Issue CCLVI

August 1-5, 2010

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Economics
The US Needs Milton Friedman More Than Ever:
Gary Wolfram
August 2, 2010

Dr. Gary Wolfram believes that, in compiling a list of the greatest economists of all time, Milton Friedman’s name will surely be one of the first to come to mind.  There is of course his technical work, such as his famous Monetary History of the United States (co-authored with Anna Schwartz), that established him as the chief architect of the theory of monetarism. More important was his ability to explain in clear layman’s terms the basic principles of our economic system, how it creates wealth for all members of society, and the importance to a successful society of individual liberty.  If one were to pick two books that our country’s leaders should read, they would be his Capitalism and Freedom and Free to Choose.  They are a treasure trove of solutions to the social problems of today.

Nonsense on the Deficit Question:
Robert P. Murphy
August 2, 2010

In a recent piece Dr. Robert Murphy reported the shocking ignorance in a Huffington Post article on the alleged harmlessness of the federal deficit. Several readers wrote to tell him that as bad as the Huffington Post article was, James Galbraith's interview with Ezra Klein was even worse. They were right. In today's piece Dr. Murphy walks through some of Galbraith's biggest whoppers.

The Effects of the Economic Crisis on Young People:
G. Stolyarov II
August 5, 2010

The current economic crisis may seem abstract and distant to some, but it cannot be more immediate and pressing for young people in their early twenties. Indeed, one of the greatest injustices to come out of this crisis is that its heaviest burdens are being imposed upon individuals who did absolutely nothing to bring it about – by any theory or argument. In particular, the graduating classes of 2009 and 2010 have been punished by this crisis for absolutely no fault of their own. In this article, Mr. Stolyarov hopes to convey some understanding of the experiences faced by this group of people, who have been marginalized and overlooked by virtually all of the institutions that unfortunately still dominate contemporary society. Mr. Stolyarov also argues that intense anger is warranted among young people, but that this anger should be constructively channeled into comprehensively reforming contemporary society through the heavy use of technology and spontaneously emerging, “bottom-up” institutions.

Philosophy
How Can I Live Forever?: What Does and Does Not Preserve the Self:
G. Stolyarov II
August 1, 2010

When we seek indefinite life, what is it that we are fundamentally seeking to preserve? Mr. Stolyarov explains the concept of "I-ness" and the logic by which he discerned the situations in which the "I-ness" -- the defining feature of the individual's continued existence -- is and is not preserved. Such conceivable situations as sleep, general anesthesia, artificial organ replacement, reanimation of dead individuals, and "uploading" of consciousness to an electronic medium are examined in this essay with regard to whether or not they preserve a person's "I-ness".

Politics
The Benefits of the Abolition of Compulsory Education Over the Status Quo:
G. Stolyarov II
August 1, 2010

A reader recently asked Mr. Stolyarov a question regarding how the abolition of compulsory schooling laws would add anything to the educational freedoms enjoyed by students today due to the permissibility of homeschooling. In this article, Mr. Stolyarov discusses several ways in which abolishing compulsory schooling would accomplish even more.


Freedom Schools:
Gary Wolfram
August 1, 2010

In 1998 Dr. Gary Wolfram engaged in an opinion-page debate in the Detroit News about the idea of Freedom Schools.  His suggestion was that individual schools within the Detroit Public Schools could separate from DPS and become independent schools.  If a super majority, say two-thirds, of the parents of the school, or the same super-majority of the teachers of the school voted to do so, the school would be declared a Freedom School, becoming an independent public school. In this article, Dr. Wolfram elaborates on this idea and one near-manifestation of it in Barbara Jordan Elementary School, a teacher-run school in the Detroit area. 

ACTA: The War on Progress, Freedom, and Human Civilization:
G. Stolyarov II
August 5, 2010

A clandestine international treaty is currently being negotiated among parties including the United States, Canada, New Zealand, the European Union, Japan, Singapore, and Morocco. It can justly be called the greatest threat of our time to the advancement of human civilization. Considering the magnitude of the other abuses of power pervading the world today, this might seem an exaggeration, but the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) contravenes every principle of civilized society, both in its content and in the nature of the proceedings leading to its creation. Mr. Stolyarov explains how ACTA threatens to undo the accomplishments of the great Internet revolution and to thrust humankind back to a time when individuals had no public voice and no countervailing power against politically privileged mercantilist institutions.

Where There is No Rule of Law:
Ron Paul
August 5, 2010

Last week ended with some promising news on finally stopping the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  Unfortunately, administration officials still seem to believe that shutting down working oil wells is a higher priority than effectively dealing with the broken one.  They are again issuing a moratorium on off-shore drilling, while maintaining a de facto ban on new permits even for shallow-water drilling, which they previously stated would be unaffected.  The courts have twice declared this unconstitutional, over 70 percent of the people see this as unreasonable, yet the administration seems determined to simply end off-shore drilling, at least for those producers that cannot afford to sit idle for an unknown period of time until the ban is lifted. For Rep. Ron Paul, this situation is a prime example of why regime uncertainty is the opposite of the rule of law and can have chilling effects on the economy. 

The Trouble With Unconstitutional Wars:
Ron Paul
August 5, 2010

Our foreign policy was in the spotlight last week, which is exactly where it should be, writes Rep. Ron Paul.  Almost two years ago many voters elected someone they thought would lead us to a more peaceful, rational co-existence with other countries.  However, while attention has been focused on the administration’s disastrous economic policies, its equally disastrous foreign policies have exacerbated our problems overseas.  Especially in times of economic crisis, we cannot afford to ignore costly foreign policy mistakes.  That’s why it is important that U.S. foreign policy receive some much needed attention in the media, as it did last week with the leaked documents scandal.

Funding Corruption and Waste in Afghanistan:
Ron Paul
August 5, 2010

In July GOP chairman Michael Steele came under fire for daring to say what a lot of Americans already know – that our involvement in Afghanistan is an ill-advised quagmire with no end in sight.  After nearly 10 years and approaching $1 trillion spent, the conflict is going nowhere because there is nowhere for it to go.  After all, if victory is never really defined, defeat is inevitable. Rep. Ron Paul writes that, with our economy at home in serious trouble, this wasteful occupation is something we clearly cannot afford.

"Countries are well cultivated, not as they are fertile, but as they are free." 
~ Charles de Montesquieu