Chip WoodHere we are at the beginning of a new year. It’s a time of reflection, as we look back on the past 12 months and look ahead to the next 12. In fact, the month of January is named for the Roman god Janus who, thanks to two faces, was able to look forward and backward simultaneously.

Selwyn DukeWhen Roman leader Julius Caesar became “dictator for life” in 44 B.C., he had an asset all aspiring despots need: the military’s loyalty. For without boots on the ground, a totalitarian nightmare remains nothing more than an ambitious villain’s dream.

Sam BlumenfeldIn the past it seemed that the best way to become President was through several well-established routes: by climbing the power ladder in either of the two political parties, by having gone to Harvard or Yale, by having had a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford, or by belonging to the secret Skull & Bones Society at Yale.

Selwyn DukeDoes the New York City Department of Sanitation have blood on its hands? If an allegation made by the New York Post is true, the answer is a shameful yes. The paper reports that the painfully slow snow clean-up after the recent blizzard that struck the East Coast wasn’t the result of unprecedented snowfall — it was the result of a sanitation union tantrum. Writes the Post, "Selfish Sanitation Department bosses from the snow-slammed outer boroughs ordered their drivers to snarl the blizzard cleanup to protest budget cuts — a disastrous move that turned streets into a minefield for emergency-services vehicles ... over a raft of demotions, attrition and budget cuts."

Walter WilliamsAt first blush, the mercantilists' call for "free trade but fair trade" sounds reasonable. After all, who can be against fairness? Giving the idea just a bit of thought suggests that fairness as a guide for public policy lays the groundwork for tyranny. You say, "Williams, I've never heard anything so farfetched! Explain yourself."