People Are the Problem

In Australia this week, professor of obstetrics Barry Walters has called on his country’s Parliament to tax every couple with more than two children to offset the children’s carbon emissions. “Every newborn baby in Australia represents a potent source of greenhouse gas emissions for an average of 80 years, not simply by breathing but by the profligate consumption of resources typical of our society,” Walters says, and “far from showering financial booty on new mothers and rewarding greenhouse-unfriendly behavior, a ‘baby levy’ in the form of a carbon tax should apply, in line with the ‘polluter pays’ principle.” The polluter being made to pay in this instance is the parent, and so, at least implicitly, the pollution is the child. Lovely.

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People Are the Problem

Must-Reads from Magazine

An Antidote to American Political Squalor

RIP Paulina Płaksej.

It’s only Monday evening, which means Americans face another full week of political and cultural squalor. For an antidote, consider the life of Paulina Płaksej, who died Sunday, aged 93. Our former COMMENTARY colleague Daniella Greenbaum broke news of Płaksej’s death on Twitter, which alerted me (and many others) to her inspiring life and that of her family, Polish Catholics who fed, hid, and rescued Jews during the Holocaust.

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Conservatism’s Contradictions

Ted Cruz channels the right's id.

Ted Cruz thought he had Beto O’Rourke right where he wanted him. Without commentary, Cruz tweeted a video of his Democratic rival expressing outrage over the killing of Botham Shem Jean–an African-American man shot dead in his own apartment by an off-duty police officer.

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PODCAST: Can We Judge Kavanaugh Fairly?

Podcast: Kavanaugh and Rosenstein.

Can you take what we say about the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh seriously considering we’re conservatives and he’s a conservative? Are we defending him because we are genuinely discomfited by how insubstantial the allegations against him are, or are we doing so because we agree with him ideologically? We explore this on today’s podcast. Give a listen.

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But She Fights

A Trump of their own.

There were many arguments for opposing Donald Trump’s bid for the presidency, but the retort usually boiled down to a single glib sentence: “But he fights.”

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Politicians Need Free Speech Too

A lesson from Finland.

High-ranking politicians are entitled to freedom of speech and conscience. That shouldn’t be a controversial statement, but it often is, especially in European countries where the range of acceptable views is narrow–and narrowing. Just ask Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini, who spent the summer fighting off an investigation into his participation at an anti-abortion vigil in Canada. On Friday, Soini survived a no-confidence vote in Parliament over the issue.

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