Iceberg in Sight

While I have been – and remain – broadly supportive of most of President Trump’s official acts thus far, there is at least one respect in which it looks to me as if history may come to see his presidency as a disaster. (Ok, maybe two, but I’ll leave a discussion of Trump’s mercantilist instincts for another day). The likely consequences of Trump’s continuing down the road I will describe herein are so dire that all his other achievements and failures will be seen as irrelevancies, and the acrimonious debates about them as unhelpful sideshows.

In past years, I repeatedly took President Obama to task for having had a devil-may-care attitude about the growth in federal spending on his watch...

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A Draft Speech for Tonight

Good evening, and again, thank you for being here.

I have been a supporter of the Connecticut Cycling Advancement Program – CCAP – since day one, and I thought I would take a couple of minutes to tell you why that’s so.

Like most of you, I am both an avid cyclist and a parent. In the latter role, I have watched the effects of changing technologies and social circumstances on our children. In my view, nowadays most young people spend more time than is good for them surfing the net or on social media rather than playing or competing with each other outdoors.

Schools typically support only 5 or 6 sports, and those sports necessarily involve only a small minority of students...

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Drug Policy

Drug abuse is one of our most serious problems, and a fair, appropriate and effective drug policy is devilishly difficult to devise.

Over time, my thoughts on this issue have become markedly less libertarian. In the five years in which I have been writing posts on Civil Horizon, I have written three on the topic of drugs (Circe’s Potions, Crimes and Punishment and Still-Evolving Thoughts on Drug Policy), the most recent of which I wrote this afternoon. Because my later posts on this subject assume the reader’s familiarity with the first one, they are presented sequentially here.

Taken together, the posts are as long as three normal posts, but you might find them interesting for their own sake and/or to watch how my thinking has evolved over time...

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A Mistake

For something new and different, I thought I would write about a mistake I made in raising my children.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I adore my children. They have all grown into perfectly wonderful adults. The mistake I made casts no shadow on their judgement – but it’s still worth spelling out.

When our brood was young, the Beloved Spouse stayed home to care for them (and for me!); my designated role was to be the provider of financial resources. These roles worked well for us. The Beloved Spouse was a splendid mother, and I was always very proud that I was able to stay one step ahead of the ever-increasing costs of providing what my mother once described as “all of the necessities and some of the luxuries”. My ability to do so made me a success in my own eyes...

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More Interesting Than Boastful, I Hope

Above my pc’s monitor is a photograph of nine friends, yours truly included. It was taken well over twenty years ago, and has sat there for ages, occasionally reminding me what friendship is all about. The photograph also tells a remarkable, unexpected story.

The occasion was a pity party for me, given by one of my friends. I had just recently broken my shoulder in a bicycle accident. The invitees were the regular participants in my home-town morning ride group.

Most of us were in our thirties or early forties, but three were much older. None of us were work colleagues. We all commuted to jobs in Manhattan from homes in our cozy suburb...

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Trump’s Lies

An anonymous reader of yesterday’s post left a very sharp comment that I quote here in its entirety:

“’who was (and is!) entitled, self-righteous and dishonest to or past the point of criminality….’ Describes Mr. Trump equally, or possibly more than Mrs. Clinton, don’t you think? We shouldn’t hold him to a lower standard.”

This comment calls for a serious response. By embedding my response into a new post, I’ll give both the comment and my response a wider audience.


For many, many years before Trump entered politics, my former business partner and I were mildly obsessed by his low character and his publicity-seeking antics. We watched the erection of one of his garishly named buildings from our office windows, so he was a neighbor of sorts...

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Trump’s Luck

One of the reasons that I’m glad I’m not a Democrat – in addition to the obvious one that I mostly disagree with the party’s policy prescriptions – is that if I were, I would be going into a deep depression about the way that the party’s leaders are behaving. Because of their ferocious dislike of the president, and the echo chambers in which they live and breathe, they are acting like idiots. I am convinced that the American people are noticing or will get around to doing so by election time.

To begin, by presenting a uniformly sullen image during the State of the Union address last week, Congressional Democrats may have telegraphed their righteous hatred of all things Trump to their most fervent volunteers and donors, but would the broader audience really appreciate their insisten...

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Where Freedom Comes From

Religion comes first.

Whatever faith each of us has, consciously or otherwise, doesn’t so much define how we see ourselves as encapsulate it. We may or may not believe in God as described by one of the major religions, or even have our own clear conceptions of what He is, but we live our lives by one or another of various possible frameworks of understanding that enable us to get out of bed in the morning. Some of those frameworks help us set better patterns of living than others. We judge ourselves by these yardsticks.

We also accord others rights, and expect them ourselves, based on the same frameworks. Other people are either to be treated as being of equal moral worth in our eyes and those of God, or they are not...

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Don’t Know Much About History…

It was a lovely, sunny day in Connecticut today, and warmer than we had any right to expect, so I went out for a bicycle ride with some close friends. We got a little exercise, caught up, saw some pretty sights and soaked in some much-needed mid-winter rays – a treat all around.

During the ride, I spent a fair bit of time talking with an exceptionally bright and intellectually engaged young man, a fairly recent history-major graduate of one of our most prestigious colleges. As we rode through Old Saybrook, I told him about the Puritans who had settled the area, and of a nearby place where two regicides had hidden from English justice after the Restoration.

My young friend seemed a bit mystified by these references, so I gave him some of the broader context of the 17th century struggles bet...

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The Imputation of Bad Motive

The constant abuse of the word racist drives me to distraction.

Notwithstanding what you may have heard, it is not racist for our government to use “extreme vetting”, as the Trump Administration intends, on prospective immigrants from certain predominantly Muslim nations. It might be bad policy for any number of reasons – that’s a fair topic for debate – but it’s not racist.

If racism were at the heart of the Administration’s concerns about immigration from the designated countries – if President Trump loathed all Arabs, say, or thought them inferior – he would not have repeatedly voiced support for the admission of more Syrian Christians (who are, of course, Arabs) – and he would be intent on applying extreme vetting to would-be immigrants from all Arab countries.

No, P...

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