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Links: Mark Shields’ death; universal health insurance; free speech

Political columnist Mark Shields died last week. There have been many tributes, all of which focused not only on his sharp commentary but also on what a decent person he was, and the fact that he was interested in, not appalled by, encounters with people who saw the world through different lenses from the ones he used. That is to say, he was an intellectual liberal as well as a political one. Two years ago, when he retired, his sparring partner on PBS’s “NewsHour,” David Brooks, wrote a lovely encomium.

There is nothing liberal about billionaire libertarian Peter Thiel, whom The Washington Post’s Elizabeth Dwoskin profiled in Sunday’s June 19 paper. I knew some but not all of this, and was especially intrigued by the title of a biography of Thiel: The Contrarian. Huh? There is nothing contrarian about this ideologue. That is what is so frightening about

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