September 14-15, 2011

Return to Issue CCXCVI.                      Proceed to Issue CCXCVIII.
Recommend this page.                            Submit Items to TRA.

A sample image

A Culture in Regression
Fred Reed

September 15, 2011

As the intellectual shadows fall again, as literacy declines and minds grow dim in the new twilight, Fred Reed asks, "Who will copy the parchments this time?" Mr. Reed is not optimistic about the state of the culture today, but he does think that the Internet can save it through the efforts of those who still value learning and progress.


There is No Great Stagnation: Gas-Grill Parts Edition
Steven Horwitz

September 15, 2011

Over the last several months Tyler Cowen’s short e-book The Great Stagnation (also in hardcover) has generated much discussion. Cowen argues that we have entered a period of very low growth that will extend into the foreseeable future because we have already picked all the “low-hanging fruit” of technological innovation. Is it really true that growth has slowed so dramatically? Are Americans not seeing the increases in their economic well-being that prior generations did? It is true that money wages have grown far more slowly since the 1970s than before, and the same is true of median household incomes. However, writes Dr. Steven Horwitz, there are numerous explanations for those data, including the fact that more of our total compensation comes from nonmonetary benefits and that flat median incomes are consistent with most people doing better if the incomes of new immigrants and labor market entrants are below the median.

My Advice to Young People
Robert P. Murphy

September 15, 2011

Over the last few years Dr. Robert Murphy has been freely dispensing financial advice to young people. In the present article he summarizes his recommendations. He is comfortable reproducing them for wide distribution, because they are conservative tips that would be appropriate in any setting, but are particularly important given Dr. Murphy's dire views on the Western economies.

Prudent Principles for Advancing Liberty
G. Stolyarov II

September 14, 2011

We who value individual liberty will hopefully not content ourselves with viewing liberty as a mere beautiful abstraction, without relevance to day-to-day life. But if we are to actually live in a free world, as opposed to simply thinking about it, what should we do, and how should we go about doing it? Mr. Stolyarov hopes to provide guidance to friends of liberty with regard to general habits, assumptions, and rules of conduct that will enable them to more effectively infuse the ideas of freedom into concrete reality.

Sin Taxes on Cigarettes Cause Kids to Smoke
Bradley Doucet

September 14, 2011

With punitive sin taxes on cigarettes in Canada, there is an unintended but entirely predictable consequence: The artificially high price of legal, heavily-taxed cigarettes, at $50 or $55 for a carton of 200, has created a demand for cheaper, black market cigarettes. And currently selling for around $15 a carton from the back of a pickup truck near you, these babies are priced to appeal to the underage set. Bradley Doucet explains that this is what happens when central authorities restrict the choices of consenting adults regarding how to lead their lives and what products to purchase.

Foreign Occupation Leads to More Terror
Ron Paul

September 14, 2011

Ten years ago shocking and horrific acts of terrorism were carried out on US soil, taking over 3,000 innocent American lives.  Rep. Ron Paul writes that without a doubt, this action demanded retaliation and retribution.  However, much has been done in the name of protecting the American people from terrorism that has reduced our prosperity and liberty and even made us less safe.  This is ironic and sad, considering that the oft-repeated line concerning the reasoning behind the attacks is that they hate us for who we are - a free, prosperous people - and that we must not under any circumstances allow the terrorists to win.

Whither Glik and Why?: A Crack in Police Immunity
Wendy McElroy

September 15, 2011

The streets of America have become safer, writes Wendy McElroy, not from criminals but from brutish police. On August 26 the First Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a motion to dismiss a lawsuit against the Boston police for arresting a man who recorded their brutal treatment of a teenager. The ruling is only one stage of an important lawsuit but it may have sweeping consequences for two concepts that are crucial to civil liberties: police immunity and the free-speech right to record on-duty police in public. In essence, and in an unusual move, the court ruled against immunity and for freedom of speech. (Recording speech in the public realm is considered to be protected by freedom of speech.)

The Aristocratic Doctrine (1944)
Ludwig von Mises

September 15, 2011

This classic excerpt from Ludwig von Mises's Omnipotent Government refutes the champions of a return to oligarchic government, who wish to make life more difficult for most ordinary individuals, "for their own good". Mises writes that, in the long run, force and threat cannot be successfully applied against majorities.

An Intrusion of Reality in Mexico
Fred Reed

September 15, 2011

When Fred Reed came to Mexico some eight years ago, it was a peaceful, moderately successful upper-Third-World country—middle-class, barely, literate, though often barely, and as democratic as the United States, which is to say barely. Things were improving, though often they had a long way to go. The young were visibly healthier than preceding generations. The birth rate was in sharp decline. Women entered the professions in substantial and growing numbers. And it was safe. Alas, that is no more, and the War on Drugs is to blame. 

September 11, Ten Years Later: Will We Ever Forget?
Wendy Stolyarov

September 14, 2011

Wendy Stolyarov's heart goes out to those who lost loved ones on September 11, and to all her fellow Americans. The last ten years have shown us that we lost even more than we thought. The wounds we sustained are not irreparable, but Mrs. Stolyarov thinks we need to do something very counterintuitive: We need to forget.

 "Legitimate use of violence can only be that which is required in self-defense." 
~ Ron Paul