See also:
  • FreedomPedia
  • A government is a group of individuals who exercise authority over a political society, such as a country or political subdivision. Exercising authority entails issuing commands that the individuals in the society are expected to obey. The commands may range over a number of human activities, from determining what constitutes a crime to permissible behavior in commercial or personal relationships.

    • Bureaucracy - A hierarchy of government officials, mostly unelected, that set policies, prescribe regulations and administer them
    • Democracy - Form of government where the power is exercised directly or indirectly by a majority of the citizens
    • Government, Limited - Restricting government to its proper functions, defined by law
    • Law - Set of rules and guidelines intended to influence social behavior
    • Politics - The practices of guiding, influencing or controlling government
    • State, The - The group of people that, having effective control over a government, benefit the most from the exercise of its power
    • Taxation - Compulsory contributions demanded by governments from individuals and other entities


    United States Declaration of Independence
    "... to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed ... whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."


    A Bogus Libertarian Defense of War, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Oct 2007
    Criticizes Randy Barnett's Wall Street Journal article "Libertarians and the War" and a follow-up at the Volokh Conspiracy blog
    "... no principle of national sovereignty is needed to establish the noninterventionist principle. Governments don't have rights over 'their' territories or populations. Rather, they are ubiquitous threats to life, liberty, and property. But that is precisely why they must be kept from clashing with each other — when they do, innocents get slaughtered and wealth gets confiscated. This doesn't mean that governments may properly aggress against 'their' populations unmolested. They most certainly may not. It simply means that the method of opposing a given state's aggression must be something other than interstate warfare."
    Adams, John (1735-1826), by Michiel Visser, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay
    "In 1776, Adams was urged to write a short pamphlet ... that proved to be the most influential of his writings. ... Thoughts on Government is a warning against both direct democracy and unicameral unbalanced government. Human nature cannot be trusted with power, and the legislature must therefore be balanced by a strong executive, with the legislature split into a Senate, whose members should come from the socially powerful and serve longer terms, and a popular lower house. The executive should be given veto power over the actions of the legislature, and both legislative chambers must agree on any legislation."
    Related Topic: John Adams
    Adam Smith and the Invisible Hand, by Edmund A. Opitz, The Freeman, Jun 1976
    Explains mercantilism, the rationales for political power, the proper role of government, Adam Smith's metaphor of the "invisible hand", his concept of "equality, liberty and justice" and how a free society allocates economic goods
    "This is the political theory of Classical Liberalism ... that the end of government is justice between persons, and maximum liberty for everyone in society. ... The point to be stressed is that the essential nature of government — its license to resort to force at some point — is not changed by merely altering the warrant under which government acts. ... Government is as government does. Governmental action is what it is, no matter what sanction might be offered to justify what it does. The nature of goverment remains the same even though its sponsorship be changed from monarchial power to majority rule."
    Adam Smith—"I had almost forgot that I was the author of the inquiry concerning The Wealth of Nations", by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Mar 1995
    Biographical essay
    "As early as 1749 ... Smith had concluded that the way to promote prosperity is for governments to leave people alone. ... in a lecture that year, Smith declared: 'Little else is required to carry a state to the highest degree of affluence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice; all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things. All governments which thwart this natural course, which force things into another channel, or which endeavor to arrest the progress of society at a particular point, are unnatural, and, to support themselves, are obliged to be oppressive and tyrannical.'"
    Algernon Sidney: Forgotten Founding Father, by Chris Baker, The Freeman, Oct 1997
    Biographical essay discussing also Sidney's political theories and his influence in the American colonies
    "In 1680, Robert Filmer's Patriarcha was published. Filmer (who had died in 1653) argued that absolute monarchy was a natural form of government, existing from the creation. Fathers governed families, and the right to rule passed on to the eldest son. Sidney penned his Discourses Concerning Government in response to Filmer. ... Sidney was not totally opposed to monarchy. 'The best Governments of the World have bin [sic] composed of Monarchy, Aristocracy, and Democracy,' he believed. ... But he did believe uncompromisingly in the right of revolution. He saw government as a contract among the people."
    Along Pennsylvania Avenue, by Murray Rothbard, Faith and Freedom, Dec 1955
    Discusses the perennial "farm problem" reviewing the various agricultural policy interventions going back to 1929 to the one to be passed in 1956, then cautions those who may want government repression of "left-wing" foundations
    "If we call for government repression of foundations, we abandon the very principle of liberty for which we fight. Does government control supply the answer to our problems? If so, why criticize the Ford Foundation for coming up with the same answer. This was the basic trouble with the Reece Committee investigation of foundations last year. ... it suffered from a fatal flaw: here a government committee denounced private foundations and called for government control of these foundations. Why? Because these foundations advocated government control of private institutions!"
    Related Topic: Farming
    'Anarchist' Idiocy, by David Boaz, 14 May 2011
    Discusses a Washington Post story about Greek so-called "anarchists" who were protesting the "rolling back of social safety nets"
    "The last vignette in the story is about 20‐​year‐​old Nikos Galanos, who has joined the anarchist movement in anger over his mother’s losing her government job and his father’s being the victim of a 15 percent salary cut in his own government job.
    "I don't support violence for violence's sake, but violence is a response to the violence the government is committing against society," Galanos said ...
    In fact, the government has been committing violence against society for decades, by taxing people, overregulating business, and spending money it didn’t have. No wonder youth unemployment is 35 percent."
    Related Topics: Anarchism, Greece
    And now, a word from our founder, by Raymond C. Hoiles, The Orange County Register, 29 May 2006
    Statement of editorial policies that "should be followed in order to make the newspapers controlled by Freedom Newspapers Inc. better serve the community, the state and the nation", written in the 1960s by the Freedom Communications, Inc. founder
    "This makes us oppose any discriminatory legislation. It makes us take the stand that no government or no subdivision of the government has a moral right to do anything that each and every individual does not have a right to do. If we are consistent with this principle we have to be against tax-supported schools, minimum wages, Social Security and any law that interferes with people making voluntary contracts and any law that interferes with an unhampered market."
    A New Scheme, by F. A. Harper, The Freeman, Feb 1956
    Comments on the implications of a plan whereby the United States government would act as guarantor for private ventures wishing to invest in Indian projects, providing compensation in the event of subsequent nationalization by the Indian government
    "Without our government having entered the deal, it would have been only another case of The House of Borgan or some other private investor making a foolish investment abroad and losing it, each investor standing to gain or lose from his own venture. The second consequence will be that the United States government will have to tax us all for the funds with which to reimburse the private investors. Why? Because the government is an enterprise of losses rather than one of profits and must always collect the money for any such use in the form of taxes."
    Anne Robert Jacques Turgot, Who First Put Laissez-Faire Principles into Action, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Aug 1997
    Biographical essay, covering his life, works and involvement with the Physiocrats, as well as his accomplishments as an administrator
    "... Turgot ... explained why government officials couldn't run an economy. 'For instance: If the Government limits the number of sellers by exclusive privileges or otherwise, it is certain that the consumer will be wronged and that the seller, made sure of selling, will compel him to buy dearly bad articles. ... To desire that government should be obliged to prevent fraud from ever occurring would be to desire it to provide head pads for all children who might fall. To assume, by regulations, successfully to prevent all the possible malversations of this nature, is to sacrifice to a chimerical perfection the whole progress of industry.'"
    An Unstimulating Idea, by Sheldon Richman, 25 Jan 2008
    Examines the economic "stimulus" proposals being made by candidates and incumbent politicians
    "The most objectionable side of the stimulus frenzy is the assumption that government can and should run the economy. ... Most people still believe the economy is a vehicle and the government the driver, precisely adjusting the gas pedal and brake as needed. But really there is no 'economy.' There are only people pursuing ends and the property they use and exchange in the process. If the government tries to 'run the economy' it has to run us."
    Related Topics: Free Market, No Free Lunch
    A scholar's scholar retires, by Donald J. Boudreaux,, 21 Jul 2015
    Discusses Higgs' retirement, highlighting his books Competition and Coercion and Crisis and Leviathan as well as his identification of "regime uncertainty"
    "Bob's most famous book is his 1987 study, 'Crisis and Leviathan.' With a mastery of historical details, Bob explained that government's growth is fueled in part by crises — whether real, exaggerated or illusory. The other part of the fuel for government's growth is an ideology that demands government intervention during troubling times. As people's trust in markets and voluntary action weakens and as their faith in government strengthens, politicians grab more power. And when the country escapes each crisis, politicians seize credit for the salvation even when ... politicians' actions actually worsened the situation."
    Benjamin Constant, Eloquent Defender of Freedom, by David Boaz, 25 Oct 2017
    Tribute to Constant, written on the 250th anniversary of his birth, with quotes from his speech "The Liberty of the Ancients Compared with That of the Moderns"
    "He concluded by exhorting his audience to insist that modern governments respect modern liberty and leave individuals free to make their own decisions: "... They are so ready to spare us all sort of troubles, except those of obeying and paying! They will say to us: what, in the end, is the aim of your efforts, the motive of your labours, the object of all your hopes? Is it not happiness? Well, leave this happiness to us and we shall give it to you. No, Sirs, we must not leave it to them. No matter how touching such a tender commitment may be, let us ask the authorities to keep within their limits. Let them confine themselves to being just ...""
    Related Topics: Benjamin Constant, Liberty
    Benjamin Tucker, Individualism, & Liberty: Not the Daughter but the Mother of Order, by Wendy McElroy, Literature of Liberty, 1981
    Bibliographical essay covering the people and radical movements that influenced Tucker in his founding and publishing of Liberty, its major themes and contributors
    "[Due to the] Civil War ... The status and functions of government inflated as never before. Equally important, the prevailing view of government changed. With the Declaration of Independence and the cry of 'no taxation without representation,' government was considered to rule through the consent of the people. When the North refused to permit the South to withdraw its consent through secession and when it imposed an unpopular government upon the South, the consensual view of government was weakened and, with the 'One Union under God' motto, mystification of the coercive State was underway."
    Bernie Is Not a Socialist and America Is Not Capitalist, by Marian Tupy, The Atlantic, 1 Mar 2016
    Clarifies the meaning of various terms which young people tend to misunderstand, including socialism, communism, capitalism and corporatism, and then discusses the relative levels of economic freedom in the United States and other countries
    "Today, local, state, and federal governments spend 39 percent of the gross domestic product. ... Thus, while production in America is dominated by the private sector, spending is dominated by the government. Or, to put it differently, the government is by far the single most important spender and, consequently, the single most important economic actor. In fact, many of the most important financial decisions made by ordinary Americans during the course of their lives, such as the purchase of healthcare, social security, education, and housing, are heavily influenced by the government."
    Big Pharma and Crony Capitalism, by Wendy McElroy, 9 Jul 2012
    Examines the ways in which pharmaceutical companies influence government agencies like the FDA
    "The government's stance on drugs is so contradictory ... that no sane arguments occur on an official level. While SWAT teams break down the doors of adults ... the public school system acts as a pusher [for] ritalin ... even when government appears to act as a check on big pharma, the ultimate result comes down to a slap on one pharmaceutical wrist and permission for the other hand to pursue plunder. ... Relying on government to check the results is dangerous to your health. Indeed, the FDA does not actually conduct drug trials. Instead, they review the trials and reports submitted to them by drug companies ..."
    Big-Spending Republicans Can Learn from Ireland's Reforms, by Benjamin Powell, 17 Sep 2003
    Contrasts U.S. government spending in the 1990's (under Bill Clinton) and early 2000's (under George W. Bush) with the approach taken in Ireland from the late 1980's
    "Tax cuts alone do not mean less government or more economic freedom. All government spending must be taken from private-sector wealth. When spending increases, the sphere of private-sector economic activity decreases. Government spending must be paid for by borrowing, inflating, or taxing. Cutting taxes while increasing spending only changes the avenue through which private-sector activity — the mainspring of economic growth — is crowded out, while real resources are consumed by the government. Real economic growth is promoted by slashing the size and role of government in the economy. "
    Blessings of Discrimination, by F. A. Harper, In Brief, 1951
    Discusses the human ability to discriminate, e.g., to feel the heat of a stove, which Buddha considered an "essential" virtue, contrasting it with the policy of nondiscrimination on employment, association and other areas
    "Yet when the child grows to adulthood, because of some peculiar twist of 'modern thought,' he is confronted on every hand with the idea that discrimination is a sin. At its ultimate and logical conclusion, this concept flowers into governmental prohibition of choice, because government is the principal agent of force used to rob men of their right of choice. Carried to its ultimate, a controlled society removes choice from every sphere of human conduct, including religious practice, place of work, whom one will hire, with whom one will trade, and at what price."
    Buchanan, James M. (1919-2013), by Peter T. Leeson, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay
    "To believe that government can correct market failures, we must first assume that political agents charged with this task desire to pursue the public good. ... The ['Emperor's Singing Contest'] tale suggests that those who observe market failure are prepared to automatically respond by calling for government correction without first considering what that 'correction' entails. Allowing for symmetry between individuals' motivations in politics and the market means that there may be good reason to think that in many cases government failure will be worse than that of the market."
    Related Topics: James M. Buchanan, Politics
    Bundling and unbundling, by Thomas Sowell, 13 Apr 1998
    Argues that the government should not be telling Microsoft (or any other company) what it can or cannot bundle in one of its software products or otherwise interfere in private transactions, except for holding sellers responsible for what they sell
    "Free market economists do not believe that the government should 'do nothing.' But they think it is crucial to understand just what the government should and should not do. Government is the ultimate repository of force in a society. That force can be used to see that a general framework of laws is followed and that contracts between private individuals are enforced. This is basically an umpire's role. ... The government has no business saying what ought to be in the bundle that is sold to the customer. But the law ought be able to say that whoever sold that bundle is legally responsible for all of it."
    Related Topic: Technology
    Bureaucracy and the Civil Service in the United States, by Murray Rothbard, The Journal of Libertarian Studies, 1995
    Historical account of the evolution of the United States Civil Service and attempts to reform it, from its beginnings through the early 20th century
    "... government is unique among organizations in attaining its revenue via the coercion of taxpayers. Hence, government suffers no worries about losses or bankruptcy; it need serve no one except itself. The only limit on government is the enormously wide one of people rising up to refuse to obey its orders (including taxes) ..."
    Bush's Secret Surveillance State, by Anthony Gregory, 26 Dec 2005
    Discusses the actions of the Bush administration before and after the New York Times disclosed that secret, warrantless wiretaps were and are being conducted, on both domestic and international calls and emails
    "The real threat to American liberty, the defense of which the administration still insists is the purpose of the war on terror, is a federal government without strict checks and limits on its power, whose executives feel comfortable using the military to spy on peaceful Americans, while telling the media not to report their secret and unconstitutional surveillance activities. ... A government that spies on its own people must be in turn be watched even more carefully by those people. And a government that does not trust the people to know about its spying cannot itself be trusted."
    China's Legacy: The Thoughts of Lao Tzu, by James A. Dorn, South China Morning Post, 4 Sep 2007
    Contrasts the teachings of Laozi with respect to government intervention with the lingering effects of Mao Zedong's legacy
    "Good government must be in harmony with each person's desire to prosper and expand the range of choice. By emphasising the principle of non-intervention, Lao Tzu also recognised that when government leaves people alone, then 'without being ordered to do so, people become harmonious by themselves'. ... Disorder arises when government oversteps its bounds - when it overtaxes and denies people their natural right to be left alone to pursue their happiness, as long as they do not injure others."
    Related Topics: China, Lǎozǐ
    Islam and the Discovery of Freedom, by George Leef, The Freeman, Sep 1998
    Review of the 1997 book, based on Rose Wilder Lane's The Discovery of Freedom, with introduction and commentary by Imad-Ad-Dean Ahmad
    "In an era in which many people expect government to do everything from caring for toddlers to building highways, it is astounding to learn how little government did in the ancient Islamic world. Schools, hospitals, and even roads were built by private foundations. Islamic universities ... were not established or funded by the state; there were no accreditation boards or required curriculum ... Ahmad documents the fact that ninth-century Baghdad had 60 drugstores. No [FDA] stood in the way of medical progress. Surgeons unlicensed by any government performed effective operations with local anesthesia."
