James is a long-time opinion columnist whose writings appeared in the Potomac News mostly on Fridays.
James wrote like the libertarian I always wanted to be except that I couldn't get past the morals stuff.
He went out with a bang -- one of his better columns, had a lot of inches he filled blasting politicians and the voters who support them, making the argument that much of what our government does is unconstitutional.
Unfortunately, the Potomac News is not at this time posting opinion columns. But I urge you to go out, find the Friday Potomac News, and read James' last hurrah.
I know how he feels about time pressures. I've only been writing for a year and a half, and already I'm wondering how long it will be before I'm really tired of it. When I read that Simpson was quitting, I yelled to my wife that I had to keep writing because Simpson beat me to the quitting.
I'll never forget the time James referred to one of my columns and said that I made at least a little sense.
James was always just a little to limited government for me. But I admired the clarity of his thoughts, and his hardnose approach to defending his principles. In his last column, he had a list of specific things government money should not be funding. I'll type in his paragraph (James Simpson, Striking at the root of the country's problems, Potomac News, Friday, May 12, 2006, page A6):
Unfortunately, this corruption exists all the way down to local government. It is immoral to force taxpayers to fund things like local bus transportation, the Marine Corp Museum, golf courses, pools and fitness centers. These compete with private enterprise. But what is really heinous is that in funding these things money that should be spent to prevent and solve crimes (such as burglaries, rapes, murders, and child molestation) is diluted.
I disagree only with his inclusion of the Marine Corp Museum. I doubt there is private enterprise to compete, and even if there was, honoring those who served our country is to me not only a legitimate government function, but is not something I'd like to see someone making a profit on.
As I said, I'll never be a good libertarian. Because I can't for the life of me figure out what constitutional provision grants government the right to spend tax dollars on a museum, but I still think they should do it.
I always read James Simpson's columns, and many times he made me feel just a little bit cheap and dirty -- he made me think, and that is the highest praise I can think of for a long-time columnist to receive.