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Don't Worry if You Give up Your New Year's Resolutions Early: It's the American Way

January 1, 2019 - 6:00am

Wonder why, even on Jan. 1, you have already broken all your New Year's resolutions? Do not blame yourself -- heaven forbid. Enlist modern sophistication and blame your brain's frontal cortex, affluence, the Internet (the "collapse of delay between impulse and action") and "the democratization of temptation."

Summoned by Events

December 3, 2018 - 7:00am

At the beginning of his long and well-lived life, George Herbert Walker Bush, who in politics was always prosaic, acquired, by way of a grandfather, the name of a British poet and priest (George Herbert, 1593-1633). He acquired much else from family inheritance.

Political Antibodies Are Strengthening the Nation's Immune System

November 8, 2018 - 7:00am

America's body politic has recently been scarred by excruciating political shingles, and 2018 campaigning was equivalent to acid reflux. But Tuesday's elections indicated that some political antibodies are strengthening the nation's immune system.

America's Disturbing Plunge Into Protectionism

October 8, 2018 - 7:00am

The descent of American capitalism into a racket is being greased by professed capitalists in government, in collaboration with professed capitalists in what is called, with decreasing accuracy, the private sector. This is occurring under the auspices of Republicans, and while many Democrats are arguing, with some accuracy but more incoherence, this: The government has become a servant of grasping private interests -- and should be much bigger and more interventionist.

The Supreme Court Confirmation Process Has Become a Maelstrom of Insincerities

September 24, 2018 - 7:00am

The current era of scorched-earth politics began five years after there was, according to Christine Blasey Ford, in 1982, an alcohol-soaked party in a suburban Washington home. There her 15-year-old self was, she says, assaulted by 17-year-old Brett Kavanaugh, who categorically denies this accusation.

America Is Overdue for Another Lehman-Like Episode

August 21, 2018 - 7:00am

Eric Sevareid (1912-1992), the author and broadcaster, said he was a pessimist about tomorrow but an optimist about the day after tomorrow. Regarding America's economy, prudent people should reverse that.

Markets Know Better Than Bureaucrats What Society Needs

August 16, 2018 - 7:00am

Governments, seemingly eager to supply their critics with ammunition, constantly validate historian Robert Conquest: The behavior of any bureaucratic organization can best be understood by assuming that it is controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies. Consider North Carolina's intervention in the medical-devices market.

Battling Campus Oppression of the Freedom of Expression

May 21, 2018 - 7:00am

On election night 2016, Mark Schlissel, the University of Michigan's president, addressed more than 1,000 students, declaring that the 90 percent of them who had favored the losing candidate had rejected "hate." He thereby effectively made those who disagreed with him and with the campus majority eligible to be targets of the university's "bias response teams." That his announced contempt for them made him a suitable target of the thought police is a thought that presumably occurred to no one, least of all him.

After Nixing the Iran Nuclear Deal, Is Containment Our Only Option?

May 15, 2018 - 6:00am

The path to today's problems with Iran passed through the University of Chicago squash court where on Dec. 2, 1942, for 4.5 minutes physicist Enrico Fermi, making calculations on a slide rule, achieved the controlled release of energy from an atomic nucleus. Historian Richard Rhodes says that Fermi and his colleagues were risking "a small Chernobyl in the midst of a crowded city."

Are We Now Trapped in a Debt Spiral?

May 7, 2018 - 7:00am

From Scotland, where Adam Smith pioneered systematic thinking about economics, comes an adjective, "carnaptious," that fits people who are allergic to economic euphoria. It means cantankerous. Let's think carnaptiously about this fact: The interest rate on 10-year Treasury bonds recently rose briefly to 3 percent, and soon may move above this. This is more than evidence of the economy's strength. It also is a harbinger of a coming day when the great driver of the national debt will be ... the national debt. Pour a Scotch and read on.

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