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Oppose Your Enemies, or Look for Common Ground? »

On a few occasions I’ve used my privilege as a blogger on The Beacon to write in support of viewpoints held by people that some readers of The Beacon view as the opposition. For examples, I supported the Black Lives Matter movement for protesting police brutality, and more recently, the Resist! movement for opposing...
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The Mullibuster Option »

One of the zanier features of American politics is the Senate’s filibuster rule. Long ago, the Senate, by a simple majority vote, ruled that a supermajority is required to get any business done, with the result that often nothing gets done at all. On the positive side, however, the threat of a filibuster has...
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Politics without Romance? Yes and No »

James Buchanan, a pioneer in the development of public choice, viewed his approach to the study of government and politics as the analysis of “politics without romance.” But Jim couldn’t really live without the romance, and no sooner had he expelled it out the front door than he let it in the back door,...
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Michael John Novak, Jr., 1933-2017 »

Our very dear friend and Founding Member of the Board of Advisors of the Independent Institute, Michael Novak, passed away at the age of 83, on February 17th. A man of immense generosity, integrity, joyfulness, and good will, Michael was one of the most important scholars, theologians, prolific authors, and public intellectuals of the...
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Term Limits for Supreme Court Justices? »

Article III, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution provides that “Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour ...” The result is that instead of choosing Justices on the basis of their experience, maturity and gravitas, there is a premium on packing the Court with youngsters who...
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Donald Trump: Product of Progressivism »

In the bitter aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, Progressives are lamenting Donald Trump’s victory over self-described Progressive Hillary Clinton. Trump’s victory places him in a position of being able to use the power of the presidency to impose his anti-Progressive agenda, displacing the more enlightened Progressive agenda that Clinton would have pursued. The...
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A Sandy Beach and Constitutional Political Economy »

I normally walk my dogs twice each day along the beach, which gives me an opportunity to ponder, among other things, issues in constitutional political economy. My late friend James Buchanan, one of the deepest thinkers in political economy during the past century, led the development of this field of study in his time....
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Gary Johnson Finally Gets Some Media Attention »

I am amazed at the lack of media attention Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party candidate for president, has received. He’s polling at about 10%, and despite the huge negative perception many voters have of Clinton and Trump, the media rarely notes that Johnson is a relatively popular alternative. With much discussion throughout the political spectrum...
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When Should We Have to Present a Photo ID? »

This article explains that a Federal Appeals Court recently struck down a requirement that voters in North Carolina must show a photo ID to vote. I realize that this is a partisan issue and I’m not trying to make a partisan argument. I’m just wondering when it is reasonable to be required to show...
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Politics and American Surveillance »

Editor: Today is the publication date of the Independent Institute’s newest book, American Surveillance: Intelligence, Privacy, and the Fourth Amendment, by Anthony Gregory (Research Fellow, Independent Institute). Published for Independent by the University of Wisconsin Press, this widely acclaimed new book traces the history of government surveillance in the U.S. that transcends party divides,...
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