Recently my wife had to pay $1,500 out of pocket to crown a molar. This was necessary because, years ago, a dentist over-drilled a cavity in the tooth and then packed it badly, resulting in the tooth eventually cracking.
It turns out that the drilling probably wasn’t even necessary. A dentist could have simply brushed a treatment on the cavity, and that would have been that—except that the treatment, used widely elsewhere, was illegal in the United States, thanks to the onerous medical approval processes Congress imposed via the Food and Drug Administration. Continue reading “FDA Deserves Some Blame for Unnecessary Teeth Drilling”
Terrorism is violence perpetrated against peaceable people to foment social or political change. The murder of police officers in Dallas was an act of terrorism.
On the evening of Thursday, July 7, at the location of an otherwise peaceful protest of recent troubling police killings of black men, Micah Xavier Johnson murdered five Dallas police officers and shot seven more for explicitly racist reasons. Continue reading “Seeking Justice after the Racist Murders in Dallas”
When fossil fuels advocate Alex Epstein learned that his organization, the Center for Industrial Progress (CIP), was listed in a subpoena to Exxon from Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey demanding forty years of communications regarding climate change, Epstein sent Healey’s office a terse reply: “F**k off, fascist.” Continue reading “Fossil Fuels Advocate Alex Epstein Denounces AG Subpoena: “F**K Off, Fascist””
Donald Trump is wrong about nearly everything, but he is right about this: America’s political leaders properly may refer to the movement motivating terrorists to act in the name of Muslim beliefs as “radical Islam.” However, as we’ll see, Trump misses the key distinction between theocratic Islam and substantially secularized Islam, and he therefore draws the wrong policy conclusions related to Muslims. Continue reading “Debate over “Radical Islam” Misses the Key Distinction between Theocratic and Secularized Islam”
Dear Members of the Elections Study Group,
Thank you for taking up the important matter of how to properly handle the caucus-primary season for major parties in Colorado. Continue reading “An Open Letter to the Colorado Elections Study Group”
For those who advocate liberty, this is a frightening election year. The next president is likely to be Hillary Clinton, who as Secretary of State played fast and loose with sensitive government information, who seems to have used her official position to generate “Clinton cash,” who parrots the anti-producer rhetoric of “democratic socialist” Bernie Sanders, and who wants to radically weaken the First and Second Amendments—or Donald Trump, whose loutish, anti-capitalist nativism almost makes Clinton seem like the voice of reason by contrast.
Given the sorry state of the major parties, and given that the Libertarian Party has nominated someone eminently more qualified than Trump for the presidency, the question naturally arises: Should liberty advocates support the Libertarian, Gary Johnson? We begin to answer this question by evaluating the candidates in terms of policy. Continue reading “Should Liberty Advocates Support Gary Johnson for President?”
One of the great dangers of the 2016 election is that many Americans will mistake Donald Trump for an advocate of capitalism. Although he is a wealthy businessman, Trump is anti-capitalist in ideology. Continue reading “Donald Trump: Anti-Capitalist”
Donald Trump’s leading competitors for the presidency during the last few months in both major parties—with the exceptions of Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina—are far better-qualified than Trump for the position.
Even more remarkable, for the first time in its history, the Libertarian Party is set to nominate a candidate for president more qualified—and eminently so—for the office than the Republican. Gary Johnson, the likely LP candidate, served eight years as governor of New Mexico after building a successful construction company. Trump has never served in public office, although he has operated a largely successful real estate business.
This got me wondering: Has any major candidate for the office ever been less qualified than Donald Trump? Continue reading “Donald Trump Would Be the Least-Qualified Person Ever to Be Elected President”
Recently I argued that liberty advocates should remain or become active within the Republican Party rather than join a minor party (unless a viable new party can replace the GOP, which I doubt). This gave rise to a number of questions: Does that mean everyone should be a Republican? Should everyone be active at the level of party politics? Do people even need to be active in politics at all?
My answer is that most liberty advocates should indeed be active in politics at some level—not as some alleged moral duty, but as a means of protecting their values. Only for some people does this mean activism at the level of party politics. Continue reading “When and How to Be a Political Activist for Liberty”
Disgusted with Donald Trump’s success within the Republican Party, some Republicans are burning their party registration cards. More people are checking out Libertarian Gary Johnson, who is actively seeking the support of disgruntled Republicans.
