Join our mailing list

* indicates required

Liberty and Power

first 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 last


  • The Economics of Marriage and Divorce: Those who get hitched are more likely to get rich

    by Wendy McElroy

    Why are married people richer and divorced people poorer?    Two factors contribute heavily to the financial decline surrounding divorce: losing the inherent wealth-creation aspects of marriage, and State-imposed costs such as alimony and “the divorce industry.”  It is therefore not surprising to find out that it is government's control over marriage that is the culprit.

  • The NSA Nation Moves to the Next Level

    by Wendy McElroy

    Data collection moves to the next level as DoD looks to computer programs to asses risks and tipping points for large-scale civil unrest.  One such project is called the Minerva Initiative after the Roman goddess of war. 

  • Relationship of Politics to Morality

    by Wendy McElroy

    In a much circulated article entitled "Against Libertarian Brutalism," the libertarian luminary Jeffrey Tucker divided the movement into two camps--Brutalists and Humanitarians-- that sparked massive infighting.  Brutalist vs Humanitarian libertarians? What is the difference? Wendy McElroy weighs in on the debates.


  • Open Source, Sexist? Spare Me.

    by Wendy McElroy

    I think few statements have struck me, lately, as more annoyingly ignorant, than the comment that open-source software is "sexist." Women, it seems, are underrepresented in the open-source developer community. Women are "excluded" from the community, because it's "unappealing." It's another bastion of male "privilege."

  • Classifying America: Government’s Power to Define Is the Power to Discriminate

    by Jonathan J. Bean

    Frederick Douglass’s colorblind self-definition epitomized that element of the classical liberal tradition of civil rights—one that even the NAACP held to as late as the 1960s when it rejected all government racial classifications as a step backward toward discrimination.
    Yet here we are today with racial classifications that conceal the divisions within the so-called “races.” To define a group as eligible for benefits or preferences is to exclude those outside the group of the same treatment. Equal protection of the law goes out the window as individuals or business in government-defined preferential groups benefit from “affirmative discrimination” while those not-so-defined suffer.

  • Triumph and Trashing of the Civil Rights Act

    by Jonathan J. Bean

    July 2 marked the 50th anniversary of the most famous Civil Rights Act in U.S. history. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 promised justice for all, regardless of race, color, creed, sex or national origin. The plain meaning of the act: “Nondiscrimination. Period.” The law was a triumph of colorblind individualism over group-based discrimination. Tragically, policymakers have spent the past 50 years trashing the act’s meaning by reviving group discrimination.

  • Robert Higgs Discusses Effects of WWI on Tom Woods Show

    by Robert Higgs

    Robert Higgs appeared on the Tom Woods radio show. Higgs discusses the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I and its devastating effects on people and government.  A recording of the show is inside.

  • A Hundred Years of War

    by Anthony Gregory

    The worst regimes and cataclysms of the first half of the twentieth century had roots in the international war that began a hundred years ago today. It was the beginning of three decades of unspeakable suffering, what some scholars collectively call the hemocylsm—World War I, the Soviet atrocities, World War II and its atrocities from the Holocaust to the atomic bombings. These terrors of course gave way to the Cold War, the fears of MAD, the mutually reinforcing cycle of violence between Islamic fundamentalism and Western imperialism.

  • Historical Revision and the alleged “myth” of an exploitable Phillips Curve

    by Phillip Magness

    The history of thought is an inherently tricky evidentiary exercise, as it typically involves a need to discern intention from written words left by the subjects in question. Its better practitioners attempt to understand the parameters of a particular decision or argument by weighing the available evidence around it and interpreting it in light of the context in which it was made. Typically implicit is a willingness to follow that evidence where it leads, even when the implication is unexpected or, in cases involving thinkers of prominence, an unwelcome mark on their reputation. 
    But when the historical enterprise itself begins with an act of simply casting about for bullet points to get around a past figure’s shortcomings, the whole enterprise quickly devolves into counter-historical territory – into exercises in exonerative history that attempt to parse a past figure away from something embarrassing, or something that simply “went wrong” in ways that defied his intentions or expectations. Such seems to be the case with a relatively new and unusual approach to the contributions of economist Paul A. Samuelson as they pertain to the Phillips Curve. 

  • Ernst Friedrich’s “War against War” (1924)

    by David Hart

    Ernst Friedrich (1894-1967), the German socialist anarchist and ardent anti-war advocate, put together a shocking collection of photographs of the death and destruction which took place on an unprecedented scale during WW1 – Krieg dem Kriege! Guerre a la Guerre! War against War! Oorlog aan den Oorlog! (Berlin : “Freie Jugend”, (1924). The photographs and illustrations highlight the destructive nature of the industrialization of war with the hopes that future generations would be hesitant to waste human lives on such a massive scale; however, I show that despite Friedrich's attempt nothing has been learned.

  • The History of Paul Krugman’s own Alarmist “Inflation Addiction”

    by Phillip Magness

    Frequenters of the Krug-o-sphere will recognize a familiar theme of lambasting what he sees as inflationary alarmism. Krugman usually employs this critique to dismiss criticisms of either deficit finance or expansionary monetary policies, both of which comport well with his Keynesian economic outlook and his own political preferences on matters such as federal spending.  From a historical perspective however, Krugman’s position derives from an unusual source.

