Category: Liberty’s Labors Lost

Showing Your Papers

A few days ago, I took a student for lunch and enjoyed my first experience of being asked to present my proof of vaccination as a condition for being granted the privilege of eating soup in a restaurant. I took the opportunity to explain to my student, with whom I happened to be reading Brave New World that day, the special emotional significance,...

Competing Hells

From Business Insider: “A noted political scientist warned that the US could be under the rule of a right-wing dictator by 2030.” The noted academic in question is one Thomas Homer-Dixon (first time I have ever noted him, to be honest), a Canadian think-tank researcher of the global enviro-socialist variety — the kind of “political scientist” for whom alleged concerns about the environment...

Reflections On Life, Literacy, and Legality

I just read the following headline from MSNBC: “Justice Sotomayor, the conscious of the supreme court.” If Sotomayor represents judicial “consciousness,” then perhaps a full supply of sleeping pills for judges everywhere would go a long way to answering all the world’s problems. Millions of tiny humans would surely appreciate a little less judicial consciousness, on this standard.  The error is repeated in...

Musings on the Mechanism

If governments explicitly spelled out the truth on all the “emergency measures” and “crisis responses” they have initiated during the pandemic — namely that not one of these new measures, powers, or mandates will ever be repealed, but rather, on the contrary, that every one of them will be expanded, and cited as convenient precedent, in perpetuity, to encompass an ever-increasing range of...

Abortion Rights

The case for abortion that depends on denying any right to life to the human embryo, according to a limiting standard of what constitutes “true” human life, was always on shaky ground. Modern medical experience and practice seem to have nullified that limiting standard outright from an empirical point of view. Common sense, which is to say basic human logic, has always nullified...

Random Reflections: Paternalism, Republicanism, Capitalism

Once you accept the general premise that safety trumps freedom, there is absolutely nowhere to draw the line. For all life is risk, difficulty, unexpected threats, and the ever-present, universal certainty of impending death. Thus, on the above premise, freedom can never be the primary concern or the highest goal. If I see you stepping in front of an oncoming car, I will...

Nostalgia as Politics

So much of the ruin of modern civilization, with its once-noble attempt to realize practical liberty, may be traced to the gradual calcification of democratic political institutions into freedom-stifling tunnels of partisan loyalty. This hardened devotion to a group or tribe eventually entails little or no demand that one’s party exhibit any of the characteristics or impulses that originally attracted one to it;...

Progressive Fudge: Rights and Judgment

According to progressive morality, which is really progressive politics, to disagree with or disrespect someone’s choices and attitudes — provided they are the correct choices and attitudes of the moment — is to violate his rights. This is tantamount to saying that rights are essentially protections against being judged. To judge a person’s preferences (in relativist lingo, his “lifestyle”) is thus inherently to...

Punishing the Noncompliant

Noam Chomsky has joined the rising chorus of those who would like to use the pandemic as an opportunity to push the world toward Chinese-style totalitarianism, suggesting that the most suitable way to manage the “problem” of unvaccinated individuals is for the community to isolate these people and, if necessary, let them starve. Referring to the prospective condition of the unvaccinated after they...

Tribalism Today

“Biden embarrassing US on world stage,” announces a headline from Fox News, specifically concerning an episode of Laura Ingraham’s show in which she interviews Victor Davis Hanson to arrive at the startling investigative conclusion referenced in that headline. But Ingraham and Hanson, both highly educated and presumably fairly intelligent, along with the entire Fox News corporate entity from whose audience approval they profit...