Latest Article Posts

Colorado May Ban Smartphone Sales for Kids

July 6, 2017 by Logan Albright

A group in Colorado is gathering signatures to hold a ballot initiative in the 2018 election to ban cell phone retailers from selling their products to children under the age of 13.

Of course, there is precedent for banning substances for children, but unlike tobacco and alcohol, the concern with smartphones is not about physical effects, but rather psychological ones. Mobile devices, the group (Parents Against Underage Smartphones) claims, create behavior problems in children and are generally unhealthy for them. And for this reason they should not be allowed.

First off, I’ll acknowledge that the claim is not wholly without merit. I have two nieces, and the effect on their behavior when they spend too much time on a tablet or computer is noticeable. …

What Can Congress Really Do About Health Care?

June 30, 2017 by Logan Albright

As Congress prepares to vote on an Obamacare replacement bill that won’t actually do anything to lower the prices and increase access to medicine, conservatives are understandably frustrated. The lack of spine in the Republican Party, coupled with the significant numbers Democrats still hold in the Senate, makes passing a full-scale repeal of Obamacare impossible, and even the ”conservative” objectives that people like Sen. Rand Paul are trying to get inserted into the bill are minor tweaks that won’t salvage this disastrous piece of legislation.

But what else can be done? Anything more bold and market-focused will lose the support of Democrats and left-leaning Republicans, and the alternative is the status quo, in which Obamacare slowly collapses, leaving vulnerable people without access to health care and paving the way, almost assuredly, for a single-payer system, a system we all know would be a nightmare for the country. …

Free College Is a Bad Idea for Britain, and a Bad Idea for Us

June 24, 2017 by Logan Albright

By chance, I happened to be in London during the recent general election, and so I had the pleasure of witnessing some of the Labour Party campaign that ultimately proved so successful. As an American well steeped in stateside politics, I was struck by the parallels between the British system and our own, particularly the talking points used by the generally left-wing Labour Party and how they compare to our own Democrats.

One of the key talking points of the Labour Party was a push to waive college tuitions, the same “free college for everyone” message that played so well for Bernie Sanders here at home. …

How Wikipedia Solved the Knowledge Problem

June 19, 2017 by Logan Albright

I recently attended the first annual conference of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEECon) in Atlanta. Besides being a generally great event for people who care about economic liberty, the conference featured, as keynote speaker, Jimmy Wales, the cofounder of Wikipedia.

It’s unlikely that anyone reading this is unfamiliar with the online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, but it remains fairly easy to underestimate the revolutionary nature of the platform.

I was in college when Wikipedia launched and I still remember the utter disdain with which academics regarded it at the time. The sense was, and still remains in some circles, that without certified and credentialed experts overseeing the process, there was no way to ensure reliability and control for bias. …

Alex Jones Does Not Represent Libertarians

June 18, 2017 by Logan Albright

Megyn Kelly made headlines this week for her interview with controversial broadcaster Alex Jones, a self-described libertarian. For someone like me, this is distressing for a number of reasons. First, there’s just the shameless appeal to sensationalism that drives so much of what is laughably called news these days. Second, there’s the appearance of relevancy that a major TV appearance lends to such a shrill and obnoxious figure as Jones. But most importantly, I am disturbed by the idea that people will see this interview and think that the nonsense Jones spouts is typical of libertarian thought in general.

Let me clear this up right now: It’s not. …

International Customs Is Security Theater

June 16, 2017 by Logan Albright

I just returned from a week’s vacation in London, and the city was magical. However, international travel was not. My journey began with an inauspicious two-hour wait to clear British customs.

For those who have never traveled outside the country, let me paint a picture of this little ritual for you. After spending the better part of a day uncomfortably crammed on an airplane full of sweaty strangers, with only the inedible abomination that is airplane food to stave off starvation, you are greeted at your destination by a long line of foreigners waiting to be permitted entry into the country.

This seems sensible enough, right? …

Supreme Court rules that you own your property. Duh.

June 6, 2017 by Logan Albright

The Supreme Court stood up for private property rights in a surprise ruling against a major tech company Tuesday. The issue in dispute was to what extent patent holders are allowed to dictate the terms under which their products are used, even after a sale has taken place. Lexmark, the printer supply company, was claiming patent infringement because a third-party company, Impression, was offering to refill old printer cartridges for customers by disabling the part of the technology that prevents such refills. The court ruled that Lexmark could not continue to exercise control over its products after selling them to customers.

This may seem like a niche industry fight, but in fact it has wide-reaching implications for consumers. …

Does the ‘right’ to taxpayer-funded health care have any limits?

June 2, 2017 by Logan Albright

In the continuing debate over the American health care system, a lot of ink has been spilled in the discussion of what constitutes a human right. On the political Left, it is common to hear claims that health care is a right, that no one should have to die because they can’t afford care. It sounds compassionate; it sounds humane. After all, what kind of a person would wish death on poor people?

Conservatives usually answer these claims with arcane and academic discussions of natural rights philosophy, appeals to John Locke and John Stuart Mill, and similarly unpersuasive tactics. Is it any wonder that we continue to inch closer to complete government control of medicine, given the imbalanced nature of the argument? …

This Nonsense About Preschool Could Actually Hurt Kids

June 1, 2017 by Logan Albright

Over the last few years, we’ve witnessed an intermediate push for more early-childhood education. The Obama administration returned to the idea of universal preschool on multiple occasions, and the idea featured in Hillary Clinton’s campaign as well.

While Donald Trump remains relatively uninterested in education policy, academic circles are picking up the slack with renewed claims that we should be shoving toddlers into a formal education system almost as soon as they can talk.

A new study claims that more rigorous preschool curricula — focused on formal concepts like math, reading and geometry, and less on free play — can help children become more “kindergarten ready,” with the assumption being that this is somehow a good thing. …

Import restrictions are making it harder to rock out.

June 1, 2017 by Logan Albright

As I sit here waiting for my new guitar to arrive from Canada (an Eastwood replica of the Teisco TG-64), delayed by four to six weeks due to import restrictions on rosewood, it’s hard not to wonder at the sheer illogic of many of America’s trade laws. It’s not that they don’t sound reasonable on paper, but in practice, trade barriers present a nightmare of bureaucracy that harms consumers and businesses alike, while doing very little to actually accomplish their stated goals.

The rules in question fall under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), a lengthy treaty designed to protect certain plant and animal products that may be in danger of destruction. …