Jason Crawford on the Roots of Progress: Self in Society #8

Jason Crawford, entrepreneur and author of the Roots of Progress blog, discusses what progress is, where it comes from, and how it vastly betters our lives. In the process, he highlights key industrial and technological innovations, explains the errors of Malthus, and discusses how we can keep progress alive.

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John Coffey on Religious Toleration: Self in Society #7

Historian John Coffey discusses his book, Persecution and Toleration in Protestant England 1558–1689, and its lessons for today. Coffey reviews the establishment of the Anglican church and the tensions between that church and both the Catholics and the Puritans, tensions that often erupted into state-sponsored violence. Coffee also discusses the theological and political disputes over toleration in this era.

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Lawrence Goldstone on the Death and Legacy of Michael Servetus: Self in Society #6

In Out of the Flames, Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone recount the remarkable life and shocking death of Michael Servetus, theologian, editor, physician, and heretic. Lawrence discusses Servetus’s religious views and his lifelong rivalry with John Calvin, who eventually had him tried for heresy and burned at the stake in Geneva in 1553. But Servetus’s work escaped the flames to inspire generations of scientists, religious reformers, and advocates of liberty of conscience.

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Timothy Sandefur on the Ascent of Jacob Bronowski: Self in Society #5

Timothy Sandefur discusses the remarkable life and thought of science educator Jacob Bronowski, creator of the landmark documentary series The Ascent of Man. Sandefur’s The Ascent of Jacob Bronowski is the first book-length biography of this fascinating figure.

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Robert Anthony Peters on Tank Man, Hollywood, Liberty, and Stoicism: Self in Society #2

Writer and Director Robert Anthony Peters discusses his short film, Tank Man, in the context of Chinese politics. Peters, an actor as well, also offers advice to young actors, discusses his advocacy of liberty, and outlines what in Stoicism he finds valuable.

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Johan Norberg Celebrates Human Progress

Are things generally getting better or worse? We routinely hear that the environment is going to hell, that inequality is damaging people’s lives, that the next disaster is just around the bend. But does such doom-and-gloom handwringing have any connection to reality?

In his latest book Progress (Oneworld 2016), Johan Norberg discusses ten key ways in which the human condition has gotten spectacularly better. Continue reading “Johan Norberg Celebrates Human Progress”

Donald Trump Would Be the Least-Qualified Person Ever to Be Elected President

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”

See My Grandfather Spray DDT without Protective Gear

Image: Palisade Sunrise Rotary
Image: Palisade Sunrise Rotary

My grandfather Theo Eversol was a peach farmer in Palisade, Colorado. When I saw him spray his orchards in the 1970s and 1980s with pesticides, he wore protective gear. But back in the 1950s he didn’t wear protective gear, at least judging from a ca. 1953 film about the Palisade peach industry that’s archived online by the Palisade Sunrise Rotary. The film shows my grandfather spraying DDT out of a hose on the back of a tractor, wearing nothing but regular clothing. The images shown are captured from that film.

Today no one doubts that spraying DDT without protective gear is not a great idea health-wise. But, given mosquitos are the world’s most deadly creature, killing some 725,000 people each year, I can’t help but think that widespread bans of DDT (previously used to kill mosquitos, among other things) has killed untold millions of human beings over the years.

The peach film is remarkable for many other reasons besides its depiction of pesticide control. A lot of things have changed since then, but in many ways the industry is similar to the way it was back then.

Image: Palisade Sunrise Rotary
Image: Palisade Sunrise Rotary

Memorial Day Links

My great-grandfather Ralph Garver served in World War I.

My grandfather Theo Eversol served 44 months in WWII. Some of his remarks are recorded in a first and second article. My paternal grandfather Otto Armstrong served in the same war, also in the Pacific Rim.

Earlier this year I interviewed my father Linn about his experiences inVietnam. He wrote more about his tour in a 2007 article.

My step-father Marshall Davis also served in Vietnam.

A number of my more-distant family members have also served at various times, as have numerous friends.

Last year, I interviewed Seymour Glass of the 445th Bomb Group. The resulting videos are extraordinary.

Thank you all.