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Robert Higgs Archive

Robert Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy at the Independent Institute and Editor at Large of Independent’s quarterly journal The Independent Review. His Independent books include Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government; Depression, War, and Cold War: Challenging the Myths of Conflict and Prosperity; Neither Liberty nor Safety: Fear, Ideology, and the Growth of Government; Taking a Stand: Reflections on Life, Liberty, and the Economy; Delusions of Power: New Explorations of the State, War, and Economy; Opposing the Crusader State: Alternatives to Global Interventionism (edited with Carl Close); The Challenge of Liberty: Classical Liberalism Today (edited with Carl Close); Resurgence of the Warfare State: The Crisis Since 9/11; Re-Thinking Green: Alternatives to Environmental Bureaucracy (edited with Carl Close); Against Leviathan: Government Power and a Free Society; Hazardous to Our Health? FDA Regulation of Health Care Products; and Arms, Politics, and the Economy: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives.
Full Biography and Recent Publications

Dealing with Mistakes: Government Action versus Private Action



Government can hardly ever do just one thing. Its action has repercussions, and these repercussions have repercussions, and so forth. Even when the government’s initial action may seem compassionate or productive, it is highly unlike that the repercussions will prove likewise. Of course, private action also has repercussions, some of which may be unpleasant...
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So-called Police Misconduct



“Police misconduct” is a term one hears from time to time. Some people complain about it. Most, however, refer to it as simply a mistaken idea advanced by disgruntled ne’er-do-wells who refuse to accept that only a few “bad apples” among the police ever do anything wrong—and when they do it’s for altogether understandable...
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First, Do No Harm



Primum non nocere, or, in English, “first, do no harm,” is a venerable maxim often traced to the Hippocratic Oath. It has long served as an important admonition in the ethics of physicians and other healthcare providers. It seems an eminently sensible rule. In a way it resembles the provision in Catholic moral teaching...
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Mere Optimism Is Not a Good Substitute for Sound Theory and Far-reaching Evidence



As elderly people get older they tend toward feeble-mindedness. Not in every case, of course, but as a general rule applicable to any given cohort. I am acutely aware of this tendency whenever I express an opinion or explain a conclusion: I may simply be losing my grip. Moreover, older people tend to become...
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Rulers the People Deserve?



Like proverbial fish, Fearmongers and warmongers Stink, many people think From the head down ***** But in truth the guts stink first And the viscera’s putrefaction Encourages the heads To rot opportunistically

Grateful Remembrances of My Government High Schooling



I do not speak Spanish fluently. Indeed, I am often at a loss for the right words, not to mention a proper conjugation of the verbs, and I frequently fail to understand what people say to me. Yet all in all, I am astonished that, living in a part of Mexico where few people...
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The USA’s Trifurcated Legal System



The FBI’s recommendation against the prosecution of Hillary Clinton for her wanton, illegal mishandling of classified information in her emails puts on display once again the reality of the so-called rule of law in the USA. This reality is, above all, that the system is trifurcated: there is effectively one set of rules for...
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State’s Two-Way Mirror



Constant surveillance State’s prying eyes seek your wrongs Yours alone, not state’s ****** Got nothing to hide? Not to worry, citizen State makes no mistakes ****** But if it should err You will pay the error’s price State will not confess

I, Peach: A Lesson in Comparative Advantage



As part of my lunch today, I enjoyed a big, ripe, sweet, firm peach. “So what?” you may be asking. Well, my doing so is more remarkable than one might think. You see, I live at the extreme end of the road, near a remote, isolated village in the farthest southeast corner of the...
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Four Questions for the Rulers



1. In what way(s) have I violated your natural rights? 2. If I have not violated your natural rights (as I believe to be the case), thereby prompting you to retaliate against me in defense of them, why are you violating my natural rights in such a great variety of ways? 3. If you...
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