The Income Tax Implies that Government Owns You

The income tax is enshrined into law but it is an idea that stands in total contradiction to the driving force behind the American Revolution and the idea of freedom itself. We desperately need a serious national movement to get rid of it – not reform it, not replace it, not flatten it or refocus its sting from this group to that. It just needs to go. The great essayist Frank Chodorov once described the income tax as the root of all evil. His target was not the tax itself, but the principle behind it. Since its implementation in 1913, he wrote, "The government says to the citizen: 'Your...

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Government Needs a Blockchain, and a Hard Fork

Health care, taxes, education, foreign policy – everything needs to be reformed, and fast. The situation with Congress, however, is impossible. Every Democrat is dedicated to opposing anything put forward by the Republican majority. Within that majority, there are three or more factions, now testing their influence and even sinking legislation. Has there ever been a more daunting impasse? Elusive Consensus This is not an uncommon problem in life. There are many things that require a consensus in order to be accomplished. Think of software, for example. Open-source platforms like Wordpress...

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Real vs Fake Health Care Reform, and How to Tell the Difference

You want to know why the “freedom caucus” has balked at passing the Trump-backed Ryancare health care proposal? Because the package does not address the core problem of the existing system. They are leaning – correctly – on a brilliant insight from F.A. Hayek. Let’s think this through. Objecting to Obamacare doesn’t have to be a matter of ideology. The contraption just didn’t work. What was the most fundamental problem with Obamacare? It attempted to set up an artificial market that lacked the most salient feature of markets: genuine competition. Real competition. I don’t mean teams...

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Only Markets Can Win the War on Poverty

"What about the poor?" An interviewer just asked me the question following my usual call for markets in everything. It’s probably the 100th time this has happened. The question amazes me because the implication behind it implies that markets serve primarily the rich. It’s hard to imagine a more profound confusion. The default state of the world is grueling poverty, universal insecurity, and short lives. When governments do come along, they nearly always serve themselves first. The most earth-shattering change in this persistent trend of all recorded history came with the advent of...

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Five Forgotten Champions of the Total State

Most people are aware of the influence of Karl Marx and his ideological compatriots in building 20th-century totalitarianism. But there is another tradition of thought, dating from the early 19th century and continuing through the interwar period, that took a different route in coming to roughly the same conclusions regarding the place of the state in our lives. As opposed to Marx’s “left-Hegelians,” these thinkers are part of the “right-Hegelian” movement who dispensed with the universalism of Marx to applaud nation, race, and war as the essence of life. These thinkers also loathed...

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The Prehistory of the Alt-right

Reading “How I Left the Left” is a solid reminder that there’s not much intellectual heft remaining on that side of the fence. If an ideology sets out to isolate the locus of evil in people’s very identity, it is pretty well spent. This, in addition to the failure of the socialist model everywhere it has tried, explains why the Left has suffered so much at the polls and now faces a serious backlash in campus and public life. With the failure of action comes reaction, and now the Western world is dealing with something far less familiar to most people: the rise of the alt-right as the...

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Terror War Tech Comes Home

Welcome Aboard, But First US Marshals Will Scan Your Retina For some 15 years, airport security has become steadily more invasive. There are ever more checkpoints, ever more requests for documents as you make your way from the airport entrance to the airplane. Passengers adapt to the new changes as they come. But my latest flight to Mexico, originating in Atlanta, presented all passengers with something I had never seen before. We had already been through boarding pass checks, passport checks, scanners, and pat downs. At the gate, each passenger had already had their tickets scanned and we...

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