May 30, 2014
Gibson Guitars & Harvey Silverglate
A great American success story? Yes, but Gibson's very success made it a fat target for federal prosecutors, whom Juszkiewicz alleges were operating at the behest of lumber unions and environmental pressure groups seeking to kill the market for lumber imports. "This case was not about conservation," he says. "It was basically protectionism."
Harvey Silverglate, author of There Felonies a Day [Review Corner], joins Gibson CEO in a radio interview with Bill Frezza. Reading Silverglate's book it was impossible not to think of l'Affaire Gibson.
May 29, 2014
Update to Autonomous Cars
Clearly, Brother jg has hacked my Facebook feed just to make a point:
C2H5OH Review Corner
The Centennial State is arguably the top micro brew state in the Union. The Refugee does not have visibility into the other 49 states, but it seems that the "micro" thing has also taken hold across the state in the realm of distilled spirits, specifically whiskeys. Daveco Liquors, named by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's largest liquor store, is just five miles from The Refugee's house (and within shouting distance of several blog brethren); Daveco has a nice section of Colorado whiskeys. It just seemed like a really good idea for The Refugee to sample every one made in Colorado and report on them to Three Sourcers. So, prepare to grab one of JK's recommended readings and settle in with a wee dram.
First, The Refugee must explain his impeccable review credentials and methodology. He is specifically qualified to review whiskeys because he has two key attributes: a tongue and a keyboard. Oh, yeah - and a third thing - a credit card to pay for the stuff. For methodology, he puts a nice two-ounce pour over four ice cubes (made with filtered water) - never any extra water or other additives. If you've gotta mix it, then it can't be good. Of course, one sample is not enough. One must drink at least half the bottle (no, not in one sitting) to appreciate how the taste evolves over time. Just as there are different varieties of beers, there are different varieties of whiskeys. The Refugee does not try to categorize them for comparison, but just to make note of the variety. Whiskeys are evaluated based on five taste characteristics: smokiness, bitterness, sourness, astringency and taste strength. (Astringency is to whiskey as hoppiness is to beer.)
For a first review subject, The Refugee chose 303 Whiskey from Boulder Distillery. Interestingly, 303 (presumably named for the Denver/Boulder area code) is made from potatoes, not corn or grain as most whiskeys are. There is considerable debate in online discussion forums as to the authenticity of a potato-based whiskey. To The Refugee, it looks and tastes like whiskey, so he'll leave the labeling purity to others.
303 is a lighter color than many other whiskeys. It is packaged is a very plain bottle with a boring label, perhaps testimony that the makers are distillers and not marketers. Nevertheless, the bottle contents are a decent drink. Astringency, the first thing that hits your tongue with any whiskey, is moderate in 303. It's a little stronger than The Refugee cares for, but not so much that it interferes with tasting the drink. 303 has virtually no bitterness and very little sourness; in fact, it finishes with a bit of a sweet note. It's taste strength is rather nondescript: while pleasing enough, it does not leave you looking forward to the next glass. Nevertheless, The Refugee's impression of 303 improved over time. It gets better as you get deeper into the glass and the bottle.
At under $30 a bottle, 303 is a satisfactory drink and worth a try. Three tumblers.
Next up: Tincup Whiskey.
I Know ThreeSourcers Love a Bargain!
Hillary Clinton will be speaking at the 1STBANK Center next week in Broomfield, Colorado. But it appears event organizers are having a hard time selling out: tickets to the event have been put on sale, and are now selling for 66 percent cheaper than the original sale price.
Quote of the Day
In recent weeks, people across the political spectrum professed to be aghast when a small coterie of "offended" students shut down commencement speeches by conservatives, centrists and liberals.
May 28, 2014
"Home James" Hey, I said HOME!
Just today I shared my belief that "all humans desire freedom." Here is proof that I was wrong.
Hey, it's a better driver than your husband. What's not to like?
Quote of the Day
Uh huh. Toyota introduced its mass-market small car in the U.S. in 1968 and 46 years later the car is still called the Corolla. Honda introduced its Civic in 1972 and it's still the Civic. In that time, GM offered the Vega, Chevette, Monza, Cavalier, Cobalt and Cruze. A commenter at MotorTrend.com neatly explains why GM spends millions to create and dump new small-car brand-names every few years--because "Vega, Cavalier and Cobalt all say mediocre now." -- Holman Jenkins, WSJ Ed Page
On Human Freedom
I live and think and act under the premise that the universal natural state of man is freedom.
I asked a friend recently if he thinks that liberty is a universal ambition of every person. He wasn't sure. So I asked him if he had to choose between total liberty and total control, which he would prefer for himself? Would he prefer to work and earn and choose which "hovel" (his word) to rent, or to be given some sort of "hovel" by someone else with no freedom to choose anything about it. His delay in answering suggested an attempt to evade the question asked, which he did by replying that being given a hovel is better because he would know that more people are thus able to have similar hovels and fewer people would be homeless.
There were other beliefs expressed, such as "man is no better than nature" and "humanity can't expand without harming nature." I relate this story because it gave me insight into the thinking of lefty Facebook Friends: "I believe we are all sailors on the same ship, and we have to work together for the common good. The earth is our ship and the universe is our ocean." I didn't think to remind him of the myriad mutinies and riots that happen when order breaks down during long and indeterminate journeys, but I did ask him to consider my original question only in terms of his own desires. His own needs and wants, notwithstanding the effects of his choice on anyone else.
"That's not fair," he replied.
It wasn't that he couldn't answer the question, I think, but that he didn't believe he had any right to consider the question in such a way. I wasn't suggesting - yet - that he actually live his life that way, but merely asking him to think about how he might do so. He stood up, said he couldn't do this, and walked away.
You have permission, lefty Facebook Friends, to stop worrying about everyone else every moment, with every act you take or sentence you utter. I'm not saying you may be inconsiderate, only that you are an end in yourself. Why does that threaten you so?
Club for Growth Action is Responsible for the Content...
None Dare Call it a Trend
If I lapse into all caps, I will post this under rant. But, for now, I think I can keep it together.
Megan McArdle provides a lengthy excerpt from Jordain Carney and Stacy Kaper's two-part series on the VA for National Journal. McArdle (and Carney and Kaper) accepts that the problems at the VA preceded President Obama's election and that a massive institutional bureaucracy is difficult-to-impossible for even the most skilled manager to repair. Fair cop, guv.
McArdle highlights the President's preternatural sense of self-worth: "Yet it also points to one of the cardinal weaknesses of Obama's presidency: his prolonged hubris about how much a really smart, caring president could change the way government operates."
I'm going to go one step meaner. It is not only that his general swellness could not make the problems go away. The real "cardinal weakness of Obama's presidency" is that he thought he could layer additional services onto the weak foundation: promise more and deliver . . . nothing.
He pledged to end the claims backlog while simultaneously making a string of moves that summoned a flood of new claims to the department.
