We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Friday, November 27. 2015
Which is why, when I read this piece, I began to question whether it's worth reading any more at all. The article implies the U.S. is somehow failing its children since, as a nation, we lag the rest of the developed world in providing pre-school education.
My parents divorced the year I entered kindergarten, aged 6. I had an older brother who was a year ahead of me, and 2 sisters who were younger. For the next 3 years, she was a single mother raising 4 kids and holding down a regular job. We all went to Catholic school. When my mother remarried, my youngest sister was just starting kindergarten. None of us had pre-school
Despite the lack of pre-school, we were all high performers in school and all of us got a college degree, while two of us continued into post-grad work. Maybe we were genetically predisposed to do well. I doubt pre-school would have helped, though we will never know for sure.
An early start to education is useful, but it is not necessary and does not guarantee performance. It's my guess higher performance later in life has to do more with factors such as the involvement and care of parents in their children's lives, as well as the relative success that allows many families to send their kids to pre-school. You can't replace a caring parent and loving family with a (hopefully) good teacher and assume that will yield great students. But that's the story you'll get from Bill de Blasio, Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton (as well as a few Republicans). The OECD and CSM will push that agenda, too.
Sunday, November 15. 2015
A repost -
Some readers may remember when that was a bumpersticker. (It's on the same order as Bird Dog's old school football cheer: "Repel them, repel them; make them relinquish the ball.")
It is a theme on this blog to think about the things that people hold most dear and the things they hold to be sacred. I tend to judge such things based on people's behavior, not on what they say. I tend to believe that God should come foremost in my life, but I can be a hypocrite at times.
Karl Reitz at TCS looks at secular religions - systems of belief which can play as strong a role in shaping people's lives as loving God can for the religious. His piece is consistent with several things we have written over the past week or two. A key quote from An atheist's defence of religion:
As I wrote earlier this week:
There are two utopias - the womb, and Heaven (if you can get there before they close the door). Life is bracketed by utopias, but in between we must toil and strain and sometimes suffer. It's "the way things are", as the mice say.
Bliss and ease are only momentary during this brief spell on earth, and it has something to do with how reality was built. Specifically, I think it has to do with finiteness, limits, and scarcity - of just about everything, and not just of material things. I know only about four things that do not fit that: air, a dog's love, God's love...and blogs. No scarcity of good blogs.
Saturday, November 14. 2015
Thinking by post: Isaiah Berlin's letters reveal how his ideas still hold relevance - One of the great liberal thinkers of the post-war period, Affirming: Letters 1975-97 makes clear the continuing relevance of Berlin's thought.
Berlin is an inspiration.
Friday, November 13. 2015
A whike ago I referred to "the tragic view of life" (as opposed to the utopian) in Social problems without solutions and the police state.
Thursday, November 12. 2015
Sunday, October 25. 2015
Barnett, via George Will:
American governments of all flavors hate the Constitution because its purpose is to restrain government power. This is what was meant to be unique about America and the idea for which much blood has been shed.
If anybody wants or expects anything from government other than defense, border maintenance, and basic law, they have a slave or serf mentality and just do not get the American Idea. I am a patriot dinosaur, obsolete in today's gimme, decadent world.
Wednesday, October 21. 2015
Thursday, October 1. 2015
1. Eliminate all deductions in the individual income tax code
The main problem with the above would be an unemployment crisis for lobbyists, accountants, and tax and estate lawyers, and we can't have that. And golly, what would it do to the muni market?
Tuesday, September 29. 2015
Problem is that people who think they are really smart enough to run things for others are often or usually wrong. Only humility grows wisdom, and vice versa. "Rational," "scientific" social planners have created far more misery, and far less freedom, than anybody else on earth.
Why is the welfare state under attack when happiness economics shows it is the system most conducive to human wellbeing?
Bread and circuses for the proles? It's a strange article, from my viewpoint, but I understand that Denmark is a tribe of Danskers, all related. Quite alien to America or current American values. Perhaps child-like. I am certain that it was not written satirically. Where does this guy think that things and money come from?
Most hard workers I have known find dignity in work and do not find any work degrading or "commodifying." In fact, it is "getting free stuff" which is degrading and humilating. And what about the ambitious, the self-employed, the farmers, the self-sacrificing, the doers and makers and builders? Where do they fit in? How do you "give" a farmer or a doctor or a plumber or a writer a family leave or a six-week vacation?
I hope Americans do not aspire to bovine contentment, but instead to challenge, difficulty, and self-reliance. The only people happy to live on the dole, as I see it, are sociopaths and moochers taking advantage of their neighbors. OK, some deeply mentally-disturbed or profoundly brain-impaired people without families to care for them.
Sunday, September 27. 2015
He's right. Free markets are like a force of nature with sunny days, rainy days, and hurricanes. Government and politics seem to demand a response to demonstrate that they care, but how often does the response make things worse?
Tuesday, September 22. 2015
The last time I looked, patents were government-protected monopolies. The benefits of patents are debatable in the discussion of free markets. Most economists recognize their value as an tool for creating the incentive for innovation. However, it is recognized as a temporarily assigned privilege.
I don't hold a particular stance on whether or not patents are viable tools. Unlike Jeffrey Tucker, I'd venture that removing patents altogether would not be good for innovation. I'm willing to accept his arguments, they do make a great deal of sense, I just don't think they have practical applications (I could be wrong...saying something doesn't have practical application just means it hasn't been tried, so we're wary. In fact, patents didn't exist for many years and humans still made tremendous innovations without intellectual property rights.)
