The left’s non-existent Jesus

Ross Douhat quotes Michelle Obama saying, Our faith journey isn’t just about showing up on Sunday.  It’s about what we do Monday through Saturday as well ... Jesus didn’t limit his ministry to the four walls of the church. He was out there fighting injustice and speaking truth to power every single day. Apparently Michelle's … Continue reading The left’s non-existent Jesus

Noonan on the Darkness

The always insightful Peggy Noonan had some interesting observations this week.  If you have a WSJ subscription, read her whole column.  Here are some interesting paragraphs: Did "The Dark Knight Rises" cause the Aurora shootings? No, of course not. One movie doesn't have that kind of power, and we don't even know if the shooter … Continue reading Noonan on the Darkness

Caught in his rhetoric

Since the "You didn't build that" comment a few days ago by the President, the mainstream media has developed a new truism, namely that Romney is taking the President's words out of context. That is true, in the narrow sense of the phrase, in that any brief quote is always out of context.   But … Continue reading Caught in his rhetoric

Monsters in the theater

Rationalizing madness is a fool's errand.  There is no master narrative, no psychological Rosetta stone that can explain the madness of a James Holmes.  Maybe one day experts will put a label on his madness, but that is just to call it something else, not to explain it. As the image of Holmes at his … Continue reading Monsters in the theater

Boston Mayor: Say What?

Some people are boycotting the food chain Chick-fil-A in its attempt to come to Boston because Chick-fil-A has given money to organizations opposing gay marriage and its ownership has publicly affirmed its support for "the biblical definition of the family unit."In a story about Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino's position on this topic, the Boston … Continue reading Boston Mayor: Say What?

Sunday Morning Quotation – Benjamin Constant on What Liberty Means

French philosopher Benjamin Constant on liberty in his enlightening "On The Liberty of the Ancients Compared to That of the Moderns" (1819): First ask yourselves, Gentlemen, what an Englishman, a French-man, and a citizen of the United States of America understand today by the word 'liberty'.  For each of them it is the right to be subjected … Continue reading Sunday Morning Quotation – Benjamin Constant on What Liberty Means

Authentically inauthentic

Ten years ago there was a little story during the SLC Olympics that most Americans are not familiar with.  There was a traffic jam of sorts, and Mitt jumped in to fix it.  Problem was, the local law enforcement didn’t appreciate his help.  Fixit-Mitt taking on a traffic jam is no surprise, but apparently he … Continue reading Authentically inauthentic

Samuel Smiles on “Self-Help”

One of my favorite all-time books is Samuel Smiles's 1859 Self-Help. It is an inspiring essay on what amazing things people can accomplish if they apply some very simple virtues, like perseverance, energy, and self-discipline. It includes numerous real-life stories from giants in medicine, politics, philosophy, mathematics, science, business, economics, fine arts, and many other … Continue reading Samuel Smiles on “Self-Help”

Sandel and ‘Crowding Out’

One of the arguments Michael Sandel makes in his new book What Money Can't Buy is that what he calls "market values," which include "the logic of buying and selling" (6 and passim), can, once introduced, crowd out other values. A striking example he offers is what happened at some child-care centers in Israel. Apparently … Continue reading Sandel and ‘Crowding Out’

A Little Example of “Crowding-In”

In the last budget, the New Hampshire state legislature cut state university funding by nearly half, as part of an effort to deal with a large budget gap opened up by unrealistic revenue forecasts issued by the previous legislature. Today, the NH Union-Leader reports an all-time best in fundraising success for the state university system: … Continue reading A Little Example of “Crowding-In”

An Effective Anti-Romney Ad?

A colleague of mine pointed me to this anti-Romney ad, adding that he thought it was "effective" because of its focus on one compelling story. Have a watch: I did not find it effective. It does focus on one story, and it does make it sound like this person was made worse off by Romney. … Continue reading An Effective Anti-Romney Ad?

What’s Wrong Here?

New York University sent out the following message to all of its faculty and staff this morning: Due to today's forecast of very hot weather, New York City and Con Edison have issued another request to users throughout the city to reduce electrical consumption.  These efforts help reduce the chance of brown-outs, black-outs, and damage … Continue reading What’s Wrong Here?

