During the run-up to Easter this year, Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron had the temerity to assert publicly (and on more than one occasion) that Britain is a Christian country, suggesting also that it is no bad thing that it is. For having publicly espoused such politically incorrect sentiments, fifty-five prominent British humanists came down on him like a ton of bricks, excoriating him for false and divisive statements they claimed that he had made.
Mounted above the gallery doors of the House Chamber on Capitol Hill are 23 marble bas relief plaques of figures selected on account of their contributions towards establishing the principles underlying American law. Arranged in two groups of 11 on either side of chamber, these figures face a full-faced portrait of Moses situated in the center. In several cases, such as the figures of Thomas Jefferson and William Blackstone, the connection with American legal principles is fairly obvious. The personages whose association is less obvious include the medieval Cordovan rabbi and philosopher, Moses Maimonides. His thought and writing are barely studied…
Hot on the heels of the latest annual Bilderberg get-together (link no longer available) in Berkshire, England, political leaders at the just-concluded G8 summit in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, announced that the EU and US intend to broker a free-trade agreement between them by the end of next year, with talks towards one due to begin next month.
How should supporters of free-markets respond to the news of such an agreement – with jubilation, indifference, or dismay? Prima facie, such a deal can only be good news. The removal or lowering of tariffs fosters trade and thereby supposedly facilitates mutually beneficial international division of labour which in turn, by fostering a greater interdependency between nations, reduces the chances of war between them.
In reality, however, the prospect of such an agreement is anything but a cause for celebration for freedom lovers.
Germany’s renewables energy sector is busy cleaning up these days, commercially-speaking that is, not in terms of environmental impact. So far as that goes, Germany’s much vaunted green revolution has been nothing short of disastrous.
As its heavily subsidized wind-farms and solar panels mushroom, so Germany’s ancient forests are increasingly being felled to make way for the open mining of lignite (brown coal) of which Germany has copious reserves beneath its soil and which is the most unhealthy fossil fuel of all.
‘A kick in the ballots’ is how pundits are describing the blow received by British Prime Minister David Cameron at the polls last week in his country’s mid-term local elections in the rural shires, traditional heartland of support for the Conservative Party he leads.
Gleefully administering the blow was Nigel Farage, the ever-exuberant leader of the United Kingdom Party Independence Party (UKIP for short).
While more than enough is happening domestically to keep Americans fully occupied, it will not have escaped the attention of many of them that the political tectonic plates of Europe are currently moving in ways contrary to the direction in which America has sought to steer them since the end of World War Two. What is called today the European Union was very much the brainchild of the United States. By means of it, America sought to prevent further internecine conflict in Europe, as well as to enmesh Germany within an alliance that would prevent it falling under Soviet influence. In…
‘Government in our democracy, state and national, must be neutral in matters of religious theory, doctrine, and practice… The First Amendment mandates governmental neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion.’ So Justice Abraham Fortas declared in delivering the Supreme Court ruling in Epperson vs. Arkansas. That ruling struck down an Arkansas statute, enacted in 1928, prohibiting Darwinian evolution from being taught in its state schools and universities. In explaining the reasons for the Court’s ruling, Justice Fortas stated: There is and can be no doubt that the First Amendment does not permit the State to require that teaching and…
Of the riotous 1960s, it has been said, if you can remember them, you weren’t there. The same cannot be said of the several ensuing, more sober decades, especially if you were at all well disposed to the free market and limited government. For it was during the twentieth century’s final quarter that these ideals staged a dramatic comeback, after a long period of eclipse in America during which there had been ever-increasing governmental regulation of the economy and dispensation of welfare.
That resurgence of free-market ideas was capped off towards the century’s end by the spectacular triumph of American capitalism over Soviet communism. Increasing numbers swiftly began to learn to stand on their own feet economically-speaking and to accept that, in the words of one of capitalism’s most exuberant champions, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Rounding off the apparent victory of free-market ideals over collectivism was the major retrenchment of public welfare in America achieved through the 1996 Welfare Reform Act.
As well as laying claim to being land of the free and home of the brave, until recently America could boast of a more devout populace than any other Western country. As Seymour Martin Lipset observed in his 1996 study of American Exceptionalism:
The puzzling strength of organized religion [is] a phenomenon that impressed most nineteenth-century observers and continues to show up… in cross-national opinion polls… These polls indicate Americans are the most churchgoing in Protestantism and the most fundamentalist in Christendom… Compared to West Europe as a whole, Americans place a higher importance on the role of religion in their lives.
Recent polls suggest Americans are becoming more like their European cousins with respect to losing their religion. According to a poll published last October by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, the number of Americans without affiliation to any organized form of religion has grown from 16 per cent of the total population in 2008 to 20 per cent.