Two Green Reposts-The Push To Control The Laws And Economy To Satisfy Tenets Of Secular Belief Structures At Potentially Low Yield

15:51 min long:


As posted, a reader sent in two quotes from Henry Hazlitt, libertarian economist:

“The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.


“The first requisite of a sound monetary system is that it put the least possible power over the quantity or quality of money in the hands of the politicians.”

As previously posted:

Full post here.

Well, there you go:

As usual, the chief sticking point at the conference is how much money the rich countries are supposed to give the poor countries as climate change compensation.’


Also, Joel Kotkin has a piece on ‘Obama’s Energy Dilemma:  Back Energy_Fueled Growth or Please Green Lobby’:

‘For Obama, getting behind energy boom presents both enormous opportunities as well a serious political dilemma. In terms of cutting emissions, the rising use of natural gas has been a huge boon, allowing the U.S. to make greater cuts than any other major country over the past four years. Yet, the green lobby, once sympathetic to this relatively clean fuel, has turned decisively against any new gas development.’

As this blog has been trying to argue, it’s often not even Nature we’re dealing with, but a Western set of ideas which are often tied to a collectivist political philosophy and a romanticized vision of Nature which we’ve been importing from certain strands of thought in Europe.  The greens have come front and center under the Obama administration.  Our schools are teaching this stuff as though it were gospel and have been for at least a generation.  Our major media outlets are all looking for the future and progress within this framework. This isn’t to say there are other ideas and concerns that arise from our activities and our choices in Nature, but it is to say that there is a movement afoot in our culture, politics and academics and it’s been building for awhile.  I suspect Nature will be waiting for us, usually beyond such value judgments.

Related On This Site:  Jonathan Adler At The Atlantic: ‘A Conservative’s Approach to Combating Climate Change’ …Ronald Bailey At Reason: ‘Delusional in Durban’A Few Links On Environmentalism And Liberty

From Chris Colose: Lindzen On Climate FeedbackRonald Bailey At Reason: ‘Delusional in Durban’A Few Links On Environmentalism And Liberty

Some Wednesday Links On Free Speech & Ideology, Also Some Cool Photos

Julian Sanchez at CATO@Liberty on the Hobby Lobby reaction:

‘The ruling seems to provoke anger, not because it will result in women having to pay more for birth control (as it won’t), but at least in part because it fails to send the appropriate cultural signal. Or, at any rate, because it allows religious employers to continue sending the wrong cultural signal—disapproval of certain forms of contraception—when sending that signal does not impede the achievement of the government’s ends in any way.’

In lieu of other sources, when the personal becomes political, adherents can derive meaning, identity and purpose from Supreme Court decisions without really even understanding the decisions. This can devolve into a lot of tribal in-group/out-group outrage and identity-marking.

Since the 60’s Left-liberal counter-culture now is the culture in many parts of academia, and higher-ed is larded with a lot of administrative waste, the FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights In Education) is going on the offensive with lawsuits for what it sees as unconstitutional campus speech codes:

They’ve filed four free-speech lawsuits in one day.

From Reason:

‘Lukianoff explained that FIRE would not hesitate to expand the suits until all universities abandon their speech codes, which were ruled unconstitutional decades ago but have endured at more than 50 percent of colleges, according to the foundation’s research.’

If you find yourself sympathetic to religious liberty and/or conservative, limited government principles, broad definitions of free-speech, libertarian definitions of individual liberty and responsibility, or heck, maybe you’re just apolitical but find yourself getting tired of many organizing principles that lead to rather closed, poorer, top-down societies with more incentives for people to often neither think nor act for themselves…this isn’t a bad cause to support, if just with a nod of your head as you sit in front of your screen.

On that note, dear reader. via David Thompson’s excellent blog, here are some photos of the world’s northernmost biggest city, Norilsk, Russia:

It’s like a living game of Tetris.

From CATO: ‘Venezuela Is Spiraling Out Of Control’

Full post here.

This is just sad.

The post-Chavez Maduro government is trying to control whatever in order to keep power and presumably still claim the high moral ground of its unrealizable socialist-populist ideals, having taken over a series of electronics stores:

‘As the economic situation rapidly worsens in Venezuela, the government is growing increasingly authoritarian and is now actively undermining the foundations of the country’s already deteriorated social fabric’

A timeline and a discussion of how soaring inflation is being caused by political factors.

Take it from a bright Venezuelan:

‘Chavez is actually not an orthodox Marxist in the sense that Marx would have recognized (which was why I linked to the sort of Marxist ‘prophecy’ of people like Chavez from the ‘Eighteenth Brumaire’). Chavez is more along the lines of what traditional Marxists referred to as ‘Bonapartist’ (borrowing from the figure of Napoleon Bonaparte). The whole theory on which Chavez based his political life was that the working class (or what passed for it, in a country like Venezuela) *could not* make a revolution on its own, and that someone else (the military and the Socialist Party, led by him) needed to make the revolution for them. ‘

Christopher Hitchens at Slate-Hugo Boss:

‘The boss loves to talk and has clocked up speeches of Castro-like length. Bolívar is the theme of which he never tires. His early uniformed movement of mutineers—which failed to bring off a military coup in 1992—was named for Bolívar.’

