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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.
Full Biography

Review: Did Can We Take a Joke? Forewarn Middlebury College?



Liberal intellectuals may be finally getting around to confronting the illiberal behavior of fellow liberals, particularly the recent episodes on American college campuses. Writing at The Atlantic, Peter Beinart examines the physical attacks at Middlebury College against Charles Murray and his faculty host and (liberal) interlocutor Allison Stanger. Hopefully, this introspection will prompt them...
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Review: Logan Shows Superhero Films Can Also Have Soul



Logan is the kind of movie that restores my faith in superhero action films. The story is layered, the characters have defined arcs, and the suspense keeps the audience engaged. Its R rating is well earned, with gruesome violence and disturbing situations involving children. The Hunger Games looks like a playground dust-up compared to...
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Was Hillary Clinton’s Progressive Presidential Bid Doomed from the Start?



Hundreds of thousands of people protested Donald Trump’s presidential election win, many believing he “stole” the presidency because Clinton “won” the popular vote. Digging below the surface of the November 2016 election results, however, suggests that Clinton’s presidential bid was doomed from the beginning. Moreover, the popular vote “win” may actually have been a...
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Review: Moonlight’s Focus on Drugs, Sexuality Make It a Film for Our Times



On the surface, Moonlight is a heart-wrenching film about a young African-American boy coming to terms with his sexuality while growing up in the impoverished public housing projects of Miami. But the Golden Globe winner (Best Motion Picture—Drama) is much more than a compelling, poignant, and uncompromisingly relevant movie; it’s a provocative portrayal of...
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Review: The Founder and the Questionable Ethics of Business



Those looking for an inspiring story of entrepreneurship won’t find one in The Founder, the new biopic depicting Ray Kroc’s dogged pursuit of building the McDonald’s Corp into an iconic brand and food-industry juggernaut. According to the screenwriter and story told on the big screen, little joy comes from the Golden Arches as Kroc...
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Review: Hidden Figures Exposes Social Cost of Prejudice



Economists have long argued that prejudice exacts penalties and costs on people who discriminate. A powerful example of this effect is found front and center in the justifiably acclaimed movie Hidden Figures. The film depicts the struggles and eventual triumph of women serving as “computers” for the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) in...
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Review: Silence Explores Religious Liberty in Feudal Japan



Silence, the powerful new film by iconic film director Martin Scorcese, is a complex story of faith and spiritual inspiration set during feudal Japan’s 17th century purge of Christians and their priests. It’s also a moving and thoughtful meditation on religious freedom, on personal versus state-sponsored faith, and on how character is defined by...
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Rogue One Is a Rousing Addition to Star Wars Saga



Leaving the movie theater after watching Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, I was wondering if the “one off”—a story that is within the Star Wars universe but is independent from the nine core films (Episodes I through IX)—might really be the recipe needed to reboot the franchise. The move to Disney Studios likely...
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Loving Exposes Dark Side of Legislating Morality



A small but important film is making its way through U.S. theaters this season, and its message will resonate powerfully with those favoring individual liberty and freedom. Loving has earned just $6.5 million at the box office, but the film tells a poignant story about an all too recent dark period in American history....
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Ben Carson and the Future of Cities



President-elect Donald Trump has tapped neurosurgeon Ben Carson to head the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). While pundits are focused on their primary feuds, a more important question is whether HUD’s mission will change under Carson’s tenure. On the surface, Carson’s appointment might seem to be a simple patronage job, a reward...
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