Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Whipped-Cream Boys of Affirmative Action

In Mark Twain's "The Prince and the Pauper" young Prince Edward had a designated courtier to receive the beatings that his Highness was too good to receive for his misdeeds. As I argue in my latest at American Greatness, today's affirmative action policies have created a similar kind of injustice in that they advance the interests of a different class of people than they were intended to help.

Monday, November 13, 2017

If Jesus ran for President

A Christian friend writes me--

If Jesus ran for President...

The Democrats wouldn't vote for him because the Washington Post said that God is a Republican.
The Tea Partiers wouldn't vote for him because he's not a native-born citizen.
The NeverTrump Republicans wouldn't vote for him because he speaks a very vulgar Aramaic and has holes in his tiny little hands.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

My favorite argument for the existence of God

1. All life comes from life (Pasteur)
2. Our universe was once in a state in which no life could exist (the big bang)
3. Therefore life in our universe must created by some kind of life from outside our universe.
4. In English, the creator of life in our universe is called "God."

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Impeachment before Twitter

Since Twitter wasn't around in 1868, the President's congressional opponents could not impeach him for tweeting. But they did their best:
Articles of Impeachment
ARTICLE 10.That said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, unmindful of the high duties of his high office and the dignity and proprieties thereof, and of the harmony and courtesies which ought to exist and be maintained between the executive and legislative branches of the Government of the United States, designing and intending to set aside the rightful authorities and powers of Congress, did attempt to bring into disgrace, ridicule, hatred, contempt and reproach, the Congress of the United States, and the several branches thereof, to impair and destroy the regard and respect of all the good people of the United States for the Congress and the legislative power thereof, which all officers of the government ought inviolably to preserve and maintain, and to excite the odium and resentment of all good people of the United States against Congress and the laws by it duly and constitutionally enacted; and in pursuance of his said design and intent, openly and publicly and before divers assemblages of citizens of the United States, convened in divers parts thereof, to meet and receive said Andrew Johnson as the Chief Magistrate of the United States, did, on the eighteenth day of August, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-six, and on divers other days and times, as well before as afterwards, make and declare, with a loud voice, certain intemperate, inflammatory and scandalous harangues, and therein utter loud threats and bitter menaces, as well against Congress as the laws of the United States duly enacted thereby, amid the cries, jeers and laughter of the multitudes then assembled in hearing....

For an important treatment of this, see Jeffrey Tulis's The Rhetorical Presidency, coming out in November in a new edition.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Of Paper and Paper Tigers

We can't ignore the threat from North Korea. Yet we also need to resist the impulse to “do something,” until we actually come up with something that is worth doing. At present, neither diplomatic engagement nor military action are worth it, as I explain in my latest piece at American Greatness.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Nehemia Gordon and I on Jewish Freedom in America

In this brand-new Hebrew Voices, Jewish Freedom in America, Nehemia Gordon and I explain how Jonas Phillips, an 18th century Jewish merchant gave us freedom of religion, how George Washington set us free from the tyranny of religious "toleration", and how the Regressive Left is ushering in a new era of religious persecution. We also discuss how President Trump's "Muslim Ban" fits with the American Constitution, and the history of US immigration law.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Bottoms Up!

I have been thinking about shipbuilding, and how to bring more of it back to America. This is in line with President Trump's thinking.

The Navy is going to need new vessels, if only to keep the Chinese honest. But more than that, historically the US, like other countries, had tariff preferences for imports in US-built and flagged vessels. A big cost in building and running merchant ships is labor, and crew and shipyard labor is costly because of a very oppressive regulatory environment (the Jones Act, OSHA, EPA, etc.). If we can reduce some of that burden on labor, that will make building and running US ships less expensive, and perhaps make it possible to foster the US Merchant Marine not just in protected niches like the routes from the mainland to Hawaii or Puerto Rico, but in the mainland export-import trade with the rest of the world as well. Encouraging the industry by lowering labor costs will also open up some space for innovation and new technology by reducing the per unit cost of any innovation brought to market.

I haven't gathered or analyzed any figures, but my hunch is that by reducing the regulatory burden and levying tariffs on goods imported in foreign vessels, we can encourage domestic shipbuilding and grow the US merchant marine, adding jobs for Americans while reducing the costs to domestic US shippers. There is no free lunch here, all this will come at the price of a modest increase in costs to US exporters and importers and a decline in wages for the lucky few working in the existing industry. All of this is probably in massive violation of existing trade agreements, so we will have to open up things that the conventional wisdom wants firmly closed. Glorious fun, that!