Ideas on Liberty

Articles from Vol. 52, No. 11, November

Are Dietary Guidelines a Public Good?
Two federal agencies, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), have published Dietary Guidelines for Americans every five years since 1980. Those guidelines, the latest version of which appeared...
Capital Letters
Do Airlines Have the Right to Search Passengers? To the Editor: I recently read James Otteson's article, "This Is America?" in the July 2002 Ideas on Liberty. It is my opinion that an airline employee's demand for a photo ID is in no way a violation...
Cigarette Taxes Are Hazardous to Our Health
Ideas and Consequences "In the great chess-board of human society," wrote Adam Smith in The Theory of Moral Sentiments, "every single piece has a principle of motion of its own, altogether different from that which the legislature might chuse to impress...
Civil Rights and Public Accommodations: The Heart of Atlanta Motel and McClung Cases
Civil Rights and Public Accommodations: The Heart of Atlanta Motel and McClung Cases by Richard C. Cortner University Press of Kansas * 2001 * 240 pages * $29.95 Reviewed by David E. Bernstein Title II of the 1964 Civil Rights Act bans discrimination...
Concentrated Philosophies
Some years ago, while visiting the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, I saw la bumper sticker that got my attention. It was on the back bumper of an old Volkswagen Bug. It read: "PEOPLE, NOT PROFITS." In one important respect, those words remind me...
Crypto: How the Code Rebels Beat the Government-Saving Privacy in the Digital Age
Crypto: How the Code Rebels Beat the Government-Saving Privacy in the Digital Age by Steven Levy Viking * 2001 * 356 pages * $25.95 Steven Levy's Crypto describes how a small band of high-tech geeks and others defeated the federal government's efforts...
Does Court Time-Saving Cost Liberty?
The ability of ordinary American citizens to appeal unjust and arbitrary government decisions is being steadily eroded by the federal court system. In the name of efficiency and cost-saving, courts have been discarding time-proven practices such as hearing...
Dworkin's Unbounded Legalism
For a number of reasons, libertarians should be interested in the legal philosophy of Ronald Dworkin.1 Of course, he is a leftist who seeks to implement the American "liberal" agenda through judicial activity. But it is not often realized that the legal...
Ethics as Social Science: The Moral Philosophy of Social Cooperation
Ethics as Social Science: The Moral Philosophy of Social Cooperation by Leland Yeager Edward Elgar e 2001 . 352 pages e $160.00 Professor Leland Yeager has had a long and distinguished career as an economist. The focus of his economic research has been...
Franklin Roosevelt and the Greatest Economic Myth of the Twentieth Century
Textbooks galore point out that President Franklin Roosevelt left a permanent stamp on the American economy. But no textbook in print explains how Roosevelt promoted what is probably the greatest economic myth of the twentieth century: the view that...
Give Thanks for Freedom
FEE TODAY Editor's Note: This month we share a classic Thanksgiving message, written by Bettina Bien Greaves in 1987. The Pilgrims are usually credited with having celebrated the first Thanksgiving in this hemisphere. And rightly so. However, the custom...
Implementing the Constitution
Implementing the Constitution by Richard H. Fallon, Jr. Harvard University Press * 2001 * 137 pages * $37.50 Reviewed by George C. Leef Everyone likes to claim that the Constitution supports his preferred ideas on the role of government. Libertarians,...
It Just Ain't So!
In Bureaucracy We Trust? What makes the American capitalist system, as opposed to the "capitalism" practiced in other countries, work so well? If your answer includes flexible prices or relatively low taxes, secure property rights or efficient capital...
Meet the Interns
Since its founding in the 1940s the Foundation for Economic Education has influenced hundreds of thousands of students, teachers, and business people worldwide. FEE continues to promote free-market ideas internationally with its monthly magazine, Ideas...
Mental Illness: From Shame to Pride
The Therapeutic State In the nineteenth century people were ashamed and embarrassed by their mentally ill relatives. This was especially true for parents who had a mentally ill child and for adult children who had a parent incarcerated in an insane asylum....
Paradigms, Contrarians, and Keynes
In the field of ideas, why are dramatic new visions of truth so often met with vehement opposition from a society's intellectuals-the very men of the mind who are most dedicated to the pursuit and demonstration of truth? How can today's intellectuals-so...
Perspective: When Will They Ever Learn?
Many years ago Ludwig von Mises wrote a thin book called A Critique of Interventionism, which argued that government regulation of economic activity invariably causes problems-even from the point of view of the regulators-and thus creates the excuse...
Private Planes: Freedom, Security, and Responsibility
He says it takes a private plane But you could never get back to your feet again Unless you break the ball and chain He says "Now, it's a private plane." -"Private Plane," Husker Du, '80s punk rock band In the months since September 11 the American government...
Privatizing Airline Safety and Security
The events of 9/11 underscore the importance of improving the safety and security of air travel. The government's response to the terrorist attacks employs a command-and-control approach. That approach ought to be questioned. After all, it was the Federal...
Psychiatry's Unholy Trinity-Fraud, Fear, and Force: A Personal Account
In 1959 a revolution took place in Cuba, the Cold War was in full throttle, the Eisenhower era was drawing to a close, and I moved to San Francisco where I would soon find myself in a hellish world of imprisonment and torture. Born and raised in Brooklyn...
Teetering on the Democratic Edge
Potomac Principles ANKARA, Turkey-"The main obstacle to democracy is not Islam, but Kemalism," says Atilla Yayla, the unassuming head of Turkey's Association for Liberal Thinking (ALT). While Turkey has done better than any other Muslim country in mixing...
The New Americans: How the Melting Pot Can Work Again
The New Americans: How the Melting Pot Can Work Again by Michael Barone Regnery Publishing * 2001 * 338 pages * $27.95 During the past decade there has been a large inflow of immigrants into the United States, especially from Latin America and Asia,...
The Wrecking Ball and the Prosperity Tower
Thoughts on Freedom The economic question of greatest importance to Adam Smith remains the economic question of greatest importance today: what causes wealth? What conditions best encourage economic growth and widespread prosperity? The general answer...
Unions Lose Again in Oklahoma
The Pursuit of Happiness In my February column I celebrated Oklahoma's new right-to-work (RTW) law, which was adopted by voters 54-46 percent in September last year. A RTW law prevents unions with monopoly-- representation privileges from forcing nonmembers...
Wilson's Ghost: Reducing the Risk of Conflict, Killing, and Catastrophe in the 21st Century
Wilson's Ghost Reducing the Risk of Conflict, Killing, and Catastrophe in the 21st Century by Robert S. McNamara and James G. Blight PublicAffairs . 2001 . 240 pages . $24.00 Despite the end of the Cold War, the world remains a dangerous place, as vividly...
Would You Buy a New Car from Procrustes?
During his remarkable adventures, the Greek hero Theseus ranged through beautiful vistas, formed valuable alliances, and battled incomprehensible monsters from beyond the edge of creation. One of the most horrifying was a determined sociopath named Procrustes,...