Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob


Citizen Action

The Quadrennial Distraction

As the leading Republican candidate for the presidency ascends into the air in a helicopter filled with kids, and makes his most astute declaration yet — “I am Batman” — it becomes clearer than ever how distracting these presidential campaigns are. Much of American Big League politics is theatrics, with

Jury Duty

Guess Who Else Nullifies?

Citizens have more power than they exercise. But folks in government aren’t exactly falling all over each other in the rush to help citizens participate and realize their potential. Take juries. There are few more awesome responsibilities than sitting on a jury. And one of the things you can do,

Playing cards

Swarms of Officers to Harass

Two wrongs don’t make a right. It’s simple but true. And, as a corollary, let me add that using the power of the federal government to harass individuals or groups one happens to dislike or disagree with is wrong. You might recall that our Declaration of Independence rebuked King George

Magna Carta, free speech, collage, photomontage,, political, politics, King John

An 800th “Birthday”

Something happened 800 years ago yesterday, something of note. The much-loathed and legendary — but real-life — King John signed a document with his barons that limited his power. It was later called the “Magna Carta,” the great charter. Strange history. It was signed, made a big deal of, and

Patrick Henry

Everything That Could Be Done

Two hundred forty years ago, the situation was dire. In the Virginia Colony, not too far from where I live, representatives to the Second Virginia Convention were debating the problems they were having with their “masters” in Britain — and the more dangerous, violent situation that was developing to the

African Slaves

Slavery and Racism, Yesterday and Today

On Sunday, I marked an awful event in our history: The official beginning of chattel slavery as such in Britain’s American colonies. At first, John Casor, an African indentured servant, had gained some control of his life. He charged his master, Anthony Johnson, a free black, with having forced him

Racial Justice Advanced (Paul Jacob on the leading thinker on race today)

Racial Justice Advanced

don’t know if Juan Williams is right about who qualifies as America’s most influential thinker on race. But I hope he is. In a Friday Wall Street Journal op-ed, Fox News’s liberal-leaning political analyst and author of Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary (1998), argues that our country’s most important influencer of

Manly Firmness

“Is repealing the Affordable Care Act an issue of manhood?” asks Alan Rappeport in the New York Times. He’s referring to the “macho language” in a resolution introduced recently in Jefferson City, Missouri, by State Rep. Mike Moon. Moon’s House Resolution 99 decimates the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, in

Dead Document?

Could it be? We do not live under the Constitution of the United States. The document has been a dead letter for a century, maybe longer. Ours is a Post-Constitutional America. Surely, there have been great moments of executive usurpation. Andrew Jackson, in defiance of the Supreme Court, and against

Principled, and Un-

Can one “rise above principle”? Aren’t most (all?) who think they “rise above principle” actually sinking below it? Economist David Henderson called our attention to this notion in reference to legal theorist Richard Epstein’s call for a war against ISIS. On, he challenged Epstein’s support for the president’s war

Thieves With Badges

Civil forfeiture is the government practice of taking property from citizens without due process, but while pretending that it’s all above-board. When police say they suspect a crime, they can impound property associated with that crime. “Civil forfeiture” is the legal legerdemain: instead of suing the owner, the government sues

The Right to Remain Recording

Every once in a while, a judge makes a judgment so sensible, it’s as if he had this Common  Sense column in mind. U.S. Magistrate Judge Edmund Brennan has determined that the same right to video-record police in public also applies within a would-be videographer’s home. The case involves a

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