Author Archives: Rogier

How China Wiped Out Half the World’s Extreme Poverty

When the world’s ultra-poor spend almost all of their meager cash on food, they never acquire the durable goods or productive assets that enable them to climb out of their predicament. Buying a handcart or a bike or farming implements provides a chance to begin moving from bleak subsistence to a toehold in the lower [...]

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Posted in capitalism, economics, foreign politics, free markets, poverty | Comments closed

On Being Offended

If you’ll forgive a little loftiness: I write to sort out and arrange my thoughts, but also to inform, surprise, inspire thought, and entertain. I don’t set out to wound, but I do have a sense of humor that’s not shared by everyone, and I’m OK with that. Don’t like it? That’s fine too. Some [...]

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Posted in blog operations, entertainment, nannies, religion | Comments closed

A day to honor our right to disagree

We don’t have to worry about it much in the West, but there are dozens of countries where criticizing religion, or even just saying that there is no God, is a hazardous affair that can land you in jail — or worse. If you’re an atheist and you sometimes feel under siege from the majority [...]

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Posted in civil liberties, crime and justice, First Amendment and free speech, foreign politics, government, law enforcement, libertarianism, nannies, police state, religion | Tagged , , , , | Comments closed

The partisan politics of crying “bully”

I’ve occasionally bleated blogged about the fashionabilty of smearing every utterance and behavior that you don’t agree with as the act of a “bully.” But the other day, Ken, over at Popehat, relieved me of ever having to write about the phenomenon again. That’s because he didn’t just hit the nail on the head; he [...]

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Posted in media, misconceptions, politics | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

15 reasons to oppose drug testing in schools

This makes me ill. I’d be tickled to death to have [our students] drug tested! …singsongs one of the leaders of the Acadia Christian School, up the road from where I live. Which sounds pretty damn giddy — and pretty damn creepy — to my ears. Tickled to death at the prospect of forcibly extracting [...]

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Posted in civil liberties, crime and justice, law enforcement, nannies, war on drugs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Next, a drone attack on American soil?

Time magazine has an excellent round-up of the state of drone technology, and explores drones’ implications for the future. It’s not just a piece about battlefield use; the story also looks at the increasing use of domestic drones. Yep: We’re not in Afghanistan anymore, Toto. This passage offers a good bit of insight into the [...]

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Posted in civil liberties, crime and justice, government, law enforcement, military, police state, science, U.S. politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

A respectful thought on this day of our Lord

Trust only the pious ones, for they can show you the path to God. Like this guy. A prominent Saudi Arabian preacher who raped his 5-year-old daughter before torturing her to death has been spared a death sentence or even a lengthy prison term after agreeing to pay “blood money” to the slain girl’s mother. [...]

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Posted in crime and justice, law, law enforcement, religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Two kinds of justice: One for you, another one for cops

Police officer Daniel Harmon-Wright shot a 54-year-old woman to death in Culpeper, Virginia, a year ago. Her name was Patricia Ann Cook. Mr. Harmon-Wright claimed he had no choice, because in some unlikely altercation, she rolled up the window of her idling car, trapping his arm. And then she hit the accelerator, he says, and [...]

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Posted in civil liberties, crime and justice, law enforcement, police state | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Islam and science: a budding love affair?

The Economist argues that a Muslim scientific awakening is underway. Few things would please me more, although it seems to me that there is an inverse relation between a society’s overt religious piety and its willingness to truly embrace science. As far as Islam goes, I suppose the good news is that the situation can [...]

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Posted in philosophy, religion, science | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Revisited: Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

I’m re-reading Charles Mackay’s Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, an 1841 compendium of suggestibility. Mackay, in his wry, amused way, wonderfully describes mob behavior through the ages, from the persecution of alleged witches to the insanity of inflated markets, from various end-time follies to the ever-popular search for eternal youth. I could quote [...]

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Posted in books, entertainment, media, religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

On gun control, media commit an epic viral deception

Yesterday, in Hartford, Connecticut, state legislators held a hearing on gun control. Neil Heslin, the father of one of the Sandy Hook victims, testified in favor. Within hours, various media, most notably The Telegraph in the U.K., reported something rather disturbing: The tearful father’s testimony was interrupted by up to a dozen members of the [...]

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Posted in crime and justice, government, media, protest | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Newtown: an explosion of dubious grief

I’m feeling just a bit queasy, courtesy of a Canadian cop. A Saskatoon police officer is working to create a massive sculpture honouring the victims and emergency workers involved in the December shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. A preliminary version of the memorial, which would be built by Saskatchewan people and shipped to Newtown, would include [...]

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Posted in crime and justice, media, memorial, religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed