Saturday, June 28, 2008

History and Liberty at FEE

The Foundation for Economic Education just completed a fantastic week-long seminar on History and Liberty. Behold this lineup:
  • David Beito on the state against blacks and civil liberties during World War I
  • Stephen Davies on globalization and economic nationalism's path to World War I
  • Burton Folsom on the myth of the robber barons and the Great Depression
  • David Hart on pre-Marxist class theories and the private production of security in liberal thought
  • Robert Higgs on liberty versus power and the costs of war
  • Jeffrey Rogers Hummel on the American Revolution, Civil War, and economics of slavery
  • Me on the Articles of Confederation versus the Constitution
This is one for the record books!

Friday, June 20, 2008


I'm pleased to report that my Future of Freedom Foundation op-ed, "Habeas Corpus Saved -- Barely," is posted on Counterpunch.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The "Stable Bulwark of Our Liberties"

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday struck a blow for the separation of powers and dealt the Bush administration a big setback by ruling that suspects held without charge at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have the right to contest their imprisonment under the doctrine of habeas corpus.

Simply put, the Court held that the government may not keep anyone in custody indefinitely without having to justify its actions to a judge.

The rest of this week's TGIF, "The 'Stable Bulwark of Our Liberties,'" is at the Foundation for Economic Education website.

This is an extremely important decision, and the unprincipled right wing is apoplectic. Thank goodness some people in power have resisted George II's fear-mongering.

Update -- Food for thought from the great Glenn Greenwald:
Three of the five Justices in the majority -- John Paul Stevens (age 88), Ruth Bader Ginsburg (age 75) and David Souter (age 68) -- are widely expected by court observers to retire or otherwise leave the Court in the first term of the next President. By contrast, the four judges who dissented -- Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts and Sam Alito -- are expected to stay right where they are for many years to come.

John McCain has identified Roberts and Alito as ideal justices of the type he would nominate, while Barack Obama has identified Stephen Breyer, David Souter and Ginsberg (all in the majority today). It's not hyperbole to say that, from Supreme Court appointments alone, our core constitutional protections could easily depend upon the outcome of the 2008 election.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Sudha Shenoy (1943-2008)

I am saddened to learn of the death yesterday of Sudha Shenoy, an Indian-born (Austrian-school) economist, historian, and libertarian who taught for many years in Australia. Besides being a true scholar and champion of liberty, she was a wonderfully warm person, exceedingly knowledgeable and very funny. I met her only a few times, but occasionally corresponded with her. I and many other will miss her.

An obituary is here. And here is a wonderful video lecture of hers on free trade and globalization.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Clinton Tries to Change the Rules

Hillary Clinton thinks that, contrary to the agreed-on rules, whoever gets the most primary votes -- rather than the most delegates -- should win the presidential nomination. That's a little like claiming -- after the fact -- that the winner of the World Series is the team not that won four games, but that scored the most runs.

Oh, Shut Up Already

McCain vowed recently that "I will never surrender in Iraq, my friends. I will never surrender."

As if ending the invasion and occupation of a country that did Americans no harm -- acts that have spawned terrible hatred and a passion of vengeance -- would be anything like surrender. On the contrary, it would be liberating for Americans and Iraqis alike.