Cliff Slater's Second Opinion


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Reclining Dune, Death Valley, California

Decent Exposure, Death Valley.

Quote: "Some writers have so confounded government with society,

as to leave little or no distinction between them;

whereas they are not only different, but have different origins.

Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness;

the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections,

the latter negatively by restraining our vices.

The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions.

The first is a patron, the last a punisher.

Society in every state is a blessing,

but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil;

in its worst state an intolerable one ....

-- Thomas Paine, Common Sense (1776)  from Cliff's Quotes.


A minimum wage law is compulsory unemployment

A new medical discipline

We can improve health care

The mail-in ballot danger

Rail destroys Hawaii's wealth

Advertiser columns, 1997-2006

Other transportation writing

Minimum wage has pernicious effect.


Show at the Pegge Hopper Gallery, April/May 2015

Arizona's "The Wave"

Bald eagles, Alaska

Bears of Katmai, Alaska

Recent Landscapes

Fall 2006 Kenya


Hawaii Flowers

Yellowstone, Summer


The Taos Church

Big Island lava flows

Galapagos wild life


The Hawaiian Renaissance

Cliff's quotes collection




  September 14, 2017

Contemporary Photography in Hawaiʻi 2017 Ninth Annual Exhibition:

This view of the Church of San Francisco de Asis Church in Taos, NM, won the Pegge Hopper Award.

  June 28, 2017

This is a document for aspiring climate skeptics:

While looking for something else, I ran across this 2015 document showing U.S. record high temperatures, by state.  The following is a list where the number of states with record high temperatures is shown against the decades when they occurred.

In the 1910s there were 6 states, 1920s 2, 1930s 23, 1940s Ø, 1950s 5, 1960s 1, 1970s 2, 1980s 4, 1990s 6, 2000s 1. South Carolina is not listed since its hottest temperature was in 2012, in a decade not yet complete.

This, of course, proves nothing but it is rather strange that so many of the hottest days were so long ago.

  June 3, 2017

Protect your child from progressives with "The Road to Serfdom":

If you never have, we urge you to read, “The Road to Serfdom.” Your children going to what passes for a college education these days will thank you for helping to protect them from the assault on the values you have given them.

Henry Hazlitt, the then economics editor for the New York Times, assessed Friedrich Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom” on the cover of The New York Times Book Review in September 1944, proclaiming it “one of the most important books of our generation,” a call to “all those who are sincere democrats and liberals at heart to stop, look and listen.” His review, and the best seller sales, prompted Reader’s Digest to launch a condensed version of “The Road to Serfdom.”

In ominously titled chapters like “The Totalitarians in Our Midst” and “Why the Worst Get on Top,” Hayek laid out his case against “socialists of all parties” who he believed were leading the Western democracies into tyranny that mirrored the centrally planned societies of Germany and the Soviet Union.

In the Foreword, Hayek wrote, “The mistaken but widely accepted notion that the unpredictability of the free market had caused the depression, coupled with four years of war-driven, centrally directed production, and the fact that Russia had been a wartime ally of the United States and England, increased the mainstream acceptance of peace-time government planning of the economy.” This together with his view of the “totalitarian-minded” nature of intellectuals (George Orwell agreed with this) led to his decision to write the book as a warning to the western democracies of the dangers of adopting policies that could lead to the slippery slope of socialism.  

It became a best seller in many translations and particularly in Britain and the U.S. In 1974 Hayek would win the Nobel Prize for Economics.  

Read it here: Condensed Version of Road to Serfdom.

  June 2, 2017

The church of San Francisco de Assis in Taos, NM:

I had overlooked this photo when I posted my photos of "The Taos Church" last year.

  March 18, 2017

Thomas Sowell -- The education of an American Sage:

In today's Wall Street Journal Thomas Sowell discusses his own rise from poverty and the country’s ‘degeneration’ into ‘grievance culture.’

On of the more interesting passages is, "“There’s a belief that something’s wrong if you don’t have what other people have—that it’s because you’re ‘disadvantaged.’ A teenage dropout mother is told she has a disadvantage. But if you’re going to call the negative consequences of chosen behavior ‘disadvantage,’ the word is corrupt beyond repair and useful only for propaganda purposes.” READ IT

  February 25, 2017

Photos of the lava flows into the ocean off  the Big Island:

Nine photos taken from the SeeLava boat. The trip, which is presently running daily at different times is one of life's great experiences. The skipper, Sean, is an incredibly great boat handler and he makes sure you get close to watching our world being created in front of our eyes. PHOTOS


  December 21, 2016

Star-Advertiser: Minimum Wage has pernicious effect:

Our article is in today's paper. This version has explanatory notes.

  October 31, 2016

Photography at the church of San Francisco de Assis in Taos:

One of the more enjoyable photography outings I have enjoyed was  a day and a half spent at the famous Taos church painted by Georgia O'Keefe and others and photographed by Ansel Adams and many others.

See a small collection in the photography section under the tab, The Taos Church,

  May 30, 2015

Successful show at the Pegge Hopper Gallery  

We were pleasantly surprised at the reception our photographs received at the show, April 23 - May 15. The Gallery sold far more  than anticipated including two to renowned photography collectors, Jim and Cherye Pierce. Click here for the show. What is missing is the video of an 8' x 4' photo on silk of an adult-rated sand dune in Death Valley. It was quite striking in the Gallery as it wafted gently with every movement of the air.


