Tag: American History

Orson Welles on Contracts and the Rule of Law »

From Peter Biskind’s hilarious and irreverent My Lunches with Orson, the edited transcripts of Orson Welles’s conversations with director Henry Jaglom in the mid-1980s: HJ: In the old days, all those big [movie] deals were made on a handshake. With no contract. And they were all honored. OW: In common with all Protestant and...
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The U.S. Empire’s Shameful Multiplier Effect »

Let X = number of persons who died in the USA as a result of the 9/11 attacks. X ≈ 3,000. Let Y = number of persons who have died in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan as a result of direct war violence associated with the U.S. attacks and occupations since 9/11. Y ≈ between...
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How John Locke Should Have Saved The Lone Ranger »

I had a glimmer of hope for the 2013 film The Lone Ranger when I read that young U.S. attorney John Reid, aka The Lone Ranger, arrives in untamed west Texas with a copy of John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government. After watching the otherwise entertaining summer action film, I left the theater wondering...
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Jim Crow and the Progressives »

Historians often speak glowingly about the Progressive movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Typically they write off the racist statements made by many of its leaders—Herbert Croly, John Dewey, Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and others—as minor “blind spots” unrelated to Progressivism. But perhaps the apologist historians also have trouble seeing clearly....
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Why Fight for King and Country? »

There is something monstrously out of whack about going to war for a large nation state. I can understand why a man might take up arms in defense of himself, his family, his friends, perhaps even his neighborhood or his town. But once we get past the lived-in milieu, a man’s risking his life,...
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How Many Warnings Do We Need? »

One would be hard pressed to look at these faces and think “Ooo, dangerous subversives,” yet that is precisely the picture President Obama would like to paint of these men and those like them who are trying desperately to call Americans’ attention to the very real fact that, as Thomas Drake, NSA contractor for...
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Robert William Fogel (July 1, 1926 – June 11, 2013) »

Robert Fogel died a few days ago. He was a prominent figure in the academic economic history profession for five decades, virtually from the time he burst onto the scene with the publication of a polished-up version of his Johns Hopkins Ph.D. dissertation, Railroads and American Economic Growth, in 1964. This book was the...
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Bush Wasn’t a Conservative and Obama Isn’t a Liberal »

Americans need to stop picking the politicians they support based on how those politicians self-identify. Each of us needs to know what values we hold, and when all the evidence shows that the guy claiming to represent those values doesn’t, give up the party line. Conservatives are supposed to be for limited government—both in...
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Happy May Day »

It’s May Day—International Workers’ Day—a time for us to celebrate the workers of the world, who, as Marx told us, had nothing to lose but their chains and therefore would inevitably mount a worldwide revolution to throw off the hated capitalist system that had forged their chains. But something happened on the way to...
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Guardian Against Tyranny: The Writ of Habeas Corpus »

To live under tyranny is to live in fear—especially the fear of being arrested and jailed at the whims of the rulers. This is why America’s Founders regarded the right not to be detained arbitrarily as a cornerstone of liberty, and why they cherished the legal device they believed had secured that right: the...
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