David Brooks on Murray, Coming Apart

David Brooks reviews Charles Murray’s new book, Coming Apart in today’s NYT. Brooks has high praise: “I’ll be shocked if there’s another book that so compelling describes the most important trends in American society.” Back in 1963, where the story begins: Roughly 98 percent of men between the ages of 30 and 49 were in … Continue reading David Brooks on Murray, Coming Apart

A WPA for Professional Historians…Could this be a Teachable Moment?

"[In] communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can be accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing to-day and another to-morrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, … Continue reading A WPA for Professional Historians…Could this be a Teachable Moment?

‘The Left’ and Public Choice Theory

The mention of public choice theory to those on ‘the left’ of politics can prompt a variety of reactions. Some are based on ignorance about the very existence of public choice economics as a theoretical perspective. This reaction was demonstrated to me following one of the first lectures I gave in my academic career. Having … Continue reading ‘The Left’ and Public Choice Theory

Sunday Morning Quotation – Labor Liberty

Given all of the labor talk around the country (especially in Indiana), today's quotation from Lochner v. People of State of New York, 198 U.S. 45 (1905) seems appropriate: The general right to make a contract in relation to his business is part of the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment, and this includes the … Continue reading Sunday Morning Quotation – Labor Liberty

The Costs of Higher Education

The President has decided that now is the time to confront the growing cost of higher education.  As the NYT notes: President Obama is proposing a financial aid overhaul that for the first time would tie colleges’ eligibility for campus-based aid programs — Perkins loans, work-study jobs and supplemental grants for low-income students — to the institutions’ … Continue reading The Costs of Higher Education

The new macro (part 1)

Periodically I visit Scott Sumner's blog The Money Illusion.  I keep asking myself if the market monetarism he and a few others are pushing is important.  I have come to think it is.  Like change-the-world important.  Like Nobel-worthy important. Well, maybe. I would usually bounce to Sumner's blog from a glowing link from Marginal Revolution, … Continue reading The new macro (part 1)

Romney and His Wealth

There has been a lot of talk - too much in my view - about Mitt Romney's riches.  Indeed, I half expect Ann Richards to rise from the dead and talk about how Romney was born with a gold spoon in his mouth (since he's probably too "elitist" for silver) and eats the fruit of the poor's … Continue reading Romney and His Wealth

President Moonbeam (with apologies to Jerry Brown)

While most of the GOP presidential aspirants are content talking about the mundane and rarely (with the exception of Ron Paul) the most serious problems facing the nation, Newt once again elevates the debate—and this time literally. Enjoy the quotes of Gingrich from a recent campaign stop in Florida: “By the end of my second term, … Continue reading President Moonbeam (with apologies to Jerry Brown)

Character and Dignity in the Wild World of High School Football Recruiting

It looks as though the Yuri Wright affair may finally now, mercifully, be over. Yuri Wright is a senior in high school; but not just any student at not just any high school: he was a nationally recruited cornerback at football powerhouse Don Bosco in New Jersey---or at least he was until recently, when Bosco expelled him. … Continue reading Character and Dignity in the Wild World of High School Football Recruiting

Bomb, Bomb, Iran?

News of note on Iran: 1.  Israeli journalist supposedly in the know claims: "Israel will indeed strike Iran in 2012"  Why do people think his view is newsworthy?  According to another security journalist: "Bergman is one of a small circle of heavyweights in the Israeli media who spend a significant amount of time with the … Continue reading Bomb, Bomb, Iran?

How Thick Is Your Bubble?

How Thick Is Your Bubble?GuestScore » 7 out of 20 (35% ) Result On a scale from 0 to 20 points, where 20 signifies full engagement with mainstream American culture and 0 signifies deep cultural isolation within the new upper class bubble, you scored between 5 and 8. In other words, you can see through … Continue reading How Thick Is Your Bubble?

