Recommended Reading – Tuesday, March 27th
Alberta’s Public Sector Unions Versus Alberta Prosperity (Fraser Institute)
“If Albertans employed in the energy sector ever wonder why some people underestimate the vast contributions made by the oil and gas industry to Alberta’s prosperity, a new ad from the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) provides a clue.
In a recent newsletter sent to Alberta’s nurses, the province’s umbrella organization for unions published a one-page ad that portrays a balding energy company executive sitting at a hefty desk with his large whisky carafe beside him. The Dickens-like figure intones, “Your provincial government would rather underfund its own education and health care systems than charge me and my energy company an extra penny in taxes or royalties.”
The ad and its accompanying website are a mishmash of error-prone assertions. Here’s one in particular: that “Albertans are being forced to give up the basics.” Health care and education are mentioned as specifically underfunded.
Time for a fact check: On health care, in 2011, Alberta’s public expenditures amounted to $4,528 per capita, second only to Newfoundland (at $5,077). The national average last year was $3,778. ” (Click here for the rest of the article)
Warming Up to Environmentalism (Whiskey and Gunpowder)
“I’m starting to rethink the whole environmental craze in the culture, which is about as inescapable as pop music and jeans. It was born some 50 years ago and it has spread like a cancer ever since.
It’s always annoyed me that its most consistent dogma, pushed without evidence or argument, is that commerce, and all that is associated with commerce except on the smallest possible scale, is always and everywhere destructive to animals, plants, earth, air, water and (when they finally get around to this point) human health. So therefore, we should somehow eschew commerce, by hook or crook, in favor of some variant of asceticism.
This is, obviously, rubbish. Commerce is the heartbeat of civilization, the thing that makes possible prosperity, shelter, clothing, long lives, good lives, health, high and low culture, learning and every manner of fun. Without commerce, we lose all that we love and we are ground down to a primitive state of being, gathering and hunting and fighting for survival against the elements.” (Click here for the rest of the article)
Affluence and Fortune (National Review)
“In his “Economic Scene” column in the New York Times last week, Eduardo Porter wrote, “The United States does less than other rich countries to transfer income from the affluent to the less fortunate.”
Think about that sentence for a moment. It ends oddly. Logic dictates that it should have said, “transfer income from the affluent to the less affluent,” not the less fortunate.
But for Mr. Porter, as for the Left generally, those who are not affluent are not merely “less affluent,” they are “less fortunate.”
Why is this? Why is the leftist division almost always between the “affluent” and the “less fortunate” or between the “more fortunate” and the “less fortunate?” (Click here for the rest of the article)
On The Watch For Religious Perecutors (Cato Institute)
“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, said Thomas Jefferson, and that includes religious freedom. Religious persecution is tragically common abroad.
While members of all faiths are sometimes at risk somewhere, Christians are constantly victimized almost everywhere. And in many of these cases the threat is violence, imprisonment, and even death. Martyrdom apparently is more common today than during Roman times.
The California-based group Open Doors has released its latestWorld Watch List of the 50 worst persecutors of Christians around the globe. A Baker’s Dozen are communist or former communist states, led by North Korea. An incredible 38 are Muslim, including several of Washington’s allies. (Seven are both communist/former communist and Islamic, truly a toxic combination.) The other six are a potpourri — Hindu India, Buddhist Burma and Bhutan, conflict-ridden Colombia, and Eritrea and Ethiopia, which are both repressive and religiously divided.
Topping the World Watch List is the so-called Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which leads any parade of the world’s repressive, impoverished, or just plain awful places. Explains Open Doors: “Defiantly Communist in the Stalinist style, a bizarre quasi-religion was built around the founder of the country, Kim Il Sung. Anyone with ‘another god’ is automatically persecuted, which is why the 200,000-400,000 Christians in this country must remain deeply underground.” At least a quarter of them may be confined to labor camps.” (Click here for the rest of the article)
Beware of the Mob (Victor Davis Hanson)
“Democracies are in general prone to fits of the mob. Just read the Thucydidean account of the debate of Mytilene. Or watch a 1950s Western as the lynch party heads for the town jail. Fear of democratically sanctioned madness is why the Founders came up not just with classical tripartite government to check and limit power between the judicial, legislative, and executive branches, but also now generally disdained notions of allowing states to impose property qualifications for voting, the Electoral College, two senators guaranteed per state regardless of population, and senators originally selected without direct votes.
They were not concerned that under Athenian-style democracy the proverbial “people” and their populist Rottweilers in government and the press could not check the power of capital and birth, but were worried, as Juvenal later quipped, over who would police the police. So there had to be checks on the mob as well — a fickle and unpredictable force as we saw in the last eight years.” (Click here for the rest of the article)