Criminalization Doesn’t Curb Drug Use

The great journalist H.L. Mencken was a fierce critic of alcohol prohibition. He wrote in 1925: “Five years of Prohibition have had, at least, this one benign effect: they have completely disposed of all the favorite arguments of the Prohibitionists. None of the great boons and usufructs that were to follow the passage of the […]

On Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction: Did the American President Lie?

Can one make the case that President George W. Bush “lied” or “misled” or intentionally “mischaracterized” the intelligence on Iraq and WMD in order to lead us to war? Sure, if one possesses a visceral anti-Bush mindset coupled with a willingness to ignore powerful arguments in favor of the war: Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski, during […]

Housing Hurdles: The Solution?

Once, after giving a talk, I was confronted by a lady in the audience who asked what some people regard as the ultimate question: “What is YOUR solution?” “There are no solutions,” I said. “There are only trade-offs.” “The people DEMAND solutions!” she shot back angrily. The people can demand square circles if they want. […]

Limit Lobbying By Cutting Government

In their view, the traditional Washington career path — a stint in government followed by a lucrative job lobbying former colleagues — is inherently corrupt. Both candidates propose restrictions, including limits on the ability of former government officials to function as lobbyists. Is this the right approach? To be sure, lobbyists aren’t the easiest group […]

Liars! Liars! Green Pants on Fire!

What else can you call the authors of an article in an early January edition of the journal Nature, other than liars? Their assertion of mass extinctions of species by 2050, resulting from global warming, is pure fiction, but it was trumpeted in a January 7 press release from Conservation International as the “most comprehensive […]

What Makes the Super Bowl “Super”

Hours before the Green Bay Packers defeated the New England Patriots 35-21 in Super Bowl XXXI on January 26, 1997, I overheard a supermarket cashier greet a coworker with a salutation I’d not heard before: “Happy Super Bowl Sunday.” That incident had me realize that Super Bowl Sunday had attained the status of an American […]

The Anti-Free Trader’s True Enemy

There’s the “Free Trade but Fair Trade” crowd, and the “Level Playing Field” crowd, and the “America First” crowd, all calling for tariffs and other international trade restrictions. Their supposed adversary is corporate America, seeking to boost profits by either importing goods made by cheaper foreign labor or relocating plants in foreign lands to directly […]

Housing Hurdles in California

A new study shows that you need an income of about $104,000 to buy an average home on the San Francisco peninsula with a 20 percent down payment. Since the average price of a home in this area is more than half a million dollars, the 20 percent down payment itself would be more than […]

Senator John Edward’s “Special Interests”

This election year we are sure to hear a lot about “special interests.” Candidates of both major parties, as well as candidates of third or fourth parties, are sure to denounce special interests both hotly and repeatedly. The secret of these verbal fireworks from all parts of the political spectrum is that only the groups […]

Exploiters vs Victims in the Grocery Strike

The California grocery strike has entered its fourth month–and there is no end in sight. Workers are still picketing stores, the shelves are under-stocked, and profits are dwindling. Talks between the grocery chains and the United Food and Commercial Workers’ union have failed to resolve the mutually harmful conflict. Why? If the union’s demands are […]

T.S. Ashton on The Industrial Revolution

Despite more than a hundred years of condemnations and the harshest ridicule men like Friedrich Engels could hurl at the time period known in Great Britain as the Industrial Revolution (1760-1830) Dr. T.S. Ashton took up the task of restoring, or at least attempting to restore, the good reputation of those changing times. The degree […]

Love Thy Enemy

I quote from a bumpersticker I recently saw on a car covered (or I should say, littered) with anti-Iraq-war/pro-Howard Dean stickers: “When Jesus said love your enemies, he probably meant: don’t kill them.” This is undoubtedly true. Loving your enemies is a core principle of Christianity–and, many would argue, the general Judeo-Christian approach to morality […]