Five Best Monday Columns
Rand Paul at on Reagan's foreign policy, E.J. Dionne Jr. on conservative ideas at CPAC, Adam Minter on Malaysia Flight 370's stolen passports, Nora Caplan-Bricker on the backlog of rape kits, Kevin Kelly on why we should embrace surveillance.
Rand Paul at Breitbart News on Reagan’s foreign policy. “Every Republican likes to think he or she is the next Ronald Reagan. Some who say this do so for lack of their own ideas and agenda. But Reagan also believed in diplomacy and demonstrated a reasoned approach to our nuclear negotiations with the Soviets,” Paul writes. “I don’t claim to be the next Ronald Reagan nor do I attempt to disparage fellow Republicans as not being sufficiently Reaganesque. But I will remind anyone who thinks we will win elections by trashing previous Republican nominees or holding oneself out as some paragon in the mold of Reagan, that splintering the party is not the route to victory.”
E.J. Dionne Jr. at The Washington Post on conservative ideas at CPAC. “Are conservatives interested in new ideas, or are they merely infatuated with the idea of new ideas? Are they really reappraising their approach, or are they trying to adjust their image just enough to win elections? One way to look at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference is as a face-off between the “No Surrender” cries of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and the “Let’s Try to Win” rhetoric of such politicians as Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis),” Dionne writes. “Conservatives seem keen these days to acknowledge the need for some kind of social safety net. And while many on the right still deny or dismiss the problem of growing economic inequality, many are at least grappling with the crisis in upward mobility.”
Adam Minter at Bloomberg View on stolen passports and missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. “Responsibility for screening passports doesn’t only belong to the country of departure. The U.S., for example, collects passport data of all incoming international passengers before they depart their country of origin. Had China followed that protocol on Saturday, there’d likely be no need for an investigation this week,” Minter writes. “Immigration and security procedures at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, departure point for Flight 370, are notoriously lax. Malaysian officials are deflecting suggestions that the government might have done more to ensure authenticity of passports."
Nora Caplan-Bricker at the New Republic on the country’s backlog of 400,000 rape kits. “According to the Department of Justice, some 400,000 “rape kits” are languishing in evidence lockers across the country because local authorities can’t afford to process them. Last week, the White House announced a little remarked upon initiative to devote $35 million of the 2015 budget to processing unopened kits and otherwise furthering sexual assault prosecutions,” Caplan-Bricker writes. “Most states and cities don’t even know exactly how many kits they have on the shelf, or how much time and money it would take to process them. That’s not something a federal budget can address—but it is a topic of discussion in a growing number of state legislatures.”
Kevin Kelly at Wired on why we should embrace surveillance. “We’re expanding the data sphere to sci-fi levels and there’s no stopping it. Too many of the benefits we covet derive from it. So our central choice now is whether this surveillance is a secret, one-way panopticon — or a mutual, transparent kind of “coveillance” that involves watching the watchers. The first option is hell, the second redeemable,” Kelly writes. “But if today’s social media has taught us anything about ourselves as a species it is that the human impulse to share trumps the human impulse for privacy. So far, at every juncture that offers a technological choice between privacy or sharing, we’ve tilted, on average, towards more sharing, more disclosure.”