Neither Left nor Right

Neither Left nor Right

Selected Columns

Author: Tibor R. Machan
ISBN: 978-0-8179-3982-3
Publication Date: 1/6/2004
Pages: 312

For more than two decades, Tibor Machan—a relentless advocate of the political philosophy of libertarianism—has championed the sovereignty of the individual. As he himself puts it, even "when I might lie back to enjoy a moment of triumph, the euphoria of doing well at something—I find the point about the price of liberty being eternal vigilance nearly impossible to lay aside." In this book, a collection of his columns written for newspapers published by Freedom Communications, as well as pieces written for other publications and websites, Machan offers his always well-reasoned, often controversial opinions on the variety of threats to individual liberty in the United States and around the world.

He includes a wide range of thoughts on why individual liberty is so important, along with insightful musings on nonconformity, self-importance, and moral virtue on the wane. He examines sex and politics in America—from Clinton's duplicity toward women to the insidious prejudice of "cultural identity"—and also shares his impressions of such well-known figures as Margaret Thatcher, Shelby Steele, and others. Machan also offers his take on America since 9/11, including thoughts on government, liberty, and security, why Islamists detest America, and much more. And, of course, he examines the ongoing conflict of the individual versus the state on numerous battlegrounds, from public schools to the Internet. Throughout this collection, Machan repeatedly seizes the intellectual offensive against those who seem to believe that only laws and bureaucrats can make life better—and provides a rigorous moral case for natural rights, individualism, and capitalism.


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Tibor R. Machan

Tibor R. Machan is a Hoover research fellow, Professor Emeritus, Department of Philosophy, Auburn University, Alabama, and holds the R. C. Hoiles Endowed Chair in Business Ethics and Free Enterprise at the Argyros School of Business and Economics, Chapman University.


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Acknowledgments ix


Preface xi



Why Liberty Is Necessary for Morality 3

Is Human Nature Good or Evil? 6

What Free Will Is and Why It Matters 10

What Is the Nature of Self-Interest? 13

Freedom: Local and National 18

Principles and Flexibility 24

The Proper View of Government 29

The Merits of the Slippery Slope 35

The Right to Post One’s Sign 39

Follow-up to the American Revolution: Abolish Taxation 43



The Fashionableness of Thinking “Out of the Box” 49

The Cult of Feeling: Reason versus Emotion 52

The World from One’s Own Point of View 55

What Do You Mean “We”? 58

Calculating Bad Side Effects 62



Why Moral Virtue Is on the Wane 69

Government and Business—Some Telling Differences 72

Sports in America 75

Celebrating Liberty, Not Conformity 78

A Modest Look at Self-Importance 81

How Would You Like Being Unfairly Disliked? 84



The Crisis of Trust 89

Liberty versus Democracy 92

The Left’s Strange Opposition to Preemptive War 97

A Very Sad Perspective on Sexuality 100

Clinton’s Duplicity toward Women 104

Live and Let Live—Everywhere 107

Never Mind One’s Cultural “Identity” 110

Beat-Them-to-a-Pulp Fiction 114

An Open Letter to My Children 117



Liberation or Imperialism? 123

On “Giving Back to the Community” 126

Why Islamists Detest America 130

Business Ethics Distortions 133

Why I Am a Proud Market Fundamentalist 137

Wells Fargo and the Press 141

Why No Protest over NPR/PBS? 144

The Cheerleaders of Envy 147



The Myth of the Public Interest 153

Public Education Is a Bad Idea—for the 76354th Time! 156

Where’s the ACLU Now? 160

Guilty before Being Proven So 163

Forced Paid Leave Is Immoral 166

Government Internet Infelicities 169

Why Not Just Force Them to Play? 173

At Long Last, Prevailing Wisdom Challenged 176



Lincoln, Secession, and Slavery 181

Margaret Thatcher, a Voice to Be Heard 186

A Medal of “Freedom” for John Kenneth Galbraith 189

Al Gore, the Dixie Chicks, and Censorship 193

Has Libertarianism Fallen? 197

The Courage and Wisdom of Shelby Steele 200

Time Is Not Just Money 204

The Death of a Little-Known Friend of Mine 207



Too Many 911 Calls? 213

Hate Crimes and bin Laden’s Gang 218

Government, Liberty, and Security 221

Anti-Americanism Isn’t Unusual 224

The Trap of Humanitarian Wars 227



Berlin Wall Came Down 233

Post-Communist Traumas East and West 237

Bulgarian Malaise 243

U.S. Congress v. the INS: In the Matter of Elian Gonzales 246

An Old Moral Blindness Revisited 249

Glasnost in Chile? 253

Hungary 1990: A Visit to an Abandoned Homeland 256

A Most Peculiar Nostalgia 261



A Fan of KLON-FM (Now KKJZ), 88.1 267

Sinatra’s Pizzazz 270

How I Learned to Love the Rich 273

Now Beauty Is a Liability? 276

Back to All That’s Beautiful 280

Entranced from the Start by “Here’s Johnny” 284

Meanings of Christmas 287

Affirm the Joy of Living Right, Here on Earth 290


What I Have Done and Why 295

Index 301

The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, founded at Stanford University in 1919 by Herbert Hoover, who went on to become the thirty-first president of the United States, is an interdisciplinary research center for advanced study on domestic and international affairs. The views expressed in its publications are entirely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff, officers, or Board of Overseers of the Hoover Institution.

Hoover Institution Press Publication No. 522

Copyright © 2004 by the Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission of the publisher.

First printing, 2004

10 09 08 07 06 05 04 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Manufactured in the United States of America

The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of American National Standard for Information Sciences—Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1992. ..

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Machan, Tibor R.
Neither left nor right : selected columns / by Tibor R. Machan
p. cm. — (Hoover Institution Press publication ; no. 522)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-8179-3982-2 (alk. paper)

1. Political ethics—United States. 2. United States—Politics and
government—1989– I. Title. II. Hoover Institution Press publication ;

JA79.M323 2004
973.929—dc22 2003020260


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