A few weeks ago YouTube suggested that I watch a 1988 episode of William F. Buckley’s PBS TV show, “Firing Line,” featuring Ron Paul, who at the time was the Libertarian Party candidate for president. I had to chuckle right at the top when Buckley introduced Rep. Paul by striking an ironic pose: while “libertarians specialize in non-organization…,” Buckley said, “to run for president of the United States, which Dr. Paul is doing on the Libertarian ticket, does require organization, to be sure uncoerced.” (Emphasis added.) Buckley flashed his trademark impish smile while his guest remained silent looking bemused.
When discussion turns to how to make government “better,” however any particular person would conceive that condition, libertarians understand that we are in the fraught world of second-bests. In other words, because of the nature of the state, no solution that merely attempts to reform it will be or could be truly satisfying. The system will continue to feature exploitation, rent-seeking, public-choice and knowledge problems, and worse.
The point is that when advertisers acquire information about potential customers and narrow the pool, they benefit others besides themselves. We need not start off suspicious of such a practice. One thing markets do best is produce information, and generally speaking, access to consumer information is a good… What’s the bigger threat: a company that buys information we’ve given up in order to sell us things, or the state, which ultimately seeks to control us?
People who dislike markets harbor a special animosity toward advertising as cynically controlling. This is not new.
What is wrong with the welfare state? The two biggest flaws stem from its nature as a government institution.
If you had set out to construct a foreign policy designed to impose indescribable suffering on millions of innocent people around the world, you’d have a tough time coming up with anything more systematic and effective than U.S. foreign policy.
You don’t have to actually think that legislating and raising the minimum wage will help low-skilled workers earn more money. That’s not the point. The point is to display your correct political religion.
The problem is not this or that regulation. Nor is the problem even the FDA itself. The root problem is the government’s claim to jurisdiction over so-called “public health.” The ultimate question is: who owns you? The answer will determine who is to be in charge of health.
Early one morning last December, Jeff Gracik was heading to his southern California home garage-workshop where he makes his living when he heard a loud, hurried knock on his front door. Thinking it might be a rushed UPS driver, he quickly opened the door. But it wasn’t UPS. Standing on his doorstep were three badge-flashing inspectors from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. They had come to inspect Jeff’s business.
DeLauro’s bill betrays a fundamental puritanism, which underlies all prohibitionism: since nicotine is a substance that provides pleasure and some people therefore use it habitually, it must be stamped out and its consumers, producers, and merchants demonized.