All posts by Christopher Machold

Scalise shooting, Portland and others: How much do the political views of American terrorists matter?

When a Portland man stabbed the defenders of two women who appeared to be Muslim in May, he was quickly identified by his conservative and white supremacist politics. He had supported Donald Trump, ranted against Muslims, and appeared at rallies with neo-Nazi gear. That he also supported Sen. Bernie Sanders and the Standing Rock protests was less reported.

When another man shot at members of congress on June 14, leaving GOP House Whip Steve Scalise in critical condition, different media personalities quickly played a similar game with a new twist: suspect James Hodgkinson was a proud Sanders supporter who frequented anti-Trump social media pages. Minutes after the shooting, Donald Trump, Jr. repeated a sentiment most often expressed by progressives of late: that violent rhetoric sometimes has violent ends….

Continue reading at: The Washington Examinder

Do Atlanta’s Taxis Deserve a Level Playing Field?

On May 15, the Georgia Supreme Court unanimously rejected an appeal from Atlanta taxi drivers seeking recovery funds from the state for “deregulatory takings.” The taxi cartel had argued that the deregulation of ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft had decreased the value of taxi medallions to such an extent that the taxi industry had become entitled to compensation by the state.

The court not only wholly rejected the argument, but also declared that taxi operators have no right to an “unalterable monopoly.” Simply put, purchasing the medallions from a government agency does not entitle the buyer to lost market value caused by new entrants. Taxi operators can compete and innovate, but they cannot fall back on the support of the state. In coming to this decision, the court relied on similar decisions in Chicago and Minneapolis, where other states dealt with similar arguments.

Read more in RealClearPolicy

The Health Insurance Debate Reveals the Endemic Flaws of Our Politics

As House Republicans revive a revamped Affordable Care Act replacement bill with more support from the libertarian wing of the Republican party, Republicans and Democrats have gone back-and-forth over the impact of the bill on people with pre-existing conditions. As The New York Times noted in a recent review of each party’s claims, both have played fast and loose with their evaluations of the policy. Republicans have overstated the degree to which the bill protects those with pre-existing conditions, and Democrats have overstated the negative effect it might have on the same group.

Health insurance policy is notoriously complicated, and both liberal and conservative policy experts disagree on how to unravel a 50-year-old mess created by bureaucracy and bad bills.

Continue reading in TownHall 

Bernie Is Blind to Compassion without Compulsion

During the confirmation hearings for Representative Tom Price’s appointment as Health and Human Services Secretary, Bernie Sanders took aim at Price’s claim that America is fundamentally compassionate. “No, we are not a compassionate society … In terms of our relationship with poor and working people, our record is worse than virtually any other country on earth,” the junior senator from Vermont claimed.

On 2016’s doozy of a campaign trail, Bernie Sanders focused his attention less on societal values and virtues — whether, for instance, we as a whole people act virtuously or otherwise — and much more on the size and scope of government programs and regulations. But the question of whether Americans act compassionately is distinct, and one Sen. Sanders gets wrong. Americans as private moral individuals are rife with the virtue of compassion. And this is not in spite of our wealth and relative freedom, as some might suggest, but because of it.

Sen. Rand Paul, for his part, addressed Sanders’ claim with statistics. At $400 billion dollars in 2014, and similar numbers annually, private individuals and organizations donated more than the GDP of many nations. Paul then compared that figure with “socialized” countries of the sort Sen. Sanders often professes a desire to emulate.

Here, Paul was plainly defining compassionate behavior as something individual moral agents display. The compassion of America is displayed through the generous actions of people. The paradigmatic case of this is in people like Bill and Melinda Gates, whose charitable foundation has received billions of dollars from the couple.

Continue reading at FEE.

For Liberals, Castro Represents A Last Roadblock To Forgetting The Evils Of Communism

In the wake of Cuban despot Fidel Castro’s death at the age of 90, media and public response has been decidedly mixed among North American and European personalities. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Irish President Michael Higgins, for instance, both penned effusive eulogies praising the “longest serving president” who advocated a “development path that was unique and determinedly independent.” Yet the nation’s largest community of Cuban-Americans, many of whom are exiles or escapees of the oppressive regime, celebrated in the streets that the man who jailed, murdered and starved thousands of their people was at last dead.

Why this chasm between those in the West who unequivocally condemn the man and those who are paying him post-mortem lip service? His deeds, among them mass murder and incarceration, the criminalization of free speech and homosexuality, and the absolute restriction of emigration from the country, would certainly horrify any person who values a Western society that protects the freedom to pursue one’s own ends.

One must wonder if the hesitation to outright condemn Castro comes in part from Western progressivism’s complex relationship with communism: American and European leftist intellectuals were quick to embrace communist precepts and praise early movements before the extent of the oppression and poverty in the USSR and elsewhere was known. French existentialist and political theorist Jean-Paul Sartre famously renounced communism, after years of intellectual participation in communist politics, when he witnessed first-hand the atrocities of the USSR. He was, as many Western leftists have been, enamored with surface elements of communist thought until familiar with its oppressive application. If this realization is so crucial, then forgetting communism’s violent history can only promote its renewed romantic aura in the eyes of the public and intellectuals alike.

Continue reading at The Daily Caller.