Tag: Civil Liberties

Individualizing Justice in The Equalizer »

As a libertarian, I often enter a theater to watch an action movie like The Equalizer with a bit of trepidation. Inevitably, the story depends on the destruction of human life as a plot driver. In many cases, particularly those with martial arts or superhero roots (think Ninja Assassin or Wolverine), the story depends...
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The Worst (Still) Get on Top »

How often when discussing politics, listening to the news, or hearing about the latest government debacle do you hear something like, “If only John Doe was in office” or “If we could just get the right people in there, things would be better?” How often are issues like corruption, waste, and other perverse outcomes...
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Coercive Foreign Policies and the Boomerang Effect »

More than a century ago, Mark Twain noted that if a “Great Republic” goes about “trampling on the helpless abroad,” then that government stands a good chance of turning against its own citizens. But why does a nation’s repression of other countries raise the risk of repression at home? The short answer, according to...
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Perfecting Tyranny »

When discussing the costs of foreign intervention, it’s typical for scholars, elected officials, and the general public to focus on the international consequences. As the U.S. prepares for new offenses in Iraq and Syria, for example, many have called into question issues of civilian casualties, the impact on these countries’ political and economic systems,...
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Never Forget »

...that 9/11 was successfully carried out because American government agencies with very large budgets, and with more than sufficient spying authority, ignored multiple reports that had been spoon-fed them by their own agents: In a memo from the Phoenix FBI to headquarters, the agents recommended an urgent nationwide review of flight schools “for any...
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Are Students Afraid To Be Free? »

Class is back in session for most colleges and universities across the country. Last year, I had the privilege of teaching college economics courses for the first time. We discussed many issues, from the economics of War on Drugs and the War on Terror, to the minimum wage, to why airlines offer discounts to...
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NSA “Fatigue”? »

Last month I saw a New York Times account of the latest interview with Edward Snowden headlined, “Racy Photos Were Often Shared at N.S.A., Snowden Says“—yet not widely picked up elsewhere—and I wondered, “Oh dear, if sex isn’t selling continued interest in NSA spying revelations, we’re in trouble.” Now, in an in-depth interview in...
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Orwellian Language: Peace Abroad; War at Home »

Governments often misuse language to build emotional and patriotic support for their policies. This Orwellian use of language is clearly evident in the way that US government policy uses the words “war” and “peace.” Everyone is well aware of the US military invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Initiated during the Bush administration and continued...
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Classifying America: Government’s Power to Define Is the Power to Discriminate »

In one of the most famous phrases uttered by a Supreme Court justice, Potter Stewart defended his ruling in an obscenity case (1964) by refusing to offer a clear definition. Instead, he stated: “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be [hard-core pornography]; and perhaps I could...
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The War on Poverty and the War on Drugs »

As an apparently war-minded people, Americans (or at least, our American political leaders) have been comfortable framing parts of the domestic policy agenda as wars for decades. Two of the most prominent have been the War on Poverty and the War on Drugs. Despite the similarity in their names, there is an important difference...
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