Category: Politics

Philippines Notes, Part 3: Free Markets

Those of us with a libertarian bent are at times susceptible to the theoretical ideal of “free markets,” the utopian concept of economics unburdened by interfering governments or regulations. Expressed purely (and absurdly) as the perfect crossroads of Supply and Demand, free markets are supposed to produce the best product at the best price, letting...

Religious Wackos

Those crazy Iraqis seem to be having a hard time crafting a national constitution. The biggest obstacle, according to news reports, is that every religious sect there has its own agenda. The Sunnis want this; the Shiites want that; and the Kurds want everything else. What these people don’t understand is the crucial difference between...

Why Golf on Los Angeles Municipal Courses Takes Forever

When I play golf locally, it’s usually at a nearby Los Angeles County municipal park course in Griffith Park. What ought to be a pleasant walk among the tress and birds often feels like a death march through rush hour traffic. Four-hour rounds morph into six-hour trudges, and the joy of chasing a little white...

Appropriations

Should any naive idealist still embrace the quaint notion that our country’s brief experiment in democracy fulfills the purpose of “representative government,” a cursory glance at the way the Appropriations committees of the United States Senate and House of Representatives operate will cloud even the sunniest outlook. How we, the tax-paying citizens of America, spend...

Randomly Searching for Terrorists

In the wake of the London Tube bombings, New York City has adopted a new policy to screen subway riders. Teams of police officers set up tables near turnstiles. Signs nearby announce that backpacks and handbags are subject to inspection. If riders don’t want to be searched, they’re free to leave the station without their...

Deciphering Intelligent Design

Proponents of “intelligent design” — which is another way of saying “opponents of the theory of evolution” — were pleased by President Bush’s recent remarks that “both sides ought to be properly taught” in public schools. Here was the most powerful person in the world lending credence to a wacky notion that has been widely...

The Abortion Quandary

The spectacularly enlightening exhibit “Bodies,” which has been shown around the world and is currently on display in Las Vegas, features dissected and preserved human beings and their various body systems. Amid all the exposed muscles and nerves, intestines and livers, bones and brains, is a section devoted to complete embryos and fetuses in various...

The Privilege, the Honor, the Responsibility

We have a very smart friend, an American, who never votes. He excuses his laziness with an intricate, self-negating argument that equates voting with an endorsement of a broken and fraudulent process. Like many citizens of this great country, my friend hasn’t traveled very much, and never to a place we would call a “third-world” nation,...

The Pernicious Funnel

The United States of America is presently running a larger deficit than any other time in its history. Measured in constant dollars, which adjusts for inflation, our country is deeper in debt than ever. Dozens of states, including California, the republic of the west coast, are running near-catastrophic deficits that inspire economic commentators to use...

A Blessed Life

Capitalism requires that we consumers feel as though we never have enough. Our lives will be fuller, richer,better if only we might acquire, chew, possess that which we don’t yet have. The media reminders that constantly bombard our senses teach us that more money, more fame, more fabulousness will magically enlighten our days as friendship, love...