Some Initial Thoughts on the SOTU

My first impression of Obama’s SOTU: it was an interesting combination of contradictory materials (transcript here).  Obama appealed to Lincoln: “I'm a Democrat. But I believe what Republican Abraham Lincoln believed: That Government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more.” If he truly believes this, then he … Continue reading Some Initial Thoughts on the SOTU

SOTU GOP Response – TFAS Trustee Emeritus Mitch Daniels (oh, he’s the Gov of Indiana now)

Nice measured statement about our predicament (esp compared to Obama's):  "The President did not cause the economic and fiscal crises that continue in America tonight. But he was elected on a promise to fix them, and he cannot claim that the last three years have made things anything but worse: the percentage of Americans with … Continue reading SOTU GOP Response – TFAS Trustee Emeritus Mitch Daniels (oh, he’s the Gov of Indiana now)

Hope, Change, and Constraints

Ryan Lizza presents an interesting portrayal of President Obama in the New Yorker (“The Obama Memos”) that is well worth a read. Some samples: The premise of the Obama campaign was unusual. “Change We Can Believe In” wasn’t just about a set of policies; it was more grandiose. Obama promised to transcend forty years of … Continue reading Hope, Change, and Constraints

Tim Thomas on Why He Skipped the Bruins’ White House Visit

Athletes, celebrities, and politicians are usually very disappointing people the more you know about them or hear from them.  So it came as a great surprise and pleasure to see that one of my favorite hockey players is actually an articulate defender of a free society and not just the great guardian of the Bruins' goal mouth.  Moreover, he appears to … Continue reading Tim Thomas on Why He Skipped the Bruins’ White House Visit

EJW Symposium on America’s Debt Crisis

I have just finished reading a fascinating symposium of papers on America's sovereign debt crisis published in the most recent Econ Journal Watch (volume 9, number 1: January 2012). It is introduced by Tyler Cowen, and includes short papers by Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, Garett Jones, Arnold Kling, Joseph Minarik, and Peter Wallinson. It is fascinating, if … Continue reading EJW Symposium on America’s Debt Crisis

Newt and the State of Conservatism in America

So, is Newt's SC victory a sign of real support by conservatives (and thus a really sad reflection of the state of conservatism right now given who/what Gingrich is and represents) or a reflection of their simple unwillingness to support Romney's claim to the nomination?  If the former, I'm depressed.  If the latter, then why the heck didn't … Continue reading Newt and the State of Conservatism in America

Lessons from SOPA /PIPA Debate

Matt Yglesias, now promoting his libgressive views freely at Slate, gives us five lessons from the SOPA/PIPA debate.  See here.      I'll provide a sixth: Corporate free speech is worth protecting.  And as Peter Scheer highlighted in a recent HuffPo column, we should be happy about the much-reviled Citizens United for helping protect the speech of such "persons": … Continue reading Lessons from SOPA /PIPA Debate

Sunday Morning Quotation – ObamaCare Court Case Most Important Since Brown v. Board

  http://www.facebook.com/dialog/oauth?api_key=41245586762&app_id=41245586762&channel_url=https%3A%2F%2Fs-static.ak.fbcdn.net%2Fconnect%2Fxd_proxy.php%3Fversion%3D3%23cb%3Df38ad094bc57bec%26origin%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fpileusblog.wordpress.com%252Ff37bd001ea6efe8%26relation%3Dparent.parent%26transport%3Dpostmessage&client_id=41245586762&display=none&domain=pileusblog.wordpress.com&locale=en_US&origin=1&redirect_uri=https%3A%2F%2Fs-static.ak.fbcdn.net%2Fconnect%2Fxd_proxy.php%3Fversion%3D3%23cb%3Dfe1163594e9ee2%26origin%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fpileusblog.wordpress.com%252Ff37bd001ea6efe8%26relation%3Dparent%26transport%3Dpostmessage%26frame%3Df6a4fcf934eff2&response_type=token%2Csigned_request%2Ccode&sdk=joey George Will not engaging in hyperbole (though some might say Roe and subsequent abortion cases, not to mention Baker v. Carr, Griswold v. Connecticut, or Kelo v. City of New London)*: The Obamacare issues of Medicaid coercion and the individual mandate are twins. They confront the court with the same challenge, that of enunciating judicially enforceable limiting … Continue reading Sunday Morning Quotation – ObamaCare Court Case Most Important Since Brown v. Board

The GOP and Self-Inflicted Wounds

There is little excitement about the current field of GOP presidential aspirants (with the possible exception of the always entertaining and quickly marginalized Ron Paul). What is somewhat striking is the extent to which Perry and Gingrich have framed the core debate, playing right into the hands of Obama’s 2012 campaign. I think Charles Krauthammer … Continue reading The GOP and Self-Inflicted Wounds

Gay marriage and religious freedom

This past week a letter signed by a wide swath of high-ranking American religious leaders was released.  It was entitled "Marriage and Religious Freedom: Fundamental Goods that Stand or Fall Together."  See the full letter hosted by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Conservative religious groups opposing gay marriage is hardly news.  However, the slant … Continue reading Gay marriage and religious freedom

China, Inc. in Trouble? Real Estate and Civil-Military Relations Problems

Here is the bearish perspective on China.  Short version: the real estate market will drag down the country's economy.  He thinks he's being generous.  If the reality is south of that, watch out.  Is there any scenario in which a diversionary war is the optimal strategy for Chinese leaders?  I doubt it.  Nonetheless, isn't that the most likely scenario … Continue reading China, Inc. in Trouble? Real Estate and Civil-Military Relations Problems

Dole and McCain Starting to Look Good by Comparison?

