“Big Government” Republicanism

Source: The Hill
by Mark Mellman

“Last week, Republicans denounced Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) as he played Vladimir Putin’s ‘useful idiot.’ But disdain for fundamental Republican principles infects DeSantis’s approach to domestic issues as well. For decades, the underlying premise of Republicans’ approach to policy has been ‘small government.’ Big government was the enemy, while a less powerful, less intrusive government was the goal. Until now. This year’s GOP nominating process will likely feature the biggest ‘big government’ Republican imaginable. One might even argue that DeSantis supports a bigger, more powerful, more intrusive federal government than any serious presidential candidate in either party, with the exceptions of avowed socialists Eugene V. Debbs at the turn of the 20th century and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today.” [editor’s note: The GOP, from its inception, has ALWAYS been a party of big government; it just occasionally talks otherwise – TLK] (03/22/23)


Breaking the fear of witchcraft in Africa

Source: Christian Science Monitor
by staff

“Over many years, Africa has seen a growth in community initiatives to tackle one of the most widespread and least acknowledged causes of violence on the continent: fear of witchcraft. Often unseen, these projects have helped to diminish stigmas, restore social unity, and uphold individual dignity. Last week this progress received an important boost. The African Union set out guidelines for how its member states should address the societal harms arising from popular beliefs about witchcraft. Though unenforceable, they are an acknowledgment that a problem long shrouded in silence is inconsistent with Africa’s shared principles of justice and equality. ‘Although witchcraft accusations and witch-hunting are against the law in many African countries, these legal provisions are seldom enforced,’ writes Leo Igwe, a Nigerian human rights advocate.” (03/22/23)


DeSantis and the Hawkish Thought Police

Source: Eunomia
by Daniel Larison

“DeSantis’[s] dissent-that-isn’t-really-dissent on Ukraine has brought out the hawkish ideological enforcers like almost nothing else in the last few years. Perhaps only the withdrawal of Afghanistan has generated as much outraged screeching from the usual suspects. David French bemoans DeSantis’[s] timidity and lack of Reagan-like leadership, [Max] Boot trots out the tired isolationist slur, and Bret Stephens declares DeSantis unfit to be president solely because of his Ukraine statement. The Wall Street Journal editorial board’s reaction was mild by comparison, but they still faulted DeSantis for a ‘puzzling surrender’ to the ‘Trumpian temptation of American retreat.’ These are not sane reactions to a rather vague, slippery statement that basically endorses the status quo. They are also not accurate assessments of DeSantis’[s] position.” (03/22/23)


How government casually violates the letter and spirit of the First Amendment

Source: Washington Post
by George F Will

“As long as the awful law exists, concerning which the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Monday, be careful what you say to, or write about, unauthorized immigrants. Congress, in one of the federal government’s increasingly frequent offenses against the First Amendment, makes it a crime if one ‘encourages or induces an alien to come to, enter, or reside in’ this nation in violation of federal law. Let the formulation of hypotheticals begin in order to illustrate the law’s unconstitutional vagueness and overbreadth. Suppose a pediatrician says an unauthorized immigrant’s child needs medical care that is available here but not in the country from which the immigrant came. Has a crime been committed?” (03/22/23)


Liberalism Needs No Enemies

Source: American Institute for Economic Research
by Barry Brownstein

“In his instructive political fable, The Awakening of Jennifer Van Arsdale, George Leef writes, ‘Liberalism is the one philosophy that requires no enemies … It minimizes conflict and calls upon people to resolve whatever problems arise through peaceful means.’ By liberalism, Leef refers to the 17th-century movement that began to free individuals from entrenched interests, ‘from the constraints of the powerful institutions that dominated their lives — the interests of monarchs and church leaders and guilds.’ … Is the growth of collectivism and the decline of liberalism why Americans are angrier than ever?” (03/22/23)


What Even Is a Non-profit?

Source: American Institute for Economic Research
by Peter Jacobsen

“You might think that being a non-profit means the chief executive is paid less than the CEO of a for-profit company. This belief, though understandable, is wrong. The chief executive of a non-profit is paid a salary which counts as a business expense. As such, when revenues are higher than costs, the non-profit could always choose to increase the salary of the executive. Technically, the board of directors of the non-profit would be responsible for avoiding situations where executives receive exorbitant salaries which expand to fill every revenue surplus, but due to knowledge and incentive problems this may not always happen.” (03/22/23)


Beware This Libertarian [sic] Oligarch’s Ecological Utopia in Texas

Source: Common Dreams
by Jim Hightower

“Exciting news, people: Utopia is on the rise! Space Commander Elon Musk has announced that His Magnificence (i.e., him) intends to construct his very own private town on 3,500 acres of farmland near his new Tesla plant southeast of Austin, Texas. More than a town, Musk explains that he will create utopia in Texas, promising an ‘ecological paradise’ where his Tesla workers can live and do fun things like swimming, pickleball… and paying rent to him. The gabillionaire is certainly rich enough to erect his own Muskopolis. But, alas, the ‘utopia’ name is already taken. Indeed, I’ve been to Utopia, Texas, a small town west of San Antonio that was founded in 1855 by (cover your ears, Elon!) Swiss Socialists. Of course, history shows that a company town is ruled by the company, not by residents (much less socialists).” (03/22/23)


The Outbreak of World War I: A Libertarian Realist Rebuttal

Source: Ludwig von Mises Institute
by Joseph Solis-Mullen

“As you may have noticed, those dreaded ‘forces’ seem to have rematerialized—in the headlines, in the journals, in the pages of bestsellers: those historical, material, political, or ideological forces that supposedly make conflict between some set of groups, classes, or states ‘inevitable.’ But as the great libertarian historian Ralph Raico never tired of telling, such collectivist narratives are often little more than convenient scapegoats or outright inventions to cover for bad decisions made by powerfully situated individuals who could and should have done otherwise. To illustrate the point, take the most typical of those terrible and ‘inevitable’ conflicts so frequently invoked by the interventionists as the justification for their continued efforts toward US hegemony under the guise of world ‘leadership’: World War I.” (03/22/23)


Let’s Not Forget the Pre-Invasion War Against Iraq

Source: Future of Freedom Foundation
by Jacob G Hornberger

“The mainstream press and the Internet are filled with commentators who are expressing deep regret and remorse for having supported the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. That’s a good sign. But we shouldn’t forget that the U.S. government was waging war against the Iraqi people for ten years prior to its deadly and destructive invasion and war of aggression in 2003. I’m referring to the U.S. government’s system of economic sanctions against the Iraqi people from the time of the Persian Gulf War in 1990-91 through the 2003 invasion. The purpose of those sanctions was to inflict massive death and economic impoverishment on the Iraqi people.” (03/22/23)


The Malthusians Are Back

Source: The Atlantic
by Vijaya Ramachandran and Alex Trembath

“Scolding regular people for contributing to climate change is out of fashion. But scolding people for making new people is, apparently, totally fine. Many climate activists say the worst thing an individual can do, from an emissions perspective, is have kids. … In recent years, many climate advocates have emphasized human population itself — as opposed to related factors such as consumption and technology — as the driving force behind environmental destruction. This is, at bottom, a very old idea that can be traced back to the 18th-century cleric Thomas Malthus. It is also analytically unsound and morally objectionable. Critics of overpopulation down through the ages have had a nasty habit of treating people less as individuals with value and agency than as sentient locusts.” (03/22/23)