I too am disgusted with the state of the Republican Party. Although I continue to disapprove of Johnson’s Libertarian affiliation, this year it’s hard to criticize any vote made in protest of the “choice” between Trump and Hillary Clinton. I’ve thought maybe people should start a write-in campaign for Boaty McBoatface. I’ve thought about putting up twin yard signs for Giant Douche and Turd Sandwich. Absent a viable independent run (possibly throwing the race to the House of Representatives), it seems like this year the American people are just hosed.
But, paradoxically, the fact that the Republican Party is in such a sorry state is a reason for liberty advocates to stick with the Republican Party (or join or rejoin it), not abandon it. Continue reading “Why Liberty Advocates Should Join the Republican Party, Not Abandon It, Despite Trump”
Donald Trump has won the Indiana primary—and with it, likely the Republican nomination. So, barring a miracle, it looks like the next president of the most powerful nation in world history will be either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump—two of the people I’d least like to see as president.
No, I don’t think the nomination of Donald Trump will be armageddon for the Republican Party. Nor do I think the election of Donald Trump (if by some miracle he can manage that) will be armageddon for the country.
But his nomination will be very bad for the party, and his election would be very bad for America. Which is why I for one will not be voting for him. Even if that means Hillary wins. Continue reading “Still, Never Trump”
A lone Colorado Republican with nearly zero influence within the party handed out anti-Trump flyers at various Colorado Republican conventions, and, according to the intimations of Jim Hoft and some of Donald Trump’s supporters, this somehow counts as evidence of party corruption. Continue reading “BREAKING: Jim Hoft Flubs Story about “Deny Trump” Flyer”
“All Colorado Republicans [registered more than a month] could vote in precinct caucuses, which chose delegates to congressional and state conventions, who voted for national delegates.” That’s my (unabbreviated) Tweet summarizing the way that Colorado Republicans chose delegates to the national Republican Convention. I should know; as a Colorado Republican I participated in the caucuses.
But apparently, for some Trump supporters, my experience participating in the caucus process is no match for a Drudge headline claiming it never happened. As of the evening of April 10, Drudge claimed on its main page, “Fury as Colorado has no primary or caucus; Cruz celebrates voterless victory.”
So let’s set the facts straight, beginning with my own experiences with the caucus system. Continue reading “Setting the Record Straight about Colorado’s Republican Caucus”
What Ted Cruz said about church and state during a March 29 town hall is remarkable—and very welcome to me as a secularist. Continue reading “Ted Cruz’s Remarkable Nod to the Separation of Church and State”
Is there something immoral about the fact that such great creators and producers as author J. K. Rowling, business leader Steve Jobs, and football star Peyton Manning earned enormous wealth, or should their achievements and resulting wealth be celebrated? Continue reading “Watkins and Brook Return with Book Challenging Inequality Narrative”
On the evening of March 11, Donald Trump had planned to hold a rally at the UIC Pavilion arena, owned by the University of Illinois at Chicago and rented to Trump for the purpose. Instead, Trump and his campaign team cancelled the rally “after chaos and clashes between protesters and attendees overtook the event.”
This episode puts me in the position of disapproving of what Trump says—indeed, I loathe the man and nearly everything he says—while defending his right to speak (a la Voltaire). The silver lining is that, once again, we as Americans have an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of freedom of speech and on its central importance to civic life and to liberty. Continue reading “Trump, Cruz, and Freedom of Speech”
I long thought that Barack Obama would turn out to be the most destructive president in my lifetime (although George W. Bush in many ways set the stage for him). Obama weakened the United States around the world, took half-hearted measures to slow the rise of Islamic terrorism, strengthened Iran’s nuclear ambitions, put health care on the path to total government control, stoked the fires of the politics of envy, and more.
I probably was wrong about Obama being the most destructive.
The rise of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders indicates that Obama may be just the latest excursion down a long road of destruction. Continue reading “Reflections on the Presidential Race after Super Tuesday”
Perhaps the most important thing Ted Cruz has done this political season is to solidify in many people’s minds the supposed link between capitalism and religion. This is important—and bad—because, logically, capitalism is based not on religious faith, but on secular reason. By trying to defend free-market capitalism on religious grounds, Cruz and his fellow evangelical Republicans discredit capitalism in the minds of many (otherwise) pro-reason secularists. Continue reading “Republican Religion Undermines Capitalism”
I am now around twenty-five thousand words into a book project (details to come), and I’ve already given some thought to the book’s packaging. In today’s world, “packaging” includes ebook formatting as well as print design.
My goal is to format my book, both in print and in ebook, so that it is as reader-friendly as possible. Unfortunately, most other publishers fail miserably at that task. Here I offer my ideas for improving today’s books as published in multiple formats. Continue reading “How Publishers Can Make Ebooks More Reader Friendly”