What passes for wisdom today: “in the old Westerns or gangster movies, right, everyone puts their gun down just for a second. You sit down, you have a conversation; if the conversation doesn’t go well, you leave the room…if you look at Iranian behavior, they are strategic, and they’re not impulsive. They have a worldview, and they see their interests, and they respond to costs and benefits.” Fellow sure likes the sound of his own voice, and he’s far from alone in his naïveté. It’s what they really believe inside the beltway, the media, the media, and the academy. There’s a war on, but only one side is fighting.
Archive for the 'Democrats' Category
It’s really 19th century behavior in the twenty-first century…You just don’t invade another country on phony pretexts in order to assert your interests
Why not? And what’s with this 19th century business? Have human nature, national interests, and the will to power all disappeared recently? WRM comments on the strange views of the academy, media and policy elites.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the man who has the final say on all matters of state in the Islamic Republic, declared again on Monday that talks between Tehran and six world powers “will not lead anywhere. Hours later a senior U.S. administration official also played down expectations, telling reporters in the Austrian capital that it will be a “complicated, difficult and lengthy process” and “probably as likely that we won’t get an agreement as it is that we will.
AP reports on the Secretary of State in Indonesia:
China and the United States are the biggest sources of emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that cause the atmosphere to trap solar heat and alter the climate. Scientists say such changes are leading to drought, wildfires, rising sea levels, melting polar ice, plant and animal extinctions and other extreme conditions.
“We should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists and science and extreme ideologues to compete with scientific facts,” Kerry told the audience at a U.S. Embassy-run American Center in a shopping mall. “Nor should we allow any room for those who think that the costs associated with doing the right thing outweigh the benefits.
The science is unequivocal, and those who refuse to believe it are simply burying their heads in the sand,” Kerry said. “We don’t have time for a meeting anywhere of the Flat Earth Society…This city, this country, this region, is really on the front lines of climate change,” Kerry said. “It’s not an exaggeration to say that your entire way of life here is at risk.”
He added: “In a sense, climate change can now be considered the world’s largest weapon of mass destruction, perhaps even, the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.”
No doubt about it, the guy likes the sound of his own voice. Note also that the AP reporter repeats the CW of the self-anointed cognoscenti of today. Sigh. They may actually all believe the same rubbish, or (we hope) it’s a cynical plan to make some money.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Good news! Almost 3/4ths of Americans know that the earth revolves around the sun. Cowabunga dude. In related news, top government officials are warning that we are reaching a tipping point of no return on AGW. Gosh that’s scary. Steyn has some comments. Meanwhile, Thomas Sowell has an excellent but depressing piece as we slouch toward Gomorrah. Finally, a US president said: “I so much despise a man who blows his own horn, that I go to the other extreme.” Any guesses?
Hayek’s concern was that comprehensive economic planning of the economy by the state was incompatible with individual liberty and the rule of law over the long run…Hayek’s argument in The Road to Serfdom is straightforward. There is a reality of existence that can be called the “economic problem” (my term, not his). And anyone who has taken Economics 101 knows what it is–the reality of scarce resources in the world and unlimited wants. “Scarce” in the economic sense–that everything has an opportunity cost attached to it. Right now I can either be writing this blog post or shoveling my walkway, but I can’t be doing both. Unlimited wants in the sense that people generally prefer more to less of most goods.
So why does that matter? Hayek’s point is that given this reality–scarce resources and unlimited wants–there are fundamentally only two ways to allocate scarce resources among unlimited wants. The first is through impersonal processes such as the market process, or more accurately, the market process consists of billions of individuals making billions of decisions every single day on how to spend their time and other resources. In the market process, the guiding principle is the price system–prices are fundamentally amoral in the sense that they simply provide information about what these billions of people believe is the most important allocation of scarce resources. It may be that this means it is children’s vaccines or it may mean Honey Boo Boo marathons.
In this sense, the price system is completely bottom-up–it is the aggregation of all these marginal and constantly-changing expressions of preferences of people deciding how to allocate their resources and a signal of how resources are valued by other people. Which individual ends are satisfied and at what cost is thus fundamentally driven by billions of individual decisions. You may wish for a career as a Knight of the Roundtable, but in the modern economy it will be prohibitively expensive to pursue that career. In this world, then, Hayek says the role of the government is provide the rules of the road, i.e., should be organized around the rule of law, which is a set of purpose-independent rules that tell people how to go about pursuing their own freely-chosen ends, but doesn’t tell them what ends they must choose. To put it another way, the rule of law provides traffic rules, but doesn’t tell you which exit you have to get off when you are on the highway.
