What’s our political future?

My crystal ball rolled off the table and broke, so I’ll have to guess. I didn’t think Donald Trump would win the presidency in 2016, so I don’t have a good track record. But hey, no one’s perfect. Economist Arnold Kling wrote a book called The Three Languages of Politics, and it’s an intriguing idea.Continue reading “What’s our political future?”

Are human rights natural—or a social construct?

Either way, universal human rights are essential for human flourishing. The Declaration of Independence says “all men are created equal”—“endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”—because of “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” Trees exist whether human societies exist or not. But money doesn’t exist outside of human societies. Money is aContinue reading “Are human rights natural—or a social construct?”

Of Crackers & Yankees

We’re not so different. New Englanders think Southerns are all the same. And Southerns think Yankees are all the same. So I guess we’re even. Or maybe we’re more alike than we think. I’m a Maine Yankee, even though I don’t sound like one. People are skeptical when I say I’m from coastal Maine. NoContinue reading “Of Crackers & Yankees”

Which Accent Has the Worst Reputation?

Most of us are familiar with the BBC accent, the more refined version of which is sometimes called posh. It’s long been the standard for the British Broadcasting Corporation. But if you listen to the BBC today, you’ll hear a variety of UK accents (in the US, NPR sometimes broadcasts BBC News). Some accents are stigmatized,Continue reading “Which Accent Has the Worst Reputation?”

Will a Bachelor Tax Create More Babies?

At first I thought it was Onion style satire. Japanese bachelors should pay a handsome man tax to encourage them to marry. Japanese men are losing interest in matrimony, often because of the enormous financial demands of marriage and family. But fewer births could mean Japan’s population will be a fifth smaller by mid-century. TheContinue reading “Will a Bachelor Tax Create More Babies?”

When Did Americans Lose Their English Accents?

American and British speech are so different that even professional actors struggle with sounding authentic. So when did Americans lose their English accent? Maybe Americans never had an English accent. At least not a modern British accent. English is constantly changing. In the late Middle Ages Geoffrey Chaucer wrote the Canterbury Tales: Whan that Aprille with hisContinue reading “When Did Americans Lose Their English Accents?”