Ideas on Liberty

Articles from Vol. 52, No. 3, March

America's Worst Enemy
I know a woman in her mid-80s who's doing quite well for herself. She maintains a house and large yard, cooks for her grandkids, and enjoys her bridge club. Yet, given the way our culture works, it's not unthinkable that Big Brother might someday send...
A Nation of Cowards: Essays on the Ethics of Gun Control / the Origin the Second Amendment: A Documentary History of the Bill of Rights
A Nation of Cowards: Essays on the Ethics of Gun Control by Jeff Snyder Accurate Press * 2001 * 170 pages * $24.95 The Origin of the Second Amendment A Documentary History of the Bill of Rights Edited by David Young Golden Oak Books * 2001 * 838 pages...
A New Old American Concept of Political Liberty
It is odd that a libertarian should have a conception of political liberty at all. Isn't it the case that there is a permanent war between freedom and politics? Surely any reduction in the political sphere produces a concomitant increase in individual...
Beijing Erodes Hong Kong's Laissez Faire
While the rest of the world is debating the terms under which they might engage China, authorities in Beijing are busy trampling on its agreement with the British over Hong Kong's return to Chinese sovereignty. In the handover agreement, both parties...
Capital Letters
Are Displaced Workers Owed Anything? To the Editor: Professor Donald J. Boudreaux's views against government-financed adjustment assistance to workers harmed by free trade ("Compensate Workers Harmed by Trade?" November 2001) seem well-taken-except for...
Competition or Compulsion? the New Market Economy versus the New Social Engineering
Competition or Compulsion? The New Market Economy versus the New Social Engineering edited by Richard Ebeling Hillsdale College Press * 2001 * 241 pages * $14.95 There is a chameleon-like characteristic of the enemies of freedom-they keep changing their...
Do Big Corporations Control America?
Since the mid-eighteenth century the development of market-based societies in America and elsewhere, with constitutional protections of property and freedom, has had startling effects. Well over 90 percent of the improvement in the material living standards...
Escape from Leviathan: Liberty, Welfare and Anarchy Reconciled
Escape from Leviathan: Liberty, Welfare and Anarchy Reconciled by J. C. Lester St. Martin's Press * 2000 * 246 pages * $59.95 Since the author focuses entirely on criticisms of libertarianism, a less felicitous but more descriptive subtitle would be:...
Free to Be Stupid
Potomac Principles America is a great country. What better evidence is there than the opportunity for people to say the stupidest, most witless things? Many people probably think that Washington, D.C., has a monopoly on idiocy. Not true. While the nation's...
How FEE Changed My Life
President's Introduction: Since becoming president of FEE, I've met many, many supporters whose lives have changed forever because of our publications and seminars. Thanks to FEE, they've gone on to become presidents of corporations, universities, and...
It Just Ain't So!
Wartime Curbs on liberty Are Costless? In one of the most provocative opinion articles of recent times, "Security Comes Before Liberty" (Wall Street Journal, October 23, 2001), Jay Winik argued (1) that in previous national emergencies, U.S. presidents...
Japan and the Macroeconomic Debate
From The President's Desk "Economics is a very dangerous science." -JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES1 "Economics is haunted by more fallacies than any other study known to man." -HENRY HAZLITT2 There is no better example of today's heated debate over macroeconomics...
Lead Balloons
The scenario became clear about five years ago: neither the federal government nor the states could hope to raise taxes any further without a major revolt at the ballot box. At the same time, politicians hesitated to take any unpopular steps that might...
Lenin: A Biography
Lenin: A Biography by Robert Service Harvard University Press * 2000 * 592 pages * $37.50 Robert Service is University Lecturer in Modern Russian History at St. Anthony's College and a well-known specialist in twentieth-century Russian history. His most...
Nullification: The Jeffersonian Brake on Government
Thinkers in the classical-liberal tradition, to the extent that they support a coercive state at all, speak routinely of the importance of keeping government strictly limited. To that end, the United States has a written Constitution, which enumerates...
On Guests and Customers
Nowadays, whenever I go shopping I seem to be a "guest" at every store where I used to be a "customer." But what occurs between a proprietor and his patron is the opposite of what occurs between a host and his guest. In fact, treating a patron as a guest...
Parity for Mental Illness, Disparity for Mental Patients
The Therapeutic State By definition, diseases are afflictions of the body. Hence, afflictions of the mind, called "mental illnesses," are not real diseases. Organized psychiatry deals with that embarrassing fact by reasserting its age-old claim that...
PC, M.D.: How Political Correctness Is Corrupting Medicine
PC, MA: How Political Correctness Is Corrupting Medicine by Sally Satel, M.D. Basic Books * 2000 * 285 pages * $27.00 When one thinks about "political correctness" (PC), the term conjures up thoughts about left-wing politics. Sally Satel's PC, M.D.:...
Perspective: Commerce Triumphs
The day after the Taliban abandoned Kabul in Afghanistan last November, the New York Times's David Rohde reported on the quick revival of commerce in the capital. "Food appeared plentiful. A central market that lines the road leading into the city had...
Politics and Prohibition
Thoughts on Freedom Writing in the December 2001 Atlantic Monthly, Judge Richard Posner called for an end to the "war on drugs." He is among a small but growing number of eminent scholars and officials who openly advocate that the state get out of the...
Prescription Drugs and Advertising
Economics In the continuing debate over the prices of prescription drugs, Ellen Goodman, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, believes she has found the real answer to why many drugs are so expensive. The culprit, she says, is advertising, and lots of...
Protecting Precious Resources
"If our progress is to continue, it is important that we do not forget the things which have brought us thus far." -HENRY GRADY WEAVER, The Mainspring of Human Progress Ever since President George W. Bush proposed opening up parts of the federally owned...
The Cure Can Be Worse Than the Disease
Economic Notions Last month I discussed the prisoners' dilemma, in which everyone is motivated to behave in a way that leaves everyone worse off. One can appreciate market exchange by understanding how private property and voluntary exchange eliminate...
The Man Who Ate Hamtramck's Government
Ideas and Consequences In November 2000 Louis Schimmel swept away the government of Hamtramck, Michigan, and literally took over the city-lock, stock, and barrel. Appointed by Governor John Engler under a 1990 law that allows the state to assume temporary...
The Other Paradigm of Consumer Protection
One question that comes up in nearly every session of my business information systems class is, "Is it safe to do business on the Internet?" My answer has always been yes, but heretofore my reasoning has been that the encryption routines used by many...
The Virtues of Sweatshops
Current issues An acquaintance said to me the other day how appalling it is to see so many Americans revel in the gifts received during the holidays. "We should be ashamed of ourselves," he lamented. "Most of this stuff was manufactured in sweatshops."...
"We Can't Get Rich Doing Each Other's Laundry"
The Pursuit of Happiness Since World War II, manufacturing employment as a fraction of total employment has declined steadily. In the middle of the war, it was over 40 percent of the work force. By 1966 it dipped below 30 percent for the first time....
While America Sleeps: Self-Delusion, Military Weakness, and the Threat to Peace Today / Present Dangers: Crisis and Opportunity in American Foreign Policy and Defense Policy
While America Sleeps: Self-Delusion, Military Weakness, and the Threat to Peace Today by Donald Kagan and Frederick W. Kagan St. Martin's Press * 2000 * 483 pages * $32.50 Present Dangers: Crisis and Opportunity in American Foreign Policy and Defense...
Why Children Are Dying in the Nation's Capital
The recent anxiety about terrorism seems to have led the public to look to government with a new confidence, as if it were a father figure capable of taking care of us. Before we get too enthusiastic, however, we ought to remind ourselves what we have...
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