Life-Saving Government?

Cigarette addiction

Ron Wolff: I can’t tell you that my life has been saved by the efforts of government to reduce air pollution. But living in an area highly susceptible to the accumulation of dangerous particulates and ozone, I can tell you that I notice a distinct improvement in air quality over the last 15 years. And that has probably added several years to my life expectancy. Yes, government has saved my life. Maybe it has saved yours too. Is this worth paying for? I guess that depends on whether you want to pay your fair share of taxes to support these worthwhile endeavors.

The End of Freedom and Liberty

Liberty Denied

Ron Wolff: OK, it’s a fund-raising letter. I didn’t expect it to be scholarly. But neither did I expect an organization that claims to be a “think tank” to utilize the linguistic legerdemain (yes, I made that phrase up, and I’m mighty proud of it) that is the quintessential opposite of critical thinking.

Government, Cafeteria Style

Cafeteria

Ron Wolff: Not only would cafeteria-style government be a logistical nightmare if it were attempted, but nearly every important function of an organized society would be under-funded, because a significant portion of the population would opt out.

Does Welfare Work?

Domestic Worker

Ron Wolff: If social welfare programs work, then countries with more extensive programs should report a smaller percent of their population living in poverty. And that is exactly what we find.

Rediscovering Principles — But Which Ones?

Matthew Spalding

Ron Wolff: Appointed judges, intellectual and political elites, mainstream journalists, bureaucrats, and Europeans — the customary targets of conservatives — fall victim to his keyboard. He almost equates property rights to the means of pursuing happiness, totally ignoring reams of evidence to the contrary. (As we know from last week’s article, nobody expects a correlation any more between belief systems and evidence.)

What Would a Space Invader Think?

Giant-Leap

I’d love to see an intelligent creature from outer space slap a few people in the face and say “Wake up! You are destroying each other and the planet! Use your mental capacities for something more meaningful than voting for the next American Idol!”

Rethink Reform

RR_Stacked_Square

So, I ask you, who really paid for this “Rethink Reform” ad? If we’re going to exercise our right to free speech (yes, we all believe in it), is there at least an ethical responsibility to stand up and say it publicly, without hiding your identity?

Lobbying (Not Again!)

Lobbyists

I have a suggestion for members of Congress: if you don’t know what you’re talking about, keep silent until you’ve done some real homework. And don’t expect the self-serving statements of hired guns to always represent the truth.

The Rape of Hope

Crime

Are there, in fact, thousands — perhaps hundreds of thousands — of young people who face the future with a brooding face and a heavy heart, uncertain whether any portion of the American dream will ever collide with what currently passes for their lives?

The Two-Nation Solution

maps

So, let’s just formalize what we already have and give those states that collectively want to spend money on health care, education, and general quality of life the opportunity to utilize their chosen federal government to enact such provisions legislatively.

Prisons: Two Opposing Views

prison-alcoholic

Suppose, hypothetically, you had to be in the same room for a couple of hours with a politician who can’t use the word “liberal” without combining it with character-assassination-style insults or a guy who stole a pair of socks worth $2.50. With whom would you feel safer?

Independence Day Edition!

Felix G. Rohatyn

Evolutionary psychology teaches us that it may take as many as 1,000 generations for even an exceptionally beneficial genetic mutation to permeate an entire species. It is not surprising, then, that a mere ten generations after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, American human nature has (apparently) changed negligibly, if at all. This point [...]

Battle Hymn of the “Republic” Party

iluvrush

Lucky me! Although I’m a registered Democrat, I received in last Wednesday’s mail a fund-raising appeal for the Republican National Committee signed by none other than Chairman Michael Steele. Now, nobody expects this type of mailer to be profound or scholarly. It has one purpose only, and that is to motivate people to write checks. [...]

Lady Justice

Norman Williams, center, with Mark Melahn, left, and Jesse Goodman, who worked on his case while in law school. Williams was sentenced to 25 years to life after his third-strike conviction, which was for stealing a car jack and tools from a tow truck. Through the efforts of Stanford's Criminal Defense Clinic, his sentence was reduced to 10 years. He had already served more than that so was freed. (Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Times)

Statues of Lady Justice frequently portray her wearing a blindfold, signifying impartiality and objectivity. But careful readers of the Los Angeles Times on May 13 have good reason to believe that the Lady is peeking — at least in California — and it is entirely possible that her vision is distorted in favor of “white [...]

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