Ideas on Liberty

Articles from Vol. 53, No. 6, June

Bastiat, Socialism, and the Blank Slate
It is evident," the French economist and parliamentarian Frederic Bastiat wrote a century and a half ago, "that the socialists set out in quest of an artificial social order only because they deemed the natural order to be either bad or inadequate; and...
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Born Capitalist: Free Markets and Hominid Evolution
The generic term for bipedal apes, including Homo sapiens or modern humans, is hominid. Since the publication of the first edition of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection in 1859, scholars have often speculated when,...
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Capital Letters
Poor Definitions of "Deflation" and "Inflation"To the Editor:Contrary to Stephen Davies's March column, "The History of 'Deflation,'" traditionally and historically, "inflation" referred to a "large" increase in the quantity of money, "deflation" to...
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China's Forgotten Industrial Revolution
We live in a world that has been shaped by a process that began some 250 years ago in northwestern Europe. We often call it the Industrial Revolution because one of its most dramatic features was the appearance of industrial manufacture with the rise...
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Competition Is Cooperation
Much animosity toward capitalism among academic critics can be accounted for by a distaste for competition. The critics just don't like it. It seems so rough, so uncaring, so vulgar. And laboring under the misapprehension that its opposite is cooperation,...
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Dependent on D.C.: The Rise of Federal Control over the Lives of Ordinary Americans
Dependent on D.C.: The Rise of Federal Control Over the Lives of Ordinary Americansby Charlotte TwightSt. Martin's Press/Palgrave [middot] 2002 [middot] 512 pages [middot] $26.95 hardcover; $17.95 paperbackCharlotte Twight has written an excellent book...
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Dot-Kids 'R' Us
In children's stories a problem can often be solved just by uttering the right magic words. Cinderella can become a glamorous debutante with a "Bibbidi bobbidiboo." Harry Potter's friends can get past a locked door with an "Alohomora." Real life is quite...
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It Just Ain't So!
Banning Handguns Would Save Lives?A Los Angeles Times opinion piece by Jennifer Price last February, "Gun Lobby's Perfect Aim," asks: why not ban handguns? She was writing in anger and sorrow over the murder of her brother David and his wife, by the...
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Liberty for Women: Freedom and Feminism in the Twenty-First Century
Liberty for Women: Freedom and Feminism in the Twenty-First Centuryedited by Wendy McElroyIvan R. Dee [middot] 2002 [middot] 353 pages [middot] $30.00 hardcover; $18.95 paperbackAdmittedly, men and women are different. Women are from Venus, men from...
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Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt
Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guiltby Paul E. GottfriedUniversity of Missouri Press [middot] 2002 [middot] 176 pages [middot] $29.95Recently the book The Skeptical Environmentalist by Bjorn Lomborg was denounced by the Danish Committee for Scientific...
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Of Human Hypocrisy
A scene in W. Somerset Maugham's beautiful novel Of Human Bondage captures the hypocrisy and pretense of much of what passes today for enlightened thought. Philip Carey, the novel's protagonist, invites a dying friend, Cronshaw, to spend his final days...
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Profits versus Love
A few years back we thought about building a deck or a porch on the back of our house. But we decided against it when the estimates started coming in. They were about double what the architect had told us it would cost. Double! Had the architect misled...
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Project Labor Agreements: Economic Illiteracy 101
Perhaps it's the result of a dumbing-down of the American citizenry, but these days economic debates are waged with the most illogical premises.For instance, in recent weeks news stories have discussed plans by some California cities to use tax dollars...
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Richard Ebeling Named President of FEE
Professor Richard M. Ebeling, Ph.D., chairman of the department of economics and business administration at Hillsdale College, is the new president of the Foundation for Economic Education.Ebeling, 53, has been the Ludwig von Mises Professor of Economies...
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Robert Nozick
Robert Nozickedited by David SchmidtzCambridge University Press [middot] 2002 [middot] 230 pages [middot] $60.00 hardcover; $20.00 paperbackThis is a collection of original essays on the philosophical work of Robert Nozick, who died in the spring of...
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The Open-Endedness of Knowledge
I intend to explore in this article some aspects of the uniqueness which is FEE, and to express my fervent hope and confidence that such uniqueness will continue to permeate every nook and cranny of FEE's activities in the years to come. I will begin...
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The Regulatory Conundrum
When Robert Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television, wanted a $190,000 Ferrari 360 Spider, he went to a German dealer, since it would have taken two to three years to obtain one from a domestic dealer. But it had to be modified to meet U.S....
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There's No Such Thing as a Nonprofit Organization
Four legs good, two legs bad," chanted the sheep in Orwell's 1945 satire Animal Farm. In Canada today the people are chanting something slightly different: "Non-profit good, profit bad."Take Medicare, for instance. A recent widely publicized, government-commissioned...
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The Road to Liberty: Persuasion and Aggression
I would like to highlight two diametrically opposed ideas that I believe can help clarify our notion of liberty. Any specific human action can be located somewhere on a scale between the extremes of pure persuasion and pure aggression. I am not contending...
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The Skeptic: A Life of H. L. Mencken
The Skeptic: A Life of H. L Menckenby Terry TeachoutHarperCollins [middot] 2002 [middot] 349 pages plus notes and index [middot] $29.95 hardcoverNearly half a century since his death, H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) continues to fascinate. What attracts so...
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The True Meaning of Patriotism
Patriotism these days is like Christmas-lots of people caught up in a festive atmosphere replete with lights and spectacles. We hear reminders about "the true meaning" of Christmas-and we may even mutter a few guilt-ridden words to that effect ourselves-but...
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The Unsustainable Politics of "Natural Capitalism"
In their bestseller Natural Capitalism, a book so heartily praised by environmentalists and business executives that its American edition sold out before its publication date, authors Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, and L. Hunter Lovins indict traditional...
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The U.S. Embargo on Cuba: A Red Herring
An erroneous assumption plagues the now decades-old debate about the U.S. embargo on Cuba. Debaters, both pro and con, take it as given that Cubans would be inundated with things American should the embargo be lifted. Nothing could be further from the...
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To Subsidize or Not to Subsidize
PERSPECTIVEAs a fan of Gilbert and Sullivan, I participate in an Internet e-mail forum known as Savoynet, where everything about the famous librettist and composer of late Victorian comic opera comes under discussion. Recently a forum participant lamented...
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Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the American Rich
Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the American Richby Kevin PhillipsBroadway Books [middot] 2002 [middot] 472 pages [middot] $29.95 hardcoverKevin Phillips, a Republican populist, keeps writing the same book.In several bestsellers in the 1990s,...
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Why Wages Used to Be So Low
A widespread misconception about the market economy is that it was responsible for low wage rates from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution through the early twentieth century. One answer to that claim, as all respectable economic historians now...
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