06 Apr 2015


All Posts, Potpourri 20 Comments

==> This John Oliver interview with Snowden is pretty good (though naughty words of course). But if you’re pressed for time, just watch starting at 12:15 to see how the U.S. media ranks priorities. Sounds like a parody.

==> All it took was a simple ballistics test to get this guy off death row. So naturally he was in prison for 28 years.

==> China lobbying US to incorporate yuan into IMF reserve assets.

==> Don’t think I linked this from here yet? Tom Woods talking about Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The part about conservatives running and crying to their mommies is hilarious. (BTW, in line with my earlier distinction, listen to this Neil Cavuto interview starting at 2:15. Obviously this lady should not be applying for a job as press secretary anytime soon, but it is totally false to be describing them as a pizza shop that wants to hang up a sign saying, “No gays.”)

==> While you’re at it, try Tom Woods interviewing Alex Tabarrok on private cities.

20 Responses to “Potpourri”

  1. Bob Roddis says:

    I totally support Tom Woods’ emphasis on private property as the solution to all conflicts. One might think that gays could appreciate the benefits that self ownership and private property would have for them in places like Saudi Arabia. One might also think that social conservatives would understand how private property solves the drug problem and that the undermining of private property rights by way of the drug war might someday backfire upon them.

    I also restate my belief that all debates with Keynesians and funny money supporters of all stripes should begin with a demand for them to identify the failure of private property which requires the extraordinary “solutions” that they propose.

  2. E. Harding says:

    Lesson everyone should have long learned: never do anything online or on the phone that you wouldn’t reveal to the general public (unless you’re required to do so by outside circumstances).

  3. trent steele says:

    “When you think you are high and mighty and you are above the law, you don’t have to answer to nobody. But I got news for them, everybody who played a part in sending me to death row, you will answer to God,” Hinton said.

    Dr. Murphy, how do you feel about this quote? It seems to me that, especially based on your most recent posts re: God and his omniscience and plan, no one involved should be the least bit worried about how God will judge them over this, because it was always part of his plan to have Hinton suffer at the hands of his false accusers. Am I understanding you correctly, that Hinton is misguided and doesn’t understand that God intended him to be “wrongly” convicted, and that the “bad guys” in this story were merely God’s unwitting agents to bring his suffering about?

    • trent steele says:

      Added: I hope my comment doesn’t seem like a “gotcha.” I respect your intelligence and am genuinely interested in what you think/how you square this. I spent an hour talking about a deterministic universe (whether God’s or the Big Bang’s) with my wife today because of it.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Trent here are some quick reactions to your question:

      ==> People are responsible for their sins; they have free will. If someone chooses to do something evil, he is responsible for it.

      ==> Everything that happens is consistent with God’s will.

      ==> Yes the above two points are hard to reconcile; I have offered my views elsewhere. Quick statement is that God knows how everyone will freely act in every possible circumstance and designs the universe accordingly. (For an analogy, Anakin Skywalker really *did* choose to embrace the Dark Side. George Lucas didn’t “make him do it” and thus absolve Anakin of moral responsibility in the Star Wars universe. But of course, there is a sense in which everything that happened was according to Lucas’ design.)

      ==> It is always true that everyone will answer to God. So in that respect there’s nothing special about this guy’s jailers. It’s also true that it can give you a sense of comfort when you suffer earthly injustices, to know that God will ultimately make everything right.

      ==> Obviously I can’t even imagine what this guy went through, but strictly speaking the Christian response is not to hope for vengeance. I would want to hear this guy say it (audio) before telling you more about my reaction. But again, this is just the difference between saying, “Is this guy venting?” or “Is he expressing a sound Christian doctrinal point in the midst of this horrible story?”

      • trent steele says:

        Dr. Murphy,

        Thanks for your response. I’m not sure it’s satisfying, though. How is it that one person’s free will can interrupt God’s plan for another person? Did God have a plan for Hinton? Was it interrupted by the prosecutor et al?

        You’ve said: “But the God of the Israelites isn’t a human who has a lot of power. No, it’s more like an author who writes a novel and creates an entire universe in his mind, filling it with characters who live and die, sometimes horribly.” And now:”Anakin Skywalker really *did* choose to embrace the Dark Side. George Lucas didn’t ‘make him do it’…But of course, there is a sense in which everything that happened was according to Lucas’ design.”

