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essays

That Which Is Seen, and That Which Is Not Seen

by Frédéric Bastiat in 1850

Bastiat shows how economic thinking bgoes wrong by focusing on immediate and obvious effects and ignoring effects that are harder to notice or quantify.

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Associations in Civil Life

by Alexis de Tocqueville in 1835

In this excerpt from Democracy in America, Tocqueville examines the decentralized, voluntary associations he found throughout the United States.

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Interest Rightly Understood

by Alexis de Tocqueville in 1840

Tocqueville discusses the ways that self-interest disciplines people in the habits of regularity, temperance, moderation, foresight, and self-command.

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The Humanitarian With The Guillotine

by Isabel Paterson in 1943

Paterson argues that the desire to do good for others can lead people to the conclusion that their concept of the good should be enforced by compulsion.

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Man Cannot Hold Property in Man

by William Lloyd Garrison on Dec 13, 1833

William Lloyd Garrison argues that slavery was a direct violation of each person’s ownership of himself.

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Libertarianism in the Crosshairs

by Tom G. Palmer on Jul 1, 2000

Starting from the premise that mass resistance to your ideas is a sign of success, Palmer critiques several criticisms of libertarian philosophy.

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Using the Market for Social Development

by Milton Friedman on Nov 1, 1988

Friedman explores the nature of privatization in the United States, Europe, China, and Soviet Russia, arguing that there is no one route to economic freedom.

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You Are a Man And So Am I

by Frederick Douglass on Sep 3, 1848

Frederick Douglass argues that slavery “destroys the central principle of human responsibility” and violates the Constitution in three short essays.

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A Human Being Cannot Be Justly Owned

by William Ellery Channing in 1835

Channing, a major influence on Ralph Waldo Emerson, argues that in the nature of property rights, human beings cannot be the property of others.

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Rights and Responsibilities of Women

by Angelina Grimké in 1837

Angelina Grimké applies libertarian ideas to both women and blacks, showing that they are moral agents possessing rights and responsibilities.

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Woman as a Moral Being

by Sarah Grimké in 1837

Grimké, a prominent abolitionist lecturer and early feminist, criticizes the legal status of women under English and American law.

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An Arrow Against All Tyrants

by Richard Overton in 1646

Overton was one of the Levellers who, during the English Civil War, were among the very first to articulate the early ideas of liberalism.

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The Era of Expert Failure

by Arnold Kling on Aug 3, 2010

Diversified knowledge required in the modern economy requires relying on experts, but imbuing these experts with political authority has disastrous consequences.