Overlooked perhaps in the cultural shift that we have been observing in recent months is the continuing decline of public access to the public’s officials — and, for that matter, to public spaces. The perpetrators of civil disorder are doing that to us. President Trump was criticized for saying that synagogues should hire armed guards, but the largely unreported reality is that many already are guarded. So are some churches and other public venues that are being forced to reassess their safety. The supermarket that just opened in my Seattle neighborhood, I notice, has guards at every entrance. So do numerous stores, offices and other enterprises that once afforded easy, relaxed access. The Department of Labor says that there now …
Take a look at Discovery Institute Research Fellow Christopher Rufo’s just-released report on the homelessness crisis in Seattle. Rufo is a documentary filmmaker who has conducted extensive research on the issues of poverty and homelessness in Seattle and around the country. You will find his proposals provocative and timely.
Senate Democrats wrote President Trump Wednesday asking him to withdraw Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination over unproven charges of sexual misconduct: “The standard of character and fitness for a position on the nation’s highest court must be higher than this.” That standard seems to be an unquestionably blameless past. If someone has said something that attaches blame to you, however unsubstantiated, you no longer meet the “higher standard.”
It’s reminiscent of the old saying that in a position of public trust, one must be “like Caesar’s wife, above reproach.” Yet no one is above reproach. Neither was Caesar’s wife.
The Hippocratic Oath is dead. “Do no harm” medicine is fast becoming extinct. Contemporary health care is increasingly under the sway of a utilitarian bioethics that makes the elimination of suffering the prime directive—to the detriment of traditional standards of medical morality that deem all human life equally worthy of care and protection. The prestigious New England Journal of Medicine has been among the instigators of this shift. As early as 2005, the journal published (without significant criticism) the so-called Groningen Protocol—a bureaucratic checklist from the Netherlands that instructs Dutch doctors which terminally ill or seriously disabled babies they can lethally inject. In 2010, NEJM published advocacy in favor of an invidious health-care rationing measure known as the QALY (“quality-adjusted life year”), adoption of …
‘I rarely have an urge to whisper,” says George Gilder—loudly—as he settles onto a divan by the window of his Times Square hotel room. I’d asked him to speak as audibly as possible into my recording device, and his response, while literal, could also serve as a metaphor: Nothing Mr. Gilder says or writes is ever delivered at anything less than the fullest philosophical decibel. Mr. Gilder is one of a dwindling breed of polymath Americans who thrive in a society obsessed with intellectual silos. As academics know more and more about less and less, he opines brazenly on subjects whose range would keep several university faculties on their toes: marriage and family, money and economics, law and regulation, and Read More ›
There may be one or two Americans left in the country who don’t know that we are currently living in an anti-Establishment, anti-professional, anti-politician era. Nationally we have voted someone into the Presidency whose primary claim to high office is that he has never held office. (In my own state, we have had a smaller version of the exact same phenomenon.) In virtually every Congressional and state-level campaign beyond the Presidential elections, we have candidates (including incumbents) engaged in an ever-escalating rhetorical battle to claim the low ground of experience. In Politicians: The Worst Kind of People to Run the Government, Except for all the Others, Bruce K. Chapman argues that this disdain for long-serving public servants has to stop. Read More ›
Experts have predicted the looming automation of everything, with machines replacing labor and putting half the population out of work. This forecast seems to follow from basic economic logic: Economic growth is about getting more output from less input. Labor is an input. We are now devising powerful forms of automation, which will dilute our labor to homeopathic levels—especially in middle skill, blue-collar trades. Therefore, much of the population will soon be jobless. That inference is too simple. There’s disruption ahead, but other trends may fend off the job famine. Here’s one: As ever more goods become cheap commodities, the economic value of the human touch—of literal labor—goes up. Starbucks provided early evidence that an automation apocalypse isn’t inevitable. Fifty years …
There seem to be cycles in city politics. Fifty years ago a small band of Young Republicans and Young Democrats came together in an unusual alliance to overturn the existing Seattle City Council. They called themselves CHECC: Choose an Effective City Council. It took a couple of elections, but they prevailed and it was then — in the 1970s — that formerly sleepy, somewhat stodgy Seattle began to get national attention as the “most livable city.” Sixty years before that, in the early 20th century, another group of novice politicians introduced the “Progressive Era” that gave us Seattle’s city water and light dams (providing abundant, cheap water and electricity), the public park system we enjoy today and the ship canal connecting Puget Sound …
Political “middlemen” who infringe on the relationship between the people and their elected representatives constitute a growing danger to democracy, according to new book, Politicians, by Bruce K. Chapman. “Politicians themselves are partly to blame for ceding responsibilities to unelected powers,” says Chapman, himself a former elected and appointed official. “Those powers include bureaucrats and judges, but also media, academics, non-profit cause groups, ‘professional reformers’ and campaign businesses that ‘live off of’ politics, rather than ‘for it.” A good example of shifted responsibility, says Chapman, is Congress’ relinquishment of authority to government regulatory agencies. Another, Chapman says, is the “scandal business” that increasingly monopolizes public attention and is incentivized by unrealistic federal legislation. The advent of social media, which might Read More ›
Stephen Meyer and Hudson Institute’s Arthur Herman writing in The Wall Street Journal:
“President Trump’s announcement that he will meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un caught everyone by surprise. The big question is: Will the meeting reduce the threat of North Korean ballistic missiles?
Given North Korea’s record of deceit, the president will need an insurance policy against Mr. Kim’s penchant for bad-faith negotiating, especially concerning his nuclear program.
Fortunately, Congress can make a down payment this week in its 2018 omnibus spending bill, and soon after when it authorizes the Pentagon’s 2019 budget.”