Jesuits, Apple & government criticism

Two things have made me who I am today: the Boy Scouts of America, and Boston College High School. I consider my Jesuit secondary education to be the defining experience in how I think and interpret the world. It's also a terrific fraternity, like Scouting, in that regardless of where you went to school, if it was a Jesuit school, the experiences were largely similar.

A Jesuit Inspiration
Every Jesuit school does something to memorialize the murder of six Jesuits at the hands of the El Salvadoran government on November 16, 1989. Learning about that event as a 16 year old introduced me to the concept of "liberation theology" and gave me a perspective on the Jesuit commitment to education no matter the consequence that has stuck with me to this day.

Return to the Moon
America's diminished appetite for exploration since the end of the Apollo program is depressing. Discovery and curiosity is an important part of who we are as a nation, and it's been sad to see NASA treated as an afterthought in the government. Other nations (including the ESA, who landed on a comet last week) have begun taking our lead away from us. I hope that as more private companies become engaged in spaceflight, and other nations begin besting our achievements in space, the country will become inspired to explore once again.

Phone encryption and the Department of Justice
Our government's continued lack of respect for anything resembling the 4th Amendment is astounding. Apple recently improved the encryption technology in iPhones, which has stymied some of the spying technology we've been reading about over the past year. It's insane to me that the government perceives a right to each person's information without any kind of warrant, and that they would use such a base threat as "a child could die" to justify why Apple (or any company) needs to make our personal devices open to the government's eyes.

Obama administration reviewing hostage policy
The US and Britain are the only nations that refuse to negotiate for the release of hostages held overseas. As tragic as it is to see Americans kidnapped, tortured and/or executed by groups like ISIS, it would be a travesty for the administration to join much of Europe in paying ransoms. Allowing stateless groups like ISIS to bully America will only be another nail in the coffin of American prestige that the Obama presidency has been all too happy to cede to the rest of the world.

Restoring NATO's deterrence against Russia
Finally, from The American Interest this week: an update on Russia's repeated testing of NATO (beyond Ukraine) and the need to not only shore up the deterrence that remains, but restore what has been lost by the West's fumbling of the Syrian and Ukrainian crises. Russia represents a very real threat that no one in NATO seems to have any idea how to handle. The Russian's respect force, not diplomacy, and the best bet to containing them is to begin coming down hard inside Europe and sending a message to "stay out."