Okay, so that car you bought always burned a little oil and the brakes were bad. Ummm, should you have installed a trailer hitch and towed your new boat up to the lake?
This is the same guy who thought he could just hand out Medicare cards. Just as he never draws the line from "health insurance" to "health care," none of his promises have any backing.
May 27, 2014
PPACAo2010 Horror Story of the Day
I don't know whether to believe this, as it comes from that notorious Koch-Brothers-wingnut outfit NPR (hat-tip: Taranto). But if it's true... It seems "The Robinson family of Dallas started out pretty excited about their new insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act." Then, his wife was struck by some unforeseen malady . . . something about a baby in her tummy . . . I don't get all the medical jargon. But she required care and it was not forthcoming.
In January, as soon as the plan began, Nick printed out a list of obstetricians from the plan's website. "I handed it over to Rachel, fully confident, fully feeling like I had accomplished something for her, I had come through for my wife," he says. "This whole Obamacare thing was going to work!"
I'm thinking that it is all a misunderstanding. Clearly, this ObamaCare stuff is crap -- but they should check out the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act of 2010.
UPDATE: The story has a happy ending!
"On April 28, Rachel gave birth--at home, in the giant tub, with no pain medication." The Robinsons have stopped paying their premiums and are once again uninsured.
Like a Disney story, really.
My Account was not Hacked
I will give you my Mother's maiden name, the last four of my social, whatever you need to actually believe this is jk typing and posting.
But my arch-nemesis, Rep. Tom Tancredo, was on Devil's Advocate. And he was umm, well let's say pretty good:
The only Republican to support Amendment 64; a Tenth Amendment caucus. That is very good stuff. I'm in a forgiving mood. myself. Surely the media would pepper a candidate Tancredo with 97% immigration questions. But I am becoming an old softie...
May 26, 2014
May 25, 2014
Because Boulder County Humans Still "Destroy Ecosystems"...
In a comment on Genetically Modified Good Causes I linked a Longmont Times-Call story about proposed "rights of nature' in the Boulder County Comprehensive Plan. It gives scant indication of what is truly being proposed.
Boulder County Planning Commission members agreed Wednesday night on a thus-far-unofficial comprehensive plan addition declaring county government's responsibility to support the continued existence of all of the county's "naturally occurring ecosystems and their native species populations."
That proposed language is vague enough to mean nothing, or everything, depending upon who is doing the "interpreting." For a hint how the anti-prosperity egalitarian socialists on the board of "Boulder Rights of Nature" might interpret it, consider this summary of their numerous demands as they appeared in a guest opinion by self-proclaimed Boulder environmentalist and president of the Boulder County Horse Association:
However, these multiple protections are not enough to satisfy a few environmental extremists who are quietly pushing for a "new paradigm:" the inclusion of a "Sustainable Rights of Nature Ordinance," which would, among other things:
But such extremism is warranted, says BRoN board member Dale Ball, because "We wouldn't think of our children as property to exploit, nor should we think that way of nature." Apparently nobody asked mister Ball how he feels about human abortion.
No, this is not about the principle of "protecting" nature. It is about regulating and controlling the behavior of other people. "Then we shall see who the superior one really is!"
But, as we have seen in Chapters 13 and 14 , some libertarians offer ways to confine the coercive power needed for individual sovereignty to its only proper function of protecting individual sovereignty. Having observed the continued decline of respect for the limits on state and federal power contained in the U.S. Constitution, some libertarians favor a more radical alternative. They would see law enforcement and adjudication be handled competitively rather than by monopolistic government agencies. They favor a polycentric legal order in which consumer choice and competition would provide a better check on the abuse of the powers of law enforcement.Randy Barnett is a HOSS of the highest order, and a go-to guy on the Supreme Court and Constitutional issues concerning liberty [Review Corner, A Conspiracy Against Obamacare: The Volokh Conspiracy and the Health Care Case]. He argued Raich in front of the Supreme Court.
His The Structure of Liberty: Justice and the Rule of Law is an ambitious book that would be enjoyed by all ThreeSourcers. He begins with a philosophical look at natural rights as the foundation of his structure.
If adherence to natural rights is indeed essential for the maintenance of social life, as natural rights theorists maintain and as I shall try to explain in the balance of this book, then laws are obligatory only if they are consistent with natural rights. By this account, a command may be a "law" in the descriptive sense that it is issued by a recognized law-maker, but it is only law in the normative sense of a command that binds in conscience on the citizenry if it does not violate the background rights of persons. Thus, for human laws to be obligatory, they should not violate natural rights.
This review may run long, but I hope you have time for a great quote from St. Thomas Aquinas?
Now human law is framed for a number of human beings, the majority of which are not perfect in virtue. Therefore human laws do not forbid all vices, from which the virtuous abstain, but only the more grievous vices, from which it is possible for the majority to abstain, and chiefly those that are to the hurt of others, without the prohibition of which human society could not be maintained ; thus human law prohibits murder, theft and the like.
The next layer is economics: chiefly Hayek's knowledge problem and Mises's Praxeology.
Prices are by far the most neglected form of knowledge we have. Although some economic literature stresses the importance of prices, the knowledge-disseminating function of prices is largely unknown-- or, if known , then widely ignored-- in political and legal theory.
In Barnett's view of liberty (and mine) individuals have bounded-domain jurisdiction over property. And consensual transfer, based on prices, best reflects local knowledge of property's value and the best use of the resource.
In light of the analysis presented in Chapter 3 , the rights of several property and freedom of contract can be seen as enabling us to deal with the problem of knowledge in society. By delegating discretion to make choices concerning the uses of resources, several property rights enable persons and associations to act on the basis of their personal and local knowledge. The right of freedom to contract enables persons to exchange their several property rights on the basis of their knowledge that other rights would better serve their purposes;
Nothing earth-shattering just yet, but a majestic, rights-based explanation and defense of liberty which most ThreeSourcers would recognize. I posit that it has a consistency, clarity and comprehensive scope to rival Ayn Rand, with some hooks that are more familiar and accessible to me. I'm hoping one or more of our devotees of Ms. Rand takes on the task of comparison, It's one of the few works that demand it.
The next piece of the structure is Law, which was my only expectation seeing Barnett's name on the cover. Having established these rights and the best means to transfer them, how do we defend them form those with Interest and Power to suborn them.
When liberties are naked, a person may be free to do as he wishes, but others are similarly free to interfere with his actions. As Hillel Steiner has observed: "Like other naked things, unvested liberties are exposed to the numbing effects of cold fronts: in the case of liberties, to the obstructive impact of others' exercise of their powers and liberties." Liberty (capital L) requires the protection of liberties (small l), but given that the world is one of subjective scarcity, not all liberties or freedom can be protected, however nice that would be.
"That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men." Barnett, the Constitutional Hoss, asks how this can be done, and how respect for rights and the rule of law can survive the conflicts of Interest and Power. To my sadness, the Constitutional scholar does not choose the Constitution. The author of "Restoring the Lost Constitution" seeks a liberal order that will not someday succumb to 16th, 17th Amendments and decisions like The Slaughterhouse Cases, WIckard, Raich, and Kelo.
