18 Mar 2014


Potpourri 26 Comments

==> Where’s the right’s Daily Show? (HT2 Danny Sanchez) But we must work within the system, rather than seeking third comedies. If we can just install good writers at the Daily Show… (Yes I’m trolling myself. I’m the only one at this point who appreciates my jokes.)

==> George Leef addresses the claim that Austrian Economics is responsible for DC gridlock.

==> Stephanie Murphy [sic, they misspelled her name] makes an analogy with email to give Bitcoin basics for beginners.

==> Steve Landsburg talks about pi. I think Steve would have gone into pure math, except it offered little opportunity for outraging feminists.

==> Speaking of economists outraging feminists, Nick Rowe points out the logical possibility that the overrepresentation of men in the hard sciences is due to anti-man discrimination in the humanities.

==> Speaking of outraging everyone, Jeff Tucker coins a new term: libertarian brutalism. For sure, I have realized (especially since joining Facebook) that there are people who ostensibly share the same ideology as me, but whose worldview is immensely different. Jeff’s brutalism/humanitarian distinction is intriguing, and that might explain some of what I have noticed, but I might put the dividing line differently: There are some people who see a news story about the U.S. military bombing a village in Pakistan and think, “Oh my gosh, they just killed a bunch of kids, that’s awful.” There are others who see the same story and think, “Oh my gosh, my taxes–either current or in the future–are paying for that, and it’s not even protecting me from Pakistani terrorists. That’s outrageous.”

==> Finally, in a perfect world with clones of Bob running around, one of them would carefully respond to Daniel Kuehn. But I don’t think I’m going to get around to doing it, so let me at least link to his post, where he says I’m nuts for claiming that Krugman “rewrote history” regarding Krugman’s view of the 2009 Obama team’s economic forecast. I definitely should have worded my claim differently. It’s not that I am claiming a contradiction between Krugman in 2009 and Krugman in 2014, rather I am claiming a Kontradiction between Krugman in 2009 and Krugman in 2009. In any event, Daniel certainly did a good job to point out the prima facie problem with my claim, as published. I mildly defended myself in the comments, if you want to get a hint of how my clone would provide a more robust response.

26 Responses to “Potpourri”

  1. Hank says:

    The creators of South Park are libertarians. Also, I wouldn’t say the Daily Show is exactly anti-libertarian. Jon Stewart said he has libertarian leanings.

    • Andrew' says:

      I’m not worried about this part. The left, as we’ve seen, relies solely on group think and middle school understanding of science and history. Just about every libertarian would flay their counter-party alive.

  2. Hank says:

    When people say there is Gridlock in Washington, I think its safe to interpret it as a spoiled child not getting their candy. The purpose of Washington is to serve as a forum where people gather to request free stuff.
    “Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.” – Mencken

    I think Tucker’s sentiment can be addressed by the lack of explanation from libertarians. Libertarians should do better to communicate that their position is the moral position. They should focus on long-term prosperity and point out that many current policies benefit society in the short term at the cost of the long term.

    • Gamble says:

      Libertarians should also point out the individual freedom and choice are priceless. Without these we are nothing but mindless puppets. Serfs. Robots. Collective bees.

  3. Daniel Kuehn says:

    When cloning technology becomes cheap and widely accessible I expect you to make good on this post.

    One of mine will be dedicated to full-time karaoke practicing so I can defeat you in efforts of true import.

  4. Matt M (Dude Where's My Freedom) says:

    There was a sketch comedy show on Glenn Beck’s network called “The BS of A” that mostly poked fun at liberals. Very cheap and production values quite low, but I enjoyed it quite a bit. They started getting less and less neo-conish and targeting more general concepts and then got cancelled with no explanation. Too bad.

  5. Ken B says:

    I like Tucker’s piece. My own term is “I’m alright Jack Libertarian.” This might be a bit broader than what I think Tucker means, but the idea is similar. Rothbard, Caplan, some of the regulars here.

    • Ken B says:

      “Brutalism rejects subtlety and finds no exceptions of circumstance to its universal theory. The theory applies regardless of time, place, or culture. There can be no room for modification or even discovery of new information that might change the way the theory is applied. Brutalism is a closed system of thought in which all relevant information is already known, and the manner in which the theory is applied is presumed to be a given part of the theoretical apparatus. Even difficult areas such as family law, criminal restitution, rights in ideas, liability for trespass, and other areas subject to case-by-case juridical tradition become part of an a priori apparatus that admits no exceptions or emendations.”

