August 26, 2012 |
" There are two sides to every issue: One side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil. " - Ayn Rand's hero John Galt speaking in "Atlas Shrugged" Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged" has polarized opinion for more than 50 years. Its fans - including, until recently, vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan - applaud the book's celebration of rugged individualism and no-holds-barred capitalism. Its critics dismiss it as heartless, simplistic and elitist. In the novel, many of the nation's most brilliant and innovative entrepreneurs and business leaders have disappeared, leaving the nation in chaos.
April 5, 2013
Re "Gun control, DOA," Opinion, April 3 Doyle McManus' summary of the moribund status of President Obama's gun control proposals reveals an inconvenient truth about the home of the brave and the land of the free: In this country, 20 school-age children could be slaughtered by guns and no meaningful legislation to prevent that would ever be passed. Why? Because the gun fanatics would sacrifice almost anything to stop an "infringement" of their 2nd Amendment rights. By taking this inflexible stance, radical gun owners have convinced those in power that electoral punishment is their fate should they favor any legislation that would lead to "infringement.
November 13, 2013 |
Most bio-pics are made about somebodies - warriors, kings, artists. This was a bio-pic about a nobody who became a somebody during the Rwandan genocide, a bloody crossroads for a country with deep-seated ethnic frictions. In April 1994, Paul Rusesabagina was brevetted as general manager of the luxury hotel where he worked, and where more than 1,000 people had fled from the killing rampage. For more than two months, he managed to protect them from being slaughtered. Ten years later, the world saw "Hotel Rwanda.
February 9, 2011
Abortion-rights supporters breathed a sigh of relief last week when a troubling word was removed from a controversial antiabortion bill. They shouldn't have. This piece of congressional legislation and a related bill are still loaded with harmful provisions that would turn back the clock on women's rights to make their own medical decisions. FOR THE RECORD: Abortion: A Feb. 9 editorial about a proposed antiabortion bill in Congress said that some Roman Catholic hospitals object to abortion.
February 16, 2014 |
Gossiping publicly about the private lives of well-known people is one of the most popular forms of licensed sadism that our society indulges in. It's permissible to play roughly with the cardboard figures of these people we don't know, to bully them, humiliate them, and treat them in ways we would never think of treating our neighbors or friends. In discussing their lives, our standards of accuracy are pitifully low, our manner is casual, and we openly smile and laugh in response to events that are not at all funny to those involved in them.
April 4, 2013 |
In March, the State Department gave the president cover to open a big spigot that will hitch our country to one of the dirtiest fuels on Earth for 40 years or more. The draft environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline acknowledges tar sands are nasty stuff for the environment, but concludes that the project is OK because this oil will get to market anyway - with or without a pipeline. A public comment period is underway through April 22, after which the department will prepare a final statement to help the administration decide whether the pipeline is in the "national interest.
February 23, 2014 |
PARIS - Not long ago, I attended a colloquium of French scientists and philosophers in Corsica, France, called "How to Think About the Future. " With few exceptions, the astrophysicists, economists, physicians and social theorists on hand offered dark visions of tomorrow. A new financial crisis, water and grain shortages, endless war, a general collapse of ecosystems - we were spared no catastrophic scenario. A month earlier, I had been invited by the environmentalist think tank Breakthrough to San Francisco, where I reflected with a group of thinkers on the Schumpeterian economic idea of "creative destruction" and its application to energy production.
January 19, 2014 |
Do genes make us do it? The idea that human behavior is driven by genes makes many people uncomfortable, and nowhere is the dispute more bitter than when discussing the biological underpinnings of violence. The war of ideas over violence and human nature has raged since the 1600s, when philosopher Thomas Hobbes first speculated that the "natural condition of mankind" was one of violence and conflict. In the 1700s, Jean-Jacques Rousseau saw things differently. Enthralled with accounts of the New World, he argued that civilization, not nature, shaped the human propensity for violence.
February 4, 2014 |
A disturbing new law in Nigeria establishes sweeping restrictions on homosexuality and has already led to dozens of arrests. Even before the law went into effect, it was illegal to engage in same-sex relations. But the new law goes further, prohibiting civil unions and same-sex marriages and threatening to slap a 10-year prison sentence on anyone who officiates at such a marriage. The law bans public displays of affection between people of the same sex, outlaws gay support organizations and makes it illegal for gay groups to meet.