There is an interesting piece by The Independent Institute on the Rand Paul filibuster:
There is an interesting piece by The Independent Institute on the Rand Paul filibuster:
Here are her comments, via Big Government, on the issue of the “sequester” (or for those not following this story closely, the automatic spending cuts that will kick in if Congress/White House cannot get their acts together and actually produce a credible line on public spending and debt):
No, she is just a dumb hick from the Wild West who hasn’t studied her Keynes enough. As we know, great minds in academia suggest that what the world needs to do is print more money, rack up more debt, and in time, all will be well. Worrying about the debt is just so, well, suburban, darling.
Why does Barack Obama hate black people?
Don’t get me wrong…I love the minimum wage, because I’m white. My daughter is white, and also has established plenty of work experience. She was offered jobs at more than 40K per year at the age of 20. Minimum wage legislation will ensure that we’re the last to be laid off. We got skills!!!
But does Barack Obama really hate black people? Or is he just not very smart?
“We respect the Office of the President of the United States of America. But make no mistake, as the duly-elected sheriffs of our respective counties, we will enforce the rights guaranteed to our citizens by the Constitution. No federal official will be permitted to descend upon our citizens and take from them what the Bill of rights — in particular Amendment II — has given them. We, like you, swore a solemn oath to protect and defend the Constitution, and we are prepared to trade our lives for the preservation of its traditional interpretation.”
- The Utah Sheriff’s Association
(H/T, Unforseen Contingencies blog)
“Imagine a British politician saying: we’re so worried by the abuse of prescription drugs that we’re going to reduce the supply of powerful painkillers to our hospitals. And if people in genuine pain suffer as a result, too bad. The protests from the #WELoveTheNHS lobby would be deafening. The politician who said it would be out of office by the end of the week. But that’s exactly what Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York, has just announced.”
In some ways, Michael Bloomberg is merely being more honest than most puritans are prepared to admit. He openly says what they think. It is shocking, but in his own, depraved way, people like this man are doing us a favour in putting the horror of their views right up there, front and centre.
I have had a brief period of being in bad pain and thanked those brilliant scientists out there for inventing the drugs to remove it. And millions of people who have suffered excruciating pain have managed to get through thanks to painkillers. He would rather they suffered “a little bit” than that anyone should get addicted.
It is hard to be charitable and hope that he never suffers extended pain.
Probably one reason they think “Hope®” it will work is because it is “legal”.
And we know that Congress has the power “to coin money and regulate the value thereof”, right? The Constitution says so, right?
One of Obama’s apparatchiks has said that Britain’s membership of the EU was in the American interest.
Two responses spring to mind.
The first was… So what? This remark was obviously aimed the the dismal British government but furthering ‘the American interest’ should be very low on the list of priorities of any government that is not located in Washington DC. So even if it was true (and frankly nothing could be further from the truth), this should be of trivial import to anyone in the Sceptred Isles.
The second was… ok, so how much are you willing to pay for that “US interest”? If the US interest is served by continued British membership of the sclerotic EU, then perhaps the hapless US taxpayer should get shafted for, oh, lets say 50% of the cost?
Public Policy Polling (PPP) has released the results of a poll pitting Congress against various unlikeables, including lice, brussel sprouts, colonoscopies, NFL replacement refs, traffic jams, the country of France, and the band Nickelback.
- Reason magazine blog. You would need a heart of stone not to laugh.
One new expression I have seen in recent months – ahead of and after last November’s US elections – is “low information voters”. It got my interest because it seems to be used, in the main, by right-of-centre commentators regarding what they assume are people who vote not by carefully weighing the policies and presumed philosophies of candidates such as Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, but on trivia, such as whether a candidate looks or sounds “nice” or “nasty” or suchlike. Such voters, the argument goes, hardly watch any current affairs TV or read the serious parts of the media; they prefer game shows, talent shows, chat shows, and other dreck. And the assumption is that voters have chosen Barack Obama for largely trivial reasons. (This sort of way of explaining the issue is, needless to say, fraught with the risk that the person who makes it can end up sounding like a racist.)
One way of interpreting this is to suggest that such voters are more rational than the wielders of the term “low information voters” give them credit for. The voters may have figured out that policy will not change much regardless of whom they vote for, and so rather than spending their non-work hours fretting about fiscal cliffs, impending societal collapse and the affordability of the Welfare State, they watch junk, worry about trivia and don’t bother much with things such as defence policy or debt-to-GDP ratios.
The problem, though, is that even the “junk” can be saturated with statist undertones. Take the “celebrity culture” – all too often, a celeb who is held up as a figure of pity or ridicule might play the “victim” card and the narratives that infuse their lives often convey a sense of life in which people are not really responsible adults, or for that matter, youngsters who want to become adults. And so the daily diet of stuff conveyed to “low information voters” adds to the sort of culture in which support for Welfare States takes hold. (This is the sense in which obesity can be seen as a sort of Welfare State consequence, not an argument you tend to hear from the nanny-Left.)
One way to combat this is to stamp your feet and complain. That seems to have limited success. Another is to try and figure out how the sort of culture that might appeal to “low information voters” can be changed in ways that encourages a rather better set of outcomes. Take the huge popularity in the ‘States of people such as Oprah Winfrey. Say what you like about her shows, but anyone wanting to connect with the public should study her success. And that surely ought to include libertarians. Hence the importance, also, of making great movies and TV shows that are fun, diverting and also positive. Yes, we can bleat about the influence of “liberal Hollywood” and its non-US equivalents, but in this day and age, with a more fractured media and entertainment world, does it really make sense to despair?
Which is why, by the way, I think America suffered a grievous loss when Andrew Breitbart died last year. Because he understood this sort of issue instinctively. But America is a Protean place – and there plenty more like him, I am sure.
So on that positive note, a belated Happy New Year.
The Times (behind a paywall) reports:
Emphasis added. Boldly and without fear, favour or concern for mixed metaphors, I sing of arms and the editor:
(To the tune of Brave Sir Robin Ran Away)
Brave Dame Caryn hired a gun
You see, it doesn’t count as being armed so long as you are rich enough to hire someone else to hold the gun. Anyone can see that morally that is completely different to actually, you know, touching the thing yourself.
“Civilization is not just about saving labor but also about “wasting” labor to make art, to make beautiful things, to “waste” time playing, like sports. Nobody ever suggested that Picasso should spend fewer hours painting per picture in order to boost his wealth or improve the economy. The value he added to the economy could not be optimized for productivity. It’s hard to shoehorn some of the most important things we do in life into the category of “being productive.” Generally any task that can be measured by the metrics of productivity — output per hour — is a task we want automation to do. In short, productivity is for robots. Humans excel at wasting time, experimenting, playing, creating, and exploring. None of these fare well under the scrutiny of productivity. That is why science and art are so hard to fund. But they are also the foundation of long-term growth. Yet our notions of jobs, of work, of the economy don’t include a lot of space for wasting time, experimenting, playing, creating, and exploring.”
The article nicely challenges the idea that the “Third” industrial revolution (the Internet and so forth) has been far less transformative and productive than the Second one (electricity, etc).
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