    Clinton's Health-Care Plan for You: Cradle-to-Grave Slavery, Part 1, by Jarret Wollstein, Future of Freedom, Jan 1994
    Examines various provisions of the Clinton health care plan of 1993, including studies conducted on the proposal by Consad Research Corporation and the Heartland Institute
    "Under Clinton's plan, you will automatically be enrolled in a government-run 'health alliance.' ... All doctors will eventually be forced to join governmental 'health networks' ... doctors will be under direct control of a new National Health Board. ... Given this planned governmental regimentation ... it should not be surprising that ... 'half of all the physicians ... say they would consider retiring if the Clinton plan is too onerous—and they have the means to do so.' ... we have not had a free market in health care in America for over 50 years. The government now controls over 40% of health-care expenditures. "
    Related Topics: Bill Clinton, Health Care, Taxation
    Common Sense: Addressed to the Inhabitants of America, on the following interesting subjects, by Thomas Paine, 14 Feb 1776
    Partial contents: Of the origin and design of government in general, with concise remarks on the English Constitution - Of Monarchy and Hereditary Succession - Thoughts of the present state of American Affairs
    "And as this frequent interchange will establish a common interest with every part of the community, they will mutually and naturally support each other, and on this (not on the unmeaning name of king) depends the strength of government, and the happiness of the governed. Here then is the origin and rise of government; namely, a mode rendered necessary by the inability of moral virtue to govern the world; here too is the design and end of government, viz. freedom and security. "
    Related Topic: England
    Confessions of a Welfare Queen: How rich bastards like me rip off taxpayers for millions of dollars, by John Stossel, Reason, Mar 2004
    Discusses the National Flood Insurance Program, subsidies to farmers and farm corporations (such as Archer Daniels Midland) and Donald Trump's attempt to use eminent domain to expand a casino in Atlantic City
    "As my ... architect said, 'Why not? If the ocean destroys your house, the government will pay for a new one.' What? Why would the government do that? Why would it encourage people to build in such risky places? ... Since private insurers weren't dumb enough to sell cheap insurance to people who built on the edges of oceans or rivers, Congress decided the government should step in and do it. ... Why does Uncle Sam offer me cheap insurance? ... That's government logic: Since we always mindlessly use taxpayer money to bail out every idiot who takes an expensive risk, let's get some money up front by selling them insurance first."
    UpdCongress Strong-Arming Baseball? That's Foul, by Nick Gillespie, Matt Welch, The Washington Post, 20 Jan 2008
    Discusses the 2008 Oversight and Government Reform congressional hearings on the use of steroids in the MLB
    "Few scenes could be stranger than watching the senior citizens on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform — an invention of Newt Gingrich's revolution that was designed to prune back the federal government's reach, not stick its nose into the nation's locker rooms — attempt to justify government intrusion into a private sporting league ... Major League Baseball, along with other sports leagues and private-sector ventures, simply should not be required to submit their business plans — much less blood and urine samples — to Congress or any other government body."
    Related Topic: Baseball
    Conscience on the Battlefield, by Leonard Read, 1981
    Pamphlet written in 1951, during the Korean War, updated with prologue in 1981; Read recalls the 1918 incident when the troopship he was on was sunk by a German submarine and wonders about his thoughts if he were dying (in 1951) on a Korean battlefield
    "Government, also, is a collective. It differs from the mob in that it is organized, legalized, formal force, presumably founded on deliberation rather than on impulse. But government is no more subject to eternal damnation or Immortal Glory than is an illegal mob. It, also, is but a name given to an arrangement which consists only of individuals. They – and they alone – are responsible for what they do collectively as government."
    UpdCould Katrina vanden Heuvel Please Just Shut Up?, by Kevin Carson, 22 May 2013
    Commentary on The Nation's publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel tweet on "government for common good"
    "Remember in the weeks after 9-11, when she gushed about the return of public faith in the government? Thirty years before, in the early '70s, Samuel Huntington lamented in almost identical language the loss of public trust in government and other forms of authority as a result of Vietnam, Watergate and the student protest movement. It was only public trust in government after WWII, Huntington said, that enabled a tiny clique ... to govern the world without interference from the ignorant public. And the restored faith in government that so tickled vanden Heuvel's fancy had exactly the same effect."
    Crony-in-Chief: Donald Trump epitomizes Ayn Rand's "Aristocracy of Pull", by Steve Simpson, 2 Feb 2017
    Examines the issues of "cronyism" or "pull-peddling", suggesting --as Ayn Rand did-- that the solution is "to limit government strictly to protecting rights and nothing more"
    "Our bloated government has vast power over our lives and trillions of dollars worth of 'favors' to dole out, and a seemingly endless stream of people and groups clamor to win those 'favors.' As a lawyer who opposes campaign finance laws, I've often said that the problem is not that money controls politics, it’s that politics controls money — and property, and business, and much of our private lives as well. Still, we need to be more precise. 'Favors,' 'benefits,' and 'privileges' are too vague a way to describe what government has to offer."
    Democracy Versus Liberty, by James Bovard, The Freeman, Aug 2006
    Discusses the dangers of equating liberty with "self-government" as majority rule
    "The notion that democracy automatically produces liberty hinges on the delusion that 'people are obeying themselves.' ... Is a citizen governing herself when she is arrested for possessing a handgun in her own home for self-defense in a crime-ridden District of Columbia neighborhood ...? Is a 20-year-old citizen governing himself when he is arrested in his own home by police for drinking a beer? The fact that a majority—or, more likely, a majority of the minority who bothered to vote—may have sanctioned such laws and government powers has nothing to do with the self-government by each citizen of his own life. "
    Do Elections Guarantee Freedom?, by James Bovard, Future of Freedom, Nov 2007
    Discusses whether democratic elections achieve the purported objective of "will of the people" controlling the government
    "The current system of government is structured so that voters effectively have to vest near-absolute power in someone. This is simply how the rulers and the establishment have fixed the game. Any choice that would deny nearly boundless power to the rulers is kept out of the sunlight by the powers that be. ... 'Representative government' is a phrase far less prone to induce mass delusions than is democracy. 'Democracy' sounds like automatic pilot — that the government will serve the people simply because that is part of the mission statement. In contrast, the term 'representative government' sounds more hit and miss. "
    Does Freedom Require Empire?, by Sheldon Richman, 5 Sep 2014
    Critiques an essay by Daniel McCarthy justifying British and American imperialism by insisting that "power is the basis of the peaceful order upon which liberal democracy rests"
    "McCarthy's article is strangely void of references to rent-seeking (the buying of political advantages by the well-connected) ... and Hayek's 'why the worst get on top' phenomenon. The military-industrial complex is hardly a passive beneficiary of government policy. We've had enough experience with government to know that even well-intended policies will likely be turned to the benefit of special interests ... and that the people most adept at deception and most comfortable with administering the machinery of violence will be most attracted to political power and best at procuring it."
    Do Greedy Spinach Merchants Want To Kill You?, by Lew Rockwell, Mises Daily, 6 Oct 2006
    Comments on the September 2006 North American E. coli outbreak in spinach, the reaction by merchants and intervention by government agencies
    "But then, and inevitably, the government got involved. The FDA echo chamber started issuing recalls. Then, incredibly, the FBI got involved, as if we were talking about thugs and criminals and terrorists rather than bad soil or a mistake at the company. ... Has the government never heard of the difference between civil and criminal law? ... This is government in the Bush age, in which every turn of events becomes a matter for federal goon squads to crack skulls. ... There is also a cost to freedom itself. We are being conditioned to believe that for every problem, there is a government answer, and nothing lies outside its purview and expertise."
    Don't Believe Those Inflation Numbers, by Mark Brandly, Mises Daily, 1 Sep 2006
    Discusses how the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported inflation rates are unlikely to be a true reflection of the actual increases in prices of goods
    "On a larger scale, this is how our government operates. Expanding the money supply creates revenue for the state and falsely raises GDP. They are able to hide the resulting inflation by choosing the right basket for their price index. ... Government officials have the incentive and the ability to manipulate economic statistics. The lesson is: don't be fooled by government statistics."
    Related Topics: Inflation, Taxation
    Don't Do It, Google, by Lew Rockwell, 2 May 2006
    Cautions Google not to take the rumored action of asking the U.S. Justice Department and the European Commission to intervene to prevent Microsoft from setting their search engine as the default in a new version of their web browser
    "Government intervention is not in Google's long-term interest either. A government big enough to punch out Google's competitors is big enough to punch out Google too. ... We need also to remember that antitrust complaints are starting to be leveled against Google itself, and it would be unwise to participate in an action that can only embolden the regulators. ... It would be a crying shame to see this wonderful company participate in an action that will end up tightening the already tight level of control that government now exercises over society."
    Related Topics: Free Market, Property Rights
    Do You Consider Yourself a Libertarian?, by Lew Rockwell, Kenny Johnsson, 25 May 2007
    Interview by Kenny Johnsson for "The Liberal Post" blog; topic include libertarianism, statism, war, elections, taxes, anarchism and the U.S. Constitution
    "The second is more obscure but it is important: even the good kind of liberalism was very much bound up with republican theory, that you could have a government made up of the people rather than the elites. This error, which is really utopian, led to a commitment to government as an essential institution. Advances in economics and political philosophy since that time have shown that this is a misnomer. There is no way to keep government in check, since by definition it is guilty of committing the very aggressions it is supposedly designed to keep at bay: namely, theft, murder, counterfeiting, kidnapping, and the like."
    Economics Ideas: David Hume on Self-Coordinating and Correcting Market Processes, by Richard Ebeling, 5 Dec 2016
    Explores Hume's contributions to the then young subject of "political economy", particularly on the mercantilist view of the need for a "positive" balance of trade
    "Governments and special interest groups, Hume feared, are always wont to use and abuse political authority and influence to gain much for themselves at the expense of the ordinary, or common, members of society. And as a society grows in wealth there is more for the government to siphon off through taxes for its own purposes and for interested groups to use the state to plunder and manipulate. But with the emergence of a middle class that is increasingly supporting itself through commerce and industry, they have the financial means to resist these encroachments by the state."
    Related Topics: Free Trade, David Hume, Money
    Election 2014: The Good News and Bad, by Sheldon Richman, 6 Nov 2014
    Sobering comments on elections, governments, democracy and why voting is of so little consequence to the individual voter
    "Despite what the voters may think, however, this isn’' really about personality and character. It's about the limits of human nature. No one is qualified to govern us, considering how 'govern' is defined today. The national, state, and local governments attempt to manage all aspects of our lives. In various ways, they undertake to 'get the economy moving' and keep it 'humming.' On top of that, the national government maintains a global empire in the service of which the national-security apparatus presumes to manage foreign societies."
    Related Topics: Corporatism, Voting
    Emergencies: The Breeding Ground of Tyranny, by William L. Anderson, Future of Freedom, Nov 2006
    Examines the long history of "emergency powers" claimed by U.S. Presidents, including recent examples such as sanctions stemming from the International Economic Powers Act and the so-called War on Terror
    "Does the U.S. government — or any government, for that matter — actually need emergency powers? ... First, and most important, the function of 'emergency' powers is not to protect the people of a nation but rather to enlarge the power of government. Second, as has been the clear case since governments came into existence, the presence of so-called emergencies in the long run inevitably results in governments' permanently gaining more powers at the expense of citizens."
    Emerson, Ralph Waldo (1803-1882), by Roderick T. Long, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay
    "Stressing self-reliance in both the material and spiritual spheres, Emerson held that we should seek to direct our own lives and not those of others. Hence, he concluded that 'the less government we have, the better,' and he came to regard all states of whatever form as corrupt. Although not himself an anarchist, he expressed friendliness toward anarchy, opining that, 'with the appearance of the wise man, the State expires.' He pointed to various peacefully stateless episodes in American history (Massachusetts during the American Revolution, California during the gold rush) as evidence of the practicability of anarchism."
    Federalist No. 2: Concerning Dangers from Foreign Force and Influence, by John Jay
    Drawing a parallel with the wisdom of the Congress of 1774, that led to the Independence Declaration, recommends approval of a Union under a single national government rather than being "split into a number of unsocial, jealous, and alien sovereignties"
    "Nothing is more certain than the indispensable necessity of government, and it is equally undeniable, that whenever and however it is instituted, the people must cede to it some of their natural rights in order to vest it with requisite powers. It is well worthy of consideration therefore, whether it would conduce more to the interest of the people of America that they should, to all general purposes, be one nation, under one federal government, or that they should divide themselves into separate confederacies, and give to the head of each the same kind of powers which they are advised to place in one national government."
    Related Topic: United States
    Finding the Flaws, by Joseph Sobran, 25 Mar 1997
    Discusses how governments naturally attempt to influence each other, the democratic flaw of voting for benefits at others' expense, in particular children, and how the U.S. Constitution has failed to avoid this outcome
    "Governments try to influence each other all the time. Our government hasn't been shy about nudging Israeli, Russian, and other elections toward what it considered the right outcomes. Why should we affect Claude Rains indignation ('Shocked! Shocked!') at learning that other governments do likewise? ... Governments are made to be bribed. The bigger they get, the more surely they will become corrupt. Power has a market value, and concentrating power increases the pressure, usually through the medium of money, on any leak. Nature finds the human flaws in any system."
    First Principles, by Charley Reese, 24 Mar 2007
    Enumerates and discusses briefly some of the "essential principles" presented by Jefferson in his first inaugural speech
    "The third [principle] was support of the state governments in all their rights as the most competent administrations for our domestic concerns and the surest protection against anti-republican tendencies. This one has been largely abandoned so that many people today consider the states to be merely administrative units of the federal government. This should not be allowed to continue. It used to be considered axiomatic that the best government was the government closest to the people. Federal encroachment on states is one of our biggest problems."
    Related Topic: Thomas Jefferson
    Foreword to A Foreign Policy of Freedom by Ron Paul, by Lew Rockwell, Mises Daily, 15 Mar 2007
    Examines the historical precedents for the Paulian view that American foreign and domestic policy both be conducted in the same non-interventionist manner
    "Government should be restrained from intervening at home or abroad because its actions fail to achieve their stated aims, create more harm than good, shrink the liberty of the people, and violate rights. ... it makes perfect sense that there is no sharp distinction between the principles of domestic and foreign policy. ... What would be inconsistent would be to favor activist government at home but restraint abroad, or the reverse ... Government unleashed behaves in its own interests, and will not restrict itself in any area of life. It must be curbed in all areas of life lest freedom suffer."
    Frederic Bastiat, Ingenious Champion for Liberty and Peace, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Jun 1997
    Lengthy biographical essay, covering those who influenced Bastiat as well as those influenced by him, his writings (including correspondence with his friend Félix Coudroy), his roles in the French Constituent and Legistative Assemblies and his legacy
    "Respected political scientist R.J. Rummel, who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, analyzed almost 8,200 estimates of deaths from domestic violence, war, genocide, and mass murder. In his 1995 book Death by Government, he reported that throughout history, governments have murdered more than 300 million people—not counting war deaths. In his 1997 book Power Kills, Rummel surveyed experience of the past 180 years and reported that he didn't find a single case of war between two democratic governments with limited power. "
    Freedom, Security, and the Roots of Terrorism against the United States, by Richard Ebeling, Future of Freedom, Oct 2001
    Reflections on the 11 September attacks a few weeks after, discusses the reasons for the terrorist attacks and proposes certain measures to deal with the situation
    "Airport security and safety is now the job of government, and it has failed. Shifting a greater part of the responsibility to the federal law-enforcement or military authorities provides no guarantee against future hijackings and terrorist attacks. After all, the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the USS Cole were under federal security, and that did not prevent those earlier tragedies. Furthermore, federal enforcement agencies, judging from past experience, are unlikely to show much concern for the rights or dignity of the American citizenry as they try to travel by air."
    Give Me Liberty [PDF], by Rose Wilder Lane, 1936
    Originally published as an article titled "Credo" in the Saturday Evening Post; describes her experiences in and history of Soviet Russia and Europe, contrasting them with the history of the United States, emphasizing the individualist themes
    "In a republic, a majority of this population from time to time decides what candidate for public office shall have the use of The State's police power. ... But a majority does not govern; it cannot govern; it acts as a check on its governors. Any government of multitudes of men, anywhere, at any time, must be a man, or few men, in power. There is no way to escape from that fact."
    Government, by James Mill, Encyclopædia Britannica, 1820
    Discusses the purpose of government, the means for attaining that end and various related questions and objections; rationalises that representative democracy, as exhibited in early 19th century Britain, is most conducive to "good Government"
    "... the necessity of labour for obtaining the means of subsistence, as well as the means of the greatest part of our pleasures ... is, no doubt, the primary cause of government; for, if nature had produced spontaneously all the objects which we desire, and in sufficient abundance for the desires of all, there would have been no source of dispute or of injury among men; nor would any man have possessed the means of ever acquiring authority over another."
    Government: Creator of Uncertainty, by Murray Rothbard, Future of Freedom, Jul 2000
    Discusses economic subjectivism, the principle that different persons attach different values to things or events, as evidenced by the early 2000 stock market downturn
    "When it comes to causes of distress, people always want to know, 'What can the government do?' Here's what it can do: it can stop creating uncertainty. The world is uncertain enough. The last thing we need is fiscal, monetary, and regulatory authorities with fluid policies. One of the virtues of a regime of property rights is that it eliminates most, if not all, policy fluidity and discretion at the macroeconomic level. This is yet another reason for abolition of the income tax, full deregulation, and the privatization of money."
