The televised Democratic presidential sound byte pageants will not be true debates by any realistic standard. They are reminiscent of the 2016 Republican primaries that started with 16 candidates preening on a platform and enduring “gotcha” questions by reporters/moderators trying to get themselves into the news story. Until the nominee field narrows, these shows are almost a parody of real debates in the Lincoln-Douglas or Oxford Union manner. That’s too bad. We need to bring back real debates in America, and not just among candidates. Name the issue (climate change, foreign interference in our elections, abortion, immigration, tariffs, privacy online, the future of artificial intelligence, the meaning of “free speech,” whatever): Americans are badly divided. Since media and politicians often …
The materialist influence of 19th-century thinkers still chills 21st-century thinking. It is true in biology, economics, culture, and government. In much of the popularization and misuse of the claims of natural science and in much of modern German philosophy, tendencies toward atheism and gnosticism (searching for hidden meanings) are found. So are economic determinism and a serene resolve to change human nature. It was considered foolish by many 19th- and early 20th-century intellectuals to believe in God or self-evident truths, but “advanced” to aspire to the perfectibility of man. Progress, you would have thought as an intellectual in that period, must proceed on “scientific” principles. Max Weber’s “fact/value” distinction meant that facts alone could be submitted to scientific inquiry, while issues of Read More ›
The Center for Citizen Leadership is presenting a unique film interview with Patricia Baillargeon, one of the last people to work directly with Eleanor Roosevelt in the varied and fast-paced last decade of Mrs. Roosevelt’s life. Read More ›
The country faces over a trillion dollars of student loans that in many cases will not be repaid because the millennials who took them on cannot do so. In Indiana, President Mitch Daniels of Purdue has shown how to hold the line on tuition by cutting costs. In Washington State, the GOP Senate was able to get a 20 percent tuition reduction — rather than increased loans — through the Legislature and to gain the governor’s signature. In any bureaucracy it always seems impossible to cut costs rather than increase expenses — until you have to. Universities have to now, even though there will be protests. There especially is no excuse for high endowment private institutions and state universities that Read More ›
Discovery Institute Senior Fellow Scott Powell has a piece out today about the rise of sanctuary cities and the Obama administration’s EO on immigration. Read it at Investor’s Business Daily.
Senior Fellow Jay Richards has found a good new writer for The Stream, and this one has a good take on Sen. Rand Paul’s idea of getting the government out of marriage.
It is easy to get distracted by all the forebodings in the news today, so I want to offer Discovery Institute friends a “read” that will re-inspire you and also assert some of the personality and philosophy that I hope animates this organization and its fellows. It should encourage a different version of Independence Day enthusiasm as it is quintessentially American.
My Uncle Berlin B. Chapman was raised literally a hundred years ago in the hills of West Virginia, put himself through college and Harvard Graduate School (Phd.), and taught history the rest of his life in Oklahoma–producing some of that region’s first histories. He once told me that in his opinion “the greatest commencement address” ever made was “Acres of Diamonds,” by Baptist preacher and Temple University President Russell Conwell. I asked Uncle Berlin for the gist of it–that the opportunities in life are found in one’s own backyard–and was more or less satisfied with that truism. But I finally got around to reading a version of the address itself today because I wanted to recommend it to a young political friend of mine. Read More ›