Freeman

A monthly journal of liberal and progressive politics. Articles include historical analysis, original research, and critical essays.

Articles from Vol. 60, No. 4, May

Anti-Populists Made America Great? It Just Ain't So!
New York Times neoconservative columnist David Brooks dislikes populism ("The Populist Addiction," January 25; www.tinyurl. com/y9yahha) . "Trust your betters and criticize not their deeds," he says in effect. After all, when you become a billionaire,...
Big Government's Cronies
Many window-making companies struggle because of the recession's effect on home building. But one little window company, Serious Materials, is "booming," says Fortune. "On a roll," according to Inc. magazine, which put Serious s CEO on its cover, with...
Common versus Government Property
A central contribution of Elinor Ostrom, which earned her a share of the 2009 Nobel Prize in economics, was to reclaim the commons as a legitimate form of property. (For more detail, see Peter Boettke's December 2009 Freeman article, www.tinyurl. com/ydnaodo.)...
Corruption in Government? Shocking!
It's funny how the people who push hardest for government intervention in more and more areas are the first to gripe that everything has become politicized. What were they expecting? Did they forget that government is a political institution?Paul Krugman...
Do We Really Want a Right to Health Care?
Do you have a right to health care? People want a right to health care because they think it will guarantee them the services they need. But might obtaining health care as a political right rather than a market commodity have a downside?The government...
Football and Spontaneous Orders
One of the most profound and difficult insights of the economic way of thinking is that free association can produce complex, rulegoverned institutions and social orders that no single person or small group designed. Professional sports illustrates this...
Forgotten Lines
In the January 23, 2010, Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle, one of the clues was "Sassy reply to criticism." The answer: "It's a free country." Why do I find this so striking? For two reasons. First, when I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s, not many people...
GDP: Who Needs It?
"For so it is, oh my Lard God, I measure it, but what it is that I measure I do not know. "- St. AugustineGross Domestic Product (GDP) gets a lot of attention these days. It's fair game for bloggers, talking heads, perhaps your local barber. While most...
Government: More Incompetent Than Ever
Most intellectuals support big government, and millions of people depend on it. So why, with thousands of laws, millions of employees working to carry out those laws, and trillions of dollars spent, is it in trouble?The most popular big-government programs...
How We'll Know When We've Won
"Are we winning?" That's a query I hear almost every time I speak to an authence about liberty and the battle of ideas. Everyone wants to know if we should be upbeat or distraught about the course of events, as if the verdict should determine whether...
I, Slide Rule
I am a slide rule. For nearly three and a half centuries, my ancestors and I commanded the western scientific and engineering worlds. We could be found in humble shops, helping carpenters reckon areas and volumes; we fought on battlefields calculating...
Obama and the Bankers: "Doin' What Comes Natur'lly"
Speaking to a very receptive Elyria, Ohio, crowd a few months ago, President Obama took off the gloves and promised that he was ready to fight to provide more jobs, improved education, and security from the threat of bankruptcy for homeowners. Turning...
Obama and the Public
Barack Obama says the people have a growing sense that "something is broken" in Washington. He attributes this to hyper-partisanship and a consequent lack of civility, and thinks public disillusionment can be reversed through better manners, bipartisanship,...
Sowing and Reaping Devastation in Haiti
Pictures and accounts of Haiti's earthquake devastation remind me of a November 1987 National Geographic photograph of Haiti's border with the Dominican Republic - the two nations "share" the Caribbean island Hispaniola.The photo showed a heavily forested...
The Census:Vehicle for Social Engineering
In his book Seeing Like a State, James Scott commented on the role played by census data in the rise of the modern State: "If we imagine a state that has no reliable means of enumerating and locating its population, gauging its wealth, and mapping its...
The Shame of Medicine: Acquittal by Psychiatry
When a pathologist gives expert testimony in a murder case, he may be able to say why the victim died. The pathologist-physician would not be expected to express an opinion about the defendant's guilt or innocence; were he to express an opinion about...
Whole-Body Imaging: Intrusion without Security
Every time the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) fails to protect aviation, as it did when it allowed Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to board a plane last Christmas Day, it punishes passengers with further restrictions and humiliations. Now the...