Archive | November, 2011

Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution: ‘Curing The Unemployment Blues’

Full piece here.

He concludes with:

‘The systematic deregulation of labor markets offers the best, last hope of tackling unemployment. If only our political leaders understood that simple and powerful message. Unfortunately, they don’t. So expect more stagnation going forward.’

Related On This Site:  Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution Journal: ‘Three Cheers for Income Inequality’

A Few Quotations From F.A. Hayek’s: ‘Why I Am Not A Conservative’Milton Friedman Via Youtube: ‘Responsibility To The Poor’Repost-From Fora Via YouTube: ‘Thomas Sowell and a Conflict of Visions

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Kay Hymowitz At The City Journal: ‘How Brooklyn Got Its Groove Back’

Full piece here.

Hymowitz tracks her time in Brooklyn and offers an interesting background and look at its history.  She notes why she thinks it’s been surging lately:

‘The third reason for Brooklyn’s modern revival was the arrival of a new generation of gentrifiers, a large group of college-educated folks who, like the previous generation, found the urban, neighborly, and safer streets of the borough mightily attractive.’

And of them:

‘Unlike their predecessors, however, these grads are not only artsy; they’re tech-savvy and entrepreneurial. Don’t confuse them with the earlier artists and bohemians who daringly smoked pot at Brooklyn Heights parties. These are beneficiaries of a technology-fueled design economy, people who have been able to harness their creativity to digital media’ 

And of the post-industrial knowledge gap:

The problem is that these boutique businesses have a limited impact on the borough’s total economy. For all their energy and creativity, Brooklyn’s young entrepreneurs tend to have few employees, and they’re not likely to be hiring large numbers in the future.

And thus her conclusion:

‘Brooklyn’s story, then, doesn’t lend itself to a simple happy ending. Instead, the borough is a microcosm of the nation’s “hourglass economy.” At the top, the college-educated are doing interesting, motivating work during the day and bicycling home to enjoy gourmet beer and grass-fed beef after hours. At the bottom, matters are very different.’

There’s a bit of a swipe there at the hipsters, and certain underlying ideas she likely takes issue with (progressive, green, idealistic, creative class, meritocratic ideas).

Big cities like Chicago and New York (which unlike Detroit, Cleveland and Pittsburgh are still centers of trade and finance to balance out the lost industry) have been losing a lot of low and middle-income private sector jobs, so where are we headed?

Related On This Site: Trade and commerce aren’t just vehicles for nanny statism, equality delivery services and racial harmony…they are well…trade and commerce:  Via Youtube: Ric Burns—New York: A Documentary Film – Episode One: The Country and The City (1609-1825)Joel Kotkin Via Youtube: ‘Illinois Is In A Competition’

Cities should be magnets for creativity and culture? -From The Atlantic: Richard Florida On The Decline Of The Blue-Collar ManFrom Grist.Org Via The New Republic Via The A & L Daily: ‘Getting Past “Ruin Porn” In Detroit’… some people don’t want you to have the economic freedom to live in the suburbs: From Foreign Policy: ‘Urban Legends, Why Suburbs, Not Cities, Are The Answer’

Is the same definition of ‘community’ connected with one that can stifle economic growth through political means?: Roger Scruton In The City Journal: Cities For Living–Is Modernism Dead?

And how do big-city machines actually work (Boss Tweed and Blago come to mind): Two Sunday Quotations By Albert Jay Nock in ‘Anarchist’s Progress’…Walter Russell Mead takes a look at the blue model from the ground up in NYC.

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NASA Via Youtube: ‘Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity Rover) Mission Animation’

Curiosity is expected to land on Mars in August 2012, in Gale Crater.  More info on the mission here.

Postcards From Mars was a good way to get some background on the technical and logistical challenges of the Spirit and Opportunity missions, and what was found on the Martian surface.

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Via France24: ‘Pakistan Blocks NATO Supply Route After Deadly Raid’

Full post here.

‘Pakistan accused NATO on Saturday of killing 26 soldiers in a lethal air strike, protesting in the strongest terms to the US and sealing its border to NATO supplies bound for Afghanistan.

It was the deadliest NATO strike reported by Pakistan during the 10-year war in Afghanistan and looked set to inflame already extremely difficult US-Pakistani relations still reeling from the May killing of Osama bin Laden.’

We’ve always been played a bit on both ends in Pakistan, even by Musharraf, because a leader can’t be that far ahead of his people (despite his real sympathies, wherever they may have lain).  We’ve needed Pakistani support for the entire AfPak project and our aid money continues to stabilize a fragile State.  Now it appears that the situation is deteriorating more rapidly.

