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Showing posts from November, 2020

The High Duty of Elected Officials and Ways They Fall Short

With an election just completed (the alleged voting, anyway), a legislative session coming up, constant talk of spending to offset the impacts of COVID-19, and elected officials trying to mandate our way out of a disease, the duty of elected officials in their official positions is worth considering. The 1889 Institute recently published a booklet for state lawmakers that discusses various issues and possible solutions. Included in that booklet is a short discussion of the central duty of elected officials, which is expanded here. What is the central, over-arching duty of an individual after having been elected to public office? Public oaths of office give a strong hint, and the Oklahoma Constitution is a good place to start. Article XV includes the oath of office, which states that an Oklahoma public official swears to “support, obey, and defend” the constitutions of the nation and the state, that the official will not take bribes, and that the official will discharge duties as best

Public Unions and Obscure Election Dates Create a Perfect Storm

Wouldn’t it be great to pick your boss? I don’t mean choose between two competing job offers based on which boss you prefer. I mean that you and your coworkers get together and pick a boss based on who is going to be the easiest to work for: someone who won’t interfere with your work, won’t call you out when you’re acting against the interest of your customers, someone who will sing your praises to the public, and let you work for another organization on company time. Public sector unions everywhere wield undue power over the elected officials charged with overseeing them. In many states unions dominate every aspect of politics. Right to work laws, and the state culture that created them, are meant to shield Oklahoma from this fate. But when public employees are able to band together and withhold essential services, especially those services they have fully monopolized by virtue of the fact that only government provides them, elected officials have little choice but to cave. This is th

How Biden/Harris and Well-educated Sophisticates Are Wrong in the Age of COVID-19

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris often declared during the campaign that “We believe in science.” And judging by the tendency of the college-educated , especially among the sophisticates living on the coasts, to agree with Harris’s positions on everything from climate change to proper precautions amid COVID-19, belief in “science” seems to many a mark of knowledge and wisdom. But is it? The modern belief in “science” increasingly appears to be a religion wherein the words of certain recognized experts are received with the reverence once reserved for the Pope. A college diploma almost serves as a permission slip to suspend one’s own judgment and reason in favor of taking the word of certain experts to heart, especially if they work in government, certain universities, or gain media credence.   This tendency to turn experts and the media into high priests of all knowledge is nothing new. In 1986, 60 Minutes ran a story about a phenomenon people experienced in cars with automatic tra

Follow the Science: Eliminate Social Distancing and Focus Resources to Protect the Vulnerable

As the country entered into an election year, COVID-19 reared its head and became an unusual campaign issue. Exposed to extreme politization, facts were buried in an abundance of misinformation perpetuated by the invocation of “science.” With the overly polarized rhetoric of stump speeches mercifully behind us, it is time to return to the rigor and integrity in research that public policy deserves. Now that the polls have closed, let’s move on, dig into the facts, and, indeed, follow the science.   Upon the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 and the COVID-19 illness, little was known about it. Symptomatically, it was even difficult to tell whether or not one had the disease given that the list of symptoms seemed to expand continually. Despite what little information existed, there was no lack of self-proclaimed experts claiming the knowledge necessary to contain the disease. With the state's presumptive authority and dubious expertise, numerous state and local governmen

Be Careful What You Wish For

The state of Oklahoma has California in its sight s . People and businesses seeking greater opportunity are fleeing California, and justifiably so. The most humane thing for Oklahoma to do is open our borders and offer economic asylum to the oppressed refugees of the People’s Republic of California. However, I urge caution. In an age dominated by masked faces and super-sensitivity to the spread of viral conditions, I suggest the California Condition (condition) should be met with great trepidation.   What is the condition? It is the virulent spread of tyranny and oppression. Common symptoms include limited freedom and mobility accompanied by exorbitant costs of living, energy, doing business, and pretty much everything else. Those suffering under the condition often experience a diminished capacity for reason. Uncommon symptoms may include fever and fits of rage. The condition is progressive. It tends to worsen as reason diminishes and illogic consumes the mind. Many that experience li

Why We Need to Reject Equality of Outcome

The United States of America was founded on the principle of equality. This principle has guided the country throughout its history. There have been times that we have fallen short of this goal, the most obvious example being slavery. However, lately there appears to be disagreement on what really constitutes equality. For some, equality means guaranteeing a certain outcome for all, regardless of any difference in ability or effort expended. However, this is not what the founders intended when they wrote, "all men are created equal." We should be grateful for their interpretation of what equality means. The Founders were deliberate about including the concept of equality in the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” No matter the differences between people, the

OG&E and the Corporation Commission Aren’t Doing Their Jobs

At the time of this writing, it’s been a full week since there was power at my home. I live within OG&E’s electrical grid, so when it comes to being without power this past week, I’m nothing special. Many of OG&E’s customers had no power for days, and some will have no power for well over a week. By the time power is restored to everyone in their service area, OG&E’s own estimate is that it will have taken ten full days to repair all the damage from Oklahoma’s latest ice storm. Ice storms are bears, no doubt about it. They are very hard on trees, and if the roads ice over, they are very hard on cars. But roads, for the most part, were not an issue during Oklahoma’s “Icemageddon” of 2020. The problem was the extra weight of the ice on trees, wires and poles. And what we discovered was that Oklahoma’s electric power grid, once again, was not up to the challenge. Fact is, Oklahoma’s power grid isn’t up to much of Oklahoma’s weather. Every time the electricity goes out, which