Category Archives: Opinion

“Historical preservation” is just market interventionism

Source: Foundation for Economic Education
by Jay Owen

“In Lafayette, Indiana, 11 endangered historic properties have been identified by the Wabash Valley Trust for Historic Preservation (the Trust). The Trust has determined these properties be worthy of preservation. But what should be done and who should do it? The Trust believes the properties have value. What creates value in these properties? Architecture? Location? History? Time? Current market factors? Probably all of the above, but in varying proportions depending on who is doing the valuation. One person has no interest and another an intense interest. Hence the value can range from zero to unquantifiable depending on who is doing the valuation. Set aside the issue of who determines what is ‘Historical.'” (11/21/17)

Book review: Why Stalin starved Ukraine

Source: The New Republic
by David Patrikarakos

“History is a battleground, perennially fought over, endlessly contested. Nowhere does this aphorism hold true more than in Russia. A majority of Russians recently voted Joseph Stalin the ‘most outstanding person’ in world history (followed, naturally, by current President Vladimir Putin). No longer the monster of the gulags and purges that killed millions, Stalin now looms in the national consciousness as the giant who defeated the Nazis in World War II. … Pulitzer-prize winning historian Anne Applebaum is one of the world’s pre-eminent chroniclers of the crimes of the Soviet Union. Her previous works, notably Gulag: A History, which detailed the horrors of the Soviet prison system, and Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944–1956, which analyzed the USSR’s imposition of communism in Eastern Europe, have played their part in bringing to light the full extent of Soviet oppression. Her new book, Red Famine — a masterpiece of scholarship, a ground-breaking history, and a heart-wrenching story — turns to the horrors of Soviet policy in Ukraine, specifically Stalin’s mass starvation of Ukraine from 1932 to 1933.” (11/21/17)

Unhappy anniversary

Source: Campaign For Liberty
by Norm Singleton

“November 7, 2017 marked the 100 year anniversary of one of the most tragic events in human history: the Russian Revolution that brought the totalitarian Bolsheviks (communists), led by Vladimir Lenin, to power, creating the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR or Soviet Union). The Soviet Union was supposed to create a worker’s paradise by replacing the market with government central planning. However, since central planners cannot know the true value of goods and services — as those can only be established in a free-market — central planners would be unable to calculate prices. Therefore central planning would result in widespread poverty and shortages.” (11/21/17)

On patriotic correctness

Source: Libertarian Institute
by Logan Chipkin

“While political correctness is typically associated with the American Left, modern conservatism has its own sacred totems that dare not be criticized. Like its progressive counterparts, the Right’s choices of sanctification fit together like an elegant jigsaw puzzle to form an internally consistent worldview. Police, Military, Bible, and Flag are all symbols of the Right — each embodying order, tradition, and Americanism to varying degrees. In response to our president’s provocative tweets, many NFL players are now kneeling during the national anthem. While many conservatives are criticizing their tactic and position, neither concerns me here. Those who have watched NFL games are familiar with jets flying overhead, soldiers touting the American flag, and other such theatrics. Like any other advertisement, this is intended to sell to the American people the most benign view of the product at hand. But in contrast to sellers in the free market, the State takes a brilliant additional step. It has drilled into the American collective consciousness that to reject its product, the military, is ‘un-American’ and therefore immoral.” (11/21/17)

Review: The Florida Project shines light on underbelly of American labor market

Source: Independent Institute
by Sam Staley

The Florida Project, a brilliant new film by director/screenwriter Sean Baker (Tangerine, Take Out) explores the precarious world of people living just a few dollars short of homelessness through the ears and eyes of six-year olds. Baker balances adult desperation and childlike optimism, an enigmatic blend that creates a gripping story centering on an important if neglected rung of America’s socioeconomic ladder. It also may well earn The Florida Project a spot on the short list for several categories in the next round of major awards.” (11/21/17)

JD Vance: Republican Presidential nominee in 2032?

Source: The American Prospect
by Robert Kuttner

“This seems to be my year for crossing paths with right-wing notables. J.D. Vance is 33. His ideologically ambiguous book, Hillbilly Elegy, reflecting on his hardscrabble life in Appalachia, has been atop the bestseller list for more than a year. My wager is that Vance will be among those who pick up the pieces after Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Roy Moore, and Steve Bannon do each other in. Last year, I wrote a very critical review of Vance’s book. Much of the book, despite some poignant stories, wasn’t an elegy at all, but an exercise in moral superiority. In places, it was downright condescending. Sidestepping the economic devastation of Appalachia, Vance seemed determined to place most of the blame on poor choices and bad behavior by individuals, rather like the right’s favorite pseudo-social scientist, Charles Murray. In the end, Vance was insisting poverty is mostly about values and character.” (11/21/17)

A basic principle about drug laws

Source: Future of Freedom Foundation
by Jacob G Hornberger

“Drug laws bring into existence drug gangs. it’s just a basic principle of economics. If you like drug gangs and the violence that comes with them, then you should support drug laws. if you oppose drug gangs and their violence, you should oppose drug laws.” (11/21/17)

The generational wheels are turning

Source: Liberty Blitzkrieg
by Michael Krieger

“Increasing numbers of people accurately see the institutions that currently manage our lives as outdated and corrupt. More importantly, many of us don’t want to simply replace the current crop of unethical people in charge with a new bunch, we want to completely change the way things are done at a systemic level. This is precisely what lies at the heart of Bitcoin, as well as decentralized, trustless systems in general. If there’s any fundamental lesson from history it’s that human beings cannot be trusted to use power and authority altruistically and wisely. As such, it’s imperative that we distribute those things as much as possible.” (11/21/17)

Two simple ways for Congress to improve the child tax credit

Source: Niskanen Center
by Samuel Hammond

“The Senate tax reform bill, which passed through committee last Thursday, makes significant improvements to the Child Tax Credit (CTC) but still falls short of providing working families with genuine tax relief. Fortunately, the Senate bill contains sufficient resources to enable a restructuring of the CTC without crowding out other priorities, like business tax reform.” [editor’s note: Instead of tinkering around the edges, how about repealing the income tax and replacing it with nothing? – TLK] (11/21/17)

Interview: “Colonialism is a crime against humanity”

Source: In These Times
by Sophie Drukman-Feldstein

“The devastation of Puerto Rico by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and the U.S. government’s inadequate response, shed new light on the island’s long-standing exploitation as one of five inhabited, unincorporated U.S. territories — essentially, modern-day colonies. The political and economic subjugation of Puerto Rico is especially damaging now as the island faces a deepening crisis, fueled in part by human-made climate change. As an indifferent Trump administration looks on, the voices of the Puerto Rican independence movement are especially instructive. Ricardo Jimenez offers one such voice. Jimenez is part of a long history of Puerto Rican freedom fighters. Born in San Sebastian, Puerto Rico and raised in Chicago, Ill., he became politically involved at an early age. Some of his first activism as a teenager focused on freeing political prisoners such as Oscar Collazo and Lolita Lebrón, who had been incarcerated for their roles in Puerto Rican nationalist struggles.” (11/21/17)