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George Leef


George Leef is director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy. He holds a bachelor of arts degree from Carroll College (Waukesha, WI) and a juris doctor from Duke University School of Law. He was a vice president of the John Locke Foundation until the Pope Center became independent in 2003. Prior to joining the Locke Foundation, he was president of Patrick Henry Associates, a consulting firm in Michigan dedicated to assisting others in advocating free markets, minimal government, private property, and individual rights. He has served as book review editor of The Freeman, an educational free market magazine published by the Foundation for Economic Education, since 1997, and has published numerous articles in The Freeman, Reason, The Free Market, Cato Journal, The Detroit News, Independent Review, and Regulation.

Articles by George Leef

(2.12.15) Staddon Snuffs Out Arguments About ‘Societal’ Harms of Smoking
Smokers are making a trade-off — an increased risk of severe medical problems at an earlier age in exchange for the enjoyment they get from smoking, Duke University neurobiology professor John Staddon argues.

(12.11.14) Walters Finds Cities Need Free-Market Atmosphere To Thrive
Cities decline when governments fail to protect property rights.

(6.19.14) Cell Phone Education
Colleges are struggling with the best way to respond to students who record lectures without the consent of the speakers.

(2.13.14) Obama Rating Plan For Colleges Could Hurt The Poor
A proposal linking a college's overall ratings to finanical aid funding could harm schools that do only a few things well.

(11.27.13) Vargas Llosa Sketches an Optimistic Argument for Immigration
The book’s key insight is that the movement of people across political boundaries is no different from the movement of natural resources or finished products.

(8.09.13) Princeton Scholar Spells Out Consequences of Racial Preferences
Racial preference policies (in education and elsewhere), far from helping to bring the nation together, keep the old sores of discrimination from healing.

(6.01.12) Ladies: Not All Women Collectivist
John Blundell’s book Ladies for Liberty is a strong antidote to the notion that women are prone to mushy, collectivistic thinking and are hostile to individualism.

(4.01.12) 'Occupy' Protesters Could Learn Much From Palmer's Morality of Capitalism
The Morality of Capitalism is aimed especially at young people who have gotten a negative impression of capitalism — as the subtitle accurately suggests, college students are likely to hear little that’s good or accurate about it in their courses — but even veterans of the battle for liberty will find a lot of fresh, intriguing material here.

(4.01.12) Freeze Details Iceland
In this relatively short but highly illuminating book, economics professors Philipp Bagus and David Howden (both of whom are schooled in Austrian theory) explain the collapse of Iceland’s economy in 2008. Why bother with the difficulties of that little nation (population 313,000) in the remote North Atlantic? The reason is that the Icelandic debacle stemmed from exactly the same governmental blunders that have caused so many other boom and bust cycles around the globe. Iceland’s horrible recent experience has important lessons for Americans — indeed for people everywhere.

(2.01.12) Rehabilitating Lochner a Sharp, Iconoclastic Work
For non-lawyers, the “Lochner” in this book’s title refers to the Supreme Court’s 1905 decision in Lochner v. New York, which author David Bernstein (of George Mason University Law School) argues has been misrepresented terribly by “progressive” intellectuals.

Among lawyers, the standard view of Lochner is that it was a perverse triumph of ideological judicial activism over a statute meant to protect workers. Bernstein shows that view to be mistaken, as his subtitle — “defending individual rights against progressive reform” — indicates. Instead of being demonized, the court’s decision should be extolled for its shielding of individual liberty against authoritarianism.

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