The Citizen’s Police Academy, Part 1

Last week, I attended the first class of the Citizen’s Police Academy. It is a 10-week course put on by the Harris County Precinct 5 Constable. For the duration of the course, I will occasionally share my thoughts and experiences as I progress through the course.

The first class was largely introductory. We were introduced […]

Harvey’s Newest Victims

The Chronicle reports that more than 1,000 homeowners have requested that the government buy their flooded homes. The Harris County Commissioners Court has asked FEMA for $17 million to buy 104 homes that are considered high risks for flooding.

Since any money spent by government ultimately has to come from taxpayers, this means that individuals […]

A “Necessary Evil” is Still Evil

Taxes, many Americans believe, are a “necessary evil.” They are the price we must pay to have a civilized society. As an example, one commentator, Bishop Michael Goings, states:

I would like to make a bold and perhaps un-American declaration. I hate paying taxes! Now I know that I have just expressed the conviction of […]

Helping Others Can Be Selfish

To the good people of Houston, Texas and surrounding communities so devastated by Hurricane Harvey:

I, with you, am suffering Harvey’s mal-effects and sympathize with you. I’ve provided direct help and plan to make financial contributions to help.

It is profoundly selfish on my part to provide emergency help to my loved ones and friends […]

The Libertarian Party and Non-objectivity

Last week, the Libertarian Party (LP) tweeted: “It’s sad that we can look to North Korea for an example of more freedom than the United States.” The now-deleted tweet was apparently motivated by the party’s mistaken belief that marijuana is legal in North Korea. Though a later tweet offered an apology, the original tweet illustrates […]

Awareness as a Choice

I was recently watching a minor league baseball game. A commentator noted that one of the young players showed a great situational awareness–the player was able to quickly assess a situation and determine what action to take. Another commentator asked if that was something that is natural or something that can be taught. The first […]

The Shawshank Redemption

Imagine being convicted for a double murder that you did not commit and then spending twenty years in prison. You would be forced to endure unimaginable horrors, not because you killed two people, but because, as the hero of the The Shawshank Redemption puts it, you were a bad husband and drove your wife into […]

Altruism and the “Public Interest”

No matter which party or politician backs a particular piece of legislation, its advocates nearly always proclaim that it serves the “public interest.” And opponents are just as quick to claim that the legislation is harmful to the public interest. The Keystone XL pipeline serves as an example.

For years, the pipeline was a controversial […]

Why Discrimination is Inescapable

Last week, California banned state-funded travel to Texas, saying that a new adoption law passed by Texas is discriminatory. California law restricts the use of state funds to travel to places that “authorize discrimination” on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Seven other states are on California’s no-travel list.

Ironically, in issuing such […]

Protecting Fairy Tales

A recent piece in the Chronicle raised the question: What is a sincerely held religious belief? The question was raised in the context of the Legislature’s ongoing efforts to protect religious freedom. The article offers no answer, but instead illustrates the problems that arise when one attempts to protect fairy tales.

For example, the article […]