I have already weakened the first section by over-synopsis. I'll save you and the author a summary of his prospective solution: the "Structure of Liberty" he proposes. I'll tease that it is built on private property, criminal and civil law based on restitution and not retribution, and distributed ("polycentric") enforcement and adjudication.
This book makes clear that "liberty" for a libertarian, then, is not the Hobbesian freedom to do whatever you will. Instead , it is the Lockean freedom to do whatever you will with what is yours. There is simply no libertarianism without jurisdictional limits on one's freedom of action; the concept of property defines these limits and is what differentiates liberty from license.
Am I one of those "some libertarians" in the opening quote? I still consider myself more in line with a preceding paragraph: a guy who wishes we were still honoring the original limitations imposed by the Constitution.
In short, these libertarians favor something very much like, if not identical to, the original meaning of the Constitution of the United States-- the whole Constitution, including those parts that protect the unenumerated "rights ... retained by the people" and "the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States." In this, however, they are today opposed to their left by "progressives" who wish to achieve their vision of social justice at the national level by "interpreting" federal power broadly enough to address any problem they deem to be "national" in scope-- which is to say every problem.
But this is the first truly compelling suggestion for privatized justice that I have encountered. I like Rothbard some -- and I like Hoppe a lot, but I read them and appreciate their arguments without accepting their underlying beliefs.
This is not "oh, we'll just let private business do it and it will be swell!" This is thoughtful and carefully assembled. Not an afternoon-by-the-pool read, but readable and comprehensible. The high density of ideas dictates serious contemplation.
I give it five stars and the coveted Review Corner Editor's Choice Award. Masterful.
May 24, 2014
Genetically Modified Good Causes
While reading William Perry Pendley's excellent Sagebrush Rebellion Redivivous in the current issue of Imprimus online I noted the parallel between western liberalism, which I've been discussing of late, and the American environmental movement. Both started with good principles and worthy goals but grew and evolved, or more correctly metastasized, into something that was not only bad but contradictory to its origin.
Devon Downes, a Michigan high school student and Young American for Liberty, gives an excellent summary of the Evolution of Liberalism in his undated article.
From Epiphany to Epithet
Though it originated and made its way into both the Democratic and Republican party in the late 19th century, Progressivism highjacked the term "Liberal" during FDR's New Deal, with the help of Progressive philosophers such as John Dewey (yes, the decimal system creator.)
It was around this time that the adherents of progressivism took for themselves a new name which has stuck to their ideas to this day: Liberal. Progressives controlled the terms of the debate, and went on to control the agenda that followed.
I do disagree that progressivism represents "very new ideas" for it is merely a rebranding of Marxist egalitarian socialism, but the point remains - the new progressive liberal "faith" stands in opposition to the anti-statist foundation of the United States of America and all of western civilization that was known simply as "liberalism."
But this transformation did not result from a natural evolution. The original cause was corrupted by an outside influence, a "genetic modification" if you will, that was not recognized quickly or widely enough to be discredited in its infancy.
Returning to environmentalism, Pendley writes:
Reagan had seen firsthand the transformation of the environmental movement from one of conservation and stewardship, in which the part played by human beings and technology was vital, to a movement in which humans and technology were understood to be enemies of nature. As articulated by Reagan, opposition to extreme environmentalism represented a return to true environmentalism. America’s "environment[al] heritage" will not be jeopardized, he promised, while at the same time insisting that "we are going to reaffirm that the economic prosperity of our people is a fundamental part of our environment."
Sadly, that message vanished from our discourse when President Reagan did. I think I can quip, ironically, "It's Bush's fault" for senior's failure to maintain the important message that "freedom is never more than a generation away from extinction." It is left to us, defenders of liberty, to discredit and strangle the Genetically Modified Environmentalism to make way for true environmentalism - one where nature and man can both prosper.
"McDouble My Wages"
Sign at a minimum wage rally outside a McDonald's restaurant:
"Just Double My Wages"
One tried and true rebuttal is, "Why not triple them?" But I thought of another one that I think may be new.
Doubling your wage is like paying you one wage for working and an equal additional wage for doing nothing. Would you then quit your job and expect me to continue paying the second wage?
May 23, 2014
Quote of the Day
I made a flippant comment about "Insert random Mencken Quote" the other day. A Facebook friend, friendly to liberty, but not to my knowledge a ThreeSourcer, complies:
"We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart." -- H. L. Mencken
Their Appeal is "Becoming More Selective"
[CNN President Jeff Zucker] told Bill Carter of the New York Times: "Climate change is one of those stories that deserves more attention, that we all talk about. But we haven't figured out how to engage the audience in that story in a meaningful way. When we do do those stories, there does tend to be a tremendous amount of lack of interest on the audience's part." -- John FundA tremendous amount of lack of interest! Those Spinal Tap lads cannot rise to that.
May 22, 2014
Log Cabin Republicans
Go All Robin Leach on Rep. Jared Polis.
Quote of the Day
In choosing to spend money in just Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan, ["Hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer, who made money from fossil fuels but now seeks to prevent others from doing the same"]'s NextGen is steering clear of most of the battleground states that will decide control of the U.S. Senate. The organization says that it wants to bring the climate issue "to the forefront of American politics" and presents itself as an opponent of "special interest groups" but it seems to be taking pains to avoid the many places where general interest groups, i.e. voters, favor cheap energy. NextGen apparently has no plans to play in tight races in Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, or North Carolina, partly because in many of those places even Democratic candidates are at least pretending to favor energy production. -- James Freeman, WSJ Ed Page
Hello Old Friend!
I still miss Larry Kudlow on TV. But it is great to get a quick fix in National Review. A familiar, prosperitarian call for immigration reform:
Republican economist and former CBO director Douglas Holtz-Eakin argues that more rapid overall population growth will generate more rapid GDP growth and increased productivity. He notes that labor-force participation rates are higher among the foreign-born, and suggests that real GDP growth could rise from 3 percent to 3.9 percent on average annually over the first ten post-reform years, reducing the budget deficit by nearly $3 trillion.
The media have so been enjoying a Tea-Party vs. Establishment contretemps in the GOP. The real opportunity o destroy a wave is likely if the Tancredo wing gets supremacy (like, maybe, if Rep. Tancredo were the Colorado Gubernatorial GOP Nominee).
May 21, 2014
Otequay of the Ayday
"You may not like it but your pure principle of tolerance for everyone requires you to permit me to speak, even if I say something that sounds "intolerant" to you."
Libertas est in lege prohibitum
In an IBD editorial Campus Intolerance Endangers America's Free Speech. Economics Hoss Walter E. Williams treads the same waters of western illiberalism that we discussed May 9th regarding Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Readers may recall I drew a simile between western "liberals" and central Africa's Boko Haram ["non-Muslim teaching is forbidden"].