    Government Failure, by Sheldon Richman, 5 Oct 2007
    Examines the validity of the concept of "market failures" as an argument for government intervention, reviewing arguments made by David Friedman against such meddling
    "... it is fallacy to assert that any time the market is expected to generate suboptimal results, government should step in. Why is that a fallacy? Because it assumes that the results of government preemption would be superior to whatever results the market would have produced. But that cannot be assumed. It has to be proved. And it has not been. Market critics have had enough time to bring forth the arguments. Where are they? Mises and F. A. Hayek left behind a voluminous literature explaining that calculation and knowledge problems assure that government-generated outcomes will be inferior to market-generated outcomes."
    Government in Business, by Murray Rothbard, The Freeman, Sep 1956
    Contrasts characteristics of government-run enterprises with those of privately operated businesses and counters the argument of running government "like a business"
    "Is there anything special about water or schooling that creates insoluble problems? How does it happen that there are no fierce arguments over what kind of steel or autos to produce, no battles over the kind of newspapers to print? The answer: There is something special—for the problems of schooling and water supply are examples of what happens when government, instead of private enterprise, operates a business."
    Related Topic: Business
    Government Is the Problem, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Aug 2013
    Discusses a spring 2013 speech by Barack Obama and the facts that contradict his statements
    "We didn't use a political double standard in ruling on tax-exemption requests from nonprofit organizations. We didn't try to frighten government whistle-blowers by subpoenaing reporters' phone records, reading their email, and even naming one journalist (Fox's James Rosen) as a co-conspirator under the Espionage Act. We didn't ask the NSA to gather data on us. We did none these things. They did. Who are they? The wielders of power and the interests for whom they front."
    Government Keeps People Poor, by Sheldon Richman, 28 Jun 2006
    Enumerates five ways by which government keeps people in poverty
    "... if the politicians really wanted to help poor people, they long ago would have done what it is in their direct power to do — namely, eliminate all the ways that government blocks people from climbing out of poverty. ... low-income people pay various taxes ... government does many things that make the cost of living higher ... government occupational licensing is a devastating one-two punch against low-income people ... government has steadily eroded the value of the dollar ... minimum-wage prices low-skilled workers out of the labor market ..."
    Related Topic: Wag the Dog
    Government the Exploiter, Not Protector, by Sheldon Richman, 14 Jul 2006
    Argues that, contrary to popular belief, the primary goal of government is not to protect the citizens but rather to exploit them though taxes and a system of privileges
    "None of the governments we are familiar with was established primarily to protect the general population. Rather, they were set up to enable a privileged class to extract wealth from the general population. They taxed the people to provide subsidies and restricted trade to create monopoly advantage. To keep a good thing going, of course, rulers afforded the people some protection, lest an outside power horn in on the action."
    Hayek, Friedrich A. (1889-1992), by Ronald Hamowy, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 12 Aug 2008
    Biographical and bibliographical essay
    "Alarmed by the prodigious growth of government in the 20th century, even in those nations ostensibly dedicated to personal liberty and private initiative, Hayek wrote The Road to Serfdom in 1944. ... Hayek had been alarmed by the prevailing orthodoxy that viewed an immense welfare state and extensive government intervention into the lives of its citizens as a compassionate response to unrestrained capitalism. ... he hoped to show ... that central planning, even should its intentions be benign, resulted in destroying the spontaneously generated order of the market, which in turn led to even more government planning."
    Hayek, Life and Times, by Jim Powell
    Lengthy biographical essay, with extensive quotes both from Hayek and others (including Keynes)
    "He noted there is general agreement about a few functions of government — such as punishing violent criminals. But as government takes on more functions, it necessarily goes beyond the realm of general agreement and infringes ever more on personal liberty. Central economic planning, Hayek explained, inevitably means massive assaults on liberty by giving bureaucrats the power to decide which kinds of cars, pens, apples and everything else should be produced — and who should get them. He observed that power tends to be corrupted because it naturally attracts people who enjoy taxing, imprisoning and even executing others."
    Heinlein, Robert (1907-1988), by Amy H. Sturgis, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical and bibliographical essay
    "Heinlein also wrote nonfiction. His book, Take Back Your Government, bemoaned the runaway state and the uninvolved citizens that allowed it. ... 'The Happy Days Ahead' warned of 'the cancerous explosion of government' and exhorted citizens to be active and vigilant. His works are pervaded by a concern for government bankruptcy, dictatorship, and a nuclear holocaust in the United States. His confession in 'The Happy Days Ahead' was typically wry: 'I don't claim to be altruistic. Just this pragmatic difference: I am sharply aware that, if the United States goes down the chute, I go down with it.'"
    Related Topic: Robert A. Heinlein
    Henry David Thoreau: Founding Father of American Libertarian Thought, by Jeff Riggenbach, 15 Jul 2010
    Biographical essay, transcript of "The Libertarian Tradition" podcast
    "Of any standing government that did exist in any particular place, Thoreau argued, it was clear that 'the authority of government ... nust have the sanction and consent of the governed. It can have no pure right over my person and property but what I concede to it.' And Thoreau conceded nothing to any standing government. 'I, Henry Thoreau,' he wrote, 'do not wish to be regarded as a member of any incorporated society which I have not joined.' What he did wish to do he expressed simply and straightforwardly. 'I simply wish to refuse allegiance to the State,' he wrote, 'to withdraw and stand aloof from it effectually.'"
    Henry David Thoreau and "Civil Disobedience," Part 2, by Wendy McElroy, Future of Freedom, Apr 2005
    Examines several of the initial themes in "Civil Disobedience", including government injustice, the individual as the source of power and authority, war and the military and the reasons why people obey the state
    "The problem remains, however, why do people like Emerson — who cannot be called ignorant — render any obedience to laws with which they disagree? One reason is obvious: the people who believe they need a government are willing to accept an imperfect one. Such people, Thoreau explains, accept government as a 'necessary evil.' Other people support government out of self-interest; Thoreau specifically mentions merchants and farmers in Massachusetts who profit from the war and from slavery. Still others obey because they fear the consequences of disobedience."
    Herbert Spencer: Liberty and Unlimited Human Progress, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Apr 1995
    Lengthy biographical profile, highlighting Social Statics and his acquaintance with Andrew Carnegie
    "Despite Spencer's heroics, public opinion increasingly favored government intervention during the late nineteenth century. Perhaps this was because government had been cut back so much that it no longer seemed like a public menace. More people imagined government could do good. Spencer responded by writing four powerful articles which affirmed the bedrock principles of laissez faire and attacked government intervention ... He told how government-enforced interest-rate ceilings, supposedly enacted to help people, made it more difficult to borrow money."
    Hidden Government, by Sheldon Richman, 1 Sep 2006
    Discusses the July 2006 Israeli attack on Lebanon, which resulted in 800 dead and was carried out with assistance and approval of the Bush administration
    "Americans pride themselves on 'self-government.' But when significant policies are undertaken without their notice, much less consent, self-government is a cruel hoax. ... Were the American people informed that 'their' government was playing this role? Were they asked for their consent? Would they have approved? That the questions sound absurd demonstrates how far removed government is from the people who are supposedly sovereign in the American system. ... Do the American people have any idea what is being done in their name? Are they aware that wars in Iraq and Lebanon appear to be preludes to a war in Iran?"
    Related Topics: George W. Bush, Lebanon
    H.L. Mencken: The Joyous Libertarian, by Murray Rothbard, New Individualist Review, Jun 1962
    Examines the themes and style in Mencken's writings, mainly from the self-selected pieces in A Mencken Chrestomathy
    "The Chrestomathy contains some brilliant writing on what Mencken captioned as the 'inner nature' of government: 'All government, in its essence, is a conspiracy against the superior man; its one permanent object is to oppress him and cripple him. ... The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. ... This gang is well-nigh immune to punishment. Its worst extortions, even when they are baldly for private profit, carry no certain penalties under our laws. ...'"
    H. L. Mencken, America's Wittiest Defender of Liberty, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Sep 1995
    Biographical essay, highlighting Mencken's tenure at the Baltimore Sun, the books he authored, the founding and his work at the American Mercury monthly and his brief relationship with Sara Haardt
    "'The government I live under has been my enemy all my active life,' Mencken declared. 'When it has not been engaged in silencing me it has been engaged in robbing me. So far as I can recall I have never had any contact with it that was not an outrage on my dignity and an attack on my security.' ... 'Every government,' he wrote, 'is a scoundrel. In its relations with other governments it resorts to frauds and barbarities that were prohibited to private men by the Common Law of civilization so long ago as the reign of Hammurabi, and in its dealings with its own people it ... regularly gambles with their very lives ...'"
    How a 19th century French pamphleteer preempted two centuries of economic fallacies, by Christopher Todd Meredith, 18 Oct 2016
    Examines some of the main themes in Bastiat's writings, such as ethics and economics, the seen and the unseen and the State
    "Libertarians and classical liberals are distinctive among modern political thinkers for their emphasis on the proper role of government. This focus on the things government ought to do—and more importantly, the numerous things government ought not to do—is at odds with the prevailing political opinions in Western countries today. Indeed, it is not unusual for a libertarian who opines that access to education or health care is a laudable goal but not an appropriate function of government, to be greeted with incredulity."
    How Empires Bamboozle the Bourgeoisie, by Lew Rockwell, Mises Daily, 28 Oct 2006
    Comments on two issues, related to the U.S. population reaching 300 million, which Rockwell not being addressed: what kind of economy is needed to support that population and do all these people need to live under the same central government
    "Population only becomes a problem when government enters the picture. ... Why should these 300 million people be forced to live under the same central government? The independent Greek cities, out of which came Western civilization, had populations of 15,000 or so, smaller than Auburn, Alabama, today. If we followed the Greek model, we would not have one central government but fully 20,000 small communities, each with political autonomy. ... the forces of competition would work to improve the governments under which we live and bring them in line with the old liberal ideal."
    How To Get Action, by Leonard Read, The Freeman, May 1955
    First published in the short-lived quarterly Ideas on Liberty; reprinted in the 1958 collection Essays on Liberty, Vol. III and in The Freeman Aug 1998; argues the best form of action is working on self-improvement
    "Just as government becomes dangerous when its coercive, restrictive, and destructive powers are extended into the creative areas, so do voluntary organizations pervert and destroy the benefits of intellect when ... subjecting individual judgments to the will of the majority or group. ... Every individual ought to realize that he has not mastered the subject of liberty until he thoroughly understands, and can competently explain, this idea: With government properly limited to its legitimate functions of defense, our problems of interdependence can be resolved through voluntary effort, and only through voluntary effort."
    Illegal Surveillance: A Real Security Threat, by James Bovard, 27 Feb 2006
    Describes how the FBI, IRS and other agencies spied on Americans on both sides of the political spectrum during the 1960s and 1970s, and warns about the NSA wiretaps ordered by George W. Bush
    "Does the fact that someone works for the government automatically entitled him to know what his neighbors are saying and thinking? If Americans permit the feds to exempt themselves from the law, then the only freedom left in this country will be freedom to obey and applaud politicians, no matter what they say or do. Illegal wiretaps will pave the way for other government crimes. The more information government gathers on people, the more power it will have over them. The more expansive and secretive government intrusions become, the easier it becomes for government to rule by fear."
    Immorality, Inc., by Lew Rockwell, Mises Daily, 31 Jul 2006
    Argues that the lawlessness and violence in occupied Iraq is due to the immorality of modern day warfare and questions the claim that the U.S. invaded Iraq "to bring about freedom"
    "In civics class we are routinely taught that government officials are the ones we trust with keeping the law. But deeper analysis reveals the more fundamental truth that the only difference between the government and the people, in any system, is that the government lives by a different set of rules. There is nothing inherent in the nature of government that causes its employees to be more honest, trustworthy, and public spirited than anyone else. Indeed, the power that government exercises over others would be considered criminal if any citizens attempted to behave as a government does every day."
    Related Topics: Ethics, Iraq, Socialism, War
    Impeach the American People!, by Butler Shaffer, 17 Nov 2006
    Comments on proposals to impeach (or otherwise bring to justice) George W. Bush and others in his administration, countering that most Americans didn't do their part under the alleged "social contract"
    "In recent decades – and particularly during these past five years – most Americans have utterly failed in their contractual undertakings. They have treated this alleged 'social contract'” not in bilateral terms – where each have duties to perform – but as a unilateral transaction, in which performance is all one-sided. To most people, government may have been established by contract but, once created, the state became a free agent, able to extend its decision-making authority in any direction it chose, without any check upon its power from those it ruled."
    In Defense of a Free Market in Health Care, by Robert D. Helmholdt, 16 Apr 2004
    Explains why government health care reforms will not improve the status quo, recommending instead complete deregulation of the industry and reliance on the free market
    "For example, how will any political cure prescribing more of the same poison of government reform work as an antidote for the current poison produced by prior government reforms? ... Why are health-care costs out of control? Because for decades an overwhelming paternalistic government nanny has been force-feeding Americans with entitlements, which are goods or services received by Mr. Jones, for which not he, but rather the government, pays."
    In Pursuit of Liberty, by Jarret Wollstein, May 1997
    Primer on liberty concepts, including voluntary vs. coercive associations, individual rights, government and possible future improvements in the status quo
    "A government is an association of men and women authorized by society to use force to compel obedience. The proper role of government is to protect your freedom and safety, from both domestic and foreign aggressors. But as George Washington observed over 200 years ago, 'Government is like fire. A dangerous servant and a fearful master.' When government agents cross the line from defenders of your rights to violators, they become just another criminal gang. Morally and legally, government agents are bound to protect our rights. When they don't ... they MUST be arrested and tried, like any other criminals ..."
    Introductory, by John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859
    Chapter I
    "The majority have not yet learnt to feel the power of the government their power, or its opinions their opinions. ... There is, in fact, no recognised principle by which the propriety or impropriety of government interference is customarily tested. People decide according to their personal preferences. Some, whenever they see any good to be done, or evil to be remedied, would willingly instigate the government to undertake the business; while others prefer to bear almost any amount of social evil, rather than add one to the departments of human interests amenable to governmental control."
    I, Pencil, by Milton Friedman (afterword), Leonard Read, Lawrence Reed (introduction), The Freeman, Dec 1958
    Read's most famous essay; resource page at FEE website includes PDF, MOBI and ePub versions, and MP3 recording
    "Once government has had a monopoly of a creative activity such, for instance, as the delivery of the mails, most individuals will believe that the mails could not be efficiently delivered by men acting freely. ... No individual possesses enough know-how to perform a nation’s mail delivery any more than any individual possesses enough know-how to make a pencil. ... Delivery? Why, in this area where men have been left free to try, ... they deliver each four pounds of oil from the Persian Gulf to our Eastern Seaboard—halfway around the world—for less money than the government charges for delivering a one-ounce letter across the street!"
    Related Topics: Capital Goods, Free Market, Labor, Land
    Iraqi Death by Political Abstraction, by Sheldon Richman, 5 Jun 2006
    Examines the causes of the 2005 Haditha killings, reflecting on Leonard Read's notable essay "Conscience in the Battlefield"
    "'But, my Conscience, I had no choice. I had to do what others called my duty. Otherwise, my friends and fellow-citizens would have dubbed me a traitor. ... I was not acting as a member of a mob. I acted in response to my government.' 'Government, also, is a collective. It differs from the mob in that it is organized, legalized, formal force, presumably founded on deliberation rather than on impulse.... [But it,] also, is but a name given to an arrangement which consists only of individuals. They — and they alone — are responsible for what they do collectively as government. They — and they alone — are subject to Judgment.'"
    Israel M. Kirzner and the Austrian Theory of Competition and Entrepreneurship, by Richard Ebeling, Future of Freedom, Aug 2001
    Written on occasion of Kirzner's academic retirement at age 71; begins with biographical summary and then focuses on Kirzner's understanding of entrepreneurs in the market "process" and the detrimental effects of government intervention in the market
    "... Kirzner has forcefully warned of the dangers resulting from government intervention, regulation, and taxation. Such government infringements on the freedom of the market stifle and close off the opportunities and incentives for entrepreneurial alertness and discovery, thereby hindering an effective coordination of many potential peaceful and mutually beneficial possibilities for gains from trade ... Kirzner has vehemently argued ... that government regulators and planners have neither perfect knowledge nor sufficient wisdom to direct the economic affairs of millions of people."
