Archive for March, 2016
Can the State Enforce Virtuous Behavior?

For thousands of years, states (or equivalent ruling organizations and elites) certainly have acted as if they could enforce virtuous behavior—always of course according to the particular conception of virtue they happened to cherish. And many continue to do so today. Thus, most U.S. states still prohibit possession of, use of, and commerce in...
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Nonvoter Manifesto: Don’t Vote!

I am a nonvoter. I stand by my principled decision not to vote. Ever.

People think voting matters. It doesn’t, particularly now when so much power is amassed by unelected bureaucrats (the officials our Founders denounced in the Declaration of Independence for harassing the people). People know little or nothing about issues and theirs is rational ignorance–the governments (local/state/federal) have taken “responsiblity” for everything under the sun. There is no “knowing the issues” when they count in the hundreds or thousands.

Are NYC Stabbings the Result of Gun Control?

Knife attacks are on the rise in New York City. In January and February alone, the NYPD reported some 567 knife attacks, a full 20 percent higher than during the same period in 2014. Despite the sharp jump in stabbings, it’s reported that neither police, nor criminologists have been able to discern a pattern....
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Why the Worst Get on Top: Comparative Advantage

For anyone familiar with F. A. Hayek’s famous 1944 book, The Road to Serfdom, the present electoral campaigning to gain the Democratic and Republican nominations as the party’s presidential candidate cannot help but call to mind Hayek’s chapter, “Why the Worst Get on Top.” As matters now stand, the most likely candidates will be,...
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Obamacare’s Death Panel: Deferred, but Not Dismissed

Soon after Associate Justice Antonin Scalia passed away on February 13, Senate Republicans felt the need to declare that they would not even entertain the thought of holding confirmation hearings for any candidate President Obama might nominate to the Supreme Court in the last eleven months of his second term. Given the high drama...
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How Not to Make America Great Again

Donald Trump promises to “Make America Great Again.” Unfortunately, his “us versus them” view of economic exchanges, prominent in his “America doesn’t win anymore” rant, would fail introductory economics. And his protectionist promises cannot make us great again, only less great and poorer. Trump’s protectionism rehashes a bogus patriotism argument. Imports are pilloried as...
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What Is Consent? Edison’s Light Bulb

Back in 2006, Congress passed a “green” law to save energy by replacing the warm light of the incandescent bulb with alternative bulbs (not so friendly to the eyes or the pocketbook). Did Americans truly “consent” to the elimination of this light bulb? Almost no one knew their lawmakers passed this law. Moreover, the expensive, ugly-lit light bulbs regulators wanted Americans to buy were on sale for years. The problem was consumers – day after day, purchase after purchase – refused to consent to pay many times over for inferior light. Isn’t that a form of “consent” more responsive to the issue at hand than the passage of a law no one knew about?

Traditional Medicare Is Disappearing Faster than Expected: Does It Matter?

Republican and Democratic politicians accuse each other of plotting to destroy “Medicare as we know it” when campaigning against each other, but they collaborate enthusiastically to do exactly that when they get to work on Capitol Hill. For better or worse, Exhibit A is last week’s announcement by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid...
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So You Think Public Education Is Failing? It Helps to Understand Its Goals

Donald Trump’s base is widely characterized as “low-information voters.” As he continues to rack up primary wins, does this indicate that the majority of voters is now low-information? Meanwhile, a recent poll by the Harvard Institute of Politics of 18- to 29-year olds finds two-thirds of them neutral to Sanders’ self-identification as a socialist,...
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Giancarlo Ibárgüen S. (1963 – 2016): A Champion of Liberty

Yesterday my heart sank when a former colleague sent me a note saying, “The greatest man is gone... Giancarlo passed away.” This “greatest man” was Giancarlo Ibárgüen S., the former president of Universidad Francisco Marroquin (UFM) in Guatemala, who lost his seven-year struggle with ALS at the age of 53. Giancarlo was my boss...
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