Williams quotes Charles Murray to explain what the academy used to be all about, at least when it was devoted to science instead of indoctrination: "The task of the scholar is to present a case for his or her position based on evidence and logic. Another task of the scholar is to do so in a way that invites everybody into the discussion rather than demonize those who disagree."
But today, every challenge to the orthodoxy of the illiberal left is met with precisely the opposite reaction - demonization. Williams summarizes in elevator-ese:
So confident are they in the Righteousness or "purity" of their egalitarian socialist ideals that there is no limit - in their minds - to the legitimate infringement of the rights of others, if those others question the validity of their "pure" ideal. So damn the Constitution, damn the First Amendment, damn the free speech of the Academic Infidel.
In the example of Boko Haram we may suggest a name for the post-modern academics and the politicians, talking heads, environmental cultists and Facebook Friends who take this path. "Teaching Liberty is Forbidden."
Fortunately, Americans have never taken kindly to being told what to do.
I am working on a new "Elevator Talk" for Climate Change (or DAWG, as it 's known around these parts). The issue is still politically fraught with peril -- every day, my Facebook includes Sen. Mark Udall's asking Rep. Cory Gardner to "sign his petition affirming climate change." It is a crude distraction from ObamaCare®, but don't think crude does not work [insert random Mencken quote here...]
My position has evolved somewhat over the years: not enough to effect policy, but I have softened pari passu with that big Antarctic sheet of ice.
"So, jk, on a scale from 0-10 where zero is 'it's a hoax' and ten is 'metaphysical certitude: we're all gonna die!' where do you stand on Climate Change?"
Does it have to be an integer? I'd say about 4.5 [Who is unreasonable now, baby? I'm a moderate!] Hoax requires mens rea and I will accept that a preponderance of the scientists are genuinely concerned. Politicians probably run the spectrum from following along to "yes, this'll meet my needs," but I'll accept the scientific concern as legitimate.
That gets me to two.
The science of Physics suggests a 1.3° C temperature rise to accompany a doubling in atmospheric CO2. I'm a big fan of Physics -- I have all their albums [pause for laughter as needed here...] Seriously, that is well founded and experimentally reproducible. I accept, therefore, a projected 1.3 degrees of man made warming over the next 50 years.
I think that gets me to four.
Now, the practitioners of climate science take that 1.3 degrees and multiply like a Keynesian at an all-you-can-eat buffet. They show, through computer modeling, that as it gets warmer, there will be more barbecues, and people will eat more meat, and that increased bovine flatulence will raise the temperature 300 degrees and we'll all broil. Okay, it is not that bad, but they are taking fundamentally good science and taking some liberties with it.
The climate science, unlike the physics, is not reproducible or empirically provable.. In fact, the experiment we call the real world diverges substantively from their models.
This puts all the numbers >= five off limits.
But there is a beta, if I can borrow from finance. There is a non-zero chance that they are right. The introduction of more heat to a complex, chaotic system could start a cycle of warming. I multiply the very small beta of probability by the very large coefficient of suckage should this transpire and get 0.5: ergo 4.5.
SecState Kerry suggests that there is no great cost to overreaction and great costs to under reaction. I purport the exact opposite.
If I -- and Physics -- am right, there is a 1.3 rise, which is well within normal fluctuations. Nobody would have noticed had VP Gore won Florida in 2000 and had other things to spend his time on than movies. If I am wrong, don't we want to be richer and smarter? If we waste our time and innovation on government-directed green boondoggles, we will not have the technology or resources to really tackle it if it is bad.
Well, that's it. I've had this in my head for a few days, but was inspired to try it reading the Guest essay by Steven Burnett on the WattsUpWithThat.com site. Burnett has a degree in Psychology and one in Chemistry. He compares the rigor of soft and hard science.
If I may wax poetic for a moment, the hard sciences are like a rock while the soft sciences are like sand. They are fundamentally composed of the same stuff, but it's the structure that makes them different. You must find a comfortable spot to rest on the rock but sand conforms around you. An uncomfortable rock must be dealt with, sand can simply be brushed away. Rock climbing requires training and equipment, a walk on the beach does not. I have had the opportunity to do both, and from personal experience, rock climbing is both harder and more fulfilling.
UPDATE: In case this post wasn't long enough for you... But I had to share the WSJ Ed Page's answer to Sec. Kerry:
The "worst that can happen" is that we spend trillions of dollars trying to solve a problem that we can't do anything to stop; that we misallocate scarce resources in a way that slows economic growth; that slower growth leads to less economic opportunity for Boston College grads and especially the world's poor, and that America and the world become much less wealthy and technologically advanced than we would otherwise. All of which would make the world less able to cope with the costs of climate change if Mr. Kerry is right.
Having read your thoughtful response concerning MMGW wherein you begin with a "0" to"10" what if, and end with a coolly (warmly?) calculated "4.5", I wish to perhaps precipitate a thaw in your math.
There are three distinct areas of focus, however blurred, for a consciousness. They are ideas, things, and people.
The hallmark of the first is the imagination. It is preoccupied with, in addition to whatever may arise to temporarily occupy its focus, envisioned (visionary?) manifestations of "what ifs."
The second area of focus are "things." The hallmark of this consciousness is curiosity. What, how, and why, are perpetual questions to which such a consciousness endlessly seeks answers.
The third area is people. The hallmark of this consciousness, when whatever imagination (ideas) or curiosity (things) might have initially been at play is/are determined to be of relatively little value, it invariably chooses people as the objects of its focus. The hallmark of such a consciousness is politics.
Of course we each are, in differing proportions, amalgamations of all three. On one end of the spectrum lies the occasional Einstein, exploring the intergalactic vortex while working as a clerk in the patent office, never losing sight of his reverence for science and the requirement that his imagination can only become validated when confirmed by reality.
Representing the other extreme, the likes of Barrack Obama, who, apparently never having had an original thought in his life, merely adapted to playing the political game in which he found himself at birth, consistently through to its current manifestations.
The rise of the idea of man-caused destruction of the Earth is the product of politics. It has no basis in actual science itself, and little in its relatively new and larger arena of science, Climatology.
However, since its political postulation, first as MMGC in the early seventies, then as MMGW, recently MMCC, to now, where I indicated at the last LOTR meeting I heard the first snippets of MMCD (disruption replacing change - the boring and virtually imperceptible pace of change giving way to the far more dramatic and dire term, DISRUPTION ((film at eleven!)), the proponents have been joined by sincere and credible consciousnesses who are honestly trying to investigate said claims. To the extent these additional voices remain credible, and are not shown to be seeking renewed funding or new Grant money, they tend to provide a veneer of respectability to what was/is, on its face, a "modern" vehicle for the destruction of individual freedom and Capitalism.
Now, I do not wish to be what I am arguing against. I always remain open to the possibility that the claim of MMCI (influence replacing whatever might be the latest fashion) is in fact occurring. One of the nasty traits of we humans is that certainty stops inquiry. However, I insist that the motivation for inquiry be imagination or curiosity, not arising from the sewer of politics!
