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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

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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Peter Boettke’s Splendid Essays on Learning and Teaching Economics



I have just finished reading Living Economics: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, a wonderful collection of essays by Peter Boettke. (It was published in 2012, but I move slowly these days.) The essays were written over a span of some twenty years or so, most of them in the first decade of the present century...
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The Rape of Nanking and the U.S. Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki



Question: In what way do the atrocities committed by soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army in China in 1937-38, especially those included under the rubric of “the Rape of Nanking,” justify the U.S. government’s atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945? Answer: In no way whatsoever. Question: Why then do so many of...
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Historical Understanding versus Moral Appraisal



To understand history, we must, as it were, enter into the minds of people in the past—a task that we can never accomplish except in a very incomplete way. We must try to understand how they viewed the choices they made, what various actions and categories of action meant to them. By looking at...
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