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The Last of the Indomitable Britons

So far, the best summary of the legacy of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is a line from Mark Steyn: she was the “anti-declinist.” Mrs. Thatcher’s predecessor as prime minister, the amiable but forgotten Sunny Jim Callaghan, once confided to a friend of mine that he thought Britain’s decline was irreversible and that the […]

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The End of an Illusion

Many years ago, I remember thinking that it would take many years to refute the panicked claims about global warming. Unlike most political movements, which content themselves with making promises about, say, what the unemployment rate will be in two years if we pass a giant stimulus bill—claims that are proven wrong (and how!) relatively […]

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Rogue States, International Edition

In addition to his comments on gun control, Jack Wakeland also sent me a comment on a rather more dangerous “rogue state,” North Korea, which has been outdoing its usual exaggerated and erratic threats of war. Jack brought my attention to a report that potentially sheds light on North Korea’s behavior. “Incomprehensible aggression from dictatorships […]

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Rogue States, Domestic Edition

My friend and occasional Tracinski Letter contributor Jack Wakeland has been giving me a hard time because I haven’t been covering very much of the debate over new gun control measures after the Newtown massacre. He’s right, of course, so below I am copying some of Jack’s comments on the issue, and as a special […]

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How to Achieve a Benevolent Sense of Life

Part 1: “How to Maintain a Benevolent Sense of Life in Today’s World” Many things have been written about the appeal of Ayn Rand’s novels, but one of the central reasons for her enduring popularity and influence is her concept of a “benevolent sense of life.” Her novels are not just about striving and struggle, […]

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What Are the Others Here For?

Deep down, I knew how this story was going to end. Back in November, the national news picked up a viral video of a New York City police officer buying a pair of boots for a homeless man in Times Square who was shoeless on a cold night. Everyone else thought this was a heartwarming […]

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We Will Meet the Cyborgs and They Will Be Us

We Are All Futurists Now, Part 3 For the previous installment of this series, about the coming revolution in robotics, I chose as my title a cheery takeoff on a show tune, “Anything You Can Do, iCan Do Better.” If I were to follow the favorite clichés of technology writers, I would have to choose […]

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The University Utopia

Three Paradoxes of American Politics, Part 2 Just after November’s election, I posed three paradoxes of American politics, asking why certain demographic groups make up reliable voting blocs for the left, even though the pro-free-market ideas of the right have so much to offer them. I have begun to revisit these paradoxes. In part one […]

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There’s Nobody as Dumb as a Smart Person

The problem with a reductio ad absurdum argument is that sometimes your opponent accepts the absurdity and just runs with it. When smokers were suing cigarette companies and the FDA was proposing to regulate tobacco, we thought it was a devastating retort to say, “What next, are they going to sue fast food restaurants and […]

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Did We Already Get Cyprused?

In covering the proposed Cyprus bank account seizure—which fortunately was voted down by the country’s parliament—I came across an odd defense of the proposal from New York Times business writer Andrew Ross Sorkin. The essence of Sorkin’s defense was that it had been 72 hours since the proposal was announced—a whole 72 hours!—and disaster had […]

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