September 7, 2017

The Mask Drops

Correction: In New York in 2017, you don't need a mask at all:

It is no surprise that New York's progressive mayor believes that private ownership of wealth and property is a hindrance to the creation of a just society, but it's remarkable that [Mayor Bill DeBlasio] would state his utopian vision so bluntly. "If I had my druthers," he said, "the city government would determine every single plot of land, how development would proceed. And there would be very stringent requirements around income levels and rents."

Posted by John Kranz at 2:06 PM | Comments (0)

August 15, 2017

Free Money

You HAVE to read this! Holler if you need my help to evade Rupert's jackbooted paywall thugs.

Zach Maher explains the liberty-sapping side-effects of the famed Scandinavian welfare state, put best in the subhead: "When the state treats childrearing like a job, make sure you don't run afoul of the boss."

Six months ago, my 2-year-old niece broke her leg. The physician who treated the girl told my brother-in-law that his daughter would be given a full-body CT scan. The doctor insisted that the procedure was mandatory, but not for any medical reason. Rather, the Swedish social-services administration requires such scans to look for evidence of child abuse. While the doctor did note that the broken leg was the result of an accident, he told my brother-in-law the matter was "out of my hands."

When the girl's parents refused to subject her to this unnecessary procedure, the hidden machinery of the Swedish welfare state sprang into motion. My brother-in-law and his wife were required to attend multiple interviews with social workers and to submit friends and neighbors in their small town for questioning. Social workers even inspected their home. Suddenly, decisions as benign as what milk to buy seemed potential evidence of parental deficiency. My in-laws feared their two children might be taken from them.

In Sweden, the state reserves for itself ultimate responsibility for children's well-being. As a parent my job is to give my kids the trygghet necessary to become productive, tax-paying members of Swedish society. This is why I receive financial support and medical benefits. The state is paying me to be a parent. I am, in effect, an employee--and if I do a poor job, my responsibility as a parent might be taken away from me.


The same creepy and suffocating paternalism from the "Dragon Tattoo" books by Stieg Larsson. But sadly true.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:15 PM | Comments (6)
But johngalt thinks:

Reprinted here.

Posted by: johngalt at August 16, 2017 10:54 AM
But johngalt thinks:

One might blithely suggest that all this state scrutiny could have been avoided by simply going along with the full-body CT scan. I personally have wished to have such a procedure after a broken bone was attributed to a benign cyst that was only discovered after the fracture. "What other surprises lurk in my body," I thought? The "radiation" imparted by this "unnecessary procedure" is less than that received on an international airline flight.

But the author hits the real reason to object to the Swedish statism - Individual freedom is replaced by an almost Soviet-like duty to conform, with neighbors reporting neighbors for living outside of that conformity.

In the U.S. we used to talk about a "melting pot" where different cultures coexisted and voluntarily adopted some of each others' customs. The contemporary trend has been toward a politically correct mediocrity, where certain beliefs are vilified and embracing customs or traditions of other cultures is decried as "appropriation." This glimpse into the epitome of European socialism shows us where such attitudes might take our country, if we don't stand up to them today.

Posted by: johngalt at August 16, 2017 11:13 AM
But jk thinks:

Many thanks for the free link. Fight the Power!

Side topic for sure, but the very solid-to-me reason agains the full body scan is that people tend to take counter-productive actions against undeserving risk. If I have this anomalous item, I might pursue extraction or biopsy at greater risk than the target.

A guest told Russ Roberts we lack the skill to manage "Turtles, rabbits, and birds (TuRB)." The metaphor is keeping each species in a pen. Our medicine excels at rabbits: we can build a fence and keep them in. But a suspect could be a turtle, which would grow so slowly there is little risk, or a bird which will defy treatment.

Early detection is the mantra, but it only works for rabbits.

What chills me about the article is the total absence of property rights in our own persons. I completely suspect that my progressive friends would think this great: better to humiliate 99 than let one child abuser roam free. But the theft of agency in that most private matter chills me.

It also speaks to the "kind" tyranny of Scandinavia. It's not the Romania of "Tovarasu Militian" or the last throes of Venezuela. It's a Stepford Wives tyranny, and it has many fans in the USA.

Posted by: jk at August 16, 2017 3:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

For the uninitiated, "Tovarasu Militian" is "Comrade Detective." I was struck by the fact that they call their detectives "militia." I guess it's more descriptive to call him "comrade policeman."

Also, google translate has "companion" or "comrade" translating to tovaras, without the "u."

Posted by: johngalt at August 16, 2017 4:31 PM
But jk thinks:

I meant to link, thanks.

Posted by: jk at August 16, 2017 4:44 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Paying closer attention last night, the Romanian title isn't Tovarasu or Tovaras, but Tovarasul - literally, "comrade."

I posted more highlights from last night's viewing here.

Posted by: johngalt at August 18, 2017 11:12 AM

June 27, 2017

Quote of the Day

The FBI is currently investigating whether [Senator Sanders's wife, Jane] committed fraud when she told People's United Bank that she had confirmed pledges. One confirmed pledge of $1 million, it turned out, was to be paid after the donor's death, not in the next few years, as Sanders had stated. -- Austin Yack, National Review
Oh, that can be arranged...
Posted by John Kranz at 3:06 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

...And am I the only one childish enough to laugh that the Sanderses have chosen People's United Bank for their banking needs? "Oh, honey, this one sounds good!"

Posted by: jk at June 28, 2017 12:00 PM

November 22, 2016

Otequay of the Ayday

While I do not think we should legitimize the remarkable fear those on the Left profess, I do suppose I can understand why they are afraid. In a way, it is even rational. The Left expects the Right to do to them what the Left's political philosophy would demand the Left do to the Right: hunt down any dissenting voices and silence or hurt them.

David Danford in The Federalist - Here's Why Progressives Lose Their Minds When They Lose Elections

They do not understand the Right's view of government and what the founders of America had in mind. The founders understood that government could only provide limited justice. This could then be used to enable the individual pursuit of happiness in a free country. As Washington put it, the object of our politics is "the benign influence of the good laws of a free government."

In other words, the goal is to make the rule of law and the power of government as gentle and as unobtrusive as possible. Errors in politics, then, are deviations from being benign and are themselves fairly harmless. If the system of government you live under is limited, then you can take a breath when things do not go your way and continue to have a conversation and hope that next time you might win.

The end of all of this is to say that what you are seeing is the logical result of incoherent, utopian progressive political thought. Our society is full of those confused about the purpose of American government, and something changed with this election.

Before, there were two conceptions of justice competing under the surface, but only one knew that it had to destroy the other. Now, the other one has realized it has to fight to exist, and fighting it is. Until one wins out, this war of ideas will continue, the Left will embrace hysterics, and political correctness will reemerge.


Posted by JohnGalt at 7:31 PM | Comments (0)

August 25, 2016

Price Chart - Free Enterprise vs. Socialism

Thanks to this article at FEE, the Foundation for Economics Education, here is the price analog to nanobrewer's tabular comparison of goods and services that are delivered by government (or highly regulated by it) versus those that are more freely traded.

prices2-1.png

I'm sure glad that government doesn't consider televisions a "human right." If it did, fewer humans could afford to have them.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:02 PM | Comments (2)
But dagny thinks:

Sorry to be the wet blanket around here, but you realize the claim you are making is strictly correlational. In fact the reverse argument could be made. Medical and college costs are WAY up so clearly the government needs to be more involved to FIX them. TV costs are down so government assistance is not needed. Just sayin...

Posted by: dagny at August 25, 2016 6:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, that flawed argument can be made, and always is made by Keynsians. (Did you know they're from Africa?)

But I believe you are viewing this evidence improperly, i.e. without regard to other proven economic facts:

When controlling for other variables,
1) Competition reduces prices
2) Regulation increases costs, and therefore prices
3) Higher demand causes increasing prices

So no, I'm not surprised to see that goods or services in regulated or competition-restricted sectors are correlated with higher prices, and things that government tends to ignore are correlated with lower prices.

Causation generally results in correlational outcomes, except when other causes coexist which mask said outcome.

Posted by: johngalt at August 28, 2016 5:00 PM

August 23, 2016

My chart

Quiet around here: summertime blues? Tired of the battle between HRC's measured mendaciousness or DJT's boisterous blundering (or bellicosity, depending on the day)?

Anyway, here's my chart for FB someday soon (as a followup to my roasting of Amm. 69), based somewhat on recent events.

Socialism.PNG

comments? glaring omissions?

Posted by nanobrewer at 1:16 AM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

August is a slow news month, Brother jg is gallivanting all across the EU and enjoying the benefits of socialism up close and personal. I wiped my computer and lost several bookmarks and utilities that facilitate blogging. And, oh yes, that Trump fellow.

And yet, there is an inexorable shift toward social media. I'm spending a lot less time on other blogs and have no doubt that our small but mighty readership feels the same. Interesting. The opening paragraph might be "whistling past the graveyard."

If I've a critique of your chart, it is the premise of binary choice. I get that Tesla is more private that GM because of bailouts and public equity ownership. But if subsidies went away today, GM would barely change direction, while Tesla would close its doors.

Norman Borlaug is a hero of highest proportion, but not as a serial entrepreneur. He worked with foreign governments and no doubt public research. Is he a creature of free-market capitalism?

Obvious omission is Uber/Lyft vs. municipal taxicab cartels. And, perhaps my favorite piece of all time Emissions vs. Oil Changes.

Posted by: jk at August 23, 2016 10:45 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

That's a fair cop, JK; my list could use refinement (Haiti ain't Venezuela, nor is the DR = Switzerland), or a wholesale title change. I'll think on it, or just pull Tesla :-)

Borlaug was a microbiologist for DuPont, and his big splash with hybridized wheat was funded mostly by the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations. I especially liked the juxtaposition with Lysenko... and imagine the few millennials pondering "...who?"

Posted by: nanobrewer at August 24, 2016 12:32 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Brother jg is back! And, as I hope to describe in a future post, socialist Europe actually felt more free in many ways than pseudo-free America.

