Should we make it politically profitable for policymakers to do the right thing

Should we make it politically profitable for policymakers to do the right thing, or should we make it less profitable for policymakers to do anything? Abigail Hall, writing a pair of posts for the Independent Institute blog The Beacon, urges liberty-minded people not to get too excited about electing the “right people.” (First post, second) … More Should we make it politically profitable for policymakers to do the right thing

Online Library of Liberty forum on McCloskey’s Bourgeois Era

At its Online Library of Liberty, Liberty Fund hosts a monthly “Liberty Matters” forum in which a set of scholars discusses a particular set of ideas. This month’s forum features Deirdre McCloskey‘s Bourgeois Era series of books, two of which have been published (Bourgeois Virtues, Bourgeois Dignity). McCloskey’s main argument is that the various material … More Online Library of Liberty forum on McCloskey’s Bourgeois Era

“That—that—is what we are for: voluntary associations, in all their richness and bewildering complexity”

The above is a quote from Duke political economist (and friend of KP) Mike Munger, who also blogs at Kids Prefer Cheese and Euvoluntary Exchange, and is a frequent guest on EconTalk. Mike’s written a thoughtful and interesting reflection in the Freeman on what libertarians stand for. In many ways it’s a riff on Toqueville … More “That—that—is what we are for: voluntary associations, in all their richness and bewildering complexity”

Lysander Spooner on government surveillance

Put yourself in the 1830s-1840s United States. What was the most disruptive, anti-establishment, anti-authoritarian activity going on at the time? Abolitionist, anti-slavery advocacy, organized nationally through written correspondence. These rabble-rousers threatened to upset the social, cultural, and economic balance of a young nation. Who cares about pesky considerations like the morality of slavery? In that … More Lysander Spooner on government surveillance

Language, deception, and the people comprising the surveillance state

Newspeak, anyone? Language has long been a tool for persuasion and in the fight against tyranny and oppression, and in 1984 George Orwell pointed out how important language is when he featured the effects of the state’s attempts to steer and control the content and use of language. This week, more reporters are revealing the … More Language, deception, and the people comprising the surveillance state

A “stop watching us” smorgasbord

If you follow Knowledge Problem on Twitter, you’ve noticed that I’ve been continuing to comment on and re-tweet various of the developments in the federal government’s surveillance of individuals without obtaining warrants, the Star Chamber-like super-secret FISA courts and our inability to oversee and monitor the lawfulness of their rulings, and this week’s House of … More A “stop watching us” smorgasbord

The Criminal N.S.A.

From law professors Jennifer Stisa Granick and Christopher Jon Sprigman, in today’s New York Times: “We may never know all the details of the mass surveillance programs, but we know this: The administration has justified them through abuse of language, intentional evasion of statutory protections, secret, unreviewable investigative procedures and constitutional arguments that make a … More The Criminal N.S.A.

The gutless media

Lynne Kiesling Yesterday I posted a roundup of some of the media’s reporting on the NSA’s collection of domestic communications metadata. I concluded the post thus: But the most striking commentary is from the editors of the New York Times, who state that “the administration has now lost all credibility”. If you follow the link you … More The gutless media