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Tag Archives: liberty

Lockdowns are partly endogenous

In monetary policy, a common mistake is to assume that low interest rates and/or QE are indications of an easy money policy. They might be, but more often they are the effect of a tight money policy that drove interest rates to zero or below, and dramatically increased the demand for liquidity (i.e. base money.) I wonder if something similar is true of lockdowns during the Covid-19 pandemic. Certainly there are occasions when lockdowns are reflective of an aggressive...

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Why We Need to Keep Talking About George Floyd

I must begin by pointing out that this is really not what I wanted to be writing about. This is EconLog, for crying out loud; a virtual property of Econlib.  They don’t just let anyone natter on here, and for that reason, I would rather my introduction to the readers here be a message of freedom and hope. It was a mere few days ago that NASA launched a rocket built by SpaceX into space, ferrying humans to the International Space Station from American soil for the...

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A Humble State with No Motorcade

In many ways, the modern world, including economic freedom, was born from the fear of tyranny and the institutions (generally unsuccessful) to prevent it. In Power and Prosperity: Outgrowing Communist and Capitalist Dictatorships (Basic Books, 2000), famous economist Mancur Olson had interesting historical remarks about Italian city-states in early modern times: Sometimes, when leading families or merchants organized a government for their city, they not only...

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Herd immunity was never a feasible option

Bryan Caplan has a post on Covid-19 that is full of sensible ideas. But I disagree with one of his claims: 18. Alex Tabarrok is wrong to state, “Social distancing, closing non-essential firms and working from home protect the vulnerable but these same practices protect workers in critical industries. Thus, the debate between protecting the vulnerable and protecting the economy is moot.” Moot?!  True, there is a mild trade-off between protecting the vulnerable and...

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Something to Learn from the Trump Presidency

The president of the United States tweeted a video of an alleged rioter (who, in all likelihood, is an American citizen, not a “Mexican rapist”) with the threatening comment: “Anarchists, we see you!” Is it for the president to identify suspects? So much for the ideal of the rule of law, it seems. But my point is different and relates to the benefits of personal knowledge. I have always hoped that a journalist would, during a press conference, ask the president...

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A libertarian is a conservative who has been oppressed

When I was young, there was an old saying that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged. I suspect that the debates between liberals and conservatives are especially fierce precisely because they are generally based on genetics and random life experiences, not rational thought. Along these lines, a Politico article by Rich Lowry caught my eye: The intellectual fashion among populists and religious traditionalists has been to attempt to forge a post-liberty or...

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Classical Liberalism Was Born and Thrived During Pandemics

There Are No Libertarians in an Epidemic,” The Atlantic proudly declared in March. The message, echoed often since then, has been the same: classical liberals (henceforth in this essay simply referred to as “liberals”) have no place in this world. A global pandemic must be met with global action, which can only be coordinated by governments. Individualism and liberalism are unable to solve the problem because of externalities or just plain selfishness. So writes...

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Libertarianism, not libertarians

I’ve always considered myself to be a pragmatic libertarian, as I favor system with a small government and a high degree of freedom. But I don’t feel any special affinity toward other libertarians. It seems to me that their views on political issues are no better than the views on non-libertarians. I doubt whether Ron Paul would have been a better president that Reagan or Clinton, (although I voted for Paul in 1988.)  One example of this phenomenon is the substantial...

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Major Advantage of a Limited State

A major advantage of limited government is that the most dangerous individuals can do only limited damage if they rise at the top of the state. A recent book I am reading (and will review for Regulation) provides a good illustration. In More: The World Economy from the Iron Age to the Information Age, Philip Coggan writes (p. 210): Ford was, like many other early auto leaders, both a visionary businessman and a thoroughly nasty person. In 1920 he published a series of...

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Commissar Komisar

I’m a therapist who deals with people who are anxious. Many of them are particularly anxious during this lockdown. One, John R., age 32, told me that in the late evening before bedtime he goes back and forth between the Fox News Channel and CNN, and each of them makes him angry. I suggested that he stop watching them in the late evening. He did so and now he tells me that he is less anxious and sleeps much better. Another patient, 42-year-old Amy J., told me that she...

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