So why is central planning not only unwise, but dangerous to liberty?…Hayek’s great insight was that moving economic decision-making from individual decision-making through the market to collective decision-making through the state does not eliminate the economic problem. The reality of economics is still present: scarce resources and unlimited wants. The only question is “Who decides?” Do you decide for yourself (through markets) or does someone else decide for you (through politics)?
Hayek observes that the socialists of the time essentially thought that they could have it both ways: that they could simply control the means of production (such as by nationalization of large industry or central planning of prices and wages) but that they could leave unaffected the ends of production. In other words, socialists thought that we could simply respect consumer preferences–i.e., we could continue to respect the preference for Honey Boo Boo instead of children’s vaccines–and then just come up with more efficient ways of meeting those needs by planning the economy, without messy business cycles and the discoordinations of the market process.
What Hayek pointed out though is that this is impossible–you cannot control the means of production without also controlling the ends. In the end, someone has to decide between Honey Boo Boo and children’s vaccines, or more realistically, manufacturing Priuses or Ram trucks. You can’t just say we will manufacture “cars” (well I guess you could, but most people didn’t like that system). So this means that in the end the central planner has to decide who will have their ends met and who will have their ends disappointed. Once you throw out the price system (which basically says that individuals decide according to impersonal market processes) then you have to decide who gets what
At this point Hayek says there are only two choices. The first is to essentially try to reeducate everyone in society to be truly selfless and to weigh the preferences of others as heavily as themselves–i.e., for me to say even though I really want a new Prius I recognize that you have a greater need for a new Ram truck and so I voluntarily allow the importance of my ends to yield to your preferences. In short, we create a uniform system of value for all of society where we all agree to an overall ranking of the importance of all the ways in which social ends could be met. (This leaves aside, of course, the economic calculation problem which is an entirely different, and unsolvable problem, and focuses only on the ethical/social point). This world essentially is more or less the dream of Mao’s cultural revolution or 1984–to basically subordinate every individual to the collective and have us all live in one great comradeship.
This is the central problem with the ACA and other hare-brained schemes (it’s also a significant problem with insurance itself). Notice that such government schemes always end up relying on coercion and much worse. We’ll see how it plays out in the USA.
Separation of powers, a laugh riot. The naughty right-wing media says things no one should be allowed to say. So do Steyn and VDH. And more from those right-wingers: “The dead birds included a peregrine falcon, a grebe, two hawks, four nighthawks and a variety of warblers and sparrows.” But enjoy yourselves comrades; all will be well as long as we have a free press. Ha ha, what fun.
Snow is on the ground in 49 out of the 50 states; only the Sunshine State of Florida is completely snow-free, according to a map produced Thursday morning by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The now: Peter Beinart has a rather dreary piece cataloguing decline. The education system has done a fine job for the last generation or two, hasn’t it? But it’s not all dreary; apparently Romney is going to be impeached. He appointed those awful bundlers to be diplomats to countries they know nothing about. Even the then is corrupted by the now. A local radio station says it plays 60′s-80′s biggest hits, but 10% of the playlist are covers or simply unknown to us, and the song selection seems quite peculiar compared to the Billboard Top 100 lists. What’s up with that? We did see one the other day (#81) by someone we never heard of. Well, that’s been corrected.
with the health-care law soon to take effect, she simply resigned — and hasn’t looked back. “It was wonderful. It was very freeing,” said Lower, 56, of Bourbon, Ind., who is now babysitting her 5-year-old granddaughter full time. With the help of federal subsidies that kicked in Jan. 1, she is paying less than $500 a month for health coverage for herself and her husband…The equivalent of about 2.5 million Americans will quit their jobs, cut their hours or stop looking for work during the next decade because of new benefits available under the health-care law…Like Social Security, which provides a safety net so people can retire, the health law may have the effect of leading some Americans to stop working…they called the impact positive, arguing that people have for too long been stuck in jobs that are a poor fit or that they dislike, simply for the benefits. While some people may make the calculation to just work less to keep more generous benefits, many will use their time to do something more productive, such as start their own business or take care of family members
A genius speaks. Letters from a grammar school principal here and here, and an explanation. The end of snow. Blah blah and an interesting piece on the ACA; RIP has dual meanings. Jonah has too much time on his hands. Thoughts on the 1st amendment. A diner at Elaine’s and Primola makes his case. And a couple of additional examples of well-funded government antics. Drip, Drip, Drip.
