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  • Wednesday, March 2, 2016 11:42 PM

    Whenever public officials promise to manage affairs of state, I am baffled how they fail to pay heed to public choice theory.  This is the idea, for which the late, great James Buchanan, earned his Nobel Prize (an idea he developed with his friend and colleague Gordon Tullock in the book The Calculus of Consent: Logical Foundations of Constitutional Democracy [Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1962].). 

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  • Thursday, February 25, 2016 4:25 AM
    So all of us who have long concluded that big government--which is to say, government with wide, nearly unlimited scope of power over the population it is supposed to serve--is a menace, no better than a gang of embezzlers and extortionists, can shout out “I told you so.”  From the time of the American Revolution it should have been crystal clear that trying to solve the problems of a society with what government has to offer, namely, brute force (more or less subtly applied) is a horribly bad idea.
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  • Thursday, February 18, 2016 12:22 AM
    NSA’s excuse for snooping on innocent citizens -- namely, that it can prevent serious harm to us, might even save lives -- is spurious.  If you incarcerated us all, that, too, might do all that. Free men and women are, of course, capable of violence, even murder, but unless it is proven that they are embarking on these, unless the burden of proof is fully met, they must be left free.
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  • Thursday, February 11, 2016 12:16 AM
    One of Greece's most notable pieces of ancient history concerns the region's repeated battles with barbarians from the East.  The Greeks considered themselves civilized, advanced, cultured people.  Cultural chauvinism had been rampant and in most historical accounts it is generally thought to have been fully justified.  The reason is that despite much dispute about what if anything is universally, objectively true concerning how human beings ought to organize their communities, certain basic principles are not thought to be controversial.
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  • Thursday, January 28, 2016 3:43 AM

    Yet another ancient political debate concerns whether public policy needs to be based on certain norms, or ethical principles.

    Classical and a few modern political philosophers — e.g., Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Spinoza, John Locke, et al. — argued that to learn how to govern, one must have certain values for which governing needs to aim. These would be justice, peace, equality, or liberty. The source of these values might be one or another conception of the divine, human nature, intuition, majority sentiment or something like these.

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  • Wednesday, January 20, 2016 9:11 PM
    The point of having a written constitution to which the administration of a country's legal system is firmly committed is to provide a framework of viable, just social life to all members of society who renounce violations of its principles. The American framers believed, in large measure, that the principles laid out in the Declaration should be fully represented in the country's constitution. These principles are referred to collectively as individual human rights. The Founders declared that these need to be held as self-evident, not something provisional, incidental, temporary or otherwise less than fundamental in a legal system.
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  • Wednesday, December 30, 2015 11:01 PM

    Katherine Rushton of The Daily Telegraph wrote a column trying to embarrass those in America, like Republican lawmaker Kieran Michael Lalor, who oppose bringing in Al Jazeera television on to the American television news market. Ms. Rushton feels such opposition is a kind of ethnic prejudice, not sound journalism. Dubbing Al Jazeera “Al Jihad,” such efforts may well be over the top but not necessarily.

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  • Thursday, December 17, 2015 12:33 AM

    You all may recall that after 9/11 Osama bin Laden explained his orchestration of the terrorist deed that murdered some 3000 innocent human beings as payback for America’s materialism.

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  • Thursday, October 22, 2015 1:11 AM
    In 1973 I edited The Libertarian Alternative*, published by the obscure but up and coming firm Nelson Hall. The book contained a wide selection of essays from the likes of Murray Rothbard, Nathaniel Branden, John Hospers, et al. Back then I didn’t keep track of whether this was some kind of breakthrough but other than John Hospers’s Libertarianism, there were very few works in print using the term “libertarianism” in their title.
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  • Thursday, September 24, 2015 12:11 AM
    Over the years of watching the democratic process I’ve noticed something important.  People tend to reject democracy, indeed, fight it tooth and nail, when it doesn’t go their way.  But when it does, well, it is the tops.
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  • Wednesday, September 16, 2015 8:25 PM

    There was a movie with this title some time ago, starring Richard Dreyfuss and it had to do with whether a person has the right to end his or her own life. If one has a right to one’s life, that choice is surely one’s own. Having rights has to do with freedom or liberty–the right to free speech doesn’t require one to speak but ensures that one has the authority to decide whether to do so. Similarly, having the right to one’s life places the choice as to whether to live in one’s own hands.

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  • Thursday, September 10, 2015 12:06 AM

    As a lay student of the law, it has always struck me odd that in the U. S. system the First Amendment to the constitution exempts the ministry and journalism from government regulation while it appears to accept the regulation by all levels of government of numerous professions and enterprises. In very general terms, this clearly amounts to a kind of unjust discrimination.

    Why should people doing work at churches, ministries, newspapers, publishing houses, think tanks, universities and the like have their full–unalienable–right to liberty protected, including from governments across the board–federal, state, municipal, etc.–while other citizens who work in hospitals, factories, shops, corporate offices, etc., and so forth are subjected to onerous government regulations by some fellow citizens who have not gained the consent of these to be treated by them this way? What justifies this unequal protection of the law for millions of citizens who have done nothing illegal, who aren’t being punished or penalized for any malpractice?

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  • Thursday, September 3, 2015 12:48 AM

    No need to keep readers in suspense – the fallacy is to aim for certainty beyond the shadow of doubt! It is very costly because by holding on to the belief that if one lacks such certainty, it’s OK to believe this or that and to do this or that, one is wasting enormous resources. And this is the basis of much public policy – especially, since the funds to engage in such fruitless pursuits can be obtained via the extortionist methods of taxation which creates the illusion of no limits. It is no accident that President Obama, for example, has linked his own public philosophy to the idea of hope – as seen in the title and theme of his famous book, The Audacity of Hope (Canongate, 2007). Pursuing what one can only hope for, mostly against all reason, is just how one produces enormous debts, especially when one doesn’t need to worry about who will have to foot the expense of such pursuits.

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  • Wednesday, August 26, 2015 7:55 PM

    At the outset it needs to be noted that whatever is called the social contract, it is not actually a contract which is “an agreement entered into by two or more parties with the serious intention of creating a legal obligation or obligations, which may or may not have elements in writing. Contracts can also be formed orally (parole contracts). The remedy at law for breach of contract is usually ‘damages’ or monetary compensation. In equity, the remedy can be specific performance of the contract or an injunction.”

    So then, contracts are legal instruments, means by which legally backed agreements are recorded and used to settle disputes about the parties’ obligations. The idea of a so called social contract is, actually, an oxymoron since most social acts aren’t legal ones. A better term for what is usually meant by “social contract” would be social compact, a plain agreement of some kind.

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  • Wednesday, August 19, 2015 11:11 PM

    The policy of imposing liberal regimes around the globe has proven to be a disaster and no wonder. It is simply not feasible to coerce people to be free–the idea is an oxymoron.

    It doesn’t follow, however, that countries that are largely committed, even if only rhetorically, to a regime of human liberty–one that follows the political principles of the Declaration of Independence–can do nothing to advance freedom outside their borders. Sure, this is nearly impossible if they are themselves only so-so committed to a free system, if their own legal order is a mixture between tyranny and liberty.

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