Tag: Philosophy
Bobby Kennedy, Joe Biden, and the Fallacy of Shaw’s Serpent
The progressive U.S. Senator and presidential aspirant Robert (“Bobby”) Kennedy campaigned successfully during the 1960s on the strength of a line pinched from the playwright George Bernard Shaw (Back to Methuselah, 1921): “You see things; and you say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not?’” These hypnotic words...
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Progressivism’s Life Cycles
Political and social experiments come and go like the seasons. Grand ideas for perfecting humanity flare, run their course, and then pass away, leaving behind only their smiles, wreckage, unpaid bills, and national catharses. Glorious summers of impossible, something-for-nothing progressive promises are followed by discontented winters of squandered opportunities for restoring eternal, classical-liberal values....
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Adam Smith’s Condemnation of Slavery, 1759
Adam Smith fulminated against the injustice of slavery in The Theory of Moral Sentiments, speaking of the slave traders as the refuse of the jails of Europe: There is not a negro from the coast of Africa who does not, in this respect, possess a degree of magnanimity which the soul of his sordid...
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Coolidge’s Enduring Thoughts on the Meaning of a Free Republic
Nearly 100 years ago, one of the greatest addresses given by any President of the United States was delivered to an audience in Philadelphia, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the meeting in that city of the First Continental Congress. It was delivered on September 25, 1924. And though the address is...
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Free Will: Getting the Economics Right
The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein [Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, 1921; Philosophical Investigations, 1953] famously argued for the analytical necessity of “getting the grammar right.” By his lights, the inadequacy of language for representing ethical, aesthetic, and metaphysical concepts unavoidably creates philosophical pseudo-problems; genuine problems were said to be scientific rather than philosophical. Philosophy’s task, therefore, is to...
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Will the Push for Social Equality Undermine Social Harmony?
Politicians, political theorists, economists, and sundry social critics have offered critical comments regarding America’s present state of disharmony. A recent book by Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska), Them: Why We Hate Each Other—and How To Heal, captures these critics’ apocalyptic tone. He writes: “Why are we so angry?”; “We are in crisis”; “Something is really...
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Altruism, Generosity, and Selfishness in the Age of Bernie
Senator, and presidential hopeful, Bernie Sanders’ enticing blend of progressivism (which claims reason and science as justification) and socialism (which is skeptical of both) gives cause to inquire into the foundations of his redistributive political mindset.
Mandated Paid Maternity Leave . . . Again
Time recently published an article discussing the ever-debated issue of mandated paid maternity leave. The article’s author, Belinda Luscombe, titled her article, “Please Stop Acting as if Maternity Leave is a Vacation.” Included with the article were the standard statistics. The United States is the only OECD country to not offer guaranteed paid leave,...
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Military Education Savings Accounts: A Great Way to Provide Educational Choice
This Memorial Day we remember and honor our fellow citizens who were willing to defend our American liberties to the death. Nobel Prize–winning economist Milton Friedman was a leading proponent of ending military conscription, or the draft, because forced military service is incompatible with a free society. Thanks in no small part to his...
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Progressivism: Rhetoric versus Reality
Contemporary supporters of an expanded role for government are increasingly moving away from calling themselves liberals and toward referring to themselves Progressives, so it is worth considering what the ideology of Progressivism entails. Progressivism began in the late 1800s as a political movement that advocated expanding the role of government. Before the Progressive era,...
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