Generic drugs are supposed to lower healthcare costs and provide you with another medical alternative. That’s what it says on paper. But there’s a real danger that goes along with these drugs. A danger even your doctor might not be aware of.
Ask a D.C. insider what’s the best way to solve the debt crisis. Nine times out of ten, they’ll recommend taking on more debt. That’s how things operate in the Potomac swamp. Up is down, right is left, digging yourself into more debt is the best way to get out of it. But it wasn’t always like this. In fact, there used to be common sense when it came to the economy. So where did it all go wrong?
Politicians talk about the uninsured. Special interests argue on behalf of those with pre-existing conditions. But why is no one wondering how doctors are affected by the new law? They’re the ones on the frontlines dealing directly with new patients, as well as the red tape that makes bureaucracies go round.
Politicians proclaim the benefits of small business while on the campaign trail. But when they meet in the seedy halls of Congress, they have no problem doing whatever they can to stifle, regulate, and subdue their progress. Instead of siding with entrepreneurs, these politicians often side with political allies and cronies that helped put them into office.
Just because you’re retired doesn’t mean you have to stop working. Especially now that you have all the time in the world to do what you really want. Entrepreneurs don’t only come out of Silicon Valley. They come from all walks of life, from all different ages. If you’re retired and want to stay active while you relax, then find out the steps you need to take in order to start, manage, and grow your next small business.
Technology brought the world together. But has it gone too far? Decades ago, mail was delivered by hand. Now it’s delivered in seconds. How has that changed the way you live your life? How has it changed the way people act with each other? These are just some of the questions we need to ask.
The U.S. dollar has been the world's reserve currency for almost a century, and already there are signs it may be in decline. But that doesn't mean it's not still valuable. On the contrary... As Chris Mayer explains, there are many reasons the U.S. dollar will remain relevant on the world stage for years to come. Read on...
Gun control isn’t a modern idea. The rise of gun control laws and limits on your 2nd Amendment freedom go hand in hand with the increase in the size and scope of government. Politicians want you to think the only people who can keep you safe are government forces. But as one renown libertarian economist and thinker will show you, their misguided laws do nothing but take away your freedoms and leave you less safe.
The government will do whatever it takes to make sure it has enough of your money to fund itself. On the surface you might think that means enduring a grueling audit. But the IRS and the government is more than willing to ignore your privacy in the cold relentless pursuit of the money they think they deserve. As they get bigger and bigger every year, the smaller and smaller your paycheck becomes as they leach off it.
The Congressional Budget Office said the government needed to reach 7 million people by the end of March. They claim to have reached the goal and now the debate about Obamacare is over. But what does this milestone really mean in the ongoing healthcare discussion? And more importantly, how will it affect reforms going forward?
If you’re good at something should you be penalized so others have a chance at success? Should award winning actors and actresses be barred from future Oscar ceremonies to give other men and women the chance to succeed? Success should always be rewarded and encouraged. But what happens when you have a government that wants to even the playing field and take away the spoils of success. Gregory Bresiger finds out...
In an effort to cut costs and keep track of patients' records, governments could institute a medical guideline cookbook. Bureaucrats might think they have the best of intentions in mind, but these new rules would drag down the medical process and destroy whatever quality is left in our current system.
Practical people often pooh-pooh fiction reading as a time wasting dalliance, dominated by a Marxist coloring of the world. However, fiction readers were given a scientific reason recently for spending hours absorbing fanciful figments of someone’s imagination.
Argentina is suffering the ravages of government debasement of the currency -- i.e., inflation, the process by which government pays for its ever-increasing debts and bills by simply printing more paper currency. The expanded money supply results in a lower value of everyone’s money, which is reflected in the rising prices of the things that money buys.
When government expansion is allowed to continue unabated or when it casts a heavy regulatory shadow on America’s entrepreneurial spirit, the freedoms that we’ve come to know, and perhaps take for granted, slowly begin to slip away.
The saga of All Saints could soon be coming to a community near you. Thanks partly to the scandal surrounding the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups, the agency has proposed a new set of rules for a huge number of social-welfare groups that claim tax exemption under Section 501(c)4 of the tax code.
The new reality of Obamacare’s tax credits has left finance reporters to pen articles warning readers to “take care” when considering a tax credit and providing strategies for how best to “protect yourself.” So what do finance reporters know that the White House doesn’t?
