29 Sep 2014

Economic Fallacies 1 of 4

Economics, Shameless Self-Promotion 16 Comments

I did four guest lectures for Liberty.me back in July/August. Here’s the first one; I don’t know if they eventually will all be made public. They asked me to go through my book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism, which I was happy to do because I haven’t publicly lectured on a lot of these topics. Some of this will be standard fare for most of you, but I imagine I’ll put a spin on certain points you’ve never heard before (unless you read the book, that is).

29 Sep 2014

Harry Reid on ObamaCare Being Just a Step in the Right Direction

Conspiracy, Health Legislation 15 Comments

I know I linked to news reports at the time this interview occurred in the summer of 2013–in which Harry Reid unambiguously says his goal is a single payer system that gets private health insurers out of the picture–but I don’t remember if I ever posted the video of it (which wasn’t available when the story broke). In any event, watch this entire clip, it is quite revealing. It shows that those of us warning that the ACA is a stepping stone to single payer aren’t being “paranoid” as the critics allege.

29 Sep 2014

Science and Religion

Religious 51 Comments

I think I have posted on this before, but repetition never hurt anyone…

I don’t think it actually makes sense to say that God violated the laws of physics. If matter behaved in a certain way that went against what otherwise seemed to be the rule, then the “rule” was wrong. That’s ultimately what it means for there to be a law of Nature. This isn’t my Christian apologist view, this is Richard Feynman in The Character of Physical Law. (Feynman wasn’t talking in the context of God of course.)

So when I think about the miracles of the Bible, I actually think if agnostic scientists from today were alive back then and observed them with their instruments etc., they would say, “Ohhhh, that’s not really a miracle. God wasn’t guiding the wise men to Bethlehem, see, there was a supernova in that galaxy…”

Or consider the plagues that struck Pharaoh and the Egyptians when Moses led the Israelites out of bondage. A bunch of them “fit together.” For example, suppose for some “natural” reason, something happened to make the river get a huge chemical imbalance so that it turned blood red. This then drove all the frogs out of the river, who overran the Egyptian households. Then the disturbance in the ecosystem caused lice and flies to soon follow. They brought disease and killed a bunch of livestock, and gave everybody boils.

Or what about Jonah getting swallowed either by a giant fish or a whale? Here I would think “whale” would be much more likely, and that he could have been in the back of the throat rather than inside the stomach, because I would think somebody would run out of oxygen in there for three days?

So anyway, this is the way I approach these Biblical stories. I think there were definitely “miraculous” things that happened and were described in print, and that this is one way God tells His story. But to me, it is even more of an accomplishment if these miracles occurred while the underlying atoms obeyed what we now think of as the standard laws of physics.

26 Sep 2014

Potpourri

Shameless Self-Promotion 23 Comments

==> I excerpted some of the best parts of Larry Summers’ recent speech arguing for an end to the ban on crude oil exports. There is some new stuff in this one, if you’ve only been reading my posts on the topic.

==> Nick Rowe writes on everything in this post. If I were a tenured academic, I don’t know exactly what I would do with myself, but it would involve more cow bell and more Nick Rowe.

==> Like climate change, Michael Goldstein argues that when it comes to Bitcoin, the risk is in not acting.

==> Daniel McCarthy launches a counterstrike against Sheldon Richman and me regarding liberalism and empire.

26 Sep 2014

Krugman Has Met the Cockroach, And It Is Krugman

Krugman 81 Comments

This is just too funny. Ah, sometimes it’s fun to be an economist.

25 Sep 2014

Two Stories on “Rape Culture”

All Posts 55 Comments

This is another of those posts that I’ll surely regret, but…

==> A few weeks ago the story broke of students who had invented a nail polish that changes colors when exposed to common “date rape” drugs. (The idea is that a woman can stir her drink with her finger and see if her nail changes color.) Feminist groups were critical of the idea, saying that it blames the victim and that instead of teaching women how to avoid getting raped, instead society should be teaching men that rape is unacceptable.

As you can imagine, the people in my social media circles absolutely flipped out about this feminist response.

 

==> Now this story is circulating, about a police officer who gave women the advice that if they want to avoid being raped by police officers at traffic stops, then one tip is to not break traffic laws and get pulled over in the first place.

As you can imagine, the people in my social media circles absolutely flipped out about this police response, saying it blamed the victims and that the real solution here is for cops to stop raping women at traffic stops.

 

==> I am really not being snarky here or even implicitly accusing anyone of hypocrisy. I understand, and agree with, BOTH reactions above (from my social media circles). But I’m not exactly sure why I think the situations are different.

25 Sep 2014

Breakin’ the Law, Breakin’ the Law, Non-Compliant Health Plan Style

Health Legislation 11 Comments

I came across this in my research on the ACA, just FYI for those of you who buy your own health insurance:

[I]n March 2014, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that, through October 1, 2016, state insurance commissioners could permit health insurers to re-enroll individuals and small businesses in existing plans that do not comply with certain market and benefit rules that took effect in 2014, allowing such coverage to continue through September 2017. That announcement extended an action announced in November 2013 that permitted the renewal of noncompliant policies through October 1, 2014 (extending that coverage through September 2015).

25 Sep 2014

Potpourri

Potpourri 18 Comments

==> My colleague Dan Simmons (at IER) on the BBC. I told him he should’ve adopted a Paul McCartney accent.

==> This is an interesting graphic contrasting Keynesian with Austrian economics. (HT2 Tom Woods) I could quibble with a few little points but that would be like objecting to the Hayek/Keynes rap video for not discussing reswitching.

==> How do you guys feel about this “explain Bitcoin like I’m five” piece? (I’m not the author, to clarify.)

==> Jeff Tucker on Bitcoin and Mises’ regression theorem.

==> I’m not positive, but I think Tyler Cowen is saying we’ve been getting “lucky” with various groups not wanting to secede. As Vader might say, “It would be unfortunate if I had to leave a garrison here.”

==> A while ago I had a pretty good line on Facebook asking, “Would people be as terrified if they were the Koch sisters?” Well, someone sent me this.