      Am I the only one to see the irony here?

  6. Andrew' says:

    A Democrat extrapolating a Republican on the drone killings and…


    Leave me out of this clusterbomb cluster @#$!

    Actually, they use anti-tank missiles.

    So, which part of the fact that I have no control over these clowns implicates me in their brutalization of Pakistanis or their victimization of my family?

  7. guest says:


    Not only are you not sending “things” in emails or bitcoins, but you’re not actually “sending” anything, either.

    Computers don’t “send” things. They react to electrical stimuli and then, using the hardware already available (not sent to it), they configure their already existing output devices in such a way as was meaningful to the manufacturer.

    There are plenty of assumptions made by the manufacturers of of devices that participate in a network. For example, the manufacturer of a router assumes that the things that go into the nework cable ports react a certain way.

    It’s like knocking down dominoes. The setup of the dominoes are only meaningful to the people who set them up. The dominoes don’t “send” anything.

    • Tel says:

      Actually, you can’t send any signal without sending energy and thanks to Einstein we know that energy is a “thing” and for that matter things are energy. So yeah your email is physical.

      Even the storage in terms of magnetic domains requires energy (energy is “lost” during the creation of any PM field, and then “lost” again any time you want to flip that field over.

  8. Matt M (Dude Where's My Freedom) says:

    Regarding Tucker, I think he’s trying to follow the Gary Johnson path of “maximum inclusiveness.” He’s trying to win over the hearts and minds of America’s youth. And he notices that America’s youth is overwhelmingly obsessed over anything that can be crouched in terms of “equality” or “social justice” or what have you (gay marriage being the most easily identifiable issue). So he wants libertarians to focus entirely on how libertarianism is compatible with those noble ideals, how it’s inclusive, how it promotes equality better than the state ever could, etc.

    And he’s not wrong about those things. But at the same time, it can come across as a little too compromising. Almost like he’s afraid to stand up in a crowd of teenagers and say, “Why yes, bakers SHOULD have the right to refuse service to gays if they so desire,” because he knows that’s an unpopular position. It’s tough to sell that to young people, who are typically coming from the left rather than the right. And those of us who don’t play by his rules and make those arguments anyway are “damaging” the progress he’s trying to make.

    He can come up with whatever fancy term for it he wants. I, for one, won’t compromise. I’ll continue to protect the right of racists to say racist things, and of homophobes to kick gays out of their businesses. I don’t agree with those actions, but I won’t violate the non-aggression principle over a disagreement with personal behavior.

    • Scott D says:

      Libertarians need to be smarter about recognizing and deflecting rhetoric. Go watch my favorite liberal jerk Sam Seder if you’d like to see someone who is masterful at this tactic. Say what you said in your last paragraph and he would either not allow you to speak any further to explain yourself, or would make you answer more questions framed in such a way as to make you look like even worse in the eyes of his audience.

      If Mr. Seder asked me, “Should bakers be able to refuse service to gays?” I would fire back with, “What is it you are really trying to ask? Because if you want to know whether I approve of businesses refusing service to people because they are gay, then the answer is ‘no’.” That defuses the immediate thrust of his non-argument of trying to paint me as a homophobe. What you say next is equally important, however. If I were to say, “I think businesses should be able to refuse service to anyone for any reason,” Sam is going to use that in a “clever” way to restate his first question, probably with a “just answer ‘yes’ or ‘no'”. We state that we want everyone to have freedom, but he’s going to make it look like a reductio ad absurdum where we fail to acknowledge that that “freedom” of the gay customer to be treated fairly is being infringed.

      Instead, try to get to the heart of what libertarians actually object to. We aren’t in favor of unequal treatment, but we are against the use of illegitimate force. So instead, I would say, “So, with the understanding that I disapprove of discrimination, I think that it is wrong to fine or jail people for failing to meet my moral expectations about how they conduct their business.” Now you have the liberal jerk on the defensive. You are saying, “I agree that people shouldn’t do this”, while making it clear that your objection is actually over whether it is the government’s business to respond with force.

  9. Andrew' says:

    Your jokes are fine.

    Women aren’t in the “hard” sciences because they don’t want to be. You have to resort to second-order non-sequiturs like “they don’t see any role models.” How many engineers of my persuasion do you think I knew before going to school where a dude of my shade and genitalia can qualify for no scholarships? None. I said “what is the hardest things you offer?” and I took it. Chicks usually aren’t that nuts and they aren’t usually interested in the subject even if they are interested in the rewards. Good luck with that part.

    • Andrew' says:

      I’m not finished. I’m not a chick, but this strikes me as so dumb. I was just thinking that I played basketball in high school (not for long). Exactly how far do you think the “role models” thing got me? I HAD to play basketball, no matter how dumb a use of my talents that turned out to be…and then it wasn’t worth it. Chicks are fine. Be doctors or something.

    • Harold says:

      I particularly like the use if the word “chick” in a comment about gender equality. I suspect that lots of women would also say they were “not a chick”. I guess it was intended as ironic humour?

      There is of course truth in the post. Gender stereotypes restrict choices by channelling different genders into different activities. This is harmful to men and women. Why are there few male netball payers? Because netball is a hostile environment for males. The arts are subtly discouraged and the sciences subtly encouraged for boys. The opposite for girls. This restricts boys as well as girls. Lots of boys may have been better off taking subjects that were considered a bit “poofy”. You asked “what is the hardest things you offer?” and took it. Do you think there was anything of gender stereotyping in your upbringing that encouraged you to take that approach and discouraged girls? I am not criticising anyone in your upbringing, as such a thing is impossible to avoid in current society.

      • Andrew' says:

        “Gender stereotypes restrict choices by channelling different genders into different activities.”

        Yeah, the point was, they don’t.

        And to the rest of your comment: no.

        • Andrew' says:

          I know you aren’t these people, but I have a boy and a girl.

          We don’t push gender on them at all, and they are boy and girl, unmistakably.

          So, if I had listented to the people who make statements similar to what you are saying, my proposal is that I should get to punch those people in the nose forever.

          They are like the people who say “don’t kid yourself, babies are sexual creatures.” My kids have never even questioned why we wear clothes. The have as much interest in their genitals as…well, almost zero. I should get to punch those people in the face forever.

          • Andrew' says:

            One reason as that those people will never believe me. My wife wore jeans as a toddler. My girl wants to go shopping and pick out dresses.

            Now, the people I should get to punch forever will say some combination of “you are doing it subliminally” or “she sees the stereotypes at daycare.” They are wrong of course, for one thing she dresses far more girly than anyone she ever sees- by HER choice- at our extreme expense (it is very frustrating trying to please her desire for clothes)- from a very non-girly family- but they specialize in the unfalsifiable. Thus, I get to punch them in the face forever.

            • Andrew' says:

              I should add, they shouldn’t take it too personally, there are a lot of people I should get to punch in the face forever.

            • Harold says:

              I am not denying differences between boys and girls. There are differences in every other mammal, so we should assume differences in humans too unless we have evidence against it, which we do not have.

              However, there is plenty of evidence that people treat what they think are baby girls and baby boys differently. There is very strong evidence that this continues through childhood.

              If you believe that cumulative effect of this different treatment has no effect I think you are being blind. Similar to those people who believe that advertising has no effect on them.

              I don’t see why you should get to punch anybody in the face forever when you have offered no evidence to support your position except “we don’t push gender on them at all”, which is subjective, anecdotal and even if true is not conclusive anyway.

              • Matt M (Dude Where's My Freedom) says:

                Perhaps the effects are beneficial for both genders.

              • Harold says:

                “Perhaps the effects are beneficial for both genders.”

                I think the basis for these behaviours has been successful for reproduction. What has been reproductively successful in the past is not necessarily successful now, nor should we be bound by that as a goal.

                I think it unlikely that these effects are beneficial to both genders if our goal is for a fulfilled life for everyone.

                Restrictions on women have often been couched as beneficial to them – their brains or wombs would overheat etc.

  10. Major_Freedom says:

    Finally! A pure hypothetical logic puzzle from Rowe that I believe has sufficient real world applicability.

    Much better than the “Suppose by magic such and such…”

    • Enopoletus Harding says:

      I don’t think it’s very good. There’s no logical necessity that women being over-represented in the humanities leads to women being under-represented in the hard sciences.

      • Harold says:

        It is a mathematical consequence of the way he set it up. Everybody must be in one quadrant. All women must be in either “sciences” or “arts” so if there are more in one there are less in the other.

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