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Stop Coddling My College Students!

In Analysis by Michael Rae

It seems like every time I get online I see posts about college students advocating for the restriction of free speech on college campuses. From “safe spaces” to Emory students calling to evaluate teachers on their use of “microaggressions,” sometimes I feel like I’m living in the Twilight Zone. It certainly wasn’t that long ago since I was in college. My college was a place for people to explore new ideas, encounter people from a variety of backgrounds and, believe it or not, get acquainted with ideas that may make many people uncomfortable. I’ve seen …

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Athenians and Visigoths: Neil Postman’s Graduation Speech

In Analysis, Education, Opinion by Michael Rae

While it could be argued that youth is wasted on the young, it is indisputable that commencement addresses are wasted on young graduates. Sitting in a stuffy auditorium waiting to receive a parchment that marks the beginning of one’s student loan repayments is not the most conducive atmosphere for soaking up wisdom. Insight, which can otherwise seep through the thickest of skulls, cannot pierce mortarboard. Read more on Athenians and Visigoths: Neil Postman’s Graduation Speech… The post Athenians and Visigoths: Neil Postman’s Graduation Speech appeared first on Acton Institute PowerBlog. Related posts: Government as Big …

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The Regulatory State Reaches the Wellness Industry

In Analysis by Michael Rae

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has finalized rules on how employers can use wellness programs. By current federal standards, the rules are concise: 19 pages pertaining to the Americans with Disabilities Act and 17 pages pertaining to the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. Both laws are extremely popular. The ADA (1990) passed by 91-6 in the U.S. Senate and 377-28 in the U.S. House of Representatives. The GINA (2008) passed by 95-0 in the Senate and 414-1 in the House. These laws are meant to prevent discrimination. However, this purpose bumps against the real world, …

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I, Peach: A Lesson in Comparative Advantage

In Analysis by Michael Rae

As part of my lunch today, I enjoyed a big, ripe, sweet, firm peach. “So what?” you may be asking. Well, my doing so is more remarkable than one might think. You see, I live at the extreme end of the road, near a remote, isolated village in the farthest southeast corner of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo; and the peach I ate was grown in California. I acquired this fruit, as I acquire the bulk of the fruits, vegetables, and other fresh comestibles I consume, from Lucio, a man who rises each day …

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Seminar series: Big Picture Thinking

In Analysis, Education, Opinion, Politics, Research by Michael Rae

On long timescales, where is humanity headed? What are the big uncertainties? What does that mean for decisions today? In this series of lectures, led by Dr. Owen Cotton-Barratt, we will tackle these issues, and explore the questions that feed into them. Many are multidisciplinary, and progress often draws on knowledge and tools from economics […] The whole story can be found at The Global Priorities Project

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An 1883 Memo to Bernie, Hillary, and Donald How to Help Ordinary People: Leave Them Alone!

In Analysis, Opinion, Politics, We've Heard It Before by Michael Rae

William Graham Sumner In 1883, William Graham Sumner wrote a series of essays for Harper’s Weekly, which paid him $50 apiece. The excerpted essay below on “The Forgotten Man” is as relevant today as in 1883—even more so. Politicians continue to pile more burdens on ordinary people in the name of this or that professed well-intentioned cause, but it’s the ordinary working man and woman who pays the taxes, suffers under government regulatory and redistribution schemes, and would do much better if government simply secured “true liberty” and otherwise left them alone. Bernie, Hillary, and …

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William Watson: budget numbers we really need—benefit per dollar spent at the margin

In Analysis, Research, Transport by Michael Rae

My very favourite line from this week’s federal budget is “There are no public transit systems in Nunavut.” This is from a note to a table on page 92 of the Budget Plan. Well, duh, of course there aren’t any public transit systems in Nunavut: barely 30,000 people live in Nunavut and the population density is one person per every gazillion hectares. So the absence of public transit there shouldn’t shock anyone.This comes up in the context of allocating $3.4 billion that the federal government is making available to municipalities—not provinces—on a 50-50 cost-shared basis …

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C.S. Lewis on Men Without Chests (And What That Means)

In Analysis, Education, Health Care, Opinion by Michael Rae

“Men Without Chests” is the curious title of the first chapter of C.S. Lewis’ Abolition of Man. In the book, Lewis explains that the “The Chest” is one of the “indispensable liaison officers between cerebral man and visceral man. It may even be said that it is by this middle element that man is man: for by his intellect he is mere spirit and by his appetite mere animal.” Without “Chests” we are unable to have confidence that we can grasp objective reality and objective truth. Read more on C.S. Lewis on Men Without Chests …

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Four Questions for the Rulers

In Analysis by Michael Rae

1. In what way(s) have I violated your natural rights? 2. If I have not violated your natural rights (as I believe to be the case), thereby prompting you to retaliate against me in defense of them, why are you violating my natural rights in such a great variety of ways? 3. If you regard natural rights as intellectually incoherent—as Jeremy Bentham pronounced them, nonsense upon stilts—what justification, if any, do you have for your unprovoked abuse, punishment, and plunder of me and countless others subject to the exercise of your power? 4. If you …

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The Real Lesson of John Oliver’s Medical Debt Forgiveness Stunt

In Analysis by Michael Rae

Late-night TV host John Oliver recently caused a stir by attacking debt collectors in a clever way. He set up his own collection agency, bought $15 million of medical bad debt, and then forgave it all. This was all done on TV, to the cheers of his audience. Oliver claimed to have outdone Oprah Winfrey, who once gave a car to each person in her studio audience. Oprah’s car giveaway cost $8 million, just over half of Oliver’s buyout. So, Oliver wins the charitable ego competition, right? Nope. Oliver did not forgive $15 million of …