The high priests of the "settled science" of MMCI are certain of their inquiry, and denounce, demean, or discredit, any heresy to the contrary. I therefore am resting comfortably at a .0014, awaiting further demonstrable, repeatable, evidence - not simply the computer modeling of premises.
Dave, the denounced, demeaned, "discredited" denier, Walden
May 20, 2014
Wait! Don't Answer That! It was a rhetorical question...
National Journal's Ron Fournier blasts the Obama administration handling of the communications surrounding the VA scandal. He deems it a "20th century" strategy of lying over and over again and assuming people couldn't check the references for themselves. Just how dumb, Fournier asks, does the White House think we all are? -- HotAir.com
Falsus Libertario Delenda Est!
Having recently escaped Colorado's Second Congressional District, I consider myself well-informed about Rep. Jared Polis (Libertarian? - CO).
He is currently the darling of the big-L Libertarians who are certain to have discovered the elusive "Libertarian Democrat:" cryptozoology's greatest prize! Rep. Polis is a regular on "The Independents" on FOX Business Channel. He received positive coverage in Reason:
A conventional Democrat in some respects, he also supports many causes that matter to libertarians: legalizing marijuana and hemp, restraining NSA surveillance, reforming copyright and patent laws, and making space for the virtual currency Bitcoin.
"A conventional Democrat in some respects." Yes, the obligatory disclaimer for interviewer Scott Shackford. Let me help you, Scott. He is a conventional Democrat EVERY FREAKIN' PLACE AND EVERY GORRAM TIME THAT IT COUNTS. Minority Leader Pelosi does not have to worry about his vote (including yea on ObamaCare on March 21, 2010).
When he's on his own, he pens a Libertarian Editorial in the WSJ. And he accepts campaign contributions in Bitcoin! He's like Mises reincarnate!
If they looked a little deeper, they'd see not only "A conventional Democrat in some respects," but a wellspring of dirigisme. The Blueprint [Review Corner] chronicles Polis as one of four überfunders of statehouse races providing the Democratic legislative majorities in Colorado which brought us draconian gun laws and insane regulations on energy -- especially to rural Coloradans. Thanks, Jared! Or shall I call you Murray Rothbard?
Today, he is in the press for using his considerable funding to force his energy views on the entire state. (Remember when Hayek did that?)
DENVER -- Democratic Rep. Jared Polis reminded Coloradans Monday why it's tough to tangle with a rich guy, outraising his pro-business foes in the latest campaign-finance reporting period on his proposed statewide anti-fracking initiatives.
Those damned oil companies and the nefarious Koch Brothers outspent in one day! By a statist who is feted as a "Libertarian."
If that's what they're like, I definitely want out! Libertario Delenda Est!
Quote of the Day
Thus far, President Obama and his team have regarded the scandalous treatment of veterans seeking care from the government over which they preside as a political hiccup rather than an indefensible breakdown in competent management that has led to the deaths of at least 40 veterans. Late last week, McDonough assured us that Obama is "madder than hell" about the VA fiasco.
May 19, 2014
My Favorite Color is Chrome
Bred for around ten thousand dollars in a sport dominated by millionaires, California Chrome is favored to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978 and I, for one, couldn't be more excited by the prospect.
The result of the laughably modest breeding in the sport of kings was California Chrome. Coburn and Martin are average guys in the big-money sport of horseracing.
There are other good stories in this colt's history too, like the little known jockey who has a singular talent to motivate this horse. His first mount, as a youth, was the family donkey, hence the donkey on his back (and the 'donkey rescue' category tag). And when the plucky self-made men began their journey with the blue-collar colt they were called "dumb asses." So they named their enterprise DAP, meaning "Dumb Ass Partners."
And it's not just the circumstances that impress. The horse is a joy to watch. Reuters' Steve Ginsberg called his Preakness effort "a dazzling 1 1/2-length victory over Ride On Curlin" and I agree. With a lead at the final turn two other horses made a run but while I worried Chrome might fade, it was the other two who labored and, fell short.
For a time there was suspense about his appearance in the Belmont Stakes - something about the horse being permitted to wear an equine version of a Breathe Right strip [endorsement deal?] in the race. Some dubbed it Nasalgate but it was resolved quickly today by an announcement of the track steward.
So on Saturday, June 7, ride on Chrome, claim your crown. I'll be watching. And cheering. And streaming down tears, win or lose.
May 18, 2014
Michael sighed happily He loved the story and was never tired of hearing it. " "And it's all quite true, isn’t it?" he said, just as he always did. "No," said Mary Poppins, who always said "No.""Yes," said Jane, who always knew everything...
This is a special, catch-up segue Review Corner. I saw the trailer for Saving Mr. Banks at the theatre, I'm guessing while waiting to see "Atlas Shrugged Part 2." I told myself and my lovely bride that I wanted to see that.
And I did. It just took me six months or so. I am guessing everybody else on this blog saw it last Christmas and that this Review Corner is like the college student who has come home and "discovered" philosophy.
It's a fair cop, guv'nor, but I was enthralled. We rented it (on the new Kindle FireTV -- five stars!) and the terms included three days for four of five dollars. The lovely bride and I watched it three times. It is a great story very well told. It includes a loving portrayal of a hero of mine, Mister Walt Disney, and it is much about a favorite topic: the business of art.
Fitting that I found it in a preview to Atlas Shrugged, because there is a great bit of The Fountainhead in it. "Missus" Travers is Howard Roark, but Disney is no Toohey. Disney is an artist himself, but of a different stripe -- and the unfolding saga is a tale of property rights in conflict. Like the battle between the Hatfields and McCoys [Review Corner], what remains is told by one side. The only business that Disney can seem to portray positively is The Walt Disney Corporation -- and the victor was able to write the history.
I don't hide from commercialization and had no trouble choosing Walt's side (Tom Hanks, America and booze over stuffy Brits and tea -- even with Emma Thompson -- is an easy choice). But it occurred to me that I was unusually uniformed: I had never read any Mary Poppins books and I saw the movie when very little (I was four or five when it came out). My sister played the record (a lot) and I remember thinking "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" was foolish. Ever the pedant, that wasn't a real word. Harrumph!
So I bought the first Mary Poppins ($3.74 on Kindle) and was yet again enthralled. The stories are magical and wondrous. The lovely bride has bought the subsequent books and a biography of Traverse that she recommends.
After finishing the book, we rented the Disney Classic. It's great in a lot of ways, but damned if Mrs. Traverse was not right. Watching it after seeing "Saving Mr. Banks" and reading "Mary Poppins" many of the joyful little tunes and flourishes are daggers to the heart of the author's vision. Again, I love Disney, but had she read The Fountainhead, I think there might have been explosions in Southern California.
A great preponderance of ThreeSourcers have daughters and this is likely old news. But if you have not read the original Mary Poppins books, you are missing something. Five Stars indeed -- and five for Disney's movie -- no, not that one -- "Saving Mr. Banks."
