Author Archives

Archive of the posts written by author : Henry Oliner.

The Rejection of Ideology

Voters respond to tribal and cultural cues more than ideology. They respond to demons and saviors more than ideas. I find this unsettling, but a reality that must be accepted in the competition of ideas.  Ideas must be expressed in a way that connects culturally. FDR and Reagan accomplished this but it is very uncommon.

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Sexual Politics

What you tolerate, you teach.  Democrats have no moral authority to hold Moore and Trump accountable to behavior they have long tolerated, but I would much prefer that their opposition not join them in the gutter they dug.

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Psychological Threat to Conservatism

“The biggest threats to conservatism are psychological, not demographic, trends. As an actual philosophy of life and not just a low-resolution tribal marker, conservatism thrives when people are mentally resilient, self-reliant, and strongly invested in the interpersonal bonds that make small government viable: family, friends, and community. At the national level, all of these psychological characteristics are in decline, and with them, so is principled conservatism.” Clay Routledge

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The High Cost of Good Intentions – A Book Review

The result of this history is that entitlements have expanded far beyond assisting the poor. Many of the benefits go to beneficiaries far above the poverty line. Congress has proven totally untrustworthy in managing surpluses or trust funds or maintaining a sound financial basis.   The explosion in entitlements is the primary driver of the post-World War II debts.

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Government and The Golden Rule

“But it is time for our bureaucrats — before they engage in partisan expression or partisan giving — to ask, “What would a reasonable partisan opponent think of my conduct?” It’s time for bureaucrats to apply a governmental version of the Golden Rule. Should I inflict on others the kinds of suspicions that I’d feel myself if the roles were reversed?”

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Subjects and Citizens

from The John Conyers Abdication by Ben Shapiro at National Review: Americans love to mock the British for their addiction to royalty. But the fact is that we have created our own version of royalty in our politics, right down…

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The Deficit- Everyone Wants to Go to Heaven, Nobody Wants to Die

from Jonah Goldberg at National Review, How to Tell When Deficits are Bad As a matter of economic policy, conservatives believe that the people themselves are better at spending their money than the government is. Cutting taxes and regulations drives economic…

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The Perversion of the Risk Pool

Kevin Williams writes on health insurance The Private Option- Back to Square One in National Review.   We have written about the problem with cross subsidization driving up costs, the perverted incentives of third party payers and the tax incentives to…

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In the Face of Irrefutable Evidence

At an address at a YPO meeting in 1997 at Washington and Lee, Journalist and columnist Jack Germond used the following illustration: A man awoke one morning to his alarm. The time was 5:55 AM. He went to the bathroom…

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The Canadian Lesson on Sound Banking

The default belief  of our economic history of the last 100 years has been an acceptance of the dynamic growth of capitalism punctuated by excesses of market greed that have to be corrected by the singular wisdom of government regulation.…

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Categories vs. Flesh and Blood People

“Perhaps the most fertile source of misunderstandings about incomes has been the widespread practice of confusing statistical categories with flesh-and-blood human beings. Many statements have been made in the media and in academia, claiming that the rich are gaining not…

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Political Greed and Crony Capitalism

Ever since Michael Douglas’s character Gordon Gekko in the movie Wall Street declared “Greed is Good” capitalism has been cast in a sinister role that it has yet to overcome. The movie speech was rumored to be taken from a…

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Rational Delusion

We mortals pride ourselves as rational beings, but we act emotionally. We get attached to previous positions, and will discount or filter evidence rather than change our minds. We read the news for confirmation rather than information.  We are so…

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Risk and Principle

In a world of uncertainty it is more important to know the odds than to know the facts. In a business bet, if you have a thirty percent chance of winning one hundred dollars or a seventy percent chance of…

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Who are the Independents?

In the wake of the elections  of November 3, 2008 we noted the dramatic swing of the independent voter.  Who are these voters and why do they refuse to ally themselves with one of the two major parties?  I confess…

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Inflating the Green Bubble

Studying the financial bubbles we can see several common characteristics. During the bubble inflation we see markets taken to an extreme by financial greed, but as Walter Sowell so appropriately metaphored on the housing bubble, “blaming the crash on greed…

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The Cost of Subsidized Failure

“A dynamic economy will always have booms and busts. But the story of the past twenty-five years is that Washington has created a financial system that cannot withstand the destructive part of creative destruction – necessary for free markets- without…

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A Tale of Two Market Crashes

From Thomas Sowell’s Intellectuals and Society “In short, many things that the Federal Reserve, Congress and the two Presidents did (during the market crash of 1929) were counterproductive.  Given these multiple failures of government policy, it is by no means…

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People vs Categories

From Thomas Sowell’s Intellectuals and Society “Although such discussions have been phrased in terms of people, the actual empirical evidence cited has been about what has been happening over time to statistical categories – and that turns out to be…

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Keynes vs von Mises

The work of noted economist John Maynard Keynes is used to justify a bigger government role in the economy.  After the recent (or more accurately current) crisis it is understandable that many would return to this economist.  Yet most who…

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