Gus Van Horn PJM OpEd: The Silent Killer

 Posted by on 18 October 2010 at 1:00 pm  Activism, Economics, Government
Oct 182010

The October 15, 2010 editio of PajamasMedia published Gus Van Horn’s latest OpEd, “Government Regulation of the Economy Is the ‘Silent Killer’“. Here’s the opening:

We’ve all heard public service announcements about one disease or another, calling it the “silent killer” and warning of horrible consequences for its unsuspecting victims. A similar silent killer is on the loose now, but there are no such ads. You also won’t hear about it on the news. Nevertheless, millions of Americans are unknowing victims of this silent killer right now.

You are probably one of them…

(Read the full text of “Government Regulation of the Economy Is the ‘Silent Killer’“.)

The “silent killer” analogy is apt in so many ways. We’ll never know what sorts of amazing goods and services ordinary people could have created (to the betterment of themselves and the rest of us), if they had only been left alone to live honestly, produce, and trade with others.

Thank you, Gus, for another fine OpEd!

Biddle on the NYC Mosque

 Posted by on 17 September 2010 at 1:00 pm  Foreign Policy, Government, Law
Sep 172010

The Fall 2010 issue of The Objective Standard features a major new article by Craig Biddle, “The Ground Zero Mosque, the Spread of Islam, and How America Should Deal with Such Efforts“.

Craig Biddle explains the crucial importance of recognizing that we are at war with a deadly enemy — and the importance of defending America based on the principles of individual rights and the rue of law.

One key quote:

If we want to protect civilized society, we must unwaveringly uphold the principles of civilized society — no matter how justifiably outraged we may become about the irrationalities and injustices perpetrated by our enemies. If, in an effort to stop Muslims from destroying America, we trample individual rights and the rule of law, we will have surrendered the very thing we were supposed to be fighting to protect.

Thank you, Craig, for a well-written and well-reasoned piece!

(The rest of the Fall 2010 lineup looks excellent as well.)


The September 14, 2010 PajamasMedia has just published my latest OpEd, “Get Ready For Your Health Care ‘Re-Education’“.

My theme is that the government has started an Orwellian “re-education” program to get the public to embrace ObamaCare — and Americans must respond by teaching our politicians a lesson this November.

One excerpt:

In effect, the government is saying: “Let’s pretend we never said ObamaCare would lower costs — even though that’s how we sold it to the public.” “Let’s push patients into restrictive health plans — and call it a ‘medical home.’” “Let’s label it ‘misinformation’ when insurers tell the truth about how our laws raise their costs — and then punish them if they complain about it.”

And as the problems of ObamaCare deepen, we can expect such “re-education” efforts to intensify.

(Read the full text of “Get Ready For Your Health Care ‘Re-Education’“.)

And thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the Instapundit link!

Amit Ghate PJM OpED: Risk and Regulation

 Posted by on 14 September 2010 at 1:00 pm  Activism, Government
Sep 142010

Amit Ghate has a new OpEd in the September 12, 2010 edition of PajamasMedia, “Risk and Regulation“.

Here’s the opening:

Every day we witness regulators denying people their freedom of action: The FDA prevents patients from taking potentially beneficial drugs; the SEC restricts the types of securities investors can buy; the FAA sets such detailed “guidelines” that airplane designers and owners find it difficult to innovate and operate profitably. Beyond these are the innumerable regulatory obstacles which individuals and firms must constantly surmount.

As economic activity dwindles, and tea party activism rises, some Americans are now beginning to question the most flagrant of these rules and regulations. But that alone won’t suffice. If we’re to truly effect fundamental and long-lasting change, we must identify, examine and challenge the basic premises responsible for the regulatory state…

(Read the full text of “Risk and Regulation“.)

Ghate nicely dissects the fundamentals of the regulatory state and shows how it thwarts the individual’s freedom to act on his own best judgment for his benefit.

Congratulations, Amit, for another fine essay!


This video of Brigitte Gabriel discussing the barbarity of Islam has been making the rounds on blogs and social media recently:

(Note: This is a multi-part video series.)

