Ideas on Liberty

Articles from Vol. 52, No. 9, September

A Question of Intent: A Great American Battle with a Deadly Industry
A Question of Intent: A Great American Battle with a Deadly Industry by David Kessler PublicAffairs * 2001 * 492 pages * $27.50 cloth; $16.50 paperback Reviewed by Sam Kazman How should we regard the tobacco industry? Specifically, how should we view...
Colossus: How the Corporation Changed America
Colossus: How the Corporation Changed America by Jack Beatty, editor Broadway Books * 2001 * 506 pages * $30.00 Reviewed by Burton Folsom, Jr. "The American boy of 1854," Henry Adams observed, "stood nearer to the year 1 than the year 1900." A major...
Does Government Always Have to Grow?
One of the benefits of historical knowledge is that it brings perspective. Things that seem obvious look quite different when you realize that they are of recent origin. Things that seem inevitable do not appear so when you look at their past. One of...
Education and the First Amendment
In June the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that school vouchers do not violate the First Amendment's prohibition of the establishment of religion. The case arose out of Cleveland's voucher program. As would be expected, both pro- and anti-voucher forces have...
Equality and Capitalism
Thoughts on Freedom Probably the most common charge against capitalism is that it creates wealth and income inequality. The frequency of this allegation testifies to the fact that it strikes a chord with large numbers of people. It's so believable. After...
George Westinghouse: Problem-Solver
Economic History One man, more than any other, made possible the great network of railroad lines that connected American cities and made the U.S. economy a truly national one. That man wasn't Cornelius Vanderbilt or James J. Hill or any of the other...
How FEE Changed My Life
President's introduction: From time to time in FEE Today we publish articles by prominent individuals whose lives have been dramatically influenced by FEE's seminars and publications. This month I've asked Mark Isaacs to tell his story. Reverend Isaacs...
How's the Third World Doing?
The Third World is in trouble. Standards of living are plummeting, while the West is getting richer. Nearly everyone seems to believe it. The left wants to believe it as a justification for global socialism. Racists want to believe it because it "proves"...
Investor Politics: The New Force That Will Transform American Business, Government and Politics in the Twenty-First Century
Investor Politics: The New Force That Will Transform American Business, Government and Politics in the Twenty-First Century by John Hood Templeton Foundation Press * 2001 * 308 pages * $24.95 Reviewed by David L. Littmann What better way to strengthen...
It Just Ain't So!
IDEAS ON LIBERTY Government and Business Are the Same? "Let us now praise slothful, inefficient, bloated government," reads the opening of an April 30 Washington Post essay, "When the Blue Chips Are Down, in Gov We Trust." "Let us now rejoice in the...
Living with Mass Transit
The foes of the automobile have long sung the praises of mass transit as the savior of Mother Earth. The automobile pollutes and enables human beings to spread out over the surface of the earth, paving over an alarming amount of green land. Automobiles...
Michael Bellesiles and Guns in the Early Republic
Professor Michael A. Bellesiles's Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture makes the claim that hunting with guns was rare in America before the 1830s.1 According to Bellesiles, few Americans hunted, few Americans wanted guns, and few Americans...
Never Enough?
Potomac Principles President Bush's proposed $48 billion military spending increase for next year exceeds what any other nation devotes to the military. In five years the Bush administration would have the government spend $100 billion more annually...
Only One Place of Redress: African Americans, Labor Regulations, and the Courts from Reconstruction to the New Deal
Only One Place of Redress: African Americans, Labor Regulations, and the Courts from Reconstruction to the New Deal by David E. Bernstein Duke University Press * 2001 * 189 pages * $39.95 Reviewed by Charles W Baird Most black people believe that history...
Plunder in Argentina
On December 3, 2001, the government of Argentina banned its citizens from withdrawing their bank deposits. They amounted to US$70 billion, one-and-a-half times the national budget, more than half the country's public debt. This was not an isolated act,...
Reassessing the Presidency: The Rise of the Executive State and the Decline of Freedom
Reassessing the Presidency: The Rise of the Executive State and the Decline of Freedom edited by John V Denson Ludwig von Mises Institute * 2001 * 745 pages * $35.00 Reviewed by George C Leef I magine that there is an equivalent of the Academy Awards...
Robert Nozick, Philospher of Liberty
Twenty-eight years ago a Harvard philosophy professor named Robert Nozick did something unthinkable in polite intellectual society: he published a book defending libertarianism. In 1974 libertarian ideas had virtually no presence within the academic...
Straight Talk about Suicide
The Therapeutic State Suicide-like accident, illness, death, poverty, persecution, and war-has always been with us and has always been regarded as a part of life. Believing that a person's life belongs to God, not himself, the Jews declared it to be...
The Bard Never Said "Click It or Ticket"
I'm cruising down one of the imperial four-lane highways; paved, drained, and bridged by the tax dollars I pay to the federal government and the Great State of Alabama. I'm buoyant because He who wrapped the earth, the United States, and the great State...
The Blight of Eminent Domain
Government My sister-in-law came back from a recent trip to Poland outraged at how that former communist country treats its citizens. An acquaintance of hers owns a beautiful home in the Polish countryside and is now involved in an ugly court battle...
The Economics of Ecology: Angry Planet or Beautiful World?
"The bright promise of a new millennium is now clouded by unprecedented threats to humanity's future." -WORLDWATCH INSTITUTE, 20001 "We know that the environment is not in good shape... My claim is that things are improving." -BJORN LOMBORG2 Bjorn Lomborg...
The Federal Prison Industries Empire
Imagine a company that pays its workers as little as 25 cents an hour and often charges more for its goods than any of its comPetitors, even though it pays no taxes or dividends. The marketplace would put such a firm out of business before it got off...
The Fraud of Seat-Belt Laws
On the promise of reducing highway fatalities and auto insurance rates, seat-belt laws began to pass in state legislatures throughout the United States beginning in 1985. While such laws had been proposed before 1985, they were rejected by most state...
Underdeveloping Indiana
The people of the 50 states of the United States (5 percent of the world's population) produce 31 percent of the world's gross product of goods and services. Think of the United States as a world in itself, composed of 50 countries with open borders...
Weapon of Mass Distraction
PERSPECTIVE In 1795 James Madison wrote: "Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies,...
We Doubled Our Summer Seminars at FEE
In keeping with our goal, "Double Our Efforts in 2002," we have doubled the number of student/teacher seminars this summer. These include the FEE Course on Sound Money and Free Markets, June 16-21; Advanced Austrian Economics (co-sponsored with George...
What Do Farmers Want from Me?
You'd think in a democracy that the greater the number of people on your side of an issue, the more likely it will be that you'll get your way. But it ain't necessarily so. As Mancur Olson, Gary Becker, and others have pointed out, in politics, small...
Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do about It
Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do About It by James P. Gray Temple University Press * 2001 * 288 pages * $18.95 Reviewed by Paul Armentano Among regular readers of this publication, the notion that America's drug war brings more harm than...