Immigrants and Utilization: Why Social and Economic Value Shouldn’t Drive Immigration Policy

President Trump’s America First rhetoric is motivated by a stated desire to protect native-born citizens and advance their interests. But by doing so, he takes away from individuals the ability to define their interests for themselves. Immigration is often made palatable in terms of the value brought by new citizens to communities with established social and cultural traditions, as if immigration were an act of utility, benefitting primarily the community receiving an individual who, for…

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The Myth of the Political Center

A set of values always has a middle, but just how representative of a data set is that middle? Democracy imbues morality into numbers. The idea that the majority view should carry the day anytime policy is up for debate is axiomatic to the idea that fairness lies in siding with the greatest number. Politics therefore often favors centrism. If the citizenry as a whole is considered as one enormous data set, it is impossible…

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Political Decisions and the “Human Element”

Blind justice is a concept inherent to most Americans’ thinking about the nation’s legal framework. Equality comes from dispassionate analysis: judges and juries are not to consider the person standing before them, but the facts and circumstances of an alleged aggression. Does analysis of these facts and circumstances rationally lead to the conclusion that the accused has committed the crime with which they are charged? The age, race, gender and personal creed of the person…

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Is Individualism Compatible with Democratic Strains of Thinking?

A divisive politics is not necessarily a dysfunctional politics. Life is individualistic; an individual’s experiences are filtered through the lens of his or her own person. Personality, past experiences, values and desired ends: all of these create nuances in the rational process. The conclusions around which individuals orient their lives are moved by the substance of their lives, despite the absolute nature of reality. Two important codicils can be drawn from this: First, any politics…

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Voting Is Selfish. Which Is Why Get-Out-The-Vote Drives Are Unseemly.

In terms of public actions, there are few more selfish acts than voting. Voting is an individual act: a vote for or against a candidate or a ballot question is ultimately a reflection of that voters’ interests and value-judgments. And a reflection of that voters’ interests and value-judgments alone. The voting booth asks citizens to grade politicians. The metric for this evaluation? The individual’s interests and the degree to which they have been protected by…

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Size Isn’t What Makes A Business Good or Bad

America has an unfortunate tendency to impute merit into sizes: big business is innately predatory and harmful, while small businesses are inherently a boon to the community. From some perspectives, this is understandable: when the big box hardware chain sweeps into town and shutters the corner store that’s stood there since grandma and grandpa’s day, unfolding events can seem like an injustice. Local craftsmen lose their livelihoods and the entire community is a little less…

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Free Speech, Private Action and the NFL

Individual rights are absolute. In isolation, the individual’s ability to exercise his rights are bounded only by his imagination and his own physical limits. As a producer, the individual retains the same sort of dominance: any product that issues from his applied mental and physical labors is his to control. Without his reason, without his applied talent, his creation would be a mere possibility in the ether of the plane of abstraction. His rights to…

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All content protected by copyright. The Politics of Discretion, 2016.