Brian Phillips

Brian Phillips is the founder of the Texas Institute for Property Rights. Brian has been defending property rights for nearly thirty years. He played a key role in defeating zoning in Houston, Texas, and in Hobbs, New Mexico. He is the author of three books: Individual Rights and Government Wrongs, The Innovator Versus the Collective, and Principles and Property Rights. Visit his website at texasipr.com.

Altruism Can’t End Homelessness

One of the chief weapons used by the advocates of altruism is guilt.

What About The Poor?

A common question, when discussing capitalism, is: What about the poor? In other words, won’t the poor be helpless and hopeless in a capitalist society? The premise underlying such questions is altruism. According to altruism, we have a moral duty to serve others....

The False Security of the SEC

The False Security of the SEC

Founded in the aftermath of the Great Depression, the stated mission of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is “to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation.” While this seems like a laudable goal, like...

Social Problems and the Solution

If we look at any number of social problems, we find numerous similarities. No matter the issue–education, energy, infrastructure, pollution, and much more–Americans look to government to provide the solution. These issues provoke heated political debates, with...

Nullification Nullifies Freedom

Nullification Nullifies Freedom

The advocates of “states’ rights” have long pushed the idea of nullification–the doctrine that a state can declare a federal law null and void within that state. (Sadly, even Thomas Jefferson endorsed the idea.) More recently, many conservatives and Libertarians have...

Rush Limbaugh vs Individual Rights

I happened to hear Rush Limbaugh on Friday. He sarcastically chastised the pundits and “really smart people” who argue that the Republican party must be more inclusive. We should reach out to women, he said, by being pro-abortion. We should reach out to gays, he said,...

From Licensing to Censorship

From Licensing to Censorship

Every day, millions of Americans dispense advice to friends, relatives, and complete strangers through blogs, websites, and a variety of online publications. And each time they do so, many of these Americans could be risking substantial fines and perhaps even...

Rent Control Hypocrites

Rent Control Hypocrites

Those who benefit from government coercion seldom like it when the gun is turned around and pointed at them. They have no hesitation to demand that government use compulsion for their benefit, but complain when compulsion is directed at them. As an example,...

Unlimited Government vs. Capitalism

In her essay, “The Anatomy of Compromise,” Ayn Rand wrote: “When opposite basic principles are clearly and openly defined, it works to the advantage of the rational side; when they are not clearly defined, but are hidden or evaded, it works to the advantage of the...

Cronyism—From Wall Street to Main Street

Cronyism—From Wall Street to Main Street

Individuals from across the political spectrum denounce cronyism. Politicians as diverse as Sarah Palin and Barack Obama have decried businessmen who use government favors for economic gain. Groups with diametrically opposing views, such as the Tea Parties and Occupy...

Zoning Versus the Internet

Zoning Versus the Internet

The stated purpose of zoning is to control land use within a community to prevent “incompatible” land uses and to promote planning. Most Americans accept zoning as a “necessary evil” that prevents pawn shops and factories from operating in residential neighborhoods....

The Birth of a Campaign Against Rights

The Birth of a Campaign Against Rights

I am not a prophet, seer, or tarot card reader. I do not possess any kind of psychic ability. But I can predict the future, for I possess the power of principles. Principles allow us to project the consequences of our actions, and predict the actions of others. About...

Protect Individual Rights, Not the “Right to Work”

Protect Individual Rights, Not the “Right to Work”

In February, Indiana became the twenty-third state, and the first in the “Rust Belt,” to enact a “right to work” law. The Indiana law states: A person may not require an individual to: (1) become or remain a member of a labor organization; (2) pay dues, fees,...

The EPA’s RRP Rule isn’t About Safety

The EPA’s RRP Rule isn’t About Safety

I wrote this in May 2010. It remains relevant. On April 22, 2010 an EPA regulation governing renovation, repair, and painting (RRP) took effect. The regulation governs any activity that will disturb paint containing lead and applies to all homes built before 1978 and...

California vs. Texas

In recent years, much has been made about the economic success of Texas and the decline of California. Many have pointed to California’s tax and regulatory burdens and the more business friendly policies of Texas as a primary reason. These certainly are a fundamental...

Preserving our Heritage

In Washington, D.C., the home of Laura Elkins and John Robbins was raided, and government officials snooped through their drawers looking for receipts and notebooks. In Frederick, Maryland, shop keeper Eric Kasner was threatened with a fine of $500 per day because he...

An Interview with an Immigrant

An Interview with an Immigrant

The following interview was conducted with an immigrant from the Philippines and her fiance. Their names are not revealed because their situation has not been resolved. The interview reveals some of the difficulties experienced by those seeking to legally immigrate to...

Building Safely without Government Building Codes

Building Safely without Government Building Codes

Most people accept building codes as a necessary government intervention. One Website states: Codes provide minimum standards for building construction in order to safeguard the public’s safety, health, and welfare. Another Website states: If we searched we could find...

The “Free Rider Problem”

The “Free Rider Problem”

Advocates of a number of government interventions often argue that such measures are required to deal with the “free rider problem.” Indeed, Mitt Romney has called his insurance mandate in Massachusetts a “free rider surcharge.” Wikipedia describes the “free rider...

Should We License Voters?

In every state of the union, individuals are required to obtain a driver’s license in order to legally operate a motor vehicle. Further, specialized licenses are also required to operate specific types of vehicles, such as large trucks and motorcycles. To obtain such...

The Fallacy of the Broken Window

The Fallacy of the Broken Window

First published in 1946, Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt remains one of best books on economics ever published. The lesson, to paraphrase Hazlitt, is that economists must look beyond the immediate and visible consequences of economic policies; they must look...

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