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Home / Tag Archives: Politics and Economics

Tag Archives: Politics and Economics

A Discriminating Exception

Last month, I put the following on my list of potentially popular deregulations: Create an ironclad free speech limitation on discrimination law, which explicitly includes both (a) political speech, and (b) jokes.  Along the lines of, “Expression of political opinions or jokes by co-workers, managers, or owners are Constitutionally protected free speech and can never be treated as evidence of discrimination or a hostile workplace environment.” ...

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The poison of nationalism

Colin Thubron might be our best living travel writer.  (If he isn’t, please tell me who is better.) I recently finished a book he wrote on travels in Mongolia, Eastern Russia and Manchuria (mostly following the course of the Amur River.)  I was struck by the highly negative attitude of many people toward foreigners, and the positive feelings toward some of the worst people in all of human history—including Genghis Khan (in Mongolia), Stalin (in Russia), and Mao (in...

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American Opinion from a Hayekian Viewpoint

A recent opinion poll by the Wall Street Journal reveals that 50% of Americans support President Biden’s Covid-19 vaccine requirements for private-sector employers, while 47% oppose them. Other opinion polls over the past few decades and perhaps especially over the past few years have suggested, although perhaps not unambiguously, that American opinion has been shifting away from individual liberty and towards more power to political authority (see also my Econlog...

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Privatize Archaeology!

When I was touring Mexico last year, my family stayed at a virtually vacant hotel on a vast estate.  The hospitable staff, with little to do thanks to Covid, gave us a grand tour of the grounds.  Along the way, they pointed out a bunch of minor Mayan artifacts.  And in hushed tones, they asked us not to alert the authorities.  If the government of Mexico knew they had artifacts, they might be legally seized.  Or worse. Nor is Mexico especially harsh.  Around the...

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The National Greatness Fraud

On the Versailles Palace, transformed into a museum in the 1830s by the “King-Citizen” Louis Philippe, stands the inscription À toutes les gloires de la France (“To All the Glories of France”). Many rulers in history have illustrated, some more savagely than others, a truth that American conservatives seem to ignore: “national greatness” is a propaganda device for subjecting individuals to the reigning power. On Law & Liberty, our sister website, James Patterson...

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The Two-Front War on Techtopia

I may have a perfect betting record, but six years ago I made a big generalization that almost instantly blew up in my face. In my youth, I saw Industrial Organization as the heart of our secular religion.  My history textbooks loudly and repeatedly decried “monopoly”; teachers, peers, and parents echoed their complaints.  Since the late-90s, however, such complaints have faded from public discourse.  The reason isn’t that plausible examples of monopolies have...

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Politics is Cruelty

In his magisterial Making Comics, Scott McCloud provides a profound exploration of human emotions.  Anatomically speaking, there really are exactly six primary emotions: anger, disgust, fear, joy, sadness, and surprise.  McCloud even lists all of the facial muscles involved, but his visuals speak a thousand words each. The six primary emotions, like the six primary colors, can all be combined.  You can combine joy and fear to get “desperation.”  You can combine joy...

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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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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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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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