When people spout idle talk of how “de-regulation got us into the mess of 2008” and how the government needs to sort things out to stop the “evil banksters” from wrecking the economy again, it makes me wonder if they’ve actually looked how regulations impact the economy. And though it’s still very early to make any decisive determination about the bill’s effects, a recent study of Dodd-Frank shows the results are mixed, at best.
2015 was a big year for scandals and protests on college campuses. It seemed like every week there was another instance of students demanding a “safe space” from potentially dangerous and exclusionary events and guest speakers. If not, there were calls for “trigger warnings” for works of literature (even Ovid’s Metamorphoses in one instance). How do we sort all of this out?
George Will is one of the most essential voices of the American right. Along with Ross Douthat of The New York Times and most of the staff of The American Conservative, Will is uniquely gifted at presenting a sensible, coherent picture of modern conservatism. Even if you sit to the ideological left of the long-time Washington Post columnist, there is great value in hearing and grappling with what he has to say. And if you dare to venture out of your comfort zone (or should I say, safe space?), you might just hear some things you agree with.
Earlier this week, Donald Trump announced his intentions to ban all travel from Muslim countries until our intelligence services can figure out “what’s going on.” The reaction from the press (aside from glee at the click-bait just given to them) was to highlight how this “throws the Republican primary into chaos.” Reactions from other Republican candidates consisted of the usual face-saving measures intended to distance themselves from Trump’s remarks. Liberals were predictably outraged. But these reactions all hinge on one assumption: that Donald Trump is making a serious run for President of the United States.
Last year, The New York Times published a piece called “Has the Libertarian Moment Finally Arrived?” which drummed up a lot of excitement among libertarians. Even if the article itself cast a critical eye on the movement and some of its ideas, just getting recognized by the Times seemed like an accomplishment. But a lot of this hype was centered around Rand Paul, the libertarian-leaning conservative senator from Kentucky, and his presidential campaign. Lately, Rand Paul is trailing his rivals by a significant margin and many politico’s are declaring his candidacy dead. But Rand Paul and his campaign have little to do with libertarianism on the whole. Though his political stagnation speaks somewhat to libertarianism’s tension within the Republican party, the challenges facing the movement itself go much deeper.
In an age of scientific advancement and technological achievement, there’s a strange, almost ominous calm we find ourselves in, particularly in the west. The worst of the post-financial crisis era has passed (so long as you don’t live in Greece), and the world continues to see fewer major conflicts. But should we be so confident? Have we not been here before?
There’s an old Oscar Wilde quote that goes: “A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at…” Though I’d hate to disagree with anyone possessing half the wit of the author of The Picture of Dorian Gray, anyone living in the shadow of the 20th Century would have to conclude that any map of the world that does include Utopia is the very guide to hell itself.