Here's a puzzle: We don't trust business leaders to do the right thing, and we want governments to protect us as consumers by regulating business. The strange part is, we actually don't trust government leaders any more than we trust business leaders. In fact, according to the 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer, we trust them even less. Why do we count on one group of untrusted people to protect us from another group of untrusted people?
I have a pretty positive view of human nature, for a number of reasons. Partly, I'm consciously correcting for the negative bias of "if it bleeds, it leads" journalism. I also reject the idea that being self-interested is necessarily anti-social. Pursuing your own happiness, rightly understood, is a good thing. In fact, I would argue that those who care little for loftier goals like the good of society often do more good than do-gooders, as long as they pursue their self-interest rationally.
My fellow human beings, today, as always, I speak with one voice, to anyone who cares to listen. After years of grit and determined effort, admittedly mixed in with a fair dose of procrastination and self-doubt, I believe this can be a breakthrough year for me. The question running through every decision I make this year is whether I am going to help or hinder my own progress. As an individual with some measure of control over my life, I'm committed to working better and rebuilding my trust in myself.
Should a man lose his home because police find some marijuana plants in his basement—in an illegal warrantless search, no less? David Lloydsmith was never charged with a crime, but British Columbia's Civil Forfeiture Office is attempting to seize his residence in civil court, where the burden of proof is lower than in criminal court. Welcome to the new Canada, where governments fill their coffers with revenue from US-style "laws" that are the very antithesis of justice.
In March of 2011, a massive earthquake hit Japan, leading to the meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, admittedly the worst nuclear disaster in 28 years. In October 2013, though, David Suzuki warned that according to a scientific paper, another similar earthquake in the area could mean "bye-bye Japan" and that the entire west coast of North America might have to be evacuated. To steal a joke from Family Guy, "Are you sure it was a paper, David? Are you sure it wasn't… nothing?"
Even in a free market that perfectly respected property rights, some people would be poor through no fault of their own. For a variety of reasons, this is even more true of our mixed economy. There is also the question of how children could possibly be said to deserve their initial lot in life. These considerations argue in favour of some kind of aid to the undeservedly poor. But are minimum wage laws the best tool for the job?
A friend emailed me an article yesterday arguing that the current slowdown in global warming is due to different kinds of natural variability and is only temporary. To blame are dips in the sun's heat output, increased levels of sulfur aerosols in the atmosphere, and La Niña westerly winds causing the Pacific to soak up heat. "All the evidence suggests that atmospheric warming will soon accelerate again, and it could do so with a vengeance," the article concludes. Time for climate skeptics to pack it in?
It's a piece of advice that everyone from Steve Jobs to Oprah Winfrey has doled out: Do what you love. But according to Miya Tokumitsu writing in Jacobin, this popular mantra "leads not to salvation, but to the devaluation of actual work, including the very work it pretends to elevate—and more importantly, the dehumanization of the vast majority of laborers." In defending this claim, she betrays an ignorance both of basic economics and of how the world has improved over the past few hundred years.
Canadian students' math scores in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) aren't quite as good as they used to be. Does this mean we should reexamine how children in this country are taught math, and what, exactly, they're learning? In my latest Québécois Libre article, "Math Education Should Be Set Free," I argue that it may indeed be time for a new approach―or rather, that it may be time for many new approaches.
As a Boston Celtics fan, I never much cared for Dennis Rodman. I didn't think he was as bad as some of the thugs on the late-80s Detroit Pistons team that faced off against Larry Bird and company in the playoffs on numerous occasions, but he was still the enemy. Well, lately he's been chumming around with a real enemy of all that's good and decent: Kim Jong-Un, dictator of North Korea, whose wretchedness is visible from space. Innovative global peace tactic on Rodman’s part, or boneheaded idiocy?
Who Writes This
Bradley Doucet is a Montreal writer and the English Editor of Le Québécois Libre.
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