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Is a National Government Necessary for National Defense? »

Gordon Tullock used to taunt anarchists by asserting that if the USA abolished its government, people would not have to worry about the Russians taking over the country because “the Mexicans would get here first.” This little story actually incorporates a common objection to anarchy—namely, the idea that because, if a country abolished its...
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Negative Balance of Trade? So What? »

The tendency of the USA to have a negative balance of trade (more accurately known as a negative balance on current account) played a prominent role in the recent U.S. presidential campaign. Donald Trump criticized this tendency repeatedly and promised that if elected he would take various actions to reduce or eliminate it. Like...
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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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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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The Three Basic Means by Which Ruling Elites Maintain Their Control »

Ruling elites have three basic ways to keep the subject population under their thumb: threaten, bribe, and bamboozle. Everything they do is a variant of one of these basic actions. So, if the lush, misleading overgrowth were cut away, all government activities could be undertaken by only three departments: the Department of Cops and...
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What Really Creates a Peaceful, Orderly, and Prosperous Society? »

The idea that genuine self-government—the system in which individuals contract for the type of governance they prefer—must fail because under such a system no one can make others obey the rules is stunningly misconceived. On any given day, even in a world pervaded by states and their dictates, nearly everything that people do or...
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War Is the Antithesis of Freedom »

It has been nearly a week since terror attacks in Paris claimed the lives of nearly 130 people and injured countless others. Not more than a day later, France launched air strikes against ISIS in Raqqa, the de facto capitol of the Islamic State. As soon as news broke of the strikes, my social media...
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The CSA and Symbols: Learning from History »

Since a crazed, hate-filled and cowardly gunman killed nine black Christians in Charleston, South Carolina, the PC police have been in attack mode on anything associated with the Confederate States of America. The South Carolina General Assembly quickly voted to removed the Battle Flag from a Confederate Soldiers’ Memorial on the State House grounds. Now, critics...
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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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All I Really Need to Know I Learned from Reading Higgs »

Further to Bob Higgs’s earlier post, Thinking Is Research, Too!, down in Texas, the Chairman of the Dallas Fed has the odd practice of looking beyond government stats and actually (gasp!) asking real people how they think the economy is going. From a profile of the President and CEO of the Dallas Fed, Richard...
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