The Failure of Liberal Democracy in Europe

The Failure of Liberal Democracy in Europe

The New York Times podcast took a tour of Europe as only this show can do, with astonishing production values and depth of insight. It provided a fresh look at a creeping but dramatic shift in the shape of European politics. In Italy, Hungary, France, Germany, and Poland, the reporters were able to discern the move away from the early ideals of the European Union and toward a new assertion of national identity as a political culture force. Their treatment could easily have caricatured the movement as entirely one-sided and dangerous, away from democracy and toward authoritarianism. There are...

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The Childcare Shortage Is Not a Mystery

The Childcare Shortage Is Not a Mystery

Prepare yourself for the push of another national crisis that can only be solved by a gigantic new government program. What is it this time? According to Katha Pollitt, it is the desperate need for Day Care for All. Her piece contains vast amounts of compelling documentation of the problem. You have demand. You have supply. But there is a shortage of the latter in the market. Hence, crazy prices. Pollitt's documentation of the problem: In Alabama it’s $5,637 a year for an infant and an only slightly less daunting $4,871 for a 4-year-old. That’s 69 percent of the average rent and 33.7 percent...

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Why Doesn’t James Scott Want to Talk About Property?

Why Doesn’t James Scott Want to Talk About Property?

One of the most exciting books of 2017 is James Scott’s Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States (Yale 2017). It deals with all the salient questions (that I care about in any case). In prehistoric times, how did human beings discover how to feed themselves? How did we decide to become settled in one spot rather than move around as hunters and gatherers? And the biggest question: where did the state come and why? The core of Scott’s fascinating argument is a fundamental challenge to conventional historiography of life on earth 15,000 or so years ago. Really, his range of...

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Not Every Tragedy Has a Political Solution

t only took a few hours after the news of the Texas massacre for the New York Times to start its gun-control incantations again. “Republicans leaders in Congress do nothing,” the paper writes. “Or, really, so far they’ve done the same thing they have always done: offered thoughts and prayers.” But here is a truth. Not every tragedy has a political solution. The shooter in Texas was possessed by an evil longing to cause mass death, and his weapon of choice was a gun. It appears that his desire to kill even more was thwarted by a gun in the hands of Stephen Willeford and Johnnie Langendorff,...

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This Machine Sustains the Good Life

Isabel Paterson (1886–1961) was one of the most erudite and widely educated thinkers to ever grace the world of libertarian ideas. God of the Machine (click that and you can get the entire book instantly for free) is her masterwork. Its contents have not been sufficiently absorbed into the current intellectual world. It is one of those lost treasures, a book that you begin and your whole world stops. It is wise. It is prophetic. It has stood the test of time. It first appeared in 1943 as the book that went against everything that the politics of the time were telling people to believe. We...

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This Is Why Government Shouldn’t Be Involved in Health Care

The Republican-controlled House vote to “repeal Obamacare” – if that is what this was – was a stunning mess. Did they get it right? The answer is obviously no, and that’s inevitable. Just imagine a bill that sets out to reorganize any industry that is currently mostly market driven, such as shirts, software, groceries, or furniture. Would any bill coming from Congress that pertains to the whole of any of these be wonderful? It’s impossible. This is because the minds of politicians working together – with all their mixed motives of special-interest acquiescence, electoral fears, and general...

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Why Do People Become Communists?

And Why Do They Stick With It? For as long as I can remember, I’ve puzzled about why people become communists. I have no doubt about why someone would stop being one. After all, we have a century of evidence of the murder, famine, and general destruction caused by the idea. Ignoring all this takes a special kind of willful blindness to reality. Even the theory of communism itself is a complete mess. There is really no such thing as common ownership of goods that are obviously scarce in the real world. There must be some solution to the problem of scarcity beyond just wishing reality away....

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Congress Will Not Control Spending Until the Money Is Fixed

Ever wonder why state and local government can’t run billions and trillions in deficits and the federal government can? True, lower levels of government typically have rules in place that prevent it, but there’s more going on. What restrains them are the same forces that restrain corporations, small businesses, and even you from running up an endless amount of debt. Think about it from your own point of view. You have a house debt, a car debt, and your credit card debt is growing. Inspired by a scene in Real Housewives, you try to borrow another $16K on a big Bloomingdale’s trip. The card is...

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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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