Author Archives: Steven Hayward

The Crisis of the Administrative State, Part 2

Featured image One of our lefty commenters yesterday lodged an objection to my post on “Liberal Conformity and Times Square” that Congress should just pass a simple fix to the 1965 Highway Beautification Act to exempt Times Square from the obvious silliness of applying the statute to that unique location. Problem solved? Not even close. Because if Congress were asked to step in whenever a bureaucrat did something stupid, they’d hardly have »

Whoa! UK Exit Polls Reporting Strong Tory Tide

Featured image With the polls closing soon in Britain, early exit polls are causing jaws to drop on all sides.  David Cameron’s Conservative Party looks to be close to a clear majority in the House of Commons.  If this early exit poll holds up, it would likely enable Cameron to form a government without a formal coalition partner. The Scottish SNP is apparently doing as expected—wreaking havoc on the Labour Party, whose seats »

A Harbinger from Canada?

Featured image While we await the results of the British election under way today, I wonder if there’s anything to be made of the recent provincial election in Alberta, where the fringey, left-wing NDP ousted the long-serving “Progressive Conservative” party.  (Yeah, yeah, I know “progressive conservative” is an oxymoron, but we’re talking about Canada here.)  This is being regarded as a political earthquake, and rightly so; given that energy-rich Alberta is the »

The Crisis of the Administrative State, Part 1

Featured image When I teach legal and constitutional history, one of the first things you ponder is the common law maxim, “Nemo judex in parte sua”— “No man shall be a judge in his own case.” The common sense logic of this hardly needs explaining—except to modern American liberals. The Wall Street Journal has an important story on the front page today that shows how far we’ve gotten from sound legal philosophy, »

More Venezuela Follies

Featured image I didn’t think the collapse of Venezuela’s socialism could be any more stark than the notice here a couple days ago of the closure of major league baseball operations, but sure enough, things are getting worse: Venezuela to Nationalize Food Distribution Caracas (AFP) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has promised to nationalize food distribution in the South American nation beset with record shortages of basic goods, runaway inflation and an »

The Lusitania at 100

Featured image Today marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Lusitania, one of the markers on the way to U.S. entry into World War I. George Will wrote about it the other day in his column, coming close but not quite embracing some of the old rumors and conspiracy charges that the British wanted the Lusitania sunk in hopes of getting the U.S. off the sidelines: It is commonly but »

Liberal Conformity and Times Square

Featured image In the course of doing some research for a longer writing project I had occasion this morning to re-read Lionel Trilling’s famous preface to The Liberal Imagination (1949), in which he observed: It is one of the tendencies of liberalism to simplify, and this tendency is natural in view of the effort which liberalism makes to organize the elements of life in a rational way. And when we approach liberalism »

The Telos of Liberalism: Your Children’s Bedtime Stories

Featured image The largest source of inequality today is the family, so it is not surprising that liberals obsessed with inequality have to control family life eventually, either by nationalizing children (Plato’s idea, only he was kidding), or by extending regulation to family matters. Think this is far-fetched? The Australian Broadcasting Company has found a philosopher named Adam Swift who thinks parents reading to their children helps increase inequality, and therefore we »

Venezuela: Now a Shortage of Baseball Players?

Featured image It surprised no one when the news came out a couple months ago that Venezuela’s socialist economy had run out of one of the easiest products to stock—toilet paper—but today the Wall Street Journal reports that most of the U.S. major league baseball talent scouting and development operations in Venezuela are closing down: The Mariners are the latest Major League Baseball team to pull out of Venezuela, leaving only four »

Death of the Copy Editor

Featured image A sage friend once remarked that the decline of copy editing in book and newspaper publishing coincided with the decline in the number of priests defrocked by the Catholic Church.  Sounds reasonable to me. And far be it from me to jump on just any old typo, since a number of them get through here at Power Line (chiefly because I seldom spot my own typos, which is apparently typical »

Police Body Cams: Not So Fast?

Featured image I’ve generally favored the idea of equipping police with body cams. But the ever wise Todd Zywicki of George Mason Law school offers the following caution about possible unintended consequences: I think I am generally favorably inclined toward body cameras for police. But I also worry about the unintended consequences. For example, in a world of overcriminalization, often the best police judgment is to not enforce a law against someone. »

Our Inhuman Humanities

Featured image The rise of political correctness and rigid ideological filters is only one reason the humanities are suffering a precipitous decline in enrollment at colleges and universities.  Other reasons include the deliberate obscurity and mediocrity that attend so many humanities programs and professors these days.  (I’ve observed classics departments where the object seems to be keeping as esoteric, inaccessible, and irrelevant as possible.) Why would students want to waste their time »

Another Predictable Failure of Liberalism

Featured image Remember how the advocates of Obamacare said it would reduce the number of expensive emergency room visits because there’d be fewer uninsured people? Of course you knew the opposite would happen. From today’s Wall Street Journal: U.S. Emergency Room Visits Keep Climbing Emergency-room visits continued to climb in the second year of the Affordable Care Act, contradicting the law’s supporters who had predicted a decline in traffic as more people »

The British Election and Its Lessons for Us

Featured image Britain goes to the polls on Thursday to elect a new government. Did you know this? It is hardly getting any media notice here in the U.S., perhaps because our lazy media can’t take its eyes off the long coronation of Queen Hillary.  Anyway, the polls are a scramble, and everyone paying attention (which means only Michael Barone and Henry Olsen) is saying it is the most unpredictable election in »

Climate: Only One Day to Go!

Featured image From The Guardian, May 4, 2007: UN Scientists Warn Time Is Running Out to Tackle Global Warming Governments are running out of time to address climate change and to avoid the worst effects of rising temperatures, an influential UN panel warned yesterday. Greater energy efficiency, renewable electricity sources and new technology to dump carbon dioxide underground can all help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the experts said. But there could »

Climate: Better Put Some Ice on That

Featured image The climatistas have long been fond of warning us about “tipping points,” which will unleash a torrent of “perfect storms,” or some other mashup of overused clichés.  Blink, and you’ll miss them. (Sorry, couldn’t help it.)  Al Gore famously predicted that we’d have an ice-free arctic by this year if we did nothing. Now one problem with letting climate clichés do your thinking for you is that there’s a very »

The Week in Pictures: Mother’s Day Edition

Featured image Mother’s Day isn’t officially being observed until next weekend, but Mother’s Day came a week ahead of time in Baltimore, where real fathers seem to be as scarce as city fathers. Plus we got the lowest-attended major league baseball game in history. Bruce Jenner is the new honorary chair of Women’s Republican Clubs, to the supreme annoyance of the Diversity Enforcers everywhere. And Hillary has a challenger: Go Bernie! And »