Defending the Judeo-Christian Heritage, limited government, and the American Constitution
Thursday February 11th 2016

‘Sheldon Richman’

Hayek on Individualism

Hayek on Individualism

SHELDON RICHMAN, THE FREEMAN F. A. Hayek’s essay “Individualism: True and False” overflows with insights that belong in any brief on behalf of a free society. As the title suggests, Hayek wished to distinguish two markedly different philosophies associated with the label individualism: one that rejected rationalism and one that embraced [...]

Bastiat Misread: When will the critics read with eyes open?

Bastiat Misread: When will the critics read with eyes open?

SHELDON RICHMAN, THE FREEMAN It’s always good to see Frédéric Bastiat discussed outside of libertarian circles, because even when his views are misstated, the mere mention of his name might prompt curious readers to check him out for themselves. That can’t hurt! So thank you, Matthew Yglesias, who wrote last week in Slate: . . . [...]

Made Everywhere: Fear not China or any other producer

Made Everywhere: Fear not China or any other producer

SHELDON RICHMAN, THE FREEMAN The Commerce Department (whose idea was that?) routinely reports on the U.S. trade deficit–that is, the amount by which the dollar value of American imports exceeds the dollar value of American exports. China’s trade surplus with the United States is of special concern to many people. Ordinarily, I ignore [...]

FEE’s Take: Making It on Your Own

FEE’s Take: Making It on Your Own

SHELDON RICHMAN, THE FREEMAN The other day President Obama said: ook, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. . . . If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that [...]

A Forgotten Critic of Corporatism

A Forgotten Critic of Corporatism

Stephen Grover Cleveland SHELDON RICHMAN, THE FREEMAN In 1888, at the height of the Gilded Age, a rather prominent American said some startling things. First he observed, “Our cities are the abiding places of wealth and luxury; our manufactories yield fortunes never dreamed of by the fathers of the Republic; our business men are madly [...]

Bastiat Misread

Bastiat Misread

SHELDON RICHMAN, THE FREEMAN When will the critics read with both eyes open? It’s always good to see Frédéric Bastiat discussed outside of libertarian circles, because even when his views are misstated, the mere mention of his name might prompt curious readers to check him out for themselves. That can’t hurt! So thank you, Matthew [...]

Market, State, and Autonomy: Who is the True Liberal?

Market, State, and Autonomy: Who is the True Liberal?

Sheldon Richman SHELDON RICHMAN, THE FREEMAN In The Future of Liberalism (2009), Alan Wolfe writes that the true heirs to the liberalism of John Locke, Adam Smith, and Thomas Jefferson are not today’s classical liberals (libertarians), but rather the other kind of liberals, those who would use government power to assure autonomy and [...]

Obama’s Controversial Remark

Obama’s Controversial Remark

Sheldon Richman SHELDON RICHMAN, THE FREEMAN “If you’ve got a business—you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” President Obama’s statement sure has incited controversy. His opponents, including Mitt Romney, are using it to brand Obama as—at best—out of touch and—at worst—an un-American collectivist. [...]

Obamacare and the Court

Obamacare and the Court

SHELDON RICHMAN, THE FREEMAN Amid all of Chief Justice John Roberts’s scholastic hairsplitting over whether Obamacare imposes a tax or a penalty for failing to buy medical insurance, one passage should matter most to advocates of liberty: Those subject to the individual mandate may lawfully forgo health insurance and pay higher taxes, or [...]

Government Beneficence and Other Fairy Tales

Government Beneficence and Other Fairy Tales

SHELDON RICHMAN, THE FREEMAN I admit I’m amused by the unceasing economic and political malarkey that flows from the pundits at MSNBC. Many of these gems come during its promos, which, as viewers of the network know very well, promote not its programs but all-pervasive government. The two I have in mind today are from Lawrence [...]

Is Serfdom an Executive Order Away?

Is Serfdom an Executive Order Away?

Sheldon Richman, The Freeman Sometimes a step back helps to provide perspective on a matter. President Obama provided such a step with his March 16 Executive Order—National Defense Resources Preparedness. In it we see in detail how completely the government may control our lives—euphemistically called the “industrial and technological [...]

Destroying Value

Destroying Value

SHELDON RICHMAN, THE FREEMAN In Cleveland and other American cities homes are being demolished because five years after the housing bust there is nothing better to do with them. Therein lies a lesson in Austrian business cycle theory. In a world of uncertainty, waste—the destruction of value—is inevitable. Human action, which aims to [...]

Contraception: Insuring the Uninsurable

Contraception: Insuring the Uninsurable

Free Enterprise Zone, Sheldon Richman, The Freeman Update below. Controversy rages over the Obama administration’s mandate that all employers – including Catholic hospitals and universities — include free contraception in their employee health insurance policies. Catholic officials object that since their church forbids [...]

The Internet Dodges the SOPA Bullet — for Now

The Internet Dodges the SOPA Bullet — for Now

Free Enterprise Zone, The Freeman, Sheldon Richman Last week the acronyms SOPA and PIPA were unheard of, much less decipherable, by most people. Yet the other day a groundswell of opposition to them, led by Wikipedia, Google, and other Internet entities, was powerful enough to persuade a significant number of members of Congress to abandon [...]

Destroying Value

Destroying Value

Free Enterprise Zone, The Freeman, Sheldon Richman In Cleveland and other American cities, homes are being demolished because in the current economy there is nothing better to do with them. Therein lies a lesson in Austrian business cycle theory. In a world of uncertainty, waste — the destruction of value — is inevitable. Human action, [...]

The New Fed

The New Fed

Free Enterprise Zone, The Freeman, Sheldon Richman “Things are seldom what they seem.” —W. S. Gilbert, “H.M.S. Pinafore” Nowhere is this more true than in government, which means we have to watch it closely. Unfortunately preconceived notions can make us impervious to events right in front of us and lead us to colossal [...]

Occupying Wall Street

Occupying Wall Street

Free Enterprise Zone, The Freeman, Sheldon Richman The Occupy Wall Street protest that began two weeks ago has not yet brought New York’s financial district to a halt — or gotten much media attention outside New York for that matter. At most, only a few hundred protesters have been on the scene. (Protests in other cities have been [...]

Of Malice and Straw Men

Of Malice and Straw Men

Free Enterprise Zone, The Freeman, Sheldon Richman We libertarians must be onto something. Why else would critics work so hard to construct straw men to demolish rather than contending with our actual arguments? Right from the top you could tell that Stephen Metcalf’s blast in Slate would be no different. “Liberty Scam” featured [...]

Elizabeth Warren’s Non Sequitur

Elizabeth Warren’s Non Sequitur

Free Enterprise Zone, The Freeman, Sheldon Richman If you spend any time on a social network, you’re bound to come across this video of Elizabeth Warren, who’s running for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts. In her remarks she says: There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there? Good for [...]

Depression, War, and Recovery

Depression, War, and Recovery

Free Enterprise Zone, The Freeman, Sheldon Richman In a recent mini-debate on the radio with a Keynesian economist, I ran into the increasingly popular claim that massive spending during World War II ended the Great Depression. (Listen to my response here.) In an odd way this is progress. If it took World War II to end the Depression, that [...]

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