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Tag: Philosophy

The Ethics of Democracy »

“Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.” That quotation, often (but probably incorrectly) attributed to Benjamin Franklin, sums up the ethics of democracy. Democratic outcomes are used to justify a majority claiming the right to impose their will on the minority. To prevent the unethical exploitation of...
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On Acting Rationally in More Ways than One »

Rationality is an essential element for successful thinking and acting. It serves, at bottom, to prevent internal contradictions; it allows us to choose means that are suited to the attainment of our chosen ends. I come not to bury rationality, but to praise it. Yet rationality alone cannot guarantee anyone a successful life. This...
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Markets Promote Peace and Harmony »

The market economy is a remarkable institution: It reduces poverty, decreases discrimination, and provides opportunities for constructive social and economic advancement far more reliably than do government programs. And yet despite all the good that markets do, many people are dubious about the moral case for markets. As economist Dwight R. Lee writes in...
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Obama Should Play Golf All Day, Every Day »

I heard a conservative talk radio guy complaining about the president’s excessive time on the putting green. Allegedly, Obama has played a record number of holes for a first-term chief executive. A related complaint concerned his frequent vacations. This is hardly the first time I’ve heard partisans protest the president’s golfing and holiday habits....
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Think You’re Smart? Try This Quiz from The Independent Review! »

The fall 2012 issue of The Independent Review, our quarterly journal edited by Robert Higgs, is hot off the press! As always, The Independent Review deals with a wide variety of fascinating questions about economic policy, political and social theory, and intellectual history. To test your wits, try answering the questions addressed in the...
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Thoughts for Constitution Day »

By my reading, almost nothing the federal government does is Constitutional. The entire national security state and empire are dubious at best. The welfare state is unauthorized. Nothing in Article I, Section 8, the clause empowering Congress to legislate, gives that body the general authority over education, health care, the environment, most businesses, and...
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New Online Courses on Liberty »

With the very exciting, rapid development of online learning, I am delighted that new programs to provide excellent courses in economics and history have recently been launched by scholars who have worked with the Independent Institute. 1. The first is from the historian and best-selling author Thomas E. Woods, Jr. (Senior Fellow, Ludwig von...
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Social Liberalism and the Drug War »

In the 1990s, I read an interview with a rock star optimistic about the country’s direction. He thought President Clinton’s admission to having tried marijuana was a good sign. America was becoming more socially liberal. The new generation was in charge. And as one consequence, maybe the disastrous war on drugs would end. Not...
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The Pathology of U.S. Democracy »

Electoral politics is a moral and intellectual wasteland. There is no room for anyone of principle, whatever that principle might be. As a libertarian, I see little difference between Obama and Romney. They both favor a perpetual war on terror, an occupation of Afghanistan, military aid to Israel, indefinite detention of terror suspects, military...
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Georgia On My Mind »

I am leaving tomorrow to teach in a week-long economics program for college students in the Republic of Georgia. Georgia was one of the Soviet republics until the Soviet Union dissolved 21 years ago, and the country has made remarkable strides in the two decades since. After a slow start, Georgia instituted major economic...
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