C.S. Lewis on Recovering the Way Forward

In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis wrote:

“We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.”

No, Will Smith’s Assault at the Oscars Was Not “The Most Beautiful Thing”
Normalizing Retributive Violence Is Tearing America Apart

Oscar producer Will Packer wanted to make the 94th Academy Awards memorable. A lot was riding on his ability to resuscitate the iconic awards show. But he certainly didn’t bargain for an unscripted, on-air physical assault by one of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful entertainers—actor, producer, and rapper Will Smith. In addition to tarnishing one of the most glamorous and feel-good events in pop culture, Smith’s unchecked rage will likely reverberate well beyond Hollywood.

Vaccine Vexations
This Isn’t the First Time Fauci Has Pushed Questionable Treatments

“This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” proclaimed Joe Biden last September, in reference to COVID-19. Biden’s chief medical advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, now backs vaccine mandates for children and infants. For those of the generation following World War II, that should bring back memories.

Dr. Fauci’s Refusal to Face New York Nursing Home Deaths Is Revealing

Thousands more nursing home residents may have died from COVID-19 than New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has publicly acknowledged, according to a January 30 report by New York Attorney General Letitia James. As investigators learned, nursing home deaths had been undercounted, even in facilities the state health department had made public. As ProPublica noted, “the true death toll among nursing home residents was not mentioned in Cuomo’s much-publicized memoir on his leadership successes handling the pandemic.”

Adrift Testifies to the Strength of the Human Spirit

The intensity ratchets up somewhat late in the survival movie Adrift, a largely true account of 24-year-old Tami Oldham’s 41 harrowing days stranded at sea. The magnitude of Oldham’s (now Tami Oldham Ashcraft’s) accomplishment is a testimony to the strength of the human spirit when facing seemingly impossible odds. This story is told well in Adrift although the intensity of the film might challenge those who have actually experienced trauma in the outdoors or in isolation.

Icelandic director Baltasar Kormakur is no stranger to the survival genre, having directed the 2015 blockbuster Everest. In Adrift, he has chosen a more intimate approach to filming. The vast majority of the movie takes place in or on the water, most of it on sailboats. The story is also tightly focused on Tami Oldham (Shailene Woodley, The Fault of Our Stars, the Divergent series) and her fiance Richard Sharp (Sam Caflan, The Hunger Games series, Their Finest, My Cousin Rachel). The effect is to magnify the trauma and the hurdles they face to survive.

Trump’s Tax Returns

You may be aware of the attempts by Democrats in the House of Representatives to obtain President Trump’s tax returns, which they claim here is to see if the returns were properly audited and enforced by the IRS. I am confident (though I haven’t seen them) that the president’s tax returns run hundreds if not thousands of pages, and it seems dubious that a congressional committee would be competent to second-guess the IRS regarding those returns.

 

 

 

What Bitcoin Taught the Public and Economists

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the release of the famous Bitcoin white paper authored by the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto. The pioneering cryptocurrency, as well as its platform of a decentralized “blockchain,” has unleashed changes in society that we are only beginning to appreciate. Writers with expertise in programming and/or public key cryptography are penning tributes celebrating Nakamoto’s technical innovations, but I want to discuss the profound impact Bitcoin has had as a new potential form of money. The brute fact of Bitcoin’s existence—and the other cryptocurrencies it inspired—has forever changed the way both the public and economists think about money.

Exploiting Elections to Expand Government Power

As the late Malcolm Muggeridge said, the real advantage of elections is to remove those in power, and voters often do just that. The ruling class, by contrast, can exploit elections to expand government, redistribute wealth, reward cronies, and provide a soft landing for washed up politicians. Consider Proposition 71 on the 2004 ballot.

The Rise of Zombie Governments

Just in time for Halloween, Truth In Accounting has updated its Zombie Index for state governments.

TIA’s Bill Bergman explains what the Zombie Index is and why ranking at the top of the list is not a good thing for the residents of the states that do:

This index is inspired by the work of Edward Kane, Professor of finance at Boston College. Kane wrote books warning about the developing crisis in the deposit insurance system in the late 1980s. Kane coined the term “zombie bank,” referring to banks and thrifts that were effectively insolvent but allowed to remain open via untruthful accounting and regulatory forbearance.

Kane called them “zombies” because they were really dead but allowed to walk among the living, and false accounting delayed loss recognition. Zombies had incentives to take large risks to try, in Kane’s words, to “gamble for resurrection” – especially considering moral hazard generated by expectations that taxpayers would get the downside of the gambles. These incentives, in Kane’s view, amplified the cost of the savings and loan crisis for taxpayers.

Political Tribalism

Humans have always had tribal instincts, supporting those in their group and viewing outsiders with hostility. In primitive societies, people cooperated with other members of their group, and viewed outsiders as potential predators, and potential prey. Encounters between people who did not know each other were likely to be violent.

  • Catalyst
  • MyGovCost.org
  • FDAReview.org
  • OnPower.org
  • elindependent.org