August 2000 Issue

Volume 50, 2000

cover image August 2000
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The Declaration of Independence: It's Greek to Me

The stirring words of Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence said that all men are endowed with certain inalienable rights. To Jefferson these rights existed before the founding of government and the function of government is “to secure these rights.” But he himself said that his ringing words did not express a new idea: “This was the object of the Declaration of Independence.

- August 01, 2000

Guns, Gun Laws, and Liberty

The heart of virtually every citizen of America went out to the family of little Kayla Rolland after a classmate took her life with a .32 caliber revolver on February 29 in Mt. Morris, Michigan. As with the Columbine High School shootings in Colorado last year, we all feel pained and distraught about such senseless violence, and we wonder what has gone wrong and what can be done to prevent any recurrences.

- August 01, 2000

Visiting the Killing Fields

Phnom Penh, Cambodia—The white monument juts up 40 feet or so, dominating the surrounding fields and trees. From a distance it looks like it could commemorate most anything—a military victory, important statesman, or historical event. But this monument is different. It is filled with skulls.

- August 01, 2000

Marriages, Mistresses, and Marginalism

Distinguishing between marginal and total values is crucial to understanding many human activities and decisions. Almost all the decisions we make are made at the margin, but there are exceptions. We are sometimes faced with decisions that force us to compare the total value of one option to the marginal value of another.

- August 01, 2000