Primary elections for the Democratic and Republican parties will be held on June 12, 2018. Off on a Tangent is making recommendations to party primary voters in each contested state- and federal-level primary race in Virginia.

Political parties are private organizations that should not have any official standing in our political system, but Democratic and Republican primaries are held by the Virginia Department of Elections and are funded by Virginia taxpayers. The purpose of a party primary should be for members of that party to choose who will represent them on the general election ballot. Virginia, however, has an absurd “open primary” system where any registered voter may vote in any one (but not more than one) each year.

Both the Republican and Democratic parties are making some of their nominations at party conventions; this series of recommendations only applies to primaries and caucuses. The Libertarian Party, which currently qualifies as a major party under the Tangent style guide (section 10.70), nominates all of its candidates in party conventions and is not holding any primaries or caucuses.
. . . Continued

Since 2004, I have published political endorsements (and occasional non-endorsements) here on Off on a Tangent for every general and special election in which I have been eligible to vote. These have been long-form, in-depth articles that feature a complete overview of the candidates or issues of the race and a detailed explanation of what choices I endorse and why. These endorsement articles will continue as before.

But beginning this year, I will be expanding my political coverage to include brief “recommendations” in races and elections beyond my typical endorsement scope. . . . Continued

Manifesto of an Employee-Owner

Owning Plexus

An Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) sounds great on paper, but how well does it work in practice? That depends on whether the company’s leaders embrace an ownership culture, trust their employee-owners, commit to big ideas, and make smart decisions.

In 2009, Scott Bradford was an employee-owner at Plexus Scientific Corporation, an ESOP that had gone badly awry. He tried to save it. He failed.

“Owning Plexus” was an unheeded warning—an effort to identify and solve the company’s problems before they became insurmountable. But while it may be too late for Plexus, it is not too late for other businesses to benefit from a renewed focus on a culture of ownership.

Buy Now for $2.99

Additional Information

For April Fools Day 2017, in light of increased public concern about Internet privacy, Off on a Tangent displayed a new privacy request on page-load . . . requesting very absurd and exaggerated permissions. You can view that request by clicking here. Here is the explanatory announcement that appeared on the site itself:

Off on a Tangent is adopting a new, updated privacy policy. Your privacy is important. Visitors to the site will now be presented with a window explaining what user information we collect, and you will need to explicitly grant us permission to collect that information before being allowed access to Off on a Tangent content.

We want to be completely transparent, and give you full control over your data. You can trust us. Don’t worry about anything.

Which Way?

Everybody wants to be on “the right side of history.”

But here in the real world (what’s left of it), it is hard to tell in the moment which “side” will be viewed by our posterity as having been the “right side.” Humans are fallible. We misjudge. We misunderstand. We choose wrongly, and then we often persist in our wrongness. So when somebody says that you should adopt a particular political or moral position so that you can be on the “right side of history,” you should not follow them blindly. Sometimes they will be right. More often, they will be wrong.

Adding even more complexity is the fact that something can seem to be on an inexorable track toward “rightness” when it isn’t.

When the ancient Roman Empire was in its prime, I’m sure that many argued that Roman paganism, Roman law, and Roman imperialism would rule indefinitely. One can easily imagine a Roman governor telling early Christians that their weird little religious sect was obviously on the “wrong side of history,” especially with its counter-cultural ideas about love for God and neighbor, the sanctity of life, moral living, and sexual ethics. And yet history has shown that Christianity was, in fact, on the “right side” and pagan Rome, aside from some of its early republican ideals, was not. (Some are working tirelessly to rewrite and distort this bit of history.) . . . Continued