Thoughts on Returning Home

My recent absence from this blog is due to a tour of Central Europe. My wife and I visited the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. Over the years we have visited most or lived in a few European nations. Inevitably, I return with a heightened sense of both our own national stories and those of the European world. This time, I was impressed by the history of all three of the places we visited. In particular, all had a very long history with signs of civilization starting just before the advent of the Common Era. All had a long record of being under the thumb of one occupier or another;… Read More

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Amazon Strikes Another Blow

The cause for flourishing just took another hit with the unveiling of Amazon’s new “Dash.” Dash, a device to make ordering from Amazon both effortless and mindless has two parts. The hand-held Dash will automatically place orders for household goods by scanning barcodes or by recognizing your spoken commands. The second, related part is called Dash Button. a smaller device that sticks to whatever cabinet you store your household goods that allows you to order replacements with the mere touch of a button. Here what Amazon says: > Place it. Press it. Get it. > Dash Button comes with a reusable adhesive and a hook so you can hang, stick,… Read More

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“Religious Freedom”: Another Failure to Think in Systems Terms

The recent news has been full of stories about the passage of laws to protect religious freedom. One question that seems always to accompany these stories relates to the discriminatory nature of such laws. Is it right to pass laws that arguably increase the freedom of someone, but at the cost of discriminating against another? This question is posed as very important, as if there is an alternative. But there is not, a fact generally overlooked. It is impossible to increase one’s [negative] freedom without reducing someone else’s. This is always true, no matter what the issue involved. Laws and other restrictions like this are directed at negative liberty, an… Read More

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