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What Social Animals Owe to Each Other

Saturday, July 26, 2008

On Winning and Losing Wars

FEE's fantastic summer seminars and tight Freeman deadlines have kept me from the blog. The seminars have given me rare opportunities to spend time with such old and new friends as: Jeff Hummel, Steve Davies, David Hart, David Beito, Burt Folsom, Bryan Caplan, Ed Stringham, Ivan Pongracic, Paul Cwik, Tony Carilli, Bob Higgs, Ben Powell, Steve Horwitz and Roderick Long. (I hope I've forgotten no one.) I'll be back at FEE this coming week for Freedom University II. Then it's home for me for a while.

Meanwhile, here's my latest:
The campaign of presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain has already gotten tedious. In a campaign appearance the other day, he said in his characteristically sanctimonious way, “I had the courage and the judgment to say I would rather lose a political campaign than lose a war. It seems to me that Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign.”

We ought to be jaded enough by politics to know that when a candidate says he’d rather lose the campaign than do X, Y, or Z, he’s being anything but courageous. Nothing is more calculated to help one win the White House than to say he’d “rather be right than president.” The last guy to say it and apparently mean it was Henry Clay in 1839.

The rest of my op-ed, "On Winning and Losing Wars," is at The Future of Freedom Foundation website.

Cross-posted at Liberty & Power.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

What's Wrong with Selling Your Vote?

Poor Max Sanders. The 19-year-old University of Minnesota student faces five years in jail and a $10,000 fine; he is accused of putting his vote in the presidential election up for auction on eBay. He started the bidding at $10. The charge is bribery, treating, and soliciting.

I'm confused. Aren't all our votes for sale? Each candidate tries to bribe us with future benefits of all sorts. Basically, a campaign is an effort to buy votes wholesale.

The rest of my latest Future of Freedom Foundation op-ed, "What's Wrong with Selling Your Vote," is at Counterpunch.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Getting Rights Wrong

It's the Fourth of July, the day we ought to contemplate and rejoice in Jefferson's radical declaration of the "self-evident" truth that all individuals are equally endowed with "certain unalienable Rights, ... among these ... Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Alas, the day cannot be one of unmitigated joy since we have again been reminded that the purported protectors of our liberties have little understanding of those rights. We thus live under constant threat from the very people who claim to protect us.

As you might guess, I am referring to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Second Amendment case, District of Columbia v. Heller.
The rest of this week's TGIF, "Getting Rights Wrong," is at the Foundation for Economic Education website.

Cross-posted at Liberty & Power.

From Rebels to Sheep

On this July 4th I observe with shame this news from my town, Conway, Arkansas, as reported in the Democrat Gazette this morning:
A con artist posing as an undercover drug cop struck twice in Conway within the past week, stealing hundreds of dollars from unsuspecting victims.

Conway Police Department Lt. Danny Moody said the man flashed a fake badge and told his victims to turn over their money. The cash was involved in a previous drug deal, he said, and may be contaminated with “drug residue.” The supposed cop said he needed to take the money so that a police drug dog could inspect it.

The victims handed over their money, Moody said, and the scam artist drove away.

Moody said the fake cop took
a “substantial” amount from five victims at the Economy Inn on Saturday and at America’s Best Value Inn and Suites on Monday. He would say only that it was more than $200. The victims were from South Carolina and Texas.

Moody said the department has a suspect. The department believes the man ran the same scam in Arkadelphia and Benton previously.
Need one comment?

Cross-posted at Liberty & Power.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Vince Miller, RIP

I was saddened by the news of Vince Miller's death. He was a gentleman and an untiring champion of individual freedom. I probably first met him in the early 1970s. In the many times I encountered him, he was never anything but decent and friendly. Fighting for liberty seems to be what he enjoyed most. I hadn't seen him in several years, but I will long have fond memories of Vince.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Political Correctness, Conservative-Style

Conservatives mock Political Correctness as an attempt to banish unapproved thoughts and utterances. Well, it seems conservatives have their own list of forbidden statements.

Looked what happened when Wesley Clark opined that McCain is not qualified to be president by virtue of the fact that he was shot down while riding in a bomber over North Vietnam. What should have been taken as something too obvious to require stating was instead treated as an accusation that McCain didn't "serve his country." (Actually he didn't. But he did serve the hack running the White House at the time.)

Poor Wesley Clark -- nother PC victim. Even Barack Obama had to distance himself from the comment. Many more things could be said about McCain, such as: There's nothing heroic about dropping bombs on the infrastructure of people that never lifted a finger against you. If he had not invaded North Vietnam, he would have skipped those unpleasant years in the Hanoi Hilton. But then, he wouldn't be running for president now, would he?