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There is much wisdom in this essay by Tyler Syck. A slice:

The greatest tool required for the path toward virtue is a free society, one in which humans are capable of making moral judgments on their own. This is because all knowledge requires some form of experimentation—whether positivistic or dialectical. In short, we can only learn if people are free to try out different moral frameworks and witness the world in its unfiltered, largely unregulated, form. Of course, this means that people will make mistakes. In truth, a large portion of the population will fail to behave in a way that is morally righteous. This is the price of a free society and, for all its faults, a free society is the price of virtue.

George Will reports on yet another instance in the U.S. of the banana-republic practice of civil asset forfeiture. A slice:

Minnesota governments began doing this under a Depression-era (1936) delinquent-property-tax-forfeiture statute enacted when governments were, even more than usual, ravenous for revenue. As Tyler’s lawyers note, between 2014 and 2021 at least 1,350 Minnesotans lost their homes and equity averaging $155,000 per home. This is many times the average tax liability. Nebraska took a $1 million farm after a widow missed an $8,276 tax bill when she was moved to a retirement home. Such predatory forfeiture is done by a dozen states and the District of Columbia, which took a $200,000 home from a man with dementia and a $133 tax debt. (Michigan has mostly mended its ways since a county pocketed $24,500 from the sale of an octogenarian’s home seized because of his $8.41 tax underpayment, and a court frowned on government’s unbounded power to confiscate.)

Centuries of Anglo-American legal tradition, common law and Minnesota law recognize home equity as private property. The Supreme Court has noted that Magna Carta (1215) stipulated that tax collectors could seize property to acquire only the value of the tax bill. The court has held that the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee that property shall not be taken for public use without “just compensation” makes no “distinction between different types” of property, and that this takings clause protects “every sort of interest the citizen may possess” in a “physical thing.” And prior to Minnesota’s enactment of the 1936 law, the state’s Supreme Court held that after the state’s lien is satisfied, “any surplus realized from the sale must revert to the owner.”

The county tormenting Tyler says Minnesota law “recognizes no property interest in surplus proceeds.” So, her property right is extinguished by nonrecognition? Worse, the Kafkaesque county says she has no compensable property interest because the county took her property. This is legal reasoning worthy of the Ring Lardner character: Shut up, he explained.

Tunku Varadarajan remembers John Raisian. A slice:

In a conversation in 1990, Raisian asked Milton Friedman what ideas best characterized Hoover. “Freedom, freedom, freedom,” said the economist, then a senior fellow there. Raisian had just been appointed director and had sought guidance from Friedman, a sort of presiding deity at Hoover. Inspired by his words, Raisian coined a motto for the think tank, “Ideas Defining a Free Society,” and began his stewardship of an institution that became a byword for the promotion of individual liberty. One of his first initiatives was to throw open the doors to scholars and citizens from Eastern Europe—suddenly free after decades under the Soviet yoke—so they could learn the tenets of Western classical liberalism at Hoover.

Desmond Lachman explains that “the US dollar’s imminent death is greatly exaggerated.”

Pierre Lemieux reflects on the 20th century. A slice:

A related hypothesis—the counterfactual hypothesis—is that economic growth would have been more rapid without state intervention. Economists John Dawson and John Seater argued that the American GDP per capita would be more than three times its current level if federal regulation had remained at its 1949 level. Even per capita, a growth rate of 1.8% is not that fantastic. The counterfactual hypothesis has some historical support: it is certainly not the most regulated countries that spearheaded the Industrial Revolution—the United Kingdom and the Low Countries, rapidly joined by the United States. A mere counterfactual would not be sufficient to explain the strange mixture that the 20th century was, but we do have theories strongly suggesting that state dirigisme hinders prosperity, which is a natural consequence of the efforts of free individuals to improve their situations.

Kate Wand talks with George Selgin about cryptocurrencies, fractional-reserve banking, and other monetary matters.

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague, Veronique de Rugy, continues to make a strong case for the abundance agenda.

The New York Times reports on the dystopian control over science exercised by the thuggish Chinese state.

Jay Bhattacharya tweets:

It’s oddly fitting that the people who spend much of their time decrying ‘misinformation’ are themselves unaware of the misinformation they spread.