Epstein for philosopher king!

I have long been impressed with the legal thought of Richard Epstein.  Lately I've been reading from Simple Rules for a Complex World (Harvard, 1995).  I'm struck that the simple rules he comes up with are something that would have a broad appeal to libertarians of many stripes.  The rules are: Self-ownership and autonomy First … Continue reading Epstein for philosopher king!

Welcome Aboard – Elizabeth Price Foley

I am quite pleased to announce that Elizabeth Price Foley will be joining Pileus as one of our Authors.  Elizabeth is sure to be a great addition to our lineup, especially given that she has an expertise in health care and constitutional law.  Here is her impressive bio:      Elizabeth Price Foley is Professor of Law at Florida International … Continue reading Welcome Aboard – Elizabeth Price Foley

Marriage and limited government

The following is from the Winter 2010 issue of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy: Although some libertarians propose to “privatize” marriage, treating marriages the way we treat baptisms and bar mitzvahs, supporters of limited government should recognize that marriage privatization would be a catastrophe for limited government.   In the absence of … Continue reading Marriage and limited government

Conversion to the cause of life

No two things are more inseparable than liberty and life.   Don't miss Robert George's eloquent tribute to Bernard Nathanson: There are many lessons in Bernard Nathanson’s life for those of us who recognize the worth and dignity of all human lives and who seek to win hearts and change laws... [T]he edifice of abortion … Continue reading Conversion to the cause of life

What If Libyans Had Remained Nonviolent?

I caught a little bit of flak around the Internet for my piece, "Why Isn't Violence the Answer?," during the early days of the Egypt protests. I was galled by official demands from the U.S. government and other places that Egyptian protestors remain nonviolent, no matter what. Thankfully, significant violence wasn't required to get rid … Continue reading What If Libyans Had Remained Nonviolent?

Arab States Cursed by Oil?

At Hit & Run, Ron Bailey expresses a surprisingly confident explanation of Arab countries' economic and political woes: oil. Yes, the resource curse is back in the news. But as longtime readers of Pileus know, recent research suggests that the resource curse may be a myth. To the extent that oil wealth explains poor economic … Continue reading Arab States Cursed by Oil?

Justin Logan vs. Robert Kagan

Justin Logan - Cato Institute colleague of Pileus guest blogger Christopher Preble - takes on Robert Kagan and "benevolent global hegemony" in the American Conservative.  My favorite part of the post is this: The disconnect between the academy and the Beltway foreign-policy community could hardly be starker. Forty-five years ago, Mancur Olson and Richard Zeckhauser sketched what they termed the “economic … Continue reading Justin Logan vs. Robert Kagan

The Care of the Elderly Under Socialism

 European commentators on US healthcare are often misguided in their description of the American system as a ‘free market’ model - when that system involves significant levels of government regulation and funding. Equally, American commentators are often misguided in their accounts of ‘socialist’ healthcare in Europe. Europe contains a diversity of healthcare systems. Some, such … Continue reading The Care of the Elderly Under Socialism

Local Option

Harry Reid of Nevada wants to outlaw brothels state-wide.  Not surprising given that he is a scold and centralizer - among the worst combinations in an American politician (though scolds on their own have a place to play in a free society in which social change should come from the use of reason, speech, and disapprobation).   Critics … Continue reading Local Option

Free trade for the Pacific

A couple of weeks ago, one of the NZ student delegates to the US NZ Future Partners Forum popped in asking about the Trans Pacific Partnership. Since he offered me a decent beer, I was happy to have a chat. In 2005, New Zealand joined with Brunei, Singapore and Chile in a free trade zone … Continue reading Free trade for the Pacific

Wisconsin Update: Who Gets Thrown Under the Bus?

The drama continues in Madison as Governor Walker and the GOP majorities try to find a means of moving forward without conceding to protestors. Absent a quorum, the Senate cannot vote on a budget-repair bill that would significantly limit the collective bargaining for public sector union members and force higher contributions for pensions and health … Continue reading Wisconsin Update: Who Gets Thrown Under the Bus?

