as undesirable because it would obstruct their most important objectives. Lots of libertarian men have no problem wearing a jacket and ... [click for more]

TGIF: The Political Sterility of Jon Stewart

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Political satire has a long and honorable history: Aristophanes, William Shakespeare, Jonathan Swift; W.S. Gilbert; Mark Twain; George Orwell; Lenny Bruce; Dick Gregory; Tom Lehrer,  David Frost, and That Was the Week That Was; George Carlin; Spitting Image, Yes, Minister; the Smothers Brothers; the early Saturday Night Live, Dave Barry, The Onion, South Park, Family Guy, and so many more. Unfortunately, while it ... [click for more]

TGIF: Nothing Is More Local than the Individual

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On Tuesday the voters of the state in which I dwell, Arkansas, will be asked to vote yes or no on this: A proposed amendment to the Arkansas Constitution to provide that, effective July 1, 2015, the manufacture, sale, distribution and transportation of intoxicating liquors is lawful within the entire geographic area of each and every county of this state; ... [click for more]

TGIF: The State Is No Friend of the Worker

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The election season is upon us, and we’re hearing the usual political promises about raising wages. Democrats pledge to raise the minimum wage and assure equal pay for equal work for men and women. Republicans usually oppose those things, but their explanations are typically lame. (“The burden on small business would be increased too much.”) Some Republicans endorse raising ... [click for more]

TGIF: Leonard P. Liggio (1933–2014)

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I lost one of my favorite teachers this week, as did so many other libertarians, not to mention  the freedom movement as a whole. Leonard P. Liggio, 81, died after a period of declining health. Leonard was a major influence on my worldview during the nearly 40 years I knew him. While I had not seen him much in ... [click for more]

TGIF: A Foreign Policy By and For Knaves

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David Hume (1711-1776) was no hardcore libertarian, but he was a provocative thinker and a key figure in the development of liberalism. Hume helped make the Scottish Enlightenment the important period it was. He also can be fun to read. Observe this from his essay “Of the Independency of Parliament”: Political writers have established it as a maxim, ... [click for more]

TGIF: The “Boomerang Effect”: How Foreign Policy Changes Domestic Policy

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The late Chalmers Johnson, the great analyst of the American empire, warned that if Americans didn’t give up the empire, they would come to live under it. We’ve had many reasons to take his warning seriously; indeed, several important thinkers have furnished sound theoretical and empirical evidence for the proposition. Now come two scholars who advance our understanding of how ... [click for more]

TGIF: The Antimilitarist Libertarian Heritage

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With the United States on the verge of another war in the Middle East — or is it merely the continuation of a decades-long war? — we libertarians need to reacquaint ourselves with our intellectual heritage of peace, antimilitarism, and anti-imperialism. This rich heritage is too often overlooked and frequently not appreciated at all. That is tragic. Libertarianism, to ... [click for more]
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