Since patents are a government rigging of market management (controlling production), perhaps the length of patents should be reduced. Or perhaps upon the sale of a patent, the protections are eliminated within a shortened time frame.
Patents are government regulation and an inhibition on markets. Thus, the government has the means to 'fix' what it broke with patents. That said, the journalist needs to learn quite a bit about what a free market is.
Late note: A comment mentions that Daraprim is off-patent and the firm purchased 'exclusive rights', which the journalist failed to look into and assumed was a patent. I looked into it at lunch, because I'd assume the same thing. There are no 'exclusive rights' without a patent. What the firm purchased was the only factory currently making the drug. There are no 'exclusive rights' at all. By keeping the price down, the current company was making a profit and reducing competition (which should have, oddly enough, brought it up on anti-trust laws). But the new owner may make a short term large margin, only to face a competitor who decides to now enter this market and drive prices down.
All in all, the free market is working far better than this journalist ever imagined, even if the short term hit for people is substantial. My guess is the competition will push the price for the drug far lower than it was previously.
Thursday, September 17. 2015
Wednesday, September 16. 2015
Sunday, September 13. 2015
"Ever since Hegel or maybe Plato, statists have been telling a story about government in which government itself is the hero in an epic struggle..."
Not from the article, but I saw this somewhere:
Saturday, September 12. 2015
Corny as it sounds, my idea of America is individual freedom. Placing individual liberty as the major factor in every policy and political equation, despite all of the risks entailed, is what is supposed to make our nation unique. As the Founders reiterated, that can only work with a population with a strong foundation of Western Judeo-Christian morals and responsibility, culture, and traditions.
Reno goes to our cultural roots, just deeply enough for me. Powerful stuff. Renewing a Culture of Freedom featuring R.R. Reno:
Just click "Watch on Vimeo" -
Just click on it to see it.
Sunday, September 6. 2015
Wednesday, September 2. 2015
Friday, August 28. 2015
Lind is a reasonable guy, but my three questions to people he terms "left-liberals" are these: "What is the end-point of the Progressive, big government project?"; "Whence your faith and trust in governmental enterprises anyway?" and "How much does individual freedom enter into your political thinking?"
I have never heard satisfactory answers to those three questions.
Sunday, August 2. 2015
Wednesday, July 22. 2015
Saturday, July 11. 2015
Times haven't really changed. But views and perspectives certainly have.
We are in a better economic place today than we were during the Bush/Reagan debate. Yet, somehow, the conversation has devolved. There is a problem today - but it's the same problem it was 35 years ago. In fact, the question was about "the problem" of illegal immigration.
We don't need to just welcome them in, but a path to citizenship for those who work hard should be available.
Tuesday, July 7. 2015
So what can be said about Trump's removal? Not much, really. NBC has every right to employ whomever they choose. On that basis alone, Trump's dismissal isn't worth talking about. What is worth talking about are the reasons NBC used. Had they said "We do not choose to work with him anymore" or "We really just don't like his comb-over," I doubt many people would pay much attention to this tempest in a teapot. But they didn't. NBC called him out for his comments about Mexicans, citing these as the reason for the parting of ways. It's an odd reason, considering their other employees' stated views.
Continue reading "Politicians, Flags, Cakes, and Double Standards"
Saturday, July 4. 2015
Happy Independence Day! If you're like me, you're with your family and being independent together (h/t to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer).
If you're like me, you're probably having hot dogs and hamburgers, potato or macaroni salad, soda or beer, or other kinds of foods which were purchased at a store after being shipped from some other part of the U.S. or even another nation.
If you're like me, you probably don't spend time worrying about the details of how your food reached your table. But you may know people, as I do, who think the whole "eat local' idea will save our health and economy. We have a restaurant here which is excellent, but very expensive, and always booked. We need to make reservations several months in advance to get a table. They only serve locally grown foods (I believe it's a 50 mile radius), and it's BYOB (so I guess they're OK with bringing French wine to go with the Jersey Tomatoes).
Normally I don't go in for faddish trends, and I really don't buy the whole "local food" movement. But this is a good restaurant and just because I don't agree with it doesn't mean I'll avoid a good meal. Good food is good food. There are reasons why I don't necessarily think the local food movement is ever going to change how we live, and it certainly is not going to make our lives better.
As this video (45 minutes long - so be prepared) points out, most nations with small farms have economic problems. This doesn't intrinsically mean small farms are impoverishing those nations, but there's no doubt being a food exporter (and the U.S. is by far the largest) is an indication of economic strength through size. This video also points out the hypocrisy of our nation's politics and its 'solutions' to perceived problems. We have deemed some banks "Too Big To Fail" and willingly subsidize their moral hazard, while at the same time pointing to large agricultural firms and saying they are "Too Big To Succeed" and impose excessive regulations on them while subsidizing failing small farms. So the policy of the U.S. that we subsidize failure, and engage double standards wherever we see fit.
The Jungle is often touted as an example of what would happen if we did not support regulation of the food industry. Unfortunately, this novel was a work of fiction designed to draw attention to the plight of the working man. It was the lies of Upton Sinclair about the Chicago Packing District that stick in people's memory, however. By and large, most food businesses provided healthier foods than smaller firms. It was in their best interest to do so. One does not win new consumers by killing or injuring those you have. In fact, most of these businesses wanted regulation as a means to raise barriers to entry against their smaller competitors, and to prevent foreign foods, which had raised trade barriers, from being too competitive.
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