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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

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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Rogue One Is a Rousing Addition to Star Wars Saga



Leaving the movie theater after watching Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, I was wondering if the “one off”—a story that is within the Star Wars universe but is independent from the nine core films (Episodes I through IX)—might really be the recipe needed to reboot the franchise. The move to Disney Studios likely...
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Loving Exposes Dark Side of Legislating Morality



A small but important film is making its way through U.S. theaters this season, and its message will resonate powerfully with those favoring individual liberty and freedom. Loving has earned just $6.5 million at the box office, but the film tells a poignant story about an all too recent dark period in American history....
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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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