Badger Herald Op-Eds

During the school year, Jim Allard writes opinion pieces for the Badger Herald. (His editors assign titles.) Below are his articles, from most current to least:

Rights not a product of God, government

  • By Jim Allard on April 29, 2010

Why should you look both ways before crossing the street? Answer: God said so. Why is food better than poison? Answer: God said so. Clearly “God said so” is not a reason or justification for such things. At best, it’s the well-known fallacy of the argument from authority. Yet on… Read more »

Tea Party rejects dependency, seeks freedom

  • By Jim Allard on April 15, 2010

Named after the Boston Tea Party of 1773, the Tea Party protests represent widespread outrage at our government’s ever increasing power, usurpations of our liberties and the fact that America is moving away from its founding principles. While Tea Party activists are eclectic — and unfortunately include a few anti-government… Read more »

Emotions, ideas a dangerous societal mix

  • By Jim Allard on March 18, 2010

Why has a tiny ad on The Badger Herald site linking to a Holocaust denial website generated such fervor? This barely noticeable ad drew a flurry of seething comments, editorials, panel discussions, a letter from the Chancellor and a fumbling half-apology from the Herald’s Board of Directors. Many evaluated the… Read more »

Too many unwilling to evaluate principles, think outside “mainstream”

  • By Jim Allard on March 4, 2010

“Changes in America’s political system — including the replacement of newspapers and magazines by television as the dominant medium of communication — conferred powerful advantages on wealthy advocates of unrestrained markets and weakened advocates of legal and regulatory reforms. Some news media organizations now present showmen masquerading as political thinkers… Read more »

Supreme Court stands up for First Amendment in political speech decision

  • By Jim Allard on February 4, 2010

“Political speech is indispensable to decision-making in a democracy, and this is no less true because the speech comes from a corporation,” read last week’s Supreme Court ruling, which struck down restrictions on certain kinds of political speech by corporations. A corporation is an association of individuals, the Court pointed… Read more »

Climate crisis prone to misinformation

  • By Jim Allard on January 21, 2010

Last November, in an incident dubbed “Climategate,” thousands of e-mails and data files were stolen from Britain’s Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia and posted on the Internet. The purloined files, now widely available on the web, reveal systematic fraud and conspiracy among influential scientists both in… Read more »

Low health costs hurt technology

  • By Jim Allard on December 4, 2009

Consider the following: You have a heart problem and desperately need a state-of-the-art procedure to correct it. However, you’re worried the high cost of treatment will bankrupt you. Certainly this is a stressful situation. But then you learn that, for some inexplicable reason, the surgeon who developed the technique… Read more »

Keep away from radical diversity

  • By Jim Allard on November 20, 2009

In my last column I argued the promotion of “diversity” on campuses and throughout the culture is, at root, a rejection of standards. It is the attempt to erase the distinction between essential differences and non-essential ones — between values and non-values. For example, attempting to achieve a student… Read more »

‘Inclusive Excellence’ a flawed idea

  • By Jim Allard on November 6, 2009 Campuses across the country are dedicated to “promoting diversity.” UW has “diversity champions” and a Provost of Diversity who lectures at forums on diversity and encourages us to “embrace diversity,” “achieve diversity,” and “design for diversity.” The Chancellor says that diversity isn’t really a goal, but a fact of existence.… Read more »

UW not acting in ‘the public interest’

  • By Jim Allard on October 26, 2009

Most people would agree that taking someone’s property against his will is immoral. Forcing your neighbor to sell his house, for instance — regardless of the amount offered — would be morally repugnant. After all, the essence of a fair transaction — a trade — is the consent of both… Read more »

Ehrlich lecture an intellectual mess

  • By Jim Allard on October 8, 2009

“Environmentalism has become anti-globalization and anti-industry. Activists have abandoned science in favor of sensationalism.” — Dr. Patrick Moore, founder of Greenpeace. The truth of Moore’s statement was on display again this Thursday. Following on the heels of Michael Pollan’s UW lecture in which he argued industrialized food is not actually… Read more »

Farmers correct on Pollan’s blather, wrong on subsidies

  • By Jim Allard on October 1

Last week, Wisconsin farmers rightfully protested Michael Pollan’s environmentalist, anti-technology book “In Defense of Food.” Pollan’s ideas are an attack on modern farming and Western culture in general. He doesn’t reveal this conclusion directly, but through a concerted attack on the values upon which Western culture and farming depend. For… Read more »