  • Flee Rather Than Stand Your Ground

    by Wendy McElroy

    The Italian Marxist and philosopher Paolo Virno was imprisoned in 1979 for his affiliation with the Red Brigades. The organization attempted to create a revolutionary state through acts of violent destabilization such as bank robbery. While in prison, Virno had a political epiphany which he later expressed as, "Nothing is less passive than the act of fleeing, of exiting." Although little else about Virno may be politically admirable, his strategic insight is intriguing.

    "Fleeing" as a political act sounds paradoxical to North American ears, which are used to hearing of resistance in terms of "stand your ground" and confrontation. By fleeing, however, Virno means an "engaged withdrawal or exit."

    Perhaps the best way to understand what Virno means is to consider the problem to which he believed "fleeing" was the best solution.


  • Jane Cobden: Carrying on Her Father's Work

    by Sheldon Richman

    Among libertarians and classical liberals, the name Richard Cobden (1804–1865) evokes admiration and applause. His activities — and successes — on behalf of freedom, free markets, and government retrenchment are legendary. Most famously, he cofounded — with John Bright — the Anti–Corn Law League, which successfully campaigned for repeal of the import tariffs on grain. Those trade restrictions had made food expensive for England’s working class while enriching the landed aristocracy....

    Cobden’s legacy is much appreciated by libertarians, but one aspect of it is largely unknown. (I only just learned of it, thanks to my alert friend Gary Chartier.) Cobden’s third daughter and fourth child, Emma Jane Catherine Cobden (later Unwin after she married publisher Thomas Fisher Unwin), carried on his work. Born in 1851, she was a liberal activist worthy of her distinguished father.

  • In Foreign Affairs, Not Doing Anything is the Thing to Do

    by Sheldon Richman

    The heartbreaking violence in the Middle East, Ukraine, and elsewhere carries many messages, but here’s one Americans shouldn’t miss: The United States — no matter who the president is — cannot manage world conflict. The corollary is that when a president tries to manage it,things will usually get worse. Foresight is always defective, and tragic unintended consequences will prevail.

  • John Blundell, RIP

    by Sheldon Richman

    John Blundell, 61, who led influential classical-liberal organizations and published several books, died on July 22 of cancer. I worked for John at the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS), 1985 through 1990, and observed up close his deep dedication to liberty and free markets.

  • Robert Higgs on the FDA and Consumer Welfare

    by Robert Higgs

    On July 24, 2014 I gave a presentation at Ludwig von Mises Institute, in Auburn, Alabama on the FDA and Consumer Welfare.  Inside is the video of the presentation.

  • Review of Claire Conner’s Wrapped in the Flag

    by Jeffrey Rogers Hummel

    I recently posted a review at Amazon of Claire Conner’s Wrapped in the Flag: A Personal History of America’s Radical Right. (The paperback edition changed the subtitle to What I Learned Growing Up in America’s Radical Right, How I Escaped, and Why My Story Matters Today.) The review begins below and continues under the fold. The review unfortunately is buried within a stack of over a hundred favorable reviews. But anyone who wants to read it at Amazon can go here. Then if you find it worthy, you can click the button that says the review is helpful and move it up in the queue:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book despite myself. The author, Claire Conner, entertainingly interweaves a personal story of her growing up with parents who were avid and prominent members of the John Birch Society with a history of the Birch Society itself. I am only four years younger than Conner, and my own story has many intriguing parallels to hers. My parents never joined “the Society,” as its members referred to it, but they (particularly my mother) became what could be called Birch Society “fellow travelers,” involved in right-wing politics after the election of 1960. Many of their friends were Society members. I therefore imbibed much of the same literature as Conner, listened to similar public lectures, and was taken to and participated in similar events. She and I both, for example, were peripherally involved in the 1964 Goldwater campaign.


  • Obama Wants to Close the Oceans. Privatize Instead!

    by Wendy McElroy

    In June, President Obama made a video announcement at the Our Ocean 2014 Conference, sponsored by the Department of State. He declared, “Like Presidents Clinton and Bush before me, I’m going to use my authority as President to protect some of our most precious marine landscapes just as we do for our mountains and rivers and forests.… [T]he United States is leading the fight to protect the world’s oceans.”
    The statement foreshadowed a new executive order which would place a huge swath of the Pacific Ocean under control of the U.S. federal government. According to the Washington Post, the aggressive program is scheduled to begin later this year “after a comment period.” It “could create the world’s largest marine sanctuary and double the area of ocean globally that is fully protected.” Other executive measures would address related issues, some of which would be domestic in scope.
    Obama’s stated purpose is to protect the ocean from threats such as pollution, climate change, oil drilling, and overfishing. His executive order will achieve the opposite. Anyone who wishes to protect the ocean should move to privatize it as extensively and as quickly as possible.

  • Voluntaryist Anthropology

    by Wendy McElroy

    Libertarians believe a better world is possible. Libertarian anarchists believe the best world is a stateless one; it consists of voluntary societies which would include institutions or customs to prevent and deal with occasional crime. The practical application of voluntaryism – an insistence that all human interaction be voluntary – is the way to get there because it creates the innovations, institutions and lifestyles upon which anarchism can build. But one practical approach has been largely ignored: voluntaryist anthropology.
first 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 last

Subscribe to our mailing list