Maybe people shouldn’t be getting their political advice from Sean Penn:


Peter Singer discusses Hegel and MarxOn Mario Vargas Llosa-Adam Kirsch At The City Journal: ‘The Dream Of The Peruvian’

Julian Sanchez At CATO: ‘Why The NSA Collecting Your Phone Records Is A Problem’

Full post here.

Julian Sanchez has been following these issues for a while, as his beat is national security, tech, law, and government.  I would classify him as libertarian minded, with liberal/liberaltarian tendencies.  He’s worth following.

Addition:  NSA leaker comes forward.  Edward Snowden is interviewed below by Glenn Greenwald, on what he thinks is in the public interest to know about what he saw begun as a narrowly tailored approach becoming broader with regard to data collection and filtration.  Seems like the kind of thing worth kicking back into the public square.  For a man potentially risking his life, and potentially standing on principle to do so, it seems worthwhile to hear him out:

An idealist?  Is there a backstory?

Another addition:  As others have pointed out, Snowden (and Greenwald, to some extent) are likely upset with the current administration and the NSA from the Left, which has joined with the discontent of the Right.  It’s quite an achievement.  All we need now is Noam Chomsky and Pat Buchannan giving a joint press conference.

Occupy! and the Tea Party meet again, to some extent.

Another:  Justin Amash wants to debate Obama on the issue.  If you act irresponsibly online, you can expect some entity to grow out of/contain that behavior.



‘This collection is probably well enough intentioned. The problem is that these records are likely to be retained in databases indefinitely. Which means we don’t just need to worry about whether the government’s motives are pure when they collect the information. Even if they are, someone with access to that data, maybe in five or ten years, may be unable to resist the temptation to use that information for other purposes. That could mean investigating ordinary crimes: If you can data mine for suspicious terrorist activity patterns—which as Jim Harper and Jeff Jonas have pointed out is likely to be extremely difficult—you can plug in “suspicious patterns” that may identify drug dealers and tax cheats as well. Still more disturbing is the possibility that, the intelligence community has repeatedly done historically, those records could be exploited for illegitimate political purposes, or even simple greed. (Imagine probing communications for signs of an impending corporate merger, product launch, or lawsuit.)’

Much of the law hasn’t caught up, and is often behind, the tech revolution, and how people and institutions are using technology in our daily lives.  Genetic information, drones for domestic and theater of war purposes, medical records, search engine history, digital fingerprints etc. are all changing the face of what’s possible.

Maybe libertarian Arnold Kling’s formulation could help illuminate some of the political/philosophical interests, which I’ve copied/pasted from elsewhere:

‘Conservatives use a civilization vs barbarism axis.

Libertarians use a coercion vs freedom axis.

Liberals use an oppression axis to view the world – oppressed vs oppressor.’

On the Kling model, I’m with conservatives insofar as they are most able to recognize that we are in a frontless war with the practitioners of a global, pan-Arab religious ideology.  No, not everyone outside the gates is a barbarian, but some of our current enemies are acting enough like it.  They thrive on violence and push for a totalitarian, impossibly ideal, narrow, anti-modern, anti-Western Islamic resurgence. Some people are planning to kill us as I type this, despite their diffuse nature and the low probability/high consequences of an attack.  Our response has required varying levels of conflict, intelligence, and engagement in order to protect ourselves so far.  Some basic trust is necessary for those in power given to discharge their duties on the people’s behalf to conduct our business.

Addition:  It’s not just the narrow focus of Islamic terrorism, but a global network of espionage, State and non-State cyberwarfare and security following Moore’s law.  What still separates us from most other governments is a government working for the people, even if that may compromise us in the data race.  These are deep and complex issues.

I’m with libertarians insofar as we do not want to cede too much power and authority to our government in order to prosecute this war, because yesterday’s rules become today’s furniture and incentives of governance.  Power really can and does corrupt, and we’ve got to get the incentives right for our own leaders and for our own selves as citizens, especially with the big data race going on.  I think most Americans are more psychologically able to handle this reality since 9/11, but it’s questionable as to how well our security complexes are handling our business.

I can find common ground with liberals on civil liberties issues, but I’m generally against Leftism, progressivism and its discontents.  Such ideologies bend our institutions to impossible ideals, and get our security, human nature and the incentives very wrong in my opinion.  I don’t want to see multiculturalism, nor the ‘isms’ of the Left have too much direct political influence because I think they’ve led to many of the failure of European immigration/governance, for starters.

Given our President’s ideological interests and political bedfellows, do you trust him with this power?  What about the next guy who comes along, and the one after that?:


Related On This SiteFrom CATO@Liberty: Julian Sanchez On ‘Wikileads And Economies Of Repression’

Big Data And Filthy Lucre: Neil Irwin At WonkBlog-’Here’s What The Bloomberg Data Scandal Reveals About How The Media Really Makes Money’

Repost: Trevor Butterworth At Forbes Via The A & L Daily: ‘Beware The Internet As Liberation Theology’

Martha Nussbaum wants to steer the moral thinking behind the laws away from religion, and was influenced by John Rawls:  From The Reason Archives: ‘Discussing Disgust’ Julian Sanchez Interviews Martha Nussbaum.

