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Classical Liberalism and the Limits to Compromise

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The tense and seemingly polarized political environment in America today has raised the issue of whether there is some way to reduce the ideological and government-policy conflicts by finding some middle way between the “extremist” positions of “left” and “right.” The fundamental question in all of this is, Can and should liberty be compromised in the pursuit of such a middle-of-the-road alternative? Senior staff members of the Niskanen Center have issued what amounts to a manifesto making the case for such a middle way in an article titled, “The Center Can Hold: Public Policy for an Age of Extremes” (December 2018). The authors are Brink Lindsey, Will Wilkinson, Steven Teles, and Samuel Hammond. They basically argue that neither the libertarians nor the progressives and democratic socialists have the only or full and correct answer to America’s or the world’s social, political, and economic problems. There are elements of truth, reasonableness, and experience within both of these “extremes,” and ...

Government Shutdown or Not, the Police State Will Continue to Flourish

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“There is no more dangerous menace to civilization than a government of incompetent, corrupt, or vile men.”—Ludwig von Mises The government has shut down again. At least, parts of the government have temporarily shut down over President Trump’s demand for a $5 billion border wall. Yet while these political games dominate news headlines, send the stock market into a nosedive, and put more than 800,000 federal employees at risk of having to work without pay, nothing about this government shutdown will diminish the immediate and very real dangers of the American Police State with its roadside strip searches, government surveillance, biometric databases, citizens being treated like terrorists, imprisonments for criticizing the government, national ID cards, SWAT team raids, censorship, forcible blood draws and DNA extractions, private prisons, weaponized drones, red light cameras, tasers, active shooter drills, police misconduct and government corruption. Shutdown or not, war will continue. Drone killings will continue. Surveillance will continue. Censorship and persecution ...

Your Tax Dollars at Work

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We have all seen the signs. They might be referring to a road-widening project, a new city or county park, sidewalks being repaired, new airport terminals being constructed, potholes being filled in, additional trees being planted, or some sort of downtown development. But regardless of the project, the signs are usually the same: Your Tax Dollars at Work. Now, it is true that most improvement ventures are state, county, or city projects. But it should be remembered that many of them are still funded in whole or in part by the federal government. Nevertheless, because the spending of tax dollars by the federal government is so much greater than that state, county, or city governments, it is the federal government that we are most concerned about. According to the year-end data from the September 2018 Monthly Treasury Statement of Receipts and Outlays of the U.S. Government — as reported by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin and Office of Management and ...