Related On This Site:  From March 27th, 2009 At WhiteHouse.Gov: Remarks By The President On A New Strategy For Afghanistan And Pakistan…A tense relationship: Fareed Zakaria At Newsweek: ‘Terrorism’s Supermarket’Christopher Hitchens At Vanity Fair: ‘From Abbotabad To Worse’Repost-’Dexter Filkins In The NY Times: The Long Road To Chaos In Pakistan’

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Youtube Via Reason TV-Judge Napolitano ‘Why Taxation is Theft, Abortion is Murder, & Government is Dangerous’

As Gillespie points out, many libertarians are indifferent or even hostile to religion.  Napolitano, however, merges a common defense of individual liberties most libertarians can get behind with his life as practicing Catholic and an advocate of Natural Law (he’s pro-life).   He mentions a tradition he sees stretching from Aristotle to Aquinas to John Locke to Thomas Jefferson onward to the present day.  On his view, our freedoms come from our humanity, and our humanity is cast in God’s image.  God is free and so humans are free, and thus humans derive their free will from God and the Natural Law.  This freedom acts a strong line of defense against the interests of the anti-theists, and the oft state-building secular, progressive Left who will seek to enshrine their ideals within the power and expansion of the government (from abortion to public assistance to the growth of definitions of liberty that also include women and black folks).

Clearly our commonwealth and Constitution create no religious test for office, and do so in order to get around the constant religious strife and persecution going on in a Europe which so many fled (including the Puritans, the Calvinists, the Huguenots and the waves of 19th century onward Irish/Italian Catholic immigrants with which I’m more familiar).

Napolitano then ends up using a broader defense of liberty against both conservatives and liberals who seek State power to further their interests and who can violate due process, and probably brings him back around to the libertarianism he’s known for.

Surprisingly interesting discussion.

***And as regards making laws that enslave some, Napolitano mentions a higher law of Aquinas’ ‘right reason.’  Here’s a quote from J.S. Mill, whose utilitarianism is often used as the best argument I’ve heard for the freedom and opportunity of women and minorities:

“The likings and dislikings of society, or of some powerful portion of it, are thus the main thing which has practically determined the rules laid down for general observance, under the penalties of law or opinion.  And in general, those who have been in advance of society in thought and feeling, have left this condition of things unassailed in principle, however they may have come into conflict with it in some of its details.  They have occupied themselves rather in inquiring what things society ought to like or dislike, than in questioning whether its likings or dislikings should be a law to individuals.  They preferred endeavoring to alter the feelings of mankind on the particular points on which they were themselves heretical, rather than make common cause in defence of freedom, with heretics generally.  The only case in which the higher ground has been taken on principle and maintained with consistency, by any but an individual here and there, is that of religious belief:…”

******I should add that I don’t view taxation as theft as long as those governing maintain the consent of the governed (which requires vigilance and participation on both sides).  I believe the government does have a role to play in the common defense, local government in local education, in some financial regulation, and in securing private property.  I don’t think it follows that such a defense naturally advocates the progressive vision (and more importantly what so often lies beneath it given human nature, especially in big cities: union bosses forcing membership, graft, waste, some corruption, federal bureaucrats in every localized educational setting, distorted markets and the distressing incentives of the Welfare State…it is a road to financial and political dysfunction we can’t afford).

Related On This Site:  Another Catholic, fighting Obamacare’s statism:  From Youtube Via Althouse-’Paul Ryan: Hiding Spending Doesn’t Reduce Spending’

How does Natural Law Philosophy deal with these problems, and those of knowledge?…where black liberation theology and academic postmodernism meet religious impulses and Natural Law Robert George And Cornel West At Bloggingheads: “The Scandal Of The Cross”Repost-William Stern At The City Journal: ‘How Dagger John Saved New York’s Irish’…more progressive silliness.Heather MacDonald At The City Journal: ‘The Sidewalks Of San Francisco’

Leo Strauss and the philosophy of Natural Right (which includes some hermetic, Nietzschean baggage).  He will likly make you think about the consent of the governed and the threats to it, the uses and misuses of reason, and man’s relationship with nature.  Harry Jaffa At The Claremont Institute: ‘Leo Strauss, the Bible, and Political Philosophy’Via An Emailer: Some Criticism Of Leo Strauss?Some Tuesday Quotations From Leo StraussFrom Peter Berkowitz At Harvard: ‘The Reason Of Revelation: The Jewish Thought Of Leo Strauss’

I’m not sure the Chicago School has put its finger on many causes and problems of poverty quite like religion can, but they very much point out the mistakes and problems of the progressive, statist, and liberal banners of social justice and rights based governance which interferes with the individual.  Very much worth reading: A Few Quotations From F.A. Hayek’s: ‘Why I Am Not A Conservative’Milton Friedman Via Youtube: ‘Responsibility To The Poor’Repost-From Fora Via YouTube: ‘Thomas Sowell and a Conflict of Visions’

Using J.S. Mill, moving away from religion?: From The Harvard Educational Review-A Review Of Martha Nussbaum’s ‘Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education.’…Repost: Martha Nussbaum Channels Roger Williams In The New Republic: The First Founder

Singer takes utilitarianism and runs with it: Peter Singer discusses Hegel and Marx

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From The Stanford Encyclopedia Of Philosophy Entry On Eliminative Materialism

Full entry here.

