The Independent Institute

 
        

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: The Promise, the Armenian Holocaust, and the Origins of Genocide



If you want to know the origin of the term “genocide,” watch the film The Promise. Literally. The movie is billed as a romantic drama, but it’s really a well-produced, narratively complex story of the Ottoman Empire’s systematic and targeted extermination of 1.5 million Christian Armenians through starvation, forced labor, rioting, and massacres in...
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Review: The Liberty That Drives A United Kingdom



A film capable of tying political and economic freedom together in one story is rare, but the British film A United Kingdom makes a valiant effort. The story hinges on the culturally and politically taboo romance and marriage between the heir to the throne of Bechuanaland (modern-day Botswana), and his white, working-class English wife...
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The Dignity and Value of Work in La La Land and Moonlight



The award-winning films La La Land and Moonlight did more than share a chaotic stage in the closing moments of the 89th Academy Awards. They also share an intriguing underlying economic theme through rare insight into the substance and dignity of work, albeit in radically different ways. Work is front and center in La...
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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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