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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 30, 2014 / 30 Nissan, 5774

Law v. Common Sense, or: When the hypothetical becomes the real

By Paul Greenberg




JewishWorldReview.com | Reality is repeating scholarship again. It does so with some regularity. A clash between the feds and a Nevada rancher captured the nation's attention the other day -- and brought to mind how prophetic scholars can be.

. . .

Think of Max Weber, the German sociologist and thinker (yes, the two can go together) back in the 19th and early 20th century who foresaw the defining, interacting aspects of dawning modernity even before they had fully taken shape. From an omnipresent bureaucracy to the disenchantment with religion to the Holocaust, which were all of a piece.

Think of the economist Joseph Schumpeter, who summed up the essence of modern capitalism in just a couple of words, creative destruction. Or how Fritz Schumacher crystallized the whole of anti-trust philosophy with what has become a slogan, small is beautiful.

Just think of Ronald Coase -- an economist who was just minding his own theories at the University of Virginia when his thoughts proved so (a) unconventional, (b) politically incorrect and (c) sound that he had to take refuge, as many a great scholar has done before, at the University of Chicago, home of that bevy of independent thinkers (Milton Friedman et al.) who became known as, appropriately enough, the Chicago School of economists.

Is there a single phrase that captures the spirit of Ronald Coase's many and original contributions to economics and, beyond that, to society in general? How about the Beauty of Simplicity?

Back in 1960, Ronald Coase wrote an essay about "The Problem of Social Cost" that may be the most cited law-review article in history. It's an incisive look at how inefficient the fractious jumble of government regulation, taxation, subsidization and litigation can be -- certainly when compared to settling disputes by amicable negotiation between competing interests.

Here is the no longer so hypothetical case Dr. Coase used to demonstrate the problem: The farmer whose land is being damaged by emissions from passing trains. His solution: not a penalty or fine or still another lawsuit or 10,000-word bill in Congress, but a businesslike arrangement that would benefit all concerned. A win-win deal, to use the current term of art. Let the farmer agree not to cultivate that vulnerable part of his land in return for a payment from the railroad to cover whatever profit he would forgo by letting it lie fallow.

Talk about reducing costs -- for the farmer, the railroad, and the tax-paying public. Not to mention promoting a peaceable, efficient society. Ronald Coase's hypothetical solution to the problem was designed to benefit all. Well, maybe all but the lawyers.

Naturally enough, ideas like Professor Coase's deeply offended his colleagues in academe. Which was why he was exiled to the University of Chicago. And would surely be declared persona non grata at any respectable Eastern university today. See how even a once trail-blazing school like Brandeis has become just another redoubt of left-wing conformity: It's just withdrawn the honorary degree it had offered a leading advocate of women's rights in the Muslim world after the usual pressure groups were heard from.

At least since Jonathan Swift's time, it's been easy enough to spot a scholar with talent or imagination, or just a capacity for independent thought: "When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him."

Just how relevant Ronald Coase's thought remains was illustrated just the other day by the news of an incipient range war, or maybe another Sagebrush Rebellion, out in Nevada. That's where a confrontation took place between a rancher named Cliven Bundy, together with family and friends, and the federal government in the form of the Bureau of Land Management, a powerful bureaucracy that, as powerful bureaucracies will, was seeking to become even more powerful.

For years, for more than a century going back to the 1870s and the days of the great cattle drives, the Bundys had been grazing their herds on public land, but this was the century, and the year, that the feds decided to crack down, having won the usual, long, drawn-out and expensive lawsuit. Result: They were now in a position to demand years of accumulated fines, fees and interest -- more than a million dollars in all. And the whole dispute all came to a head the other day in the middle of the Nevada desert.

Happily, the feds prudently decided, just before guns were drawn, that discretion was the better part of valor and withdrew from what might have been Gunfight at the OK Corral II. They're to be congratulated on that realization even if it took dangerously long to dawn.

But the whole melodrama might have been avoided if both sides had read Ronald Coase and, more important, learned from him. In this case, the Bundys could have sold whatever their long-established grazing rights were worth to the feds, or the feds could have agreed to let the rancher graze his cattle wherever he wanted for a reasonable fee. But in these Modern Times, such an arrangement might have struck both sides as unspeakably sensible. Quick, call the lawyers instead, followed by the posse/SWAT teams, and even bloodshed. Which was narrowly averted.



With just a little more recklessness on both sides, the country could have seen another Branch Davidian massacre, that emblematic catastrophe of the early Clinton Years, when masterminds like Janet Reno and Webb Hubbell were running the Justice Department. (And you thought Eric Holder of Fast and Furious fame was bad.)

Not that anybody noticed, but a real-life example of the efficacy and amity of the Coase Theorem took place only a few years ago just across the Nevada state line in Arizona, where a rancher named Tony Heaton made a deal with an organization in the private sector, the Conservation Fund, to buy his grazing rights in the 44,000-acre Mount Trumbell Wilderness. There was no armed showdown, no mounting suspense and crisis atmosphere. Just a businesslike arrangement in the common interest. For there is still no force as efficient as good will, which cuts through all the needless friction and animosities of human affairs.

If only the federal government would show as much common sense as Tony Heaton and the Conservation Fund did. Give us a happy ending every time. So happy that hardly anybody notices it.

There are some officials who do show that kind of grace -- and common sense -- under pressure. Asa Hutchinson, who's now running for governor here in Arkansas, had his finest hour in law enforcement when he was U.S. Attorney, and just waited out the nutcases who called themselves the CSA (the Covenant, Sword and Arm of the Lord) when they turned their compound in North Arkansas into an armed camp. The siege lasted four days, during which Mr. Hutchinson talked peacefully to the holdouts but, other than that, did nothing -- and did it particularly well. That's another lesson the federal government might profit by.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Paul Greenberg is the Pulitzer prize-winning editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

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