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!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Combating the Power of Media Lies

What if the accusations against President Trump are false, as increasingly seems likely to be the case? How does one combat such a huge series of lies?
My latest at American Greatness!  

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Trump, the Russians, and the Carlos Slim Times on Secrecy of Sources and Methods

Trump to Russian Foreign Minister: ISIS is plotting something really bad.
Russian Foreign Minister: Mr. President, how do you know this?
Trump: Hey Sergey, we got ways.
New York Times: According to our anonymous IC mole, Trump endangers Israeli agent who lives at 15 Palm Court Apartment 306 in Mosul.

{According to Al-Jazeera, less compromised on Trump than the Carlos Slim Times, the intell came from the Jordanians.
But I would bet that McMaster and Tillerson are telling the truth that the whole story of "blown intell" is a lie.}

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Draining the Academic Swamp

Secretary DeVos, take a stand for freedom against the thugs through your control of the accreditation process! I show how at American Greatness.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Chairman Trump

Trump is more like a Chairman of a board than a CEO.
And so, I argue at American Greatness, was George Washington.

Friday, March 31, 2017

The one who loves wisdom and the wise one

The philosopher asks:
Is it true?
If it is, how can I know it?
The wise one asks:
Is it true?
If it is, how can I use it?
--My Ko Ching

Sunday, March 19, 2017

On the market in health care.

Arguing that you can't have a free market in health care because when people need health care can't bargain because they are sick is like arguing that you can't have a free market in hotel rooms because most of the time that the guests are in the room they can't bargain because they are asleep.
However, I discuss principles for the public provision of health care in this 2010 post from the Obamacare debates.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A country is a country

Who are the American people, and why do they need to enforce their immigration laws?
My piece from The Point #13, now out from behind the paywall.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Memo to a "Resister"

American Muslims need to understand that they have to engage in affirmative acts of loyalty or they have no future in America. Just like Japanese Americans volunteering for combat out of the internment camps.  American Muslims have to self-police, and they have to do so openly.  The alternative for them (and us)  is conquer or die.
The question is whether in soliciting those affirmative acts of loyalty the US has the right mix of appeasment and confrontation. The record of success since 9-11 of US security forces is not perfect (and it was a lot worse under Obama, for various reasons, than under Bush after 9-11).  Perfection is a reasonable standard for those of us old enough to recall that from 1945 to 2001 there was no succesful terrorist attack carried out by a foreign terrorist on US soil.
To secure Muslim loyalty, HRC promised more appeasement. Trump promised more confrontation. Trump won. Trying to "resist Trump" will be electorally disastrous for the Democrats in 2018 and 2020 unless the Islamists throw in the towel. Rolling over for Trump, on the other hand, shifts the responsibility to him: then any attacks are his fault NOT YOURS.  Cynical and obvious advice, but some of your side seems to have forgotten the obvious.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Six Points on the Azaria Case

1. The purpose of a trial is to clear up doubts. That other cases require a trial to clear up doubts does not mean that every case does. Who is to decide? By giving a soldier or a policeman a gun we empower them to make life or death decisions. Why not this one? 2. If it is not possible to kill a terrorist after a trial, than the trial itself is not merely a procedural delay in the delivery of justice, it is a procedure by which injustice is guaranteed. 3. The one who dehumanizes the enemy is the one who denies that enemy's moral culpability and thus refuses to treat that enemy as a criminal regardless of their conduct. 4. The laws of war permit the summary execution of terrorists. 5. I do not condone leaving an injured, unarmed alive when that man is a terrorist, yes. It is arguable whether he should be patched up for trial, convicted, and then killed. But to patch him, feed him, and keep him with his fellow terrorists until he is released to kill again? What values does does that uphold? 6. Azaria, it is claimed, violated orders. If he did so, he did so to kill a man who deserved to die, who would not have died had Azaria had not acted. Should soldiers follow the prima facie immoral order to spare a disabled terrorist? Sure. But to judge a soldier who violated an immoral order you need to have the proper sense of right and wrong and the understanding that such an order is, prima facie, immoral.