But to the point: I agree with jk that Tesla and Prius belong in the starboard (I won't call it "right") column. Both are subsidy dependent. LED lights and CFL's, I think, are well placed even though LEDs are subsidized by government mandate. The CFL was pushed upon an unwilling market, but LEDs are being allowed to obtain market share on their merits, albeit at subsidized price.

The best part of the whole chart, IMO, is the part on energy. Bravo. Perfection.

Posted by: johngalt at August 25, 2016 11:33 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I still like the idea, and thanks JG! I'm thinking of new titles:
Free-Markets and Centralized Planning

Any votes for the new title? I think I'll pull DR/Haiti for New Zealand / Venezuela

Posted by: nanobrewer at August 30, 2016 12:30 AM

May 25, 2016

Nailed it!

This. A Barton Hinkle makes an important point by marrying conservative distrust of disorder with libertarian distrust for the state monopoly on force.

[Sen. Bernie Sanders:] "Our campaign of course believes in nonviolent change and it goes without saying that I condemn any and all forms of violence, including the personal harassment of individuals."

Which, to be blunt about it, is a crock. Sanders' entire campaign is premised on the idea of violent change--lots of it. His supporters just want someone else to do the dirty work.

Sanders proposes hiking the minimum wage to $15 an hour, which is another way of saying he wants to make it illegal for employers to pay workers less than $15 an hour--even when there are workers who are willing to take less. He also proposes to make employers provide 12 weeks paid family and medical leave, two weeks of paid vacation, and seven paid sick days.

How is he going to achieve all that? By changing the law and then enforcing it. Note the root of the word "enforce." If a company chooses not to comply the consequences will, eventually, entail the use of armed officers of the law.


Posted by John Kranz at 6:58 PM | Comments (0)

May 13, 2016

All Hail Jonah!

Still, it boggles the mind that anyone can see the folly of having the government take over Amazon or Facebook but be blind to the problems of having the government run health care. -- Jonah Goldberg
Posted by John Kranz at 9:53 AM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2016

The two sides of "New York Values"

If you want to know what is really important about democracy, listen to someone who's lived completely without it - a former Soviet citizen. Proud New York immigrant Garry Kasparov, writing about fellow New Yorker Donald Trump, doesn't disappoint.

I refer to these "American values" with no sarcasm or irony. Every day I have reason to thank Ronald Reagan and the generations of Americans who sacrificed and fought for the freedom of those of us trapped behind the Iron Curtain.

Today, 25 years after the fall of the USSR, the American values that won the Cold War are considered nostalgic and corny at best, cruel or imperialistic at worst. The ideals of individual freedom, risk-taking, competition and sacrifice have been supplanted by the fake values of safety, complacency and moral relativism.

Also,

After Obama's soothing and sophisticated spin, Trump's incoherent fury and outlandish promises can feel like a welcome change.

Unfocused anger makes people vulnerable to political snake-oil salesmen touting simple solutions and utopian outcomes. It opens the door to the aggressively uninformed authoritarianism of Trump as well as to Bernie Sanders and his siren song of socialism. (I'm sorry, Bernie fans, but I lived it, and the failures of capitalism are still better than the successes of socialism.)

Finally,

The problems of capitalism are usually best met by more capitalism: less regulation, more risk, more investment, more innovation.

Instead, the U.S. and its flagship and bellwether, New York City, have gone largely in the other direction. Capital booms while labor slumps, overregulation strangles entrepreneurs and feeds bureaucracy, and in the span of a generation, the symbol of American innovation went from the moon landing to a slightly larger iPhone.

UPDATE: I'm afraid I buried the lede. Here's the quote regarding "good" vs. "evil" New York values:

It's tempting to rally behind him-but we should resist. Because the New York values Trump represents are the very worst kind. He exemplifies the seamy side of New York City - the Ponzi schemers and the Brooklyn Bridge sellers, the gangster traders like Bernie Madoff and the celebrity gangsters like John Gotti -- not the hard work and sacrifice that built New York and America.


Posted by JohnGalt at 2:24 PM | Comments (0)

March 28, 2016

Maybe They'll Listen This Time!

Prof Mark J. Perry reprises his 1995 essay "Why Socialism Failed." His biggest regret is his use of past tense. In the shadow of the fall of the USSR, he wrote that it was "the Big Lie of the 20th century [...] that it would be forever considered only as a discredited system of the past, and never as a viable option going forward into the future."

As Nelson would say: "Ha Ha!"

Given the recent resurgence of socialism, especially as it is now being embraced by young Americans, I thought it might be a good time to re-visit my 1995 essay to review why socialism: a) failed in the 20th century, b) is failing in the 21st century (e.g. Venezuela, see photo above), and c) will always fail. And that's because it's a flawed system based on completely faulty principles that aren't consistent with human behavior and can't nurture the human spirit.

It is a good read and a better share for those who might be #feelintehbern.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:12 PM | Comments (0)

March 11, 2016

Quote of the day

from Gary Kasparov's article published by The Daily beast (excellent article, but the flash pop-ups are awful) of all places! Of course, the publishers had to splash up a contrary video of voters hemming, hawing and how Iowa Dems were much more socialist.

"It's capitalism that brought billions of people out of poverty in the 20th century. It's socialism that enslaved them and impoverished them. Of course Senator Sanders does not want to turn America into a totalitarian state like the one I grew up in. But it's a valuable example of the inevitable failure of a state-run economy and distribution system. (Check in on Venezuela for a more recent example.) Once you give power to the government it is nearly impossible to get it back, and it will be used in ways you cannot expect."

He notes two other interstings

1. My [FB} post on the nature of socialism was 113 words long, a quick response to critics of a cartoon I had posted ... A week later and it has over 3,000 comments, 57,000 shares, and a 9.3 million reach that is in the category usually reserved for photos of pop stars and kitten videos.
and
I often talk about the need to restore a vision of America as a positive force in the world, a force for liberty and peace. The essential complement to this is having big positive dreams at home as well, of restoring America's belief in ambition and risk, of innovation and exploration, of free markets and free people.
He's a TS'er... we need to let him know!

Posted by nanobrewer at 12:50 PM | Comments (5)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"He's a TS'er... we need to let him know!"

Kasparov is definitely one of us. There's something about Russian-born intellectuals (Kasparov, Rand, Sharansky) who've tasted both Russian Communism and western freedom that must foster a real appreciation for the latter. I wonder what causes this.

Off topic, but I've got to ask: Mark Sanchez? Really???

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 11, 2016 4:34 PM
But jk thinks:

Bronco football is NEVER EVER off topic at ThreeSources. That said, I have not heard that one until just now. I was calm and moderately positive to the suggestion of RGIII, Colin Kaepernick, and was even warming to a warmed over Tebow. Sanchez is not "on my color wheel."

Posted by: jk at March 11, 2016 5:08 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Well, it's a done deal. The trade's been made:

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/14951086/denver-broncos-trade-quarterback-mark-sanchez

Congratulations, brother!

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 11, 2016 5:17 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Loved that article, nb, and thrilled that you blogged it. The title is not to be missed, and answers brother keith's pregnant question as well: "Hey Bernie, Don't Lecture Me About Socialism. I Lived Through It." My favorite of Kasparov's lines were these:

My goal was to remind people that Americans talking about socialism in the 21st century was a luxury paid for by the successes of capitalism in the 20th. And that while inequality is a huge problem, the best way to increase everyone's share of pie is to make the pie bigger, not to dismantle the bakery.

As for Mark Sanchez, my thumb points up.

- He is an experienced NFL starter, including six postseason starts, with roughly the same completion percentage as Andrew Luck with a comparable number of attempts.

- Denver does not need a Dan Marino to plug into the proven system that our aging hall of famer leveraged into a career-closing Super Bowl win. We need a game manager who can complete passes (sorry Tim). I think Mark can put up career highs in wins starting for this Broncos team, and even repeat the Super Bowl feat.

- And if you're still not convinced of his value as, at bare minimum, a capable 2nd stringer, word is that the 49ers were interested too. Denver struck first, trading a conditional 2017 7th round pick to get him from the Eagles before he was released.

Posted by: johngalt at March 11, 2016 6:08 PM
But jk thinks:

And I read it right here -- ThreeSources, your one-stop shop for sports news and monotonous din of Trump coverage!

Posted by: jk at March 11, 2016 7:14 PM

February 17, 2016

Wall Street.

A serious Sen. Bernie Sanders (I - VT) candidacy would at least focus the mind. I have long wanted a stark contrast and would relish the thought if the GOP had some candidate to oppose him.

So, against the risk that he'll actually prevail, I am all in for #Bern. Sec. Clinton would probably be the best President of all remaining and viable candidates, but watching her lose to Sanders would be great entertainment. And she would not be that much better.

Already, we have some thoughtful articles about Wall Street. Two from the *ahem* Wall Street Journal.

Today, Joseph Epstein pens a guest editorial which is polemic but still important: "Bernie and the 'Lunatic of One Idea'." Epstein compares Sanders to Freud because as the Doctor explained everything with sex and repression, the flinty Vermoter can invoke "Wall Street" and every flaw in life is explained. (Instant Replay wouldn't be so slow if it did not serve "Wall Street and the Billeeonayuh class!")

Mr. Sanders's synecdoche for his idea is Wall Street. Everything wrong with American life can be charged up, in his telling, to a small neighborhood in lower Manhattan. Something old-fashioned there is about blaming Wall Street for all the country's deficiencies. But, then, lunatics of one idea, basking in the pleasure of Manichaeism, like to focus all their enmity on one target.

As always, bonus points for using "synecdoche."

A softer column ran last week by Bret Stephens, who dared to suggest that these people are human beings, not devils with horns and forks. They bring prosperity to the nation. And, in the unfortunate case of David Wichs, perish if a crane falls on them.

The next day the papers told the story of his life: a Jewish immigrant from Czechoslovakia; a math whiz with a degree from Harvard; a thoughtful neighbor and husband; "the nicest, most trustworthy person that I have known," according to his boss, Mark Gorton, of Tower Research Capital. Mr. Wichs was just 38 when he died.

I never met Mr. Wichs, but reading about him reminded me of so many people I know in his industry--prodigiously bright and slyly funny, reasonably wealthy but rarely ostentatious, family men of the type who show up at school auctions and United Jewish Appeal dinners. Maybe they voted for Barack Obama the first time, probably not the second. They're the people who, even now, make American finance the envy of the world.

