Issue CCXXXVIII

March 8-13, 2010

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Culture
Progress: Creation and Maintenance:
G. Stolyarov II
March 8, 2010
One frequently encounters the identification of human creativity and inventiveness as driving forces for progress in technology and society. In part, this identification is correct: it is through the human creative faculty – the ability to bring forth new combinations of matter and new ideas – that improvements to the human condition arise. But while creation is a necessary component to progress, it is not a sufficient component.
In this essay, Mr. Stolyarov discusses a frequently underappreciated but vital contributing force to human advancement. 

Economics
Trade Deficits and Fiat Currencies:
Robert P. Murphy
March 13, 2010
There is a connection between fiat currencies and trade deficits, and many cynics have argued that the U. S. dollar's status as global reserve currency allowed Americans to consume more than they produced for decades. However, this "deficit without tears" argument is sometimes overstated. Dr. Robert Murphy argues that, to gain a deeper understanding of both monetary theory and international trade, it's useful to probe the issue more carefully.

Politics
Why on Earth Doesn't the U. S. End the Cuban Embargo?:
Bradley Doucet
March 8, 2010
"Why does the U. S. embargo against Cuba continue?" asks Bradley Doucet. Mr. Doucet argues that the best revenge against the expropriations performed by Fidel Castro in the 1960s and the continued oppression of the Cubans by that regime would be the freest, most open trade in goods, services, and ideas, in order to undermine the stranglehold Castro’s regime has had on the Cuban people.

Why on Earth Are We Living in Wonderland?:
Bradley Doucet
March 13, 2010
Here in the real world, we might be forgiven for wondering if we, too, hadn’t fallen down the rabbit hole. An economic crisis of near-unprecedented proportions has shaken a system many thought sound, but the reactions of politicians just seem to get curiouser and curiouser by the day. Bradley Doucet writes that, like Alice in her encounters with the quirky residents of Wonderland, we need to confront the nonsensical beliefs and distortions of language that threaten to further erode our wealth and freedom.

Al Capone-Style Health Care:
Edward Hudgins
March 13, 2010
The Obama administration wants no one to focus on the process involved in the production and passage of its health care takeover—not that it wants us to focus much on the substance, either. After all, politics always involves some trade-offs and even a little bit of arm-twisting. Like making sausage, it’s not nice to watch, but the products can be mighty tasty. But the process in this case is very relevant to the policy because it highlights exactly what sort of regime this administration would inflict on Americans. Dr. Edward Hudgins invites us to consider two aspects of that process.

Responsibility and Freedom -- Losing Them Both:
Gary Wolfram
March 13, 2010
Friedrich Hayek in his 1960 book, The Constitution of Liberty, wrote that a free society depends more than any other that people be guided by a sense of responsibility.  He writes: “A free society will not function or maintain itself unless its members regard it as right that each individual occupy the position that results from his action and accept it as due to his own action.” Today, writes Dr. Gary Wolfram, it would be unheard of for someone running for office to say that we are responsible for our own actions.

Census: A Little Too Personal:
Ron Paul
March 13, 2010
Last week Congress voted to encourage participation in the 2010 census.  Rep. Ron Paul voted “No” on this resolution for the simple, obvious reason that the census -- like so many government programs -- has grown far beyond what the framers of our Constitution intended.  The invasive nature of the current census raises serious questions about how and why government will use the collected information.  It also demonstrates how the federal bureaucracy consistently encourages citizens to think of themselves in terms of groups, rather than as individual Americans.  The not so subtle implication is that each group, whether ethnic, religious, social, or geographic, should speak up and demand its “fair share” of federal largesse.

Applying Alinsky: Why Obamacare Makes No Sense:
Alan Caruba
March 13, 2010
Forgotten and unreported in the recent "health care" debate are the “Rules for Radicals” by the godfather of all radical community organizers, Saul Alinsky. The President who began his political career as a community organizer, and whose entire approach to politics is based on his book, said, “It was that education that was seared into my brain. It was the best education I ever had, better than anything I got at Harvard.” Alan Caruba writes that Alinsky taught that Americans must be overwhelmed with a never-ending barrage of crises, emergencies, and unworkable ‘solutions’ that exacerbate problems. This is why Rahm Emanuel, the President’s Chief of Staff, famously said that a crisis should never be wasted.

We Want a "Fair Tax" Now!:
Alan Caruba
March 13, 2010
The income tax is probably the worst thing that ever happened to the United States in the last century, because it was always punitive and regressive. It punishes saving.  It deters economic growth through investment. It takes the wage earner’s money before he or she receives a paycheck. There is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come, and, according to Alan Caruba, the Fair Tax is just such an idea.

Science
Our Glaciers Are Growing, Not Melting: More Falsehoods from Al Gore:
Robert Felix
March 13, 2010
"Almost all of the ice-covered regions of the Earth are melting — and seas are rising," said Al Gore in an op-ed piece in the New York Times on February 27. Robert Felix provides extensive evidence that both parts of Gore's statement are false.
                                                    
"The search for static security - in the law and elsewhere - is misguided. The fact is security can only be achieved through constant change, adapting old ideas that have outlived their usefulness to current facts." 
~ William Osler