Property Rights and Gardens: Fight the Power of City Hall

Our regular readers may remember Jason's run-in with the law due to his non-standard front yard.  Fortunately, that situation ended reasonable well. Unfortunately, his city isn't the only one trying to enforce a one-size-fits-all approach to front yards.  Orlando, Florida also has issues with property owners exercising their property rights in ways it does not like but which do … Continue reading Property Rights and Gardens: Fight the Power of City Hall

A reply to James

This started out as a comment on James' post but ended up long enough to stand on its own.... James, I appreciate your sentiments here.  However, I think your conception of marriage is too atomistic (or perhaps I should say "dyastic").  I think marriage is best understood as a multilateral compact with the married couple … Continue reading A reply to James

Marriage and Culture Change

My marriage is a sacred compact between my wife and me before God. No law, proposition, or court decision can ever change that. The government's recognition of my marriage did not make it the sacred compact that it is; the government's recognition of anyone else's relationship does not affect what mine is; and no legal … Continue reading Marriage and Culture Change

We’re all haters now

A child faced with limits on her behavior will often lash out at the adult who is imposing those limits as being mean or hateful.  We ignore or forgive such words because we do not really expect children to understand the true motivations behind adult actions. We would expect a Justice of the Supreme Court … Continue reading We’re all haters now

PorcFest Roundup

The Free State Project's Porcupine Freedom Festival was last week, and the media mentions have been trickling in. Unfortunately, I was not able to go due to scheduling conflicts, but the organizers claim, on the basis of 1,500 paid registrants, that over 1,700 people attended (including children). That makes it the biggest PorcFest ever, unsurprising … Continue reading PorcFest Roundup

Your Government at Work – The Cost of Textile and Apparel Protectionism

From Pietra Rivoli: "The USITC [U.S. International Trade Commission] estimated that the removal of all textile and apparel quotas and tariffs would have resulted in an economywide gain of $10.4 billion in 1996, but at a cost of 117,150 jobs.  Using these estimates, textile and apparel protection in the United States cost approximately 88,000 per year in … Continue reading Your Government at Work – The Cost of Textile and Apparel Protectionism

Congratulations, Grover!

After no fewer than six attempts, United States president Grover Cleveland has finally been inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame. (Yes, there is such a thing, apparently.) It is a long-overdue honor, but it is well deserved. Of course, President Cleveland has to share the honor with co-inductees like Whitney Houston and Joe … Continue reading Congratulations, Grover!

Would President Paul Ever Stand Up to His Party?

Following the defeat of his amendment that would give Congress the right to vote to verify border security as a condition of permitting the path to citizenship for illegal immigrants to go forward, Senator Rand Paul has decided to oppose the immigration reform bill. While the immigration bill has many flaws, it is certainly a … Continue reading Would President Paul Ever Stand Up to His Party?

Adjunct Professors and the Modern Guild

An article on the plight of adjunct professors in higher education, "Labor of Love or Cheap Labor? The Plight of Adjunct Professors," was brought to my attention by its author, Celine James. Ms. James kindly asked me for my thoughts about her article. I thought Pileus readers might be interested in what I sent her. … Continue reading Adjunct Professors and the Modern Guild

More on Guardrails and Freedom

Liberty is an important condition that allows for the growth of individual responsibility and virtue (indeed, it is difficult to talk about true virtue without liberty).  And virtue is an important guardrail in a free society where admittedly the liberty to be virtuous also provides the space to do great harm to one's self and to others.  Individual … Continue reading More on Guardrails and Freedom

Reflections on Catalan Secession

1) Polls continue to point to a significant "yes" victory in a future referendum on independence in Catalonia. 2) If the Catalan government backs down from a referendum, even if the Constitutional Court declares it illegal, as it certainly will, it will pay a heavy price at the polls. Therefore, it is locked into holding … Continue reading Reflections on Catalan Secession

Freedom, Abortion, and Guardrails

Michael Barone, whose journalism I admire, seems to make a common mistake on libertarianism and abortion in a piece titled "More freedom, fewer guardrails."  In that article, he points out that, "Young Americans, contrary to their libertarian leaning on same-sex marriage, are slightly less pro-abortion rights than their elders."  But at least Barone realizes the possible tension between liberty and … Continue reading Freedom, Abortion, and Guardrails

The Demos on Arming Syrian Rebels

Public opinion clearly shouldn't drive policy - especially foreign policy - even in a democratic regime.  However, it is interesting to see that the American public seems more realistic when it comes to Syria than many elites, particularly those on the Right who would have the US wade more deeply into the internal affairs of Syria.  … Continue reading The Demos on Arming Syrian Rebels