They're the most demonized people in America.


I guess we are living in "The Merchant of Venice" full time now, and the quality of mercy is not Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. (And yes, that line was borrowed from Buffy). Always the Wall Streeters are evil and the "victims" suffer "plight." Here's Jim Geraghty:
Back on January 26 of last year, the Washington Post wrote a lengthy profile piece presumably meant to be a heartbreaking portrait of victims of the housing bubble in Prince George's County. The article showcased Comfort and Kofi Boateng, legal immigrants from Ghana, who "struggle under nearly $1 million in debt that they will never be able to repay."
Wait for it...

"on the 3,292-square-foot, six-bedroom, red-brick Colonial they bought for $617,055 in 2005. The Boatengs have not made a mortgage payment in 2,322 days -- more than six years -- according to their most recent mortgage statement."

These folks have lived in a six-bedroom house and haven't paid a dime for six years, and we're supposed to believe they're the victims here? The Post continued, "Their plight illustrates how some of the people swallowed up by the easy credit era of the previous decade have yet to reemerge years later." Wait, living in a house for six years for free is a plight?


Well, Jimmy, there are only six bedrooms in that free house. It's about gorram time those evil financiers pay!

Posted by John Kranz at 11:23 AM | Comments (3)
But nanobrewer thinks:

And their bible is already out per my highly educated and highly excitable L/W friend; Michael Lewis (author of _The Big Short_) has just pushed out _Flash Boys_ who in the words of my old friend's ever colorful and histrionic verbiage shows "how the whole Wall Street is completely corrupt."

Hmm, I've already countered with 'well, Wall Street is not a single, homogeneous entity' and will soon need a decent definition and example of 'corruption.' My first take would be either Head Start (zero results for several $B spent) or the Oregon health exchange. Any other nominees?

Odd thing about this guy: he's been a budding socialist-liberal voted for ages (of the "we need just the right, smart people in there") and is well on his way to being a very successful entrepreneur!

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 17, 2016 9:47 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

To save TS'ers, here's a good article ripping the veil off Lewis' fanciful meanderings.

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 17, 2016 9:54 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I can't let this go; even Newsweek captures what I'd gleaned:

[the book & film] leaves out any discussion of the main culprit behind the financial crisis, which was not Wall Street “greed” but bad monetary and credit policies from the Federal Reserve and the federal government.

The article calls out the excellent
White Paper from FEE.

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 17, 2016 10:08 PM

February 11, 2016

IT'S THE EGALITARIAN SOCIALISM, STUPID!

I was hopeful for greater insight from this article. I think I have found it.

"Dear Older Women Insisting All Women Vote For Hillary,

(...)

Because of you, we promise never to let anyone take away or compromise the freedom we have today... not even you.

(...)

But understand that based on the principles you've taught us, we know having a female presidency is less important than gaining true gender equality.

(...)

Our experience following in your footsteps has taught us what real equality means and we will not be distracted by sexist attacks, even from you. With the strength you gave us, we will refuse to be guilted or shamed into voting for Hillary based on gender alone. Because of you, we will vote for policy, for mind and heart, not genitals because we know that to do anything less would undermine everything you've fought for, everything your mothers and your mothers' mothers fought for and won.

Thank you for everything you've taught us and know that we won't let you down. We've got your back, even if you don't have ours.

Love,

A Millenial Woman Feeling the Bern."

A curious mixture of principled independence, emotion, and hypocrisy.

Apparently, in the name of the principle "real equality" today's young Democrat woman abandons the guilt or shame of traditional "women's issues" for Bernie's socialist equality policies. Coincidentally, infringing the freedom and property rights of every American taxpayer is somehow divorced from "compromising the freedom we have today." (I suppose because she believes she will come out on the long end of the redistribution stick, revealing that it isn't really about the entire "we" - even the entire female "we" - after all.)

Just when I was thinking this was some sort of gender discrimination issue I am to dense, and too male, to recognize or even understand - the mask comes off: IT'S THE EGALITARIAN SOCIALISM, STUPID!

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:34 PM | Comments (0)

Prosperity's Dark Side

*Rant Warning*

Indoor plumbing and the washing machine may have heralded a longer, happier and healthier life for all mankind, but these labor saving advances come at a price - detachment.

We tend to think of youth arriving in waves by generation, every twenty years or so. In reality, the waves are five times as frequent - every four years another class of know-nothings matriculates from the academy. So while the naïve waifs who elected President Obama may now actually, for the most part, recognize their error, two more waves have washed over top of them. And since nothing has been done to correct their curricula, the tide of egalitarian socialism is on the rise, making each successive wave that much stronger than before.

Witness the rise of Senator Socialist, the Independent-In-Name-Only from Vermont, who offers nearly everything as reward for one's vote, deftly stopping short of promising to outlaw war and neckties and long pants. One wonders how his followers might change their thoughts and attitudes and priorities if they had to wash their own clothes, by the river, by hand. Or if they had to defend their village from armed invasion by hungry hoardes from beyond the horizon.

I'm for making the viewing of History Channel's 'Vikings' a mandatory precondition for voter registration. All four seasons. The fourth of which, begins a week from tonight.

(Either that or they have to charge their iPhone with a bicycle generator for a month or so.)

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:13 PM | Comments (10)
But johngalt thinks:

"Already paid for? Certainly. May I see your receipt?"

Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2016 3:19 PM
But jk thinks:

Hahahahaha -- now I have to try twice as hard to find it so I can steal your joke.

Posted by: jk at February 12, 2016 4:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Seriously! I hope you do.

Is he/she suggesting that government is some kind of "subscription shopping service?" Pay a nominal monthly fee and you can come in and pick up whatever you want or need whenever you want? I hear they're doing that in Caracas right now.

Here's how "paying for" something works:

1) Look at price tag.
2) It's worth it, here's my money, take it away.
or
3) It's not worth it, negotiate or shop around at competitors.
then
4) Find the lowest price is higher than you are willing to pay, decide to pay it after all, here's my money, take it away.
or
5) Live. Without. It.

Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2016 5:17 PM
But johngalt thinks:

HOLD THE PHONE-

According to this, youts are the problem after all.

It is safe to say that billions of dollars have been spent over the past two decades promoting and educating the public on the benefits of capitalism and free markets. There are publishing imprints, media companies and new conservative news sites everywhere. Yet, something has gone horribly wrong.
Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2016 5:42 PM
But jk thinks:

A problem. The problem?

I think the meme was posted by my biological brother -- perhaps just "liked" because it does not show in his feed. I like your quaint and classical concept of purchase as well. But the word we're looking for is "entitled."

They flipped burgers in high school and took unglamorous jobs out of school. Had the greedy capitalist bastards paid them what they were worth and not cheated them, they would all have nice cars and live in mansions.

Posted by: jk at February 12, 2016 6:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

From paragraph 2: "No other age or ethnic demographic preferred socialism over capitalism."

Other than Millennials, that is.

Now re-read the excerpt two comments previous, followed by nb's excellent 'Socialist Schooling' post.

The problem. Worse than ISIS.

Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2016 6:17 PM

Socialist schooling

I think I need to add a new category for Socialism... I've done so for my bookmarks. Sanders' rise seems to be good time to blow the dust off this old canard.

KHOW's excellent new morning talk host who is also a serial columnist (including NRO, Am. Spectator...), has a Denver Post Column titled What the Iowa Caucus Says starting off in classic InYoFace mode:

Iowa caucus point to the destructive effects of educational institutions that have turned so many young Americans into naïve socialists whose fundamentally harmful policy positions should not be forgiven due to claimed good intentions or youthful exuberance.

Then follows with good news about how DEM turnout was down 27% while GOP turnout was up 50%, and then segues back to his main theme:

How can it be that throngs of our youth dislike and distrust our nation's most successful people, looking at millionaires in the same way that a leech looks at your ankle? How can it be that after years of "higher learning," millennials have learned nothing from the many lessons of history showing that Sanders' ideas are not only destined to fail if implemented but would also impoverish and enfeeble a once prosperous, proud and mighty nation?

He notes on his KHOW blog that the comments show that the vast majority of readers display massive ignorance on economics. So, as a service to our dear readers, I repeat some of last night's readings: the "gravity" of (Seattle CEO) Dan Prices' equal-pay gambit [pun intended], and inspired by the imitable Dr. Boudreux a Google Search on economic beliefs; the best being from RealClearMarkets. I'll wager that the good doktor is correct in that many economists still believe some really wacky stuff (esp. about minimum wage), but I couldn't find any easily.

Hugh Hewitt even picked up on this last night, while interviewing a novelist, noting the demonization of Billionaires (started by our current imPOTUS, for sure!) that seems to be sweeping popular culture. A quick pulse-check will see if this is more blatant demagoguery or a serious thread: do the names Soros or Steyer ever appear?

In sad news, my #1 choice has dropped out; good luck to her continuing to enliven the GOP zeitgeist!

Cafe Hayek readers, raise your hand!

[updated: found it under "Egalitarian Socialism" - should there be a category for Real World Socialism? discuss...]

Posted by nanobrewer at 11:39 AM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

Written before the NH primary, the piece could not allude to the much more widespread mind-warping that was revealed in the "Live Free or Die" state.

But really, what are higher taxes (on a job you can't find) compared to tens of thousands in debt for that college "education" in the first place?

"Seriously mom and dad, you just don't get it."

Posted by: johngalt at February 11, 2016 2:33 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Before reading this (and after reading this) I was trying to think of a grown-up interpretation of the "Feel the Bern" slogan.

Feel the naive righteousness?
Posted by: johngalt at February 11, 2016 2:44 PM
But johngalt thinks:
Feel the Utopian Intrigue!

All hail.

Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2016 5:33 PM
But johngalt thinks:

If our universities turn out graduates who believe economic suicide is a nifty idea then they most certainly should not be made "tuition-free" - they should be outlawed. Or shuttered.

If there is one specific thing against which the American taxpayer should be "going Galt" it is our public universities. What a disgrace.

Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2016 6:42 PM

January 28, 2016

Set Shocked Face on "Stun"

Damn those rightwingnuts at Vox:

Bernie Sanders's single-payer plan is almost twice as expensive as he says

[Emory University health care expert Kenneth] Thorpe isn't some right-wing critic skeptical of all single-payer proposals. Indeed, in 2006 he laid out a single-payer proposal for Vermont after being hired by the legislature, and was retained by progressive Vermont lawmakers again in 2014 as the state seriously considered single-payer, authoring a memo laying out alternative ways to expand coverage. A 2005 report he wrote estimated that a single-payer system would save $1.1 trillion in health spending from 2006 to 2015.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:54 PM | Comments (0)

January 25, 2016

Euophilia

Several things frighten me about this election cycle, mostly "testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure." But the underlying question, not just of Sen. Sanders's campaign, but across the board is whether we want to become Europe.

I've beat it up on these pages enough to get a reputation as a Europhobe. I'm not, but as we get closer than ever, it's important to explain that the Disneyland version of Europe people see on a two week vacation is really a combination of tyranny and poverty.

Okay, to avoid the Europhobe label, I'll trade tyranny for dirigisme -- it's more european and more accurate. But it is a far cry from our idea of liberty. We've traded "islands of control in a sea of liberty" for "islands of liberty in a sea of control;" Europe has districts of islands.

But those cute little cars, jk! The adorable and environmentally responsible paucity of SUVs! Yes, let's hear from the Briton who decides to escape the " frostbite and fury at the mercy of infrequent buses and trains" and pursue the wonder of Danish automobile ownership.

In common with everything else in Denmark, motoring isn't cheap. New cars are taxed at 180 per cent and the impact trickles down to used car prices. This means that a modest second-hand saloon suddenly becomes an indicator of extortionate wealth and most people drive matchboxes.

Inhaling a heady combination of pleather and Little Trees air-fresheners at my first forecourt on Sunday, I tell a salesman my budget. He chuckles, good-humouredly first of all, then gives me a look that says: "Yes, but what's your real budget?"


The whole column captures my view of the UK: business not open, diffident salespeople, &c. If Ms. Russell feels that way in Denmark, I'd be concerned.

All those wonders could be ours! #FeelTheBern

Posted by John Kranz at 10:17 AM | Comments (10)
But Terri thinks:

So you're saying happiness is all about the stuff?

I'm all about the freedom, but there doesn't seem too much to endear it if its all about stuff. Especially stuff that will murder the earth in these folk's eyes.

If the Danes are happier and yet can't buy cars.....how does that make our system preferable? McArdle had a column about how Americans won't go for universal care, but I'm not so sure they wouldn't.
The rich and loud would always buy extra and the rest would get "free" care and not have to deal with the headaches that is our medical insurance system.

Somehow I think, Denmark (et al) need to subsidize a lot more nonworking people before that happiness bit changes. Perhaps the immigration mess of Europe will turn that corner.

Posted by: Terri at January 25, 2016 4:58 PM
But jk thinks:

You don't have to buy stuff if you do not want. There are quite a few popular things which I eschew.

I'm saying that they do not have the choice. A car is out of the question. A refrigerator that is not "dorm size" is too expensive to own and operate.

Cars might be evil, and big 'fridges bad. But the other thing I saw during my years working for an Irish company was that the millionaires with whom I associated all had American sized 'fridges and cars. Our plumbers live like their millionaires.

Many tell me "they're happy" and I cannot say they're not, but most of those who tell me that are far more familiar with their business leaders than their plumbers.

And more importantly, if we import their poverty we will not necessarily get their happiness. I remind people that if we turn America into France, we will not get their vistas, art museums, cheese, or chocolate. We'll have Velveeta Socialism, American Idol, and the strip mall -- with no Dodge Challengers to take us away.

Posted by: jk at January 25, 2016 5:56 PM
But Terri thinks:

Not sure what you mean by this.
"Many tell me "they're happy" and I cannot say they're not, but most of those who tell me that are far more familiar with their business leaders than their plumbers."

As in they don't have plumbing problems? Or that they are on the richer side of the divide that exists universally?

Posted by: Terri at January 25, 2016 6:45 PM
But jk thinks:

The latter. The people who tell me that tend to be business associates. So there is an implicit selection bias that the sample of european contentment is populated by those doing business deals with Americans.

The plumbers they call are local; their Danish friends own their own computer businesses.

Posted by: jk at January 25, 2016 7:13 PM
But dagny thinks:

Terri says, "get "free" care and not have to deal with the headaches that is our medical insurance system."

Do you really think that if the government ran the health care system, we would have fewer headaches than we have now??

Have you been to the DMV?

Posted by: dagny at January 26, 2016 12:02 PM
But jk thinks:

Off topic, but I see a rare chance to cheese off everyone. I think the ultimate solution is "The Irish Model" and we are just wasting time delaying its implementation.

In Ireland, everyone gets horrible, crappy free care. I have a hunch that is what is proposed.

Anyone with any sense buys private insurance. But, because expensive items like long-term care and cancer treatments can be shifted onto the public, the private insurance is priced rather reasonably.

It is not respective of property rights nor fair and it keeps care decisions constantly in the political domain. And the "free" care is quite astonishingly bad. But we're never reverting to freedom, we might as well be done with it.

Bernie's "Medicare for All" with enough Republicans to kill the part where private care is disallowed. Then, the middle class can buy concierge care and upgraded pharmaceutical reimbursement.

With a private market viable enough, it might be freed of regulatory shackles and be more friendly to innovation than the current system.

#ImFeelinTheBern but wasn't this about cars?

Posted by: jk at January 26, 2016 1:04 PM

January 18, 2016

Six Reasons to be Skeptical about Oxfam

Ryan Bourne @ FEE:

5) Oxfam -- a development charity -- is now obsessed with the rich rather than the poor.

One would think that Oxfam as an anti-poverty charity would focus its energies on the vast literature showing the conditions necessary for poverty eradication and the role markets and capitalistic institutions can play in doing so.

Instead Oxfam is obsessed with the global rich -- almost implying that the wealth of the rich causes the poverty of the poor. It can do, in some cases -- where cronyism is rife. But there is scant evidence this is the important driver of current distributions. And Oxfam implying that it is, whilst perpetuating the fixed pie fallacy, is appalling for a supposed development organization.


I'd add #7: Read William Easterly! [Review Corner]

Posted by John Kranz at 5:37 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:
The media is running with Oxfam's annual "shocking" statistic on wealth. This year "the richest 62 people have the same wealth as poorest 3.6 bn."

How hard can it be for some subset of that 3.6 bn to loot the richest 62 and share it with everyone? Why wait for government to "do the right thing, dammit!"

Posted by: johngalt at January 19, 2016 3:22 PM

January 11, 2016

Blotto for Lotto

While it's not really enough money to completely eliminate poverty in America, the ever growing Powerball lottery payout has now eclipsed a billion (annuitized, pre-tax) dollars. Not that anyone should expect to win the payout - except maybe a $21 or so prize for matching a few numbers - but I do think it's illuminating to consider what you might do if you did win the lion's share of a billion dollar windfall.

Most that I've heard have said they will "give a lot of it away." Whether to charities or to family members, I haven't heard anyone talk about this without being sure to mention that he will be a philanthropist to one degree or another. I won't go into why I believe this is, and mostly I suspect most readers already know where I would place the blame. I want to talk about what to do instead.

I would start with, pay off any debts and immediately buy or make plans to buy everything I've ever dreamed of buying. Then I would make some investments and set up trust funds and annuities for my offspring and their progeny. And for the coup de grace, I would bankroll brother Keith's presidential run.

But one thing I would not do is feel any guilt for my "conspicuous" consumption. I would pay people to build products that they enjoy building. I would hire people to do work that they choose to do. I would make all of them richer in wages and spirit than if I merely gifted the same sum of dollars. And doing so would be sustainable for all involved.

What say you, 3sourcers? What would you do?

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:06 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Anybody play? I was an anti-lottery tyrant most of my life, with the subtlety of a college student asked about GMOs, gluten, or the GOP. I've come around to accept that this speculation is the purchased product and that its value is totally subjective. The projected, discounted payout is of no consequence.

While I've attained a Hayekian contentment with others' play, I confess I am completely missing the gene to enjoy it. Keith's Presidential campaign does sound good, but I got nothin'. Randian hero that I am, I want what I earn in recognition of my value. Extra millions laying about would be fun now and then but I suspect more pain in the ass in the long run than fun.

If forced to play and victorious, I hate to disappoint with philanthropy but bankrolling a school or scholarship for kids to attend a rigorous academic environment like the Coolidge School is about all I can think of. Then I'd have meetings to attend... What a drag.

While I don't ridicule those who play anymore, I answer that there are two things that would disappoint me, were I to play: if I lost or if I won.

Posted by: jk at January 11, 2016 4:46 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I've thought about this too... don't even know how many numbers I'd need to match to even get a Lincoln (greenback or car)! I'm generally anti-lottery as well.

I'd buy a nice house in lousy condition and go nuts on it (utilizing useful local artisans, like WaterJetWonders). I'd buy into a few companies, travel a lot and certainly wipe out my siblings' debts (and fund a family get together or two... somewhere warm!). I'd be sponsoring favored politicians.... :-)

I probably would do a philanthropist dabble but would be very quiet about it, and a scholarship or two to places like Hillsdale would factor in. Why are people telling media-pollsters' they'd turn Mother Teresa would be an interesting topic as a separate post.

Posted by: nanobrewer at January 12, 2016 10:55 AM

October 22, 2015

Enemy of the State

NYPost:

Still, in an interview on French TV, Will Smith said he strongly supported income redistribution.

"I have no issue with paying taxes and whatever needs to be done for my country to grow," he said. "I'm a black man who didn't go to college, yet I get to travel around the world and sell my movies, and I believe very firmly that America is the only place on earth that I could exist. So I will pay anything that I need to pay to keep my country growing."

Then he was told that France's top tax rate was, at the time, 75%. His response: "Seventy-five! That's different. Well, God bless America."


Indeed, sir. Indeed.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:11 PM | Comments (0)

October 9, 2015

The birth of other-loathing

Perhaps it's a re-birth, I'm not sure. Has there been another period in history when an anti-humanity movement was so large and so popular? The Dark Ages perhaps.

