Arts and Movies
[PDF], by Murray Rothbard
(Mr. First Nighter), The Libertarian Forum
, Jun 1972
Reviews of Sometimes a Great Notion
and The Godfather
"A crucial political statement in the picture comes when Michael is trying to explain to his disapproving WASP girl friend what the Family is all about: essentially their entrepreneurship of illegal goods and services, their necessity to enforce their own contracts, and (regrettably for the libertarian) their penehant for monopoly in which they are a pale reflection of 'respectable' and 'legitimate' government. Michael tells his girl that his father is a man of power and influence, and hence the methods he employs, 'like the President of the United States.' The girl replies: 'But the President doesn't order anyone killed', to which Michael rebuts: 'Now you're being naive' - a masterpiece of political understatement."
Avalon Project - Jefferson's Autobiography
, 29 Jul 1821
Covering the period from 1743 (his childhood, with background on his parents) to 1790 (shortly after his return from Paris and before assuming his office as U.S. Secretary of State); written during 6 Jan-29 July 1821
"My fears of that feature were founded on the importance of the office, on the fierce contentions it might excite among ourselves, if continuable for life, and the dangers of interference either with money or arms, by foreign nations ... The example of 4 Presidents voluntarily retiring at the end of their 8th year, & the progress of public opinion that the principle is salutary, have given it in practice the force of precedent & usage; insomuch that should a President consent to be a candidate for a 3d. election, I trust he would be rejected on this demonstration of ambitious views."
, by Ryan McMaken, 23 Feb 2001
Contrasts the good and bad policies and events during Washington's presidency with his achievements prior to taking office and cautions against confusing "great men and great presidents"
"Washington was a great man who just happened to be president at one point in his life. This is a fundamental distinction that many people miss when they look upon the presidency as some pinnacle of human achievement. History has shown that the presidency has been home to many a political hack who will say anything to get elected. ... The presidency can not be made great by proxy. To be a great man, being president is neither necessary nor sufficient; and when we begin to confuse great men and great presidents we do ourselves a disservice. It gives far too much credit to Washington's successors. They do not deserve it."
No More Great Presidents
, by Robert Higgs
, The Free Market
, Mar 1997
Discusses the results of a 1996 poll of historians asking them to rank U.S. presidents, focusing on those ranked Great, Near Great and Failure, and offers his own ranking
"My idea of a great president is one who acts in accordance with his oath of office to 'preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.' Not since the presidency of Grover Cleveland has any president achieved greatness by this standard. Worse, the most admired have been those who failed most miserably. Evidently my standard differs from that employed by others who judge presidential greatness."
Our Elective Monarchy
, by Sheldon Richman
, 16 Jun 2004
Comments on the seemingly royal funeral for Ronald Reagan and the similar treatment given to other U.S. Presidents, contrasting them to British Prime Ministers
"Congress cannot require the president to submit to questioning. ... Cabinet officials are sometimes questioned bluntly, but that only serves to underscore how different the president is. The news media get to question the president at his pleasure, but, for a variety of reasons, do so with kid gloves. Of course, there is no monarch, so the president is both head of state and head of government. And that means he gets the queen's treatment."
The Failed Attempt to Leash the Dogs of War
, by Bart Frazier, Future of Freedom
, Dec 2006
Discusses provisions of the Constitution that were meant to prevent the United States from having a large, permanent military and becoming involved in warfare at the will of a single person
"The idea that Congress alone has the power to take the country to war is now considered quaint. The military is now at the president's disposal and he is free to decide where it will be sent, when it will be sent, and how long it will be there. Congress has abrogated its duty to keep the country from war with its use of 'authorizations' that grant the declaration-of-war power to the president. The president did not simply assume this power — Congress willingly surrendered it."
The Lie Factory
, by Sheldon Richman
, 7 Jun 2013
Contrasts Obama's 23 May 2013 statements regarding Afghanistan vs. analysis by Conn Hallinan and other reports
"I trust it will be no shock to say this, but people in government lie, including presidents of the United States. Even presidents proclaimed to be different from anyone else who has ever run for that office. ... The lesson? Fish swim, birds fly, and people who run governments lie. They will say anything to achieve their political objectives. Any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental. One trusts them at one's peril."