Government As Panopticon

Trump’s State of the Union suggests there are no societal ills outside the bounds of federal power. During Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, President Trump evoked the spirit of the Founding Fathers and their quest to create a government that, by placing strictures upon its actions, secured tangible, exerciseable freedom for its people. “America,” the president declared, “was founded on liberty and independence — not government coercion, domination, and control.” But these lofty…

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Conscience and the Law

Your conscience is your exclusive property. It’s the voice in your head, the feeling in your gut. It is an entity entirely internal to you. The warning bells it sounds when choices likely to lead to bad ends are near are a product of the workings of your mind. Morality is a product of your intellection; it is up to you to define right and wrong for yourself and up to you to determine in…

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Trump’s Border Wall Shutdown Is About Personality, Not Principle

Once the Freedom Caucus was a faction of principled intransigents;they fought tooth and nail against the initial healthcare overhaul bill proposed by newly-inaugurated President Trump because it did not deliver on the promise of full repeal GOP officials had long made to their voters. This resistance was the coup de grâce for a slipshod policy-making process: the Affordable Healthcare Act (AHCA) not only betrayed a Republican campaign rallying cry that was eight years in the…

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Economic Protectionism and the Tyranny of Taxation With Representation

Economic protectionism, much like the populist tradition of which it is often born, involves the exportation of need. Individuals are not primarily responsible for securing, or often even defining, their own needs, but task an intermediary figure, in whose goodness they place their trust, with doing so. Even as a certain type of grasping, malevolent elite becomes the archetypal bogeyman in the populist’s dichotomous morality play, the downtrodden masses champion their own elite: a modern-day…

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Collectivization and the Media and Government’s War for “the People”

In the overwrought battle for the soul of the country which the press and the Trump administration have convinced their respected partisan foot soldiers is being waged, defense of “the people” is the common shibboleth around which each side rallies. For Trump and his acolytes, “America First” is an all-encompassing justification; it bestows upon those who march under its banner a kind of sanctity, which at one and the same time empowers a broad array…

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National Security Cannot Be Achieved By Eroding Property Rights

The term “national security” is something of a misnomer. The safety of all lies in the securing of the safety of one. In other words, individual cases matter. This is nowhere so well evidenced as in cases where the media and certain pandering partisans condemn the brutal criminal behavior of a single illegal immigrant (as is proper) and extrapolate it to paint immigrants with a broad-brush as some sort of invading mercenary force (as is…

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Trump’s $12 Billion Solution to a Protectionist Problem of His Making

American citizens have been impressed into a conflict which is not of their choosing. Unilateral power was used to levy tariffs on the imported goods the president has targeted under the guise of some vague national security threat and unilateral power will now be used to mitigate the damage done to domestic producers who inevitably pay the price for economic protectionism. The $12 billion the USDA will offer to farmers affected by the trade war…

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