Policymakers must resist the expansion of the “War on Terrorism” framework

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The deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol, perpetrated by supporters of President Donald Trump, has elicited a conversation on the appropriate framing of, and response to, politically motivated violence. In particular, there is a strong sentiment for describing this violent event as domestic terrorism. While the desire to use extreme language to label extreme violence is understandable, it also sets the frame for a new domestic war on terrorism, reminiscent of the post-9/11 civil liberties nightmare. …

Racist law enforcement practices and state-imposed lockdowns are two sides of the same big government coin

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In recent months, the COVID-19 pandemic and the renewed focus on systemic racism in law enforcement have given rise to long-overdue outrage over the government’s blatant disregard for civil liberties. Those opposed to the lockdowns implemented in response to the pandemic are rightly appalled by state governments arbitrarily forcing the closure of businesses, declaring which workers are and are not “essential”, and imposing restrictions on individuals’ freedom of movement. Those protesting for police reform are justifiably outraged by a law enforcement system that regularly enforces laws and uses excessive force in a racially biased manner. Unfortunately, the current hyperpartisan political…

Epidemiological knowledge of the virus and local knowledge of circumstances complement each other

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In his seminal 1945 article, The Use of Knowledge in Society, the classical liberal economist Friedrich Hayek aptly described the local knowledge problem. Hayek articulated the commonsense observation that the circumstantial knowledge needed for rational decision making is distributed locally among individual actors and thus is inaccessible to any central planner. He noted, “[P]ractically every individual has some advantage over all others because he possesses unique information of which beneficial use might be made, but of which use can be made only if the decisions depending on it are left to him.” It would behoove state government officials to maximize…

We are facing two simultaneous threats — the health threat imposed by the novel coronavirus and the threat to civil liberties imposed by overreaching governments

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With the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States continuing to increase at a dramatic rate, well-intentioned state and local government officials have faced continuous pressure to respond to this public health emergency. Unfortunately, mounting pressure to “do something” has all too often manifested in government overreach that neither respects individual liberty nor best addresses public health needs. As this crisis continues to evolve, it has become increasingly clear that we are facing two simultaneous threats — the health threat imposed by the novel coronavirus and the threat to civil liberties imposed by overreaching governments. …

Corporate welfare and misguided stimulus policies are a rotten deal for American taxpayers.

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Last week, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act with a unanimous 96–0 vote in the Senate and an unrecorded voice vote in the House of Representatives. With a total price tag of $2 trillion, the CARES Act has earned the dubious distinction of being the most expensive spending bill ever passed into law in American history. Although this legislation has received overwhelming bipartisan support in the current fog of crisis, a clear-eyed analysis reveals that it is full of corporate welfare and misguided stimulus policies that are a rotten deal for American taxpayers.

Perhaps the…

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As we combat COVID-19, we must redouble our efforts to protect civil liberties

One of the most fundamental roles of government is to protect the rights and liberties of the people it serves. However, as the classical liberal economist F.A. Hayek accurately observed, “Emergencies have always been the pretext upon which the safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded.” Now, in the midst of the most disruptive public health crisis in generations, the American public must heed this warning. It is imperative that our urgent efforts to combat COVID-19 are matched by an equal urgency to safeguard our civil liberties during this unprecedented time.

One need not dig far back into history to…

Gabrielle Weatherbee

Gabrielle is a Boston-based accountant. She is passionate about promoting the principles of individual liberty, economic freedom, and limited government.

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