Freedom Is Child’s Play

For the short term, I expect the Middle East to be a close-fought battle between the forces of (relative) progress and the forces of religious obscurantism. Over the long term, I am more optimistic. The reason is that there are too many good ideas loose in the world, they are too easily available, and they […]

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The Muslim Civil War in Egypt

Here’s a good symbol of the recent turn of events in the Middle East: troops from Mali marching in a Bastille Day parade in Paris, in gratitude to the French for helping to defeat Islamists in Mali’s north. Yes, I know, Mali is not in the “Middle East.” It’s in Sub-Saharan Africa, or maybe just […]

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The Muslim Civil War Reaches Syria

The past few months have seen an interesting reversal. For a while, it looked like the pessimists might be right and that the big winners of the Arab Spring were the Islamists instead of the secular liberals. But in the past month, the secularists have rallied, most spectacularly in Egypt. As I observed last month, […]

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A Little Rebellion Now and Then

The decision by Egypt’s military to intervene and force out the country’s Islamist president has produced a lot of hand-wringing about how this is an attack on Jeffersonian democracy. The irony is that this is “democracy” in the most literal, original sense, in a way that would have been easily recognized by the Ancient Greeks […]

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Pathological Altruism

The Wall Street Journal‘s James Taranto recently linked to an academic psychologist’s report on the phenomenon of “pathological altruism”—a tentative recognition that the morality of altruism might not be as benevolent as it claims. For an Objectivist, this is a fat, slow pitch over the middle, so I took a swing at it. This is […]

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Egypt’s Do-Over Revolution

A little over a week ago, I wrote about how the post-Arab Spring Middle East was entering a new phase, one in which secular liberals and their sympathizers are beginning to realize that they have to fight the Islamists with everything they can muster. On Sunday, that battle got a lot bigger, with Egyptians pouring […]

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The Lessons of Afghanistan

Here’s another very important bit of foreign policy news. I have criticized President Obama for his Hamlet act over Syria and for letting local allies support the rebels and steer money and weapons to Islamists. I thought that we hadn’t learned the big lesson of Afghanistan, where we were so eager to break the power […]

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Planned Obsolescence

We Are All Futurists Now, Part 4 This article is part four out of (probably) eight. In the previous installments of this series, I sketched out some of the big new technological innovations that are likely to reshape the economy and bring us all into a science-fiction future. I discussed the “Third Industrial Revolution” which […]

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Observations of a Bystander

Writing about foreign policy these days is an exercise in frustration, because the United States is in the unusual and unnecessary position of being a bystander to world events. The reason is that President Obama is deeply committed to a policy of inaction, or more accurately, action so halting and reluctant as to be nearly […]

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Shrug Trek

A Reader’s Guide to Atlas Shrugged, Part 2 Spoiler Alert: You do not need a reader’s guide to Atlas Shrugged—at least not for your first reading. Ayn Rand’s novel is clear, compelling, eminently readable, and perfectly comprehensible on its own terms. Yet Atlas is also a rich and complex novel, with an intricate plot in […]

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