That is why America is more risk tolerant than other countries and societies in the world: because to guarantee security you must always sacrifice some amount of liberty; and, in assessing that sacrifice, Americans have traditionally factored liberty higher in the equation than have most other peoples.Continue reading
It was not the Naples Community Hospital that stopped people from creating their own local alternative, but the state of Florida acting on its own technocratic vision about how medical services should be “optimized” by central planning.Continue reading
Ten years ago, I wrote a post about the cost-ineffectiveness of solar power. Things have changed.
Today, we have a solar power array on our house that has, over the two years of its operation, supplied about 86% of our overall power needs and saved us about 6% on our electricity bill after accounting for the cost of the array, itself.
That glowing summary, however, reflects not actual day-to-day array performance but only an annualized average, made possible by a “net metering” policy that allows us to use the local electric grid as a “battery” and that provides some fairly generous — if hidden – subsidies to help defray the cost of the system.
That glowing summary also hides some fairly strict logistical limits that put an upper bound on how much solar power the grid can support without the net metering policy falling apart.
This is my report on my two years of experience with solar power, along with some musings on its benefits and constraints.Continue reading
There is, and has been for centuries, a genuine and earnest debate in this country about the requirements and limits of deference to the State when it comes to matters of personal well-being. People who value their right to protect themselves from the burdens of parenthood by having an abortion assert the same principle of personal autonomy as those who value their right to protect themselves from being the victims of predators by bearing weapons; and both assertions come from the same moral and spiritual sources.
There is a primal disagreement about whether, and to what extent, individuals do or do not retain a sacred right to protect themselves when they also claim protection from the State. One view, typically associated with the American political right, asserts that individuals do retain such a right, that the government’s duty to protect augments, but does not replace, that individual prerogative. The other view, typically associated more with the American political left, asserts that the individual prerogative to protect oneself is, and must be, significantly diminished — if not fully subjugated– in order for government to maintain the civil order required for its protections to be meaningful and effective.
To be clear, the legal imperative that you must retreat, rather than defend yourself, in the face of a threat is an explicit mandate that you must affirmatively participate in your own victimization. It reflects a political philosophy that assigns responsibility for and authority over personal well-being strictly to the State and it requires that everyone depend solely on the State for that function — it requires that, if the State can’t act in the moment to protect you against such victimization, then your responsibility as a citizen is to avoid fighting back, to accept being a victim now in the hope that you can attain some form of redress later. In effect, it transforms the role of individuals within such a polity from that of sovereign citizen to that of ward and supplicant, from autonomous and self-directed moral agent to just another drone playing his or her assigned role in the human hive.
Hyperbole? Of course. But these arguments go beyond philosophy to the moral and emotional core of what it means to exist as a human individual embedded within a larger society and, so, they invite a correspondingly moral and emotional response.Continue reading
Donald Trump betrayed us before a global audience — he dishonored us, as head of state rather than as head of government — by exhibiting a disdain for our democratic values, by demeaning the integrity of and trust in our institutions, by undermining our cultural and moral influence, and quite frankly, by playing, in our name and to our shame, the role of fool and sycophant to a petty tyrant.
If, as head of government negotiating and implementing executive policies, he were actually to act as an agent of Russian interest and against ours, then his behavior could legitimately be described as “treasonous”. But in the absence of evidence for that — and under the much more likely scenario that his abysmal performance represents merely a self-willed and negligent act of narcissistic defensiveness — the proper and appropriate term for his behavior is “perfidious.”Continue reading
Actually, all workers need to do to fight back against the “Janus” decision is to continue to join and maintain membership in unions, despite the fact that they are no longer compelled to do so by an act of law.
If, as claimed, that decision results in a significant reduction in union membership, one might reasonably ask why the unions were unable to convince the departees that continued membership was worthwhile.
Perhaps, in that case, the problem is with the unions and not with the law or with the Supreme Court’s interpretation of it.Continue reading
Since I gave Greg Weiner a shout-out for his New York Times piece about what it means to be an American liberal — and since the topic is dear to my heart — I’ll give David Brooks’ take on what it means to be an American conservative equal treatment. It’s worth reading.
For my part, anyone paying attention will know that I made my choice — conservative over Republican — many years and many presidents ago…Continue reading
The day you can convince me that Chimpanzees — or any other life-forms, natural or synthetic — are capable of understanding the concept of “responsibilities” and accepting a moral obligation to live up to them, I will grant that they deserve the status of “personhood” and the rights that go with it.
Until then, they may well not be “things” but they are also not fully “people”.Continue reading
Donald Trump’s claim that judge Gonzalo Curiel’s ethnic background make him incapable of fairly adjudging the Trump University suit because of Trump’s own insulting assertions about Mexico and Mexicans is, of course, offensive on many levels.
But I find the vehemence with which his claims are denounced by the ‘liberal’ establishment a bit disingenuous. After all, isn’t what Trump is saying entirely consistent with their own official philosophy regarding race and ethnicity?Continue reading