What sort of country do we wish to be patriotic about? Should we strive to be like North Korea and Communist China, with their mandatory displays of patriotism? What is it about this country, the United States of America, that we most admire? For me, it's the ideal of freedom, however much the government may… Continue reading Patriotism and the Pledge
I've opposed nativist know-nothings for decades, for many reasons. Their theory of wall-building-as-panacea rests on many shifting assertions, including the belief that immigrants necessarily vote for more government, and/or necessarily vote Democrat. Both parts of that theory have always seemed suspect to me. In addition, the last claim - that immigrants tend to vote Democrat… Continue reading Nativism Self-implodes
This will raise the ire of some libertarians, but I can see no merit in arguments that a copy of the product of one's mental effort is "property." Suppose I make a clay pot. Assuming that the clay was mine, and the tools were mine or were legitimately in my hands, and I had no… Continue reading Against Intellectual Property
Henry J. Gomez of buzzfeed recently wrote an article about libertarianism. To his credit, he mostly describes libertarian foreign politics as non-interventionist - except for one awful passage: "libertarians believe [...] less-interventionist, more-isolationist themes." No, no, a thousand times no. I realize that Rothbard used the word "isolationism," but he was wrong. It is not… Continue reading Cooperation vs. Interventionism
Government borders are categorically different from private borders. When you and I separately define the borders of our individual properties, we define them for ourselves only. You and I may allow or exclude whomever we please. We may make different choices for ourselves, but may not impose those choices on each other. National immigration controls… Continue reading Border Collectivization
We’re doing school entirely wrong, if our goal is to raise people who are free.
Let’s take a few moments to think about what it means that schools are compulsory and coercive environments and not consensual ones. To do this, we need to think about the many compulsory layers that exist within schools.
Firstly, there is showing up. Unless home educating, young people have to attend school. There is no choice, it is compulsory, and failing to attend is a big issue with attendance data highly monitored. School being a place that you ‘have to be’ is the baseline of a person’s relationship with their school and education.
Then there is the compulsory participation within the school day. Students have to be in certain places at certain times, as decided by the teachers and school leadership. Their time during the day is rigidly structured in terms of the places they are allowed to go, and what they are allowed to do within those places. Again…
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Robert Higgs - one of our most underrated economists - wrote In economic theory, a high level of aggregation conceals a multitude of sins. The more removed a concept is from genuine, individual, economic choice, the more misleading it is likely to be. The highest-level aggregates, such as GDP, are almost impossible to invest with… Continue reading Lies, Damned Lies, and Aggregates
What's worse than fake news? The news that you don't see. Remember the "memory hole" in the novel 1984? We suffer from a kind of "news blackout" which heavily influences what we think we know. Many of us also, because of our own choices, see a very limited slice of the news which is available.… Continue reading Worse Than Fake News
The words and phrases we use shape our thought. Bad language can lead to bad policy decisions. Daniel B. Klein and Donald J. Boudreaux take aim at a deeply misleading phrase: "trade deficits." Deficits sound bad. But deficits look only at part of a trade: the units of account, or dollars in the United States. What… Continue reading A Deficit of Proper Language
"My 5 year old son keeps asking to do more math, and I have to keep explaining to him that school is over, and it's summer vacation now!" Sorry, but you're doing home education wrong. Anytime anyone, of any age, expresses an interest in math, I'm happy to oblige. Home education requires very little "formal… Continue reading To Suppress Natural Curiosity – Or Not?