The Abolition of the Labor Market


Rather against my better judgment, and that of my wife, I allowed myself to be persuaded to take part recently in a debate, or public conversation, about prostitution. It was not a subject about which I knew much, after all, or one to which I had given much thought. The conversation was supposed to consider the question of whether prostitutes were the victims or conquerors of men. This seemed to me to be about as fair a question as whether a man has stopped beating his wife yet, yes or no? It was an example of a very reduced view of…

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Starvation and Socialism in Venezuela

I don't often complain about the bias in New York Times stories -- since it is so common that one could easily blog about that and nothing else -- but this story about starviation in Venezuela particularly caught my attention. In what is a pretty long story, the Times does not deem it fit to even raise the possibility that the food shortage in Venezuela is due to the socialism pursued by its leaders. This is not all that surprising. The typical Times reader probably does not draw the connection, so why should the newspaper. The article actually makes it sound in…

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The “Vote Leave” Campaigners Haven’t Thought It Through

On the day that Britain decides whether its destiny lies within or without the European Union, I will be in California. On the surface, I could not be more far removed from the Brexit dilemma. The cool, clear Californian air seems a world away from the toxic atmosphere currently engulfing Britain. And yet, California offers a unique vantage point on the EU referendum. For the Golden State is the clearest example of a polity rendered, at times, almost ungovernable by a mania for direct democracy.

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Originalism and the Second Amendment

I thought I would weigh in on the dispute between Mike Ramsey and Chris Green on originalist theory and the Second Amendment.  Ramsey writes:

Suppose that it’s right that concealed carry restrictions were common in the founding era and no one thought they infringed any constitutional right. Is Professor Dorf suggesting that they nonetheless could be unconstitutional today? I can’t imagine how, as an originalist matter, that could be so. Perhaps if the text of the constitutional restriction were wholly incompatible with the founding era belief, we would say that people in the founding era had made an error. But here the language is at best ambiguous on the right to concealed carry (even if one thinks “bear[ing] Arms” means carrying them in public). If the language can be read in a way that comports with the consensus founding-era understanding of it, that seems pretty conclusive to me.

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Broken Engagement?

Contributors to Law and Liberty have continued the lively debate between conservative proponents of “judicial restraint,” who are concerned about increased “judicial activism,” and libertarians who view the judiciary as a bulwark against majoritarianism. The general theme is a familiar one, even if the labels themselves sometimes impede understanding. The crux of the debate often turns on the standard of review courts should apply when laws are challenged, and which party should bear the burden of proof. Under the so-called “rational basis” test formalized by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1938 decision in United States v. Carolene Products Co., economic…

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The Jurisprudence of Empathy Bursts the Bounds of Proper Procedure

old hands of the elderly giving a red heart

Previously Justice Sonia Sotomayor has allowed her jurisprudence of empathy to distort clear constitutional and statutory text. This week this jurisprudence has caused her to exceed the bounds of proper procedure.

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This Realm, This England

Northern England

I sure hope the Brits vote “Leave” on June 23. That would be the first thing to go right in global politics this year.

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Freedom, Baby

UK Independence party leader Nigel Farage (R) and Labour party MP Kate Hoey accompany a Brexit flotilla on the river Thames. (BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

There has been a great deal of negativity directed at the idea of a British exit from the European Union. The campaign against Brexit headed by Prime Minister David Cameron, in conjunction with the Labour Party leader and the chief Liberal Democrats serving in Parliament, has been dominated by dire warnings of falling living standards and economic calamity at home, to predictions of greater instability and even war in Europe, should the United Kingdom leave the EU.

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Delegation, Unilateral Executive Authority and the Decline of Democracy

In a recent post, I discussed how Cass Sunstein argued, with the aid of the Star Wars saga, that delegation to the executive could be dangerous to democracy.  While Posner and Vermeule contend that democracy favors delegation, because the democratic legislature has chosen to delegate, Sunstein notes that delegation can lead to the end of democracy, as it allows the executive to permanently displace the legislature.  This was the case with Emperor Palpatine and with Adolph Hitler, both of whom received delegations of authority that they used to rule and never allowed the legislature to take back the authority.

Sunstein notes that George Lucas, the principal author of Star Wars, had analyzed the declines of democracies.  According to Lucas, “You sort of see these recurring themes where a democracy turns itself into a dictatorship, and it always seems to happen kind of in the same way, with the same kind of issues, and threats from the outside, needing more control.  A democratic body, a senate, not being able to function properly because everybody’s squabbling, there’s corruption.”

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Persecution and the Art of Voting

Police officers look towards a crowd of protesters near a Donald Trump rally in San Jose, California on June 02, 2016. (JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Persecution, and the fear of it, are the underlying theme of this year’s presidential election. You can see it everywhere.

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