Withdrawal from Paris Accords May Spur New Era of Autonomy in Business

If the tidal wave of anger which broke against President Trump’s announcement that the United States is withdrawing from the Paris climate accords could be harnessed, the nation would have a surfeit of energy for some time to come. Despite pressure from members of the global community and prominent figures in his own administration, including daughter Ivanka and secretary of state Rex Tillerson, Trump shrugged off concern with the vision of apocalypse many proponents seem…

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What Orwell Got Wrong About the Rewriting of History

George Orwell was wrong. A statist government using threat of force is not necessary to rewrite the recent past. Society is perfectly willing to censor itself of its own volition where partisan politics is concerned. In the fictional world of 1984, the ruthless efficiency of an omniscient state working to blot out all references to its past fallibility was necessary to convince the populace their own memories were wrong. In 2016 America, this kind of…

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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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Politicians attempting to vote shame are authoritarians

The 2016 election has engendered upheaval of the traditional methods of politicking and obliterated normal partisan identities. It is unsurprising that the dominant hegemons should push back, shamelessly advancing the trite and obviously fallacious bromide of binary party choice. In the wake of the first debate, which only underscored how pathetic the results of long-entrenched didactic thinking are, the powers-that-be doubled down. In a testament to how serious the devolvement of the establishment is, President…

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The ambiguous “we” of modern American politics

From the beginning, Monday night’s presidential debate was a cavalcade of collectivist rhetoric, with both candidates frequently invoking an ambiguous “we” as justification for their plans and policy positions. Leaving aside the troubling implications such attitudes towards expansive central control have for a society supposedly founded on the idea of power flowing upwards from the self-sovereign individual, the grounding of political discourse in such insubstantial language is troubling. “We” is an enigma, and enigmas have…

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How Reaganism killed the right and led to the rise of Trump

One of the basic premises of 21st century American society is that polarization, particularly along politically partisan lines, has risen dramatically. That the right, in particular, has become increasingly hard line and intransigent is a common charge for the left. The assertion that “Reagan wouldn’t recognize his own party” is crowed by both GOP moderates and liberals alike as if this were some sort of syllogism which proved that encroaching extremism is destroying conservatism. One…

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The death of the substantive election

Electoral politics is a bitter pill to swallow for many Americans, but for the policy wonks whose lives are in hammering out the minutiae on weighty issues like trade deficits, the raising of interest rates by the Federal Reserve and the merits of a value-added tax over the progressive income tax, accepting that such things are never going to be a part of main-stream political debate is especially trying. This election- devoid of even the…

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