Archive | January, 2004

Wesley Clark’s Opportunism

I met Wesley Clark, now a presidential candidate, in 1992 when I was an army lieutenant attending the Officer Basic Course. The then-2 star general came to Ft. Knox, KY to address our graduating class. General Clark was charismatic, personable and gave a motivating speech. The Wes Clark I became acquainted with, however, was the […]

Mars: Who Should Own It

Suppose the US Government made the following declaration: The first person to land on Mars, and to live there some specified minimum duration (such as a year), and to return alive owns the entire Red Planet. Objectivist philosopher Harry Binswanger recently proposed this policy (without specifying a required duration of stay) and defended it on […]

Dean’s Fascism and the Me-Too Right

While Republicans popularize Howard Dean’s quote that capturing Saddam Hussein “has not made America safer,” they should also promote an earlier comment that explicitly revealed his basic politics. But that the Right fails to recognize its significance further exposes their political foundations. During an appearance on MSNBC’s “Hardball” with Chris Matthews in December, Dean suggested […]

Bush’s Faith is Immoral, But He’s Better Than His Christian Critics

The writer of a letter recently appearing in The Tennessean says the president’s religious faith conflicts with his decision to go to war in Iraq. Many of Bush’s Christian critics share this opinion. And in one sense they’re right. There is indeed a major disparity between Bush’s bombing and Christ’s Beatitudes. To which I can […]

The Eight Dingbats and Economic Stagnation

There has been much uninformed talk of economics lately as the eight Democrats vying for their party’s presidential nomination run around Iowa and New Hampshire crying about how jobs aren’t been created in the economic recovery and that the recovery in general isn’t going fast enough, despite GDP growth of over 8% recently. Some of […]

Advice for 2004

Last week was my 2003 year-in-review column. This time it’s about 2004, the year ahead. I do think we’ll have another good year. I’ll explain why, but I’ll also talk about what I see as one significant risk factor. And I’ll give you an idea for how to invest in a way that optimizes your […]

Soft-Line Ideologues Revisited: Foreign-Policy Soft-Liners are Pragmatists

Last week, there was a very interesting opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal by two influential neoconservatives: David Frum and Richard Perle. The title was “Beware the Soft-Line Ideologues,” and it has a good theme, but it gets completely twisted up by its misunderstanding of philosophy. The theme is: the foreign-policy soft-liners, like Colin […]

George W. Bush: The New JFK?

President Bush, having spent trillions of young people’s dollars on the prescription drugs of old people, now wants to throw billions at an expanded space program. Now you won’t find a stronger advocate of space travel than myself. Space travel represents human reason and achievement at their very best. But why should the government be […]

The Man with “Television Addiction” Threatens to Sue Cable Company

Accusing his cable company of “addicting” him, his wife and his kids to TV, a Wisconsin man threatened to sue Charter Communications. Tim Dumouchel of Fond du Lac said his family’s viewing habits — forced on him by cable TV — caused his wife to become overweight and his children to grow lazy. But wait, […]

Random Thoughts for January 2004

Random thoughts on the passing scene: Some people’s jobs will allow them to be important only by being a pain. Politics is the art of making your personal desires seem like the national interest. One of the people I am glad I trusted is someone who got angry and told me off. The people to […]

Taliban Lite: The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

The New York Times reported this week: Afghan Council Gives Approval to Constitution: In a carefully balanced wording, the country will be renamed the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, combining democracy and religion. There is to be a system of civil law, but no law will be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of Islam. This […]

“Save Manufacturing Jobs”

“Manufacturing jobs” has become a battle cry of those who oppose free trade and are sounding an alarm about American jobs being exported to lower-wage countries overseas. However, manufacturing jobs are much less of a problem than manufacturing confusion. Much of what is being said confuses what is true of one sector of the economy […]

A Nation of “Hamburger Flippers”?

It might have been Ross Perot who first used the expression that America is turning into a nation of “hamburger flippers,” in reference to the decline in good paying manufacturing jobs replaced by low-pay service sector jobs. Here’s my question: If millions of high-paying jobs are leaving the country only to be replaced by millions […]

Martha Stewart: Guilty Until Somehow Proven Innocent?

As the Martha Stewart case finally goes to trial, it is clear that Ms. Stewart has already been convicted in the court of public opinion. Observe the undisguised delight with which reporters and pundits describe the prospect of seeing Stewart hauled up before the courts. Listen to the constant stream of jokes about jail cells […]

Profiling and Prejudice: A Call for Intelligent Profiling

In mid-November, Yusuf Suleman Motala, a Muslim leader in the United Kingdom said to be highly regarded and have a vast following, was at Heathrow Airport on his way to the lesser pilgrimage in Mecca. But British officers stopped him and Mr. Motala reports they asked him questions about the Islamic religion, the instruction at […]

NASDAQ vs. NYSE: Stock Trading Transformed by Technology and Competition

Today’s bold and surprising announcement that six New York Stock Exchange companies would also list their shares on the NASDAQ Stock Market is a clear sign that more competition is coming to the vast markets where stocks are bought and sold. The decision by the six firms, said NASDAQ’s chief executive officer Robert Greifeld on […]

A Slave State: Society in Sir Thomas More’s Utopia

Sir Thomas More’s Utopia lays out several important ideas that help us understand the political thought of both now and the Renaissance as well as providing us with a look into the conditions of sixteenth century Europe. The book primarily acts as a vehicle for More to explore several issues, ranging from the advising of […]

Egalitarianism: The New Torture Rack

Imagine the following Academy Award ceremony. There are no awards for best picture or best actor. Instead, every picture gets a certificate and every actor receives a prize. That is not an awards ceremony, you say? So it isn’t. But it is an egalitarian’s dream — and an achiever’s torment. An egalitarian wants equality, not […]

The Privilege of Driving

It is often said that driving is not a right, but a privilege. As such it can be extended and revoked at will, by those vested with the granting of the privilege, a government. The question that must immediately strike anyone is, “What gives the local governing authorities the right to designate driving or anything […]

Mugged By The State

Dan Peruchi, father of four, enjoyed fixing up old cars and reselling them. Because the dealers he worked with dealt mainly in cash, he usually had lots on hand. Peruchi was driving home to Ft. Worth, Texas when he noticed the flashing lights of a police car behind him. After pulling him over, the officer […]