All round her flew the birds, circling and leaping and swooping and rising. Mary Poppins always called them "sparrers," because, she said conceitedly, all birds were alike to her. But Jane and Michael knew that they were not sparrows, but doves and pigeons. There were fussy and chatty grey doves like Grandmothers; and brown, rough-voiced pigeons like Uncles; and greeny, cackling, no-I've-no-money-today pigeons like Fathers. And the silly, anxious, soft blue doves were like Mothers. That's what Jane and Michael thought, anyway.
May 16, 2014
Dude. I'm a ThreeSourcer -- try your Phishing attack on somebody else.
Quote of the Day
"Texas has things to be proud of," says [Conservative Activist Michael Quinn] Sullivan, who runs Empower Texans, a political group that is playing big in the state's primaries. "Then again, we're like the least drunk guy at the bar. California is drooling on itself, Illinois is passed out in the corner. We look good simply because we can walk a straight line. We should be leading the way." -- Kim Strassel
Kommon Korr Too!
Ari Armstrong underscores a concern I expressed with opponents of Common Core.
My Facebook feed is filled with (well, game requests and cute cat videos, but there are also a lot of) people attacking the curriculum, most frequently the "overly complex" math. Ari and I both see the basic numeracy behind the method -- it more closely matches how people do arithmetic in their heads.
The big problem is that discussion becomes the curriculum and not local control versus centralization and potential for politicization. A lefty Facebook friend posted how swell the Common Core math was, saying she wished she had been exposed to more numeracy and less rote processing. I suspect that a foundation of traditional. place-value subtraction may be required but...
But... you see what happened? The argument changed from "what should be taught?" from "who should decide?"
Armstrong says "The broader lesson here is that, just because something is associated with Common Core, doesn't mean its bad." I suggest the broader lesson is that opponents should focus on the larger and obvious flaws of centralization.
May 15, 2014
Honey Badger Don't Care
Colorado ThreeSourcers, we need to talk. Secretary of State Scott Gessler goes a little negative today in a fundraising email:
We don't have much time left 'til the Republican primary. Voters must soon choose who they want to lead Colorado...
My feelings for Rep. Tancredo (R - 'Murca) are well known around these parts. I was considering Beauprez as the Anybody-But-Tancredo candidate. He will get shellacked in November, but he will not embarrass the party so badly as to threaten Rep. Gardner's Senate race.
In a complete lack of strategy, be a libertarian and vote your heart! Because Unicorns! world I would likely vote for Mike Kopp. But if that gets me saddled with Rep Tancredo... Sec. Gessler is very good: a viable candidate with a statewide win under his belt. More to my liking than Beauprez, less than Kopp.
What's the play, lads and ladies? I need help.
May 14, 2014
It depends on what the meaning of "Jihad" is
A debate is brewing over the content of a 7-minute film at the 9/11 Museum.
Zafar: "We wholeheartedly agree on the need to accurately capture what happened that day [9/11] and that's what the purpose of this museum is."
But they don't want the words "Jihad" or "Islamist extremist" to be used because there's "not a sufficient amount of nuance applied when these terms are used." Apparently "Jihad" means just "struggle" to promote Islam, but Zafar never really explained how violence is inconsistent with an extreme interpretation of Jihad.
D'Souza: "The terrorists who did 9/11 said they were doing it in the name of Islam, so it becomes a little weird for us to then say, 'Well no, you're not. You actually have other motives. You're outlaws or you have some other... These are very pious Muslims who did what they did in the name of Jihad. Now there are different types of Jihad but the predominant type of Jihad, historically, has in fact been holy war. Muslims conducting if you will, violence, very often to spread the faith, and this is something that has gone back to Islam to the seventh century."
Whether or not al Qaeda's interpretation of Jihad is the "true meaning" of the term, the thousands of lives they slaughtered on 9/11 are very truly still dead. It seems that those who so desperately want to separate the "documented teachings" of Islam from the "hate-filled ideology" of al Qaeda had best come up with a new term for "that struggle to do good and also to defend what the true teachings of Islam are" that can't so interchangeably be conflated with mass murder.
Until then, the acts of Islamist extremists must be called what they are: Jihad. Holy War. In the name of Islam. Or, as Ayaan Hirsi Ali might call it - Islam unreformed.
Quote of the Day
Toyota will continue to participate in this cynicism in order to keep selling cars in California, naturally. But how could any auto company executive fail to be repulsed by the heedless sense of entitlement with which California's leaders squander the industry's capital on fake gestures? At least Toyota's image and California's now can go their separate ways. The company built its pickup-truck plant in Texas because it wanted to be closer to middle America. It joined Nascar for the same reason. Anyone who imagines Toyota didn't carefully consider the symbolism of removing its U.S. headquarters from California doesn't know Toyota. -- Holman Jenkins
May 13, 2014
Mile High Takers?
I was born in Denver but am not one to rise to her defense. There always seemed to be a lot of begging in Boulder. I dunno -- sunshine? nice folks?
Otequay of the Ayday
They act as though Twitter and clenched teeth or a pout could stop invasions or rescue kidnapped children in Nigeria. They do not sound as if, when saying that some outrage is "unacceptable" or that a dictator "must go," that they represent a government capable of doing something substantial—and, if necessary, violent—if its expectations are not met. And when reality, as it so often does, gets in the way—when, for example, the Syrian regime begins dousing its opponents with chlorine gas, as it has in recent weeks, despite solemn deals and red lines—the administration ignores it, hoping, as teenagers often do, that if they do not acknowledge a screw-up no one else will notice. -Eliot A. Cohen 'A Selfie-Taking, Hashtagging Teenage Administration' WSJ
Hossess Hirsa Ali on the inconvenient truth about Islam
You'll recall she was scheduled to speak at Brandeis University, calling attention to violence against girls in the Muslim world, and her permission to speak was revoked just prior to the Nigerian schoolgirl kidnappings.
The excerpt below shows I am not the only one who believes the best way to address such violence - first against women and ultimately, by natural extension, against all non-male non-Muslims - is to discuss its provenance.
"It's not just Boko Haram" it's "all across Africa, it's in Asia, it's even in Europe."
With Megyn Kelly on The Kelly File:
May 12, 2014
A perfectly good and serviceable post on Somail Hossess Ayaan Hirsi Ali has denigrated into a discussion of Common Core in the comments.
I hereby promote it to its own post. It is tonight's topic at Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons and a worthy one for discussion.
I'll begin by throwing a few stones. I like Brother Johngalt very much but think he -- and many Common Core opponents is less effective than possible by arguing "in the weeds." He discusses the curriculum's provenance; many on my social media feeds challenge certain aspects: math & numeracy most frequently.
I (and I may be disabused this evening) think the rallying cry is to keep this out of Washington DC. President Santorum, I tell my lefty friends, will surely push all manner of things you find discomforting; President Chelsea Clinton the same for my righty friends.
