The Jeffersonian

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May I have a permission slip?

We have a fairly new phrase to add to our political vocabulary. In addition to the surveillance state, we also have the permission state.

May I have a permission slip?

We have a fairly new phrase to add to our political vocabulary. In addition to the surveillance state, we also have the permission state.

When war comes to your village

When war comes to your village

A long time ago in graduate school I worked as a teaching assistant for a professor named Lane Davis. I handled the discussion groups for his introductory class in politics. For that class, we would read pieces of the canon, such as the Melian dialogue in Thucydides’ History of the Pelopponesian War, and Socrates’ famous dialogue with Thrasymachus in The Republic about the meaning of justice.

Aft…

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Aug 9

Our foreign policy reeks of impotence and dishonesty

Our foreign policy reeks of impotence and dishonesty

THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. Today I authorized two operations in Iraq — targeted airstrikes to protect our American personnel, [and humanitarian aid].

Let’s parse the latest from the White House. What are targeted air strikes? I guess those are different from untargeted air strikes, like the ones we conducted for years in Afghanistan, where we mistakenly murdered people at weddings and funerals.…

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Aug 5

Science and money: competing elements of 9/11’s aftermath

Science and money: competing elements of 9/11’s aftermath

What is the purpose of science? What is the purpose of scientific reasoning? The purpose of the whole enterprise – the logic, the testing, the evaluation of evidence – is to make the inexplicable, explicable. Before science, existed magic, superstition, and we have to admit it, religion. Before science, the sun – the source of life on our planet – had no rational explanation. We did not know why…

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No apologies, no condolences

No apologies, no condolences

Putin and company mounted their usual round of lies and accusations after Russians in eastern Ukraine shot down MH17 last week. How do we let them get away with this kind of thing, evading responsibility with relative ease? While we engage in quasi-legal proposals and expressions of concern about securing the crime scene, conducting an international investigation, and tampering with evidence –…

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Thankful we have the NSA to protect us

Thankful we have the NSA to protect us

“NSA is a professional foreign-intelligence organization with a highly trained workforce, including brave and dedicated men and women from our armed forces… As we have said before, the agency has zero tolerance for willful violations of the agency’s authorities or professional standards.” ~ Spokeswoman for the NSA, speaking to Forbes magazine

I guess that’s why highly trained Director of National…

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Memory holes everywhere

The latest warnings about Iraq are that leaders in Iraq must make political progress, or the country will plunge into chaos.

Memory holes everywhere

The latest warnings about Iraq are that leaders in Iraq must make political progress, or the country will plunge into chaos.

Impartial investigations: how to make sure they never happen

Impartial investigations: how to make sure they never happen

It’s instructive to listen carefully to U. S. commentary after the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine. Observers make these points, with some urgency:

We have to secure the crash scene. Put yellow crime tape around it. Don’t leave it in control of the Russian separatists who control it now. They are the ones suspected of launching the missile that brought the plane down, so…

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How do we create more jobs?

How do we create more jobs?

That’s the question: how do we create more jobs? When a politician asks it, the question becomes, “How do we create more good middle class jobs?”

That’s the wrong question. We want to ask instead, “How can we help people make money?” The answer to that question is simple. Get out of the way. How do you get out of the way? That’s simple, too:

    • Get rid of the permission based economy, where business…

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Articles at Reason.com

Not so surprisingly, I enjoy reading the articles at Reason.com. They are well done, and if you don’t read too many of them in one day, you don’t get too discouraged. If you think about what you’re reading too long, though, you’re liable to go into one of those fearful states where your main question is, “How can this be? Do I live in a place where these kinds of things can happen?”

You can go…

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