    Is there a federal deficit?, by Walter E. Williams, 19 Apr 2006
    Discusses, from an economics standpoint, whether there is a budget deficit in the U.S. federal government and what are the effects of the shortfall between federal expenditures and revenue (taxes)
    "If Congress spends $2.4 trillion but only takes in $2 trillion in taxes, who makes up that $.4 trillion shortfall that we call the budget deficit? ... Some might be tempted to answer that it's future generations who will pay. That's untrue. ... the federal government ... must find ways to force us to spend $2.4 trillion less privately in 2005. In other words, the federal government can't spend today what's going to be produced in the future. ... The fact of business is that the true measure of the impact of government on our lives is not the taxes we pay but the level of spending."
    Related Topics: Inflation, Taxation
    Jacobs, Jane (1916-2006), by Sanford Ikeda, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay
    "Systems of Survival is perhaps her most libertarian book. It argues that the virtues appropriate to action in the market are fundamentally different from those guiding government. Confusion and dangerous contradictions arise when agents attempt to apply the moral system of one sphere while operating in the other. ... She advocated limited forms of government intervention at the local level, such as zoning for diversity. ... But she remained skeptical of planning at all levels of government because it is incapable of comprehending local knowledge and needs."
    Related Topic: Jane Jacobs
    Jefferson on American Liberty, by Gary M. Galles, Mises Daily, 4 Jul 2002
    List of Jefferson quotations on the subjects of liberty, rights and government
    "... 'What more is necessary to make us a happy and a prosperous people? ... a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.' Our government cannot legitimately take away our rights or our liberty to exercise them. ... 'The right of self-government does not comprehend the government of others.' ... Our liberty is not to be undermined by government intervention or redistribution."
    John Locke: Natural Rights to Life, Liberty, and Property, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Aug 1996
    Extensive biographical essay, including summaries of his major works
    "He expressed the radical view that government is morally obliged to serve people, namely by protecting life, liberty, and property. He explained the principle of checks and balances to limit government power. He favored representative government and a rule of law. He denounced tyranny. He insisted that when government violates individual rights, people may legitimately rebel. These views were most fully developed in Locke's famous Second Treatise Concerning Civil Government, and they were so radical that he never dared sign his name to it. He acknowledged authorship only in his will."
    John Locke's Top 5 Radical Political Ideas, by Brandon Turner, 29 Aug 2016
    Brief discussion of "five features of Locke's political thought that remain particularly important": natural equality, property, consent, resistance and toleration
    "In the context of the Second Treatise, the notion of consent functions as a solution to a thorny and longstanding problem: if we are all born equally free and equal—or, put another way, if we are born into a world without natural or divinely-inspired relations of subjection—then how is political authority possible at all? Locke's answer in the Second Treatise is that legitimate political authority—understood as the power to coerce others without violating their natural rights—can be generated by an act of consent."
    Julian Simon Remembered: It's a Wonderful Life, by Stephen Moore, Cato Policy Report, Mar 1998
    In memoriam by one of Simon's students, research assistant and co-author of the posthumous It's Getting Better All the Time
    "Simon believed that human progress depended not only on creative and ingenious minds but also on free institutions. He often marveled that the only place on earth where life expectancy actually fell in the 20th century was in the Soviet Union and other East European nations during the tyranny of communism. Many of his most ardent critics were government activists who believe that the only conceivable solution to impending eco-catastrophe is ever more stringent governmental edicts: coercive population stabilization policies, gas rationing, wage and price controls, mandatory recycling, and so on."
    Related Topic: Julian Simon
    Kennedy's Libertarian Revolution: Lawrence's reach, by Randy Barnett, National Review Online, 10 Jul 2003
    Comments on the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas invalidating sodomy laws and in particular on Justice Anthony Kennedy's majority opinion
    "Once an action is deemed to be a proper exercise of liberty (as opposed to license), the burden shifts to the government. Though he never acknowledges it, Justice Kennedy here is employing what I have called a 'presumption of liberty' that requires the government to justify its restriction on liberty, instead of requiring the citizen to establish that the liberty being exercised is somehow 'fundamental.'"
    Lao-Tzu Argues for Liberty in Ancient China, by Lǎozǐ, 1891
    Chapters 57 to 60 of the Tao Te Ching, as translated by James Legge, Professor of Chinese at Oxford, see Sacred Books of the East, Vol XXXIX, edited by F. Max Müller
    "The government that seems the most unwise,
    Oft goodness to the people best supplies;
    That which is meddling, touching everything,
    Will work but ill, and disappointment bring.
    ... Governing a great state is like cooking small fish. Let the kingdom be governed according to the Tao, and the manes of the departed will not manifest their spiritual energy. It is not that those manes have not that spiritual energy, but it will not be employed to hurt men."
    Related Topic: The State
    Lao Tzu (c. 600 BC), by James A. Dorn, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay focusing on Laozi's teachings
    "Disorder arises when government oversteps its bounds—that is, when it overtaxes and denies people their natural right to be left alone to pursue their happiness, as long as they do not injure others. Lao Tzu argued that taxes, not nature, were the primary cause of famine: 'When men are deprived of food,' he wrote, 'it is because their kings [rulers] tax them too heavily.' Likewise, he recognized that rulers could easily destroy the natural harmony that people cherish by destroying their liberty: 'When men are hard to govern, it is because their kings interfere with their lives.'"
    Related Topics: Lǎozǐ, China
    Letters to Thomas Robert Malthus, on Several Subjects of Political Economy, and on the Cause of the Stagnation of Commerce, by Jean-Baptiste Say, 1821
    Series of five letters from Say to Malthus, written in response to the latter's criticisms in Principles of Political Economy (1820); the letters were translated from the French by John Richter
    "All these nations complain of the sufferings to which they have reduced themselves by their own fault; like diseased persons who bewail their maladies ... I know that certain governments, corrupted and corrupting, stand in need of monopolies, and of custom duties, to pay for the votes of the honourable majorities which pretend to represent nations: I am not so unreasonable as to expect them to govern so entirely according to the general interest, as to be able to obtain the votes without paying for them; but, at the same time, why should I be astonished that such vicious systems have deplorable consequences?"
    "Liberal" Court Okays Eminent Domain Abuse, by George Leef, 1 Jul 2005
    Discusses the U.S. Supreme Court 5-4 decision in Kelo v. City of New London
    "It is one of those statist clichés ... that economic development (and thereby the people's standard of living) needs to be fostered by government action. Stevens wrote, "Promoting economic development is a traditional and long accepted function of government" ... Traditionally, the role of government included the preservation of order, the administration of justice, and the provision of a few "public goods" ... Throughout most of our history, it was not regarded as the role of government to try to boost the level of economic activity within its jurisdiction."
    Liberalism, Marxism, and the State [PDF], by Ralph Raico, Cato Journal, 1992
    Examines the writings about the state by the French founders and contributors to the early 19th century journal Le Censeur, compares them to Karl Marx (who they influenced), as well as some 1990 comments by Václav Havel
    "The function of government is to ensure security ... In a simile freighted with meaning in the rhetoric of Industrialism, Thierry (1818, p. 244) asserted that any government that exceeds these limits ceases to be a government properly speaking: 'Its action can be classed with the action exerted upon its inhabitants of a land when it is invaded by soldiers; it degenerates into domination, and that occurs regardless of the number of men involved, of the arrangement in which they order themselves, or what titles they take.'"
    Libertarianism and the War, by Justin Raimondo, 2 Apr 2007
    Criticizes a Cato Unbound symposium titled "Libertarianism: Past and Prospects" with contributed essays from Brian Doherty, Brink Lindsey, Tyler Cowen, Tom G. Palmer and Virginia Postrel
    "... Cowen [claims the] incremental success of the libertarian quest for "negative liberty" – i.e., freedom from government – has led to an increase in "positive liberty" (material wealth), which has diverted more resources to government ... [The symposium writers are] largely blind to the enormous potential of the war question to debunk and delegitimize the moral authority of government ... Just as the Vietnam War brought about a general discontent with and distrust of government officials and their policy initiatives, so this war is also vividly dramatizing the central libertarian insight: governments lie, they loot, and they kill."
    Libertarianism in Ancient China, by Murray Rothbard, Economic Thought Before Adam Smith, 1995
    Excerpted from chapter 1, section 1.10 "Taoism in ancient China"; discusses the Legalist, Confucian and Taoist schools of political philosophy and then concentrates on the latter, covering Laozi, Zhuangzi, Bao Jingyan and the Confucian historian Sima Qian
    "The history of government is the history of violence, of the strong plundering the weak. Wicked tyrants engage in orgies of violence; being rulers they 'could give free rein to all desires.' Furthermore, the government's institutionalization of violence meant that the petty disorders of daily life would be greatly intensified and expanded on a much larger scale. ... To the common charge that he has overlooked good and benevolent rulers, Pao replied that the government itself is a violent exploitation of the weak by the strong."
    Related Topics: China, Free Market, Lǎozǐ, The State
    Libertarian moment or movement?, by Robert J. Cihak, Michael A. Glueck, 24 Jan 2003
    Two months before the 2003 Iraq invasion, presents the views of Robert Higgs and David Theroux as to whether the libertarian movement can have "a major role to play in post-9/11 America"
    "Government grows via what he calls the 'ratchet effect' ... Throughout the 20th century, according to Higgs, war provided the major impetus to growth. After each war, government shrank somewhat, but never totally returned to its former size or scope. Further, from the Depression forward, the warfare state buttressed the welfare state, as people grew more and more accustomed to governmental control. In the end, Higgs concludes, governments will always act like governments, seeking to expand their power, unless checked by the citizenry. ... the standard American response is to demand that the government DO SOMETHING ..."
    Liberty or Empire?, by Patrick Henry, 5 Jun 1788
    Excerpt of speech to the Virginia Ratifying Convention; criticizes several clauses of the proposed Constitution and warns about the possibility of a U.S. President becoming even worse than a king
    "Shall we imitate the example of those nations who have gone from a simple to a splendid government? Are those nations more worthy of our imitation? ... Such a [consolidated] government is incompatible with the genius of republicanism. There will be no checks, no real balances, in this government. What can avail your specious, imaginary balances, your rope-dancing, chain-rattling, ridiculous ideal checks and contrivances?"
    Liberty's Greatest Advocate, by Walter E. Williams, 4 Jul 2001
    Reflections on some Bastiat writings, particularly those related to legalized plunder, on the 200th anniversary of his birth
    "Plunder is when people forcibly take the property of another. It's legalized plunder when people use government, such as our Congress, to do the same thing. ... Two-thirds to three-quarters of next year's $2 trillion federal budget represents legalized plunder, where Congress makes it possible for one American to live at the expense of another. ... This ... isn't limited to money handouts. There's plunder in the form of special privileges such as import tariffs and quotas, licenses and franchises, where government rigs the market in favor of certain sellers, particularly those making large campaign contributions."
    Related Topic: Frédéric Bastiat
    Lies and Leviathan, by James Bovard, Future of Freedom, Aug 2006
    Describes the deceit used to institute and expand the U.S. Social Security program, as well as various other government programs and officials
    "Big government requires big lies — and not just on wars but across the board. The more powerful government becomes, the more abuses it commits and the more lies it must tell. Interventions beget debacles that require cover-ups and denials. The more the government screws up, the more evidence the government is obliged to bury or deny."
    Related Topic: Social Security Tax
    Locke, John (1632-1704), by Eric Mack, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay
    "Especially as forms of property become more complex, there is a need for a clear public articulation of who owns what. In addition, the demand for known laws and reliable and impartial judges becomes increasingly important. At the same time, the need for reliable power to enforce known law and judicial decisions increases. For these reasons, directly or indirectly, individuals waive their private rights to act as executors of the law of nature. They vest this right in political society, which, in turn, entrusts a particular government with the task of articulating and enforcing the law of nature."
    Lord Acton on Liberty and Government, by Gary M. Galles, Mises Daily, 11 Nov 2002
    Lamenting that most people only know Lord Acton's most famous quote, lists many of his other memorable writings on liberty, government and related subjects
    "'... It is easier to find people fit to govern themselves than people to govern others. Every man is the best, the most responsible, judge of his own advantage. ... The great question is to discover, not what governments prescribe, but what they ought to prescribe; for no prescription is valid against the conscience of mankind. ... The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern. Every class is unfit to govern. ... There are many things the government can't do, many good purposes it must renounce. It must leave them to the enterprise of others. It cannot feed the people. It cannot enrich the people. It cannot teach the people. ...'"
    Lunar prisoners fight for freedom in Robert A. Heinlein's The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, by Howard Baetjer, 1 Feb 2017
    Discusses Heinlein's (and professor Bernardo de la Paz's) views on government and anarchism in the title book, with several excerpts, and ending with "Don't miss it"
    "... because they cannot escape Luna without boarding one of the government's ships, the official government — the Lunar Authority, set up by the rulers on Earth — does not do much at all. But in such a hostile physical environment, order is essential, and the Loonies have worked out for themselves a functioning system of governance without government, of rules without legislation. The details are intriguing. Their courts, for example, are ad hoc. There is a very memorable trial for a tourist from Earth who violated a Lunar sexual custom."
    Related Topics: Anarchism, Robert A. Heinlein
    Lysander Spooner (1808-1887) and Foreign Policy: Spooner's Real Views About Everything, by Joseph R. Stromberg, 8 May 2000
    Begins wih biographical summary and then delves into Spooner's views on slavery, the U.S. Constitution and the War Between the States
    "Seeing that governments are not the agents (certified in writing) of actual rights-bearing persons and that they do not conduct themselves as hired protectors or genuine insurance agencies, Spooner naturally asks Who is it, exactly, that governments do protect? His conclusion is a Rothbardian one – or, since Spooner came first, one can say that Rothbard extended the Spoonerian argument – namely, that governments protect themselves, that is, those persons who comprise them, and those interests allied with those persons. I hope Dan Rather mentions that on the evening news sometime."
    Lysander Spooner, Part 2, by Wendy McElroy, Future of Freedom, Nov 2005
    Lengthy biographical and bibliographical essay; from 1852 to Spooner's death, examining An Essay on the Trial by Jury, the No Treason essays and his subsequent influence
    "To Spooner, the [Civil] war and its aftermath constituted the crushing of the very idea of "government by consent." Government by consent means that every person who pays taxes or provides a service to the state must render his consent in order for the exchange to be just. Without such consent, the "exchange" is actually brute force ... Otherwise stated, if people pay taxes or offer a service because they fear the consequence of not doing so, then the state is no better than a robber who says, "Your money or your life." Or, as Spooner phrased it, government becomes "a mere conspiracy of the strong against the weak.""
    Madison, James (1750-1836), by Michael Zuckert, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay
    "Madison asserted that 'government is instituted to protect' this broad kind of property. 'That alone is a just government which impartially secures to every man whatever is his own.' Just government, in order to secure property in external goods, must not invade property in personal rights, must not seize the property that a man has in 'his personal safety and personal liberty,' nor may men be denied 'the free use of their faculties and free choice of their occupations' because of 'arbitrary restrictions, exemptions, and monopolies.' Just governments neither 'invade the domestic sanctuaries of the rich' nor 'grind the faces of the poor.'"
    Related Topics: James Madison, Rights
    Mises's Bibliographer: An Interview with Bettina Bien Greaves, by Bettina Bien Greaves, Austrian Economics Newsletter, 1998
    Topics discussed include: Ludwig von Mises, the Mises bibliography project, language knowledge, Leonard Read, Henry Hazlitt, Human Action, the business cycle and her husband's Pearl Harbor book
    "[Mises] came with a clear message. Government should protect and defend the lives and property of the persons under its jurisdiction, settle disputes that arise, and otherwise leave people free to pursue their various goals and ends in life. ... Governments still ... manipulate prices, fix wages, subsidize business, hamper imports or exports, manage the money supply, care for the sick and elderly, bail out the profligate, and on and on. But these efforts ... produce undesirable consequences for society in the long run. They impede the ability of people to cooperate in their own material betterment."
    Misguided Democracy, by George Leef, Future of Freedom, Mar 2006
    Review of Attention Deficit Democracy (2006) by James Bovard
    "Furthermore, much of what government does today is done covertly ... Presidents can issue Executive Orders to do almost anything, from confiscating gold to declaring people to be "enemy combatants." Government documents can easily be placed beyond public scrutiny, and ... this is becoming more and more prevalent as politicians choose increasingly to hide behind a "trust us" smokescreen. The bureaucracy has the power to issue regulations with the force of law and then punish violators ... The judiciary can freely ignore the Constitution to arrogate power to itself or to confer power on other branches of government."