I think the individual lessons are defensible and picture my Facebook friends saying that if Bill Ayers cured Cancer, they would not refuse treatment.
And furthermore, so's your old man...
UPDATE: Another superb presentation. I'll take a minute to shout out Blog Brother Bryan and cohort Mike Shelton on their second anniversary of Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons. It is difficult to choose effective efforts and I think they have hit it out of the park.
Speaking of baseball metaphors, we had Koch Brothers SWAG last night:
The film, Building the Machine was interesting and informative without the overwrought dramatics contained even in documentaries with which I agree. I would recommend it highly.
The follow up panel had four impassioned moms relating their stories and involvement. I'm glad they do what they do, but I confess I'd have preferred more specific information. My sister, a long-term teachers' aide in parochial schools remarked that they went straight to how to fight it but little was presented as to why.
I -- and most of the liberty crowd -- had my own views, but I think it's a fair cop that the opposition requires some clear arguments -- an "Elevator Talk" as it were.
The lovely bride exclaimed "Oh great, another invasion of liberty and generally going-to-hell thing to worry about --- thanks, Bryan and Mike!" There's some truth there as well.
Headline of the Year
The Wall St. Journal reviews Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's new book. In the "Life & Culture" section, the headline is "Book Review: 'Stress Test' by Timothy F. Geithner;" but on the Editorial Page (and the review is written by James Freeman) it says: "Review: The Man Who Knew Too Little"
Professor Insty might point out "This country's in the best of hands:"
None of this is particularly surprising in a man who, at the time he became president of the New York Fed, had never worked in finance or in any type of business--unless one counts a short stint in Henry Kissinger's consulting shop. At Dartmouth, Mr. Geithner "took just one economics class and found it especially dreary." After three years at Kissinger Associates, he spent 13 years at the Treasury Department, becoming close to both Robert Rubin and Larry Summers, and then worked at the government-supported International Monetary Fund. Messrs. Rubin and Summers recommended him to run the New York Fed. "I felt intimidated by how much I had to learn," he writes of taking up the job in 2003.
Weather is Not Climate!!!
May 9, 2014
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
One for brother jg:
I am often told that the average Muslim wholeheartedly rejects the use of violence and terror, does not share the radicals' belief that a degenerate and corrupt Western culture needs to be replaced with an Islamic one, and abhors the denigration of women's most basic rights. Well, it is time for those peace-loving Muslims to do more, much more, to resist those in their midst who engage in this type of proselytizing before they proceed to the phase of holy war.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali (giants walk the earth in smaller forms) meaningfully corrects the translation of "Boko Harem:
The translation from the Hausa language is usually given in English-language media as "Western Education Is Forbidden," though "Non-Muslim Teaching Is Forbidden" might be more accurate.
More importantly and reminiscent of jg's post, she calls for some (what is the Arabic word for cojones?) from moderate Muslims and western apologists.
How to explain this phenomenon to baffled Westerners, who these days seem more eager to smear the critics of jihadism as "Islamophobes" than to stand up for women's most basic rights? Where are the Muslim college-student organizations denouncing Boko Haram? Where is the outrage during Friday prayers? These girls' lives deserve more than a Twitter hashtag protest.
A superb piece -- holler if you'd like it emailed.
May 8, 2014
My darling bride has rescued the jk -Starbucks relationship. And proven that there are few things in life some good humor cannot ameliorate.
Many append "in bed" to a fortune cookie to divine its true meaning. I follow The StandUp Economist and add "at the margins."
The lovely bride points that if you add "in the unemployment line" to the end of the Oprah quotes, they not only lose their jejune pomposity -- they actually make sense! Submitted for your approval:
I want to go twice a day! I want to collect them all! Yaay SBUX!!!
But she flew a million miles!
SecState #67: A t'riffic judge of character
The State Department under Hillary Clinton fought hard against placing the al Qaeda-linked militant group Boko Haram on its official list of foreign terrorist organizations for two years. And now, lawmakers and former U.S. officials are saying that the decision may have hampered the American government's ability to confront the Nigerian group that shocked the world by abducting hundreds of innocent girls.
Now, anybody can make a mistake, but . . .
What Clinton didn't mention was that her own State Department refused to place Boko Haram on the list of foreign terrorist organizations in 2011, after the group bombed the UN headquarters in Abuja. The refusal came despite the urging of the Justice Department, the FBI, the CIA, and over a dozen Senators and Congressmen.
Never criticize a Secretary of State until you've flown a million miles in her pantsuit.
May 7, 2014
In Praise of Central Government
A non-controversial role for government is police and the courts, and we see the importance of a well equipped police force in Nigeria, where such is sadly lacking. Some have sung the praises of Anarcho-capitalism on these very pages but I, for one, am not up for this:
A week after the abductions, some of the parents trekked into the forest, according to an account in the British newspaper The Guardian.
Even Central Park was never this lawless.
May 6, 2014
Below the surface of the Nigerian schoolgirl kidnappings
The natural reaction to news of an Islamist terror group kidnapping schoolgirls and threatening to sell them into slavery is outrage, but my perspective has been improved after reading this NBC News article on Boko Haram. Translation: "Western education is a sin."
The synopsis is that Nigeria is "Africa's largest country, where 170 million people are divided evenly between Christians in the south and Muslims in the north." After initial arrangements for the national presidency to be held, alternately, by a Christian and then a Muslim, the current Christian president - and I admit I'm ascribing motive here - used national oil revenues to unify the country around western ways and, in the process, achieve majority rule and marginalize the political power of the Muslims, at least so far as their "religious values" being imposed upon the government. So the extremist Muslims reacted, predictably, with terror attacks.
Given all of this I then wondered, were the kidnapped girls Muslim or Christian. They were taken from a school in the northeast so, presumably, Muslim. So the moderate Muslims are now faced with a choice between western-style prosperity and industrialization or, Sharia Law. You know what I hope they choose. And you may also suspect what the "equal but miserable" crowd wishes.
May 5, 2014
Everything there is to be said.
I've been trying to make this point on Facebook. Today it has been taken up superbly by Caleb Rossier, who has "[S]pent my life on the foreign-policy left. I opposed the Vietnam War, U.S. intervention in Central America in the 1980s and our invasion of Iraq. I have headed a group trying to block U.S. arms and training for "friendly" dictators, and I have written books about how U.S. policy in the developing world is neocolonial. But I oppose my allies' well-meaning campaign for 'climate justice.'"
Every year environmental groups celebrate a night when institutions in developed countries (including my own university) turn off their lights as a protest against fossil fuels. They say their goal is to get America and Europe to look from space like Africa: dark, because of minimal energy use.
But, but, but...
Happy Cinco de Mayo, or as President Obama calls it, "Cinco de Quatro." (Chad Ochocinco could not be reached for comment.) I, for one, salute our country's proud Mexican-American community, as they join us Irish-Americans in seeing one of their most important holidays -- honoring their impressive effort in the global hobby of beating the French -- turned into just another occasion to drink a lot. -- Jim Geraghty
May 4, 2014
It Only Takes a Little Bit of Greed to Kill a Child
Or, as Tim Cavenaugh at NRO points out: Union Monopoly Protects Pennsylvania Children from DRUNKEN SLAUGHTER! .