‘In Defense of Food’ merely psuedo-intellectual discourse

  • By Jim Allard on September 24, 2009

Michael Pollan’s “In Defense of Food” — our campuswide Go Big Read book on which the author spoke last night at the Kohl Center — is being heralded as “wide ranging” and “multidisciplinary.” It’s been incorporated into the curricula of over 60 courses to generate conversation, discussion, debate and a… Read more »

Nussbaum unimpressive; humanities still don’t get free pass

  • By Jim Allard on September 17

As part of Chancellor Biddy Martin’s declared “Year of the Humanities,”, speaker Martha Nussbaum presented a talk on Monday night entitled, “Not For Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities.” Nussbaum’s message is best summarized in her own words: “If we do not insist on the crucial importance of the… Read more »

Hard liquor at gas stations? Jefferson would not object

  • By Jim Allard on September 10, 2009

This week the Alcohol License Review Committee unanimously voted to approve their long trend of prohibiting gas stations from selling hard liquor. Ask almost anyone about the ALRC’s prohibition and they will invariably focus on whether they think gas stations ought to sell liquor. Will irresponsible people drink and drive?… Read more »

Health care plan ‘Orwellian’ ruse

  • By Jim Allard on September 1, 2009

This year students will be encouraged to read — and over 40 classes will teach — “In Defense of Food,” in which author Michael Pollan enlightens the reader with the following conclusion: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” What could be more relevant to our lives? Well… How… Read more »

Environmental claims neglect human liberty

  • by Jim Allard, published Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Two weeks ago, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies held an Earth Day conference on energy. Associating environmentalism with energy production is a tragedy, as environmentalism is profoundly … view story »

Tea parties missing ideological boat

  • by Jim Allard, published Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Yesterday at the Capitol and across the nation, tea party protests are being held, named after the Boston Tea Party of 1773. These protests represent widespread outrage at our government’s ever-increasing power and usurpations of our liberties. … view story »

Biddy’s initiative ignores ideological objections

  • by Jim Allard, published Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

The University of Wisconsin’s Undergraduate Initiative seeks to add a tuition surcharge on students from higher-income families to improve the … view story »

Biddy’s initiative highway robbery

  • by Jim Allard, published Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

“From each according to ability, to each according to need” was Karl Marx’s maxim and socialism’s guiding principle. UW-Madison’s “Madison Initiative for Undergraduates” describes the same principle like this: “This Madison Initiative … view story »

Climate change lectures suppress relevant debate

  • by Jim Allard, published Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

This semester, the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impact is holding a nine-part seminar series on climate change called “Bracing for Impact.” Lecturers thus far included a number of scientists from the Center for Climatic Research and … view story »

Cheaters graduate from college, go on to craft stimulus package

  • by Jim Allard, published Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Last week an opinion columnist came out in favor of cheating to get good grades. As long as cheating only affects the cheater and doesn’t have any negative consequences, he argued, why not cheat? If cheating helps students “set themselves up for … view story »

Post-Humanism distorts education in inhumane ways

  • by Jim Allard, published Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Last week I argued the public desperately needs a scientifically based humanities program dedicated to studying the nature of man. Also last week, the University of Wisconsin’s Center for the Humanities sponsored a workshop where a … view story »

Humanities lack guiding principle

  • by Jim Allard, published Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Chancellor Biddy Martin spoke last week as part of the Center for the Humanities Distinguished Lecture Series, where she discussed public perception of the humanities. “The culture wars and concerted systematic and public attacks on the … view story »

Stimulus creates false, not true wealth

  • by Jim Allard, published Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

Does money grow on trees? According to most parents the answer is a resounding no. A child may see no reason why a continuous stream of money is not available. A parent explains money must be earned before it can be spent. A child may create a … view story »

Well-managed hospitals entitled to profits, praise

  • by Jim Allard, published Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

Do Wisconsin hospitals provide enough free “charity” care to compensate for their tax breaks? This was the topic of a three-part series in the Wisconsin State Journal last week. The debate centered on whether hospitals are “fat cats” … view story »

