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Ralph Nader marks 50 years of consumer activism

November 30 marked the 50th anniversary of Ralph Nader’s book Unsafe at Any Speed. This book was a stern critique of American automakers who neglected safety in automotive design. It shook up the auto industry and brought Mr. Nader to the forefront in the new role of consumer advocate. Some may disagree with government regulation to protect consumers; but there is no question that his political...

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GOP: How about some constructive ideas?

Like him or hate him, there is one think you have to admit about Sen. Ted Cruz. You know exactly where he stands. Columnist Cal Thomas (no relation) aptly described it this way: What the establishment and the left really dislike about Cruz is that he paints in bold colors. You know where he stands, whether or not you agree with his positions. There is little chance Cruz will say one thing on...

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What are the limits on free speech?

Part 2 of 2 Last week, I wrote about the problems of using the law to limit free speech. There is another way to contain discussion within acceptable boundaries, which I will call social pressure. Social pressure is an informal agreement that certain subjects should be outside the range of open conversation. Like the law, social pressure can be abused; but our best hope of maintaining speech...

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What are the limits on free speech?

Part 1 of 2 What, exactly, is free speech, and what limits can we reasonably put on it? Readers of this space know that free speech is a frequent topic here. In past articles, we have looked at the right to put bumper stickers on a car, attempts by officials at the University of London and several U.S. universities to restrict speech (mostly to protect “political correctness”), the evident...

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Ferguson and justice

Finding myself heavily engaged in other matters, I have not taken as much time studying the events in Ferguson, Missouri, as I would like. However, judging from Facebook traffic the last few days, the rest of the country is almost obsessed with it. Even friends who almost never comment on current issues have weighed in on it. What actually happened These are the facts (Wikipedia, based on...

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Frustrated by last week’s election?

Two Northwestern University professors might have put their finger on the reason. In an article published in August for The Hill, Allan J. Lichtman reports on their findings. The analysts found that rich individuals and business-controlled interest groups largely shape policy outcomes at the national level. No surprise there. What is surprising is just how pervasive that control is. In the...

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