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Paid Patriotism: The Artist Formerly Known as “Propaganda” »

In November 2015, Senators Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and John McCain (R-AZ) released a report revealing the Department of Defense paid professional sports teams to host “patriotic events.” Anyone who has ever attended a sporting event knows these well. Military personnel are featured on the jumbotron, huge flags are spread across the field, returning veterans...
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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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Time to KO the Idea of Boxing Bans »

Upon watching the first session of women’s Olympic boxing in London in 2012, leading neuroscientist John Hardy stated that, We shouldn’t get our fun out of watching people inflict brain damage on each other. To me as a neurologist it’s almost surreal. Indeed, boxing has a reputation for producing some real medical nightmares. Having...
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Agonizing over Sports Teams’ Mascot Names »

I have written several columns on current controversies involving the apparent offensiveness of the Washington Redskins’ nickname, the most recent of which was published by the Washington Times. A later contribution to the same debate, by Hayley Manugia at FiveThirtyEight, finds 2,128 such American monikers, all of which should be equally offensive to people...
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Katniss Everdeen and the Paradox of Revolution »

“Historically, the common form of revolution has been a not-too-efficient despotism which is overthrown by another not-too-efficient despotism with little or no effect on the public good. Indeed, except for the change in the names of the ruling circles, it would be hard to distinguish one from the other.” —Gordon Tullock For the past...
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Jameis Winston . . . Again? »

If you’re even a little bit of a sports fan, you probably know that Florida State University’s quarterback, Jameis Winston, has been suspended from the first half of the FSU-Clemson game for standing on a table in the student union and shouting out obscenities. As good as he’s been on the field, Jameis has...
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Misplaced Outrage over the NCAA’s Decision to Reduce Sanctions on Penn State »

In a USA Today column published on September 8, Nina Mandell is livid about the lessening of sanctions imposed on Penn State two years ago in connection with charges of child sexual abuse against assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Those sanctions, which included a $60 million fine, a reduction in football scholarships, and a...
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Is “Redskins” Offensive? »

Controversy over the nickname of the NFL’s Washington Redskins has been swirling for nearly a year. Today, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced that it had withdrawn governmental protection for exclusive use of that name, meaning ironically that anyone (an individual or business enterprise) henceforth can call itself the “Washington Redskins”....
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World Cup Soccer’s Real Top Rivals: Nationalism versus Globalism »

It’s hard to overestimate the importance of the FIFA World Cup, which on June 12 kicked off its 20th tournament, this time in Brazil. Every four years this event captures the hearts and minds of hundreds of millions of soccer fans around the globe. And like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, flags and national...
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The Independent Review—Winter Issue Now Available »

The winter 2014 issue of The Independent Review is hot off the press! This edition of the Independent Institute’s 160-page scholarly journal includes a stimulating mix of timely topics and enduring themes, including a symposium on Nobel laureate economist James M. Buchanan and classical liberalism. Read it and gain a deeper understanding of the...
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