Evidence is only of use to the mind that is prepared for it.
Every time I see the government of Japan (or some other government) spending yet more money, in spite of the failure of all their previous government spending orgies, I am reminded of this.
Because, of course, to them there is no such thing as evidence that expanding government spending is not a “good thing”, just as there is no such thing as evidence that trying to finance lending (“investment”) via credit/money expansion, rather than solely by real savings, is not a “good thing”.
On the contrary,
…continue The metacontext of Madoff
I vote for the fifth option, which is “There should not be a drinking age”, on the basis that it is none of the government’s damn business.
I have been reading Charles Murray’s book, Coming Apart.
I recommend this book, but I doubt that I myself will be reading every word of it, and certainly not every number. This is because I am already convinced by Murray’s basic thesis, which is that that America is becoming increasing divided along class lines. The temptations of government welfare, just as you would expect, have enticed the poor into self-destructive habits far more than the rich, because the rich, being rich, are insulated by their riches from these temptations. The rich have also resisted the temptation to smash up their
…continue Charles Murray on how facts don’t change minds (and some related thoughts of the sort he would probably approve of)
Via Tim Blair and David Thompson, I came across this thoughtful philosophical discussion compèred by Joe Gelonesi of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation:
Is having a loving family an unfair advantage?
The power of the family to tilt equality hasn’t gone unnoticed, and academics and public commentators have been blowing the whistle for some time. Now, philosophers Adam Swift and Harry Brighouse have felt compelled to conduct a cool reassessment.
Swift in particular has been conflicted for some time over the curious situation that arises when a parent wants to do the best for her child but in the process makes
…continue Such love as we allow
I, and I am sure many other readers of and writers of Samizdata, have been following the career of Steve Baker MP, ever since he was elected MP for Wycombe in 2010. However, the last posting I did here about Baker elicited understandable scepticism from commenters about whether Baker would stick to his free market principles long enough to make any difference. Yeah, sure, he is now on the Treasury Select Committee. Big deal. Baker, like all the others, said doubters, would soon go native.
Well maybe he will, but he hasn’t yet. Not if this City A.M. report by
…continue Steve Baker MP on the absurdity of monetary kremlinology
One of the intellectual highlights of my year has been hearing Anton Howes (whom I first noticed while noticing the Liberty League) expound the idea that the British industrial revolution was, at heart, an ideological event. The industrial revolution happened when it did and where it did because certain people in that place and at that time started thinking differently. To put it in Samizdata-speak, the metacontext changed. Particular people changed it, not just with the industrial stuff that they did, but with what they said and wrote.
I first heard Howes give this talk at my last Friday of
…continue Anton Howes on the industrial revolution – now available on video
Recently some teacher acquaintances on Facebook were discussing the recent public sector strike. Some were annoyed at accusations that they had spent the day shopping. Others said they had enjoyed spending the day shopping. Someone posted a message pointing out that Jeremy Clarkson, who said rude things about the strikers, was more than welcome to do a hard job saving lives or teaching disabled children. It occurred to me that, among other things, not all and probably less than half of public servants do such worthy jobs, and in any case what is relevant is what is really going on,
…continue The map is not the territory
This is pretty poor stuff from the normally astute James Forsyth. In fact, his remarks about Dan Hannan’s recent blunt comment about the UK’s Soviet-model healthcare system smacks of cowardice:
The last week has been one of the worst the Tories have had in a while. As Pete said on Friday, a bad week in August is unlikely to do lasting damage. But the Tories should learn from the events of then past few days: they have been thrown onto the defensive not by clever Labour attacks but by their own unforced errors. Alan Duncan was a fool to say
…continue Politics is not a sport
For the leader of the Labour Party and our Prime Minister things are terminally frightful, but they are now looking just as bad for the Labour Party as a whole. I have been pondering the consequences of the latest Labour electoral reverse by reading the Coffee House blog, which is now my favourite political (as in who’s-in-who’s-out) blog, as opposed to the metacontext stuff that we do here. Several points stand out:
For the benefit of those who have not been following this, Labour have just lost their twenty fifth safest seat in a by-election, to the Scottish Nationalists this
…continue Now for the Labour implosion
The inimitable Guido Fawkes decides to use Samizdata to explain what he is… and what he is not.
Over on the misnamed Liberal Conspiracy blog ‘Gracchi’ proffers a serious and fair minded critique of my Guido alter ego’s oeuvre, rather than the usual “Guido is an evil baby eating Nazi who once voted Tory, does not use trackbacks and deletes comments” tripe. I will give it a reply here and defend my approach.
Clearly we all have a political agenda of some kind. Mine is the politics of anti-politics. It stems from wanting to expand the non-political space in life
…continue Guido vs. Gracchi
David Cameron, the Leader of the Opposition and of the Conservative Party, is mainly known here as the man who makes Perry de Havilland spit blood.
But quite aside from the fact that most of us here disagree with the things that Cameron has been saying in recent months, there is the puzzle of why he has been saying them. I am thinking of things like fluffing on tax cuts, the NHS, Europe, and so on. He seems determined not just to be more left wing than Conservatives used to be. He seems to want to be more left wing
…continue How Cameron turned the media loose on the government
If the report turn out to be true about the success of the US military attack in Somalia, that is good news indeed. It is being claimed that some of the people targeted were those responsible for the horrendous 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Nairobi in Kenya and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, and 2002 atrocities on in Kenya against Kenyan and Israeli civilians. If those are the bastards who have indeed been killed then that is a cause for some satisfaction.
It is interesting that the attack, which took place in Somalia, has attracted praise from the
…continue The game’s afoot in Somalia