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
Sunday, September 28. 2014
Friday, September 26. 2014
I am more from the William F. Buckley Jr school:
The regulation-maniacs assume, of course, that we common folk have no sense, no information, and few morals, and constantly need their guidance, rules, and laws. Most of them, I suspect, have minimal contact with us regular folks.
How foolish and depraved are people anyway? We are told that we are an irrational tangle of biases, to be nudged any which way. Does this claim stand to reason?
It's an interesting article. I have always figured that humans are partly and sometimes rational and practical, often emotional, frequently uninformed or misinformed, etc. etc. I feel the same way about the regulators who seem to me to be irrationally obsessed with the idea of controlling others to try to make the world fit their fantasies. I'm sure Psychiatry has a term for that tendency. After all those who like to regulate are heir to the same human foibles and temptations as everybody else. Just more grandiose in their self-esteem and less humble and self-doubting.
Sunstein seems, currently, to be preoccupied by digital regulation.
I wish people like him would worry more about their own lives, and leave me alone.
Saturday, September 6. 2014
Thursday, August 14. 2014
Sunday, August 10. 2014
Comment on the above from Williamson (who is on a roll these days): The Man Who Wouldn’t Be King -Rand Paul becomes an object of liberal curiosity.
Sunday, July 27. 2014
They liked JFK, probably because he was Catholic (in name, anyway). They still refuse to hear anything about what decadent, manipulative and predatory sleazes that family consists of. Glamour. Rich. Sexy. Low-lifes. Catholic. Dem Party.
Friday, July 25. 2014
The American founders knew that government needed a short leash. So much for that plan.
This essay by Williamson is almost too good to post on a summer Friday afternoon: Property and Peace - The irreplaceable basis for a prosperous and decent society is property. One quote:
Tuesday, July 22. 2014
Sunday, July 20. 2014
Friday, July 18. 2014
Some good history and some good thinking about the modern (and ancient) administrative state with its extra-legal powers. I have no doubt that the founders hoped to prevent a Versailles-like giant central bureaucracy, but they failed at that. Why? They wrote all they could to prevent it.
Very enjoyable interview with law Prof. Philip Hamburger. I know you probably hate podcasts as much as I do, but this is a goodie which will make you think.
The USA Progressives borrowed our public school structures, and developed our central governmental administration, from the Prussian models. As Hamburger says, "as American as Bismarck."
"There is always a 'necessity' for increasing government administrative power."
Friday, July 11. 2014
Tuesday, July 8. 2014
I mostly agree, and tend to feel that the Fed should not exist, but investment bubbles have always existed. Isaac Newton lost his entire fortune in a stock bubble, foolishly. Human nature. Hope, greed, fear, etc.
This interview with David Stockman is enlightening: David Stockman Interview: Rise Of The Warfare State, Monetary Central Planning And The Myths Of New Deal Recovery
Sunday, July 6. 2014
To be a little provocative, I have to say that Jeremy Bentham's comments on the Declaration (well before the American Constitution was composed) make sense to me. He seemed to know that no limited federal government would last and made a strong implication that the founders were naive to imagine that they could invent a new form of government without powers or inclinations to over-tax or oppress.
If you read the Declaration this weekend, most of the colonists' grievances do seem rather trivial especially in light of our current American federal government. From Bentham’s Critique of the Declaration of Independence:
My understanding is that most colonists were not enthused about the war either. By 1789, it all worked out OK anyway, winning admiration from many of the skeptics. For a while.
Friday, July 4. 2014
From Sultan's Remember Your Right to Happiness:
"It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning cannot be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers."
President Calvin Coolidge, via Powerline's Where Are Libertarians When You Need Them?
Monday, June 30. 2014
I like Pope Francis, and I think he has said and done many good things to date. I think his comments on Capitalism were misplaced, and so is his current commentary on Communists.
Points in time like these remind me why we need to teach basic Economics in our schools. Capitalism has done more to reduce poverty and improve the economic prospects of the poor than Communism ever did.
More importantly, and this is where Pope Francis goes veering off the rails, Communism forces people to 'be good', rather than allowing them the right to choose the proper path of behavior. It is true that certain miseries and unfair behaviors take place under Capitalism, but these are more than mitigated by the greater gains of all individuals across society. Communism, on the other hand, uses force and coercion to fix perceived inequalities and creates a permanent political class system which is not just economic in nature, but capable of enforcing its whims on those who are not part of the class.
It's worth remembering that Economics was originally called "Moral Philosophy." While Adam Smith is considered the father of Economics, he considered himself a Moral Philosopher and was merely seeking to determine how people made their decisions to act in certain ways. As the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy points out:
Sunday, June 22. 2014
From Razib Khan's Living in a World That Is, Not as It Ought to be:
... no matter what establishment voices assert intervention in foreign lands in a ham-handed fashion to prop up our American values is bound to lead us down a path of tears. As Shadi Hamid states the future of democracy in the Middle East is going to be illiberal. This may be inevitable. We don’t need to avert our eyes from it, and we need to acknowledge that so we were, so they will be. It took the Thirty Years war to finally purge the enthusiasm of sectarianism from the cultural DNA of Europeans (and even then, religious minorities were second class citizens for centuries). There will be no calm reasoning with Iraqis of any stripe because the march of history continues, and only sadness can convince all parties that moderation is necessary for the existence of modern nation-states. Intervention in some fashion may be inevitable in the world, but our goal should be to prevent hell, not to create heaven on earth. The former is possible, the latter is not.
Friday, June 20. 2014
Americans seem to want a little bit of both. The Founding Fathers knew that you can’t have both.
Portrait is the deeply-wise dead white male James Madison. To be an American, you need to know what he thought about this experiment in freedom.
Thursday, June 19. 2014
Monday, June 16. 2014
Monday, June 2. 2014
Friday, May 30. 2014
Thursday, May 29. 2014
From a brief, important, and depressing essay by David Warren of the above title:
As they say, read the whole thing.
Wednesday, May 28. 2014
"All that has to happen for life-changing innovations to happen as a normal course of events is for government planners to stay out of the way."
“The point is, we are a big country,” says self-described democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders. “The VA sees six and a half million people a year. Are people going to be treated badly? Are some people going to die because of poor treatment in the VA? Yes, that is a tragedy and we have to get to the root of it.”
Well, I think he just did."
"Not every regulation or government program is doomed to fail. But we might consider the slightly terrifying possibility that when government does get something right, it does so by accident, temporarily, and for reasons that it cannot understand or replicate. This may be why the sheer volume of law and regulation has been climbing so rapidly: Intuiting its own inefficacy, Washington is throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks. The Entity with Whom politicians sometimes confuse themselves needed only ten commandments, not the ten thousand a year that Washington produces. Some of those coming down in the near future will be intended to reform the VA. The rational thing to do would be to abolish it. We’d be far better off paying veterans’ medical bills out of the Treasury than trying to operate a network of hospitals and clinics. And no matter what Washington promises to do to solve this problem, it is a good bet that the policy enacted will not produce the result intended. Reform is a random walk."
From Kevin Williamson's The Cloud in the Machine
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