Yesterday I was asked by a colleague, "Why don't we use more nuclear power?"

"Honestly" said I, "I think it is because there is such a powerful movement to limit the available resources in order to limit the growth and prosperity of the human race."

That movement is called "global environmentalism" and, according to its Amazon summary, the book that launched the movement is called 'Limits to Growth' - Donella H. Meadows, October 1, 1972.

The headline-making report on the imminent global disaster facing humanity - and what we can do about it before time runs out. The book that launched the environmental movement globally.

First on the list of prescriptions, as explained in an editorial review of "The 30-Year Update" version, is fewer people, doing less.

The authors demonstrate that the most critical areas needing immediate attention are: population; wasteful, inefficient growth; and pollution. They show how attention to all three simultaneously can result in returning the human footprint on the environment to manageable, sustainable size, while sharply reducing the disparity between human well-being and fostering a generous quality-of-life worldwide. Absent this, the prospects are grim indeed.

How grim? RCP's William Tucker explains in 'Dealing With Abundance.'

In fact we're doing quite well as far as resources are concerned. Nobody talks about "running out of anything" anymore. The one place where doomsayers would argue that we have overshot is in the creation of carbon dioxide byproducts in the atmosphere that are going to lead to global warming.

(...)

While this is a matter of concern, once again it is not out of the reach of our technology. Glenn Seaborg, one of the pioneers of nuclear energy, used to say that "nuclear power has come along at exactly the right time because we were beginning to reach the limits of fossil fuels." He was talking both about the problem of supplies and the pollution effects of these technologies but he could have been talking about global warming as well.

So the choice is apparent: Is the path to "a generous quality of life worldwide" in the direction of science, technology, and safe, non-polluting and nearly limitless nuclear power, or through "disfiguring the entire face of the earth with low-density energy collectors such as windmills and solar panels?"

The answer depends on your bias. Do you want to limit the population, or make it prosperous? Do you love and respect yourself, and therefore others, or do you loathe successful people because, deep inside, your self-image is that of a dirty little beast?

Are you a man, or a mediocrity?


Posted by JohnGalt at 2:21 PM | Comments (4)
But Jk thinks:

I was just a pup in '72, but I really remember Fitzpatrick Sale's Human Scale. Everybody I knew bought into that. Most still do.

Posted by: Jk at October 9, 2015 4:18 PM
But Jk thinks:

Solutions are extant. (Ht insty)

Posted by: Jk at October 9, 2015 4:22 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I wasn't alive back before the roaring 20's, but I'll nominate the eugenics movement that peaked (in America) with the bankrolling (by Carnegie, Rockefeller and Harriman) of Sanger's American Birth Control League in 1921 which was supported by AG Bell, POTUS/28 (Wilson), and by a supreme court justice I can't find (Holmes?).

Three acts are cited by Wiki:
1. Sterilization in Indiana (1907)
2. "AN ACT to authorize and provide for the sterilization of feeble-minded (including idiots, imbeciles and morons), epileptics, rapists, certain criminals and other defectives" (NJ, 1911; signed by Gov. W. Wilson and overturned in 1913)
3. Racial Integrity Act of 1924 (VA)

Fitter Family and Better Baby contests were held by the Red Cross. By the mid-30's Nazi Germany were sterilizing 5000/month. California led the US in forced sterilization....

A 1937 Fortune magazine poll found that 2/3 of respondents supported eugenic sterilization of "mental defectives", 63% supported sterilization of criminals, and only 15% opposed both.

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 10, 2015 2:28 AM
But jk thinks:

Justice Holmes famously said "Three generations of imbeciles are enough" in Buck v Bell.

Yet, Buck v Bell never seems to find its way into teh infamous list as frequently as Dred Scott, Plessy, or Korematsu.

Posted by: jk at October 10, 2015 7:25 PM

October 8, 2015

Driverless Cars - Oh the Inhumanity

James Lileks takes to NRO to vent about idiot millennials who "want to ban human drivers ASAP." It is a steak and potato dinner dripping with awesome sauce that you should read start to end, but I'll give you an appetizer.

It is not enough to welcome the possibilities and opportunities of self-driving cars. The old order must be swept away, because go f*** a tailpipe. The pleasures of driving must be dumped in the dustbin with other pleasures of life that have fallen out of favor, like pie or a cigar, because go f*** a tailpipe. We need a BAN and we need Laws enforced by officers of the state with guns, and by the way, f*** the police and guns are bad, but we'll be fine with cops pulling black people over 24/7 because driving your own car is now probable cause, because go f*** a tailpipe.

And then tell me if you're still good with your car having a "Controls-that-I-can-use-ectomy."

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:59 PM | Comments (5)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'm with Lileks. Besides, I'm addicted as it is to the awe and wonder on the faces of people who see that my car has a clutch pedal and a manual shifter; if I'm not surrendering those controls, I'm sure as heck not surrendering my steering wheel.

And I can parallel park in one pass. There are only two other Californians I know who can say that.

Cold, dead hands, my friends. Cold, dead hands.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 8, 2015 5:19 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Joey Chitwood and ...?

Posted by: johngalt at October 9, 2015 11:41 AM
But Jk thinks:

Well, my friends on the left love to discredit Liberty by quoting some goofball White supremacist.

This goofball anti-humanist can be as wrong as pants on a trout -- and is -- but I remain a huge fan of autonomous vehicles. We've been through it before, but this is a productivity boost on the order of women entering the workforce.

Keep the 'Cuda, practice your parking, I'm ready. One downside: without the 35,000 needless deaths, gun rights advocates will lose a convenient talking point.

Posted by: Jk at October 9, 2015 4:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I agree that a self-driving feature is good, but it is just that - a feature. Not a replacement for the sentient being in the driver's seat. We've been through this part before too... this is the first evidence I've seen of any intent to BAN human drivers.

I'm also pretty sure your overstating the productivity benefit. Likely that extra time will be used for leisure more often than "workin' for the man." And women in the workplace nearly doubled the workforce. That's a big productivity boost. But this is a tangent. The salient point is - "Wham! Down comes another tranche of glorious laws to forbid people from manipulating their own possessions in a manner that suits them."

Posted by: johngalt at October 9, 2015 5:55 PM
But jk thinks:

I of course object to "ban drivers;" it's the first I've heard it as well. Here's to keeping the choices to own and drive or not.

Brother jg, neo-Calvinist! Fearing the plebes will devote newly acquired productive time to leisure and not toil. I'd suggest that leisure can be economic activity and that anything is likely better than sitting in traffic, searching for parking.

The comparison to women is perhaps extended but not overwrought. Some were working already, some did not, and teh transition was gradual. I don't see a 50% overnight boost either in the rear-view mirror, or out teh windshield of my futuristic but emasculated Google-bug.

Posted by: jk at October 11, 2015 12:02 PM

September 30, 2015

just can't stop it

Like a late night comedian during the "Hey!" days of Clinton, I can't stay away from Socialism bashing...
This item from CATO highlights a man making a chicken sandwich... from scratch. 6 months later, he had his sandwich, and was $1500 poorer (but wiser!) for it.

The author dryly notes

There was a time when everyone grew their own food and made their own clothes. It was a time of unimaginable poverty and labor without rest.

And this delightful blast from the past courtesy of Steven Hayward, who notes:

One of the first pre-requisites for being a socialist is having no sense of humor.

From The Onion:

We were creating an exciting new model for living, said Dorff, stubbing his cigarette into an ashtray that had not been emptied in six days. It was like we were dismantling the apparatus of the state right within our own living space.

Dr. Hawyard then shortly relates the dying throws of Pacifica Radio; schadenfreude on steroids! The sweetest part was discovering that Pacifica owes Amy Goodman over $1M! For what, I have to wonder!!

Posted by nanobrewer at 11:30 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

The Pacifica radio stuff is pretty enjoyable. Banks have to be regulated more, but they can't pass an audit.

Posted by: jk at October 1, 2015 10:20 AM

September 25, 2015

Bernie Fan is Spittin' Mad

Uhh, because he couldn't afford two bucks to buy his own sticker?

Maybe 'Bernie fan' would feel better if the federal agency ISS - Internal Sticker Service - had audited his car and, finding him with more stickers than the sticker poverty level, forced him to scrape it off and mail it in for redistribution himself. Under penalty of law, of course!

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:58 PM | Comments (0)

September 15, 2015

a shift at Labour

I agree with JG's comment on there being a massive political shift in action. Certainly, BHO's unlawful acts have paved the way for the new Alinskey's to try to take by force what they could never win by election.

Here is a Telegraph article from American-born Janet Daley about UK Labour electing the Trotskyist Corbyn as their leader that I've found fascinating. It makes me think of what might happen should Sanders win the Democratic nomination.

...one of two things will happen. 1. Either the Parliamentary Labour Party will go momentarily quiescent while it regroups, refusing cooperation Jeremy Corbyn will be isolated and vulnerable in his inexperience, and likely to be cautious. This will hasten the tendency of the wildly naive idealists who believed in him to become disappointed which will happen inevitably at any rate since no mortal man could possibly maintain the purity that idealised Leftism demands. Or 2. the Corbyn crew will be brought down within months by a Labour assassination squad. This will result in a decade of division within the party

Many, many things in this very well-written article make me think of the Progressives tugging the Democrat party around by the nose, which surely is partly represented by the Sanders story of success.

the dogma that is espoused has been discredited everywhere it has been tried: the insistence on purity of principle quickly degenerating into either totalitarianism (the Soviet model) or a shambolic failure to come to terms with reality (as more recently in Greece).

Shambolic failure... Taranto would be proud!

Seriously, does this not sound like the crazy man from Vermont?

Instead of dealing with these questions (How should we regulate free markets? What is the proper role of government intervention?) in ways that most adults know they must be addressed, Labour will be pushed into presenting a prospectus of state control, punitive taxation and a command economy which would scarcely appeal to anyone outside the zealous enclaves of the far Left.

