Author Archives

Archive of the posts written by author : Henry Oliner.

Democracy is Vulgar

“He’s more authoritarian, but that’s just what democracy is, when it isn’t made moderate and deliberate by constitutions. So he’s the underside of our system. And he’s the very kind of enemy that we were warned against at the very beginning.”

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Culture and Economics

“So each thinks it’s losing, because it’s losing what it most wants. But if you look at those two things—economics and culture—that just goes back to the two rights in Locke: economics, private property; and culture, toleration. “

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A Liberal Democracy is a Limited Democracy

A liberal democracy is a limited democracy.  Without that immensely important modifier, democracy is ripe for tyranny.

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Motivating Madness or Extremism

Rhetoric may not stop extremism, but it will direct and influence it.  If Trump is deemed responsible for Charlottesville then Omar and her gang are responsible for Colleyville.

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Private Property and Toleration

“So the intellectuals were no longer allies or friends of businessmen and became enemies. This happens with Rousseau. The whole idea of keeping together these two social currents of liberalism—namely, private property and toleration—gets lost. What we have today are mostly progressive intellectuals.”

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Normalizing Luxury

There is the unplanned and unintended benefit of making luxuries into ordinary items. Such spending primes the pump on some items, but it is not an essential element for progress.  When wealth is generated to provide consumers with products and services they want we all benefit; when wealth is generated by rent seeking behavior most of us lose.

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Democratic Headwinds

Their grab for power in suggesting court packing, elimination of the filibuster and federalizing elections clearly suggests they cannot be trusted with centralized power.

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Perpetuating Racism

We are all the same because we are all different. Condoleeza Rice summarized it brilliantly, “Black people are not perpetual victims and White people are not perpetually guilty”.

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Remembering the Yacht Tax

Progressives think the Constitution is organic and the economy is mechanical; in reality it is the reverse.  Thinking you can tax an isolated segment without affecting others ignores the dispersed nature of knowledge that no central authority can emulate.

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Coverage of Anti-Semitism

“After a white-nationalist attack, the media devote considerable resources to tracing the attacker’s ideas and search history along the ideological continuum and tarring the Republican Party with “complicity” in his crimes. After an Islamist attack, the imperative is not to establish politicians’ complicity with the criminal, but to avoid any inquiry that might amount to “Islamophobia.””

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The Source of Rights

The Constitution has two important functions: to protect the republic/ democracy that represents the people and to protect the people’s individual liberty from the abuses of democracy.  Democracy is not the end, it is the means and must be limited.

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Our Liberal Culture

Behind the brilliant design of our Constitution is an accurate understanding about human nature and its permanence.  This is the reason it has endured in spite of the difficult and contentious compromises that birthed it. 

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Political Observations 2022 01 14

Identify politics was doomed from the start and we are about to watch it unwind.  We will discover that people are more than their race or sexual identity.  Zogby noted years ago the car in your driveway and that balance in your 401k was a more accurate predictor of your vote than your race or sex.  The left’s obsession with race and identity does not affect the conditions most voters face.

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The Contempt Speech

“A president shouting that 52 senators and millions of Americans are racist unless he gets whatever he wants is proving exactly why the Framers built the Senate to check his power”

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The Backfire of Cancel Culture

Instead of cancelling or blocking controversial opinions they would be wiser to address them with factual evidence , but that would require real work and an open mind that another legitimate viewpoint is even possible.  Just blocking or canceling them is much easier.  Without intellectual diversity at a publication and a sense of journalistic ethics these institutions lose the trust and will render themselves irrelevant.  

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The Limits of Federalism

“The kind of federalism the founders espoused was not a freewheeling endorsement of state sovereignty — they had seen how dreadful the results of that might be — but a federalism that restrained power where they had seen its worst abuses: in the states. As Hamilton would write in Federalist 15, “[w]hy has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice, without constraint.” It is such constraint that requires not solely federalism, but a nation.”

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Addiction to Entitlements

The lesson- entitlement programs are essentially irreversible and very difficult to contain.  We should be very cautious about starting any new program no matter how small, fighting the urge as Daniel Henninger framed it “that any tear in the social fabric should be mended with permanent entitlements or subsidies”

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Permanent Crisis

We need to realize that crisis are inevitable.  Ideologues will debate causes long after they pass, but it does not matter if the cause is excessive individualism, unfettered free markets, limited government, excessive government, globalism, the administrative state, or utopian socialism. Any theory of human action in a complex interrelated world will fail occasionally; but we fail a critical test when we equate the ‘failings’ of an ideology with the ‘failure’ of an ideology.  To understand our beliefs we need to know their limits.

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Vichy Capitalism

The regulatory burden rarely get the coverage of tax policy because it is complicated, hard to measure and reporters are lazy- yet the combination is the total friction cost on business.  Increasing the regulatory burden while stimulating the money supply may be the simplest and best definition of stagflation.

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The Only Loyalty that Matters

“If you are not used to the intellectual compartmentalization required of an American politician, it can be jarring to hear, e.g., Senator Sanders demanding “revolution” at 10 a.m. and denouncing “insurrection” at 10:15 a.m”

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