Can Truth Be Defamatory? 2016 Will Decide

The 2016 election is a referendum, but not on any single issue. It encompasses something far larger; it is nothing less than a modern day relitigation of the Zenger trial. Can facts be defamatory? That was the question colonial New York when newspaperman John Peter Zenger printed an editorial critical of the royal governor. Though the allegations in it were true, they were also considered libelous by laws of the time, and therefore treasonous, for…

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The problem with vote-shaming elected officials

Anytime an office-holding politician expresses doubt in some other member of their party or an individual seeking to become a member of the party, the floodgates of rationalism instantly crumble and a deluge of outrage pours forth. In some regards, this is understandable. Party officials do cede some of their individual autonomy when they gain office as their power is contingent on the party’s resources and credibility with its constituents; it is only fair that,…

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The Clinton-Comey Email Scandal and Rule of Law in America

If there’s one thing the left and right can agree on in terms of what the evolving kerfuffle surrounding Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as Secretary of State means, it’s that America is no longer a nation governed by blind justice. In the narrative construction in which both political parties are engaging, it is not the virtue epistemology of anyone’s actions, particularly the agents of the Justice Department, which…

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How Rush Limbaugh Disenfranchised the Right

If, like myself, you’re a self-identifying conservative ideologue, then Rush Limbaugh has in past been a figure of influence. The man who has long given himself the self-aggrandizing label of “the big voice on the right” has been exactly that to many a conservative struggling to balance their own epistemology with broader public opinion. This is not to say that conservatives follow his lead; the very notion of taking orders is antithetical to the staunch…

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Extrapolating New Policies from Old Ideas: Why Darrell Castle Matters

The campaign drivel of hackneyed banalities which these days pass for inspired policy innovations demonstrates yet one more failing of modern politicians; they lack creativity. Today’s politics are venial. Politicians are more interested in the bump a policy gives to their public profile than in either the merits or the real-world feasibility of them. They are a means to an end—not an ends to themselves—selected as a tawdry means of vote-getting. Its why the policies…

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If 2016 is a choice between the worst options, the people bear some responsibility

A mere four years ago, pundits were bemoaning the death of the Lincoln-Douglas style debate. In an election cycle defined by quips about “binders full of women” and where the most serious dismantling of ideology involved repeatedly calling it “malarkey,” the staid deliberation of 19th century campaigning seemed the height of rhetorical finesse. If the clamoring for such gravitas seems absent from this election, and it is, it’s because decorum is no longer a consideration…

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The Trump-Ryan Feud and Intraparty Loyalty

The fast-eroding relationship between Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Donald Trump is about as friendly as the one which existed between Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany. Many have been quick to descry Ryan, who has seemingly gone through more positions on Trump than a ballerina, and other party members for disavowing the nominee so close to an election that Republicans need to win lest their long-term durability as a national party be…

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