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Private Businesses Are Not “Public Accommodations” »

On Tuesday, April 5, Gov. Phil Bryant of Mississippi signed a bill passed by the state’s legislature shielding certain business owners, public employees and non-profit organizations from lawsuits charging them with unlawful discrimination for refusing to serve same-sex customers. Styled the “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act,” the new law drew sharp...
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Big Government Creates Political Polarization »

We’ve heard it said that politics is more polarized today than in the past. If that’s true (and I’m not sure it is), big government is likely to blame. I recently noted that politics creates conflict. Bigger government creates more conflict. Smaller government tends to focus on activities that meet with widespread agreement. Most...
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Douglass C. North (November 5, 1920 – November 23, 2015) »

I met Douglass C. North exactly forty-eight years ago, during the final week of 1967, when the American Economic Association was holding its annual meetings in Washington, D.C., and I went to Doug’s room at the Shoreham Hotel to be interviewed for a faculty opening at the University of Washington, where he was chairman...
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The Pilgrims’ Real Thanksgiving Lesson »

With Thanksgiving upon us once again, we offer a reminder of the economic lesson that made our first Thanksgiving possible: The Pilgrims’ Real Thanksgiving Lesson by Benjamin Powell Feast and football. That’s what many of us think about at Thanksgiving. Most people identify the origin of the holiday with the Pilgrims’ first bountiful harvest....
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Police Take More Property from People than Burglars »

Most readers of The Beacon are probably familiar with the rise in civil asset forfeiture, which gives police the power to seize property they claim was used in criminal activity, often without accusing the property owner of a crime. They don’t have to. It’s up to property owners to prove they are innocent to...
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Racehorses and Circus Animals—Stifle Your Outrage »

Flipping channels the other day, I came across an ad for SeaWorld. Instead of showing images of flipping dolphins, laughing children, and Shamu the killer whale, the commercial was more of a PSA. Instead of its typical advertising, the spot consisted of discussions about how the organization cares for its animals and their lifespans....
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Why Don’t You Own Your Own Health Information? »

David Brailer, MD, was the first head of the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology (ONC), appointed by President George W. Bush. Today, he is a venture capitalist. Last week in the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Brailer noted that a law passed in 1996 governs our access to health information. Clearly,...
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Immigration Policy Is Unjust »

Like you and every other person, I have no just right to prescribe for another person where he may come and go, with whom he may contract as employer or employee, and with whom he may buy, sell, and otherwise associate, so long as he does not violate anyone’s justly acquired private property rights...
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United States of Fear »

[F]irst of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of...
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Are the Ruling Elites in China Now More Pro-market than the Ruling Elites in the USA? »

The current issue of the Cato Policy Report (January/February 2015) contains a short article about a book by Zhang Weiying called The Logic of the Market: An Insider’s View of Chinese Economic Reform, which was originally published in Chinese (and said to be a best-seller in China in that form) and was recently translated into English....
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