Nihilo ex nihilo fit. Out of nothing, nothing comes. First put forward by ancient Greek philosopher Parmenides in the fifth century B.C., Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine later used this axiom to prove that the universe needed a “first mover” to get things going. Even if the whole thing began with some kind of “Big Bang” moment, it still needed a banger to bang it. Who? God, of course.
What positive steps can we take? The energy that is now expended by well intentioned, freedom-seeking individuals on the destructive course of politics can be turned into powerful steps that will have a positive effect on the future. All are moral, right and just. None require aggressing. Consider the following...
The Affordable Care Act creates a new health insurance marketplace (the exchange). But because of the great uncertainty about what buyers will enter the market and who will buy what product, the law creates three vehicles to reduce insurance company risk.
Politicians and bureaucrats are notorious for manufacturing euphemisms -- clever but deceptive substitutes for what they really mean but don’t want to admit. That’s how the phrase “revenue enhancement” entered the vocabulary. Some of our courageous friends in government couldn’t bring themselves to say “tax hike.”
“It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future,” says a proverb often attributed to Yogi Berra. Imagine the world of freedom, or lack of it. Who could foresee the technologies that make our lives so rewarding and convenient? The same technologies have us all under the government’s giant microscope. Thankfully, the brave have turned the microscope around.
In the months since Edward Snowden revealed the nature and extent of the spying that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been perpetrating upon Americans and foreigners, some of the NSA's most troublesome behavior has not been a part of the public debate.
National Treasury Union President Colleen M. Kelly recently described the 2014 IRS budget allocation as “woefully inadequate.” But the agency has not proven itself to be an efficient steward of taxpayer dollars. Here are ten ways the IRS lost the trust of the American people.
It’s easy to be negative about the U.S. economy these days. Find a glint of silver, and folks come running to point out all of the dark clouds looming about. This, of course, is what we got last week when the monthly jobs report was released from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Folks pooh-poohed the number of jobs and whining that they’re not enough or that it’s less than a bunch of economists thought that it might be. But you know what? Stuff ’em.
Given how poorly states like California and Illinois have funded the pension funds for their own employees, one would think that this would stop dead in its tracks any plan to have the government assist in managing private sector funds too. The spate of recent activity, however, suggests otherwise.
Facts are easy. You can check facts. What supporters of the Affordable Care Act are doing, on the other hand, transcends factual bungling. It’s far more advanced: a warping of reality so debauched it looks like something out of a tale by H.P. Lovecraft.
The Conscience of an Anarchist
by Gary Chartier
Introduction by Jacob Huebert
Gary Chartier’s Conscience of an Anarchist , this week’s ebook of the week in the Laissez Faire Club, is a valuable addition to the literature of liberty. Whether you’re exploring the idea of a stateless society for the first time or are a longtime radical libertarian, here is a book that should open your mind to new ideas.
It will be the most stimulating if you’re a newcomer, of course, because you’ll be introduced to a way of thinking about politics and the world that turns the conventional wisdom on its head. We’re told from a young age that a coercive government is necessary to do so much: protect us from foreign and domestic criminals, stop the rich from exploiting the poor, ensure that people’s basic needs are met, keep our food and medicine safe, and on and on. Chartier challenges the reader to consider whether the exact opposite is true, whether the state has actually made things much worse than they otherwise would be in all of these areas.
Although this is a short book, Chartier takes on many of the toughest questions a reader is likely to have. Don’t we need police? Don’t we need national defense? Wouldn’t big corporations amass power that could be even worse than state power? When introducing someone to libertarian or anarchist ideas, it’s tempting to start with the easy cases, but Chartier plunges right in to the ones that are supposedly the hardest — and often manages to make the anarchist position, which runs contrary to one of our society’s most deeply held beliefs, seem like common sense.
Chartier doesn’t address every objection that a reader might have or detail how everything in a stateless society might work, but that’s not the point. The point, as he says at the beginning, is to ask you to open your mind to the possibility of a peaceful alternative to the coercive status quo. The books that change one’s life often aren’t lengthy academic treatises on economics, history, or political theory; rather, they’re short, radical, personal works like this one that seek to snap you out of your intellectual complacency. Readers who find the book’s ideas interesting will of course want to dig further into libertarian and anarchist literature, and Chartier provides helpful suggestions for additional reading at the end.
