Political Propaganda

Let go of fixed plans and concepts, and the world will govern itself. The more prohibitions you have, the less virtuous people will be. The more weapons you have, the less secure people will be. The more subsidies you have, the less self-reliant people will be. Therefore the Master says: I let go of the law, and people become honest. I let go of economics, and people become prosperous. I let go of religion, and people become serene. I let go of all desire for the common good, and the good becomes common as grass.

óLao Tzu, Tao Te Ching 57

Why People Are Irrational about Politics
I look for explanations for the phenomenon of widespread, strong disagreements about political issues. The best explanation is provided by the hypothesis that most people are irrational about politics and not, for example, that political issues are particularly difficult or that we lack sufficient evidence for resolving them. I discuss how this irrationality works and why people are especially irrational about politics.

America's Unjust Drug War
Drug prohibition is commonly defended on grounds of the harm drugs cause, either to the user or to the user's family, friends, and coworkers. These reasons are inadequate to justify criminal sanctions, as can be seen by considering other ways individuals can cause similar harms. Furthermore, drug laws violate individuals' rights to control their own bodies and thereby constitute a serious injustice.

Statistics on the Costs of Government
Statistics on deaths and monetary costs caused by governments, compared with those due to private crime.

Is There a Right to Own a Gun?
I argue that individuals have a prima facie right to own firearms. This right is significant and is not overridden by the social harms of private gun ownership, which have been greatly exaggerated and are probably considerably smaller than its benefits. Furthermore, the harms would have to be at least several times greater than the benefits in order to render gun prohibition permissible.

Against Equality
A proof that equality has no intrinsic value.

In Praise of Passivity
Why political agents should stop trying to fix society.

The Theory of Economic Value
Explains the standard (neoclassical) theory of prices, and then contrasts it with Marx's labor theory of value. Explains what is wrong with Marx's theory of value, along with his theories of 'surplus value' and 'exploitation.'

The Need for Social Coercion
Does the 'tragedy of the commons' show that we need a strong government to force people to act responsibly? I argue that the cure is worse than the disease. A brief excerpt of this appeared in The Freeman, Jan. 1996.

Bowling for Columbine: Best Documentary or Best Fraud?
This popular film by Michael Moore was widely acclaimed by critics and won the Academy Award for Best Documentary of 2002. Instead, it should have won a prize for “Most Successful Fraud.” See a list of some of the numerous fabrications contained in the film.

Outside Links
Bryan Caplan (economist, author of Anarchist Theory FAQ & Museum of Communism).
David Friedman (economist & world's best political writer).
Just Facts (facts about various political issues).

Return to list of papers