And this reminds me of a long-ago WSJ article about the Doughnut-hole Democrats (no middle; now that unions have shrunk so far)

Without a commitment to the basic Marxist creed there was no identifiable centre to the movement. [ordinary] working class people... fallen away, and it is their absence that has allowed these tiny activist minorities to take control of the abandoned entity formerly known as the Labour party. That is why the real story of this leadership election has not been the triumphal march of Corbynism which simply rushed in to fill a vacuum but the uninspiring mediocrity of all the other candidates.

I have to a cautionary note from another Daley post:
Jeremy Corbyns supporters are not interested in the compromises required to win an election

Posted by nanobrewer at 12:36 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

I've been following Corbyn with mortal terror.

There's been a peculiar synchronicity between the UK and USA: JFK and Macmillian, Reagan and Thatcher, Clinton & Blair. Seems like when a new strain of politics shows up, it manifests on both sides of "the pond." Sanders and Corbyn could reek unthinkable havoc on the world economy.

But both are unelectable. Right?

Posted by: jk at September 15, 2015 10:12 AM
But jk thinks:

Bret Stephens at the WSJ Ed Page is also disquieted:

Jeremy Corbyn's election as leader of Britain's Labour Party is being cheered on the right as a gift--as close as you get in politics to a guarantee that your side will win an election that's still five years out. Mr. Corbyn leans so far left that he might not be able to assemble a parliamentary shadow cabinet, never mind a governing majority.

That's one way of looking at it. Another is that the political ascent of a man who admires Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and keeps company with Holocaust deniers is another milepost in Britain's long decline amid a broader unraveling in the West.

Posted by: jk at September 15, 2015 12:40 PM

August 17, 2015

Found it!

I mentioned this in a comment.

Socialism_trash_raft.jpg

Posted by John Kranz at 12:39 PM | Comments (2)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

That kind of can-do entrepreneurism ought to serve them well, if they can sustain it once they get here.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 17, 2015 12:59 PM
But jk thinks:

Here? Those are Californians trying to get to Costa Rica to escape high speed rail.

Posted by: jk at August 17, 2015 1:11 PM

On Socialism

I saw my first Sanders 2016 bumper sticker Friday; in the teachers' parking lot at my kids school!

Instapundit delivers a wonderful pithy column noting (amongst other things)

"The free-market system lets you notice the flaws and hides its benefits.
The most valuable property of the price mechanism is as a reliable mechanism for delivering bad news." These two statements explain a lot about why socialist systems fail pretty much everywhere but get pretty good press, while capitalism has delivered a truly astounding results but is constantly besieged by detractors.
Markets make people better off, but they don't provide sufficient opportunities for politicians to extract bribes and intellectuals to feel better about themselves. This explains why they're unpopular with politicians and intellectuals.

Lots of great links: Venezuela, the Whole Foods founder's column on why pedants pander to Marx,

And in personal experience, I tested the futility of arguing with a committed leftist, who tried to tell me the VA (the VA!!) wasn't socialist. I think his stuttering response is that it hasn't been "billed" as socialist, to which he couldn't clarify. He had no answer when i gently reminded him: the hospitals are owned by the gov't, the doctors are paid by the gov't and the patients are or were all gov't employees.

Posted by nanobrewer at 12:02 AM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Outstanding. I love the NN Taleb line "The free-market system lets you notice the flaws and hides its benefits. All other systems hide the flaws and show the benefits." That may not work on your VA friend, but that is a very good argument.

SIDE NOTE: I have lauded Taleb on these pages but he is persona non grata on my GMO sites for some anti-biotech nonsense. He is doubling down and it is war. To be fair, he is an odd bloke: he drinks nothing invented in the last 1000 years. Brilliant people can be wrong.

I find Internet memes so annoying that even ones I like are tainted, but there is a great one about that says "Socialism: so good people build rafts out of trash to escape it."

Posted by: jk at August 17, 2015 10:20 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'm giving Insty a twofer on the subject of Bernie Sanders and the socialism he espouses.

Insty links to a story at FutureOfCapitalism.com called that protrays the diference between socialism and the free market. Comrade Sanders is selling campaign tee-shirts. Union-made, et cetera. "Allow two to three weeks for delivery." He then demonstrates in the free-market environment of Amazon, hundreds of Comrade Sanders tee-shirts, in stock and primed for delivery in a day or two. Here's the link:

http://bit.ly/1No1j59

Comrade Sanders doesn't appreciate the value of competition. He famously whined that having 23 different deodorants and 18 choices of sneakers is a picture of what's wrong with America. He couldn't be more wrong; multiple competitors bringing their products to market, keeping the shelves stocked for immediately delivery and competing on price and quality, is exactly what distinguishes a free country from a failed Marxist state where the central planners force their subjects to stand in line at empty grocers, hoping that the officially-sanctioned bread baker will have products to sell sometime this week.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 17, 2015 12:19 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, that is an excellent and pithy defense of capitalism.

But what's wrong with government bakers? If it prevented the denial of a single gay wedding cake, wouldn't it be worth it?

Seriously though, a "government baker" WOULD be a "public place" because it is made possible by taxpayer dollars. Masterpiece Bakery is NOT a public place. It is a private place that offers its services to the public. Why are lawyers and judges so stupid? [/Trump voice]

Furthermore, same-sex plaintiff's attorney Ria Mar seems from his or her [apologies for the microagression ... "its?"] statements to support legal gay marriage. Why did the same-sex plaintiffs choose this attorney to represent them? Why didn't they force a "homophobic" Christian attorney to plead their case?

Posted by: johngalt at August 17, 2015 2:53 PM
But jk thinks:

Yes, I feel a burning desire to adopt a child so that I can someday tell my grandchildren about the "cake police" of the early 21st Centiry.

Pardon me if you find the comparison trite, but where are you on the Woolworth's lunch counter? I cannot go full Goldwater and tell the private corporations that they can choose to not serve African Americans. I read many musical autobiographies and the hardships endured by black musicians in the American South is gut-wrenching.

I can differentiate between lodging and food as being required for life, but I confess that is opening a Carolene Footnote Four bifurcation.

Posted by: jk at August 17, 2015 5:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I admit that this is easier for me to say than for someone who lived through it, but I would have preferred that government stay out of it. "Hardships" are unfortunate, but so is being forced to comply against one's will. The latter is even, I would argue, worse.

Government force distorts social structure just as it distorts economic markets. Our "reward" for government "fixing" racial divisions is Sandra Day O'Connor's majority opinion in Grutter v. Bollinger that "racial affirmative action wouldn't be constitutional permanently but long enough to correct past discrimination ─ an approximation limit of around 25 years, or until 2028."

A time limit on Constitutionality is pragmatism, not principle.

Posted by: johngalt at August 18, 2015 12:22 PM

August 12, 2015

World Socialism, thy name is "Sustainability"

To the unsuspecting, sustainability is just a new name for environmentalism. But the word marks out a new and larger ideological territory in which it is claimed curtailing economic, political, and intellectual liberty is the price that must be paid to ensure the welfare of future generations.

This is from the executive summary [PDF] of a new report by the National Association of Scholars. Never heard of them? Me either. The report is titled: 'Sustainability - Higher Education's New Fundamentalism.'

They call it "fundamentalism" because examination, investigation, discussion and debate are forbidden. The "science is settled." The doctrine is final. The living must be harmed so that "the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" is not compromised. [The sustainability movement makes no mention of how aborting them in the womb compromises the needs of the members of those future generations.]

The sustainability movement began in 1987 with a UN report - "Our Common Future" and has metastasized into 1438 degree programs at 475 colleges and universities worldwide. Interestingly, the majority of them - 1274 or some 95 percent - are in the United States; at least one such program in every one of our 50 united states. So the camp of this ideological enemy of freedom and liberty and, yes, science, is not across the Atlantic, but here on our own soil.

Thank you National Academy of Scholars for exposing the nature and scope of this movement and the professional organization "Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education" (AASHE) that promotes the fully immoral idea that "we" are not as important as some unknown and non-existent "future we."

And they have the nerve to criticize believers in "unknown and non-existent" deities.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:08 PM | Comments (0)

August 5, 2015

Wages of Stupidity

Teed up for any TS'ers who still have the patience to explain these things to the Sander-ites.

The idea of using a minimum wage to overcome poverty is old, honorable and fundamentally flawed.
Thus spake ... The New York Times. Whose 1987 editorial argues the correct federally-mandated minimum wage is zero.

And Brookings just came out against the $15 wage that's all the current rage
(double-entendre intended!)

I have much more serious worries about a $15 an hour minimum wage, which constitutes a wage increase of 50% to 100% in most places (even after adjusting for inflation). In cities like Seattle, with a relatively more educated workforce and dynamic labor market, it might be a gamble worth taking. But in other cities, such as L.A. and Washington, D.C. with their large populations of less-educated workers, including unskilled immigrants such increases are extremely risky.

Those people are "stuck on stupid." Hat Tips to those tireless folks at PowerLine

Posted by nanobrewer at 11:53 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

The Science is Settled!

Economists are pretty famous for equivocation, but you have to go way out to the political fringe to support minimum wage. It's one of the rare consensuses.

When economics fails to back up your policy: Bring up Finland!

Posted by: jk at August 6, 2015 4:20 PM

May 5, 2015

No, Not From 'The Onion'

Do not read the article linked below. It comes as close as I will ever find to something that is guaranteed to make your head explode. I read it, but I have trained myself how to remain completely objective. I am able to control the violent outbursts that such articles typically provoke from free men. I will select a few items to excerpt but DON'T CLICK THROUGH. You have been warned.

Although its controversial, it seems that Swift and Brighouse are philosophically inching their way to a novel accommodation for a weathered institution ever more in need of a rationale for existing. The bathwater might be going out, but theyre keen to hold on to the baby.

The "weathered institution" with, apparently, no further purpose in human life? The family.

'Politicians love to talk about family values, but meanwhile the family is in flux and so we wanted to go back to philosophical basics to work out what are families for and what's so great about them and then we can start to figure out whether it matters whether you have two parents or three or one, or whether they're heterosexual etcetera.'

They don't want to eliminate families, you see, they merely want to plan them for us. It's for the social good. When left to their own devices, too many parents have this distasteful and anti-social tendency to aid their children. And since parents are unequal, children will develop unequally.

