“If I Am Not For Myself….”

Headline at the Times of Israel: “Obama: US won’t be able to defend Israel if peace talks fail.” Jeffrey Goldberg writes, When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the White House tomorrow, President Barack Obama will tell him that his country could face a bleak future — one of international isolation and demographic disaster — if he refuses to endorse a U.S.-drafted framework agreement for … Continue reading “If I Am Not For Myself….”

I Seem to Remember that I Had a Life

The last eight months of my life have been dominated by creating and running a massively open online course (MOOC) on twentieth-century intellectual history. The course has ended, and I seem to remember that I had a life before all this started. I hope I can get back to it. The course, one of the first humanities MOOCs, attracted 35,000 students, of whom about 8,000 … Continue reading I Seem to Remember that I Had a Life

Scenes from the Class Struggle in Texas

The National Association of Scholars recently completed a study of history courses offered at The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University. It’s absolutely on target: Our findings in this study shed light on a source of Americans’ increasing ignorance about their own history. At the two institutions we studied, the focus on race, class, and gender often tended to crowd out the … Continue reading Scenes from the Class Struggle in Texas

Alternative Education

Glenn Reynolds writes about the growing popularity of alternatives to traditional public education. He makes an important sociological observation: This Industrial Era approach (public schools were organized in the 19th century on a Prussian model, explicitly to produce obedient, orderly workers) had advantages. But it also had disadvantages. Like interchangeable parts in an industrial machine, students were treated alike, regardless of their individual characteristics and … Continue reading Alternative Education

More on That Agenda

The Washington Examiner has a lot more on Obama’s second-term environmental agenda: Here are just a few of many examples cited by Inhofe of costly new Obama-inspired regulations that EPA will impose on the economy after Nov. 6: • Greenhouse gas regulations, including the infamous “cow tax.” The EPA will finalize proposed regulations that will virtually eliminate coal use in electricity generation, thus driving consumer … Continue reading More on That Agenda

What Has Charlotte to Do with Jerusalem?

The Democrats have removed reference to God—specifically, to God-given rights—from the Democratic Party Platform. They’ve also removed recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This is hugely important, and not for the reasons that most people think. The first is not just an expression of secularism, which has been integral to the Democratic Party for decades. It’s a full embrace of Rousseau, and a … Continue reading What Has Charlotte to Do with Jerusalem?

Politics without Foundations

“Why,” Beverly Gage and Steven Hayward ask, “is there no liberal Ayn Rand?” Arguably, there are several: Charles Dickens, George Bernard Shaw, John dos Passos, and John Steinbeck—though none inspires the devotion that Rand’s followers feel for her. But their real question isn’t about literature. It’s about philosophy. The conservative movement rests on a series of great thinkers: Aristotle, Aquinas, Locke, Burke, Mill, Hayek, von … Continue reading Politics without Foundations

Tax Fairness

The President says he wants the wealthy to pay their fair share. What would that be? He never says. How would one decide whether a given level of taxation is fair? He never says. Neither do his supporters, who are remarkably calalier about the theoretical foundations of their policy positions. Let’s start by asking, Who pays how much now? And let’s consider not just federal … Continue reading Tax Fairness

Presidential Plunder

Throughout human history, people have had to worry about plunder. Foreign tribes might attack and plunder their villages, stealing their goods and perhaps even their women and children. Pirates might plunder their ships. Their own leaders might plunder them through excessive taxation or seizure of lands. The Obama administration, bringing that old concept into the 21st century, has excelled at exactly one thing—plunder. Its signal … Continue reading Presidential Plunder