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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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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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Political Power Takes a Hit in J. K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts



J. K. Rowling’s entertainment and cultural empire expands with the addition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a well-crafted action film that will surely push the Harry Potter film franchise beyond the $8 billion gross receipts milestone. Fantastic Beasts has already earned nearly $300 million worldwide, solidifying Rowling’s role as a leading...
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The Trump Transition and a Red Apocalypse?



Political observers and the media, unlike scattered groups of progressives, have accepted a Trump presidency as fact and are now focused on the transition from President Obama and its progressive executive branch. Many may be surprised to realize Donald Trump even had a transition team, given the attention to his bombastic and provocative campaign...
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Faith and Courage on Hacksaw Ridge



With faith comes conviction; with conviction comes courage; with courage comes action; with action comes leadership; with leadership comes social change. That chain could easily encapsulate the main storyline of Hacksaw Ridge, an engaging and sobering biopic focused on the heroic acts of World War II medic Desmond Doss. Desmond Doss was a Seventh...
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Rolling Stone Defamation Conviction Reveals Danger of Dogma When Addressing Campus Sexual Assault



Former University of Virginia associate dean Nicole P. Eramo won her defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone magazine, and the implications are significant. Successful defamation suits are rare in the U.S., in large part to protect the freedom of speech and press. I think, however, the jury verdict was correct in this case. Indeed, the...
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Deepwater Horizon Shows Dangers of Hubris, Not Capitalist Greed



I was braced for Deepwater Horizon, the big-budget disaster movie about the real world oil-rig disaster, to be an anti-capitalist and anti-oil diatribe. After all, the oil spill became the biggest environmental disaster in history. But instead of a tirade, I found a complex saga weaved into a story of heroism triggered by hubris...
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How Marxism Corrupts The Magnificent Seven



Capitalism doesn’t survive ten minutes in director Antoine Fuqua’s new remake of The Magnificent Seven. Mining baron Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) stands before the residents of the western mining town of Rose Creek and proclaims that, because America has accepted capitalism, they have little choice but to submit to his economic predation on their...
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Ban Guns, Come Hell or High Water



I didn’t fully recognize the remarkably pervasive anti-gun statement embedded in the well-received film Hell or High Water until my morning jog the following day. The message is so subtle, so nuanced, and so expertly executed, this movie could be used as a textbook case for how narrative filmmaking can promote policy positions. And...
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Snowden Spotlights Dangers of Privacy-Security Trade-Off



Few figures have been as polarizing as Edward Snowden, the intelligence-agency computer contractor turned whistleblower who leaked national security files to the press and raised global awareness about the breadth of U.S. government spying. Snowden has been in effective exile since 2013, when the government revoked his passport and started pressuring Russia to extradite...
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How Occupy Wall Street Nearly Scuttles Hell or High Water



Hell or High Water, one of the most talked about films of 2016, is billed as a modern-day western, “heist crime,” or Bonnie and Clyde. A contemporary western is more apt, and its excellent acting, steady pace, tight story and screenplay will likely make it an Oscar contender. The film also makes me yearn...
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