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Tag Archives: History

Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 4 of the 1983 second edition of Peter Mathias’s 1969 book, The First Industrial Nation: The Economic History of Britain 1700-1914: Britain’s was the first industrialization of any national economy in the world. Even more remarkable, it occurred spontaneously, not being the result of conscious government policy sponsoring industrial progress. Although inevitably the results of state policy were significant in legal processes, taxation policies, tariffs, shipping regulations...

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Some Non-Covid Links

Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Riley praises some books – including one by Phil Magness – pushing back against the idiotic “1619 Project.” A slice: Mr. Magness’s book examines the 1619 Project’s assertion that slave labor powered the U.S. economy, an argument that rests on “dubious statistical claims and shoddy research practices,” which have been refuted empirically in peer-reviewed journals. “The thrust of these exaggerations is to recast slavery as a distinctly capitalist...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 43 of economist Arthur M. Diamond, Jr.’s, important 2019 book, Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism (footnote deleted; link added): During the Industrial Revolution, not only was the past remembered as better than it really was, the present was seen as worse than it really was. Historian Patrick Allitt suggests that one reason for the belief in an increase in poverty during Victorian times was that the movement of the poor from the countryside...

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Some Links

Steven Greenhut rightly warns of the noxious notions of “nationalist conservatives.” Here’s his conclusion: This is just a grandiose justification for government intervention in private decisions. What is the common good? It is whatever policy makers and government planners say it is. This proposal sounds remarkably similar to the progressive vision of letting “public-spirited” bureaucrats and politicians have unlimited power. They know what’s best, after all. Despite their common-good...

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Some Non-Covid Links

My GMU Econ colleague Bryan Caplan brilliantly explains his thoroughly non-racist reasons for opposing George Mason University’s official anti-racist policy. Here are only two of Bryan’s reasons: 1. George Mason University is part of the government, and as such ought to scrupulously respect freedom of speech, thought, and association.  And in practice, an official Anti-Racist policy is almost certain to trample these freedoms.  Once you officially declare that racists are utterly...

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Some Covid Links

I fear that Frank Furedi is correct: “The culture of fear has made a lifetime of quarantine look attractive.” A slice: The precautionary principle may have emerged from within environmentalism, but it now pervades all areas of life. It encourages us to feel fearful and insecure before the future. And it has led to safetyism – that is, the establishment of safety as the foundational value of Anglo-American culture. We can see the deleterious impact of safetyism and worst-case thinking in...

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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 86 of the Second Edition (1999) of R.W. Grant’s The Incredible Bread Machine: Only upon the premise of individualism can a free society be built. In fact, individualism was the implicit philosophical principle underlying the American concept of government as servant rather than master. The real significance of the American Revolution lay not in a military triumph (for other nations have won independence only to lapse back into tyranny), but in the partial triumph of the...

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Some Non-Covid Links

Andrew Gutmann explains – in this brilliant letter shared by Bari Weiss – why he’s pulling his daughter from one of New York City’s elite private schools. A slice: I object to a definition of systemic racism, apparently supported by Brearley, that any educational, professional, or societal outcome where Blacks are underrepresented is prima facie evidence of the aforementioned systemic racism, or of white supremacy and oppression. Facile and unsupported beliefs such as these are the polar...

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Robert Higgs on WWII and the U.S. Economy

Here’s a letter to an undergraduate student who is writing a paper on the U.S. economy during WWII: Mr. W___: Thanks for your e-mail and for reading Cafe Hayek. You likely did encounter on my blog the argument that, contrary to popular belief, the American economy was not rescued from the Great Depression by World War II. This argument, however, isn’t mine. While I fully accept it, this argument was developed and refined by the great economic historian Robert Higgs. And so research for...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 5 of Alan Macfarlane’s vital 1978 book, The Origins of English Individualism: [A] central and basic feature of English social structure has for a long time been the stress on the rights and privileges of the individual as against the wider group or the State. DBx: I fear that the English, made hysterical by Covid Derangement Syndrome, abandoned this central feature of their social structure in 2020. Indescribably sad. Immeasurably tragic. Comments

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