BYH. Asking Trump to eradicate corruption is like asking a pig to eradicate mud....

Hood: Stay on road to freedom


Sunday, January 8, 2017

It was 30 years ago that I founded my first conservative organization. It was a student magazine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. My compatriots and I decided to name it The Carolina Critic — not only because we intended to be critical of the prevailing left-wing culture on campus but also because we intended to champion critical thinking.

The Critic staff included highly opinioned conservatives and libertarians who argued with each other, as well as with the progressive columnist we recruited to keep things interesting. Some Critic writers still work together today on various projects — and debate their differences, robustly but respectfully — including my twin brother David Hood, who became an attorney and the chairman of the Catawba County Board of Elections; Tony Woodlief, who worked at the Koch Foundation and now serves as executive vice president of the State Policy Network; and Rick Henderson, whose journalism career took him to Los Angeles, Washington, Las Vegas, Denver, and then back to North Carolina as editor-in-chief of Carolina Journal, the newspaper I founded in 1991 at the John Locke Foundation.

As I plugged away at the Critic, I received encouragement from a variety of people. They included conservatives such as National Review founder William F. Buckley and UNC-Chapel Hill sociologist John Shelton Reed, who served as faculty adviser for the magazine, as well as folks from the other side of the political spectrum. One of them was Phil Meyer, a national pioneer in computer-assisted reporting and the journalism professor. Another was the always gracious Bill Friday, who had just retired after 30 years as president of the UNC system.

I relate this little bit of history to make two points. The first is that personal relationships matter. Maintain them. You never know how a friendship or acquaintance might shape your future or enrich your life. And don’t be reticent to form those relationships across differences. If you just surround yourself with like-minded people who reinforce your preexisting views, your intellectual muscles will atrophy and your errors will proliferate.

My second point is that I’ve been at the task of helping to build a modern conservative movement in North Carolina for virtually my entire adult life. Thousands of colleagues, employees, donors and advisers have joined me in this task. Some have limited their activities to policy analysis, journalism or grassroots activism. Others have gone into electoral politics, including some of my former colleagues and employees.

While much work remains to be done, North Carolina conservatives have already accomplished a great deal over the past three decades. What was once a one-party state is now a competitive one. The state’s tax code, budget process and regulatory system have all been reformed in ways that maximize freedom and economic growth. More families have real choice among schools and stronger property rights.

What ought to happen next? The John Locke Foundation has just published its ideas for 2017 and beyond in a booklet titled “The Road to Freedom.” The recommendations include more tax reforms to encourage investment and job creation in our state, more regulatory reforms to liberate entrepreneurs and workers from costly rules, and less government meddling in such areas as medical care and alcohol sales.

JLF analysts think North Carolina should make its funding system for public schools more rational and fair. They think North Carolina should reform its criminal-justice system by raising the default age of juvenile jurisdiction from 16 to 18, curbing the ability of government to seize assets of people not yet convicted of crimes, and requiring proof of criminal intent before turning a mistake or infraction into a criminal offense.

You may think these ideas sound promising. You may think they sound bonkers. By all means, engage and debate them. But avoid the temptation to turn political disagreements into personal attacks. In my experience, resisting that temptation is in your own self-interest in the long run.

John Hood is chairman of the John Locke Foundation.


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Op Ed

April 26, 2018

President Donald Trump, speaking at a news conference Tuesday, appeared to stand by Ronny Jackson, his suddenly embattled nominee to head up the Department of Veterans Affairs, even as he appeared to toss him under the bus.

Calling Jackson "a fine man," Trump all but urged him to not take the job.…

Helaine Olen

April 26, 2018

Of all the tributes to Barbara Bush, the encomium that touched this American heart the deepest was from historian Jon Meacham: "She was the first lady of the Greatest Generation."

He could more easily have said, "She was a great first lady of the White House." He might, of course, just have…

Georgie Ann Geyer

April 25, 2018

When the full Senate votes on CIA Director Mike Pompeo's nomination to be secretary of state this week, the choice in front of every senator will be much more significant than a typical confirmation vote.

Post columnist Marc A. Thiessen has already laid out the colossal mistake the Senate Foreign…


April 24, 2018

In the early 1980s, I did a lot of advance work for Vice President George H.W. Bush. Routinely, Barbara Bush would be on the trip, and I would often be assigned to manage part of her schedule. Not wanting to be presumptuous, I always made it a point to introduce myself to Mrs. Bush. I have a vivid…


April 23, 2018

Earlier this month, the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress, aka The Nation's Report Card, was released. It's not a pretty story. Only 37 percent of 12th-graders tested proficient or better in reading, and only 25 percent did so in math. Among black students, only 17 percent tested…

walter williams

April 23, 2018

Most of us don't have to deal with the most troubled agency in North Carolina government, but the crisis in our state prison system is bad enough to make headlines nearly every week.

The attention largely stems from the October 2017 inmate attack at the Pasquotank Correctional Institution in…

Colin Campbell

April 23, 2018

Washington Post

The day after the Parkland, Florida, school shooting focused renewed attention on the issue of gun violence, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, R, reiterated his opposition to any new restrictions on gun ownership. But just 24 hours later, Scott announced a change of heart. Now he has signed…

April 23, 2018

Two surveys popped up this week that seem to show improved prospects for Republican House candidates this November. Disregard them!

A Washington Post/ABC News poll released on Monday showed that 47 percent of registered voters prefer the Democratic candidate in their district, as against 43 percent…

albert hunt

April 23, 2018

The United States spends more on health care than any other industrialized country but doesn’t get better results, as measured by average life expectancy. Have you heard this claim before? Did you respond with agreement or skepticism?

In recent years, I’ve devoted much study and…

April 22, 2018

Let's set the scene: A woman is representing constituents, changing Senate rules, raising two small children. She was a U.S. Army helicopter pilot and the first female double amputee from the Iraq War. The first in many things, including being the first sitting senator to give birth, she's now the…

Amy Joyce
289 stories in Op Ed. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 29
        Next Page»   Last Page»