30 Jan 2017

An Invitation for the Topic: “How Should Libertarians Conduct Themselves As Progressives Freak Out Over Trump?”

Trump 36 Comments

I am going to be discussing this issue on a podcast, and I’m trying to collect my thoughts beforehand. Do not be fooled by my steady resolve and iron will; I take outside complaints seriously on such important things. In particular, I have been thinking about a post from Radley Balko in which he says something along the lines of, “Yes, progressives ignored Obama when he violated civil liberties and engaged in foreign aggression. But the clear and present danger now is Trump and his policies, and we should applaud those who are now speaking out–not mocking them for their hypocrisy.” (That’s just a very loose paraphrase from memory; I give two more recent tweets for a concrete reference.)

balko

On the other hand, I have to also agree wholeheartedly with Kevin D. Williamson at National Review when he writes:

You’ll remember “whatabout-ism,” which was the Democratic talking point of the day a few weeks back. And they’d have a point if the argument were: “It is acceptable for President Trump to do things that are wrong, illegal, or unconstitutional, because President Obama did those things, too, or similar things.” But that isn’t the argument at all. The argument is: Democrats are fundamentally unserious, opportunistic, and dishonest in their assessment of what is happening…

Anyway, I’m bouncing all of this around in my mind until the podcast taping. Feel free to chime in.

28 Jan 2017

Potpourri

Potpourri 10 Comments

==> The alert von Pepe sends me this Peter Boettke post relaying Samuelson, who claimed that Mises would’ve won a Nobel had it been offered early enough. Very interesting.

==> Now that Trump is doing genuinely alarming things, I will be able to join in the opposition on some of his policies. But I have to tell you, it’s hard to get calibrated, because so much of the hysteria leading up till now was wildly exaggerated. For example, look at this headline, compared to the actual position Pence articulates in the article.

==> I had to look this up for an essay I was writing. It’s hilarious. Check out this 2012 CNN story about Secretary of State Clinton criticizing the Russian elections. This is the kind of thing that RT did to the US a few years later, which was evidence in the recent intel report of how Putin was interfering with our elections.

26 Jan 2017

Free to Exchange: Salter and Luther on Financial Regulation and Bitcoin

Bitcoin, Economics 4 Comments

Ben Powell hosts a local public access TV show, but he was out of town so let the inmates run the asylum.

25 Jan 2017

Tom and I Assess the Obama Legacy

Contra Krugman 2 Comments

Tom and I break all the rules by deviating from Krugman’s column, and talk about the 8 Obama years. Not pretty.

Special announcement: Defying all the bookmakers’ odds, we are hosting a 2017 Contra Cruise!

22 Jan 2017

Jesus Is Many Things to Many People

Religious 33 Comments

I’m sorry for the slim pickings lately for Sunday posts. I keep thinking I’ll do some great stuff on Sunday afternoons and then I get sidetracked by other things.

I went to church today to an Episcopalian service (long story) and everybody was in mourning about Trump. Several of the people had gone to Austin the day before to participate in the Women’s March. It was fascinating because the stereotype is that Southern Christians would be pro-Trump.

However, the more I listened, the more I understood the distinction. These people were definitely followers of Christ. But they stressed His compassion, mercy, and healing, and wanted to do the same in this broken world.

In contrast, the more well-known variant of Christians who get into US politics are also followers of Christ. But they stress the fact that He is the only door to the Father, and they often remind people that He is returning with a flaming* sword of truth coming from His mouth to judge the world.

What’s interesting is that both groups are right. I read a book Joshua when I was younger, in which Jesus came back (but the people didn’t realize it was Him). In one part he built two statues for two churches. One statue was of a bold powerful Jesus, while the other was meek. The congregations didn’t like the statue Joshua had built for each, and they switched. They wanted to continue in their comfortable focus on just some of Jesus’ qualities.

(Before angry Catholics bite my head off in the comments: Yes the book was apparently written by a heterodox Catholic priest and so you can draw whatever conclusions you wish. I’m not endorsing the book, I just remember that part of it and thought it was neat when I was a kid.)

* I have always pictured the sword flaming that is coming out of Jesus’ mouth. Do I have any reason to think that? It doesn’t say that explicitly in the Revelation passage. Am I just getting confused with the flaming sword guarding the Garden of Eden?

20 Jan 2017

Potpourri

Potpourri 11 Comments

==> The IER team (including me) respond to Obama’s article in Science.

==> A proposed Bill of Children’s Rights in California.

==> Steve Landsburg writes a touching reflection on McCloskey as a teacher at Chicago. I nitpick in the comments.

==> Bryan Caplan makes a great point about the California grocery bag rule: It’s not a tax, it’s a price floor. Textbook economics ensues.

==> Just put this Tucker Carlson interview on in the background. It gets hilarious as it unfolds. (It’s also important because I think some of you in the comments a few days ago were pointing to this group of “Demand Protesters” as evidence of some point you were making, but it turns out to be a hoax.)

19 Jan 2017

It’s Almost Like PolitiFact Is Biased

Conspiracy 20 Comments

Check out these two PolitiFact items and tell me what you guys think about the scoring.

==> This one on Trump on Obama.

==> This one on Rand Paul on ObamaCare.

19 Jan 2017

My Talk at the Heartland Institute

Mises, Shameless Self-Promotion 7 Comments

The sound was messed up (for the streaming, not the audience) in the beginning, so you miss my jokes. This is why you should always come hear me live. Anyway, I summarize some of Mises’ contributions, and then there’s a lengthy Q&A.