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Robert Higgs Archive

Robert Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy at The Independent Institute and Editor at Large of the Institute’s quarterly journal The Independent Review.
Full Biography and Recent Publications

My Political Endorsement, as It Were



I notice that many people are making public announcements these days to identify which candidates they will endorse for the presidency and other public offices in the coming elections. Encountering these statements, I often shake my head because I have no idea who the endorser is or, when I do recognize the name, because...
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Dog Barks, Your Fourth Amendment Rights Disappear



Dog barks, that’s enough Cops steal your cash, guns, and car Civil forfeiture Dog’s false positive Cops and judges play along Government at work

U.S. Customs Cash Declarations: Just Another Routine Government Outrage



Anyone (individual or family) who enters the USA is required to fill out CBP Form 6059B, whereupon one must provide various personal information and answer several questions. One of the questions asks whether one is “carrying currency or monetary instruments over $10,000 U.S. or foreign equivalent.” A paragraph on the back of the form...
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Statism—the Broken Window Fallacy Writ Large



The success to date of Bernie Sanders’s campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination and the visible support for socialism on display among the U.S. public, especially among young adults, demonstrate once again the enduring vitality of economic nonsense and ideological folly. (Please note, however, that the foregoing statement should in no way be understood...
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Beware Survivorship Bias



Suppose you wanted to know how many of the soldiers, sailors, and airmen who served during World War II were killed in that war. So you sent inquiries to a random sample of persons whose names were drawn from a list of all those who served in the military during the war, asking: Were...
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Ideology—a Lens with Blinders



Every ideology has its Great Satan and a supporting cast of demons. These serve as all-purpose targets of blame and of the hatred that animates the ideology’s adherents. Ideology is not simply the distorted belief system of one’s political enemies. In accordance with the “inclusive” conception that I have employed in my writing for...
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Can the State Enforce Virtuous Behavior?



For thousands of years, states (or equivalent ruling organizations and elites) certainly have acted as if they could enforce virtuous behavior—always of course according to the particular conception of virtue they happened to cherish. And many continue to do so today. Thus, most U.S. states still prohibit possession of, use of, and commerce in...
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Why the Worst Get on Top: Comparative Advantage



For anyone familiar with F. A. Hayek’s famous 1944 book, The Road to Serfdom, the present electoral campaigning to gain the Democratic and Republican nominations as the party’s presidential candidate cannot help but call to mind Hayek’s chapter, “Why the Worst Get on Top.” As matters now stand, the most likely candidates will be,...
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The USA Is Going to the Dogs, as It Always Has in the Past



Some people say that the USA is going to the dogs (no offense intended, perros), and it’s child’s play to demonstrate many ways in which this claim is true—growing police brutality, burgeoning government debt, ever more numerous and onerous regulations, destructive monetary and credit-allocation policies, boiling ethnic and religious animosity, endless foreign wars, to...
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Populist Fascism and the Politics of Class Resentment



A while back one could have heard the masses chanting lustily, “Peron, Peron, Peron!” Today the masses can be heard chanting with equal fervor, “Trump, Trump, Trump!” And their gut feelings would seem to be much the same. Their dyspepsia springs, they suppose, from the evil machinations of the oligarchs whose actions have denied...
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