Tag: Crisis and Leviathan
The Covid-19 Ratchet Effect is Becoming Clearer, and More Concerning 
On June 24, Centers for Disease Control Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky extended the national eviction moratorium for tenants unable to pay rent through the end of July. First enacted last September, the moratorium hoped to prevent further Covid-19 spread by helping tenants avoid traveling to find new housing or becoming homeless.  The announcement from...
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As the Pandemic Demonstrates, Leviathan Feeds on National Crises
Crisis and Leviathan is Robert Higgs’ great work of history exploring how politicians exploit crisis situations to grow their power. As their power grows, so too does the size of government. Leviathan, of course, refers to the old bible stories of a multi-headed sea serpent with an insatiable appetite—much like today’s U.S. government, which...
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Never Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste
Remember the Golden Age of Laissez-Faire, the grand epoch brought to a tragic end by the COVID-19 crisis, which laid bare its failures for all to see? Me neither. And yet the New Narrative is already being written. “The Era of Small Government Is Over,” writes Jamelle Bouie in the New York Times. US federal, state, and local government...
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Coronacrisis and Leviathan
In his magisterial Crisis and Leviathan, Robert Higgs shows that the growth of government in the twentieth century can largely be explained by patterns of crisis and response. These crises can be real (World Wars I and II, the Great Depression, stagflation) or imagined (inequality, the various isms). In either case new government programs, agencies, and policies...
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No $1,000 Handouts, End Payroll Taxes!
As a small business owner, I don’t need a $1,000 handout. This is a gimmick—let’s instead focus on solutions tailored to the problem. I need the tax relief of suspending the payroll taxes I and my workers pay. Some math—my workers are all being paid their normal salaries for the foreseeable future, despite trials,...
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Forgive Me if I Don’t Fall Right into Line with the New Fascism
As a San Francisco resident and business owner, I’m wondering—can I trust the health judgments of leaders who let thousands live on the streets in their own filth? And if we are now getting the homeless into shelter, why couldn’t that have happened earlier? Doesn’t their health count? All of a sudden, we are...
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A Tale of Two Abolitionists
An excellent movie released six years ago, “Amazing Grace,” depicted the life of William Wilberforce and his ultimately successful efforts to abolish, first, the British Slave Trade in 1806, and then slavery throughout the English empire with the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833. He did so entirely peacefully, through the British parliamentary system. It...
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Remembering Gore Vidal
In the aftermath of 9/11, we found ourselves almost bereft of friends and allies, as so many we had thought were fellow-travelers—sharing our dedication to core principles of the sanctity of every individual’s right to life and liberty; the danger of the welfare/warfare state; and the primacy of securing and protecting economic and civil...
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9/11 as a Threat to Non-Profits?
I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising that non-profits are finding the War on Terror a convenient excuse to increase their funding from government. Nor surprising that our friends in Washington have been happy to oblige in adding dependents to the gravy train. In news that could have been taken straight from the pages of...
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9/11 Anniversary: Book and Movie Recommendations
There is no joy in saying “We told you so,” when the dangers against which we warned turned out to have been realized, and, indeed exceeded, so far beyond anyone’s imagining. As longtime observers of political economy, and the lessons so succinctly laid out by Robert Higgs in his masterful Crisis and Leviathan, we...
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