    Module 2: John Locke's Two Treatises of Government
    Second module of the Cato Home Study Course, includes link to listen or download audio program (2:41:50), questions and suggested readings
    "The true foundation of government rests in the consent of the people to the transfer of certain just powers to government in order to protect their rights, rather than in a total alienation of their rights to government. Government is made necessary by three deficiencies of the 'state of nature': the lack of a known and settled law, the lack of a known and impartial judge to settle disputes, and the lack of a power to back and support the decisions of law. To remedy these 'inconveniences' of the state of nature, individuals delegate to government their right to execute the law of nature."
    Related Topics: John Locke, Self-ownership
    Module 8: John Stuart Mill's On Liberty and Mary Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Woman
    Eighth module of the Cato Home Study Course, includes link to listen or download audio program (two parts, 1:15:47 and 1:25:24), questions and suggested readings
    "The emergence of the United States as a democratic republic led him to conclude, 'It was now perceived that such phrases as "self-government," and "the power of the people over themselves," do not express the true state of the case. The "people" who exercise the power are not always the same people with those over whom it is exercised; and the "self-government" spoken of is not the government of each by himself, but of each by all the rest.'"
    Related Topic: John Stuart Mill
    Money in the 1920s and 1930s, by Richard Timberlake, The Freeman, Apr 1999
    Attempts to set the record straight on the economic and monetary events of the 1920s and early 1930s, arguing against both the Austrian view (as expressed by Murray Rothbard) and those who put the blame on stock market speculation
    "Competitive markets drive the production and sale of all household durables, but the production of money in every country in the world today (and yesterday, too) is the province of governments. ... Because they have the power to create money without license, governments also have the complementary incentive to claim that depressions and inflations resulting from the mismanagement of money occur because of unusual and unexpected economic developments—'shocks,' as they are labeled. ... Government apologists of many persuasions ... argue that the massive interventions of the 1930s were necessary ..."
    Monopolies versus the Free Market, Part 1, by Gregory Bresiger, Future of Freedom, Sep 2006
    Contrasts state-backed monopolies or quasi-monopolies vs. regular businesses in a free market, with historical and current examples, and discusses antitrust laws
    "Yet the irony is that the government, which is the agency that has enacted and prosecuted antitrust laws, is the creator of some of the biggest monopolies. It is as though a convicted criminal had suddenly been put in charge of law-enforcement efforts. Here is the philosophy of all antitrust thinking: Some prosperous American businesses ... must be broken up ... Powerful monopolistic government enterprises with statutory powers to bar competition are beneficial and should be nurtured and supported. In other words, don't break up the U.S. Postal Service, which has a statutory monopoly for first-class mail delivery."
    Morality and Social Security, by Robert Sirico, Future of Freedom, Dec 1999
    Discusses the effect of the U.S. Social Security program from an ethical and social standpoint
    "The very existence of Social Security has convinced tens of millions of people that government-mandated savings are utterly necessary ... the program has had a profound effect on the way we view the role of government in society ... With government benefits supporting us cradle to grave, we are less inclined to think about the future ... Social Security has also contributed to the crowding out of private charity, an old and very serious problem associated with all state benefits. Why should private associations bother to solve social problems widely understood to be the responsibility of government?"
    Related Topic: Social Security Tax
    Motives Aside, the NSA Should Not Spy on Us, by Sheldon Richman, 18 Jun 2013
    Examines a couple of reasons for rejecting the surveillance state, even if well-intentioned
    "Since we're assuming pure motives, we'll ignore the specter of deliberate abuse. ... Pure motives, however, do not rule out error. ... Julian Sanchez ... points out that a person who has nothing to hide from government officials — if such a person actually exists — would still not have a good reason to tolerate NSA surveillance ... Is that the kind of society we want, one in which we assume a government official is looking over our shoulders?"
    Obesity Not a Government Problem, by Charley Reese, 19 Jun 2006
    Argues that although humans, including children, have become less active than our ancestors and thus more prone to be obese, it is not government's role to interfere with people's eating habits
    "Anybody who doubts that many Americans have a problem with obesity need only visit an all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant. Most of the customers fill their chairs and then some. Nevertheless, it is not a government problem. Freedom means you can have a lot to lose if you want to, and it's nobody's beeswax. ... Healthy living is always a personal decision, and government, though it itches to control every aspect of our lives, should stay out of it."
    Related Topics: Children, Life Extension
    Objectivism and the State: An Open Letter to Ayn Rand, by Roy Childs, The Rational Individualist, Aug 1969
    Published by the Society for Rational Individualism (later merged into the Society for Individual Liberty); responds to five of Rand's arguments in her essay "The Nature of Government"
    "One of the major characteristics of your conception of government is that it holds a monopoly on the use of retaliatory force in a given geographical area. Now, there are only two possible kinds of monopolies: a coercive monopoly, which initiates force to keep its monopoly, or a non-coercive monopoly, which is always open to competition. In an Objectivist society, the government is not open to competition, and hence is a coercive monopoly."
    On Conscription [PDF], by Daniel Webster, 9 Dec 1814
    Condensed from speech before the U.S. House of Representatives, given in opposition to bill proposing conscription during the War of 1812, reprinted in Left and Right in 1965, during the Vietnam War
    "The supporters ... act on the principle that it is their task to raise arbitrary powers ... out of a plain written charter of National Liberty. It is their pleasing duty to free us of the delusion, which we have fondly cherished, that we are the subjects of a mild, free and limited Government, and to demonstrate by a regular chain of premises and conclusions, that Government possesses over us a power more tyrannical, more arbitrary, more dangerous, more allied to blood and murder, more full of every form of mischief, more productive of every sort and degree of misery, than has been exercised by any civilized Government in modern times."
    On Equality and Inequality, by Ludwig von Mises, Modern Age, 1961
    Examines the premise that "all men are created equal" and some possible as well as purported conclusions
    "... the arguments advanced in favor of representative government by the liberals of the 19th century ... are based upon the fact, most lucidly exposed by David Hume, that those at the helm are always a small minority as against the vast majority of those subject to their orders. In this sense every system of government is minority rule and as such can last only as long as it is supported by the belief of those ruled that it is better for themselves to be loyal to the men in office than to try to supplant them by others ..."
    On the Overproduction and Underconsumption Fallacies [PDF], by James Mill, George Reisman (editor), Commerce Defended, 1808
    Excerpts from chapters VI "Consumption" and VII "Of the National Debt", edited and with introduction by Reisman (in Sep 2006)
    "One of the most powerful restraints upon the prodigal inclinations of governments, is the condemnation with which expence ... is ... viewed by the people. But ... should the disposition of government to spend become heated by an opinion that it is right to spend, and should this be still farther inflamed by the assurance that it will by the people also be deemed right in their government to expend, no bounds would then be set to the consumption of the annual produce. Such a delusion could not certainly last long: but even its partial operation ... might be productive of the most baneful consequences."
    Pathetic Arguments for Foreign Intervention, by Sheldon Richman, 25 Jan 2008
    Discusses comments made by Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal about Ron Paul's call for U.S. withdrawal from the Middle East
    "Occasionally government has protected rights, but far more often it has usurped them. As for protecting international trade, why assume only a government can do that? ... What happens when the interests of a government that has assumed the role as protector of world trade collide with the interests of the people in whose name it acts or some other people? That is not a hypothetical question. It happens every day. Governments seize their revenue by force and are essentially unaccountable. Any resemblance between their interests and the interests of ordinary people is largely coincidental."
    Related Topics: Imperialism, Libertarianism
    Patrick Henry: Enemy of the State, by Ryan McMaken, 2 Dec 2003
    After brief mention of Henry's more historical speech, discusses his role and oratory in the Constitutional ratification debates
    "They hid this behind a façade of 'economic prosperity,' but Patrick Henry contended that such things were not the business of governments: 'You are not to inquire how your trade may be increased, nor how you are to become a great and prosperous people, but how your liberties can be secured; for liberty ought to be the end of your government.' For when government gives free men the power to secure their own rights, economic prosperity can only follow. But when men of government come to claiming the need to tax to increase your liberty and prosperity, beware."
    Persuasion Power Point #202: Are Government Failures the Result of the Wrong People Running It?, by Michael Cloud, The Liberator Online, 11 May 2006
    Examines the excuses given for the failure of government programs and whether the outcomes would be different if the "right" people were in charge
    "... Big Government programs repeatedly fail. Why? Their defenders respond: ... because the wrong people are in charge. ... What if it's the nature of government itself that causes the problems? What if it's a design characteristic of government itself that causes the problems -- and makes them unavoidable and unfixable?"
    Related Topic: Ludwig von Mises
    Piercing through Myths, Lies, and Stupidity, by George Leef, Future of Freedom, Aug 2006
    Review of Stossel's Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity (2006)
    "In another chapter, Stossel takes on the myths, lies, and stupidity that prop up Monster Government. 'Growing up,' he writes, 'I believed that government was a good thing, like Mommy and Daddy. It helped and protected us. It took me a while to understand that government could become too much of a good thing; patronizing, overprotective, and destructive of our liberty.' After years of looking at government with cold rationality, observing actual results rather than stated intentions, Stossel has concluded that it's mostly a gigantic rip-off. Republicans and Democrats take an equal pounding."
    Radical Economics: An Interview with Walter Block, by Walter Block, Austrian Economics Newsletter, 1999
    Discusses topics such as the effect of Rothbard's death, Block's own intellectual development, the legality of blackmail and barriers to Austrians in academia
    "Before [Public Choice] got started, most mainstreams believed that the existence of 'market failure' was enough to establish that government needed to take on the job. The great contribution of Public Choice is to point out that this conclusion implies that government is perfect. They pointed out that there is such a thing as government failure too. It's important to remember that men do not grow angels' wings when they go into public service. ... government is not a firm or a club because it is not a voluntary pooling of assets. The political process is not analogous to the market process."
    Reasoning on the Nature of Things, by Clarence B. Carson, The Freeman, Feb 1982
    Discusses how natural law doctrines were repudiated by utilitarians, why natural rights are important from an economic viewpoint, how the rights to life, liberty and property can be construed and what the author understands as the "social contract"
    "Given the existence of government with its monopoly of the use of force, what is to keep it from interfering in the economic undertakings of individuals? ... Government unrestrained by the rights of people under its jurisdiction is like an automobile without brakes. ... Governments without brakes ... are equally, or even more, dangerous. Property is at peril when government is unrestrained; trade is precarious; all sorts of interventions may hamper the production and distribution of goods. In a broader sense, the lives and liberties of all are in perpetual danger."
    Regime Libertarians, by Lew Rockwell, 12 Jul 2005
    Criticizes the "Iraq Exit Strategy: America's Path Forward" proposal, made by the Libertarian National Committee on 29 June 2005, and suggests the name "Regime Libertarians" for those who make that kind of proposals
    "We are told that the 'direct aid program will give Iraq vital assistance while giving the Iraqi people, through their government, control over the disbursement of funds.' But surely the Iraqi political situation provides an excellent illustration that government and the people are separate, and not united as in some Rousseauian fantasy. ... As for infrastructure, there’s nothing like a government project to hold back progress. It can only crowd out private suppliers. Same with government aid to cure unemployment: it's more likely to do the opposite by preventing market adjustment."
    Rent Control, by Walter Block, The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics
    Defines rent control, its general effects, its effects on tenants and offers some solutions; citing supporting examples from New York City and elsewhere
    "One effect of government oversight is to retard investment in residential rental units. ... In most businesses, governments will place only limited controls and taxes on your enterprise. But if you entrust your money to rental housing, you must pass one additional hurdle: the rent-control authority, with its hearings, red tape, and rent ceilings. ... If the government wanted to help the poor and was for some reason constrained to keep rent controls, it would do better to tightly control rents on luxury unit rentals and to eliminate rent controls on more modest dwellings—the very opposite of the present practice."
    Related Topics: New York City, Prices, Vietnam
    Revisiting a Libertarian Classic: Nock's Our Enemy, the State, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Mar 2006
    Examines some of the major themes of Nock's Our Enemy, the State
    "But it should be pointed out that Nock distinguished state from government. For him, government grows out of people's desire for freedom, security, and justice, and its interventions are negative. It is what Jefferson (whom Nock admired immensely) had in mind when he wrote the Declaration of Independence. In contrast, a state originates in conquest and intervenes positively in order to appropriate the product of honest laborers for the benefit of the privileged class."
    Ricardo in Parliament, by Edwin Cannan, The Economic Journal , 1894
    Account of Ricardo's final years, as a Member of Parliament for the borough of Portarlington, discussing his actions and speeches on matters of general and economic policy
    "'Mr. Ricardo said that he conceived the duty of government to be to give the greatest possible development to industry. This they could do only by removing the obstacles which had been created. He complained therefore of government on very different grounds from the hon. mover, for his complaint was against the restrictions on trade, and other obstacles of that description, which opposed the development of industry. ... If government interfered, they would do mischief and no good. They had already interfered and done mischief by the poor laws. ...'"
    Risky Journalism: ABC's John Stossel bucks a fearful establishment, by John Stossel, Jacob Sullum, Reason, Apr 1997
    Lengthy introduction and interview, discussing Stossel's early work, his ABC News specials, his response to criticism, ABC's policies, objective reporting, and topics he would like to cover
    "I believe, just as Jefferson did, that less government is good government, and as George Washington did, that government is not reason or persuasion, government is force. I think the issue of the day is how big should government be. Ours has grown over 100 years from 1 or 2 percent of the GDP to about 36 percent of the GDP. I think the debate should be about what percentage is [optimal]. I think it's somewhere around 18 percent, and that's my main political issue."
    Ron Paul: A Most Unusual Politician, by Murray Rothbard, 1981
    Preface to Ron Paul's Gold, Peace, and Prosperity: The Birth of a New Currency
    "The government has systematically eroded and invaded property rights, has piled on ever higher taxes, ever more onerous regulations, and, most sinister because most hidden, has eroded the value of the dollar and of all our savings through inflation. ... Inflation ... is caused by the government's continual creation of new money, by what amounts to its system of legalized counterfeiting. ... In the case of government, the power to counterfeit means that government's debts can be paid without levying taxes, that government spending can increase, and that political allies can be purchased and maintained."
    Selections from Lao-tzu (Laozi): Tao Te Ching (Daode-jing), by Lǎozǐ
    Thirty-seven selections from the Dao De Jing, unidentified as to chapter or translator
    "When the government is laid back
    The people are relaxed.
    When the government is nitpicking
    The people have anxiety.
    Misfortune depends upon fortune.
    Fortune conceals misfortune.
    What has a definite delimitation?
    Or abnormality?
    The normal reverts to strangeness.
    Goodness reverts to perversion."
    Related Topics: Taxation, War
    Self-Deception about Medical Care, by Sheldon Richman, 15 Feb 2006
    Discusses comments made by Christine Cassel, a geriatric medicine specialist, arguing for public support of Medicare
    "This may be why such people can't see government for what it is: a massive transfer machine. In the end, all government can do is move money from one person to another. Whether you think that's right or wrong, let's at least agree on what it does. Government takes from A to give to B, and it uses the threat of physical force (such as incarceration) to ensure that A will surrender whatever is demanded of him."
    Related Topic: Health Care
    Selling Ideas, by Lew Rockwell, 21 Dec 2005
    Discusses the 2005 incident involving Bandow and Jack Abramoff and reminds us of previous incidents of left-vs.-right attacks (and vice versa), concluding with quotes from Mises' Liberalism
    "After all, we are talking about a government that spends trillions. The whole point of hanging around Washington is to get a piece of that action ... There can never be something called 'good government' that acts as a pure defender of the public interest so that no private interests ever influence its actions or decisions. That is absurd. So long as there is government, it will be corrupt, and for one reason: the business of government involves activities that, if you and I attempted them in the private sector, would land us in prison. If someone wants to root it out and expose it, we can only cheer."
    Related Topics: Doug Bandow, Cato Institute
    September 11 and the Anti-Capitalistic Mentality: An Interview with Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., for, by Lew Rockwell, Myles Kantor, FrontPage Magazine, 12 Mar 2002
    Discusses the insights of Mises' The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality particularly with regard to the attacks on the World Trade Center on 11 Sep 2001
    "Now contrast this process with HUD, the post office, or any other federal bureau. The GAO comes out with regular reports showing that these agencies' books are in complete chaos, with tens of billions missing, unaccounted for, or uncollectible. There are no earnings. There are no dividends. And who cares? No one. In Washington, GAO reports are used for scrap paper and birdcage lining. ... Government specializes in keeping unprofitable operations going: look at the history of industry in the Soviet Union, or at American farming or the TVA. "
    Socialized Medicine in a Wealthy Country, by Lew Rockwell, Mises Daily, 2 Dec 2006
    Discusses the view of socialized medicine held by left-socialists, examining the problems that existed in Soviet-controlled countries as well as current U.S. problems, and urges for a "complete separation of health and state"
    "So too with poverty. The welfare state actually succeeded in driving people to adapt their life conditions to the make themselves eligible. I'm quite sure that if the government were to institute a Good Samaritan Office, we would find the streets strewn with people who had been beaten and robbed. It is the nature of a government program to multiply the problem rather than solve anything. ... The government has incentives to spend money. Indeed, governments win from passing money around, and that can mean making more money available rather than less, unlike in the Soviet system."
