Liberty and Power

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  • Social Cooperation

    by Sheldon Richman

    My latest TGIF laments that libertarians haven't emphasized social cooperation, a la Mises, instead of individualism and self-reliance.


  • You Hear That?

    by Sheldon Richman

    Media message to candidates: It's okay to oppose government spending and debt, but if you oppose war and empire, we'll marginalize the crap out of you.


  • Obama and Hoover: Two "Smart" (Stupid) Presidents

    by Jonathan J. Bean

    Jonathan Bean is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, Professor of History at Southern Illinois University, and editor of the book, Race and Liberty in America: The Essential Reader.

    [Crosspost from Beacon]

    For the past year, I have been researching how the housing bubble of the 1920s contributed to the Great Depression.  My study involves reading many articles and speeches by Herbert Hoover, first as Commerce Secretary (1921-1928) then as president (1929-1933).  As the nation endures the Obama presidency, I see much in common between the two men, both seen as "smart" by their supporters.


  • Secessio Plebis

    by Roderick T. Long

     Have you noticed that whenever mention is made of secession, establishment types always say, “that issue was settled in 1865”?

    Even leaving aside the absurdity of the suggestion that military victory could settle a legal issue (let alone a moral one) – isn’t it another establishment mantra that the Civil War was solely about slavery?

    They seem to be trying to have it both ways. If the Civil War was solely about slavery, then the most that it could have settled is the illegitimacy of secession-to-protect-slavery, not the illegitimacy of secession per se. After all, present-day secession advocates are not exactly trying to protect slavery (unless Kirkpatrick Sale has a secret agenda we don’t know about).


  • The Thin Black Line

    by Roderick T. Long

     

    In Britain, street gangs queue up to loot shops.

    The linked article is wittily titled “Anarchy in the U.K.” Of course the most anarchistic thing the gangs did was the queuing, not the looting. All the same, there is an anarchistic moral to be drawn from the story: it’s an example of how social mores continue to produce social order in the absence of government police.


  • Why Lawrence O’Donnell Is Not a Real Journalist Either

    by Roderick T. Long

     

    Lawrence O’Donnell accuses a “right-wing website” (he means Reason.com) for refusing to criticise cops – even though Reason.com not only frequently criticises cops, but regularly carries the columns of Radley Balko, one of the most prominent critics of police brutality in the country.

    Nick Gillespie responds.

    Kevin Carson responds.

    Radley Balko


  • The Decision to Bomb Hiroshima

    by Mark Brady

    Gar Alperovitz explains why it was not necessary to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki in order to persuade Japan to cede defeat. Even General bombs-away-with-Curtis LeMay was dismayed. Shortly after the bombings he stated publicly: "The war would have been over in two weeks. . . . The atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war at all."


  • Drink, Don’t Drive: How Obama’s Green Obsession Led me to Drink (and it’s good for the planet!)

    by Jonathan J. Bean


    Get ready for life in ultra small cars, shorn of spare tires and other unnecessary weight. The Obama administration has set the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards to 54.5 mpg! There will be fines (read: added costs) if you choose the wrong kind of vehicle or buy from an auto company that fails to meet this standard by 2025.

    One thing that most didn’t see coming with Obama: he has defined his jobs agenda as one focused on “green” jobs. He talks about nothing else. Most Americans would prefer any jobs, but green jobs are the “jobs of the future,” so saith the Wizardly Lecturer from Hyde Park, Chicago.


  • Reply to Selgin on the Velocity of Money

    by Jeffrey Rogers Hummel

    George Selgin commented on my post, "Krugman and Macroeconomics," expressing reservations about my statement that his and Steve Horwitz's version of Austrian business cycle theory incorporates significant Keynesian elements. My belated reply, which follows, is long enough to warrant a separate post:

    George, thanks so much for your comment, with which I mostly agree. I admit that many pre-Keynesian economists, Hayek, and some Monetarists all saw negative velocity shocks as one important source of depressions or recessions. But I still think it is fair to describe that view as Keynesian. After all, a Keynesian attack of "animal spirits" is nothing more nor less than a velocity shock. Indeed, I would identify this as the central proposition of Keynesian business cycle theory, although the Keynesian insistence upon referring to changes in velocity (i.e., money demand) as changes in "autonomous spending," or even worse, as a divergence between "planned saving and planned investment," often obscured this simple fact.


  • Anarchy Not In the U.K.

    by Roderick T. Long

    “Anarchism is a political philosophy which considers the state undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, and instead promotes a stateless society, or anarchy. Any information relating to anarchists should be reported to your local police.”London Metropolitan Police (plagiarising Wikipedia for the first sentence)

  • Obama Likes Ike: Sort of

    by David T. Beito

    In the afterglow of his 2008 victory, commentators portrayed Obama as the new FDR. Now, he is half-heartedly comparing himself to Ike. In his speech on the debt agreement, Obama made the astounding statement that it will reduce domestic spending to levels not seen since Eisenhower was in the oval office. Over at the American Thinker, Greg Richards finds no basis for this claim. 


  • Curzio Malaparte's "The Traitor"

    by Mark Brady


    Walter Murch translates "The Traitor," a fine short story by Curzio Malaparte, in the most recent issue of the London Review of Books.  Malaparte (1898-1957) was an Italian journalist, dramatist, short-story writer, novelist and diplomat, about whom you may read more here. He established his international fame with two war novels, Kaputt (1944) and The Skin (1949), both of which have been translated into English.  Kaputt is currently in print but it looks like it's time to reprint The Skin.  Today take time out to read "The Traitor."  You won't be disappointed.


  • FDR Redux: A Cartoon Guide to Cutting the National Debt by 40% with the Stroke of a Pen! (Part I)

    by Jonathan J. Bean

    Robert Higgs noted here on July 6th that FDR defaulted on the national debt by “going off the gold standard.” Moreover, FDR was (and is) much praised for his courageous action in favor of the “little guy” and against “sound money” bankers. FDR did this with a stroke of the pen (Executive Order) and by later asking Congress to confirm that he had the power to devalue the debt by 41%. Even critics conceded that FDR had balls; they only questioned whether he had “brains.” (H.L.


  • Rating the Rating Agencies

    by Jeffrey Rogers Hummel

    Marc Joffe, a former employee of Moody's, has just posted an outstanding explanation, entitled "US Debt Ceiling Crisis: Rating the Rating Agencies," of why the rating agencies have strong incentives NOT to accurately downgrade government issues.

    As Marc points out: "since rating agencies are regulated by the United States, European Union and other sovereign authorities, they may have reason to fear retaliation from their regulators. While such fears appear to have a basis in Europe where official criticism of the agencies has been frequent, we have yet to see a similar problem in the United States.

    "Second, sovereign rating changes may impact other ratings in ways that create commercial challenges for rating agencies and investors. Given the dependence of numerous bond-issuing entities on the US government, a Treasury downgrade may trigger a large number of municipal, corporate and structured finance issuer downgrades as well. This cascade of downgrades would impose challenges on a rating agency’s internal systems, staff research skills and relationships with affected issuers.

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