Quote-a-palooza

“The most important consequence of marriage is, that the husband and the wife become in law only one person… Upon this principle of union, almost all the other legal consequences of marriage depend.” – James Wilson

“The prevailing spirit of the present age seems to be the spirit of skepticism and captiousness, of suspicion and distrust in private judgment; a dislike of all established forms, merely because they are established, and of old paths, because they are old.” – Samuel Johnson

“[I]n all likelihood religion will grow as a social force in American culture and politics over the coming decades. The reason: A secular nation needs secular citizens. And nonreligious Americans are outstandingly weak when it comes to the most efficacious way to achieve this: by having kids. If you picked 100 adults out of the population who attended their house of worship nearly every week or more often, they would have 223 children among them, on average, according to the 2006 General Social Survey. Among 100 people who attended less than once per year or never, you would find just 158 kids. This 41% fertility gap between religious and secular people is especially meaningful because people tend to worship more or less like their parents. According to data collected in 1999 by Gallup, 60% of adults who were taken to church at least once per month as children grew up to attend at least this often; only 15% stopped attending as adults. The demographic implications are even more profound for the political left, where a disproportionate number of secularists are located. Religious people who call themselves politically ‘conservative’ or ‘very conservative’ are having, on average, an astounding 78% more kids than secular liberals. Studies show that people are even more likely to vote like their parents than they are to worship like them. The secular left, therefore, has to rely on the tough slog of bringing people from the political and religious middle over to their views. The religious right simply has to keep having lots of babies.” – Arthur Brooks

“In every state of the union, medical insurance is regulated. In some, it’s heavily, heavily regulated. Oregon legislators, for instance, just added a few new mandatory benefits to all health insurance policies: contraceptives, prosthetics and orthotics, and treatments for injuries caused by intoxication… Do you really wonder why health insurance costs so much? I don’t. The American health care system is addicted to regulation. Our legislators are the pushers. We need to go cold turkey.” – Paul Jacob

“How ironic that even as America returns to its spiritual roots, our courts lag behind. They talk of our constitutional guarantee of religious liberty as if it meant freedom from religion, freedom from- actually a prohibition on- all values rooted in religion. Well, yes, the Constitution does say that ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.’ But then it adds: ‘or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’ The First Amendment protects the rights of Americans to freely exercise their religious beliefs in an atmosphere of toleration and accommodation…[C]ertain court decisions have, in my view, wrongly interpreted the First Amendment so as to restrict, rather than protect, individual rights of conscience. What greater legacy could we leave our children than a new birth of religious freedom in this one nation under God?” – Ronald Reagan

Forcing ISPs to offer broadband to rural customers?

ISPs to rural America: Live with dial-up

As population density drops outside of metropolitan areas, it’s impossible for telecommunications companies or cable service providers to justify the tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars per mile it can cost to bring fiber to every rural community, let alone every home. The result: Today, just 17% of rural U.S. households subscribe to broadband service, according to the Government Accountability Office. And a recent report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development says the U.S. dropped from fourth in the world in broadband penetration in 2001 to 15th place in 2006.

The author of this article goes on to suggest that perhaps government needs to force ISPs to offer rural broadband service.

By coincidence, yesterday, I returned from a trip to Vermont, and a pretty rural section. I had to deal with dial-up only access while there, and it’s definitely frustrating. I had dinner with some friends of mine who moved up there a few years ago and they told me they contacted Comcast about getting high-speed access to their house, which currently was not available. Comcast sent out a technician to investigate and found that the cost would have been $87,000 to grant that access. Now, even given that there are a few other people on their road, why should Comcast be expected to pick up that tab? (They offered to cover $6,000 of the cost, leaving my friends with the remaining $81,000, which could be split among the residents of their road.) It would take prohibitively long for Comcast to recoup their investment, if it were even possible to do so once maintenance and other expenses are taken into account.

At a certain point, you have to take the good with the bad. Living in a rural area gives you cleaner air, less traffic and noise, being close to nature, just to list a few benefits. But it comes at a cost: newspaper delivery doesn’t occur, snowstorms can leave you stranded for a few days, high-speed Internet access can be unavailable. As often happens in life, there are trade-offs to every decision. Expecting others to cover the negative consequences of your decision is just selfish.