How bad can it be? Says a leaflet: “Being responsible means things like…Your child says sorry when they do something wrong…People who work with your child will check your child is responsible.”
Just take that in for a moment.
“Being respected means things like…Your child gets a say in things like how their room is decorated and what to watch on TV…People who work with your child will check your child is respected.”
How are they taking this over at Netmums?
The Guardian is not where I would expect to find a rave review of Top Gear.
Sounds great! Of course, with Clarkson and co. off to Amazon Prime, everyone is a bit worried whether the new line-up will be any good.
Well that’s a relief, then.
I have been meaning to link to the excellent blog Oilfield Expat ever since I found it mentioned in a comment here a few weeks ago. There is so much goodness. You can start with its author’s comment on low oil prices below.
I particularly enjoyed this piece of prose, which I find a useful retort to doom-mongers. It is important because people need to realise that we have it good in order to understand why we have it good, lest they throw it all away, the risks of which the article it is taken from is partly about.
The blog is robust and straightforward. On concerns about population: “it isn’t condoms that the poor need to start having smaller families, it is 1) increased wealth and 2) reliable, cheap electricity”.
On “those jumped-up tossers in places like Aberdeen”: “A cruise past the offices of the oil and gas companies, the engineering companies, and service providers would show the car parks full of Audis, BMWs, Mercedes, Porsches, Jags, and Bentleys, enabled by soaring wages and full employment of those who work in the oil industry. And now they need a bailout? Fuck them.”
On architects: “Fordham is your run-of-the-mill statist, authoritarian rent-seeker who has amassed a veritable fortune of taxpayers’ cash by preaching to governments from the environmental pulpit (naturally, his grubby mitts can be found all over the London Olympic 2012 facilities). The world would have been better off if he’d stayed in his spare bedroom the past 50 years.”
On the Hubbert curve: “In other words, the curve is subject to change at any point due to unlimited external factors and therefore utterly useless save for an object over which academics can while away the hours pontificating.”
I am not even having to drill deep for this quality. It is lying about on the surface in plain sight.
Ted Cruz has won in Iowa. How happy should I be? How significant is it? Will he really abolish the IRS and “do away with the departments of energy, commerce, education, and housing and urban development.” For all those things I could forgive him an awful lot of anything else I might disagree with him about, and many other issues become non-issues anyway, given a strong enough economy.
Watts Up With That commenter Janice Moore has it right:
This is in response to a response to an article about an article about the suggestion that climate change will cause people to migrate out of Africa. The former response blamed it on over-population instead. I am a bit disappointed that someone could reject Al Gore but still believe Paul Erlich, but it takes all sorts, I suppose.
Another Janice Moore comment is worth quoting at length (and copying and pasting everywhere):
Elsewhere in the discussion, I saw the suggestion that the Sahara might become greener in response to warmer temperatures, which is interesting if true.
Oxfam are at it again: The 62 richest people own more than the bottom half of all people. The last time this was measured it was 80, and before that 388. All this means the world is getting worse. Something Must Be Done. And so on.
Some thoughts in response, and I am glad to see that many Guardian commenters have had similar thoughts:
This is a really bad way to measure things. To be in the top 1% you just have to own a normal house in London. What do the top 62 have that the others do not? A bigger house in London and a functionally equivalent but shinier car. They are certainly not eating all the food and making everyone else hungry.
There is not a fixed quantity of wealth. The rich people being rich takes nothing away from the poor people. They control resources, in the sense that they get to have a bigger influence over what gets made, but for the most part they got rich by making useful things, so they are probably the right people to be making such decisions. Their idiot children who inherit the money will soon fritter it away on fancy cars and restaurant food, so it will get redistributed to factory workers and waiters in the end anyway.
By any real measure, such as infant mortality, nutrition, life-expectancy, number of people subsistence farming, access to clean water: things are getting better. There is a web site showing all this but I can not find it.
And what would Oxfam do about it, anyway? Force the rich people to give it to governments, probably. See my previous comment about who has proven themselves able to make useful things.
I have been spending a bit of time in Foyles, recently. It is my favourite bookshop in London for the vastness of its selection, though if any readers know better I am all ears. It does contain, however, the bookshelf from Room 101:
Can you imagine what kind of dinner party guests these authors would make? Just look at the blurb on the back of the Fischer book:
Required, good and hard, as punishment for being involved in such a dismal endeavor, perhaps. Opaque writing like this always makes me wonder if there is real content to be dug up. I had a quick look inside. Irritatingly, from the point of view of trying to poke fun, I found (on page 170) what might be some insight.
I have written before about the problem of language being used deliberately to muddy thinking. It seems likely that, since libertarianism is correct, looking at the world empirically leads inevitably to it. Therefore libertarians are likely to be empiricists. And bad at rhetoric, and therefore bad at winning at politics. (And often more interested in more empirical pursuits, like building rockets.)
Can we possibly beat them at their own game? I used to think that just sticking to the facts of the matter in debate would be good enough. That on-the-fence observers would detect who was making the most sense and pick the right side. I am starting to think that rhetoric has its place: if you really want to convince people, and, empirically, people are convinced by rhetoric, perhaps it is unavoidable.
Vox Day, in what amounts to a manual for beating Them at Their own game, wrote a whole chapter on it. He quoted Aristotle: “Before some audiences not even the possession of the exactest knowledge will make it easy for what we say to produce conviction. For argument based on knowledge implies instruction, and there are some people whom one cannot instruct.” Mr Day goes on to explain:
Before I even opened the Fischer book I found myself writing, in a Facebook discussion about heavily drinking relatives who had nonetheless lived to a grand old age, in response to others who complained that this was mere anecdote: “Anecdote is not evidence but it *is* rhetoric, and you need to develop good rhetoric to win at politics.” I am beginning to see how I might start to use rhetoric without feeling dirty, as a means to a well-intended end. I am not sure whether I would be any good at it, though. Worse, I sense that it is the road to hell.
If there is one thing the BBC and Samizdata have in common, it is our coverage of all the important issues.
This is a whole new world of discovery for me.
Regulatory hurdles push up prices for the end user, so the demand for cheap and cheerful is met elsewhere. But what about the supply side? Another BBC article, bemoaning the lack of donors, completes the picture.
I would have thought women might want to be a bit pickier than have sperm from the kind of loser who gets out of bed for thirty-five quid.
So we have private services supplying a high cost, high quality product, but crowded and regulated out of providing better value or budget services. A state provider that manages to have nothing but shortages of supply and (I would guess) poor quality products. And a grey market filling in the gaps. This is not a new world at all: there is nothing new here. To make things better I would abolish the state providers and deregulate, creating an environment for reputable intermediaries to supply maximum value for money across the whole range of price points. If anything does change it will probably involve more rules and the criminalisation of the grey market, increasing costs and risks.
Zach Cope at Libertarian Home has a post that puts today’s UK NHS junior doctors’ strike into perspective.
Centralised provision of anything always leads to shortages. Mr Cope has various ideas for decentralising things in his post, too.
Personally, I envisage healthcare that is cheap and good because it is private. So cheap and good that nobody has to think twice about poor people who can not afford treatment. Much as our friend the Guardian commenter narnaglan described:
Of course, it will be cheap but doctors will still be well paid because they will be so effective.
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