Universities seek to bypass public with stimulus

  • by Jim Allard, published Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

In last week’s column, I claimed our culture is following a destructive course of pragmatism. This is the view that ideological principles should be discarded in favor of “doing whatever works” to achieve one’s immediate goals. I likened this … view story »

Modern thought spurns ideology

  • by Jim Allard, published Friday, January 16th, 2009

Over break, you probably engaged with family and friends over current events, politics, personal relationships and various other issues. Maybe you discussed the financial crisis and its effects on the economy, Barack Obama’s upcoming first term, … view story »

Diversity a double-edged sword

  • by Jim Allard, published Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

Today all major universities have “diversity” programs. Their purpose, according to UW Madison’s diversity website, is “promoting diversity and climate.” Former chancellor John Wiley says, “We all have a role to play” in “expanding diversity.” … view story »

Affirmative action a manifestation of racist society

  • by Jim Allard, published Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

Racism is the practice of judging individual character or social standing according to one’s race. Like all forms of collectivism, it judges individuals by their membership in some group rather than by their own ideas and actions. Racism … view story »

God must stay out of science

  • by Jim Allard, published Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

Clashes between science and religion abound. We’ve witnessed religious doctrine in opposition to the science of stem cell research and evolution. We’ve seen parents withhold medical care in favor of mystical “cures.” We’ve seen the Terri Schiavo … view story »

Deregulation essential to a prosperous economy

  • by Jim Allard, published Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Suppose an erratic driver is caught weaving in and out of traffic. The driver has been heavily medicated for years. His medical records contain thousands of pages worth of prescriptions, many designed to stimulate the patient and cause him to … view story »

American democracy under attack from electoral frauds

(Erroneous title. Not about fraud.)

  • by Jim Allard, published Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

The day after choosing a new president seems like a good time to ponder another choice: What kind of society do you want to live in? Do you want to live in one that respects and protects individual rights or one that doesn’t? You may be surprised … view story »

Election provides no choices

  • by Jim Allard, published Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Voting involves choice, and choice requires distinction. Is there a choice this election? Are the candidates distinguishable? In part this depends on how narrowly or broadly one evaluates the candidates. At a certain level McCain and … view story »

Campaign finance reform a restriction of free speech

  • by Jim Allard, published Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

The First Amendment of the Constitution reads: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” And yet every year new legislation is introduced specifically designed to control who can speak, how much people can … view story »

Pragmatism not worthy of my vote

  • by Jim Allard, published Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

“To the citizens of Wisconsin: Unless we want Wisconsin to become a permanent third-world state, we need to stop electing fanatically dedicated partisan ideologues of all stripes and start electing pragmatic problem solvers.” This was … view story »

Sustainability the enemy of virtue

  • by Jim Allard, published Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Environmental rhetoric is everywhere. Banning incandescent light bulbs, taking fewer trips, capping energy production and other sordid ideas have become mainstream. Relentless imperatives to reduce one’s “footprint” have caused some to … view story »

Financial crisis the fruit of flawed moral system

  • by Jim Allard, published Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

The government takeover of mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be a lesson for us all. Clearly, we need more oversight, transparency and better accounting. We need to tighten regulation, get control of the market and prevent … view story »

Flawed morality ruins health care

  • by Jim Allard, published Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

Most people agree that our health care system is in trouble. It is becoming unaffordable, while patients have less control over the care they receive. Insurance is expensive, convoluted and inflexible, and doctors are more frustrated than ever. … view story »

A corrupt but refreshingly explicit opposition via Letter to the Editor:

Objectivist health care system immoral

by Letters to the Editor, published Thursday, September 18th, 2008

In a recent article, “Flawed morality ruins health care,” Jim Allard asserts that socialized medicine is an immoral system, a system against the basic freedom of choice that independent people deserve. For many people, he is right. Socialized … view story »

Global warming claims crippling

  • by Jim Allard, published Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

From politicians who exaggerate and misrepresent the state of climate science to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s consensus building to the media’s ridicule of scientists who disagree, the attacks on science are everywhere. The … view story »

Ban would snuff out individual rights

  • by Jim Allard, published Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

The increasing number of smoking bans and debates surrounding them are stark reminders of our country’s abandonment of individual rights. Proponents argue the perils of secondhand smoke, calling it a health issue, while opponents decry flawed … view story »


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