The Importance of Incompetence

An illustration of the Peter Principle. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain.   Today at Public Discourse, I argue that in addition to idealism and self-interest, incompetence needs to be recognized as a more important factor in politics: [U]nless we add incompetence as a category of analysis, we will tend to view every victory for our own team as a triumph of justice or freedom or equality (idealism), and every failure the result of deep and convoluted corruption (self-interest). Continue Reading...

Pope Francis’s attack on ‘libertarian individualism’ not about libertarians

The following essay appeared Friday, May 5, 2017, at Crux. In a recent message by Pope Francis to the Pontifical Academy of Social Science he outlines some moral concerns about a phenomenon he sees as invading (his term) “high levels of culture and education in both universities and in schools,” namely “libertarian individualism.” On the first day of my philosophy classes, the professor admonished us that if we want to have an intelligent discussion or debate, we must begin by defining our terms. Continue Reading...

Ben Sasse on Christian witness in an age of disruption

In an age of continuous economic disruption and social fragmentation, what can possibly hold society together? Many are quick to turn to politics for such answers, pushing for increased price controls, trade barriers, and subsidies to prevent or mitigate the effects of such change. Continue Reading...

Intellectuals vs Freedom

Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark: By Frank Wolfe, White House Press Office (Public Domain). [Review of From Benito Mussolini to Hugo Chavez: Intellectuals and a Century of Political Hero Worship by Paul Hollander, Cambridge University Press, 2016, 325 pp.] My former boss and current president of the Foundation for Economic Education, Lawrence Reed, used to begin seminars by asking members of the audience when they “caught the liberty bug.” What he meant by this was the personal epiphanies we experienced that led to our devotion to and advocacy for freedom and liberty. Continue Reading...

Lessons from India’s ‘private city’

  Given the acceleration of urbanization around the world, many are wondering how local governments and city planners will keep up with the pace. While advocates of free markets routinely argue for fewer top-down restrictions and more privatization of local services, others argue for increased controls and more advanced central planning. Continue Reading...

The end of black conservatism?

On December 27, 2016, at the age of 86, Thomas Sowell published his last column. After publishing dozens of books and hundreds of columns, Dr. Sowell’s retirement may mark the beginning of the end of an era of black intellectuals who were champions of political and economic liberty. Continue Reading...