Despite what we so often hear about being a tool for self-rule, [Democracy] is more often a mechanism to impose a way of life on others. Americans love to wear those "I voted" stickers on their coats . What are they telling us? That if enough of them agree they can lord it over the rest of us. We celebrate democracy even as it slowly corrodes our foundational ideals.Greetings, and welcome to a special "All Hail Harsanyi" edition of Review Corner.I first encountered David Harsanyi when I read his superb "Nanny State: How Food Fascists, Teetotaling Do-Gooders, Priggish Moralists, and other Boneheaded Bureaucrats are Turning America into a Nation of Children." Still one of the great titles of all time. He wrote on liberty for The Denver Post, which is like being the options & derivatives editor for Mother Jones. Then he took his pragmatic libertarianism to Reason, from where he has been extensively followed and quoted at ThreeSources.
His latest was undoubtedly written to be provocative; The People Have Spoken (and They Are Wrong): The Case Against Democracy would raise eyebrows outside of ThreeSources. Whaaa? Does he hate Apple Pie and Baseball too?
ThreeSourcers will enjoy his serious case against encroaching majoritarianism as well as his witty and pointed style.
Most people actually value anti-democratic aspects of government, yet they recoil from the principle behind them. It was the early-twentieth-century progressives, the precursors of today's leftists, who were responsible for the Seventeenth Amendment. It is no mere coincidence that an exponential growth of federal spending followed the adoption of that amendment. And the Founders believed that state governments were better equipped than the national government to understand and deal with the desires of their citizens.
A blog founded on Sharanskyism has t accept his stunning rebuke of the value of spreading Democracy:
Egypt simply isn't prepared to deal with open elections because many of the participants will use elections to consolidate theocracy or tyranny. Little seems to have changed in that country since ten biblical plagues failed to win pharaoh's respect for minority rights. A recent Pew poll finds that 54 percent of Egyptians believe that women and men should be segregated in the workplace, 82 percent believe that adulterers should be stoned, 84 percent believe that apostates from Islam should face the death penalty, and 77 percent believe thieves should be flogged or have their hands cut off . An environment like that makes Chicago politics look like a garden party.
In a favorite passage he extolls the value of gridlock, but suggests we're not doing it right:
Since the election of Barack Obama, the Democrats, supposedly powerless to face America's "big challenges," had passed a nearly trillion -dollar stimulus, a restructuring of the entire healthcare system, far-reaching immigration legislation that would create tens of millions of new citizens, and a tangled overhaul of financial regulation. The president had also appointed two fervently liberal Supreme Court justices with no meaningful opposition. It is a record of political accomplishment unequaled since the Johnson administration. Republicans must be the most inept obstructionists of all time.
Far cop, guv. But the worst violations of liberty on that litany were accomplished with a Democratic supermajority. And here is where I must present the book's tragic flaw and throw a "Libertario Delenda Est" flag.
The "Conclusion" chapter suggests not voting. It begins with an honest appraisal of voting drives, vote-rocking, shaming, and all efforts to persuade the uninformed to share their ignorance with the nation at large. He smacks down suggestions for mandatory voting (a horrid idea, but something of a strawman in the US, I'd hope). All good all good, I'm in.
But then he asks the person who has made it through the other 13 chapters not to vote. Holy Cow, that's the person I do want counted. Yet the author counsels: stay home or discard your vote on a fringe candidate.
Constitutional freedoms survived for well over a hundred years. I don't know that they can be reclaimed at the ballot box or not, but the other choices are unpleasant to say the least. The NRA has bucked the trend. As mentioned in the book, the USA did not melt all it's firearms after Newtown to make a statue of Mayor Bloomberg. A correct and effective demonstration of the importance of liberty and its consequential effects is worth a try.
Harrumph. Damnëd libertoids! But it is a great book that all ThreeSourcers would dig. Four stars.
May 3, 2014
The Theft of Growth
There are some hard sells in liberty theory. One of the most difficult is that the costs of regulation and cronyism and meddling of all stripes can be so well hidden.
I'm old enough to have watched this country grow wealthier. Piketty and Krugman and Alan Reynolds can fight it out (my money's on Reynolds) but I compare myself to my father. He was something of a big deal in Denver media. He had as many as 40 people employed in his ad agency. He had the American Motors Dealers' accounts for the Rocky Mountain region (we drove Ramblers...) and some big local firms.
I would have to do some creative stretching to purchase the home I grew up in. And I don't have the expense of having me as a son. But, as a comparative schlub, I enjoy a much higher standard of living.
The administration's defenders love to quote x quarters of GDP growth or y total jobs added from the recession's trough. I guess that's fair -- there's no Constitutional injunction against cherry-picking (not that they'd follow it).
There are two flaws to their pitch. Flaw the uno is overselling the seriousness of "the mess they inherited." It is in no way comparable to the Great Depression. In terms of % job loss or share of GDP, it is almost perfectly comparable to the 1981 recession. You remember, how President Reagan used to go on and on about "the mess he'd inherited."
Flaw de Dos is to accept the meager recovery that accompanied Keynesian policies instead of the robust recovery produced by supply side fiscal and monetary incentives.
Heritage suggests "If Obama Could Replicate Reagan Recovery, Economy Would Be about $17,000 Bigger Per Family"
We made all of these imbecilic moves, and the wonder of it all is that the U.S. economy is growing at all. It’s a tribute to the indestructible Energizer Bunny that is the entrepreneurial U.S. economy that it keeps going and going even with all the obstacles. The problem is it isn't going very fast. That’s what the Bureau of Economic Analysis told us this week when it reported that the GDP for the first quarter of the year grew an anemic 0.1 percent on an annual basis from January to March. The more meaningful measure of growth, private-sector GDP, rose by a still-meager 0.2 percent.
Every impediment to growth has no price tag to these people because it is being paid for by stealing from our progeny. Passing along the 1972 economy instead of today's.
May 2, 2014
Quote of the Day
The good news about health-care expenditures is that they're propping up gross domestic product: Without soaring expenditure on health care, yesterday's lackluster GDP estimates would have been negative, instead of a paltry 0.1 percent.
May 1, 2014
Otequay of the Ayday
Can black and white victicrats take a day off from being "offended"? Dolts - whether Bundy or Sterling - who are incapable of harm, say stupid things.
Quote of the Day
Might need an "All Hail Geraghty..."
Remember the Obama administration's much-touted statistic that 8.1 million Americans had signed up for Obamacare? Yeah, about that...As of April 15, 2014, insurers informed the committee that only 2.45 million had paid their first month's premium for coverage obtained through the federally facilitated marketplace.If you have a statistic that seems artificially inflated for more than four weeks, consult your doctor immediately. -- Jim Geraghty [Subscribe]