Senate MIA on NSA

Last week I noted, with some frustration, that the revelations about the NSA were not attracting the attention of much of the public (only 33 percent of Americans over 50 and only 12 percent of those between the ages of  18 and 29 were following the coverage of the NSA actions closely).   Apparently, the Senate … Continue reading Senate MIA on NSA

Friday Links

A few links to fill those empty moments until the weekend finally arrives: A Defense of US Policy via Vladimir Putin (Unfortunately, Putin will not be rewarded with a shirtless safari with President Obama). Time Poll: Bush More Careful than Obama in Protecting the Right to Privacy (Most find no difference between the two). Justice … Continue reading Friday Links

Coda to “In a Funk”

Art Carden, while discussing a couple of interesting passages in Atlas Shrugged, offers what would be a nice coda to my recent post "In a Funk" (which talks a bit about how to deal with the depressing reality that we are in a difficult stage in the history of liberty): I'm reminded by passages such as these … Continue reading Coda to “In a Funk”

Demographics is Destiny: An Early Installment

The Washington Post reports on the new Census Bureau release: More white people died in the United States last year than were born, a surprising slump coming more than a decade before the Census Bureau says that the ranks of white Americans will likely drop with every passing year. The decline in fertility is likely … Continue reading Demographics is Destiny: An Early Installment

NSA Surveillance and the Big Yawn

I have been frustrated in the past by the results of public opinion polls (see my earlier post on drones, for example). Given that the polls show high levels of support for the use of drones, one should not be surprised that a narrow majority has no problem with the NSA’s surveillance program, according to … Continue reading NSA Surveillance and the Big Yawn

In a Funk

... meaning, "a depressed [in the non-clinical sense] state of mind," due to so many of the political things going on in the US right now.  I worry even more about the trajectory this country is on, not only because of what the state is doing and is likely to do in the future but also because so many Americans seem rather … Continue reading In a Funk

The more things change…

If you read enough political philosophy, at some point you wonder whether there really is anything new under the sun. On the heels of Edward Snowden’s wonderful and astonishing leaks, we get this: U.S. Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee's Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, called Snowden "a defector" who should … Continue reading The more things change…

The Past as Prologue: Total Information Awareness

As the revelations about the NSA’s data mining emerge, it is useful to remember that this is a continuation and expansion of activities initiated more than a decade ago. In the wake of 9/11, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) began developing a host of new programs as part of the war on terror. … Continue reading The Past as Prologue: Total Information Awareness

How New Technologies Enhance Negative Liberty

Looking through the freedom index data over time, it can look like a depressing series of new laws and restrictions on people's lives. Now, freedom has increased at the state level on certain issues (local gun bans overturned, sodomy laws overturned, medical marijuana laws passed, eminent domain reforms enacted, same-sex partnerships spreading). But there are … Continue reading How New Technologies Enhance Negative Liberty

Secession in Brussels & Donostia

For our European readers... Next week I will be speaking about the causes of secessionism and whether a right to secede should be constitutionally recognized at a dinner debate event of the Centre Maurits Coppieters in Brussels and at a summer course on secession and self-determination at the University of Euskadi in Donostia-San Sebastian. The … Continue reading Secession in Brussels & Donostia

A Bad Week for Liberty and Limited Government

This has not been a good week for those who value liberty and limited government (what Albert Jay Nock would refer to as "the Remnant"). On Monday, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Maryland v King, ruling that “the government has a legitimate interest in collecting DNA from arrestees” (see Robert Barnes, Washington … Continue reading A Bad Week for Liberty and Limited Government

Property Rights and 3D Printers: A Depressing Finding with a Sliver of Hope

Emily Ekins reports at Reason that 62% of Americans think we should be able to use 3D printers while 53% oppose allowing us to use them to print guns.  Interesting poll. But isn't the most telling result in the survey that nearly a third of all Americans (29%) think that we shouldn't be allowed to use this peaceful … Continue reading Property Rights and 3D Printers: A Depressing Finding with a Sliver of Hope

Drones and Public Opinion

The new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll included a question on the use of drones. As the WSJ reports: 66% said they favored the use of unmanned aircraft to kill suspected members of al Qaeda and other terrorists, while only 16% said they were in opposition and 15% said they didn’t know enough to form … Continue reading Drones and Public Opinion

Reform in the Age of Austerity: The Farm Bill

The new farm bill is making its way through the Senate and to the House. As it currently stands, it will cost some $950 billion over the next ten years. To be fair, much of that is for food stamps (or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). As you may know, rural legislators used the original … Continue reading Reform in the Age of Austerity: The Farm Bill