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TGIF: Beware the Regulatory Storm over FTX

TGIF: Beware the Regulatory Storm over FTX

The bankruptcy of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX and the alleged fraud by co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried, which has cost customers millions, is tailor-made for anyone who already wants the power of government to expand, especially in the area of financial privacy. For that reason I think it would be useful to take a 30,000-foot view of the matter. I offer these considerations as someone with no more than a layman's knowledge of the cryptocurrency phenomenon. (I found this Reason video helpful.) First, fraud is illegal. If a firm accepts money from clients and uses it in violation of the...

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TGIF: Midterm Blues

TGIF: Midterm Blues

As midterm elections go, for champions of individual liberty this one could have been worse. I see two bright spots. The likely slim majority of Republicans in the House could -- maybe -- produce a measure of gridlock on domestic spending and regulation, and the blame for the Republicans' substandard midterm performance might fall entirely on Donald Trump, driving him from the stage. When you consider all the possible outcomes from Tuesday, that's not bad. In most midterm years the only outcome worth hoping for is gridlock. Gridlock, however, wouldn't be the best outcome under all...

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TGIF: Election Day 2022

TGIF: Election Day 2022

Another election day is upon us. We're told that we have a duty to vote because so many Americans gave their lives for that right. But perhaps it ought to be spelled R-I-T-E, as in a religious ritual. Is it a duty or a right? Let's make up our minds. In 21 countries voting is mandatory -- although the law is not always enforced -- but that absurd idea has never had traction here. There is something weird about an alleged right that one is compelled to exercise. It certainly would be unique. And did Americans really fight wars for the vote? Many who were killed in wars that the government...

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TGIF: Free Markets and Greed

TGIF: Free Markets and Greed

"Greed, for lack of a better word, is good." Ever since corporate raider Gordon Gekko, the lead character in Oliver Stone's Wall Street (1987), made that declaration, left-wing opponents of the market economy have regarded that one-liner as the only rebuttal required to silence their libertarian adversaries. (Right-wingers like the national conservatives probably find Gekko's line useful too.) But Gekko's scriptwriters, Stone and Stanley Weiser, neglected to have their creature define the word. How interesting, then, that Gekko says, "for lack of a better word." Is there no better word or...

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TGIF: Are Bosses like Rulers?

TGIF: Are Bosses like Rulers?

What does the libertarian philosophy have to say about business management as an institution? Is it analogous to the state or something entirely different? Since we libertarians generally dislike seeing people being bossed around, whether by the state or anyone else, we may be tempted, as I've certainly been, to think that a free and just society would spontaneously dispense with the traditional employer-employee relationship. After all, libertarians have good reasons to at least be suspicious of all hierarchies and subordination, right? So freedom would achieve its glorious pinnacle through...

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TGIF: Governments Create Problems; Markets Fix Them

TGIF: Governments Create Problems; Markets Fix Them

My article "Complete Liberalism" prompted an unexpected challenge. An interlocutor, who says he owns a business and thus is not antibusiness, claimed that my article suggested that, unlike government regulators, businesses never get things wrong. Yet business failures outnumber successes 10,000 to one, this person said, for all kinds of reasons, both innocent and malign, including a desire to pull the wool over consumers' eyes for as long as possible. The problem with the comment is that my article never claimed that business people always get it right or are always virtuous. I've pointed...

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What Voters Need to Know About Government Supremacy

What Voters Need to Know About Government Supremacy

[Source for above image)   Libertarians make a self-defeating mistake in assuming that their fundamental principles differ radically from most other people’s principles. Think how much easier it would be to bring others to the libertarian position if we realized that they already agree with us in substantial ways. What am I talking about? It’s quite simple. Libertarians believe that the initiation of force is wrong. So do the overwhelming majority of nonlibertarians. They, too, think it is wrong to commit offenses against person and property. I don’t believe they abstain merely because...

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TGIF: How the State Violated Free Speech during the Pandemic

TGIF: How the State Violated Free Speech during the Pandemic

Is anyone shocked by this observation? Public statements, emails, and recent publicly released documents establish that the President of the United States and other senior officials in the Biden Administration violated the First Amendment by directing social-media companies to censor viewpoints that conflict with the government’s messaging on Covid-19.... This insidious censorship was the direct result of the federal government’s ongoing campaign to silence those who voice perspectives that deviate from those of the Biden Administration. Government officials’ public threats to punish social...

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