SPOTLIGHT – Prison Rape is Corporal Punishment


It is no surprise that bad things happen when criminals are held together in an overcrowded and poorly controlled environment. Prison life is rampant with drug abuse, gang activity, and violence. The widespread disorder, including sexual assault, raises serious questions for a system administered under full government control. Continue reading

Who’s Afraid of Radical Islam?

(c) Xavier Allard via Flickr

Given a choice, most politicians prefer a symbolic fight to a substantive one. To see how, consider the fight over the term ‘radical Islam’. Even by the low standards typically set by American politicians, the argument stands out for its inanity. It’s worth asking: what are Americans so afraid of? Continue reading

In the Wake of the Paris Attacks, the Power of Stories


Stories are how humans make sense of the world. It is perhaps our most distinctive trait. The terrorist attacks that shook Paris last Friday gave the world a stark reminder of the power of narrative. Continue reading

The Road Not Taken – Obama’s Syrian Mistake

Tired Obama

Obama came into office promising not to repeat the errors of the George W. Bush presidency, and by and large, he hasn’t. But he’s been so zealous in implementing the lessons of the Iraq War – “don’t do stupid stuff” – that he’s built his own trap by ignoring the fact that when you’re President of the United States, you don’t have the privilege of inaction. Continue reading

Despite Solid Reviews, Democratic Debate Exposes Weak Points

(c) Gage Skidmore

With 15.3 million viewers, Tuesday’s CNN/Facebook Democratic debate had the highest rating of any Democratic primary debate in US history. That means that about one in twenty Americans watched the five candidates vie for the opportunity to lead the party’s … Continue reading

The American Debate on Guns Continues to Ignore the Facts

(c) M&R Glasgow via Flickr.

The latest high-profile American mass shooting has reignited the debate on gun control – and the frustration among gun control advocates is palpable. But despite the efforts of the statistically minded, the conversation around guns continues to obsess over the least relevant form of gun violence. Continue reading

Big Government, Small Government, and the Military

(c) Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Republicans can all agree that centralized planning and government ruins innovation, destroys accountability, breeds corruption, engenders absurdity, and lowers performance. Except, of course, when they’re talking about the military. Continue reading

The Other One Percent – They’re Closer Than You Think.

(c) Herman Pieters

Bernie Sanders is catching fire – and he’s doing it largely on the strength of an economic message that highlights the growing disparity between the wealthy and the rest of the country. But talk of ‘the one percent’ also raises some uncomfortable questions. Continue reading