No single speech can eradicate years of mistrust, nor can I answer in the time that I have all the complex questions that brought us to this point…As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam. It was Islam – at places like Al-Azhar University – that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe’s Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed. Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires; timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation. And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality. I know, too, that Islam has always been a part of America’s story. The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco. In signing the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, our second President John Adams wrote, “The United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims.” And since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States. They have fought in our wars, served in government, stood for civil rights, started businesses, taught at our Universities, excelled in our sports arenas, won Nobel Prizes, built our tallest building, and lit the Olympic Torch.
the 70-year-old Pax Americana has fallen apart. Al-Qaeda has flourished. President Benigno Aquino of the Philippines caught the tone of rising concern when he warned, in an interview with the New York Times, that China was doing to Southeast Asia what Nazi Germany did to Central Europe in the late 1930s. “At what point do you say, ‘Enough is enough’? Well, the world has to say it — remember that the Sudetenland was given in an attempt to appease Hitler to prevent World War II.” But you wouldn’t know it for the panegyrics still being sung by the mainstream media. To read some papers you would think the world’s biggest problem was gay rights at the Sochi Olympics. The Sudetenland? Things are not as bad as that yet. But the operative word is “yet.”
Serious times, unserious people.
“For generations, America’s farmers, ranchers and forest landowners have innovated and adapted to challenges,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. However, he said, rural communities face more complex challenges today because of climate change. “USDA’s climate hubs are part of our broad commitment to developing the next generation of climate solutions so that our agricultural leaders have the modern technologies and tools they need to adapt and succeed in the face of a changing climate,” Vilsack said. The hubs will be in Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Colorado, Oklahoma, Oregon and New Mexico. Additional sub-hubs will be set up in various other states, including Michigan and California. Climate hubs will focus on regional issues, and will equip local communities with knowledge to help them adapt. “Sub hubs will support the hub within their region and focus on a narrow and unique set of issues relative to what will be going on in the rest of the hub,” the White House said in a statement. Rural communities have been especially hit by climate change.
What an intrusive religion is leftism.
Sochi is very fine olympics comrades (the really funny part is that the media more or less actually want the world to be run this way). $50 billion doesn’t go so far anymore. Perhaps performance is this good also in Belarus. (The perps who did this have an excellent career opportunity: they can become ACA navigators!)
The simple fact is this: if Keystone XL is built, it will be easier to exploit fossil fuel reserves large enough to drastically destabilize the climate. A direct pipeline to refineries and global markets makes the business of polluting the atmosphere that much cheaper and easier. The only truly accurate examination of the pipeline would include a full cost accounting its environmental footprint. It needs to take into account how much energy is consumed in refining and transporting the crude from oil sands. It must acknowledge that the pipeline would lower the cost and raise the convenience of extracting and exporting the incredibly carbon-intensive deposits of oil.
Mann is also a singer, if you didn’t know.
It’s breathtakingly obvious that women don’t get paid 77% of what men make for the same job, or most every employer would fire all the men and pocket the extra loot. Even the WaPo has figured this out. Hint: when academic “studies” are at odds with common sense, they are almost always wrong. Christina Hoff Sommers adds some interesting details to the picture. It becomes a dangerous world when fabrications are the rule. BTW, if you like your 77 cents, you can keep your 77 cents. Period.
Just this morning we were thinking about the former Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. He’s written books, has a heck of a CV, and has received oodles of honors from very prestigious institutions. And yet there’s something missing from the résumé of the Job Czar: he’s never had a job in the private sector. It’s a remarkable thing, and atypical of US history, though quite typical of today’s utopians.
But the media don’t notice; in an important sense, they have also never worked in the private sector. Do the journalists ever talk to the ad sales people? It’s an unbridgeable gap, that between the media-academy-government mindset and those who came up in what was once called the real world. The universities have become detached from their original missions. All this has been dramatically exacerbated by the rapid progress of technology, which creates for the young a believable metaphor that their generation is not just the luckiest, but the wisest in human history.
This will end, but in all likelihood, it won’t end well. Wretchard points out a few ways things could change. Good luck to all!