Jerry Pournelle, Russell Kirk Conservative: RIP

Jerry Pournelle passed away in early September and is memorialized in this week’s “Upstream” segment of the Radio Free Acton podcast. An accomplished man in many fields in both the public and private sectors, he perhaps is best known as the author and co-author of a shelf-full of science-fiction novels. Continue Reading...

How Christopher Columbus helped bring the School of Salamanca to the Americas

Every Columbus Day gives rise to endless debates and recriminations over the impact of Christopher Columbus’ expedition upon the indigenous peoples of the Americas. No honest observer can dismiss the injustices perpetrated after Columbus’ landing (nor before it), but one benefit of his voyage has been forgotten: It inadvertently exposed the Americas to the School of Salamanca. Continue Reading...

The Importance of Incompetence

  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...

Intellectuals vs Freedom

[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.” Continue Reading...