Chafee Wants to Be Fair to the Boss

“Fairness” is an ideal term of a sort beloved by politicians: descriptors that sound inherently positive and desirable, but that are completely subjective and can be flipped around every which way to serve any political need, as Gov. Chafee illustrates by seeking parity in raises for highly paid directors.

Catching on to the Danger of Municipal Dictators

Central Falls Receiver Robert Flanders’ performance, both on stage and in his job, should spark reevaluation of theories of governance and political expedience.

Food for All Market Shows Business and Community in the Absence of Regulation

A Philadelphia company illustrates how voluntary action can make very fine and localized adjustments of behavior to repair a short-term error that threatened a long-term community interest, while government regulation would bring about unintended consequences with a much more difficult “undo” button.

Government Bans and Health Statistics

Smoking bans and other government regulations may catalyze or accelerate positive changes, but the critical question is whether their results are worth their costs.

Religion’s Role in Contemporary Governance

The matter of separation of church and state deserves a more dedicated public debate than the heat of individual issues tends to allow. After such a discussion, the U.S. could develop a system allowing for much more variation and diversity than seems possible according to the current terms of the debate.

Melville & the Current – Finding Meaning in Life

On what grounds do we choose which of the three options for life’s big question (fight, surrender, or adjust) to pursue, and (relatedly) what are we intending to find or accomplish by heading upstream, downstream, or cross-stream?

Washington, Wall Street, and Populism

After reading Throw Them All Out: How Politicians and Their Friends Get Rich Off Insider Stock Tips, Land Deals, and Cronyism That Would Send the Rest of Us to Prison, by Peter Schweizer — a book that he calls “the most offensive and disturbing thing I’ve read since sampling the oeuvre of the Marquis de Sade” — Kevin Williamson illustrates how dangerous the concept of Big can become.

Assistance by Another Path

While public assistance costs certainly bear watching, the larger reason for concern may not be that payments to individuals are growing and going to more people, or even that they’re covering more exigencies, but that the deepening involvement of government in private industry is making it more and more difficult to tell who is forcing whom to give what to whom else.

A Tale of Two Classes: Wealth Isn’t Irrevocable

Relying too greatly on debt and the great money shuffle to resolve poor financial and civic management in the past has a frightening upper limit.

Inequality and Economic Dust

Ash Wednesday seems an appropriate day to consider ruminations on economic inequality, from James Nuechterlein’s “Public Square” column in last April’s First Things (subscription required): … the connection between inequality and hard times is so prevalent in folk wisdom that expressions of alarm over the nation’s distribution of income followed in the wake of the […]

Western Society’s Two Liberalisms, One Sustainable, One Not

The contradiction of liberal populism and liberal technocracy resolves if one blends questions of power in with ideology. If our current state of coinciding prosperity and freedom is an accomplishment, then the objective of political action is to manage power so as not to undermine the achievement; if it is a discovery, implying an inability to undiscover it, then the objective becomes to marshal power for more expeditious achievement of progress.

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