Pulling Up the Stakes

The first man who, having enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself of saying This is mine, and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows, “Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody.”

– Rousseau, On the Origin and Basis of Inequality Among Men

While property in some form is possible without liberty, the contrary is inconceivable. 

—  Richard Pipes, Property and Freedom

In this week’s sift:

  • Property vs. Freedom. You won’t often hear the debate over SOPA/PIPA phrased that way, because Property is supposed to be Freedom’s inseparable partner. But they actually have a fairly contentious relationship.
  • The Frontrunner Turns Into a Newt and other horserace notes. A wild week of Republican politics tempts me into covering the horserace instead of the issues.
  • We Need More Bureaucrats and other short notes. IRS budget cuts increased the deficit and hurt customer service. One million signatures to recall Walker. Obama wants to see Betty White’s birth certificate. That famous McDonald’s coffee lawsuit might not be what you think. And more.
  • Last week’s most popular post. Four Fantasy Issues of the Right got 167 views. Under the radar, Why I’m Not a Libertarian continues to rack up about 80-90 views a week, and is over 20,000 now. The most-clicked link was What If Tim Tebow Were Muslim?.
  • This week’s challenge. Don’t let the media filter tomorrow’s State of the Union address for you. Watch it yourself before anybody tells you what’s in it.

The sequel to Escalating Bad Faith got crowded out again.

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