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Occupational Licensing Increases Prices and Deprives People of Options

Occupational Licensing Increases Prices and Deprives People of Options

When you shop online, vendors usually give you a bunch of different ways to sort your options.  Take Amazon:   One popular sorting option – especially for customers with low income – is “Price: Low to High.”  You’ve probably used it yourself many times. This doesn’t mean, of course, that people who use this option automatically buy the very cheapest item.  Everyone knows that the cheapest tends to be low-quality.  But starting with the cheapest options is still a great rule of thumb.  If the cheapest option has stellar reviews, you can just buy the cheapest.  If the cheapest has...

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Government Controls You by Controlling Your Trading Partners

Government Controls You by Controlling Your Trading Partners

Here’s an odd thought for a libertarian: The government very rarely tells me to do anything.  Once per year, the IRS orders me to pay federal income taxes.  Once per year, the state of Virginia forces me to pay state income taxes and get my car inspected.  Once per year, Fairfax County makes me pay property taxes.  Traffic laws aside, the government leaves me alone more than 350 days per year. How is this possible when the government regulates almost every aspect of American life, and takes 40% of GDP?  The government controls the labor market (especially for foreign workers).  The...

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Don’t Celebrate Labor Day If You Advocate Regulating Laborers

Don’t Celebrate Labor Day If You Advocate Regulating Laborers

My 13-year-old homeschooled sons just finished my labor economics class.  I hope they take many more economics classes, but I’ll be perfectly satisfied with their grasp of economics as long as they internalize what they learned this semester.  Why?  Because a good labor economics class contains everything you need to see through the central tenets of our society’s secular religion.  Labor economics stands against the world.  Once you grasp its lessons, you can never again be a normal citizen. What are these “central tenets of our secular religion” and what’s wrong with them? Tenet #1: The...

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Dear Government Supremacists, Self-Ownership Needs No Explanation

Dear Government Supremacists, Self-Ownership Needs No Explanation

Lately I’ve heard libertarians ridiculed because their argument against some law boils down to, “Because freedom.”  Why shouldn’t we have inheritance taxes?  Because freedom.  Why shouldn’t we ban handguns?  Because freedom.  Why shouldn’t we have an affirmative consent standard for rape?  Because freedom. The ridicule is often unfair on its own terms.  There are consequentialist arguments for these libertarian positions, if you care to listen.  Still, critics correctly sense that even self-styled consequentialist libertarians have a strong pro-freedom, anti-government presumption.  If the...

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Debunking Socialism With Common Sense Morality

Debunking Socialism With Common Sense Morality

I’ve read almost every major work of libertarian political philosophy ever published.  In my view, Michael Huemer’s new The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey is the best book in the genre. What’s so great about it?  Simple: Huemer scrupulously reasons from widely shared moral premises to surprising conclusions.  There’s no question begging, no obscurantism, and no bullet biting.  The book begins by pointing out that if a private individual acted like a government, almost everyone would consider his behavior immoral.  He then charitably...

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The Evil of Economic Regulation

The Evil of Economic Regulation

In the Yucatan, we stayed at several all-inclusive resorts.  These resorts were a good fit for my family: When you’re travelling in a Third World country with four kids during a pandemic, you want a convenient supply of abundant and tasty food – and enough variety to please each and every picky eater.  (Me included).  Since portions were smallish, we routinely ordered 12-15 dinners for dinner, all at zero marginal cost.  At least in Mexican resorts, tips are appreciated but not expected. Economically speaking, there’s a straightforward win-win case for these Mexican resorts: Not only do they...

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Republican, Democrat, Gun-Nut, Muslim? Whodunit Matters, Even Though It Shouldn’t

Republican, Democrat, Gun-Nut, Muslim? Whodunit Matters, Even Though It Shouldn’t

In modern America, every mass murder has two essential characteristics. First, the number murdered. Second, the group identity of the murderer. And not necessarily in that order. Whenever a mass murder pops up in the news, many viewers hasten to find out whodunit - where "whodunit" isn't a person, but an affiliation. Is the murderer a Muslim? A non-Muslim who used a gun? A Democrat? Republican? Or just a lone nut who wasn't a "gun nut"? Depraved Reaction? On the surface, this seems like a depraved reaction to human suffering. After the October 1 Last Vegas shooting, Historian Peter Shulman...

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Republican, Democrat, Gun-Nut, Muslim? Whodunit Matters, Even Though It Shouldn’t

Republican, Democrat, Gun-Nut, Muslim? Whodunit Matters, Even Though It Shouldn't

In modern America, every mass murder has two essential characteristics. First, the number murdered. Second, the group identity of the murderer. And not necessarily in that order. Whenever a mass murder pops up in the news, many viewers hasten to find out whodunit - where "whodunit" isn't a person, but an affiliation. Is the murderer a Muslim? A non-Muslim who used a gun? A Democrat? Republican? Or just a lone nut who wasn't a "gun nut"? Depraved Reaction? On the surface, this seems like a depraved reaction to human suffering. After the October 1 Last Vegas shooting, Historian Peter Shulman...

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Israel Winner of the 2003 Iraq Oil War

Israel Winner of the 2003 Iraq Oil War

From the Foreword by Lawrence B. Wilkerson: “[T]he debate over whether oil was a principal reason for the 2003 invasion has waxed and waned, with one camp arguing that it absolutely was, while the other argues the precise opposite.” “Mr. Vogler, himself a former...

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