Diana and I heard Brigitte Gabriel speak at the same LPR 2009 conference that Yaron Brook spoke at. She is a staunch Christian who took an uncompromising stand against the Islamic threat to America. She told some heart-rending stories of life as a Christian under Islamist rule in Lebanon. She made a compelling case that the Islamists want destroy America. And she had the mostly-conservative crowd eating out of her hand.

And she’s just one of many eloquent Christian conservatives out there on the lecture circuit making their case against the Islamic threat — and arguing that the only solution is for this country to recommit to Christian values.

For this reason, I regard her and her allies as a serious long-term danger to America, even though her criticisms of the barbarity of Islam are correct. She correctly identifies the current problem, but she also offers the wrong solution.

Let me explain why I regard the Christians as the greater long-term danger to America — even while I also agree that the Islamists are the greater immediate short-term threat to this country.

Based on my reading of American culture and sense of life, I personally don’t think this country can actually be conquered by the Islamists. Yes, the Islamists will try as hard as they can. And yes, they could do a tremendous amount of damage (with more 9/11-style attacks or worse). And yes, they could kill many Americans in the process. But they couldn’t actually take over and impose Sharia law on us.

There’s still a general “ornery streak” alive and well amongst many Americans that would reject any such an attempt to subjugate us to Sharia law. Many Americans would fight back by any means necessary — especially in the much-maligned “Red states” where that ornery streak runs deep and where the populace is well-armed.

(This is in contrast to Europe, where I think many of those countries could fall under Sharia law due to their internal weaknesses).

But I do think that if the Islamists successfully committed more major terrorist attacks on US soil, it would arouse a backlash by decent Americans seeking some kind of forceful response. Conservatives like Brigitte Gabriel would exploit this and use pro-American rhetoric to rouse Americans against the Islamists. And this breed of conservatives might even implement a somewhat better foreign policy, at least for a while.

But they also would couple that with appeals to Christianity, sacrifice, faith, etc. — all in the name of being “pro-America”. Those are the sorts of appeals that the neocons, John McCain, and other bad conservatives have been making for many years — and which would strike a renewed chord in an America shaken up by a string of deadly attacks at home and abroad. Americans would likely reject our current policy of appeasement (correctly seeing it as having weakened this country), but would instead embrace an even worse nationalism. And without a firm commitment to individual rights, any new conservative nationalist government would very likely impose a variety of “emergency” measures that might be superficially reasonable (and might even be appropriate in short-term wartime settings), but would somehow never be repealed.

If dictatorship ever comes to America, it won’t be an Islamist one. Instead, it will more likely be a Christian one, but one which would arise as a direct result of our current weak approach to the real and immediate Islamist threats. Furthermore, such a Christianist regime could gain traction here in a way that an Islamist regime never could because the Christianist regime would have a superficially “pro-American” veneer.

Tellingly, polls taken in the past few years show the following:

Given these facts, I think a Christian dictatorship could appeal to many Americans in a time of crisis, especially if it came to power on a platform of fighting back against the Islamists — and if it were viewed as the only moral alternative to the policies of appeasement and secularism that allowed such attacks to happen in the first place.

Hence, it’s critical to both oppose the immediate and serious Islamist danger, but also be alert to the Christian totalitarian threat.

Back in 1980, many Americans (correctly) recognized the USSR as a threat, but also thought that we could use the Islamist mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan as allies against the communists. Of course today the USSR is no more, but the Islamists are now a real danger to us in a way that few (myself included) anticipated 30 years ago.

But as more conservatives start speaking out against Islam, I want to highlight the importance of closely examining what they stand for in addition to what they are against.

And on a positive note, I also wanted to highlight the importance of offering Americans an alternative principled self-interested approach to foreign policy that doesn’t rely on appeals to faith, altruism, and sacrifice. Fortunately, we have such an approach to offer. Let’s hope our message reaches enough Americans before it’s too late.


PajamasMedia has just published my latest OpEd, “Transparency For Me, But Not For Thee“.

My theme is that our government’s ever-increasing demands for access to our personal data while simultaneously preventing us from gathering information about it threatens to turn America into a chilling “interrogation room society” where transparency only goes one way. Hence, Americans must demand government transparency as a corollary to the broader principle of properly limited government.

