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.

Who Owns Your Life?

One of the most important and far reaching questions in moral philosophy is: Who is the proper beneficiary of an individual’s actions? There are only two possible answers to the question: The individual taking the action, or others. “Others” may mean the community,...

Capitalism is Good in Theory and in Practice

Upon hearing an argument for capitalism, many respond, “That is good in theory, but it would never work in real life.” Such a statement is wrong in both theory and in practice. (And it is actually an example of a fundamental philosophical error–the mind/body...

The Pacific Railway Act and the Interstate Commerce Act

In 1887, Congress created the first federal regulatory agency by enacting the Interstate Commerce Act. As has often been the case since that time, the act was a response to the problems created by previous government interventions. Under the Pacific Railway Act,...

Myths, Fallacies, and the History of Capitalism

I know that I should not be surprised that most people have little knowledge regarding the history of capitalism. Our schools certainly don’t teach it, and everybody “knows” that capitalism leads to all sorts of evils, such as abuse of employees by employers,...

Supply and Demand in Education

In recent years, it has become increasingly popular to argue that government should be operated more like a business. As an example, a manifesto written by sixteen public school executives explains how to fix public schools: Let’s stop ignoring basic economic...

Omniscience and Defending Capitalism

If you have ever attempted to explain capitalism, you have likely been confronted with a demand that you be omniscient. The demand is seldom, if ever, expressed that explicitly. Instead, it often takes the form of a question: how would some service, such as roads, be...

The Founders and the “General Welfare”

The Constitution limits the powers of the Federal government. However, even a perfect document cannot stand up to philosophical evasion and corruption. Without the proper moral base, the principles of the Constitution could not be defended, much less kept alive. To...

Jim Crow, Racism, and the Free Market

It is often claimed that capitalism leads to all sorts of ills, such as racism and cartels (or monopolies). As with most attacks on capitalism, these claims attempt to blame capitalism for the consequences of government intervention into the economy. The Jim Crow laws...

Interventions Beget Interventions

It has long been noted that government intervention seldom, if ever, accomplishes the stated purpose. When the failure of some regulation, subsidy, or program becomes clear, legislators respond with further interventions. As an example, consider the solar panel...

To Braid or Not to Braid

Benta Diaw immigrated to the United States from Senegal. She decided to open a business braiding hair as she was taught by her grandmother in Africa. However, the state of Washington declared her business illegal. Was Diaw misleading her clients and using dangerous...

Big Oil: Please, Please Let Us Drill

The headline on CNN.com said it all: “Big Oil’s promise: Let us drill, we’ll hire 1.4 million workers.” The article goes on to say: With job creation taking center stage in American politics, the oil industry Wednesday made a pitch for drilling more widely. With...

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

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

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

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

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

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...

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