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

Five Recent Movies that Explore Race in America



February is African-American History Month in the United States and Canada. This series of events celebrating African-American achievements and their experience has been controversial since it was founded by historian Carter G. Woodson on a smaller scale as Negro History Week in 1926. Nevertheless, regardless of where one falls on its importance, the month provides...
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Review: Darkest Hour Probes Depths of Political Courage



Darkest Hour probes the depths of political courage under overwhelming odds, focusing on the first few months of Winston Churchill‘s leadership as Prime Minister during World War II. The movie also presents a dilemma. On the one hand, Churchill experts have challenged the historical accuracy of several broad themes and characterizations (see here and here)....
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Review: Pro-Liberty Themes Thrive in Molly’s Game



Molly’s Game, the new film with a snappy, Oscar-nominated screenplay by Aaron Sorkin (of West Wing and The Social Network fame), practically bubbles over with pro-liberty themes, from the irreverent lead character striking out on her own in an ethically suspect underground economy to the prosecutorial abuse used to coerce “Hollywood poker princess” Molly Bloom into...
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Review: The Post Puts Freedom of the Press in Spotlight



The Washington Post is now a stalwart of the national press corps, but, as the movie The Post makes clear, its status was not assured. Neither was the future of the Freedom of the Press in the wake of Daniel Ellsberg’s leaking of The Pentagon Papers in 1971 in what may be the most...
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Review: The Florida Project Shines Light on Underbelly of American Labor Market



The Florida Project, a brilliant new film by director/screenwriter Sean Baker (Tangerine, Take Out) explores the precarious world of people living just a few dollars short of homelessness through the ears and eyes of six-year olds. Baker balances adult desperation and childlike optimism, an enigmatic blend that creates a gripping story centering on an...
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Review: Marshall Spotlights Neglected Part of Civil Rights History



Marshall, the biopic of the illustrious and path-breaking civil rights attorney Thurgood Marshall, is an important reminder about just how deep-seated racism and prejudice were in American society (and some say still are). Well acted and evenly paced, the film is a worthy addition to a growing list of good films depicting layered aspects...
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Is Trump Destroying the GOP?



Of all the concerns raised about President Donald Trump and his behavior in the Oval Office, perhaps one of the more sobering one is the way he and his allies have elevated a minority position within the GOP to a dominant policy agenda at the national level. Throughout his primary campaign, Trump spoke to...
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Review: The Hitman’s Bodyguard and the Ethics of Assassination



The Hitman’s Bodyguard is an action/drama that would normally be considered standard fare for the summer season. Yet this movie does more than careen through dead bodies and extended vehicle chases. The story is driven by the relationship between the core characters and turns on a serious question of ethics and forgiveness. At the...
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Wonder Woman Schools James Cameron on Strength in Character



The dust up prompted by iconic filmmaker James Cameron’s critical comments of Wonder Woman, and by implication, director Patty Jenkins, may have triggered a long overdue discussion over the validity of gender stereotypes in Hollywood. Cameron called Wonder Woman, the summer blockbuster, “a step backwards” for strong female characters in an interview with The...
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Review: Detroit Shows How Violence Opens Door to Injustice



The opening lines in the chyron running with the black and white still photos did not bode well for Kathryn Bigelow’s new film Detroit. The overly simplistic, politically hyped, narrative ran, in effect, like this: During the Great Migration, African Americans moved north to jobs, whites moved out to better jobs in the suburbs,...
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