‘Modern versions of eliminative materialism claim that our common-sense understanding of psychological states and processes is deeply mistaken and that some or all of our ordinary notions of mental states will have no home, at any level of analysis, in a sophisticated and accurate account of the mind. In other words, it is the view that certain common-sense mental states, such as beliefs and desires, do not exist’

and

‘Here we see a tension that runs throughout the writings of many early eliminative materialists. The problem involves a vacillation between two different conditions under which mental concepts and terms are dropped. The first scenario proposes that certain mental concepts will turn out to be empty, with mental state terms referring to nothing that actually exists. Historical analogs for this way of understanding eliminativism are cases where we (now) say it turned out there are no such things, such as demons and crystal spheres. The second scenario suggests that the conceptual framework provided by neurosciences (or some other physical account) can or should come to replace the common-sense framework we now use.’

Related On This Site:   Jesse Prinz Discusses “The Emotional Construction Of Morals” On Bloggingheads.

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Adam Kirsch At The Prospect: ‘America’s Superman’

Full piece here.

Kirsch reviews a new book:

‘In her new book, American Nietzsche: A History of an Icon and His Ideas, Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen focuses on writers, academics and the clergy, showing that Nietzsche’s influence on American intellectuals has been durable and wide. Everyone from the feminist and birth-control advocate Margaret Sanger on the left to Francis Fukuyama on the right could, Ratner-Rosenhagen shows, could claim the label “Nietzschean.”

Worth a read.  Perhaps he’s having bit of a resurgence in the legal academy as well.

Related On This Site:  See the comments:  Repost-Camille Paglia At Arion: Why Break, Blow, Burn Was Successful…Here’s Nietzsche scholar J.P. Stern on Nietzsche’s anti-Christian, anti-secular morality (Kant, utilitarians), anti-democratic, and anti-Greek (except the “heroic” Greek) biases…

Was the nihilism inherent in his thinking…? Some Quotations From Leo Strauss On Edmund Burke In ‘Natural Right And History’Harry Jaffa At The Claremont Institute: ‘Leo Strauss, the Bible, and Political Philosophy’

Has Fukuyama turned away from Hegel and toward Darwin? Adam Kirsch Reviews Francis Fukuyama’s New Book At The City Journal: ‘The Dawn Of Politics’….

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Via The Afghanistan News Center: ‘Afghan Public Shows Various Reactions On Long-Term Relations With U.S.’

Full piece here.

‘A four-day Loya Jirga or traditional grand assembly, with over 2,300 participants including tribal elders, notables, lawmakers and government functionaries, kicked off in capital city of Kabul on Wednesday and wrapped up on Saturday. 

In a 76-article resolution read-out at the end of the four-day Jirga, the participants expressed their support to ink strategic relationship with the United States, believing it would benefit war-torn Afghanistan in all fields.’

and:

“It is no matter for me if this country has any relations with others but I am thinking how to cope with this price hike. Living cost is very high here and nobody cares about it,” Sakhi went on to say while complaining about the skyrocketing prices of basic foodstuff and fuel as the winter is coming the war-torn country.’

Related On This SiteFrom Foreign Affairs: ‘Q & A With Stephen Biddle On Afghanistan’

From March 27th, 2009 At WhiteHouse.Gov: Remarks By The President On A New Strategy For Afghanistan And PakistanRepost-From Michael Yon: ‘The Battle For Kandahar’Dexter Filkins Book On Afghanistan And Iraq: “The Forever War”Monday Quotations-Henry Kissinger

Repost-’Dexter Filkins In The NY Times: The Long Road To Chaos In Pakistan’

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Via Reuters: ‘Egypt Islamists To Rally Against Planned Army Role’

Full post here

Negotiations have broken down between Islamists, liberals and the government over principles giving the army exclusive authority over its internal affairs and budget.’

Related On This Site:   From The National Interest Via The A & L Daily: ‘Rawls Visits the Pyramids’Francis Fukuyama At The American Interest Online: ‘Political Order in Egypt’

From Abu Muqawama: ‘Mubarak And Me’From Michael Totten: ‘The New Egyptian Underground’Lawrence Wright At The New Yorker: ‘The Man Behind Bin Laden’

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From Strange Maps: ‘Vive Le Tweet! A Map Of Twitter’s Languages’

Full post here.

Maps (similar to Earth at night) of language usage on Twitter.

Related On This Site:  From Strange Maps: The Sweet Tea Line In VirginiaFrom Strange Maps: Do You Say Soda, Pop, or Coke?

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