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.

Occupational Licensing Destroys Jobs

Let us say that you are one of the millions of unemployed Americans. Unable to find a job, you decide to start your own business. Perhaps you’ve always done your own home repairs and decide to offer a handyman service. You start installing ceiling fans, replacing...

Your Life is Your Responsibility

Your Life is Your Responsibility

If you were alone on a desert island you would not be able to escape the fact that you must work to sustain your life. Alone on the island you could spend your days in any activity of your choosing—hunting, fishing, building a home, swimming, or napping. But you would...

Zoning and Tyranny

In 2007, I served as a consultant to a group of citizens opposed to an attempt to bring zoning to Hobbs, New Mexico. During that time, I wrote a series of articles that were published in the local newspaper. This is one of those articles. In a referendum, zoning was...

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...

The Nature of Zoning

In 2007, I served as a consultant to a group of citizens opposed to an attempt to bring zoning to Hobbs, New Mexico. During that time, I wrote a series of articles that were published in the local newspaper. This is one of those articles. In a referendum, zoning was...

The Tired, The Poor, and The Huddled Masses

The Tired, The Poor, and The Huddled Masses

Since 1886, the Statue of Liberty has stood in New York Harbor as a beacon to individuals from around the world seeking the freedom to live their lives as they choose. On the pedestal of the statue is a plaque with the sonnet “The New Colossus”: Not like the brazen...

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,...

Manifest Destiny

Manifest Destiny

In 1839, John O’Sullivan, editor of The United States Magazine and Democratic Review, wrote a piece titled “The Great Nation of Futurity” in which he argued that the United States had a divine destiny to occupy the American continent from the Atlantic to the Pacific....

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...

A New Way to Compete

There was a time when business owners competed on the basis of their products or services. They would try to be more innovative than competitors. They would develop new products, offer better service, or charge lower prices in order to win market share. Today, it...

Talk to the Houston Property Rights Association

In 2009, I delivered a talk to the Houston Property Rights Association. I had previously spoken to that group in 1993 during the debate over Houston’s last attempt to implement zoning. In my earlier talk, I cautioned that we might win the referendum on zoning, but...

Nuisance, Zoning, and Property Rights

One of the primary justifications for zoning is to prevent “incompatible” land uses, such as keeping industrial facilities out of residential areas. Such “incompatible” uses are regarded as an inherent nuisance, and rather than wait for the nuisance to occur, the use...

Education and the Poor

Education and the Poor

The poor have found remarkably innovative ways of helping themselves, educationally, and in some of the most destitute places on Earth have managed to nurture a large and growing industry of private schools for themselves.

Roads in a Free Society

Roads in a Free Society

Even among advocates of capitalism, there are many misconceptions about how roads might operate in a free society. One of the most common of these misconceptions is the belief that if all roads were private property, a road owner might charge outrageous rates or close...

James Madison’s “Property”

Unlike contemporary politicians, the Founding Fathers recognized the importance of protecting property rights. They understood that, if individuals are to be free, prosperous, and happy, then they must be secure in their property. James Madison, the Father of the...

Individual Rights and the “Common Good”

We are often told that property rights must occasionally be sacrificed for the “common good”. According to advocates of this position, we must find a balance between what is good for “the community” and the uncompromised protection of individual rights. What this...

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