Friday, August 21, 2009

Garet Garrett on The Decline of the American Republic

A reprint of a Garet Garrett article first published in 1952 in the Freeman on how a republic becomes an empire . . .

We have crossed the boundary that lies between Republic and Empire. If you ask when, the answer is that you cannot make a single stroke between day and night. The precise moment does not matter. There was no painted sign to say, "You now are entering Imperium." Yet it was a very old road and the voice of history was saying: "Whether you know it or not, the act of crossing may be irreversible." And now, not far ahead, is a sign that reads: "No U Turns."

If you say there were no frightening omens, that is true. The political foundations did not quake; the graves of the Fathers did not fly open; the Constitution did not tear itself up. If you say people did not will it, that also is true. But if you say therefore it has not happened, then you have been so long bemused by words that your mind will not believe what the eye can see, even as in the jungle the terrified primitive, on meeting the lion, importunes magic by saying to himself, "He is not there." That a republic may vanish is an elementary schoolbook fact.


Let it be current history. How much does the younger half of this generation reflect upon the fact that in its own time a complete revolution has taken place in the relations between government and people? It may be doubted that one college student in a thousand could even state it clearly. The first article of our inherited tradition, implicit in American thought from the beginning until a few years ago, was this: Government is the responsibility of a self-governing people. That doctrine has been swept away; only the elders remember it.

Now, in the name of democracy, it is accepted as a political fact that people are the responsibility of government. The forms of republican government survive; the character of the state has changed. Formerly the people supported government and set limits to it and minded their own lives.

To finish reading the article, go to

Monday, August 17, 2009

Liberty Lessons Video

Larry Reed, the president of FEE, reminds us in this ReasonTV interview that more government means less liberty. Specifically, he makes these three points:

1. Government can provide you with absolutely nothing except that which it has first taken from somebody else.

2. A government big enough to give you want you want, is big enough to take everything you have.

3. A free people are not economically equal, and an economically equal people are not free.

FEE has been in the battle for liberty for a long time and continues to do some of the best educational work. Watch the video.

HT: Pete (Pete is responsible for the three summary points as well)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Cash for Old Lemonade Cups

The L4K Lemonade Stand Chronicles: Cash for Old Lemonade Cups
The summer rush was over. The demand for lemonade was not what it once was. Some lemonade stands were closing. How could Barry and the boys convince people to buy more lemonade when they didn’t really want to? As usual, Barry had an idea. He would convince the city council to subsidize the sale of lemonade. But he didn’t want it to be so obvious that he and his lemonade stand would benefit so he would convince the city council that old lemonade cups were hurting the environment because they were made out of plastic containing BPA and new plastic cups were so much better for the environment. These cups would come with “free” lemonade. The city council would reimburse the lemonade stands for the “free” lemonade.
The city council, having a reputation of passing laws regardless of the merits, would be more than eager to go along. The council members would be seen as being concerned about the environment and they would help some of their more dependent voters, uh, I mean citizens. What could go wrong with this plan?
Little Timmy and Larry were getting excited. But then, Barry broke out in a loud laugh. He laughed so hard he had to bend over because his side hurt. The other boys were looking at Barry and wondering what was so funny. When Barry finally stopped laughing he said, “I was just joking. No government would ever go along with an idea that stupid.”
If only that were true, Barry, if only.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Russ Roberts' Clunker Quiz

This is really all you need to know about the government's stupid Cash for Clunkers program. GMU Economics professor Russ Roberts shows how easy this blogging thing must be for a true professional. See here.

Imagine you’re a member of Congress. You’re a fan of the Cash for Clunkers program. You discover that the $1 billion that Congress budgeted for the program has been spent in FOUR DAYS. The program is now out of money. What do you do?

A. Realize that $4500 per clunker was too big a subsidy and that you can achieve the same effects with a much smaller amount.

B. Worry that maybe there is some fraud in the program and that some of the cash isn’t going to clunkers

C. Increase the budget by $2 billion

The correct answer for clunkheads is C, of course. That’s the wise choice when you are spending other people’s money. What fun that must be!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Code Blue

A very personal story from Ilana Mercer . . .

"Code Blue, intensive care unit," "Code Blue, intensive care unit!"

When the Code-Blue alarm sounded over the hospital's loudspeaker system, my husband and I knew it sounded for our daughter. It was 11 p.m. The hallways of the British Columbia hospital were dark. Only one emergency operating theatre was in use. She was in it. The skeletal staff came running. Resuscitation carts were rushed toward the theatre.

My own heart nearly stopped, because she is my heart.

The rest of the story can be found here.