Posts in: Politics

Note for the Fourth of July

The twentieth century was one in which limits on state power were removed in order to let the intellectuals run with the ball, and they screwed everything up and turned the century into an abattoir. We Americans are the only ones who didn't get creamed at some point during all of this. We are free and prosperous because we have inherited political and value systems fabricated by a particular set of eighteenth-century intellectuals who happened to get it right.

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799 years ago today

No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land. To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice.

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798 years ago today

No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land. To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice.

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Brilliant geostrategic summary

How Geography Explains the United States - By Aaron David Miller | Foreign Policy: "Canadians, Mexicans, and fish. That trio of neighbors has given the United States an unprecedented degree of security, a huge margin for error in international affairs, and the luxury of largely unfettered development." Reminds me of classes as an undergraduate at Georgetown.

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AGW panic ending with a whimper

I shall look forward to the future progress of this with considerable interest; many people from across the spectrum have taken notice of the Economist piece. AGW panic ending with a whimper - Eric S. Raymond The Economist, which (despite a recent decline) remains probably the best news magazine in the English language, now admits that (a) global average temperature has been flat for 15 years even as CO2 levels have been rising rapidly, (b) surface temperatures are at the lowest edge of the range predicted by IPCC climate models, (c) on current trends, they will soon fall clean outside and below the model predictions, (c) estimates of climate sensitivity need revising downwards, and (d) something, probably multiple things, is badly wrong with AGW climate models.

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Moral Tastebuds and Culture War

Jonathan Haidt’s theory of moral foundations is one of the most interesting approaches to the ongoing social strife that I can remember. Here’s a basic explanation; read the whole article for an application as the battle space of the culture war shifts from the social to the economic. There’s even a fascinating WWII analogy! To make sense of these cultural variations, I created a theory in 2003 called “moral-foundations theory.

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The Great Experiment - NY Times

Anybody can form a perfect Norway, a nation of five million people. But there is no country on earth with our size, our racial diversity, our mix of religions that is close to bringing most of its citizens the rights and comforts of the modern age. The overall view of the column is more positive than I tend to be, but this is a wonderful line and quite true.

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David Brooks - Rules for Craftsmen

The governing craftsman has to be able to know how many votes each side possesses. He has to avoid the narcissistic question: What do I want? He has to ask instead: Given this correlation of forces, what is the landscape offering me? Read the whole thing; this is the essence of governance, nearly all of the time. David Brooks - Rules for Craftsmen

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Paper of record or church bulletin of the left?

This is one of the wonderful things about a mainstream press. It can help promote civil discourse, rational thinking and an improved society (I thought this recent debate led by a New York Times religion writer was a good step in the right direction). When the paper of record becomes a particularly virulent propaganda arm for one side in the culture war, those things don’t happen — and I hope we can agree no matter which side we take on hot-button cultural issues.

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The Democratic Virtues of John Roberts - Ross Douthat

I have all sorts of problems with the health care bill, and I found the constitutional case against the individual mandate relatively compelling. But the solution to faulty legislation is usually better legislation, and the Supreme Court isn’t the only branch of government that’s responsible for upholding the Constitution. The specifics of Roberts’ umpiring may have left something to be desired, but given the temptations associated with his office, there’s something to be said for the fact that he let the two sides keep on playing ball.

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