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Sam Staley Archive

Samuel R. Staley is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and Managing Director of the DeVoe L. Moore Center in the College of Social Sciences at Florida State University. He is a contributing author to the Independent books, Property Rights: Eminent Domain and Regulatory Takings Re-Examined and Housing America: Building Out of a Crisis.
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Vanderbilt, Stanford Rape Cases Show Need for New Approach to Campus Sexual Assault



On June 20, 2016, a jury convicted Vanderbilt University football player Brandon Vandenburg of rape after just 4 1/2 hours. He was found guilty on eight counts, meaning he could get 15-20 years in prison. Many are comparing the Vanderbilt case to the Stanford University rape case, where former collegiate swimmer Brock Turner was...
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The Stanford Sexual Assault Case and the Limits of the Incarceration State



Perhaps the most striking void left in the aftermath of the Brock Turner sexual assault trial—the Stanford rape case—is the utter lack of resolution for the victim and the degree to which the human harm created by his actions has gone unaddressed. This is extraordinary given the apparent success of the case. Fewer than...
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Is a Dystopian World Closer Than We Think? Thoughts from Hiroshima



Bestselling dystopian young-adult (YA) literature has inspired some of the biggest films of recent years. Many of these books, including The Hunger Games, the Divergent series, and the more modestly performing Fifth Wave, have been set in the aftermath of global war, geo-political events that bring human societies to near annihilation. While these stories...
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Captain America’s Civil War and Political Principle



Captain America: Civil War blasted into U.S. theaters generating $192 million in its first weekend and more than $700 million worldwide. I’ll confess: I almost passed this one up: All I could envision were lots of explosions and major cities crumbling. I had my fill of that with the destruction of the fictional Sokovia...
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“Eye in the Sky” Confronts Complicated Ethics of Drone Warfare



Many have argued that drones–remotely controlled vehicles that shoot missiles or engage in deadly fire against targets–are a particularly dangerous form of waging war because it distances us from the carnage it produces. How can the value of human life be protected if it’s reduced to a video game with “pilots” operating from isolated...
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The Constitutional Economics of the “Divergent” Films



The third installment in the Divergent movie franchise, Allegiant, inserted itself into cinematic pop culture with a whimper on its opening weekend, but the movie seems to be completing a unexpectedly weighty arc on the nature of politics. While almost certainly unintentional, the thematic arc is intriguing because it brings to life the warnings...
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Title IX Privacy Ban Thwarts Campus Sexual Assault Policies



The Big Short’s Oscar Win and Capitalism in Film



My blogging colleague Bob Murphy did a nice job of reviewing The Big Short in January, but the film is worth revisiting in light of its Academy Award win for best adapted screenplay. Nominated for five awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, with fine acting by all the principals in the star-studded cast,...
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The “Joy” of Entrepreneurship



Jennifer Lawrence is up for Best Actress Oscar for her performance in Joy, a film loosely based on the entrepreneurial rise of inventor Joy Mangano. Lawrence may have a shot at the award after her Golden Globe win for Best Actress, and this would strike an important popular culture blow in favor of entrepreneurship....
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How Lord Acton Trumps George Orwell in The Hunger Games



Katniss Everdeen makes a choice in a pivotal scene in Mockingjay, the third book in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, that had the potential to elevate her into the pantheon of pro-freedom heroines in contemporary fiction. Unfortunately, neither the book nor the movies leveraged this act to let Everdeen step onto that...
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