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Tracy Mehan: Best of the Books

Available for order

Best of the Books is a series of 60 essays and book reviews originally published in the Environmental Law Institute’s policy journal, The Environmental Forum. Written by columnists Oliver A. Houck and G. Tracy Mehan III, both long involved in the develop­ment of environmental policy, this anthology provides thoughtful and insightful pieces that reflect where we are now in the struggle to harmonize human impacts with life of the planet.

Steve Hayward: Review of Jim Piereson’s Shattered Consensus

‘Polarization’ Is Liberal Code For ‘Just Surrender Already’

Political polarization has become the chief topic—indeed, a near obsession—with the chattering class and “good government” types. Survey data and common-sense perception certainly testify to deep political and cultural divisions among Americans, which contribute to political gridlock in Washington and in many state capitals.

But is there anything really new about our polarization? Are we more sharply or deeply divided than we were, say, in 1968, when student protestors virtually hounded Lyndon Johnson out of office with “Hey, hey, LBJ—how many kids did you kill today?”

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Sam Gregg: It’s Time for an Encyclical on Christian Persecution

From Crisis:

No-one would describe the New York Times as especially sympathetic to orthodox Christianity. The Grey Lady’s established aversion to anything but all-but-completely secularized versions of the Christian faith didn’t, however, stop it from recently publishing a widely-read article underscoring the on-going brutal persecution of Christians in the Middle East. If the Times is perturbed about what’s happening to Christians in the region in which Christianity first emerged, that should tell us something about just how bad things are.

The facts about the deepening subjugation of Christians around the world hardly need repeating. Every day we read of the mistreatment of Christian guest-workers in Saudi Arabia, the violence unleashed against Christians in India by Hindu nationalists, therepression of Christians by China’s Communist regime, or the slaughter of African Christians by Muslim extremists. What is being inflicted upon Christians across the Middle East by ISIS and other Islamic terrorists is in a league of its own. It is, in a word, unspeakable.

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Milton Friedman: 20 Quotes in Honor of His 103rd Birthday Anniversary

Collected at

20) “A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.”

19) “Because we live in a largely free society, we tend to forget how limited is the span of time and the part of the globe for which there has ever been anything like political freedom: the typical state of mankind is tyranny, servitude, and misery. The nineteenth century and early twentieth century in the Western world stand out as striking exceptions to the general trend of historical development. Political freedom in this instance clearly came along with the free market and the development of capitalist institutions. So also did political freedom in the golden age of Greece and in the early days of the Roman era.”

18) “It is one thing to have free immigration to jobs. It is another thing to have free immigration to welfare. And you cannot have both. If you have a welfare state, if you have a state in which every resident is promised a certain minimal level of income, or a minimum level of subsistence, regardless of whether he works or not, produces it or not. Then it really is an impossible thing.”

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Forrest McDonald (1985): Why Yankees Won’t (and Can’t) Leave the South Alone

Reprinted at The Imaginative Conservative:

Southerners rarely while away their leisure hours by contemplating Yankees, for there is no point in thinking of unpleasant things if one is not obliged to do so. Yet the practice does have value; to some extent, at least, we are defined by those attributes which set us apart from others, and sometimes we can be made aware of such attributes only by observing people who do not share them. Another virtue of thinking about Yankees, in the long run perhaps a more important one, is that it serves to remind us that they have repeatedly tried to make us over in their own image. Indeed, though it may seem that they have been off our backs since the demise of the civil rights movement, their latest campaign to reform us is actually well under way.

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George Leef: Valdosta State Case

Occasionally, you come across a legal case so strange that it makes you stop and wonder, “Is this even for real?”

Such a case has recently come to an end with a strong victory for student free speech rights and an equally strong rebuke to the idea many college administrators seem to have that they hold king-like powers on campus. The facts are as follows.


John Zmirak: Planned Parenthood’s Bill Cosby Moment?

The fourth and most horrifying video has appeared exposing Planned Parenthood and its profiteering off of the bodies of unborn children it kills. In the most appalling moment in recent American history, we can now see for ourselves as abortionists pull out the corpse of a newly killed child and announce, “It’s another boy.” Then they start talking prices.

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Donald Devine: A Libertarian View of Francis’ Laudato Si

July 30, 2015

Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si (“Be Praised”) has been acclaimed by the international media as a call to action on global warming, to combat its threat to world survival. It has been praised in New York Times editorials and by Progressive Catholic intellectuals like E.J. Dionne on the Left while garnering scathing or dismissive responses from libertarian, free-market types on the Right.

The papal document, however, is not fundamentally about climate change (who questions that weather changes?) or even global warming. (The Pope merely follows the scientific “consensus” and even qualifies it as a trend that “would appear” to “indicate” that “the greater part” of greenhouse gases’ warming is “due to human activity.”)

The encyclical is actually about our “fragile world” and how modern technology linked to “limitless” freedom, “business interests,” and consumerism will destroy it, especially its effects on the poor since consumerism’s “worst impact will probably be felt by developing countries in coming decades.” He is less worried about heat than trash:

We all know that it is not possible to sustain the present level of consumption in developed countries and wealthier sectors of society, where the habit of wasting and discarding has reached unprecedented levels. The exploitation of the planet has already exceeded acceptable limits and we still have not solved the problem of poverty.

To confront the danger to our fragile planet, fundamental changes are necessary [to continue reading click here:]

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