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

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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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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