Issue CCXL

March 19, 2010

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Culture
Thinking for Oneself (1968):
Leonard Read
March 19, 2010
What a fearful thought — if this situation is general: a nation of people, the vast majority of whom do no thinking for themselves in the area of political economy! Positions on matters of the deepest social import formed from nothing more profound than radio, TV, and newspaper commentaries, or casual, off-the-cuff opinions, or the outpourings of popularity seekers! Granting the correctness of this gloomy thought, what are the political consequences? And what counsel can you and I offer individuals who are doing no thinking for themselves? In this 1968 essay, Leonard Read explores the two significant questions this deplorable situation seems to pose.

Economics
Inflation as the Enemy of Investing:
Douglas French
March 19, 2010
In this age of inflation, writes Douglas French, we are all forced to do many tasks that others could do better for us. The fact is that inflation impedes the process of civilization, which is brought about by the division of labor. While, without the central bank's continual monetary infusions, prices would gently fall as technology made all things and all people more efficient, we don't enjoy that luxury. Instead we're mowing our own grass, fixing the flappers in our toilet tanks, and managing our own retirement funds. The latter is particularly concerning to Mr. French, as most people, even intelligent people, have neither the ability nor the personality needed to wisely invest in the financial markets.

History
Erasmus on War:
Desiderius Erasmus
March 19, 2010
This classic early 16th-century treatise by Desiderius Erasmus, one of the earliest humanist philosophers, discusses the savagery and injustice of war and argues that peace is the foundation of all human civilization.

Inventive Progress (1943):
Henry Grady Weaver
March 19, 2010
When the American Revolution had its beginning, living conditions had scarcely changed since the reign of Nebuchadnezzar. The colonial woman gathered her own firewood and cooked over an open fire, just as women had cooked since the dawn of history, and just as more than two-thirds of the women on earth were cooking in the mid-20th century. She spun thread and wove coarse cloth, with a spindle and loom handed down from the early Egyptians. Every housewife made her own soap and candles and carried water from a spring or well. A crude millstone, dating back to ancient Babylon, ground the grain that the American farmer cut and threshed with knives and flails that were older than history. These were the conditions existing when our forefathers threw off the shackles of Old World tyranny in order that human beings might be in control of their own lives and make full use of their individual initiative. The outburst of human energy was terrific, and in no way is it better illustrated than by the inventive progress that immediately took place. In this 1943 essay, Henry Grady Weaver discusses the contributions of some of the men who contributed to this progress early on.

Politics
Opening the Internet -- With an Axe:
Fernando Herrera-Gonzalez
March 19, 2010
There has been debate about "net neutrality" for a while now, but it has not yet gone beyond a declaration of principles and a small fine to a rural telecommunications service provider. However, writes Fernando Herrera-Gonzalez, this situation could change in the near future, for the worse.

Census is for Counting, Not Prying:
Chuck Baldwin
March 19, 2010
The purpose of the Census is that of counting the US population in order to apportion among the states the number of representatives in the US House of Representatives. That’s it. Nothing more. Nothing less. Dr. Chuck Baldwin writes that there is nothing in the Constitution requiring or even suggesting questions regarding race, ethnicity, whether one owns or rents his or her home, income status, disability status, education, or anything of the sort.

Legislation and Law in a Free Society (1995):
Stephan Kinsella
March 19, 2010
Libertarians and classical liberals have long sought to explain what sorts of laws we should have in a free society. But we have often neglected the study of what sort of legal system is appropriate for developing a proper body of law. In this 1995 essay, Stephan Kinsella explores this question.

Health Care "Deeming" as Political Adultery:
Edward Hudgins
March 19, 2010
Some members are reluctant to give in to the pressure from their sleazy leadership to support an abomination of a health care bill that they, the members, know will visit ill on the American people. Even more important to them since they are politicians, these members know that if they give in, their outraged constituents will give them a beating and divorce at the polls. These members want to be able to say, “Honest, honey, I didn’t consent to that bill! I only voted to improve it.” The Democrats' proposed "deem and pass" strategy for the Obamacare bill is analogous to the dishonesty adulterers engage in, writes Dr. Edward Hudgins.

A Nation in Decline:
Tom DeWeese
March 19, 2010
Many politicians are asking the question today: “Why are the American People so angry?” The following, writes Tom DeWeese may lend a clue to the clueless. According to the annual “Index on Economic Freedom,” produced by the Heritage Foundation, the United States now ranks 8th, just behind Canada. That’s a drop of two full points since last year, and the largest drop of all nations in overall economic freedom.

The War on the Young:
Brian Foglia
March 19, 2010
We live in an age rife with oppression. No group of Americans is better aware of this than our nation's youth. Brian Foglia suspects that young people today will most likely become the first generation in US history not to surpass their parents' living standards, and abysmal policy decisions and restrictions are to blame.
                                                   
"It requires twenty years for a man to rise from the vegetable state in which he is within his mother's womb, and from the pure animal state which is the lot of his early childhood, to the state when the maturity of reason begins to appear. It has required thirty centuries to learn a little about his structure. It would need eternity to learn something about his soul. It takes an instant to kill him." 
~ Francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire