25 Jun 2016

Jobs That Murphy Doesn’t Want to Do Himself

Brexit 8 Comments

No, I’m not talking about open borders. Instead I’m talking about this absurd WaPo article on how dumb those British #Brexit supporters were. You’ll notice:

  1. They don’t try to show whether most of the Google searches could have been done by non-voters. (I’m not saying this is true; David R. Henderson has some thoughts.) But the WaPo piece didn’t bother to even establish that link in the argument.
  2. They don’t discuss the possibility that the Remain voters might be totally ignorant and doing the searches, even though they were 48% of the total voters.
  3. They cite ONE PERSON who says she regrets voting for exit.
  4. They pepper the article with links to related analyses, making sure you don’t think this outcome is in any way a validation of Trump.

So here’s what I’d like from you guys: See how many “ironic” Google search histories you can find, that would make the anti-Brexit people uncomfortable. For example, was there a surge in “Who is Barack Obama?” after he won the first election, or “Who is Hillary Clinton?” after she bragged about being the first female candidate in a major party, or “Who is Ali?” after he died, etc., or “What is Prop. ___?” for a state-level referendum that progressives loved the outcome of, etc.

But please also provide the screenshot of the Google spike (and a link) so I can mimic the people who are mocking those Neanderthal British voters. (I don’t see such an image in the WaPo article, but they are floating around Facebook.)

Whoever I deem as the best contributor to this post, I will PayPal you $25–You know, a little something for the effort.

Happy hunting!

P.S. If you guys find anything really funny, I will use it in one or more columns I’m writing on Brexit. But to warn you, depending on the outlet, it might not sound right for me to directly credit you.

25 Jun 2016

Mises Defeats the Robot Overlords

Economics, Shameless Self-Promotion 13 Comments

My latest FEE article responds to Scott Alexander’s intriguing (but baseless, I think) worries:

Yet these are mere quibbles. The real difficulty is that Alexander has implicitly assumed that the mines of iron ore (that’s how you make steel) are either unowned, or are owned by one of the two operations in the loop. There’s no danger of “out of control” robots creating trillions of copies of themselves without human approval, if the humans own the raw materials.

Finally, even if the robots could somehow multiply by only manipulating matter already within their legal control, the problem here would be one of ill-defined property rights. If it would bother humans to know that the solar system is filling up with robots, then assigning property rights to the various segments of space would be the solution.

In this context, Alexander’s worries about an “ascended economy” have nothing to do with private enterprise, and instead are analogous to someone worried about overgrazing cattle on public lands.

21 Jun 2016

Murphy vs. Vox Day on Free Trade

Tom Woods, Trade 53 Comments

I don’t regret anything I said in this debate, but I don’t think we had time to really tackle some of Vox’s more fundamental worries. I can understand why a Vox Day fan would not have changed his mind after listening to this.

Anyway, I know you guys are always gentle with me in the comments…

21 Jun 2016

Bob and Tom Talk Brexit

Contra Krugman 9 Comments

I really liked this episode of Contra Krugman. We give some good learnin’, and I deliver one of the most brutal zingers to Tom in recent memory. (And don’t stop it near the end when you think we’re just doing wrap-up boilerplate; we have some good jokes about the cruise.)

19 Jun 2016

Matthew Henry on Exodus 1

Religious 1 Comment

From Matthew Henry’s Full commentary, on Exodus chapter 1. We were covering this tonight during my Bible study session, and I thought the analysis was very insightful. Sometimes it’s easier to see the obvious (and evil) motives of political rulers, when it’s ancient history.

(Note that because the excerpt is so big, I won’t change the formatting.)

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III. The method they took to suppress them, and check their growth, v. 11, 13, 14. The Israelites behaved themselves so peaceably and inoffensively that they could not find any occasion of making war upon them, and weakening them by that means: and therefore, 1. They took care to keep them poor, by charging them with heavy taxes, which, some think, is included in the burdens with which they afflicted them. 2. By this means they took an effectual course to make them slaves. The Israelites, it should seem, were much more industrious laborious people than the Egyptians, and therefore Pharaoh took care to find them work, both in building (they built him treasure-cities), and in husbandry, even all manner of service in the field: and this was exacted from them with the utmost rigour and severity. Here are many expressions used, to affect us with the condition of God’s people. They had taskmasters set over them, who were directed, not only to burden them, but, as much as might be, to afflict them with their burdens, and contrive how to make them grievous. They not only made them serve, which was sufficient for Pharaoh’s profit, but they made them serve with rigour, so that their lives became bitter to them, intending hereby, (1.) To break their spirits, and rob them of every thing in them that was ingenuous and generous. (2.) To ruin their health and shorten their days, and so diminish their numbers. (3.) To discourage them from marrying, since their children would be born to slavery. (4.) To oblige them to desert the Hebrews, and incorporate themselves with the Egyptians. Thus he hoped to cut off the name of Israel, that it might be no more in remembrance. And it is to be feared that the oppression they were under had this bad effect upon them, that it brought over many of them to join with the Egyptians in their idolatrous worship; for we read (Jos. 24:14) that they served other gods in Egypt; and, though it is not mentioned here in this history, yet we find (Eze. 20:8) that God had threatened to destroy them for it, even while they were in the land of Egypt: however, they were kept a distinct body, unmingled with the Egyptians, and by their other customs separated from them, which was the Lord’s doing, and marvellous.

I. The midwives were commanded to murder them. Observe, 1. The orders given them, v. 15, 16. It added much to the barbarity of the intended executions that the midwives were appointed to be the executioners; for it was to make them, not only bloody, but perfidious, and to oblige them to betray a trust, and to destroy those whom they undertook to save and help. Could he think that their sex would admit such cruelty, and their employment such base treachery? Note, Those who are themselves barbarous think to find, or make, others as barbarous. Pharaoh’s project was secretly to engage the midwives to stifle the men-children as soon as they were born, and then to lay it upon the difficulty of the birth, or some mischance common in that case, Job 3:11. The two midwives he tampered with in order hereunto are here named; and perhaps, at this time, which was above eighty years before their going out of Egypt, those two might suffice for all the Hebrew women, at least so many of them as lay near the court, as it is plain by ch. 2:5, 6, many of them did, and of them he was most jealous. They are called Hebrew midwives, probably not because they were themselves Hebrews (for surely Pharaoh could never expect they should be so barbarous to those of their own nation), but because they were generally made use of by the Hebrews; and, being Egyptians, he hoped to prevail with them. 2. Their pious disobedience to this impious command, v. 17. They feared God, regarded his law, and dreaded his wrath more than Pharaoh’s and therefore saved the men-children alive. Note, If men’s commands be any way contrary to the commands of God, we must obey God and not man, Acts 4:19; v. 29. No power on earth can warrant us, much less oblige us, to sin against God, our chief Lord. Again, Where the fear of God rules in the heart, it will preserve it from the snare which the inordinate fear of man brings.

18 Jun 2016

Engelhardt Reviews *Choice*

*Choice*, Shameless Self-Promotion No Comments

Lucas writes a very nice review of my book in the latest QJAE.

If you want to learn more about (or order) the book, go here.

17 Jun 2016

Murphy Review of Sumner

Scott Sumner, Shameless Self-Promotion 23 Comments

My review of Scott’s book, The Midas Paradox, in the latest QJAE.

17 Jun 2016

Debate Starting Shortly

All Posts 14 Comments

I’m debating Vox Day on free trade, moderated by Tom Woods. We start at 7:30pm Eastern. Details here. Tom is also going to run this on his show at some point.