  October 3, 2013

Sunrise Makapu'u 2013

So few people see the Waimanalo shore at dawn that they do not know what they are missing.

  September  21, 2013

An introduction to longshoreman Eric Hoffer

Anything I can do to introduce Eric Hoffer to those unfamiliar with his thinking is worthwhile. What follows is a short excerpt from his The Temper of our Times. Try also the links below to a mid-1960s series of five interviews of him by CBS’ newsman Eric Sevareid.

    “The attitude of the intellectual community toward America is shaped not by the creative few but by the many who for one reason or another cannot transmute their dissatisfaction into a creative impulse, and cannot acquire a sense of uniqueness and of growth by developing and expressing their capacities and talents. There is nothing in contemporary America that can cure or alleviate their chronic frustration. They want power, lordship, and opportunities for imposing action. Even if we should banish poverty from the land, lift up the Negro to true equality, withdraw from Vietnam, and give half of the national income as foreign aid, they will still see America as an air-conditioned nightmare unfit for them to live in.

    "When you try to find out what it is in this country that stifles the American intellectual, you make a surprising discovery. It is not the landscape, though he is poignantly aware of its historical meagerness, and it is not the social system, particularly when it is headed by aristocrats like Roosevelt and Kennedy. What he cannot stomach is the mass of the American people—a mindless monstrosity devoid of spiritual, moral, and intellectual capacities. Like the aging Henry Adams, the contemporary American intellectual scans the daily newspapers for evidence of the depravity and perversity of American life, and arms himself with a battery of clippings to fortify his loathing and revulsion. When you listen to him or read what he writes about America you begin to suspect that what the American intellectuals know about the American people is actually what they know about each other: that they project upon America the infighting, mistrust, envy, malice, conformity, meagerness, and staleness of their cliques and sects. Imagine an American writing about America and not mentioning kindness, not mentioning the boundless capacity for working together, not mentioning the unprecedented diffusion of social, political, as well as technological skills, not mentioning the American’s ability to do the world’s work with a minimum of supervision and leadership, not mentioning the breathtaking potentialities which lurk in the commonest American.”  Hoffer, Eric. The Temper of Our Times. Harper. 1967.

Interviews with Eric Sevareid:

  September 13, 2013

A minimum wage law is compulsory unemployment.

The minimum wage law is being readied for an upgrade shortly. As I spell out in a new op/ed in the Hawaii Reporter, it will only increase unemployment. Here are the opening paragraphs:

"The minimum wage hurts the people most in need of help. For the most part, we are talking about low-performing teenagers — those least skilled, educated, and/or motivated.

"Here’s why it harms them.

"Most adult workers today earn anywhere from the $7.25 an hour minimum wage up to, say, $40 an hour. Whatever workers earn in private competitive companies, from the lowest paid to the highest, it is because they are worth it. Their employers can provide the goods or services to their customers that these folks produce at prices that cover their labor costs and add to the company’s earnings.

"If a teenager’s labor is worth less than $7.25 an hour then private non-charitable employers will not be able to cover their costs and so will not be able to hire them."

The op/ed with notes as to sources of information is here. 

 August 22nd, 2013

A new medical discipline may be taking hold 

The following is the first few paragraphs of an article I wrote that appeared in the Hawaii Reporter on August 22, 2013. The full article with all sources of information is available here.

“There is an emerging medical discipline, termed Functional Medicine that may one day change the practice of medicine in the U.S.. It is already being used in the Cleveland Clinic and the Cancer Treatment Centers of America and by many physicians across the country.

Here’s the story: Have you noticed that while few people had even heard of autism before 1970, it now affects one in 150 children, an astonishing increase even allowing for our improved ability to recognize this disease? Or that obesity rates for adults have tripled in the last 50 years? Or, that there has been a 400 percent increase in diabetes in the last 20 years? We are facing an epidemic of diseases.

The Institute for Functional Medicine points to a growing body of evidence that the surge in food additives, and other changes in our food intake over the last 50 years, as being one of the primary causes of this epidemic.”

 July 7th, 2013

We can improve health care ourselves

I wrote an op/ed for the Star Advertiser under the above title on July 3. It is about some opportunities to cut costs in Hawaii’s health care. This is the link to it together with the endnotes, which were not published in the original.

 July 1, 2013

A word from Donald Rumsfeld:

“There are known unknowns—that is to say, there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns—there are things we do not know we don’t know.”

 July 1, 2013 

Kenneth Minogue, National Review, 11/18/91:

“An ideological movement is a collection of people many of whom could hardly bake a cake, fix a car, sustain a friendship or a marriage, or even do a quadratic equation, yet they believe they know how to rule the world. The university, in which it is possible to combine theoretical pretension with comprehensive ineptitude, has become the natural habitat of the ideological enthusiast. A kind of adventure playground, carefully insulated from reality in order to prevent absent-minded professors from bumping into things as they explore transcendental realms, has become the institutional base for civilizational self-hatred.”