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Iran and the Recurring Bad Dream

Maybe U.S. energy independence isn’t such a great thing after all. Some years ago, when the American political class was whooping it up for war with China, what stopped the push were the American commercial interests who essentially asked, “What, are you crazy? This is bad for business. We need China, and China needs us. …

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Should We Worry about the Class Divide?

Charles Murray’s new book Coming Apart has generated an incredible amount of handwringing on all sides. For those who are skilled at ignoring such debates — good impulse, I say! — his thesis is that the ebb and flow of wealth and status between classes that once characterized American culture has ended. He marshals vast …

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Death by Regulation

I had previously heard nothing about the tragic and remarkable case of Andrew Wordes of Roswell, Ga., who set his house on fire and blew it and himself up as police arrived to evict him from his foreclosed-upon home. It was Agora’s 5 Min. Forecast that alerted me to the case, and this report remains …

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Market Failure? The Case of Copyright

How gigantically humongous and intrusive is the federal government? A traditional measure is to look at the pages of regulations in the Federal Register, which is, by now, probably the world’s largest book collection. The problem with this approach is that it takes no account of how a single bad regulation can have monstrously deleterious …

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Are We Oppressed by Technology?

Do we really need an iPad 3 after it seems as if iPad 2 was released only a few months ago? Was it absolutely necessary that Google give us Google+? Do phones really have to be “smart” when the old cell phones were just fine? For that matter, is it really necessary that everyone on …

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The Failure of Another Dystopian Film

Every good dystopian story needs a villain responsible for bringing about the sad state of affairs. Half the interest in the plot concerns how the despotic conditions developed and are maintained. This is precisely why almost all dystopian stories tend toward a libertarian bent, or at least a theme of human liberation from some coercive …

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Democracy Is Our Hunger Game

Whatever good you have heard about The Hunger Games, the reality is more spectacular. Not only is this the literary phenom of our time, but the movie that created near pandemonium for a week from its opening is a lasting contribution to art and to the understanding of our world. It’s more real than we …

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Theory Comes to Life

The final general session of the Oxford Club’s Investment University — the 14th annual and held in San Diego this year — just wrapped up, and a series of afternoon sessions now follow. It is the kind of event that only a tiny percentage of the population — one might say that this is the …

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Warming up to Environmentalism

I’m starting to rethink the whole environmental craze in the culture, which is about as inescapable as pop music and jeans. It was born some 50 years ago and it has spread like a cancer ever since. It’s always annoyed me that its most consistent dogma, pushed without evidence or argument, is that commerce, and …

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No Escape From the Mark of the Beast?

The Canadian gambling site [name had to be removed] thought it had the whole thing figured out. If you stay in Canada, use Canadian servers, block anyone inside U.S. territory from using the site and make sure that you don’t use any American vendors for anything — stay completely away from anything having to do …

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There’s No Such Thing as Too Much Liberty

Some great books are the product of a lifetime of research, reflection, and discipline. Others are written during a moment of passionate discovery, with prose that shines forth like the sun when new understanding first brings the world into focus. The Market for Liberty is that second type of classic. Written by Morris and Linda …

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Mencken the Great

Shawn Lyttle, a colleague at Spy Briefing Books, did a very dangerous thing yesterday. He shoved into my hand a little book called Three Early Works, by H.L. Mencken. I opened it and felt that whooshing sound of my brain being sucked into the delirious world of the greatest American sociologist. For anyone who loves …

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Governments Can’t Resist

The old adage that we don’t learn from history is true enough, but it needs amendment. Governments, in particular, don’t learn from history. That’s the conclusion I reach after a wild weekend ride with Forty Centuries of Wage and Price Controls, a delightful book by Robert Schuettinger and Eamonn Butler. They scour history books from …

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What a Lovely Day for the Total State

Ah, what a weekend, with blue skies, singing birds, budding cherry blossoms and the government’s announcement that it has totalitarian control over everything. Wait, what was that last thing? It was an Executive Order released late Friday that no one on the planet seemed to notice until about 30 hours later. It is unnumbered, but …

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The Lorax: An Allegory on IP

Anyone who read Dr. Suess’s “The Lorax” as a kid might dread the movie version. No one really needs another moralizing, hectoring lecture from environmentalists on the need to save the trees from extinction, especially since that once-fashionable cause seems ridiculously overwrought today. There is no shortage of trees and this is due not to …

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ISPs Becoming Enforcers for the State

Remember that battle over SOPA, in which the world’s largest websites beat back a congressional threat that would have changed the Internet forever? It was pretty obvious within a day after this Pyrrhic victory that the existing laws in place were enough to give the government the power to wreck the digital world. But how …

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The Mighty Return of Lard

Few things in life are as satisfying as a transformative and implausible reversal of history that carries with it stern justice for wrongdoing and sweet victory for the side of truth and human well-being. When it happens, the period in which the wrong persisted without correction fades into memory as a mere parenthesis in the …

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Money Laundering

The story from The Daily swept through the Internet with blazing speed. The report: Criminals around the country are stealing an inordinate number of bottles of Tide laundry detergent. This is not because the criminals plan to go into the laundry business. There is not a “grime wave.” It seems that these Tide bottles are …

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Why They Hate Free Speech

Sometimes — why not now? — you just have to reflect on what an amazing man Thomas Jefferson was. I mean, he really got the whole idea of liberty, maybe better than anyone before him, and far better than most people today. What a man! What a dream he had! I’m reminded of his bravery …

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In Defense of Homeless Hot Spots

BBH Labs is an advertising agency that specializes in new and creative ideas for marketing products. But few ideas have ever generated the heat of one used this past weekend at the Austin, Texas, technology conference South by Southwest. Wireless networks are famously overcrowded at these events, and everyone is scrambling for a good connection. …

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Economics of the Timeline

Most of us hadn’t thought about Davy Jones of the Monkees in many years. Suddenly, he died at the age of 66 and we were all instantly living in his world. Tributes were everywhere. His YouTube videos were slammed with hits. Praise for his life and works appeared on blogs everywhere. People were honoring his …

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See the World Through Bonner’s Eyes

in the spring of 2012, Bill Bonner, founder of Agora Inc., took a break from his daily column in The Daily Reckoning, and, like hundreds of thousands of others, I went through withdrawals. Fortunately, I had a copy of his wonderful book, Mobs, Messiahs and Markets, to devour as I awaited his return. This is …