Two cheers for capitalism, despite its inherent vulnerability

It may seem prosaic and uninspiring but it does deliver the goods - prosperity and personal liberty

Two cheers for capitalism, despite its inherent vulnerabilityAs part of its recent Capitalist Manifesto series, the National Post had several of its columnists identify 10 essential books on the topic. The selections included offerings from Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, Deirdre McCloskey and Matt Ridley, all of whom are worth reading. But I was struck by an omission. Published in 1978, Irving Kristol’s…

Why Santa Claus matters, regardless of your faith

If we share peace and goodwill with others, we find them growing within us

Why Santa Claus matters, regardless of your faithThough it’s technically the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ for Christians, many traditions merge to form what we call Christmas. Some traditions are indeed Christian but others aren’t. Some date from eras before Jesus was born and some are more recent. One of the most endearing today is that of Santa Claus, the…

Blue Christmas: How Elvis turned it into a seasonal classic

How something quite ordinary can be transformed by a specific performance

In late 1965, coming to Canada from Ireland had its revelations. My Dublin hometown may have been more architecturally distinguished, but it couldn’t match Toronto’s relative abundance of decently paying jobs. There were also things like diners – which I’d only seen in American movies – and the language esoterica pertaining to “double-double” coffees. Top…

Barbados shakes off the chains of centuries of brutal oppression

Wealth can’t make what’s wrong right. It can’t make the truth disappear, and it can’t stop great people

Barbados shakes off the chains of centuries of brutal oppressionIn his classic book Man’s Search for Meaning, psychiatrist Viktor Frankl discusses the internal character that allowed people to survive the Holocaust. He speaks of an “inner greatness,” where despite the horrendous circumstance, one can choose their attitude, their own way. This is the ultimate human freedom. We recently saw this inner greatness displayed by…

A century after a critical turning point in Irish history

1920's Ireland is a fascinating study of competing perspectives

A century after a critical turning point in Irish historyDecember 1921 was a critical turning point in Irish history. The Dec. 6 Anglo-Irish Treaty aimed to end the War of Independence by “establishing the Irish Free State as a self-governing dominion within the British Commonwealth.” But it actually did more. It effectively launched the fledgling entity on a glide path toward full independence without…

How do we behave when no one is looking?

Integrity, compassion and courage are more enduring and powerful than greed

How do we behave when no one is looking?Renowned American writer Maya Angelou advised, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” In other words, before we put anyone into a position of trust in our lives, we need to examine their track record. How do they treat the most vulnerable people in our society? How do they respond…

Luis Ángel Firpo was boxing’s Wild Bull of the Pampas

Subtlety wasn’t his style. He was all about aggression and clubbing his opponents into submission

Luis Ángel Firpo was boxing’s Wild Bull of the PampasExtending over 14 acres, La Recoleta is a famous cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A 2013 CNN travel piece called it one of the world’s 10 most beautiful. Today’s layout dates from the early 19th century and is said to resemble “a city more than a burial ground with its impressive neo-classical gates opening up…

The making of the West

Rome’s influence continues to cast a light over Western life and culture

The making of the WestWestern civilization is constantly under fire these days, accused of causing many of the ills that affect modern society. Many blame aggressive Western capitalism for generating a culture of greed and destroying the environment. Certainly, the most hurtful criticism of the West relates to imperialism. Admittedly, the West has been expansive over the past few…

Canadians fighting behind enemy lines – Remembrance Day

Secret agents Raymond LaBrosse and Lucien Dumais rescued hundreds of downed airmen from German-occupied France

Canadians fighting behind enemy lines – Remembrance DayIt was a moonless night on January 29, 1944. It was drizzling. Sixteen airmen and two M.I.9 secret agents cautiously descended the steep cliffs near the village of Plouha on the Brittany Coast of France in fear of being caught, executed, or worse, tortured. The enemy patrolled the beach below. Thanks to Canadian M.I.9 agents…

The messy transition to a ‘new world disorder’

Multiple nations are jockeying for power

The messy transition to a ‘new world disorder’International politics expert Andy Knight is working on a new book about the changing face of global governance and the transition to a new world order. Tentatively titled International Organization Today, the book will examine how the world has evolved from a simple system of international governance, driven mainly by the United Nations, to its current state of multilateral…
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