It's that time of the year when little boys and girls try extra hard to make the nice list in order to get something better than coal in their stockings. But what if you've outgrown the myths that used to keep you in line? Is there any deeper reason to be good? In my latest Québécois Libre article, "Being Good for Goodness Sake," I argue that there are indeed both instrumental and intrinsic reasons to respect the rights of others—even if you're fairly certain that no one's watching.
It's easy to let your troubles get to you and forget to appreciate what you have. But even if your troubles are great, expressing gratitude for what you do have will make you a happier person. In my latest Québécois Libre article, "Giving Thanks and Looking Forward," I take stock of the good things in my life, and the good things the modern world has to offer. I also look ahead to an even better world that's just around the corner, if only we will seize it.
Are there too many people in the world? Are we going to run out of resources or pollute the natural environment past the point of no return? In my latest Québécois Libre article, "Overpopulation: Pictures vs. Numbers," I argue that although they may be evocative, photographs cannot answer these kinds of questions. To get a sense of the size of a problem, we need numbers, like the ones provided by Swedish professor of global health and renowned TED-Talk speaker Hans Rosling.
Quebec is blessed in terms of the energy resources available on its territory, most obviously the province’s vast hydroelectric capacity. This month, the government made public a series of reports suggesting that it might soon be ready to move forward and allow oil development in the province. In this Viewpoint, my colleague Youri Chassin and I reconsider some of Quebec’s energy choices to see which kinds of policies might enrich, rather than impoverish, Quebec taxpayers.
If you asked most people what makes for a great fictional character who can appeal to millions across cultures and generations, I don't think "rational" would top many lists. As personality traits go, "rational" sounds a little… dry. Yet Sherlock Holmes has captured many an imagination over the years. And so has that lovable half-Vulcan first officer of the Enterprise, Mr. Spock, given name unpronounceable, brought to life by the much-lamented Leonard Nimoy who died yesterday, one month shy of his 84th birthday.
Ana and her friend Kate are sitting in a coffee house. Ana appears distraught, her mocha latte barely touched, a single bite taken out of her dark chocolate biscotti. Kate has finished one espresso, and is quickly working her way through a second tiny cup, no milk or sugar to mask the bitter taste. The look on her face is a mixture of concern and annoyance.
Ana: Well, sure he’s domineering, but...
In the years since the financial crisis of 2008, the free market has taken a beating in the marketplace of ideas. Yet the simple fact remains that the more economic freedom a government leaves in the hands of its people, the better off those people are. In this Economic Note, my colleague Yanick Labrie and I provide a brief overview of economic freedom around the globe, and then look at some of the numbers that demonstrate the strong, positive effects of economic freedom.
Does freedom make people selfish, as some curmudgeons claim? The answer all depends on what you mean by "selfish," of course. In my latest Québécois Libre article, "Freedom Encourages Goodwill to All," I argue that contrary to a flippant remark made by the late Christopher Hitchens that is popular in some circles, the liberty to live your life as you see fit is an essential building block for any kind of true camaraderie and goodwill among human beings.
The fact that some bad people halfway around the world are doing some reprehensible things does not automatically mean that "we" have to do something about it. In my latest Québecois Libre article, "Just Cause, or Just 'Cause?" I argue that the high costs of war are almost never worth it, and that if we do feel that we absolutely must do something, we could at least try to come up with more innovative ways of responding than dropping bombs on people.
It's a good idea to stop and take stock from time to time in order to appreciate just how far we've come in the past 200 years or so—to show gratitude for just how much richer the average person is today thanks to the Industrial Revolution. In my latest Québécois Libre article, "The Great Fact: A Review of Deirdre McCloskey's Bourgeois Dignity," I briefly survey one economic historian's explanation for why it happened when and where it did.
Who Writes This
Bradley Doucet is a Montreal writer and the English Editor of Le Québécois Libre.
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