Socialism

Cruel Compassion

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Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed by Jason L. Riley (Encounter Books 2014), 407 pages. When he was asked, following the abolition of slavery, what the country should do with the Negro, Frederick Douglass issued this thunderous reply: “I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing ... [click for more]

American Progressives are Bismarck’s Grandchildren

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American “progressives” portray themselves as “forward-looking,” advocates of a higher and better freedom than the traditional American conception of liberty as freedom from government coercion and control. In fact, they are the intellectual great-grandchildren of the “reactionary” nineteenth century Imperial German “Iron Chancellor,” Otto von Bismarck. A recent example of the progressive’s retrogressive notion of the meaning of freedom was ... [click for more]

A World without the Welfare State

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We live in an era in which few can even conceive of a world without the welfare state. Who would care for the old? How would people provide for their medical needs? What would happen to the disadvantaged and needy that fell upon hard times? In fact, there were free market solutions and non-government answers to these questions long ... [click for more]

Is America Still on F. A. Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom”?

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A little more than seventy years ago, on March 10, 1944, there appeared in Great Britain one of the most amazing and influential political books of the twentieth century, The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich A. Hayek, which forewarned of socialist trends in Britain and America that ran the danger of leading to tyranny if taken to their logical ... [click for more]

Power and Knowledge: Socialist and Militarist Calculation Problems

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Economist Ludwig von Mises argued (1920) that real prices arise only from exchanges of privately owned goods; having abolished such prices, socialist systems could never calculate rationally. Economist F.A. Hayek agreed with Mises that central planning would produce poverty and totalitarianism, but made the use of knowledge in society the central weakness of socialist calculation. In his view (1945), ... [click for more]

Yes, Virginia, There is No Political Santa Claus

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At a time of the year when gift giving and charitable good spirit fills the air, please allow me to be the one who rains on the parade: “Yes, Virginia, there is no Santa Claus!” I don’t mean the Santa who comes down the chimney with toys for every girl and boy. This is the Santa who really is Mom ... [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]

America’s Cluster- Bomb Congress

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Tens of thousands of Americans have been bushwhacked by a single arcane sentence in a 673-page law Congress enacted six years ago. The IRS is seizing both federal and state tax refunds for individuals whom the Social Security Administration accuses of having received excessive benefits years ago. But the government often has zero evidence of the overpayments, and the ... [click for more]

The Poverty of Top- Down Anti-Poverty Efforts

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The Idealist: Jeffrey Sachs and the Quest to End Poverty by Nina Munk (Doubleday 2012), 272 pages. In the idealist, the system-building visionary, there is a certain natural attractiveness, a gravitational pull centered on the strength of his convictions. We desire to be a part of his crusade, or at least to root it on, because we admire the ... [click for more]

How I Learned Not to Shovel

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The Obama administration has touted government jobs and training programs as one of the solutions to America’s high unemployment rate. Such programs can teach young people invaluable lessons — especially about the unreliability of political promises to provide kids with valuable skills. I learned a lot about the nature of government work during the summer I spent on the ... [click for more]

How I Came to Reject the Welfare State, Part 1

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Part 1 | Part 2 According to a Census Bureau announcement during the 1950s, I was growing up in the poorest city in the United States. That was Laredo, Texas, a city that borders the Rio Grande. Even though I was only a kid, that announcement struck me hard. Here I was, actually living in the poorest ... [click for more]

The Food-Stamp Juggernaut

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The number of Americans receiving food stamps is at an all-time high — and still climbing. One in seven Americans is now on food stamps. Although the food-stamp program has been officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) since 2008, because recipients received $1, $5, and $10 paper coupons (stamps) redeemable for food for so many years, the ... [click for more]
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