by James Bovard
George Orwell wrote in 1945 that “the nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.” The same moral myopia has carried over to most Americans’ understanding of the Civil War. While popular historians have recently canonized the war as a practically holy ... [click for more]
by Laurence M. Vance
Although many states have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes, some states have decriminalized the possession of certain amounts of marijuana, and four states (Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington) have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, bipartisan support for the drug war throughout the United States continues unabated and unquestioned.
Why do so many Americans think that the ... [click for more]
by Steven Horwitz
In part 2 of this series (December), I argued that unenumerated noneconomic rights such as those of parents or the right to marry are generally considered “fundamental rights” under the approach libertarian legal scholar Randy Barnett labels “Footnote Four-Plus.” That is, the rights of parents are nowhere enumerated in the Constitution including the Bill of Rights, but are nonetheless ... [click for more]
by David S. D'Amato
Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government Is Smarter by Ilya Somin (Stanford University Press 2013), 280 pages.
In Democracy and Political Ignorance, law professor Ilya Somin looks down into the apparently fathomless depth of voter ignorance and concludes that dividing and decentralizing the power of the federal government can alleviate many of the ills attending such ignorance. Somin ... [click for more]
by Kevin Carson
The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee (W.W. Norton & Company 2014), 320 pages.
The subject of this book is the “second machine age,” in which “computers and other digital advances are doing for mental power — the ability to use our brains to understand ... [click for more]
by Jacob G. Hornberger
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5
As soon as World War II ended, the U.S. government proceeded to convert the Soviet Union from a wartime partner and ally to a new official enemy of the United States, one that Americans were told posed a greater threat ... [click for more]
by Sheldon Richman
That … veil which is spread before the eyes of the ordinary man, which even the attentive observer does not always succeed in casting aside, prevents us from seeing the most marvelous of all social phenomena: real wealth constantly passing from the domain of private property into the communal domain.
Wealth marvelously passing from the private to the communal domain? ... [click for more]
by James Bovard
Federal spending on food aid has skyrocketed in recent decades, and the feds are now feeding more than 100 million Americans. Yet, according to the Agriculture Department (USDA), far more Americans are “food insecure” now than before the mushrooming of subsidized feeding programs. But rather than seeing this as evidence of a government failure, a chorus of activists and ... [click for more]
by Joseph S. Diedrich
In a victory for media Goliaths, the Supreme Court recently ruled that TV-streaming service Aereo “perform ... copyrighted works publicly” and therefore violated copyright law. The ghost of Grokster haunts us. Napster rolls in its grave. Copyright’s muscular hands have once again strangled innovation.
What is the purpose of copyright law? Conventional wisdom asserts that it protects the rights of ... [click for more]
by Steven Horwitz
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
In part 1, I traced the evolution of “substantive due process” jurisprudence under which the Supreme Court protected a variety of unenumerated rights, both economic and personal, through the Due Process Clause of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.
Many of the unenumerated rights that had been protected ... [click for more]
by Joseph R. Stromberg
The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Left and Right by Yuval Levin (Basic Books 2014), 235 pages.
Yuval Levin’s well-written Great Debate is full of useful material, understandable explanation, and interesting reflections. It flows along smoothly and even entertainingly, unless that is a cuss word in serious circles. Levin goes through the Burke-Paine controversy ... [click for more]
by Kevin Carson
Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, translated by Arthur Goldhammer (Belknap 2014), 696 pages.
The basic phenomenon that Thomas Piketty devotes this book to describing is simple: “When the rate of return on capital significantly exceeds the growth rate of the economy..., then it logically follows that inherited wealth grows faster than output and income.”
His historical account ... [click for more]