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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

Slavery and Justifications for Southern Secession in Their Own Words



With the national debate over removing monuments to confederate war heroes dominating headlines, perhaps we need a reminder of the principles and justifications for southern secession for which these men fought. The following excerpts are from the articles of secession adopted by five states, and the ordinances of secession adopted by the legislatures, conventions,...
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Review: Atomic Blonde‘s Stylish Action Bolstered by Duplicity of War



Current events have bolstered Atomic Blonde‘s, giving the film substance beyond its role as a conventional summer action movie better at scoring at the box office than provoking thought. Accusations of Russian influence in domestic elections, eyebrow-raising flights by private jet by millionaires advising presidential candidates, and historically low levels of trust in information from...
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Review: Baby Driver’s Wild Ride With Heart



Audiences will know they are in for a wild ride the second the black wheels and red fender of Baby’s car enters the movie. And they are in for a treat. One of the most anticipated movies of the year, Baby Driver delivers fast, slick action wrapped up in a heart wrenching story of...
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Review: Valerian Entertains with Focus on Visual Effects and Personal Dignity



Sometimes the box office is not a good indicator of a film’s quality, and such is the case with Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. The movie’s aesthetic is a satisfyingly conscious blend of space opera, fantasy, and action with a European flare. Throw in deep-seated government corruption that leads to planetary...
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Review: Dunkirk Immerses Viewers in Military Disaster



Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan’s new film about a World War II military disaster that ended up symbolizing the “never give-up spirit” of Britain, may well have established itself as the leading contender for Best Picture at next year’s Academy Awards. But be forewarned: Dunkirk is a survival film, not a typical war film. Viewers will...
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Review: Book of Henry Breaks from Convention to Ask Important Questions



Critics panned The Book of Henry when it opened in June, but this may say more about their ability to step outside their pre-conceived ideas about what a movie “should be” than anything else. The film’s storyline conforms much more to what a reader would expect in a suspense novel than the conventional three-act...
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Review: All Eyez On Me and Hip Hop’s Shakespearean Tragedy



The most satisfied people leaving the theater after seeing the biopic All Eyez On Me are likely to be hip hop music fans and Tupac Shakur enthusiasts, one of the rap industry’s most talented and iconic artists. Others are more likely to feel that the tragically short life of Shakur, who was just 25...
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Review: Megan Leavey Explores Emotional Trauma of War



The film Megan Leavey carries a message much more important than its pedestrian name and movie trailers imply. This is not a feel good war film, nor one principally of battlefield heroism. Instead it’s a poignant and relatable story about human trauma and healing based on the real life experiences of coincidental war hero...
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Review: Wonder Woman’s Anti-War Theme Elevates Superhero Action Film



Wonder Woman is already one of the year’s most successful films just three weeks into its U.S. box office run, and for good reason: It’s a smart, well-executed action film. Despite acting that is just above average for superhero films—probably no Academy Award performances in this movie—the directing is top notch, special effects scaled to...
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Hollywood Versus the Real History of Pirates



Films often take creative license to deviate from historical fact, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales follows in this tradition. Often, this creative license simplifies complicated realities. Below are four ways the Pirates of the Caribbean films oversimplify the complicated and very rational real-world of Caribbean piracy during the so-called...
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