“Entitlement Derangement Syndrome”

David French writes of what he calls "Entitlement Derangement Syndrome," which he thinks is motivating what we're seeing in Wisconsin---namely, aggressive protesting over benefits and pensions, as if we had some kind of natural right to them. He likens the Wisconsin protesting to what went on in France last October when they wanted to raise the retirement … Continue reading “Entitlement Derangement Syndrome”

Sorens compared to a supercomputer

Sort of.  Here it is.  Should we start calling him Watson? And thanks to Will Wilkinson of the Economist's "Democracy in America" blog for bringing Jason's series on American exceptionalism to the attention of his readers!  Here is Will's post on it (with kind words as well for Pileus as a whole).

Moving to freedom

Thanks to President Cleveland for the invitation to guest blog here at Pileus. Grover's invitation came shortly after Marginal Revolution linked to the minor challenge I threw to American libertarians: if libertarians love freedom so much, why do so many libertarians live in such unfree places?  I probably ought to follow-up on that a bit … Continue reading Moving to freedom

Wisconsin: “Like Pre-Nazi Germany”

The Heritage Foundation has put together a short video of interviews with a handful of people in Wisconsin who are protesting Governor Walker's proposed "budget repair bill." The video opens with a person saying, "What did Hitler do first? He busted the unions. First you take away the unions, and then you take away the … Continue reading Wisconsin: “Like Pre-Nazi Germany”

Gun Rights vs. Gun Control

[Editor's Note: The following is a guest post from a regular reader and commentator to Pileus, Mark LeBar. Professor LeBar teaches philosophy at Ohio University and is currently visiting in the Freedom Center at the University of Arizona.] You’d think gun-control proponents would have had their statistics shot down enough that people would know better. … Continue reading Gun Rights vs. Gun Control

The Future of the USIP and Basic Spelling

A group called the Peace Alliance is seeking out people to sign a statement supporting the United States Institute of Peace in the wake of the U.S. House vote to cut all of that institution's federal funding ($42 million).  I don't have a dog in this particular fight right now for a number of reasons.  First, I think that such government-supported institutes … Continue reading The Future of the USIP and Basic Spelling

Guest Blogger – Eric Crampton

It is a pleasure to introduce Eric Crampton as our guest blogger this week at Pileus.  Eric is an economist at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. He is currently working on projects relating to voter knowledge, electoral stock markets, alcohol regulatory policy and paternalism. He hails originally from Canada but earned his … Continue reading Guest Blogger – Eric Crampton

The States and the Unions

As a Wisconsin native (and former resident of the People’s Republic of Madison) I have watched the events of the past few days with some interest. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has had decent coverage (here). Madison’s progressive daily, the Capital Times, has some interesting coverage as well (here). The controversy involves the new Republican Governor Walker … Continue reading The States and the Unions

Ronald Coase: On the Market for Goods and the Market for Ideas

Ronald Coase is one of my favourite living economists (he is now 100 years old). His work on the significance of transactions costs and dealing with problems that these costs raise is fundamental to a proper understanding of the market economy and the institutions that support it.  Alas, though his work was recognised with the … Continue reading Ronald Coase: On the Market for Goods and the Market for Ideas

Freedom to wrestle

Joel Northrup, a standout high school wrestler in Iowa (sort of the wrestling capital of the world, if I remember correctly), has foregone his chance to win a championship because he would not wrestle a girl in the tournament.  He cited his religious faith (Pentacostal) as the main reason he would not participate.  At the … Continue reading Freedom to wrestle

Conservatives in a World without Reagan

The dynamics of American conservatism are fascinating. As those who have read some of the key accounts (my recommendation remains George Nash’s The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America) remember the efforts of Frank Meyer to promote fusionism in the early 1960s, an effort that was reinforced by the existential threat posed by the USSR. One … Continue reading Conservatives in a World without Reagan

Power Worship Still Alive and Well

EDITOR'S NOTE:  In an arrangement with the Institute of Economic Affairs in the United Kingdom, Pileus will be posting occasional commentary by historian Stephen Davies.  Davies holds a Ph.D. from St. Andrews University in Scotland.  He is currently the Education Director at the IEA.  Before joining the IEA, he was a Senior Lecturer in the Department of History and … Continue reading Power Worship Still Alive and Well

Yglesias on Friedman: Duty to Rent-Seek?