    Sowell and Spying, by William L. Anderson, 9 Feb 2006
    Criticizes Sowell for his 7 Feb 2006 column titled "Point of no return" in which he defended the George W. Bush administration's warrantless domestic phone surveillance program on utilitarian grounds
    "One wishes that the FBI or other government authorities would be able to pick out only guilty people when they 'investigate' potential terrorists or other criminals. However, we know all too well that the government's track record is one in which the innocent are swept up with the guilty. Furthermore, we have found that the government finds it much easier to go after innocent people, since they are less likely to resist or have the resources to resist government attacks. ... Government is based on coercion and abuse and anyone who thinks otherwise does not understand the real nature of the state."
    Related Topics: Jeremy Bentham, Thomas Sowell
    Speaking to Nonlibertarians, by Sheldon Richman, 11 Jul 2014
    Suggests an approach by which libertarians can try to persuade others of the benefits of freed markets
    "The officials who run government agencies have no money at risk, and the people (as taxpayers) have no choice but to put up with them. ... Moreover, government agencies are easily subject to regulatory capture, by which the well-connected among the regulated influence or control the regulators — leaving consumers out in the cold with only a false sense of security, which is worse than none at all."
    Related Topic: Libertarianism
    Spencer, Herbert (1820-1903), by George H. Smith, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay
    "Collectively titled 'The Proper Sphere of Government,' these articles address a central problem of political philosophy, viz: 'Is there any boundary to the interference of government? and, if so, what is that boundary?' Spencer responded with the classical Lockean doctrine that the fundamental purpose of government was 'to defend the natural rights of man—to protect person and property—to prevent the aggressions of the powerful upon the weak—in a word, to administer justice.' He contrasts this conception with the common belief that the purpose of government is to promote the 'general good.'"
    Stiglitz is Wrong on Government, by Michael S. Rozeff, Mises Daily, 6 Sep 2006
    Criticises the 1986 Bruce C. Greenwald and Joseph E. Stiglitz paper "Externalities in Economies with Imperfect Information and Incomplete Markets", which posits that certain government interventions "can make everyone better off"
    "Real government is not an ongoing type of firm created and managed by the private sector to iron out certain problems. If it were, it would not be marked by the extensive power that it has to impose measures. It would not be marked by life and death debates over its every action. It would not be marked by divisions between one part of it and another and between it and society. It would not be marked by what seems to be its creation of conflicts and externalities that rive society."
    Stop Worrying about the Election, by Isaac M. Morehouse, Mises Daily, 3 Oct 2008
    Illustrates individual freedom using The Shawshank Redemption and events in communist Poland
    "Remember this when you see government expanding its reach into your life. Rather than looking to political leaders to protect or expand our freedom we should cultivate the seeds of freedom in our own spirits, and inspire others to do the same. Nothing government can do can take away our freedom; and if we are a people who are truly free, the government will have to follow."
    Related Topics: Individual Liberty, Poland
    Subjugating Ourselves, by Sheldon Richman, 7 May 2010
    Examines key passages from La Boetie's Discourse on Voluntary Servitude and criticises newspaper editorial writers (with a recent example) for preaching to the people to acquiesce and submit to government
    "In fact, government had a heavy hand in every one of those things. Wall Street crashed after years of profiting from government's discipline-weakening easy money and bailout guarantees. ... Coal miners have been lulled into a false sense of security by industry-captured regulators and self-serving bureaucratic unions corrupted by sinecures from the corporate state. And terrorism in Times Square is the kind of 'blowback' to be expected after invasions, occupations, and bombings that kill innocents in the Middle East."
    TANSTAAFL, There Ain't No Such Thing as a Free Lunch, by David R. Henderson, 3 Mar 2014
    Explains the two meanings of TANSTAAFL: the scarcity of economic resources (and the need for tradeoffs) and the expectation of some kind of reciprocity when something is offered for "free"
    "Many of us forget that scarcity, and the resulting necessity to make tradeoffs, apply not only to individuals and businesses, but also to government. If the government decides to spend more on war, it will have less to spend on health care or on something else. If it decides to spend more on war and not cut spending on anything else, then it will increase the budget deficit or reduce the budget surplus. ... a very good question to ask a politician who wants the government to spend more on a particular program is: "What do you want the government to spend less on?""
    Tax Day, by Murray Rothbard, The Libertarian, 15 Apr 1969
    Editorial discussing taxation as robbery, government as a gang of thieves and dedicating the issue to those engaged in some form of tax rebellion
    "... if taxation is robbery, then it follows as the night the day that those people who engage in, and live off, robbery are a gang of thieves. Hence the government is a group of thieves, and deserves, morally, aesthetically, and philosophically, to be treated exactly as a group of less socially respectable ruffians would be treated."
    Related Topic: Taxation
    Tax Gouging: The Real Problem, by Thomas DiLorenzo, Mises Daily, 8 Jun 2006
    Deplores the tax policies of state and local governments, particularly those which have taken advantage of increases in real estate property values to increase their Soprano-like "collections"
    "Whenever state and local governments experience windfall "profits" such as this they use the money to appease more and more special interest groups by starting up myriad new programs. Then when the real estate market cools, or the economy in general slows down, the programs all remain in place while revenues shrink, creating a "deficit crisis." This in turn leads to calls for even more tax increases, which impose further harm on the local economy. There is never any mention of making government more efficient because government cannot be made more efficient any more than a cat can be taught to bark like a dog."
    Related Topics: Inflation, Maryland, Taxation
    Test your freedom IQ, The Orange County Register, 18 Jun 2006
    20 multiple-choice questions covering the role of government, free enterprise, taxes, property rights, free speech, religion, civil liberties, transportation, war and foreign policy, the Nanny State, gun ownership, education and immigration
    "A congressman said recently, 'Government can be a force for good in your life.' Do you: ... Disagree? Government's role should be limited, and individuals should be left on their own to be responsible and to seek their dreams and achievements for themselves and their families, which will lead to the greatest good in a free society."
    The 9/11 Servility Reflex, by James Bovard, Future of Freedom, Dec 2007
    Discusses how the general American public reacted after the 9/11 attacks and how the 9/11 Commission and the mainstream media helped reinforce that reaction
    "Many of the most respected and prominent media commentators saw 9/11 as the great sanctifier of government power ... R.W. Apple announced, 'Government is back in style' ... Al Hunt proclaimed, 'It's time to declare a moratorium on government-bashing' ... The 9/11 attacks produced many such summonses to elevate and glorify government. Yet it was U.S. government foreign policies that stirred up the hornets' nest, breeding hatred that led to the attacks themselves. After two skyscrapers collapse and the Pentagon is in flames, the government is hailed for failing to protect Americans from the enemies its policies helped create."
    The Abstract Concept of Human Liberty, by Robert LeFevre, The Freeman, Dec 1982
    Discusses how people may be interested in other people, events or things but only a few are interested in ideas, and how each group of people tends to view liberty from those perspectives
    "Those who think at [the level of events] clearly see the loss of freedom we all experience when other hands than theirs are on the tiller of the ship of state. 'Give us the scepter!' they cry. 'We will throw out those rascals and provide a government which will enforce freedom. We will reward the just and punish the unjust! Only those of us who understand freedom can be entrusted with the power to impose our wills upon all by force ...'"
    The Accidental Inventor of Today's Capitalism: Jean-Baptiste Say, No Longer a Villain, Stands Guard Over Free Markets, by Louis Uchitelle, The New York Times, 21 Feb 1998
    Written in the aftermath of the 1997 Asian financial crisis, discusses the Say's law, both as popularly heard and what he actually wrote, and Keynes' role in making Say's unwritten words famous as well as his preference for government intervention
    "Will supply and demand balance on their own at a high enough level to put everyone to work? Or can the balance come at a much lower level, requiring government to step in with job-creating measures? ... The Asian collapse is a result of too much government meddling, modern Saysians argue. The Korean Government, for example, pushed companies to borrow when they should not have borrowed and to manufacture too many cars, semiconductors, steel products and other things when there was no ready market for them. The markets, left to themselves, would have balanced supply and demand at a healthy level and Asia would not be in crisis today, the Saysians hold."
    The Anatomy of Antitrust: An Interview With Dominick T. Armentano, by Dominick T. Armentano, Austrian Economics Newsletter, 1998
    Discusses aspects of the United States v. Microsoft Corp case and related issues, such as product tying, exclusivity agreements, theories of compettion, price fixing, Robert Bork's views, government monopolies and Armentano's antitrust book
    "AEN: But why isn't the wealth and power of government similarly criticized?
    ARMENTANO: I suppose the explanation is psychological. Government is always put in a separate category, and somehow not subjected to the same strictures it imposes on everyone else. ... When I talk to average people, I expect them to exempt government and government monopolies from the criticisms they make of big business. ... I don't know how to overcome that, except to keep showing how repressive government imposition is, and how government regulation harms economic welfare for everyone."
    The Brilliance of Turgot, by Murray Rothbard, 1986
    Biography and review of Turgot's major writings; introduction to The Turgot Collection
    "Governmental restrictions and special privileges, on the other hand, compel consumers to buy poorer products at higher prices. Turgot concludes that 'the general freedom of buying and selling is therefore the only means of assuring, on the one hand, the seller of a price sufficient to encourage production, and on the other hand, the consumer, of the best merchandise at the lowest price.' Turgot concluded that government should be strictly limited to protecting individuals against 'great injustice' and the nation against invasion. 'The government should always protect the natural liberty of the buyer to buy, and of the seller to sell.'"
    The Businessman and the Defense of Capitalism, by Benjamin A. Rogge, Can Capitalism Survive?, 1979
    Chapter 1 of Part IX, "an explicit follow-up to the Schumpeter-based 'Can Capitalism Survive?'" (the lead essay in this volume); offers business leaders suggestions as to what to do and not to do in helping "the cause of freedom"
    "I begin then with the question, 'What is our problem?' In an earlier sentence, I identified the problem as that of overexpanded government. ... Overexpanded government is, in fact, but the most noticeable, objectively evident symptom of our problem. Our problem is in the form of a set of ideas whose implementation calls for the use of force, and government is that agency of society given a monopoly of the right to use force. For so long as those ideas are dominant in society, Behemoth will continue to grow."
    The Case for the Barbarous Relic, by Lew Rockwell, Mises Daily, 21 Mar 2006
    Argues for a return to the gold standard by reviewing U.S. political, economic and monetary history
    "Let's say you have a wayward son for whom you continually co-sign on his bank loans. He borrows and borrows, spends and spends, more and more ... So long as you are willing to underwrite his habits, you are enabling irresponsibility. The same is true with the federal government. The reason spending is out of control is that there is no institutional break to interrupt the pattern. Spending and debt continue to rise with no apparent consequence for anyone. The politicians make promises, the pundits scold, the voters sit back in discomforted bemusement, and the game continues without limit: ever more programs, benefits, and wars."
    The Drug War as a Socialist Enterprise, by Milton Friedman, 16 Nov 1991
    From keynote address at Fifth International Conference on Drug Policy Reform; examines why, 20 years after Friedman's admonition against Nixon's drug war, the government continues its attempts at enforcement, in spite of the observable, predicted results
    "Suppose government undertakes the same project and its initial experience is the same: it starts to lose money. What happens? The government officials could shut it down, but they have a very different alternative. With the best of intentions, they can believe that the only reason it has not done well is because it has not been operating on a large enough scale. They do not have to dig into their own pockets to finance an expansion. They can dig into the pockets of the taxpayers. ... All they need to do is to persuade the taxpayer, or the legislators who control the purse that their project is a good one."
    The Early Economists Who Tried to Save France, by Richard Ebeling, 31 Oct 2016
    Discusses the Physiocrats, focusing on Quesnay and Turgot
    "He insisted that government had no essential role directing or controlling the circular flow of goods between town and country and the matching flow of money between agriculture and manufacturing to facilitate the exchanges. There was no need for the government to regulate the prices at which goods were bought and sold. ... The same applied to international trade. The Mercantilist dogma that trade among nations always resulted in a gain for one of the traders and a loss for the other was wrong. ... The best policy for government to follow is 'laisser passer, laisser faire' — let goods pass and leave men alone to their own decisions."
    The Economics Lesson Obama Needs to Learn, by Sheldon Richman, 25 Jul 2013
    Explains economics in simple terms that even a statist politician ought to understand
    "... government projects differ essentially from market projects. ... government 'services' are not offered in a competitive market where consumers are free to take them or leave them. Since we’re forced to pay a monopoly provider regardless of whether we want the 'services,' at the point of delivery they appear to be free. You can't opt out of paying for 'free public schools' even if you don't want to use them."
    Related Topics: Economics, Entrepreneurship
    The Essence of Government, by Doug Casey, 26 Oct 2001
    Examines the questions "What is the essence of government?" and "Are governments necessary?", comparing mobs, organized groups and governments
    "Most people accept the institution of government because it has always been there; they have always assumed it was essential. People do not question its existence, much less its right to exist. ... What is the essence of government? After you cut through all the rhetoric, the doublethink and the smokescreen of altruism that surround the subject, you find that the essence of government is force. And the belief it has the right to initiate the use of force whenever expedient. Government is an organization with a monopoly, albeit with some fringe competition, on the use of force within a given territory."
    Related Topics: Law, Middle East, Politics
    The Ethics of Voting: Part Three [PDF], by George H. Smith, The Voluntaryist, Apr 1983
    Examines, among other things, whether a libertarian can be employed by or hold office in a State entity
    "The minarchist-anarchist debate revolves around the essential (or defining) purpose of government. Minarchists assert that the 'proper' function of government is defense of individual rights, broadly conceived (police, military, and judicial system). But it is unclear what 'proper' means here. If it means 'morally proper' —i.e., the State cannot legitimately exceed these boundaries—then no anarchist will disagree. No institution, by whatever name we call it, may properly violate rights. But why the State should be the focus of defense remains a puzzle."
    Related Topics: Lyndon B. Johnson, Politicians
    The Federal Ripoff, by George Leef, Future of Freedom, Nov 2006
    Review of The Big Ripoff: How Big Business and Big Government Steal Your Money (2006) by Timothy P. Carney
    "The Republicrats like our managed, regulated economy because it ensures steady support for them from the many business interests that profit from government ... most business executives like the comfort that big government provides them ... the people don't understand what is going on with the government. Obscured by political mythology, the truth that big government and big business dance together at the expense of our liberty and property weighs on few minds. Nothing will be done to eliminate corporate welfare until ... people [realize] that public officials use government to grant favors to businesses that lick their boots."
    The Free Market Is the High Road, by Bart Frazier, 2 Aug 2004
    Discusses how government regulations bear on countless areas, how regulation distorts free market prices and the benefits of deregulation, both financial and moral
    "Today, government regulates almost every aspect of our lives, including how we educate our children, what we build on our land, how chicken is packaged, how much gas our cars use, what we use for money, what we spray in our gardens, what countries we visit, what we ingest, what we're paid for our work, how many and what kind of fish we can catch, where we protest, how much money we give to politicians, sex, marriage, and just about every other facet of life that should be no one's business but our own."
    Related Topics: Free Market, Prices
    The History of Freedom in Antiquity, by John Dalberg-Acton, 26 Feb 1877
    Surveys the ancient history of liberty, both from the side of rulers (despots, Solon, Pericles, Roman Republic and Empire) and philosophers (Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics), and the later influence of Christianity
    "The government of the Israelites was a Federation, held together by no political authority, but by the unity of race and faith, and founded, not on physical force, but on a voluntary covenant. The principle of self-government was carried out not only in each tribe, but in every group of at least 120 families; and there was neither privilege of rank, nor inequality before the law."
    Related Topics: Democracy, Liberty, The State
    The Idea of a Private Law Society, by Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Mises Daily, 28 Jul 2006
    Discusses the problem of social order, i.e., rules to regulate the use of "everything scarce so that all possible conflicts can be ruled out"
    "Government is not just like any other monopoly such as a milk or a car monopoly that produces low quality products at high prices. ... As noted, the government is the ultimate judge in every case of conflict, including conflicts involving itself. Consequently, instead of merely preventing and resolving conflict, a monopolist of ultimate decision-making will also provoke conflict in order to settle it to his own advantage."
