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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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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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Willie Sutton’s European Vacation

From the beginning, the European crisis has been a story of small countries on the Eurozone’s “periphery” revealing fundamental problems at the heart of the system. Now a very small country on the outer edges of the periphery—the tiny Mediterranean island of Cyprus, with about a million inhabitants and 0.02% of Europe’s GDP—is triggering the […]

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What Is the Bible?

An Atheist Reads the Bible, Part 3 What is the Bible? I ask because I found it a little confusing for a while. In the previous installment of this series, I covered Genesis up to Noah and the flood, and I understand clearly what the purpose of that section is. It is a creation myth […]

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Anything You Can Do, iCan Do Better

In the first installment of this series, I described the emergence of a “Third Industrial Revolution” set off by the increasing integration of computers, the Internet, and information technology with manufacturing. Technology that up now has mostly been used to transmit and process information is increasingly being used to move things and make things. I […]

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Three Paradoxes of American Politics

Part 1: Getting the Blues The Republicans’ loss in November’s election has set off a particularly bitter re-evaluation of the party’s message and priorities. It is not simply that Republicans lost an election, but that they lost an election they ought to have won, given the poor performance of the economy, the continued unpopularity of […]

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