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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

Against the Feel-Good Study of History and Literature



The educational establishment seems to be expending a great deal of effort these days to excise “offensive” material from the curricula of history and literature. For example, Mark Twain’s great anti-racist novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been removed from the study materials in many schools because of its use of the word “nigger”...
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Against “We,” “Us,” and “Our” in Policy Discourse



Rhetoric is often insidious, especially in political and policy-related discourse. The words a writer or speaker uses to express his ideas may easily tilt the reader or listener’s evaluation toward unwarranted acceptance or rejection. Politicians and others who make public pronouncements understand this effect, and they choose their words with an eye toward using...
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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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