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Liberty and Power

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  • To Rule the Earth

    by Roderick T. Long

    I make a cameo appearance in George Smith’s latest post on the Herbert Spencer / Henry George debate. 

  • The Real Days of Infamy

    by Sheldon Richman


    Today is the 68th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima, one of President Harry Truman's acts of mass murder against Japan in August 1945. The anniversary of the Nagasaki bombing is Thursday. (It has lately come to my attention that the U.S. military bombed Tokyo on Aug. 14--after destroying Hiroshima and Nagasaki and after Emperor Hirohito expressed his readiness to surrender.)

  • Bastiat and Subjective Marginal Utility

    by Sheldon Richman

     Frederic Bastiat really was a precursor of the Austrian school.Menger was indeed a revolutionary, but that does not mean that no one before him glimpsed ideas that would later blossom into the Austrian school. As far back as Socrates, thinkers grasped the theory of subjective value in the praxeological sense, and we find a nearly complete subjectivist-marginalist framework 20 years before Menger took pen to paper — in the work of Frédéric Bastiat.In Bastiat’s unfinished magnum opus, Economic Harmonies (1850), he, like Menger, put the spotlight on the choosing individual and what she tries to accomplish through exchange. Trade, for Bastiat, is an exchange of services that will render useful things: I’ll do something for you (furnish a useful thing, for example) if you do something for me.

  • New Deal Witch Hunt

    by David T. Beito

    My article just appeared at National Review:

    has become the default historical template for the Obama scandals, as charges about enemies lists, executive-agency politicization, and high-handed federal snooping dominate the discussion. But those hunting for historical analogies would do well to consider the even closer parallels between these events and occurrences during the New Deal and Fair Deal.

    Franklin D. Roosevelt routinely audited the income taxes of such critics as Representative Hamilton Fish, a Republican who represented the president’s hometown of Hyde Park, N.Y. Democrats of that era not only found creative ways to intimidate conservative and libertarian organizations, but also, like their modern counterparts, eventually attracted charges of witch-hunting.

  • What an Honest Conversation about Race Would Look Like

    by Sheldon Richman

    Ever since George Zimmerman’s fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin hit the national headlines last year, calls for an “honest conversation about race” have been heard throughout America. (Up until then, apparently, we’ve had only conversations about having a conversation about race.) However, one need not believe that the Zimmerman shooting and verdict were about race — I watched the trial and I don’t — to think that an honest conversation about race is indeed long overdue.

    First on the agenda should be the many ways that government policies — either by intent or by palpable effect — embody racism. Let’s call them vehicles for official racism. I have in mind things like the war on certain drug manufacturers, merchants, and consumers; the crusade against “illegal” guns; the minimum wage and related laws; and the government’s schools. All of these by far take their greatest toll on people of color.

    Private racism, whether violent or nonviolent, is evil and abhorrent; it is also unlibertarian — yes, even nonviolent racism is unlibertarian, as I point out in “Libertarianism = Anti-Racism.” There I wrote,

  • French Liberalism Meets Boston Anarchism

    by Roderick T. Long


    … which is actually a pretty good description of my politics.

    Anyway: In 1888, the Journal des Économistes – the chief periodical of classical liberalism in France, at that time under the editorship of Gustave de Molinari himself – published an article about individualist anarchism in America, with particular focus on the writers associated with Benjamin Tucker’s periodical Liberty. The author was Sophie Raffalovich, about whom more below. Benjamin Tucker replied in the pages of Liberty a few months later. The Journal des Économistes would return to the subject of Tucker and Liberty in 1902, in a piece by Paul Ghio.

    I’ve now translated and posted the pieces by Raffalovich (“The Boston Anarchists”) and Ghio (“An American Anarchist”); I’ve also posted Tucker’s reply to Raffalovich (“A French View of Boston Anarchists”).

  • Rand Paul, Jack Hunter, and All That

    by Sheldon Richman


    I cringe every time libertarianism is associated with the Confederate States of America. Read Jeff Hummel's Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men to see why you should too.  

  • Welcome to the Desert of Huckabee

    by Roderick T. Long


    Mike Huckabee projects such an aura of cuddly friendliness, and in reality he is such a vile, bloodthirsty creep.

    Just saw him favourably quoting these words from MLK’s Letter from Birmingham Jail:

    One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.” Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.

  • Why Fight for King and Country?

    by Robert Higgs

    There is something monstrously out of whack about going to war for a large nation state.

