Ideas on Liberty

Articles from Vol. 50, No. 11, November

Adam Smith: Moral Philosopher
Adam Smith was not solely an economist, though that is almost exclusively how he is known today. His Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (WN) is one of the most important books in the Western tradition. Aside from ushering in...
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Capital Letters
Dog Day Afternoon To the Editor: I recently read Andrew Morriss's article concerning Missoula's trail markers (August 2000). Mr. Morriss might be interested to know that he helped pay for the ten markers, which were funded by a $30,000 federal grant....
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Constitutional Protection of Economic Liberty
The Supreme Court has been deliberately neglectful of traditional American economic liberties. With the exception of some important protections for property produced in the last 15 years (to be considered later in this article), economic liberties have...
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Creativity and Criminality: The Two Faces of Responsibility
"No productiveness of the highest kind, no remarkable discovery, no great thought which bears fruit and has results is in the power of anyone .... Man must consider them as unexpected gifts from above, as pure children of God .... The process savors...
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Enemies of the Automobile
The automobile age is approximately 100 years old. With the approach of a new century and new millennium there could be no better time to celebrate the automobile for its profound contributions to human happiness. Unfortunately, automobiles have enemies....
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Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945
Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 by David Kennedy Oxford University Press 1999 936 pages $39.95 "It is clear that anybody who deviates a hair's breadth from the Roosevelt line is in trouble, not only from the professional...
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Freeing the Freeways
Sitting in rush-hour traffic every working day of your life is enough to make you forget how much highways used to represent liberation. That's why a popular exhibition that ran recently at the National Building Museum, titled "See the U.S.A.: Automobile...
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Funding Science in America: Congress, Universities, and the Politics of the Academic Port Barrel
Funding Science in America: Congress, Universities, and the Politics of the Academic Pork Barrel by James D. Savage Cambridge University Press * 1999 * 256 pages * $49.95 Taxpayer funding of science in America is pretty meager compared to total federal...
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High Gasoline Prices Are Your Fault? It Just Ain't So!
Who should be blamed for the high oil and gasoline prices? OPEC? The oil companies? The government? According to the New York Times's Floyd Norris, if you chose any of those you would be wrong. Writing on June 23, Mr. Norris places all the blame for...
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How the Theory of Comparative Advantage Saved My Marriage
My neighbor is a kindly man with the pink and white complexion of a healthy turnip-and the generosity of a squash plant in dark loam. He has two green thumbs and big hands with long fingers obviously designed to pluck weeds. Like most southerners, there's...
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Illusions of Prosperity: America's Working Families in an Age of Economic Insecurity
Illusions of Prosperity: America's Working Families in an Age of Economic Insecurity by Joel Blau Oxford University Press * 1999 * 272 pages * $30.00 When Joel Blau looks at the United States today, he sees a population of mostly poor, confused, frightened...
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Incentives and Disincentives: They Really Do Matter!
If you encourage something, you get more of it. If you discourage something, you get less of it." Whoever first said that deserves a medal for putting to words one of the most profoundly important elements of human nature. Human beings respond-often...
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"I Support Coercion and I Vote"
People place a wide variety of slogans on the bumpers of their cars, and the messages those bumper stickers convey range from the ridiculous to the sublime. I've read many a bumper sticker in my commute, and I've come to the studied opinion that there...
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Money, Greed, and Risk: Why Financial Crises and Crashes Happen
Money, Greed, and Risk: Why Financial Crises and Crashes Happen by Charles R. Morris Times Books 1999 224 pages $25.00 The reader of Money, Greed, and Risk is informed that the book's author, Charles R. Morris, has been a partner in a consulting firm,...
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Peanut Butter, Education, and Markets
Have you ever thought of petitioning Congress about the quality or quantity of the peanut butter you eat? Have you ever thought of creating a reform movement around peanut butter? Or have you ever wondered why there isn't a federal department of peanut...
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Psychiatry in a Communist Utopia
I recently read a book that should shock freedom-loving and civil-liberty-loving readers, even the libertarians, Objectivists, and Americans of other political persuasions who (thanks to Dr. Thomas Szasz) have come to be skeptical and even critical of...
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Public Finance and Public Choice: Two Contrasting Visions of the State
Public Finance and Public Choice: Two Contrasting Visions of the State by James M. Buchanan and Richard A. Musgrave MIT Press * 1999 * 272 pages * $27.50 So there I was in the late '60s, an undergraduate economics major at BYU, a very conservative institution....
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Sacrificing Lives for Profits
I pointed out in my last column that despite what people commonly say about how human life is priceless, they put a price on their lives every day with their actions. People take chances that shorten their life expectancies to do things that are fun,...
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Shameless in California
A year ago October the California legislature and Governor Gray Davis enacted SB645, which empowers unions with monopoly bargaining privileges at California State University and the University of California to extract monthly fees from the paychecks...
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The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality, Updated
"In the excitement over the unfolding of his scientific and technical powers, modern man has built a system of production that ravishes nature and a type of society that mutilates man." -E. F. SCHUMACHER1 In 1956, Ludwig von Mises countered myriad arguments...
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The Clinton Regulatory Miasma
It has been a sad spectacle: President Bill Clinton, desperate to salvage his scandallaced legacy, crisscrossing the nation proposing new spending programs and regulatory initiatives with wild abandon. He seems determined to jettison perhaps his one...
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The Economic Virtues of Federalism
The political benefits of federalism as a mechanism for dispersing and restraining governmental power are well understood by students of public policy. Often overlooked, however, are the economic benefits. Take the federal government's Community Oriented...
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The Government's Assault on Golf
Tour professional Casey Martin cheats at golf. And he does so with the government's help through a particularly bad federal law and judicial overreach. Since late 1997 Martin has been riding in a golf cart, which is against both the rules of the Professional...
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The Return to a Global Economy
If we want to understand the current advance of global capitalism, it is worth remembering that a liberal international economic order has actually arisen twice, first at the end of the nineteenth century and now at the end of the twentieth.' In many...
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The Titanic Story: Hard Choices Dangerous Decisions
The Titanic Story: Hard Choices, Dangerous Decisions by Stephen Cox Open Court * 1999 * 152 pages * $16.95 The story of the sinking of the Titanic is a monumental drama that will be told and retold for centuries to come. In recent years we have seen...
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They Don't Make Revolutions like They Used To
Another national election is here and will soon be gone. When you consider the resources sunk into elections, it's remarkable how little they accomplish. Shakespeare's phrase "sound and fury, signifying nothing" comes to mind. The latest evidence for...
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Two Radicalisms
Is radicalism good or bad? The answer depends on what is meant by "radicalism." Radicalism is good when it means consistently adhering to principles. Among my principles, for example, is that adults who respect the rights of others deserve to live in...
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