From George Will on Stephen Colbert:  “What conservatives say is that we will protect you against idealism.” Originalism vs. The living constitution: George Will Via The Jewish World Review: ‘True Self-Government’.

Monday Quotation From Charles Kesler And A Few Thoughts on Conservatism

From CATO@Liberty: ‘The Obama Administration’s Health Care Taxes: An Update’

Full post here.

It’s still not clear which states are going to set up the insurance exchanges, and which will not, and how the government will respond.

‘There have been several developments with respect to the Obama administration’s attempt to impose the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s employer-mandate penalties and individual-mandate penalties where it has no authority to do so.’

I still think it’s entirely reasonable to say that some people have wanted such a law for years, and they cobbled something together and passed it in haste as Obamacare, with no one, not even the authors knowing entirely what’s in it and what it means for people, employers, hospitals and government employees.

I still think the goal is to get to single-payer.  Health-care is too important to be left to the market will be the refrain, with many still arguing that it’s a right, and rights need to be secured by government.

Addition:  What is the role for government in health-care?

Related On This Site: From The New England Journal Of Medicine Via CATO: ‘The Constitutionality of the Individual Mandate’From If-Then Knots: Health Care Is Not A Right…But Then Neither Is Property?… From The New Yorker: Atul Gawande On Health Care-”The Cost Conundrum”Sally Pipes At Forbes: ‘A Plan That Leads Health Care To Nowhere’From AEI: ‘Study: ‘Obama Healthcare Reform Raising Costs, Forcing Workers Out Of Existing Plans’

Repost-Via Youtube: ‘Cato Senior Fellow Jerry Taylor on Green Economies and Renewable Energy (02/09/11)’

15:51 min long:


As posted, a reader sent in two quotes from Henry Hazlitt, libertarian economist:

“The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.”


“The first requisite of a sound monetary system is that it put the least possible power over the quantity or quality of money in the hands of the politicians.”

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From Volokh: ‘Koch v. Cato — A Statement from Charles Koch’

Full post here.

CATO and The Koch brothers are in a struggle for control of the CATO institute, and Volokh poses some questions he thinks should be answered.  A commenter replies in character.  Some high drama.

Related On This Site:  The anarchic tradition:  A Few Thoughts On Robert Nozick’s “Anarchy, State and Utopia”… Two Sunday Quotations By Albert Jay Nock in ‘Anarchist’s Progress’Via Youtube: (1 of 3) Kant, Chomsky and the Problem of KnowledgeLink To Lew Rockwell Via A Reader.

The classical liberal tradition…looking for classical liberals in the postmodern wilderness: Isaiah Berlin’s negative liberty: A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”… From George Monbiot: ‘How Freedom Became Tyranny’…Looking to supplant religion as moral source for the laws: From The Reason Archives: ‘Discussing Disgust’ Julian Sanchez Interviews Martha Nussbaum.New liberty away from Hobbes?: From Public Reason: A Discussion Of Gerald Gaus’s Book ‘The Order of Public Reason: A Theory of Freedom And Morality In A Diverse And Bounded World’…Richard Rorty tried to tie postmodernism and trendy leftist solidarity to liberalism, but wasn’t exactly classically liberal:  Repost: Another Take On J.S. Mill From “Liberal England”

More liberal mischaracterizations of libertarianism:  From Slate: ‘The Liberty Scam-Why Even Robert Nozick, The Philosophical Father Of Libertarianism, Gave Up On The Movement He Inspired.’From The Boston Review: ‘Libertarianism And Liberty: How Not To Argue For Limited Government And Lower Taxes’

Covering the law and economics from a libertarian perspective: Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution Journal: ‘Three Cheers for Income Inequality’Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution: ‘Death By Wealth Tax’

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From CATO@Liberty: ‘People Think Of Something As Their Business When It Is Their Business’

Full post here.

Cato riffs on a Bill Gates interview at the Wall Street Journal, regarding education.

‘Why? Because, as Bill Gates correctly observes, hardly anyone thinks of education as their business. And how do you get masses of brilliant entrepreneurs to think of education as their business? You make it easy for them to make it their business.’

I think it’s going too far, trying to apply libertarian economics onto education, but Milton Friedman on Education is thought-provoking.

Also On This Site:  From Reason.Tv: ‘NBC’s Education Summit-Joe Trippi, Michelle Rhee & More’From The Washington Post: ‘D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee To Announce Resignation Wednesday’

Michelle Rhee At Newsweek: “What I’ve Learned”Repost-’Too Much “Quality Control” In Universities?’

Robert Samuelson Via Real Clear Politics: ‘Why School Reform Fails’From The Bellevue Reporter-Walter Backstrom’s: ‘Educational Progress And The Liberal Plantation’

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