Matt Yglesias argues that Friedman's contention that a corporation's only duty is to maximize profits, not to pursue "social responsibility" projects, logically entails that businesses should also rent-seek: lobby government for special privileges to hamper their competitors, suppress wages, or augment their profits with subsidies. Certainly, if Friedman believed that literally the only moral duty … Continue reading Yglesias on Friedman: Duty to Rent-Seek?

No free carbon sandwich

Last week there were hearing conducted by House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, who is sponsoring a bill that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating carbon emissions. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson appeared before Upton's committee to fight back.  One might think that a responsible EPA Administrator would make the following argument: Yes, … Continue reading No free carbon sandwich

The Purge Begins…

From Jordan Marks, national director of Young Americans for Freedom, via Politico: "Rep. Paul is clearly off his meds and must be purged from public office. YAF is starting the process by removing him from our national advisory board. Good riddance and he won't be missed." We have yet to assess the long-term ramifications of … Continue reading The Purge Begins…

Sunday Morning Quotation (Valentine’s Day Season Edition) – Ayn Rand on Love

Given that the movie version of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged is coming out soon and that it is Valentine's Day tomorrow, I thought it appropriate to post Rand's observation on love from her famous - and wonderful -interview with Playboy magazine (Caveat: link may contain advertising on the edges of the screen inappropriate for the workplace … Continue reading Sunday Morning Quotation (Valentine’s Day Season Edition) – Ayn Rand on Love

The Reagan Revolution Rightly Perceived

Marc Eisner's reflections on the Reagan Revolution are based on solid evidence. He follows in a long train of similar expose's of the 40th president's record respecting government growth and makes some additional serious charges. Most damning is the charge that the growth seen during Reagan's time was really the result of Keynesian fiscal stimulus … Continue reading The Reagan Revolution Rightly Perceived

Are all economists stupid?

Paul Krugman has (surprise!) another partisan rant in the NY Times claiming that the GOP is the root of all evil.  In this new variant of the same article he publishes almost every week, he is picking on Paul Ryan and Rand Paul and the hearings they have been holding on US Monetary Policy. But … Continue reading Are all economists stupid?

Reagan at 100 (continued): Reaganomics

“Over the past decades we've talked of curtailing government spending so that we can then lower the tax burden. Sometimes we've even taken a run at doing that. But there were always those who told us that taxes couldn't be cut until spending was reduced. Well, you know, we can lecture our children about extravagance … Continue reading Reagan at 100 (continued): Reaganomics

Fox News, Sweden and the Left

EDITOR'S NOTE: Due to technical difficulties, I'm posting Mark Pennington's second post for him below: I tune in to Fox News occasionally to get some relief from the constant left of centre bias offered by the BBC – the latter is currently offering an incessant stream of reports on how public spending cuts which will … Continue reading Fox News, Sweden and the Left

Another Way to Look at Reagan

EDITOR'S NOTE:  We are joined today by a special guest blogger.  I have been eager to have this historian and dedicated advocate of individual liberty post for us.  Here is his first (and hopefully not his last) entry:          In the vast corpus of material about Ronald Reagan certain common themes are repeated regarding the fortieth president’s emotional and personal disposition … Continue reading Another Way to Look at Reagan

Markets as freedom (quote for the day)

The following is a quote attributed to John Hicks in Sen's Development as Freedom (p. 28): The liberal, or non-interference, principles of the classical...economists were not, in the first place, economic principles; they were an application to economics of principles that were thought to apply to a much wider field.  the contention that economic freedom … Continue reading Markets as freedom (quote for the day)

Libgressive Praises Rand Paul

Nice to see my libgressive friend Rob Farley giving kudos to Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.  I can't imagine it will happen too often, so it is noteworthy: "I will grant that there’s a certain courage in a Kentucky Senator lauding Cassius Marcellus Clay over Henry Clay." For what it is worth, here is what Wikipedia … Continue reading Libgressive Praises Rand Paul