Sheldon Richman's TGIF

TGIF: The Middle East Harvests Bitter Imperialist Fruit

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The wall-to-wall coverage of the disintegration of Iraq ought to carry this credit: This bloodshed was made possible by the generosity of British and French imperialists. The stomach-wrenching violence in Iraq — not to mention the horrendous civil war in Syria, the chronic unrest in Palestine/Israel, and problems elsewhere in the Middle East — are direct consequences of the imperialist ... [click for more]

TGIF: We Were Warned about the Rise of Empire

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American critics of U.S. foreign policy (as well as some neoconservative supporters) often refer to the United States as an empire. This is not an emotional outburst but a substantive description of the national government’s role in the world. But what exactly is an empire? This question is all the more relevant today with Iraq is being consumed ... [click for more]

TGIF: Trivial Dispute: Obama versus the Interventionists

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American politics is largely a series of debates over unimportant details. These debates are conducted far above the fundamental level because the supposed contenders share the same premises. Where they disagree is at the level of application, and so the disagreements end up being fairly minor, especially if you think the premises are wrong. This is an especially pronounced feature ... [click for more]

TGIF: Immortal Keynes?

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Whatever you may think of Keynesian economics, you have to give it credit for one thing: its staying power. You can’t watch a news program without hearing pundits analyze economic conditions in orthodox Keynesian terms, even if they don’t realize that’s what they’re doing. One TV personality says that the rejection of Keynes indicates a disbelief in all science! What ... [click for more]

TGIF: Rothbard’s For a New Liberty

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In 1973, nine years before he published his magnum opus in political philosophy, The Ethics of Liberty, Murray Rothbard issued a comprehensive popular presentation of the libertarian philosophy in For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, first published by the mainstream publisher Macmillan. The book is an excellent discussion of libertarian principles and applications, and it ... [click for more]

TGIF: Libertarianism Rightly Conceived

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The debate on thick and thin libertarianism continues, and that’s a good thing. Libertarians can only gain by the discussion. Often one comes to appreciate one’s own philosophy more fully in the crucible of intellectual argument. So I, for one, welcome the debate — so long as it is a real debate and not merely a series of unsupported denials ... [click for more]

TGIF: What Should Libertarians Do?

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If the libertarian movement is to be the vehicle — actually, collection of vehicles — for the advancement of liberty, then libertarians need to master the art of persuasion. That’s hardly news, but it’s easily forgotten. I start from the assumption that we don’t want merely to feel good by making hard-core libertarian declarations about abolishing this or that government ... [click for more]

TGIF: What Social Animals Owe to Each Other

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If I were compelled to summarize the libertarian philosophy’s distinguishing feature while standing on one foot, I’d say the following: Every person owes it to all other persons not to aggress them. This is known as the nonaggression principle, or NAP. What is the nature of this obligation? The first thing to notice is that it is unchosen. I never agreed ... [click for more]

TGIF: In Praise of “Thick” Libertarianism

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I continue to have trouble believing that the libertarian philosophy is concerned only with the proper and improper uses of force. According to this view, the philosophy sets out a prohibition on the initiation of force and otherwise has nothing to say about anything else. (Fraud is conceived as an indirect form of force because, say, a deceptive seller obtains ... [click for more]

TGIF: Empire on Their Minds

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The conflict in Ukraine has prompted several level-headed commentators to point out that, of all governments, the U.S. government is in no position to lecture Russia about respecting other nations’ borders. When Secretary of State John Kerry said on Meet the Press, “This is an act of aggression that is completely trumped up in terms of its pretext.… You ... [click for more]

TGIF: Work!

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“I hear therefore with joy whatever is beginning to be said of the dignity and necessity of labor to every citizen. There is virtue yet in the hoe and the spade, for learned as well as for unlearned hands. And labor is everywhere welcome; always we are invited to work.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The American Scholar,” ... [click for more]
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