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Tag Archives: liberty

Surviving the Zam Zam

Last week I gave a talk at California State University Monterey Bay’s chapter of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. The talk is titled “Surviving the Zamzam.” It’s a story about my Aunt Jamie and Uncle Fred Henderson and their getting captured by the German Navy while on their way to Africa to be medical missionaries. They were taken prisoner on April 17, 1941 and their ship, the Zam Zam, was sunk. I pieced it together based on 6 books on various aspects of the...

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Is the future of conservatism “national”?

Arnold Kling has an excellent Substack post on the National Conservative Conference. I also recommend this piece by Nate Hochmann. My takeaway from both is that national conservatives may have a point in claiming that “all of the energy, all of the excitement, all of the intellectual innovation is on our side”. Other conservative groups, think tanks or “environments” broadly speaking have been quite silent lately – including, if you consider them members of the same...

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The Latest James Bond plus Buchanan and Tullock

Inspired by Graham McAleer’s review of the new James Bond, No Time to Die, I streamed the film from Amazon Prime Video. Ever since with my young sons decades ago I watched James Bond films, I have always liked them for the action and the guns, although I now find Jason Bourne more congenial and more realistic. On Law and Liberty, our sister website, philosopher McAleer writes under the title “James Bond, Christian Knight”: During the Enlightenment, David Hume sought...

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Is libertarianism fish or fowl?

Many people, even sophisticated political commentators, think that libertarianism is internally inconsistent. How else could you assess this philosophy, they plaintively ask? After all, supporters of this view favor the legalization of prostitution, certainly a left-wing position, as well as elimination of the minimum wage law, a stance not only associated with conservatives, but the far right. Libertarians favor the legalization of gay marriage, again a left-liberal...

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Freedom and tradition

The Economist has an interesting story about a rising star on the Spanish political scene, Madrid mayor Isabel Diaz Ayuso: Ms Ayuso’s victory came with a slogan simple to the point of crudity: “Liberty or communism”. But freedom is a note she sounds again and again. “Madrid is liberty, or else it isn’t Madrid,” she tells The Economist, returning to the theme no matter what she is asked about. Madrid prospers when people are left alone to run businesses, do with their...

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Infrastructure All the Way Down

I have argued on this blog that the best practical definition of infrastructure is “whatever the government wants to pay for because it benefits from the expenditure.” The adoption by the House of a $1-trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill reinforces this argument. (See Gabriel T. Rubin and Eliza Collins, “What’s in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill? From Amtrak to Roads to Water Systems,” Wall Street Journal, November 6, 2021.) The standard argument for public...

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Danish Resistance to Nazi Government

We also heard stories about growing discontent in Northern Germany. In a small village along the Danish border a large group of former Danish nationals had gathered in a theater. A newsreel shot of Hitler boarding a new German built plane was flashed on the screen. As he was getting into the plane, someone in the audience shouted, “Greet Hess!” The film was stopped. Lights were turned on. The gestapo demanded the identity of the person who had shouted. They were met...

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Enright on Caplan on Immigration, Part Trois

I’ve posted twice now (here and here) on Sam Enright’s critique of my co-blogger Bryan Caplan’s case for open borders. I have two more points, one where I agree with an Enright critique and one where I disagree with an Enright compliment of Bryan. The critique I agree with is that Bryan’s analysis is too America-centric. This is what Bryan knows and this, plus Canadian immigration policy, is what I know. Together those two countries could easily take a few hundred...

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Using the Geneva Conventions

Just Say No Next month, I’ll be giving a talk in Monterey about my Uncle Fred and Aunt Jamie Henderson, who were captured by the German navy in April 1941 on their way to Africa to be medical missionaries. It’s titled “Surviving the Zam Zam.” In 1993, I interviewed Uncle Fred about his experiences. That was fortunate because he died a year later. In the interview, I thought we had covered everything interesting about his capture, his work as a doctor in a German...

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Enright on Caplan on Immigration

Sam Enright has written a good review of Bryan Caplan’s Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration. I like it for two main reasons: (1) he takes Bryan completely seriously and doesn’t take cheap shots, and, related to that, (2) the tone is quite nice. I do have a number of criticisms, but I’ve been thinking about one main one. Enright writes: I’m also concerned about the animal suffering that would result from open borders. Globally, the production of meat,...

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