Use of Predators Sets Dangerous Precedent

My op-ed “Use of Predators Sets Dangerous Precedent” appeared today on In it, I criticize President Obama’s decision to authorize drone warfare in Libya. I write:

“The expediency of drones makes it all-too-tempting for governments to use them frequently and carelessly, brushing aside the ethical questions they raise and ignoring the long-term security consequences their use could entail.” Click here to read the full article. Thanks, as always, for reading.

How to Think About Politics

“How to Think About Politics,” my most recent essay, is being featured in the August issue of Fogged Clarity. I’ve also pasted it below. If you enjoy it, please consider linking to it, sharing it, or passing it along to others who might be interested. Thanks, as always, for reading. — How to Think About Politics Ryan McCarl First, question everything, beginning with the political ideas you inherited from your parents, family, community, church, and school.

Howard Zinn on World War II

I’ve intended to read Howard Zinn’s revisionist history of the United States - A People’s History of the United States - for years, and I finally buckled down and started it this week. It is an excellent and eye-opening book, to say the least, and I found myself becoming absorbed in and largely agreeing with the narrative of the first few chapters - his interpretation of the “discovery” and colonization of America.

Robert Frank on inequality in America

I’ve recently started exploring the ideas of liberal economists - those economists who advise and formulate policy for Democratic candidates. I’ve downloaded a few fantastic lectures by Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor under President Clinton. And I recently read a book on inequality by Robert Frank, professor of economics at Cornell. The book - Falling Behind: How Rising Inequality Harms the Middle Class - is one of the most interesting policy essays I’ve read in a long time.

Mortimer J. Adler on war and peace

“Our view of war, then, must be broadened to include both armed conflict and battles of diplomacy, economic aid, and propaganda. War is war, whether it is “hot” or “cold.” The struggle for power and prestige among the nations goes on all the time. Only the means vary, and whether these be armed force or diplomatic pressure or other nonviolent means depends on the occasion. It follows, then, that peace is not merely a negative thing - the absence of armed conflict.

Excerpts from the weekend's reading

The (National Assessment of Educational Progress economics exam), taken by a representative sample of twelfth graders at public and private high schools, tested students on micro- and macroeconomic principles and international trade. What, for example, is the effect of breaking down trade barriers between countries? A majority correctly said that goods would become less expensive. They chose this over “the quality of goods available would decrease.” Maybe John Edwards should hire more teenagers for his Presidential campaign.