*Classical Liberalism and the Austrian School* by Ralph Raico (updated)

Classical Liberalism and the Austrian School is the latest collection of essays from Ralph Raico, published by the Ludwig von Mises Institute. Ralph was kind enough to send me a print copy. The introductory, eponymous essay concerns the relationship between Austrianism as an economic methodology and classical liberalism as a political program or ideology. Raico … Continue reading *Classical Liberalism and the Austrian School* by Ralph Raico (updated)

Some Bad Arguments for the PPACA from Jonathan Gruber

Even though I disagree with much of its interpretation, I admire Jonathan Gruber's pre-PPACA research on health insurance markets. He's one of the most forthright and clear-headed advocates of government takeover of health insurance that I know. However, his recent defense of the law in The New Republic indulges some pretty blatant economic fallacies: But … Continue reading Some Bad Arguments for the PPACA from Jonathan Gruber

Libertarians and the Draft

Thomas E. Ricks has an Op-Ed in the NYT calling for a return to the draft. Building on Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal’s recent statements calling for a reinstatement of conscription, Ricks provides a three tiered system. In essence, those who were drafted would have one of three options: (1) support services in the military for … Continue reading Libertarians and the Draft

Sunday Morning Quotations – Meyer on Economists

Frank Meyer - the fusionist journalist who wrote for National Review in its prime years - making a point about economists that I've often argued.  From his essay, "The Locus of Virtue" (which can be found in this collection): Economics is closest to an exact science of all the disciplines that study men and society.  … Continue reading Sunday Morning Quotations – Meyer on Economists

Building Good Will and the Financial Crisis

There is an interesting piece by John Bresnahan (Politico) on Countrywide Financial’s VIP Program, which provided loans to members of Congress, staffers, and executive branch officials who were responsible for shaping regulatory legislation. More than a half a dozen current and former lawmakers, including Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and House Armed Services … Continue reading Building Good Will and the Financial Crisis

The Necessary Inadequacy of Charity

A common libertarian and conservative response to questions about how beneficiaries of government programs will carry on after the removal of their subsidies is that charity should take care of them. This answer is often overly glib, even when combined with the observation that a lower burden of taxation might foster more giving (charity is … Continue reading The Necessary Inadequacy of Charity

Nanny Journalists Can’t Help Themselves

Eating contests are pretty fun.  I remember doing quite well in a raw oyster eating competition as a kid.  But competitive eating as a sport turns a fun pastime into something that I'm pretty sure isn't consistent with human flourishing.  Nonetheless, you are free to choose your own stomach ache!  And let's face it, it isn't exactly a … Continue reading Nanny Journalists Can’t Help Themselves

The rockets’ red glare

The picture above is from one of the many fires burning in my state of Utah and throughout the West.  This one is personal because it is just a few short miles from a treasured family cabin, with little to stop it but hope and prayer.  Information on these fires is hard to come by, … Continue reading The rockets’ red glare

Baptists and Bootleggers – French Edition (French Required to Have Breathalyzers in Cars)

According to the BBC, a new French law makes it "compulsory for drivers to carry a breathalyser kit in their vehicles or risk an on-the-spot fine."  This new mandate, of course, is designed for safety.  I mean, what else could it be for?  An MSN article on the new law dutifully reports this aspect: "About 4,000 people each year are killed … Continue reading Baptists and Bootleggers – French Edition (French Required to Have Breathalyzers in Cars)

Adam Smith and “Adam Smith”

I'm sorry, but what does Michael Boskin's WSJ op-ed entitled "Obama and 'The Wealth of Nations'" have to do with Adam Smith? The first sentence of the op-ed is "President Obama should put Adam Smith's 'The Wealth of Nations' at the top of his summer reading list." Perhaps he should---but then again, lots of people … Continue reading Adam Smith and “Adam Smith”

Sunday Morning Quotation – The Dissenters on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

So close but so far from actually carrying the day, Justice Scalia, Justice Kennedy, Justice Thomas, and Justice Alito on ObamaCare (see the dissent starting on page 127 of the PDF): What is absolutely clear, affirmed by the text of the 1789 Constitution, by the Tenth Amendment ratified in 1791, and by innumerable cases of ours in … Continue reading Sunday Morning Quotation – The Dissenters on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act