'What we realised we needed was a way of thinking about what it was we wanted to allow parents to do for their children, and what it was that we didn't need to allow parents to do for their children, if allowing those activities would create unfairnesses for other people's children'.

"We" certainly can't continue to "allow" that! At least not according to the British philosophers Adam Swift and Harry Brighouse who are quoted here. No word yet whether the rest of the animal kingdom will follow suit and intentionally retard its own evolutionary progress.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:55 PM | Comments (2)
But AndyN thinks:

I'm taking your advice and not reading the rest of the article. Without reading it, I can only assume that they're recommending bans on birth control and abortion, since parents who have fewer children will be able to devote more resources to each of them.

Posted by: AndyN at May 5, 2015 4:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Air tight logic AndyN, but ignoring reason is one of the things that makes them ant farmers [My brand new name for egalitarian socialists. Has a nice ring, I think.]

To them, the only thing better than all children being equal (even if it is equally bad) would be if there were no children at all. "Stop breeding!"

Posted by: johngalt at May 6, 2015 12:24 PM

May 2, 2015

#PoorLivesMatter... MORE

After praising the prosperitarian actions of Baltimore street gangs "uniting for peace" I was enlightened to the whole story by none less than the New York Times:

Then he described how he and some Bloods had stood in front of black-owned stores to protect them from looting or vandalism. He said they had made sure no black children, or reporters, were hit by rioters. They pointed them toward Chinese- and Arab-owned stores.

So it isn't peace qua peace they were after, it was an end to black on black violence. That's fine of course, even laudable, but not when it is replaced with violence against others.

This got me thinking about the #BlackLivesMatter meme. It is ambiguous, and I think intentionally so, as to whether black lives matter too or black lives matter more. According to blacklivesmatter.com, it seems to be the latter.

The call for Black lives to matter is a rallying cry for ALL Black lives striving for liberation.

Where have we heard of black liberation? From Reverend Jeremiah Wright, from James Cone, the founder of Black Liberation Theology, and from Cornell West, who integrated it with Marxism in his 1979 essay, "Black Theology and Marxist Thought."

In his book Prophesy Deliverance, West believes that by working together, Marxists and black theologians can spearhead much-needed social change for those who are victims of oppression. He appreciates Marxism for its "notions of class struggle, social contradictions, historical specificity, and dialectical developments in history" that explain the role of power and wealth in bourgeois capitalist societies. A common perspective among Marxist thinkers is that bourgeois capitalism creates and perpetuates ruling-class domination -- which, for black theologians in America, means the domination and victimization of blacks by whites. America has been over run by "White racism within mainstream establishment churches and religious agencies," writes West.

The actions and policies of President Obama that appear to harm whites, and rich whites in particular, are suddenly much more understandable. But to what end? Truly helping black people? Genuinely leading them to a lasting prosperity? Hardly.

Black Liberation Theology, originally intended to help the black community, may have actually hurt many blacks by promoting racial tension, victimology, and Marxism which ultimately leads to more oppression. As the failed "War on Poverty" has exposed, the best way to keep the blacks perpetually enslaved to government as "daddy" is to preach victimology, Marxism, and to seduce blacks into thinking that upward mobility is someone else's responsibility in a free society.

In the interest of thoroughness it must also be mentioned that the equally vocal demands of the "LBGT Movement" are a part of the exact same drive for "much needed social change." But it isn't the rights of blacks or gays that is the end goal - it is an egalitarian socialist society where there are no rich people, unless they are either non-white or in positions of government power, or both.

So whenever you see #BlackLivesMatter you should read #FromEachAccordingToHisAbility-ToEachAccordingToHisNeed.

And if you truly want to help advance the interests of black people and gay people, keep reminding them that they have individual rights despite government, not from or because of government.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:08 PM | Comments (0)

April 28, 2015

W.E.B. versus Booker T.

All the world is but a stage. And we are watching theatre of the highest caliber play out. "The play? A tragedy called 'man' and it's hero: the conquerer worm." The actors should know how it ends and never forget that this is a union house and they are not to touch anything with out a member of the local stage hands guild. Just do as you are told and everything will be fine. It is sundown in America tonight. Are we brave enough, smart enough, humble enough and committed enough to renew her promise so the next generation can greet the morning in America once again?

Thus ends today's pointed, potent, and defeatist commentary on the Baltimore "race riots" by Glenn Beck who asks, "When will we stand up against the madness?" At least one Baltimore mother did exactly that on Monday. But before ending the madness like what is now transpiring in Baltimore, and previously occurred in Ferguson and other cities this year and last, more of us need to clearly understand its cause. To paraphrase one tweet of the current news cycle:

"White America needs to understand - until we get justice, we be thuggin."

Months ago we were told by a hip hop activist what "justice" is, when she said that capitalism "is the oppressive force."

"And the police are actually in my opinion - and we have a lot of theory that proves this - are that force that are keeping us as particularly working class people from achieving this idea of, you know, economic justice."

Today I found the best possible rebuttal to this idea, and it is over 100 years old - in the words of African-American spokesman and leader Booker T. Washington (not to be confused with Booker T. Jones and the MG's, as Rush Limbaugh inexplicably did today.) In 1895, Washington addressed the "Cotton States and International Exposition" in Atlanta. Please read every inspiring word but I will highlight the preamble to his conclusion:

The wisest among my race understand that the agitation of questions of social equality is the extremest folly, and that progress in the enjoyment of all the privileges that will come to us must be the result of severe and constant struggle rather than of artificial forcing. No race that has anything to contribute to the markets of the world is long in any degree ostracized. It is important and right that all privileges of the law be ours, but it is vastly more important that we be prepared for the exercise of these privileges. The opportunity to earn a dollar in a factory just now is worth infinitely more than the opportunity to spend a dollar in an opera-house.

Before King. Before Rand. Before jk and this blog, Washington's conclusion shows that he was the first Prosperitarian. But instead of building on Booker T's message, the NAACP has taken the alternate path advocated by its founder W.E.B. Du Bois that was less "accomodating to white interests."

W. E. B. Du Bois advocated activism to achieve civil rights. He labeled Washington "the Great Accommodator". Washington's response was that confrontation could lead to disaster for the outnumbered blacks. He believed that cooperation with supportive whites was the only way to overcome racism in the long run.

More than 100 years later, how is Du Bois' plan working out? Not so well for overcoming racism. Just fine though for career activists.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:46 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

The comparison rang a bell and (Thanks, Bing!) I found it in Review Corner. (Insert Taranto gag "it's always the last place you look...")

Jason Riley highlighted the tension between Du Bois and Washington:

An interesting and original subordinate point is the tension between W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington. Du Bois sought political power to right the wrongs of oppression and Washington sought economic power. Modern leaders chose political power, which is surely defensible after slavery and Jim Crow, but Riley suggests that they should not have abandoned Washington. He highlights minority groups in America that have little or no political power yet do extraordinarily well. Asians, Italians, Scandinavians acquired economic power first, then they entered the political realm. African Americans and Irish turned first to politics and were both poorly served.

This remains true, but I suggest that Riley and my blog brother have a long road ahead to repair racism (though someday, maybe if there were a black President...)

Like Ferguson, without providing a smidgen of quarter to looters and thugs who disrespect their overwhelmingly-minority neighbors' property rights, I call for a reduction in illegality.

I do not have a clue what happened to Freddie Gray, but the dribbling in of his rap sheet is rife with minor drug possession, and he was picked up for having a knife?

The thuggish protesters require the ecosystem of the peaceful protesters in a free speech versus personal and property endangerment calculus I find difficult to reconcile. I suggest that had most of the protesters not been hassled for minor offences, most of the protesters would not be out. Without those legitimate, peaceful protesters, the looters would be manageable.

Not making excuses for lawlessness, but you can't fix people and you cannot easily fix police. You can fix law, and extend liberty and respect to people. I think that is the best path forward.

Posted by: jk at April 28, 2015 4:58 PM

February 12, 2015

The threat of climate change is "real"

In his recent State of the Union address, President Obama declared, "No challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change." "His statement was met with scattered, muted applause," writes CNN's Madison Park. Almost as if the assembled audience were skeptical of his claim.

But they, and we, would be wise to consider what the Investors' Editorial Page says is the "real reason behind the warming scare," as revealed by a U.N. official.

At a news conference last week in Brussels, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of U.N.'s Framework Convention on Climate Change, admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity but to destroy capitalism.

"This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution," she said.

Intentionally change the economic development model of the last 150 years? The period with the greatest advance in health, welfare, safety, prosperity, peace and happiness in the history of mankind? Destroy capitalism, the mean by which man trades peacefully rather than looting and pillaging in the manner of Genghis Khan and the prophet of Islam?

No, I think I'll have to agree with President Obama on this one. The plans of the U.N. are no hoax.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:07 AM | Comments (0)

December 15, 2014

Otequay of the Ayday

"An understanding that altruism can produce great evil as well as good is crucial to the defense of human freedom and dignity."

-James Taranto, in last year's essay on Pathological Altruism

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:16 PM | Comments (0)

December 11, 2014

Getting closer to what "acting white" really means

Daily Caller: MSNBC Guest: Capitalism Is An 'Oppressive Force' Against Blacks

[Can't figure out how to stop the stoopid autoplay.]

DYSON: The problem extends beyond police departments. What is the next institution that needs to be isolated and challenged?

"HIP HOP ACTIVIST" ROSA CLEMENTE: The economy. Capitalism! I think that's the institution all over this country, it is really what is the oppressive force. And the police are actually in my opinion-- and we have a lot of theory that proves this-- are that force that are keeping us as particularly working class people from achieving this idea of, you know, economic justice. Economic justice is not devoid from racial justice, just like it's not devoid of gender justice.

Dear Ms. Clemente, "Justice" does not equal "make people give you things."

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:31 PM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

Hardware guys . . . You just set the WidgetId to 2 instead of one in the embed code.

Posted by: jk at December 11, 2014 3:54 PM
But jk thinks:

She teaches at the California State University, Los Angeles. You don't suppose those taking her courses in the Pan-African Studies Department are given an incomplete appreciation for the benefits of free markets?

Nah. it's probably just me.

