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One frontier: two different worlds

One frontier: two different worlds

The comparison between the two approaches to American life and values represented by the books of Laura Ingalls Wilder (Little House on the Prairie series) and Bess Streeter Aldrich (A Lantern in Her Hand and its sequel White Bird Flying) opens some significant, and possibly uncomfortable, differences that lay at the root of the contrast of the families’ fortunes, despite living in the same…

Pay transparency is unaffordable for businesses and employees

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Blogger: Bill Wirtz
Pay transparency is unaffordable for businesses and employees

The new EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has promised to move closer to closing the gender pay gap. The new instrument she intends on using is pay transparency. Big mistake. The European Commission works on creating pay transparency in the European Union. In an effort to fight the gender pay gap (which exist if you do statistics wrong on purpose), it wants to lay open the salaries…

Does vaccine skepticism affect immunization rates?

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Does vaccine skepticism affect immunization rates?

Believe it or not, vaccination is still a controversial issue in many countries. Despite the scientific consensus that vaccines pose no risk to human health, some parents are still skeptical regarding their safety and effects, leading some of them to avoid vaccinating their children often based on pseudo-scientific arguments. Our World in Data recently released a series of articles that shed…

"A Lantern in Her Hand": an alternative view of the American frontier

"A Lantern in Her Hand": an alternative view of the American frontier

For the last few weeks, I have catalogued the flaws of the American “spirit” as represented in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie series and the unsuitability of the family as role models. Recognizing the inadequacy of the Ingalls-Wilder family as representative of an ideal American way of life and society is important because, due to a long-running TV show and…

The German hate speech saga

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Blogger: Bill Wirtz
The German hate speech saga

A federal court in Berlin decided that it was a legitimate expression of an opinion to call a politician a "slut", "piece of shit", and "brainless" on Facebook. The politician (who had indeed sued the user) and her supporters are outraged that the court would allow this "hate speech" to exist online. After having been insulted on social media, senior Green…

Some further thoughts on the Little House on the Prairie series

Some further thoughts on the Little House on the Prairie series

In the US, especially among those who see themselves as promoting family values and independent spirit, there is a tendency to lionize the Little House on the Prairie series, a sequence of children’s books written by a woman, Laura Ingalls Wilder, who lived on the American frontier and witnessed its transition into the modern era. The truth of the matter is that there was little to admire…

The case for legalizing paid surrogacy

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The case for legalizing paid surrogacy

Spain’s government has recently urged the Attorney General to investigate the operations of businesses offering surrogacy services. Despite not providing any evidence to support her claims, the Minister of Justice accused some of these businesses of child trafficking, criminal organization, money laundering, and false documentation. Surrogacy is unlawful in Spain, although companies…

Bashing big bosses: the favourite discipline of the French press

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Blogger: Bill Wirtz
Bashing big bosses: the favourite discipline of the French press

It is an antiphon, declared over and over again in public opinion. From high-level intellectuals like Noam Chomsky to the average citizen, everyone agrees: control by the big bosses over the media protects the former from being targeted by the latter. Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber was already warning of the danger of journalists losing control of their media to big business almost 60 years ago.…

The Curse of the ‘Abroad’: A Romanian Perspective

The Curse of the ‘Abroad’: A Romanian Perspective

“The civilizational ‘us’ and the extracivilizational ‘them’ is a constant in human history”.[1]  Samuel Huntington’s observations summarized in the above quote offer valuable insight, mostly regarding the mentality of former empires and great powers. For Romanians, the opposite is true. The ‘abroad’ has always been civilized, while we…

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