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Tag Archives: Philosophy of Freedom

Why Democracy?

In my most recent Pittsburgh Tribune-Review column I argue that the American founders regarded democracy as a means and not as an end in itself.  A slice: Even passing familiarity with U.S. history and the Constitution makes crystal-clear that the Framers were no gung-ho enthusiasts for majoritarian rule. They feared it because they feared government. Democracy — checked, balanced and limited — simply supplied the least-perilous ground upon which to erect a government able to perform...

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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 347 of the 1990 Transaction Publishers reprint of W.H. Hutt‘s excellent 1936 book, Economists and the Public: The supreme principle of liberty suggests that it is better to risk erring in the direction of allowing too much rather than too little freedom. Comments

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Some Links

George Will is a fan of Ken Burns’s new documentary, The Vietnam War.  Last night I watched the first episode.  It is indeed excellent.  (A tangential question: How many are the notions or ‘theories’ that are more absurd than the “domino theory“?  Surely not many.) Speaking of George Will, here’s a recording of a recent interview of him. Here’s more useful information and perspective from Mark Perry on the recent U.S. Census Bureau report on income and poverty in the United States....

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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 202 of David Boaz’s superb 2015 book, The Libertarian Mind: Another benefit of private property, not so clearly economic, is that it diffuses power.  When one entity, such as the government, owns all property, individuals have little protection from the will of the government.  The institution of private property gives many individuals a place to call their own, a place where they are safe from depredation by others and by the state.  This aspect of private property is...

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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from Deirdre McCloskey’s new essay, “The Core of Liberty Is Economic Liberty”: For one thing, mutually advantageous exchange is not the worst ethical school.  It is better than the violent pride of aristocrats or the violent insolence of bureaucrats.  And in economic liberalism, the human desire to excel is provided millions of honorable paths, from model railway building to show business, as against in illiberal societies the narrow path to eminence at the court or politburo or...

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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 163 of the 2007 Definitive Edition (Bruce Caldwell, ed.) of F.A. Hayek’s classic 1944 volume, The Road to Serfdom (footnote deleted): There is indeed, as he [Reinhold Niebuhr] says elsewhere, “an increasing tendency among modern men to imagine themselves ethical because they have delegated their vices to larger and larger groups.”  To act on behalf of a group seems to free people of many of the moral restraints which control their behavior as individuals within the group....

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Deirdre McCloskey’s Preface to Jeff Tucker’s RIGHT-WING COLLECTIVISM

I’m eager to read Jeffrey Tucker’s forthcoming book on the threat of right-wing collectivism – a species of collectivism, no less evil than its left-wing twin, that today threatens us in the form of the presidency of Donald Trump.  Here’s Deirdre McCloskey’s Preface to Jeff’s book.  A slice from Deirdre’s Preface: A true liberalism breaks down walls, of tyranny and tariffs as much as migration and censorship and occupational licensure. It stands against both of the authoritarian twins...

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Some Links

My colleague Bryan Caplan traces some recent history of the Middle East. Yesterday I spoke with Ross Kaminsky, on his radio show, about so-called “price gouging.” Richard Epstein elaborates further on his views on freedom of speech.  (HT Steve Pejovich) I like this story from 35 years ago about Ronald Reagan. Here’s David Boaz on libertarianism and racism. In this Washington Post op-ed, David Bier rightly criticizes the Trump administration’s latest – and, in this case, stealth – attack...

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Some Links

In the Wall Street Journal, Tunku Varadarajan writes of Richard Epstein’s eloquent and principled defense of freedom of speech.  A slice: Mr. Epstein cites with evident distaste a recent New York Times op-ed by K-Sue Park, a fellow in critical race studies at the UCLA School of Law. Ms. Park lamented that the American Civil Liberties Union had defended the right of the white-supremacy group behind the Charlottesville protest to organize its march. The ACLU, Ms. Park argued, needs to...

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Varieties of “Anti-Government”

Prompted by the recent violence in Charlottesville, in my latest column in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review I highlight some differences that ought to be kept in mind when using, or encountering, the term “anti-government.” A slice: A libertarian’s – a Jeffersonian’s – “anti-government” stance reflects mainly a strong presumption against using force to direct peaceful people’s affairs. The libertarian objects first and foremost not to particular policies of a large and constitutionally...

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