Here is the opening:

When President Barack Obama took office, he pledged to make his administration “the most open and transparent in history.” However, government officials are now demanding ever-increasing amounts of information about ordinary Americans, while preventing citizens from gathering similar information about government operations. If this ominous trend continues, this “transparency” will be in one direction only — which bodes ill for the future of our republic.

(Read the full text of “Transparency for Me, but not for Thee“.)

Amit Ghate PJM OpEd: Ideas and the State

 Posted by on 16 August 2010 at 1:00 pm  Activism, Government
Aug 162010

Amit Ghate has another nice OpEd in the August 16, 2010 edition of PajamasMedia.

Here’s the opening to his piece, “Ideas and the State“:

What do the following disputes — running the cultural gamut — have in common?

In education: Should creationism or evolution be taught in public schools? In science: Should we form de facto boards of inquisition to maintain the government-funded consensus on global warming? In arts: Should we support “diversity” in the form of the “Piss Christ”? Or should we engage in social engineering by funding art “that would show support for Obama’s domestic agenda”? And in a sad mixture of religion, politics, and science: Should taxpayers continue to support NASA with an annual budget of $19 billion so that it can pursue its new mission to “engage… with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science”?

The answer? Each seeks to determine which ideas taxpayers must fund and support. In so doing, each contributes to making modern politics more acrimonious and fractious than ever.

(Read the full text of “Ideas and the State“.)

I very much like his formulation, “separation of ideas and state”. Congratulations, Amit!

Jul 082010

The July 2, 2010 edition of PajamasMedia has published Amit Ghate’s latest OpEd, “Socialism’s Second Guessers“.

Here’s the opening:

In a recent marketing move, GM donated a car to Detroit pitcher Armando Galarraga after his perfect game was ruined by an umpire’s mistake. In the subhead to a feature article on the subject, the New York Times second-guessed GM, asking: “Was a prize to a pitcher for a near-perfect game, ‘some of the best dollars invested in publicity,’ or a squandering of taxpayers’ equity?”

Note that the car in question was a $53,000 Corvette; GM’s global revenues are on the order of $100 billion. It’s like asking whether a $10 million company should have purchased a $5 box of pens. Pace the NY Times, there’s nothing special about this particular decision; every business or enterprise makes similar ones daily.

And that’s the point. Previously we could take for granted that private individuals or enterprises would be allowed to make such decisions for themselves. But no longer. At the behest of our political and cultural leaders, we’re socializing property at an accelerating rate. The type of meddlesome question the New York Times poses is but one of its consequences…

(Read the full text of “Socialism’s Second Guessers“.)

Jun 092010

In the May 29, 2010 episode of “Front Page” on PajamasTV, Yaron Brook and Terry Jones answered viewer questions.

One question in particular should be of interest to many NoodleFood readers:

What can we realistically do to stop the advancement of tyranny? What will actually work and can we avoid violence?

Click on the image below to watch the video and hear their answer:


Ray Niles Article on Housing Crisis

 Posted by on 4 June 2010 at 7:00 am  Activism, Economics, Government
Jun 042010

Our friend Ray Niles has just published an article on the housing crisis in the George Mason University School of Law’s Journal of Law, Economics, and Policy, Vol. 6, No. 2, Spring 2010. entitled “Eighty Years in the Making: How Housing Subsidies Caused the Financial Meltdown”.

Diana and I have both had the pleasure of reading it, and I found it especially valuable because it presented a thorough historical overview of the many decades of government intervention in various aspects of the market that led to the housing bubble (and subsequent collapse).

I had read several prior articles that discussed one or more of these causes, but Ray’s article did a nice job of presenting all of that information in a nice integrated fashion, accessible to a layperson without specialized economic training.

The article is not available in downloadable form, at least not at present. But Ray has permission from the publisher to send PDF copies. So if you’re interested, send him an e-mail at: “rayniles (at) rcniles (dot) com”.

I highly recommend his article, and I’m glad to see him building on his excellent work from the past few years.

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