Romney's Cayman Islands story is sure to play well in Middle America. And Gingrich's past is sure to resonate with regular voters too when it plays wall to wall and not just among elites. Great work Republican Party.  Can someone light the Mitch Signal and tell him to ride in and save Gotham?*  And yes, I know … Continue reading Dole and McCain Starting to Look Good by Comparison?

.Gov versus the Spontaneous Order

Today a number of websites are either going dark (see Wikipedia) or blackening out some part of their logo (see Google) in protest to SOPA(Stop Online Piracy Act) in the House and the PROTECT IP Act in the Senate. This is an interesting issue. Advocates of the bills claim that they will provide new tools … Continue reading .Gov versus the Spontaneous Order

President Obama: In Search of Efficiency

Friday, President Obama announced that he will seek the authority (via a proposed Consolidation Authority Act) to reorganize and consolidate government agencies with business and trade responsibilities.  Targeted agencies include: the Commerce Department, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency. … Continue reading President Obama: In Search of Efficiency

Martin Luther King, Jr. Expressing the Natural Law

"I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law." - letter from Birmingham jail, April 16, 1963 More good … Continue reading Martin Luther King, Jr. Expressing the Natural Law

Sunday Evening Quotation – John Taylor of Caroline on the Fourth Wave of Democratization

Just kidding.  Taylor* has been dead for nearly two centuries.  This, from his book Tyranny Unmasked, is still worth remembering: "Liberty and tyranny are neither of them inevitable consequences of any form of government, as both depend, to a great extent, upon its operation, whatever may be its form.  All that man can accomplish, is to … Continue reading Sunday Evening Quotation – John Taylor of Caroline on the Fourth Wave of Democratization

Huntsman Out, Rubio In?

Individuals here at Pileus have given Jon Huntsman largely positive reviews as an alternative to the Romgrichorum.  Well, looks like the former Ambassador to China is dropping out of the race according to ABC News.  Perry is basically out.  That leaves four left.  And a fourth place finish in South Carolina will usher Santorum to the door.   As I've said … Continue reading Huntsman Out, Rubio In?

How to Solve the Scottish Referendum Question Controversy

Scotland's upcoming independence referendum has been in the news in Britain. The Scottish government wants to hold the referendum in 2014, but UK Prime Minister David Cameron has said that Westminster holds ultimate control over the wording and timing of any legally binding referendum and wants to hold the referendum sooner. Another point of contention … Continue reading How to Solve the Scottish Referendum Question Controversy

“If Not PBS, Then Who?”

Politico: "A new, four-hour documentary portrays the arc of his career as one littered with sexual dalliances and foibles.  That’s doubly surprising when you consider the source: not a conservative production company but PBS." Who would have expected that PBS would be the one to stomp on Clinton revisionism?  So does this give Sven more … Continue reading “If Not PBS, Then Who?”

Ron Paul Takes Second in Both New Hampshire Primaries

That's right; in addition to the 23% of the Republican vote he took, Paul took 4% of the Democratic vote as a write-in candidate, good for second place, according to the NH Secretary of State. (Note: the NH SOS website is down right now, so I'm relying on descriptions of what it says given to … Continue reading Ron Paul Takes Second in Both New Hampshire Primaries

Ron Paul: Follow the Money

I love to spend time with opensecrets.org, a website sponsored by the Center for Responsive Politics. It delivers data on contributions and lobbying in a user friendly and searchable format.  After reading a blog posting by Vox Day decrying Romney’s financial ties with Wall Street, I did a quick comparison of the top contenders. As … Continue reading Ron Paul: Follow the Money

The Poles of the Debate in Egypt

  Two sides of the New Egypt brought to you by Tom Friedman, who manages to write an interesting column today and one that only has one of the self-indulgent lines for which he's famous ("Muhammad Khairat el-Shater, the vice chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood and its economic guru, made clear to me over strawberry juice at his … Continue reading The Poles of the Debate in Egypt