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Antiwar Minarchism

This essay has two objectives. First, it will illustrate the differences between “minarchist” and “anarchist” understandings of international warfare. Second, it will demonstrate that international warfare generally violates minarchist principles. If it succeeds in this latter respect, devoted minarchists will finish this essay confident that they can and should protest militarism. Let’s begin with some definitions. Ayn Rand labeled government...

TGIF: Shimon Peres and 9/11

The death of former Israeli prime minister and president Shimon Peres (age 93), the last major figure of Israel's founding generation, has brought an outpouring of tributes for a man who reputedly had, as President Obama put it in his eulogy, "the capacity to see all people as deserving of dignity and respect." Unfortunately, the Polish-born Peres's life did not...

TGIF: Neither Democracy nor Elitism

Whenever we libertarians point out democracy's perverse incentives (as I do here) we risk being accused of elitism. However, those who assume that the only alternative to rule by the people is rule by an aristocracy reveal a tragically incomplete awareness of the choices before us. Rather than choose among rulers, we should ask why anyone at all must rule. But even if...

TGIF: Trade is a Labor-Saving “Device”

Democratic politics makes savvy people stupid, at least when they act politically. This has long been demonstrated, and it applies both to voters and policymakers. Several things account for it: the impotence of one vote, the consequent futility and hence wastefulness of acquiring information, the dispersal of the costs of government, and the resulting theatrical mood-setting farces called election...

Thank You From a Military Officer

Scott, I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart as you have changed my life for the better.  Today I resigned my commission in the United States Army as I can no longer be part of a death machine that does no good for any part of a peaceful, productive society.  Your website and podcast have turned...

America’s Counter-Revolution Reviewed

Independent historian (and old friend) Joseph R. Stromberg reviewed America's Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited at The American Conservative magazine website. He opens "The Federalists' Revenge" with: America’s Counter-Revolution, dedicated “To the constitutionalists of all parties,” gives new meaning to the word pithy. In 20 short chapters (most of which were previously columns in the Freeman and elsewhere) Sheldon Richman achieves a remarkable...

Is the Government’s Budget Equal to GDP?

Memo to news people: tax cuts don't have to be paid for. The money is ours; the government takes it from us by threat of force, i.e., taxation. It's government programs that have to be paid for. Tax cuts are not government programs. So if you want to ask how government programs will be paid for if taxes are...

Mundane Lives Don’t Matter, So Don’t Try to Exercise Your Rights

In every encounter between a police officer and a citizen, only one life matters to the former – and it isn’t the latter. “Follow the commands of a police officer or risk dying,” snarled Major Travis Yates of the Tulsa Police Department in a recent essay for Law Officer. Requiring police officers to respect the rights of the citizens they...

The Right to Resist and the Vindication of Julius Holmes

Julius Holmes was in his Macon, Georgia apartment cooking dinner when Officer Rogers arrived to arrest him. “I’ll be damned if you will,” Holmes hissed, making a furtive move toward a handgun he had placed on a nearby bed. Miraculously, Holmes wasn’t gunned down by Officer Rogers, who simply shoved him aside and seized the gun. “I’ve come for you, and I...

Victimless-Crime Laws Breed Police Violence

As long as the police are charged with detecting and stopping consensual transactions -- concerning, for example, drugs, guns, gambling, sex, and untaxed cigarettes and CDs -- tension and violence will continue. Abolishing victimless-crime laws won't end institutional racism, but many opportunities for it will be eliminated. The key feature of a victimless-"crime" transaction is that unlike, say, battery, it...

TGIF: Trump, Saddam, and the Presumption of Innocence

The horrifying thing about Trump's recent remarks about Saddam Hussein is not that he expressed admiration for the late Iraqi dictator -- in fact Trump called him a "bad guy" three times. What is horrifying is that Trump seemed envious that Saddam could "kill terrorists" without due process -- the most important element of which is the presumption of...

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