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Government bloat: societal divide

Government bloat: societal divide

In his writing regarding the ratio of federal employees to federal contractors (1.5 million : 15 million), economic historian and professor Brian Domitrovic argued that the contractor bubble is rooted in a desire to undermine the private sector. His argument is that federal contractors are in reality federal employees under a different name. The root of Domitrovic’s thesis lies in American…

Low entry threshold, or affirmative action: a case study

Low entry threshold, or affirmative action: a case study

Over the 2010s, a pointless drama played out in the American Supreme Court - twice. A young woman, Abby Fisher, filed a personal injury lawsuit against University of Texas at Austin for not admitting her as an undergraduate. In fairness to Fisher, it turned out that the suit was the concoction of adults in her life who wanted it to become the landmark case that would bring down institutional…

Caveat emptor: Or credulity's reward

Caveat emptor: Or credulity's reward

At the end of April 2019, a 28-year old confidence woman, Anna Sorokin, received a lengthy prison sentence for fraud. The sequence of events was cinematic in terms of the audacity of her swindle, which the courts concluded to be well in excess of $250,000. Using the alias Anna Delvey and claiming to be a German trust-fund baby, over the course of four years she materialized for periods in New…

"Access" to upward mobility: A case study

"Access" to upward mobility: A case study

In June 2016, the New York Times published an exposé on Valparaiso University School of Law and their process for recruiting new students. The piece provoked a polemic on the subject of the place of markets and government intervention in education because it revealed that the problematic practices employed by the school were simply standard for a certain level of institution. It was a very…

The Brexit divide: region and identity

The Brexit divide: region and identity

Political scientist Matthew Goodwin, co-author, along with Roger Eatwell, of National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy, has called Brexit a “purple” vote, i.e. neither left or right but a melding of the two spectra, though often with differing or completely opposing agendas. A long-form piece by the BBC provides perspective on Goodwin’s assertion. The main…

Tech and achievement: a new "problem"

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Tech and achievement: a new "problem"

Recently, I attended a workshop given by a man who had obtained his PhD in the early 1990s. When he was a student he was the only person that to finish the entire programme and graduate, not only from his admission year but also from several groups on either side of him. The explanation was that the technological difficulty of doing research, assembling, organizing, and then publishing…

Linguistic inclusion or social mobility?: A dilemma

Linguistic inclusion or social mobility?: A dilemma

Language and accents are a veritable passion for anglophones. Upon landing in the UK for the first time, my new comrades at university asked me to explain President Trump, but their curiosity was focused on his accent, not his policies. The power of linguistic tonality and musicality has long been a sore topic with those of a social justice inclination, who have long waged war on British Received…

A neglected hero - worthy of the admiration given the Founding Fathers: part II

A neglected hero - worthy of the admiration given the Founding Fathers: part II

Grover Cleveland’s reforms, both real and abortive, during his first term (1885 – 1889) cost him his mandate in the 1889 election. Despite the efficacy with which he shrank the federal government, his resolute disregard toward special interests, and his focus on constitutional limits and fiscal responsibility, he became very unpopular with the majority of the electorate.…

A neglected hero: part I

A neglected hero: part I

American President Grover Cleveland (1837 – 1908) is rather neglected in the sequence of US leaders. For schoolchildren, he appears as the man who was both the 22nd and the 24th president – he lost his reelection bid the first time to Benjamin Harrison but then defeated Harrison in his reelection bid four years later. Cleveland deserves to be remembered for much more than his dramatic…

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