    The Internet and the End of Monetary Sovereignty, by Bill Frezza, The Future of Money in the Information Age, 1997
    Considers how cyberspace promises of privacy and anonymity may lead to new monetary institutions and "a practical realization of laissez-faire capitalism" as advocated by Ayn Rand
    "This is a discomfiting revelation to most legislators, who like to pretend that their power rests on the consent of the governed rather than the barrel of a gun. Sooner or later, however, any assertion of sovereignty over actions that take place entirely within cyberspace--whether it is the transmission of banned materials, the regulation and taxation of consensual economic transactions, or even the creation of money--must resort to acts of physical coercion or threats thereof."
    The Invisible Hand Is a Gentle Hand, by Sharon Harris, 14 Sep 1998
    Defends the free market and individual liberty, quoting among others Frédéric Bastiat, Thomas Jefferson, David and Milton Friedman, John Lott, Isabel Paterson, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Adam Smith, Thomas Sowell, John Stossel and Walter Williams
    "Perhaps no one has ever better summed up what its like to interact with the government than the French political theorist, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. In 1849, he wrote:
    To be governed is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-ridden, regulated, penned up, indoctrinated, preached at, checked, appraised, seized, censured, commanded, by beings who have neither title, nor knowledge, nor virtue. To be governed is to have every operation, every transaction, every movement noted, registered, counted, rated, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, refused, authorized, endorsed, admonished, prevented, reformed, redressed, corrected.
    Sounds like he had some experience dealing with government."
    The J.F.K. Flap, by Murray Rothbard, The Rothbard-Rockwell Report, May 1992
    Review of Oliver Stone's JFK, including the media reaction and current theories on the Kennedy assassination
    "The last-ditch defenders of the Warren view ... always fall back on generalized vaporings, such as: 'How could all the government be in on it?' But since Watergate, we have all become familiar with the basic fact: only a few key people need be in on the original crime, while lots of high and low government officials can be in on the subsequent cover-up, which can always be justified as 'patriotic,' on 'national security' grounds, or simply because the president ordered it. The fact that the highest levels of the U.S. government are all-too capable of lying to the public, should have been clear since Watergate and Iran-Contra."
    Related Topics: John F. Kennedy, JFK
    The Justice and Prudence of War: Toward A Libertarian Analysis, by Roderick T. Long, Mises Daily, 20 Sep 2006
    Examines the ethics of war from a libertarian perspective, considering both deontological and consequentialist claims
    "But whatever restrictions are appropriate here will have to apply to governments and private individuals equally; the notion that government, the wealthiest and most powerful organization in society, should be exempt from the prohibition on self-judgment that it imposes on others does not pass libertarian muster. Hence the notion of a 'highest authority' or 'final arbiter' in society is un-libertarian ..."
    The Legacy of Leonard E. Read, by Jacob Hornberger, Future of Freedom, Sep 1991
    Reflects on the influence of Read on the author and other "freedom devotees", recounting two illuminating examples of Read's "deep dedication to integrity and principle"
    "What role does government have in such a society? If we were all angels, Read said, government would not be necessary. But since there are antisocial people in the world, government's proper role is to protect people from domestic aggression, protect the nation from foreign attack, and, through a judiciary, resolve disputes which arise among the citizenry. ... 'Conscience on the Battlefield' ... focused on the moral responsibility of the individual citizen for the wrongful acts of his government — in this case, the moral responsibility of the individual soldier for participating in foreign wars waged by his government."
    The Liberty Manifesto, by P. J. O'Rourke, May 1993
    Remarks at a gala dinner celebrating the opening of the Cato Institute's new headquarters
    "We have a group of incredibly silly people in the White House right now, people who think government works. Or that government would work, if you got some real bright young kids from Yale to run it. ... You know, if government were a product, selling it would be illegal. Government is a health hazard. Governments have killed many more people than cigarettes or unbuckled seat belts ever have. Government contains impure ingredients — as anybody who's looked at Congress can tell you. ... And the merest glance at the federal budget is enough to convict the government of perjury, extortion, and fraud."
    The Life and Death of Peter McWilliams: Another casualty of the War on Drugs, by R. W. Bradford, Liberty, Aug 2000
    Tribute to McWilliams, relates his life from 1996 until his death in June 2000
    "... the judge in the case ruled that Peter could not present to the jury ... the fact that the government's own research concludes that marijuana is virtually the only way to treat the illness ... I'm one of those libertarians who generally tries to look at government policies more as folly than as evil. But sometimes, the evil that government does transcends simple folly. Sometimes I have to be reminded that there is a real human cost of government. It happened when I learned of the government's killing of 86 people at Waco and its murder of Vicki Weaver at Ruby Ridge. And it happened with Peter, too."
    Related Topics: War on Drugs, Peter McWilliams
    The life and times of Murray N. Rothbard, who showed why private individuals can do just about everything that needs to be done, by Jim Powell
    Lengthy biographical essay
    "He challenged the utopian illusions of so-called 'liberals' who believed that government was a force for good, although government acquired its revenue by force from some people and handed it to others with more political influence. Rothbard discussed the doctrine that 'we are the government' – practically anything government does is okay, as long as leaders are democratically selected. ... Rothbard hammered the welfare state for harming the poor. 'A host of government licensing restrictions permeating occupation after occupation exclude poorer and less skilled workers from these jobs,' he reported."
    The Nature and Significance of Economic Education, by Israel Kirzner, The Freeman, Oct 1998
    Explains why economic education of both the general public and politicians/legislators is needed and why a teacher, such as Mises, must remain scientifically detached (value free) even if passionate about the teaching goals
    "Very many intelligent, well-meaning persons ... have concluded that government planning and control of market activities are crucially needed in order to avoid economic chaos ... the truth is ... because of sheer economic ignorance, well-meaning policy makers may be completely unaware that ... they ... may in fact generate consequences quite the reverse of what they wish ... If public policies seeking to increase the scale and scope of government intervention in the economy are to be successfully fought at the legislative and executive levels, the economic understanding of the public must ... be enhanced."
    The New U.S. War on Liberty, by Karen De Coster, David J. Theroux, 22 Jan 2002
    De Coster introduces a critical analysis, by Theroux, of the War in Afghanistan and the War on Terrorism
    "Too many people are presuming that somehow the U.S. government can and does represent us contractually, and that somehow socialism can be made to work for defense purposes. However, government institutions by definition exist primarily based on coercing the peaceful choices of people, representing political interest groups who use government power against others, and making decisions based on an incoherent and anti-social collectivist calculus. ... the new 'War on Terrorism' is being used ... to justify ... systematic government surveillance and potential trampling on the Bill of Rights ..."
    Related Topics: Afghanistan, Ron Paul
    The Nightmare of the New Deal, Part 1, by George Leef, Future of Freedom, Dec 2007
    Review of The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression (2007) by Amity Shlaes; introduction and focus on the "bad guys"
    "In the United States of 1929, the federal government played a very small role, employed very few people, and spent very little money. Most important, very few Americans looked to Washington, D.C., to solve "social problems." Three years of interventionist policies under Hoover — Shlaes makes it clear that Hoover was anything but the dogmatic laissez-faire advocate he is usually said to have been — and five more under Roosevelt had turned America into a country where a nearly omnipotent government was everywhere, controlled by people who admired Stalin and Mussolini as models of forward-looking leaders."
    The Poison Called Nationalism, by Sheldon Richman, 6 Feb 2015
    Discusses nationalism as exhibited by those who defend sniper Chris Kyle as a hero
    "This integral relationship between nation and state is why nationalists reject claims that one can love one's country while despising the government. That's impossible by their definition of country. To oppose the government is to oppose the country. You may oppose a particular president, but don't dare oppose the military. Now, you can try to redefine country to make it something properly lovable, but you won't persuade a nationalist. It's no accident that governments never fail to call on their flocks to 'love their country,' by which they mean: be willing to make any sacrifice on its behalf, with 'sacrifice' defined by politicians."
    The Pope Dabbles in Economics, by Sheldon Richman, 20 Dec 2013
    Examines the economic premises of Pope Francis' 2013 apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, explaining where the Pope has a point and where he is wrong
    "The prospect of self-employment, particularly among low-income people with government schooling, is next to impossible due to taxation, product regulation, occupational licensing, zoning and other land-use restrictions and exclusions, building codes, maximum-residential-density and other sprawl-inducing requirements, street-vendor and taxi-cab limits, minimum-wage laws, 'intellectual property,' and more. Government has myriad ways to make what's been called a comfortable subsistence much more expensive. All this is decreed on behalf of vested interests who want to preserve their current advantages."
    Related Topic: Free Market
    The Primacy of Freedom, by Brian Summers, The Freeman, Feb 1988
    One of over 20 essays in the anthology Ideas on Liberty: Essays in Honor of Paul L. Poirot (1987), discussing why the freedom philosophy and economic and moral education are important
    "Why—when ... billions of people continue to suffer in abject poverty, ... —why doesn't the great mass of humanity cry 'Enough!' and throw off the shackles of enslaving governments? ... Freedom is right because it is morally right. Government intervention in peaceful affairs—no matter at whose behest, and no matter what the excuse—is wrong. ... There is further difficulty in convincing people that when government, acting as someone's agent, harms one person to benefit another, then the person who used the government for his own ends is as guilty of plundering another as if he had committed the act himself."
    The Production of Security, by Gustave de Molinari, Journal des économistes, Feb 1849
    Questions whether the provision of security to citizens should be an exception to the economic principle of free competition, delving into arguments favoring monopolistic and communistic government and concluding with a hypothetical free market example
    "Hence also the creation of establishments whose object is to guarantee to everyone the peaceful possession of his person and his goods. These establishments were called governments. Everywhere, even among the least enlightened tribes, one encounters a government, so universal and urgent is the need for security provided by government. Everywhere, men resign themselves to the most extreme sacrifices rather than do without government and hence security, without realizing that in so doing, they misjudge their alternatives."
    Related Topics: Communism, Democracy, Monopoly, Society
    The Real DiLorenzo: A 'Southern Partisan' Interview, by Thomas DiLorenzo, 17 Jun 2004
    Interview by Southern Partisan magazine, about DiLorenzo's The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War (2002)
    "I call [Lincoln] the Founding Father of big government ... these self-described conservatives ... advocate nationalism and executive power. That's one reason why they idolize him so much ... Liberals always have Lincoln and FDR as their number one and number two presidents, because they were the most dictatorial of all our presidents. So, you have this odd mix of liberal and conservative academics, both of whom idolize Lincoln because they really do embrace big government. Big government conservatives don't mind big government as long as people like themselves are in charge of it."
    The Right to Life Equals the Right to Possess Firearms, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Jun 1994
    Discusses U.S. legislation or proposals to restrict, register, license or ban gun ownership, countering that these controls go against the basic right of self-defense, itself a corollary of the right to life
    "But, many people will say, in a civilized society, we have delegated our right of self-defense to the government. ... Not even the most idealized vision of government has ever promised to protect each individual 24 hours a day. The most it promises is a general deterrence through police patrols and apprehension of criminals. (Leave aside the fact that the government’s record of delivering on its promises is abysmal.) Simply put, the government leaves us unprotected nearly all the time. In fact, government law-enforcement personnel have no legal obligation to protect you even if they see a crime in progress."
    The Roots of the Great Depression, by Richard Timberlake, Navigator, Jan 2001
    Topics discussed include Federal Reserve policy during 1920-1939, the British attempt to return the pound to its World War I value and U.S. interventions during the Hoover and Roosevelt administrations
    "... governments had no role, ever, in the initiation of moneys. Yet, everywhere in the world today (and most yesterdays, too), governments through their central banks and treasuries have obtained monopoly control over the production of money. ... How can any government improve on an economic device that has arisen through the emergence of market processes and has become accepted voluntarily by both buyers and sellers? ... It can't. No government can anymore improve the quality of privately produced money than it can improve privately produced computers, automobiles, or a health care system."
    The Six Faces of the Terrorist; The One Face of Bureaucracy, by Lew Rockwell, Mises Daily, 18 Aug 2006
    Wonders how much more will Americans tolerate the searches and commands of the Transportation Security Administration agents, contrastring "public sector" security to private security and comparing the TSA and the welfare bureaucracies
    "As much as people loath the invasions of privacy and the inconvenience, and as much as people roll their eyes in amazement and frustration, so long as people grant that there are such things as suspicious behaviors and real threats — and that the government is the right party to deal with them — these humiliations will continue. And truly, how can we know when the government has gone too far? ... One method we can use to discern whether the government has gone too far is to imagine what private security officials on private property might do."
    Related Topics: Bureaucracy, Business, The State
    The Snare of Government Subsidies, by Gary North, Mises Daily, 31 Aug 2006
    Explains how government starts by granting a benefit to some group (purportedly for the public interest), someone takes advantage of the system, the group is asked to police itself, cheating grows, a crisis is perceived, leading to increased interventions
    "The government is a political organization. Its justification is that it is an agency of the popular will, an agent of the public in its political capacity. It is therefore an agency of public defense. ... In modern interventionist states, the concept of public defense is much broader. ... The unofficial purpose [of granting a particular group special favors] is almost universally this one: the expansion of political power at the expense of private associations."
    The State in the Dock, by Lew Rockwell, 26 May 2006
    Reflects on the then ongoing trial of Saddam Hussein (2004-2006) and wonders what would happen if other heads of state, including George W. Bush, were put on trial
    "The main impetus behind government-provided protection services is precisely to protect the government. There is nothing necessarily scandalous about this. It is what governments do. ... The essence of government is the right to obey a different set of laws from that which prevails in the rest of society. What we call the rule of law is really the rule of two laws: one for the state and one for everyone else. ... So this raises many questions. Under what law should the heads of governments be tried? If they are tried according to everyday moral law, they would all be in big trouble."
    Related Topics: George W. Bush, Iraq, The State
    The Ultimate Tax Cut, by Jacob Hornberger, Future of Freedom, Dec 2007
    Explains how tax cuts promised by political candidates are fraudulent, since the government expenditures still have to be paid somehow, either by taxation or monetary inflation
    "... Americans must ask themselves a fundamentally important question: What should be the role of government in a free society? Should its role include taking money from one group of people by force (i.e., taxation) in order to give it to another group of people (i.e., provide welfare)? Should its role include the maintenance of an enormous military-industrial empire that serves as an international policeman and welfare-provider for the world?"
    Related Topics: Inflation, Taxation
    The U.S. Base on Diego Garcia: An Overlooked Atrocity, by Sheldon Richman, 4 Jun 2013
    Describes the forced evacuation of Diego Garcia's native inhabitants by Great Britain during 1968-1973, so that the United States could set up a Navy base, as well as current efforts to redress those actions
    "The largest criminal organizations in the world are governments. The bigger they are, the more capable of perpetrating atrocities. Not only do they obtain great wealth through compulsion (taxation), they also have an ideological mystique that permits them uniquely to get away with murder, torture, and theft. The U.S. government is no exception."
    Related Topics: United Kingdom, United States
    The War the Government Cannot Win, by Lew Rockwell, 1 May 2007
    Discusses how government cannnot win the war on terror because economic law is more powerful than the state
    "Ludwig von Mises said that the great accomplishment of economists was to draw attention to the extreme limits on the power of government. His point was not merely that government should be limited, but that it is limited by the very structure of reality. It cannot make all people rich by its own initiative. It cannot provide universal housing, literacy, and health. It cannot raise wages across the board. It cannot ban products. Those who seek to accomplish economic ends such as these are choosing the wrong means. That is because there is something more powerful than government: namely economic law."
    The Wisdom of LeFevre, by Lew Rockwell, The Free Market, Jul 2001
    Discusses various aspects of LeFevre's thoughts, e.g., the distinction between true and artificial government, patriotism, and includes excerpts from a draft new Declaration of Independence
    "[Historians] write about the rise and fall of civilizations, of prosperity and famine, of peace and war. While noticing that government is often responsible for bad things, they incorrectly conclude it must be credited for all good in society as well. This leap of logic is what keeps the truth of freedom under wraps. Crediting government for the good in society was, to his mind, like crediting the criminal class whenever it leaves us alone to go about our affairs. ... True government is made up of the customs (habits, manners, folkways) and institutions (family, workplace, church) that regulate our daily life."
    Thomas Chalmers and the Poor Laws, by Clifford F. Thies, The Freeman, Dec 1993
    Biographical essay on Scottish minister Thomas Chalmers focusing on his arguments for reforming Poor Laws and his objections to providing relief to the "undeserving poor", and a concluding section on current poverty relief
    "His method was ... involving family and community in the fight against poverty ... Chalmers' efforts to reform the poor laws went hand in hand with his opposition to the Corn Laws, which restricted international trade in order to "protect" domestic agriculture; to grants of legal monopoly to industry; to prohibitions against free unions; and, to the heavy burden of taxation upon the laboring classes. In all these cases, he saw government interferences with the workings of a free society—including both its competitive and cooperative spheres as disrupting the natural, or even the divine order of things."
    Related Topic: Scotland
    Thoreau, Henry David (1817-1862), by Jeff Riggenbach, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay
    "Thoreau begins his famous essay by inquiring into the nature and justification of the state.
    I heartily accept the motto,—"That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which I also believe,—"That government is best which governs not at all"; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.
    In the interim, Thoreau argued, ... we should live peaceably with the state—unless and until it adopts policies that require us to participate in or assist with the perpetration of injustice."
    Tocqueville, Alexis de (1805-1859), by Jason Kuznicki, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay
    "In a similar vein, Tocqueville mistrusted great concentrations of wealth. He feared the undue influence that extraordinary wealth could exert on governments, and he held that concentrated wealth was one of the chief evils produced by a government that grew beyond its proper bounds. Without unfair government privilege, Tocqueville thought, competition among individuals and the vicissitudes of ordinary life would exert a broadly leveling influence, enriching the poor and reining in the wealthy."
    Treating People Like Garbage, by Sheldon Richman, 4 Oct 2013
    Prompted by the "closing" of the U.S. government during the first week of Oct 2013, examines two examples of how the state behaves towards people: an Iraq war veteran and his familty, and the genocide of hundreds of thousands of Bengalis in Mar 1971
    "The government is so entwined in our lives that some innocent people are hurt by the partial shutdown. Policies have consequences, creating perverse incentives and dependencies. Government intervention blocks routes out of poverty, and in self-defense, the ruling elite ameliorates some of the worst effects with handouts. If the handouts are suddenly yanked while the barriers stay in place, hardship will result. ... Government equals centralization, and centralization means that bad ideas harm far more people than would be harmed under decentralized governance."
    Try This On Your Friends [PDF], by F. A. Harper, Faith and Freedom, Jan 1955
    Poses a riddle about the extent to which government is needed
    "To what extent should politicians be enthroned to rule affairs in our daily lives? What should be the proper domain of political rulership—that is, government? ... Here we see the political paradox I would pose: When society is viewed in terms of the two pure patterns in a moral sense—good and evil—we find that political rulership becomes either totally unnecessary or totally ineffective. As people in society progress toward 'good,' government becomes less and less necessary. As people in society progress toward 'evil,' government becomes less and less effective."
    Related Topic: Society
    Tullock, Gordon, by Paul Dragos Aligica, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay
    "[Tullock] had a decisive contribution in destroying the idea that we can expect government to be a benevolent mechanism that can be used to remedy market failures. ... State intervention, like the market, he maintained, should respond to the preferences of individual persons. If the market does not provide perfect responses, neither does the state. ... His conclusions pointed toward the desirability of the division of government into small jurisdictions and 'a sizeable reduction in the total amount of activities attempted by the governmental apparatus,' ..."
    Related Topic: Gordon Tullock
    Vernon L. Smith (1927- ), The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics, 2008
    Biographical entry, including list of selected works
    "Smith pointed out that these examples contradict the myth that a central function of government is to 'solve' the free-rider problem in the private provision of public goods. In fact, he noted, the cattle-ranching example showed the reverse: private entities solved the public-good problem, and when governments came along and provided protection paid for by the taxpayers, cattle ranchers were quite happy to have the general taxpayer bear the cost of protecting their cattle. Smith also noted ... Ellickson showed that private negotiations and sanctions worked to handle knotty problems without government intervention."
    Related Topic: Vernon L. Smith
    Vices Are Not Crimes: A Vindication of Moral Liberty, by Lysander Spooner, Mar 1875
    Contrasts crimes and vices, discussing the need to legislate or take other governmental action against the former but not the latter, countering several potential arguments in favor of vice legislation, in particular laws regarding spirituous liquors
    "Every human being has his or her vices. Nearly all men have a great many. And they are of all kinds; physiological, mental, emotional; religious, social, commercial, industrial, economical, etc., etc. If government is to take cognizance of any of these vices, and punish them as crimes, then, to be consistent, it must take cognizance of all, and punish all impartially. The consequence would be, that everybody would be in prison for his of her vices."
    Voting Is No Sin: Voting no more legitimizes the state than scratching legitimizes an itch, by R. W. Bradford, Liberty, Nov 1996
    Bill Bradford's response to Wendy McElroy's "Why I Would Not Vote Against Hitler" essay (Liberty, May 1996)
    "... suppose that your use of public streets leads your neighbors to believe the state is morally legitimate. Must you then stop using the roads? As a matter of fact, many people do believe that if you use the streets, or sidewalks, or government schools, or postal service, or any other state-owned or state-controlled entity, you confer legitimacy on our massively coercive government. ... what action can one take to reduce the power of government and increase human liberty? To answer that question, we must remember that government power rests on the opinions of our fellow human beings."
    Related Topics: Wendy McElroy, The State, Voting
    Washington Logic, by Sheldon Richman, 22 Sep 2006
    Commentary on the perverted logic used in Washington politics, as evidenced by lobbying for and against import tariffs
    "The Post story will probably set off the next spasm of campaign-finance reform. Some crusader for good government will wave the clipping as he implores Congress to further restrict political donations and spending lest more tariff suspensions be purchased in smoke-filled rooms. Once again the point will be missed: special interests would have nothing to buy if government had nothing to sell."
    Was the Constitution Really Meant to Constrain the Government?, by Sheldon Richman, 8 Aug 2008
    Explains how attempting to revert to the "original meaning" of the Constitution or appealing to the writings of the framers will not lead to a free society
    "Conspicuously missing from this list of purposes is: to constrain the powers of government. How did we overlook this? One comeback is that restraining government is implicit in the references to justice and liberty. In my view, justice and liberty certainly require limitations on the power to inflict violence. But there are other notions of justice and liberty. Advocates of expansive government power also see themselves as champions of justice and liberty. How do we know that the language in the Constitution doesn't mirror these competing notions? There was a good deal of government intervention in the states back then."
    We Need Freedom, Not School Standards, by Sheldon Richman, Jun 1996
    Compares the levels of education of Americans before and after 1840, when Horace Mann and others architected "public schools"
    "The nation's governors recently affirmed their intention to hold the children of their states to high standards. ... That is the essence of the standards movement. Some level of government will dictate to children (and their parents) what's expected of them. There may be debate over which level of government should do the dictating but not over whether some government should be doing it. Ironically, the basic problem with the schools is that government has been setting standards for over 150 years. Before about 1840, government had little or nothing to do with education in the United States."
    Related Topics: Children, Educational Freedom
    What Exactly Did Gerald Ford Heal?, by Sheldon Richman, 5 Jan 2007
    Counters the argument that Geral Ford, by pardoning Richard Nixon, "healed the nation"
    "For too long people have trusted the political system: the government schools and the establishment news media unceasingly propagandize that, despite the partisanship, deep down the system as we know it serves the people's interests and deserves their support. But government today is an exploitation machine that milks the taxpayers for the benefit of favored interests, especially military contractors and other big well-connected businesses. A superficial party rivalry obscures the great, overarching common interest both parties have in keeping the machine running smoothly ..."
    Related Topics: Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon
    What Is the Enemy?, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Apr 2006
    Discusses why corporatism, mercantilism and Big Business are the "the great institutional threat to liberty"
    "While the textbooks used in government schools unswervingly portray the Progressive Era and the New Deal as left-wing, or liberal, responses to the abuses of big business, nothing could be further from the truth. In each case the business elite looked to government for help. ... The results were the [ICC}, Sherman Act, [FDA], [FTC], Federal Reserve System, federal meat inspection, and on and on. That such government intervention harmonized with the aspirations of statist intellectuals does not change the fact that the corporate elite looked to Washington to bring order to disorderly (that is, competitive) markets."
    What Nat King Cole Would Have Told Martha Stewart, by Charles Adams, 12 Mar 2004
    Comments on the Martha Stewart insider trading case and, based on the advice of Nat King Cole's lawyer, counsels celebrities and others on never talking to government agents
    "Aggressive prosecutors, police, investigators, in all walks of government have a long history of making false charges, arrests, manufacturing evidence, and even convicting the innocent, especially when they can bring down the rich and famous. ... Like it or not, we have to protect ourselves from over-zealous governments. And this is not a disease of our government, or of our age, but of all governments everywhere. As Thomas Paine stated at the founding of America, 'Government is a necessary evil, at best; at worst, an intolerable one.'"
    What Should Libertarians Do?, by Sheldon Richman, 25 Apr 2014
    Examines what libertarianism requires of people, e.g., an understanding of economics, and suggests focusing on the liberal insight that "societies run themselves" spontaneously
    "If you tell most people that the government should exit the economy, you'd get the equivalent of this answer: 'You want to replace something, however imperfect, with nothing?' ... it is understandable that they'd think that. ... most people are bombarded with disinformation that government is their friend, that it acts to protect the vulnerable from exploitative special interests. ... the truth is precisely the opposite. Historically, the state has been the tool of exploitation for the well-connected, allowing an elite to acquire wealth and power, at the people's expense, that would be unachievable in a freed society."
    Why Limited Representative Government Fails, by Michael S. Rozeff, 17 Apr 2008
    Presents a four-element theory of why limited representative government fails
    "When we the people accept the premise of representative government, we are making a fateful decision. We are accepting a method of pseudo-cooperation, pseudo-freedom, and pseudo-welfare improvement. Representative government does not deliver freedom, welfare improvement, or cooperation. To achieve these, we need a different premise. We need self-government."
    Why Markets Are Dreaded, by Tibor Machan, 27 Apr 2007
    Insights on why higher education professionals prefer not to have to compete in "markets" and instead want governments to run colleges and universities
    "They all accept, without question, that it is the business of governments to run most of the country's colleges and universities ... there is no disagreement about basics — governments ought to run and to fund colleges and universities (by extorting money from citizens through taxes). ... Higher education merchants and professionals must be protected from such burdens. They must have their income expropriated from many unwilling taxpayers; their scholarship and research, unlike that of many in the private sector, must be funded with the loot the government gets to extort from us with complete impunity."
    Related Topics: Business, Free Market
    Why Those Who Value Liberty Should Rejoice: Elinor Ostrom's Nobel Prize, by Peter Boettke, The Freeman, Dec 2009
    Discusses Elinor Ostrom's work and viewpoints
    "... much of the last century of political and economic discourse has been dominated by a debate between advocates of perfect markets and perfect central planners. The latter strove to demonstrate market failure, then would insist that government would provide the necessary corrective. Ostrom was one of the core thinkers ... to say, 'Hold on. Markets may fail, but government solutions also might not work.' One must always remember that Elinor and Vincent Ostrom are foundational contributors to the theory of Public Choice. But the Ostroms went further than simply demonstrating the possibility of government failure."
    Related Topic: Societal Solutions
    With Enemies Like This, Who Needs Friends?, by Kevin Carson, 23 Aug 2013
    Reflections on the actions taken by the U.S. government in response to threats to maintaining its supremacy
    "Entirely through its own responses to 9/11, the U.S. government has run up $1.5 trillion dollars in war debt and turned its civil aviation system into a comically totalitarian nightmare straight out of the movie 'Brazil.' ... the U.S. government's draconian prosecutions of Manning and Aaron Schwartz have turned them into martyrs and created sympathy among millions of people around the world."


    Stand-Up Guy: Comedian Drew Carey on network censors, Hollywood guilt, and why he likes eating at Bob's Big Boy, by Nick Gillespie, Drew Carey, Steve Kurtz, Reason, Nov 1997
    Topics range from Hollywood reactions to Carey's humor, his attitude toward government, the ABC network censor, Las Vegas, drug legalization and more
    "Reason: What's your basic attitude toward government?
    Carey: The less the better. As far as your personal goals are and what you actually want to do with your life, it should never have to do with the government. You should never depend on the government for your retirement, your financial security, for anything. If you do, you're screwed.
    Reason: But you were in the Marines reserve, weren't you?
    Carey: That's all the government should be: Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines (laughs). P.J. O'Rourke once said the government has passed enough laws–it should just stop. It oversteps its bounds so often."


    Takings Exception: An Interview with Richard Epstein, by Richard Epstein, Steve Chapman, Reason, Apr 1995
    Topics include libertarian ideas, Epstein's book Takings, the public housing and inner city issues, and civil rights laws
    "Bill is somebody who still believes that ... you can find some massive government program for housing, or for education and so forth, which will do better for people than they would do for themselves. ... What you really ought to do is to reduce the total level of government burden, let people live where they choose, and it will turn out that, in general over time, the level of the housing stock will improve and the level of incomes will increase, just as they did in the period between 1946 and 1960-64 ... in which you had the benefit of the post-war growth and of moderate levels of government intervention."

    Cartoons and Comic Strips

    B.C., by Johnny Hart, 10 Aug 2006
    "There's a morbid disease that can grow until it consumes the body that gave it life!"
    Golly! I was right! Government isn't the solution ..., by Tony Auth, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 13 Sep 2005
    Context: Hurricane Katrina
    Related Topic: Ronald Reagan
    Hmm ... Maybe we just have a semantics problem ..., by Wiley Miller, Non Sequitur, 23 Jan 2008
    Opinion polls show you have a 95% disapproval rating, by Parker and Hart, The Wizard of Id, 15 Mar 2014
    Our government is miles in debt ..., by Parker and Hart, The Wizard of Id, 5 Sep 2012
    The Most Active Branch of Government, by Wiley Miller, Non Sequitur, 7 Aug 2007
    The Office of Sen. Kingpit Dixon, by Wiley Miller, Non Sequitur, 18 Jun 2015
    The Only Monument We Need To Be Placed in Government Buildings ..., by Wiley Miller, Non Sequitur, 3 Feb 2007
    Tourists at Lexington, by Chuck Asay, 25 Aug 2006


    Discourses Concerning Government, by Algernon Sidney, 1698
    Partial contents: To depend upon the will of a man is slavery - God leaves to man the choice of forms in Government - That 'tis natural for Nations to govern, or to choose Governors - Government is not instituted for the good of the Governor
    Official Lies: How Washington Misleads Us
        by James T. Bennett, Thomas DiLorenzo, 1993
    Partial contents: Welcome to the Jungle - The Political Economy of Propaganda, or Joe Isuzu Meets Nelson Rockefeller - Getting Down on the Farm - Fuel for the Propaganda Machine - The Sky is Falling! - Compelling Belief - Dope, Booze, Smokes, and Sex
    Parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government
        by P. J. O'Rourke, 1991
    Partial contents: The Mystery of Government - The Dictatorship of Boredom - The Three Branches of Government: Money, Television and Bullshit - Our Government: What the Fuck Do They Do All Day, and Why Does It Cost So Goddamned Much Money
    Power and Market: Government and the Economy
        by Murray Rothbard, 1970
    Partial table of contents: Defense Services on the Free Market - Fundamentals of Intervention - Triangular Intervention - Binary Intervention: Taxation - Binary Intervention: Government Expenditures - Antimarket Ethics: A Praxeological Critique
    The Second Treatise of Civil Government, by John Locke, 1690
    Partial contents: Of the State of Nature - Of the State of War - Of Slavery - Of Property - Of Paternal Power - Of Political or Civil Society - Of the Beginning of Political Societies - Of Conquest - Of Tyranny - Of the Dissolution of Government
    Underground Government: The Off-Budget Public Sector
        by James T. Bennett, Thomas DiLorenzo, Cato Institute, 1983
    Partial contents: Going Underground - The Political Economy of Off-Budget Enterprises - Off-Budget Activities of Local Governments
    Why Government Doesn't Work: How Reducing Government Will Bring Us Safer Cities, Better Schools, Lower Taxes, More Freedom and Prosperity for All
        by Harry Browne, 1995
    Partial contents: Ooops! Why Government Programs Always Go Astray - If You Were King (The Dictator Syndrome) - How Freedom Was Lost - How Much Freedom Is Left? - Fixing America's Problems - Do We Really Want Government to Protect Family Values?


    Schools of Thought in Classical Liberalism, Part 2: Milton Friedman and the Chicago School, by Nigel Ashford, 9 May 2012
    Short video, with transcript; discusses the answers to the question "What is the proper role of government?" from the viewpoint of Milton Friedman and the Chicago School of economics
    "What should be the role of government according to the Chicago school? ... First of all, to protect us from our enemies, both internal and external enemies. ... Secondly, government should provide the administration of justice in order to achieve peaceful reconciliation of conflict. ... The third ... is that there are some things, not many, ... that the marketplace, through voluntary exchange, cannot provide satisfactorily. ... And the fourth area he says that government needs to act is to protect the irresponsible, those that we assume are not capable of looking after themselves."

    We're the Government -- and You're Not: A Presentation of the U.S. Department of Homeland Propaganda, by David McElroy, 26 Jan 2007