Archive for December, 2013
From the StarPhoenix:
Following their investigation, police determined icy roads contributed to the driver’s loss of control and ensuing collision with the centre barrier on the bridge. The grey Acura then skidded across the bridge’s eastbound lanes and on top of the guardrail before crashing off the bridge and into the river. Investigators determined that a build-up of snow and ice along the guardrail contributed to the vehicle going over the bridge.
Well done, environmentalists. Well done.
Saskatoon’s most sensitive man lectures us on freedom of expression (published Dec. 28, 2013):
In response to my civil rights case about Saskatoon Transit putting Christmas messages on buses, local churches have purchased Christmas advertisements to be placed on transit vehicles.
I support them being able to do that. I think this is a good alternative to the city promoting Christmas and Christianity on its own. Now that churches are buying their own ads to promote their religion, they shouldn’t care if Saskatoon Transit Services doesn’t promote Christmas on programmable bus signs.
There are more than 10,000 religions, 150 of which have one million or more followers not including branches of each religion. The city can’t promote all religions or promote all religions equally, so it should promote none. Also, people’s taxes should not go toward promoting a religion they don’t believe in.
Like churches, if other religious groups or individuals want to buy ads that promote their religion, they should be free to do that. Likewise, the Centre for Inquiry Canada should be free to buy ads that promote atheism. That’s what freedom of expression is all about.
Mr. Solo’s support for freedom of expression would have more credibility if he wasn’t also threatening to use the power of the state to silence the voices of duly elected officials such as Randy Donauer.
Also misguided is Mr. Solo’s view on the so-called “separation of church and state”. He seems to believe that this principle ought to ensure the state has nothing to say or do with religion whatsoever.
This is completely wrong. What this principle suggests is that the state should not coerce citizens to practice a particular form of religious belief. If a government wishes to endorse a certain religion over another, it may do so as long as it does not hinder a citizen’s right worship as he or she chooses. If citizens feel the government should not observe religious practices, the remedy can be found in the ballot box.
It is this distinction which Mr. Solo fails to appreciate in his campaign to wipe out any form of religion in public life.
Be that as it may, the city of Saskatoon is hardly “promoting” Christianity with its bus banners as much as it is commemorating a beloved cultural institution which transcends Christianity and is celebrated throughout the community by Christians and non-Christians alike. (Note that this would be different if the banners read “Have a Merry Christmas … or else!”)
If Mr. Solo truly believed in his cause, he would focus his intolerance on actual state-coerced religious observances, such as the mandatory Christmas Day holiday. Good luck to him on that one.
This one’s for my relatives, in more way than one:
The awkward, contrived introduction makes the performance that much better.
Glenn Reynolds, worth quoting in full:
SO THE TOPIC FOR MY USA TODAY COLUMN THAT I WOUND UP NOT USING was about how the story of the bogus translator at the Mandela funeral illustrates that everyday life is full of the kinds of inconsistencies and improbabilities that fuel conspiracy theories. Imagine if that guy had actually been a terrorist or an assassin, and had killed Obama and other leaders — suddenly his mental-health problems, his hiring by a fly-by-night company that vanished, his non-existent language school, the absence of security screenings at the event, would all look like some part of a coordinated plot, instead of general incompetence.
Just remember that in the future. Unless, of course, that’s what this was all about, which would prove that it really is a conspiracy!!!
Too bad he didn’t finish that column.
For a different example, I lived near Washington when the D.C. sniper attacks were happening in 2002, and I recall how we were told to be on the lookout for a white van that had been seen near several of the shootings. A friend at work tried an experiment while he was running errands in the area. He imagined hearing a gunshot, and he’d look around for a white van. He always saw one. Often more than one. The actual sniper had a blue sedan. The vans were just a coincidence.
First, throughout history, free-market capitalism has been a great driver of economic growth, and as my colleague Ben Friedman has written, economic growth has been a great driver of a more moral society.
Second, “trickle-down” is not a theory but a pejorative used by those on the left to describe a viewpoint they oppose. It is equivalent to those on the right referring to the “soak-the-rich” theories of the left. It is sad to see the pope using a pejorative, rather than encouraging an open-minded discussion of opposing perspectives.
Third, as far as I know, the pope did not address the tax-exempt status of the church. I would be eager to hear his views on that issue. Maybe he thinks the tax benefits the church receives do some good when they trickle down.
I’d like to add, fourth, that the Church did such a great job that it only took seventeen-hundred years before it significantly improved the quality of life of all Europeans, which just happened to coincide with the Industrial Revolution and the rise of capitalism.
UPDATER: Ludwig von Mises:
Of course, as a rule capitalists and entrepreneurs are not saints excelling in the virtue of self-denial. But neither are their critics saintly. And with all the regard due to the sublime self-effacement of saints, we cannot help stating the fact that the world would be in a rather desolate condition if it were peopled exclusively by men not interested in the pursuit of material well-being.
(h/t Cafe Hayek)