Posted by: jk at December 11, 2014 3:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I was looking for autoplay=true, so I could change it to false. Unlike you, I can't understand "condenser language." [paraphrased Star Wars reference]

I am quite certain she is a collectivist of one or more stripe. But this is an important connection between "racial justice" and "economic justice." And Dyson cued her perfectly, almost as though he knew what her answer would be.

Posted by: johngalt at December 11, 2014 4:16 PM
But jk thinks:

In a real discussion of police power, I suggest over-legislation is the #1 problem. If cops are not hassling folks for untaxed cigarettes, driving without a seat belt, possessing a joint, or -- my new cause celebre: "puffing*" I think people of all stripes would start to see the thin blue line's protecting their rights rather than taking them.

On race, the #1 (maybe not but a huge) problem is in your headline: "acting white." Jason Riley just breaks my heart in Please Stop Helping Us [Review Corner]. His friends and family can be quick to denigrate his incredible success as "acting white."

* Note to Californians: "puffing" is the CRIME of leaving your running car unattended to warm it up or defrost the windows. You can get a ticket for that in Colorado, as the State is spending gobs of dough to advertise.

Posted by: jk at December 11, 2014 4:22 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Perhaps there's some more low-hanging fruit here for depopulating our prisons and reducing the size of our police forces?

Posted by: johngalt at December 11, 2014 7:26 PM
But Jk thinks:

Yes, but you're fighting baptists & bootleggers -- we need $10/pack cigarette taxes to protect the children!!!

Maybe folks will listen; there is a window.

Posted by: Jk at December 11, 2014 9:27 PM

August 19, 2014

The Humanity!

Removing an option entirely does not help teach good decision-making skills, its just temporarily taking something out of the equation for 6 or 7 hours a day.

Yet another argument against prohibition, but this one is not in support of legalizing recreational drugs, or alcohol, or pharmaceuticals. This lunatic nut job is very seriously suggesting the radical idea of unfettered access to ... groceries.

The recent passing of the Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act was done with the best of intentions. The act, established as a way to promote healthy eating among kids and decrease childhood obesity, which is rising at alarming rates, sets nutritional standards for school lunches and snacks available to school-age children. That means the end of the elusive vending machine and the high-calorie snacks it contains.

But don't expect kids to give up their sugar fix so easily

As The Atlantic reports, jonesing students have turned to the junk-food black market some as dealers, others as addicts.

That's right, kids are smuggling in junk food, risking punishment, but making bank. The Atlantic reports that some kids are making upwards of $200 per week dealing in sugar, and its even hit student government. Yup, a student body vice president at one Connecticut school was forced to resign after buying contraband Skittles from a student "dealer."

That's "recently passed" as of 2011, but of interest today as it is back-to-school time. This is when it is most noticeable, with flyers coming home in packets of forms to complete. We've never been called into the office for sending our kids to school with Frito Lay products in their backpacks, but one does rehearse speeches in preparation for that possibility.

"We ask you to teach our children how to think for themselves but when it comes to the foods they may eat, you teach them that thinking is forbidden."

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:02 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

When Cheetos® are outlawed...

Posted by: jk at August 19, 2014 11:39 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Cold, dead, orange fingers.

Posted by: johngalt at August 19, 2014 12:42 PM

July 6, 2014

Republican Fatalism

"Forty seven percent of Americans pay no federal income tax." These ten words seem to have Republicans convinced that the Republic is lost. No Republican has a chance, they all seem to believe, in any race, against any Democrat stooge. Blog friend AndyN echoed the lament in a Fourth of July comment:

Sadly, I'm fairly certain that between the vote for anybody with a D after his name crowd, the free stuff is more important than freedom crowd, and the make history by voting for a woman crowd, she'll [HRH HRC*] lock down 51% of the people who bother to show up in 2016.

But the most extreme version I heard was from a well respected local columnist, Ari Armstrong, commenting on his own article about "approval voting" and the Colorado Governor's race.

It makes absolutely no difference whether I vote for Beauprez, because he's going to lose anyway (and even if he wins my vote will make no difference to the outcome).

(Ari pondered a vote for small town mayor Mike Dunafon as a principled protest vote.)

I suspect that polling data played a large part in his opinion, as the Real Clear Politics polling had Hickenlooper leading Beauprez by 9 percent before the June 25 primary election, when Armstrong's column was written. But that poll also tested the incumbent against other potential challengers. In a race with no clear favorite, all challengers did poorly. As soon as there was a nominee Rasmussen polled the D and the R head to head and found, a tie.

"It's no surprise this race tightened up as soon as there was a single strong Republican as a counterpoint to Hickenlooper," said Kelly Maher, executive director of Compass Colorado. "John Hickenlooper has never suffered the scrutiny of a one-on-one race, and now he is going to have to answer to Coloradans for his utter inability to lead."
Pessimists will say, yeahbut, despite his "utter inability to lead" he is still tied. To which I reply, he's the incumbent. See: Obama, Barack - 2012.

And on top of public sentiment is the fact that elections only matter when people vote. A high turnout election in this country is still less than half of registered voters. Predicting who becomes the nominee of each party and further, who comes out to vote for him or her, is folly.

* Her Royal Highness, Hillary Rodham Clinton

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:07 AM | Comments (0)

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:

1) "Eliminate the authority of a property owner to destroy, or cause substantial harm to, natural communities and ecosystems"

2) Accord "inherent, inalienable, and fundamental rights of Nature to all Natural Beings" including humans and "all living species of plants, animals, and algae"

3) Include a Statement of Law that "All Natural beings, Natural Communities and Ecosystems possess the inalienable right to exist, flourish, regenerate, and evolve"

4) Declare that "The Precautionary Principle Is Needed To Protect These Rights"

5) Find that "It shall be unlawful for any person, government entity, corporation (etc) to intentionally or recklessly violate the rights of Natural Beings, Natural Communities or Ecosystems"

6) Enforce "Damages" measured by the cost of restoring the Natural Community or Ecosystem to its [original] state before the injury.

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!"

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:41 AM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Review Corner after next will be "Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper: How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong" by Robert Bryce.

And yet the neo-Malthusian mindset endures. In 2011, three analysts, Will Steffen , Johan Rockström, and Robert Costanza, published a report in which they claimed to have identified specific boundaries for the planet-- on issues like climate change, land use, water use, ozone depletion , and others-- "beyond which humanity should not go." [...] But it's the implementation part of their prescription that creates the rub. They write:
Ultimately, there will need to be an institution (or institutions) operating, with authority, above the level of individual countries to ensure that the planetary boundaries are respected. In effect , such an institution, acting on behalf of humanity as a whole, would be the ultimate arbiter of the myriad trade-offs that need to be managed as nations and groups of people jockey for economic and social advantage. It would, in essence, become the global referee on the planetary playing field.

Nope, nothing could possibly go wrong there....

Posted by: jk at May 25, 2014 2:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Perhaps this will be the actual manifestation of the Fourth Reich.

Posted by: johngalt at May 25, 2014 3:31 PM
But Jk thinks:

Naaah, just a kind of "global referee," enforcing planetary boundaries...

Posted by: Jk at May 25, 2014 5:12 PM
But Terri thinks:

Prairie dog colonies
Mosquito colonies
Ash borer
termites
dandelions

just trying to imagine what Boulder Cty will end up looking like when they face reality.
"We're all lawbreakers now"

Posted by: Terri at May 26, 2014 9:30 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Your list is a good starting point Terri but if "Natural Beings" goes down the evolutionary ladder as far as "algae" wouldn't it also include botulism? Polio? Cancer? Don't they have a right to "exist, flourish, regenerate, and evolve" in their chosen "Ecosystem" i.e. your body?

"Oh no, don't be ridiculous" they'll say, but they are the ones who wrote this ridiculousness! I am merely interpreting it faithfully, objectively and consistently.

Posted by: johngalt at May 27, 2014 5:07 PM

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

So how could "liberalism," a word representative of so anti-statist a philosophy, come to represent such a very different prescription for government? How did the term lose its history as a great liberator in the history of ideas and, among many on the American right, become little better than a slur? Even more significantly, why did this etymological reversal occur?

The answer lies in the development of another new political philosophy: Progressivism. As Mises Institute scholar Ralph Raico puts it, progressivism is "a vague term, but one that connote[s] a new readiness to use the power of government for all sorts of grand things."

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.

As progressive philosopher John Dewey wrote in his Liberalism and Social Action in 1935, "measures went contrary to the idea of liberty" as defined by Locke and Jefferson "have virtually come to define the meaning of liberal faith. American liberalism as illustrated in the political progressivism of the early present century has so little in common with British liberalism of the first part of the last century that it stands in opposition to it." This change effectively camouflaged what were in many ways very new ideas (progressivism) in a very old American tradition (liberalism)and it was a camouflage which would make its wearer stronger. [emphasis mine]

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. Americas "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.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:01 PM | Comments (2)
But Jk thinks:

All Hail Pendley! [Review Corner]

Posted by: Jk at May 24, 2014 4:47 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Well linked. James Watt did cross my mind as I wrote this post. That Review Corner well addressed the evils of bureaucracy, and I was tempted to criticize that in this post as well. Instead I focused on the epistemological problem that affects nearly every "good cause." Basically, that the cause is so good (or "pure" as Ayaan Hirsi Ali observed) that it trumps every other consideration, including individual freedom.

Reagan adhered to what one social scientist called the "human exemptionalism paradigm," according to which "human technological ingenuity can continue infinitely to improve the human situation." Carter, the Earth Day organizers, and the environmental groups embraced a neo-Malthusian "ecological paradigm," which posits environmental limits on economic growth.

The latest effort toward restraining human progress is a rekindled effort to afford legal "rights" to plants and animals. This comes to a head in Boulder, CO next month when, despite pushback from other environmentalists, the Boulder County Planning Commission is scheduled to consider inserting language that gives plants not equal, but superior, "rights" to private property.

Environmentalists v. environmental extremists. This should be interesting, though I have little doubt who will prevail.

Posted by: johngalt at May 25, 2014 10:39 AM

"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?
Posted by JohnGalt at 12:55 PM | Comments (0)

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."

"Then, after you have heard me, you are free to say 'I disagree.' Or not."

- me

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:10 PM | Comments (0)