Freedom Daily Archive

Jane Cobden: Carrying On Her Father’s Good Work

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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 co-founded — with John Bright — the Anti–Corn Law League, which successfully campaigned for repeal of the import tariffs on grain. Those trade restrictions had ... [click for more]

Eric Holder: Patron Saint of Trigger-Happy Cops

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Attorney General Eric Holder received a tidal wave of laudatory media coverage for his visit to Ferguson, Missouri, in the aftermath of a local white policeman’s killing an 18-year-old black man. Holder assured the people of Missouri, “Our investigation into this matter will be full, it will be fair, and it will be independent.” But Holder’s own record belies his ... [click for more]

Politicians Ignore the Looming Debt Iceberg

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We libertarians are often accused of “worshiping” the Constitution, but that charge is false. Although we don’t care one bit for the “living Constitution” theory that leads only to the expansion of state power, it does not follow that we think every idea in the written Constitution is ideal. The document is flawed, as many Americans, the Anti-Federalists, argued ... [click for more]

Reining In Out-of-Control Government

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The Classical Liberal Constitution by Richard A. Epstein (Harvard University Press 2014), 701 pages. In Book II of his Two Treatises of Government, John Locke says “that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.” A towering figure in the Enlightenment, Locke is often called the father of classical ... [click for more]

Smedley Butler and the Racket That Is War

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From 1898 to 1931, Smedley Darlington Butler was a member of the U.S. Marine Corps. By the time he retired he had achieved what was then the Corps’s highest rank, major general, and by the time he died in 1940, at 58, he had more decorations, including two medals of honor, than any other Marine. During his years in ... [click for more]

American’s Fading Love of Freedom

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Tea Party protesters, some Republicans, and many libertarians perceive the federal government as a vast engine of oppression. But are anti-Obama activists mistaken in presuming that most Americans still care about freedom? A Gallup poll released in July asked a thousand Americans, “Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your freedom to choose what to do with your life?” Admittedly, only ... [click for more]

Bartolomé de las Casas: All Mankind Is One

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The 16th-century Spanish historian and Dominican Bartolomé de las Casas (1484–1566) fought against the violent colonization of and enslavement in the New World. He spoke against imperialism and for universal human rights. “All mankind is one,” he insisted; every individual possessed an identical, natural right to liberty. Las Casas was born in Seville at a fortunate time. The Italian Renaissance ... [click for more]

How Laws Are Passed, Maintained, and Changed

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Madmen, Intellectuals, and Academic Scribblers: The Economic Engine of Political Change by Wayne A. Leighton and Edward J. Lopez (Stanford Economics and Finance 2013), 209 pages. Have you ever wondered why democracies so often generate public policies that are wasteful and unjust? Have you asked why such policies persist over long periods, even when they are known to ... [click for more]

How the Pentagon Really Gets Funded

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Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War by Robert Gates (Knop 2014), 640 pages. The most interesting parts of former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’s memoir, Duty, are about how he navigated the Department of Defense (DoD) bureaucracy and the special interests who live off it. A recurring theme is the difficulty Gates had in getting the DoD ... [click for more]
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