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Thorpe-Freeman Monthly Blog Award: The Genesis of Authority


The winner this month's Thorpe-Freeman blog award is Ivan Glinski, for his observations on Allen Mendenhall's review of Anthony Gregory's book The Power of Habeas Corpus in America: From the King's Perspective to the War on Terror.

Glinski reinforces and extends Mendenhall's positive review of Gregory's work. Where Gregory "maps more than 400 years of legal history," Glinski adds perspective from the legal foundations of the ancient world and reminds us that both deontological and  teontological ethical and legal constructs should be viewed "through the lens of the Foucauldian, paradoxical nature of power.” Glinski takes us on a tour of Greco-Roman jurisprudence to support Mendenhall’s (and Gregory’s) insight that “the writ of habeas corpus undermines State authority even as it validates and solidifies that authority.”

Glinski elaborates on why it is ultimately a society that “support[s] a concept of freedom that is accepting of the individual” that preserves liberty, not the granting by the State of a right not to be detained. That grant is itself an exercise of the very authority against which the “right” is supposedly protective: “As long as we continue the legacy of regarding the individual as under the state, whether duty bound to it or its subject in a social experiment, habeas corpus and the justice system will be viewed as nothing more than a tool to be used by the state and society.  It is the individual who is sovereign over himself.”

Honorable mentions go to both Babatunde Onabajo and Greg Allmain for their comments on Jeffrey Tucker’s article “Advice to Young, Unemployed Workers.” Onabajo reminds us of Hyman Minsky’s misguided notions of government as the “employer of last resort” as he comments on the Eurozone’s equally misguided “Youth Guarantee” of a “job, training or apprenticeship within four months of their leaving school.” Watch for Eurozone youth to end their post-graduation four-month vacation with the expectation of a taxpayer-funded sinecure. Allmain affirms Tucker’s observations with his personal story, and adds the perspective that there are more than “two possible paths forward” when one considers opportunities for entrepreneurial creativity.  

A tip of the hat as well to Jarad Perry for his comments on Tom Bell’s article “Can We Correct Democracy?”  Perry would appreciate “a serious discussion … regarding the merits of pure democracy and citizen nullification laws,” but finds little of value in Bell’s article. What earns Perry an honorable mention is the detailed critique he brings to the topic as well as his valuable observations regarding the necessity of a “stable environment for markets to thrive.” 

Congratulations to Ivan Glinski, this month's recipient of the Thorpe-Freeman Blog Award.


Karl Borden

Professor of Finance

University of Nebraska

Chair, Thorpe-Freeman Blog Award Committee

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April 2014

Around the world, people are struggling to throw off authoritarianism, with deeply mixed results. From Egypt to Venezuela, determined people build networks to overthrow their regimes, but as yet we have not learned to live without Leviathan. In this issue, Michael Malice and Gary Dudney discuss their glimpses inside totalitarian regimes, while Sarah Skwire and Michael Nolan look at how totalitarian regimes grind down the individual--and how individuals fight back. Plus, Jeffrey Tucker identifies a strain in libertarianism that, left unchecked, could reduce even our vibrant movement to something that is analogous to the grim aesthetic of architectural brutalism. The struggle for our lives and freedom is a struggle for beauty; it begins inside each of us.
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