For those of us who already agree with most or all of Chartier’s substantive ideas, I’ll add that the book offers something else of value: an example of a different way to present our ideas that may help us reach more people.
In recent years, libertarianism has enjoyed an unprecedented surge in popularity. Several factors brought this about, including a stagnant economy that has eroded people’s faith in government, Ron Paul’s presidential campaigns, and the Internet, which has made a huge quantity of libertarian literature instantly available to everyone. (Incidentally, I use “libertarian” where Chartier would use “anarchist” because I consider consistent libertarianism and Chartier’s variety of anarchism to be the same thing.)
More popularity has lead to more attacks on libertarianism, especially from left-leaning mainstream-media pundits. The attacks often bash libertarians for being “selfish” adherents of an “every-man-for-himself” philosophy. Our opposition to state involvement in healthcare, for example, allegedly means we’re okay with letting people die in the streets. Although libertarians consistently oppose bailouts, subsidies, and every other form of corporate welfare, journalist Sam Tanenhaus can still claim in the New York Times that libertarians champion “private business” while “ignoring the rights of just about everyone else,” and a large portion of his audience will believe it.
I’m sure some of these people understand libertarianism better than they let on and are being disingenuous to score political points. But I’m also sure that many of them are sincere. So it may be worthwhile to think about why someone might hold this negative view of libertarians.
One reason might be because the typical statist leftist “knows,” and believes that every informed person knows, that government is necessary to do certain things — for example, to make sure that that poor people have enough food to eat. Thus, if a libertarian says “we should abolish government,” the statist leftist hears this as “we should stop doing what is necessary to make sure poor people have enough food to eat.” Thus, the leftist concludes that the libertarian is crazy, ignorant, or just doesn’t care about poor people starving. To the statist leftist, it appears that the libertarian is content to let many people die because of his devotion to an abstract principle — or maybe just because he wants the government to get its hands out of his wallet. And that seems wrong.
A libertarian of course sees a mistaken premise in that line of thinking: In fact, government is not necessary to ensure that the poor have enough to eat. Moreover, the libertarian believes that without government there would be much less poverty and people at the lower end of the economic spectrum would enjoy a much higher standard of living.
So if a libertarian wants the statist leftist to embrace libertarianism, at least on this issue, it should be clear what he must do: convince the statist that a genuine free market would serve the poor’s interests better than the state ever could.
It should also be clear what the libertarian should not do: appeal to a principle that the leftist doesn’t already share, such as the libertarian rule against all use of force and fraud. No doubt the leftist, like almost everyone, opposes force in general, but for him the general rule has a built-in exception for government — because, again, he thinks it’s necessary to avoid terrible consequences. So if you try to persuade him to accept the nonaggression principle before you address his concerns about consequences, you are asking him to embrace something he believes will lead to widespread misery and death. This is not likely to succeed.
I’m sure Conscience of an Anarchist will find receptive readers from all over the political spectrum, but it’s especially instructive in showing us how to reach out to the Left along the lines that I’ve mentioned. Chartier puts his concern for the poor and the powerless up front. For him, the benefits that the market gives to these people are not incidental, not something to be brought up only at the rebuttal stage of an argument; he counts them among the main reasons why he’s an anarchist. He also makes clear from the outset that big business is no friend of liberty. And he emphasizes other issues that are likely to resonate with people on the left, such as opposition to war and support for sexual freedom.
Although Chartier focuses on consequences rather than rights, none of this undermines the rights-based case for liberty. (As it happens, Chartier is an accomplished scholar in the field of natural law.) In fact, the opposite is true: by overcoming people’s concerns about consequences and showing how liberty serves other values that are important to them, we may make people more receptive to our ideas about rights than they would have been if we had just preached principles at the outset.
I should mention briefly that many libertarians may not agree with everything in this book. I, for one, am not as sure as Chartier seems to be that businesses would tend to be smaller and that labor unions would thrive in a free society, and I don’t think the corporate form is such a bad thing. But Chartier acknowledges that he could be wrong about some of the details, as could I. What’s more important is what we have in common: we agree that humanity would benefit greatly if the state were abolished, and we’re happy to let peaceful people decide what arrangements are best for them without coercion from the state or anyone else.