    I can understand why a man might take up arms in defense of himself, his family, his friends, perhaps even his neighborhood or his town. But once we get past the lived-in milieu, a man’s risking his life, limbs, health, and mental composure to fight for a large politically defined unit makes less and less sense, the larger the unit. Why, for example, should a man from Arizona go to war on behalf of people from New Jersey, people with whom he is not acquainted, people about whom he knows little or nothing. The man from Arizona might well have more in common with and greater concern for a typical “enemy” soldier than he has for the people of New Jersey. He might even dislike people from New Jersey and like the enemy people.

  • Dry Humor

    by Roderick T. Long


    Although she did not drink martinis, she graciously prepared a double for me every evening before dinner. I introduced her to Tanqueray gin and Noilly Pratt vermouth, the ingredients for a perfect martini. Sensitive husband that I was, I courteously congratulated her every day on a fine martini, cautiously suggesting that it might be a touch drier. Day after day, I congratulated her, suggesting that it might be a touch drier still. One day I sipped the martini and bathed her in kisses: “Betsey, you’re wonderful, it’s perfect.” She did not take well to my gushing. Betsey almost never raised her voice, but raise it she did: “I knew it! I knew it! Of course I’m wonderful! Of course it’s perfect! You’re drinking straight gin.”
    (Eugene D. Genovese, about his wife Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, in Miss Betsey: A Memoir of Marriage)

    (No, I haven’t read the whole book. If I want to read a radical socialist turned right-wing opportunist, I can always read Marx.)


  • Climate Change Fear Mongering

    by Keith Halderman

    Those who would use the natural fact that earth’s climate has been continuously changing since it existed to increase the power of government to control and steal from ordinary people gave away their game in two ways.  First they started calling global warming climate change and that highlights the point that their theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming ignores the fact that the extreme instances of climate change occurred long before mankind was releasing any significant amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. For example when world temperatures changed around the year 1000 altering Greenland into a temperate agriculturally productive area, there were no gas guzzling SUVs or coal fired electricity generating plants.

  • Just Wondering

    by Sheldon Richman

    Has the NSA spying ceased pending the debate?  

  • The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies: A New Era Begins

    by Chris Matthew Sciabarra

    The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies begins a new era this year: a collaboration with Pennsylvania State University Press, which will manage all aspects of design, production, distribution, and subscription fulfillment, while leaving the Editorial Board in full charge of the intellectual side of this grand adventure. As I state in the "Editor's Introduction: Change and Continuity," which appears in the new July 2013 issue: "In embarking on this new arrangement, the journal unveils a new look, but retains its commitment to introducing new writers to the ever-expanding world of Rand studies." And what a new look it is!

    Check out the Notablog entry here.


    by Wendy McElroy

    [This article was originally published at The Dollar Vigilante which I urge you to browse at length. Click here.]

    Two events recalled a passage from the Irish poet William Butler Yeats:


  • Readings in Revisionist History

    by Sheldon Richman

    I've been asked to post my list of readings in revisionist history separately so the link can be distributed. I haven't read all these books, but those I haven't gotten to yet come highly recommended by people I respect. I will add to the list from time to time.

  • The Subversive Implications of the Fugitive

    by David T. Beito

    I have been enjoying episodes from "The Fugitive" on ME TV from the 1960s starring the great, but vastly underrated, David Janssen. The show communicates a highly subversive message and reveals some interesting contrasts between the 1960s and today. The main character, Richard Kimball, a respected physician in his community, has been convicted of first-degree murder by a jury of his peers but escapes on his way to the death house.

    Throughout the run of the series, dozens, perhaps hundreds, of people brazenly lie to the police and otherwise commit potential felonies to protect him. They make most "extreme" anti-government folks of 2013 look like wimps by comparison in their willingness to defy authority in the service of a higher moral cause.

    Revealingly, Kimball, for his part, is able find a wide range of jobs without, apparently, once being asked to provide his social security number! Federal law enforcement authorities are almost completely absent and Kimball's pursuit seems to be completely a matter for local police departments.

  • The Continuing Relevance of Philip K. Dick

    by Amy H. Sturgis

    From J.R. Dunn: Philip K. Dick and Our Predicament


    What is this but a Philip K. Dick universe?

    Dick, it seems, was a far superior prophet than the colleagues who disdained him, because, unlike many of them, he had a line on human nature, which never changes.

    So what does Dick have to say about surviving and prevailing in this world?

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