Aaron Tao Archive

Aaron Tao is Assistant Editor of The Beacon at the Independent Institute.

Apocalypse Not: The Legacy of Julian Simon



“The ultimate resource is people—especially skilled, spirited, and hopeful young people endowed with liberty—who will exert their wills and imaginations for their own benefit and inevitably benefit the rest of us as well.”—Julian Simon February 12 marks the birthday of the late economist Julian Simon (1932–1998). On this special occasion, I wish to bring...
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Peter Thiel’s Contrarian Manifesto



[Editor’s Note: The Independent Institute is hosting a sold-out event, “Developing the Developed World: Entrepreneurship, Liberty, and the Future,” with Peter Thiel on Tuesday, January 27, 2015.] “Every moment in business happens only once. The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a...
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I, Nutella



“The lesson I have to teach is this: Leave all creative energies uninhibited. Merely organize society to act in harmony with this lesson. Let society’s legal apparatus remove all obstacles the best it can. Permit these creative know-hows freely to flow. Have faith that free men and women will respond to the Invisible Hand....
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Katniss Everdeen and the Paradox of Revolution



“Historically, the common form of revolution has been a not-too-efficient despotism which is overthrown by another not-too-efficient despotism with little or no effect on the public good. Indeed, except for the change in the names of the ruling circles, it would be hard to distinguish one from the other.” —Gordon Tullock For the past...
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Always Look on the Bright Side of Life



“The twenty-first century will be a magnificent time to be alive. Dare be an optimist.” —Matt Ridley On November 12, 2014, the world watched with excitement as another historic human achievement unfolded: After a decade-long journey that covered 4 billion miles in space, the first human spacecraft landed on a comet. This remarkable event...
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The Free Speech Movement Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary, but the Eternal Battle Between Liberty and Power Goes On



“Free speech is an eternally radical idea, so it is always under threat at all times in human history.” —Greg Lukianoff October 1 marks the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement, the iconic student rebellion that rocked the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, during the tumultuous 1960s. As summarized by Berkeley’s...
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The Giver’s Dystopia: Total Equality and No Humanity



“Submitting to censorship is to enter the seductive world of The Giver: the world where there are no bad words and no bad deeds. But it is also the world where choice has been taken away and reality distorted. And that is the most dangerous world of all.” —Lois Lowry Last month, I had...
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Reflections on the YAL National Convention 2014



“Let the American youth never forget that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings, and blood of their ancestors; and capable, if wisely improved, and faithfully guarded, of transmitting to their latest posterity all the substantial blessings of life, the peaceful enjoyment of liberty, property, religion, and independence.” —Justice Joseph...
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Rags to Riches (to Rags Again)



“Most income statistics present a snapshot picture as of a given moment—and their results are radically different from those statistics which follow the same given individuals over a period of years.” —Thomas Sowell Last week, CNNMoney carried a fascinating report on how rich families end up squandering their wealth: Nearly 60% of the time...
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Shining Light on Big Brother



“Will the digital age usher in the individual liberation and political freedoms that the Internet is uniquely capable of unleashing? Or will it bring about a system of omniscient monitoring and control, beyond the dreams of even the greatest tyrants of the past? Right now, either path is possible. Our actions will determine where...
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