The Eye of a Needle

According to the World Health Organization, very basic health care could be provided to everyone in the world lacking in it for a cost of $10 billion per year over what is currently spent. Experience suggests that the resulting drop in infant mortality would slow the population explosion because people would not hedge their bets by producing so many infants.

Ten billion dollars is 4 percent of what the world spends each year on cigarettes. It’s what the world spends every four days on read more

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People Over Profits

According to a poll done in late April, 2000, Green party candidate Ralph Nader had 6 percent of the presidential vote, Pat Buchanan 3 percent, and a vast majority of Americans wanted Nader to be included in debates with George W. Bush and Al Gore. According to a study of the integrity of the presidential candidates, only Nader was given a rating of 100 percent.

I am convinced that Nader’s percentage of the vote will be much higher come November if more people become aware of his campaign. read more

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Monkey business

At a gas station on South Main St. shortly after I began working at the Culpeper News in August, 1999, a man approached me and asked “Are you a college student?” “No,” I said, “why?”

It turned out he had seen a “Darwin” bumper sticker on my car and wanted to know if I really believed in such stuff. I told him that Darwinism wasn’t something one “believed in” like a religion, that it was just biology, and we ended up having a read more

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From Reston to Culpeper

(published – in a horribly censored version – in the Culpeper News, 22 June 00; also published – in what form I don’t know – in the Fairfax Journal in July 2000.)

I grew up in Reston during the years in which it most resembled its founder’s original conception. Reston was a planned community with loads of recreational facilities, walking paths, tunnels and bridges, lakes and local shops, a mix of income levels, and untouched woods and fields. Robert E. Simon, read more

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Publications Essay Question 2000
Please write a one- to two-page essay on how you would address the following problem:

The essence of PIRG is political. To put it crudely, bad things are happening in our society because people in power gain by allowing them to happen. In order to reform society, we need to not only expose and document the problems and figure out how to solve them, we also need to fight like hell against the powers that be to make reform possible. To put it another way, we need read more

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Capital Punishment

The cover story in the Washington Post Magazine of Oct. 22, 2000, illustrates the following familiar and troubling points:
1) Legal systems in the United States, and often “counselors,” encourage and do little or nothing to oppose the idea that those suffering due to crimes will feel better if they hate and inflict suffering.

2) This idea is incorrect.

3) The media refuses to direct the conversation of this topic to what social scientists overwhelmingly agree would be the most effective, read more

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David Swanson
23 October 2000

Culpeper News
Culpeper Star-Exponent
Richmond Times-Dispatch
Washington Post
American Civil Liberties Union
People For the American Way

In Culpeper County, Virginia, elementary school students are taken out of class during school hours to a bus parked a few feet off school property. The county school system claims to know and to want to know nothing about what the students are taught on the bus. Some students choose not to participate in this activity, read more

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What Happened to Truth

In the Fall of 1998, Free Inquiry printed a series of articles under the heading “What Happened to Truth? The Postmodernist Attack on Science, Morality, and Common Sense.” The articles claimed that rejecting the ideas of “objective truth” and “absolute standards” could lead us to “cultural disaster.” I disagree and will try, in the space available, to explain why.

During the last quarter century many people have noticed not just that beliefs read more

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United States of Rome

Thanksgiving Day 2000
Every morning on the way to work and every evening on the way back home I walk between the east side of the United States Capitol and the west sides of the U.S. Supreme Court and Library of Congress. I’m often struck by the Romanness of the architecture and the Roman ambitions of this country’s past and present “leaders,” despite the differences between life in Washington and Rome.

Lately, the biting cold has left my face feeling like rubber during read more

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Published at in March 2001

“Prosecutorial Infallibility” Fosters Unjust System

By Guest Editor David Swanson, JD Team member

The fact that innocent people are convicted of crimes in the United States is now widely known. This is largely due to the magic of DNA testing, and its powers are also widely recognized. But the number of DNA exonerations each year will soon stop increasing and begin decreasing. This is because DNA is more often being used to prevent read more

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