        I just don’t see how God the author can be omniscient and omnipotent and have a plan – yet that plan is subject to the whims of the people he created. Does he relinquish control by giving man truly free will? But then, with the infinite number of possible decisions by men how on earth does any part of his plan then come to fruition? Was his plan really just to create people with free will, show one generation the truth, and then watch the show and judge people when they are done? Even if they died of starvation right after birth, or were never taught of him and his rules?

        It seems as though you want to eat your cake and have it, too. Absolve God of intentionally creating all of the specific examples of suffering by attributing free will to the actors, but also absolve him of having created a murderous earth/people by saying that it’s all part of his plan — which would make sense if we could understand it (but we are incapable). http://i.imgur.com/upJk8Ah.gif

        You haven’t convinced me because in the first place it doesn’t sound like you’ve convinced yourself. But I ain’t mad! If we can’t figure out what is going on in Krugman’s head, I’m pretty sure that if God exists we won’t be able to figure him out, either.

        Again, thanks for your thoughts.

        • Bob Murphy says:

          Trent wrote:

          How is it that one person’s free will can interrupt God’s plan for another person? Did God have a plan for Hinton? Was it interrupted by the prosecutor et al?

          No, the prosecutor didn’t interrupt God’s plan. But God’s plan included that the prosecutor (and others) would have free will. So if Hinton said to God, “Did you allow that to happen to me?!” God would say, “Yes.” Then Hinton says, “So you liked it?” and God might say something like, “No, it was awful, but it was more important to me that you humans have freedom than that you go your whole lives with no suffering.”

          • trent steele says:

            It seems to me that an omniscient, omnipotent Creator can logically have only two types of plan: Plan Type 1: where the universe is deterministic because the Creator made it and knows the action of all the parts ahead of time; and Plan Type 2 where the inhabitants have TRUE free will (which must be something outside of the normal laws of physics, since if every bit of matter obeyed the same set of laws then the universe would be deterministic for that reason), i.e., the “plan” is to create “free Willies” (get it??) and let them do their thing.

            My “spirituality,” as it were, is that there is matter on the one hand, and the “force” (some might say our “souls”) that animates man’s free will, and that said “force” is the only thing that makes anything happen that is not just predicted by the first reaction of the singularity, maybe aka the Big Bang. Otherwise we’re in a physically deterministic universe and that’s just boring and scary – and why would I waste time believing in that? That seems consistent with a “creator” as well. Why create something where you know the outcome and each step along the way? What is the point of the action?

            If you are arguing for Plan Type 2 then I think we basically agree. But that seems to contradict the “Anakin” logic you sometimes deploy. Anyhoo, I’ve enjoyed thinking about this and hearing your take. I will give you the last word on this if you wish to reply. Now, back to Krugtron and the rest of the Decept-econs! (hey, I like that!)

      • Tim says:

        Bob, could you clarify something for me? You said above:

        ==> Everything that happens is consistent with God’s will.

        The way I see it, there are at least two ways to interpret this:

        1) God’s will and his preference are the same thing; God wants seemingly bad things to happen as part of his plan.

        2) God, being a being of action (at least as we relate to him), may (must?) have a value scale, much as an economic actor. According to the Bible, he has willed us to have free will. He also has guidelines for how we should live our lives, how we should treat others, etc. Since he allows us to choose to go against these guidelines, it seems to me that mankind’s free will necessarily exists higher on God’s value scale than mankind following his guidelines. So in that sense, your statement could be interpreted to mean that mankind always does God’s will out of necessity. But in such an interpretation, God may still *prefer* another set of actions.

        I suspect you mean (1); could you clarify? (Apologies, I couldn’t think of a good way to word (2) without making a case for it. I suppose my inclination in this matter is rather obvious.)

        • Harold says:

          Rothbard’s (or was it Mises?) take was that God is not a god of action. Action requires unease, and God can never be uneasy. Everything is as he wants it all the time. In this view, I think God does not have a value scale.

          • Tim says:

            That may well be true, but we act, as we exist inside of time. God may exist outside of time and as such, have no “action”, as we relate to him, as the history of our universe is concerned, God would still be an actor. That said, I wrote the above message when I was quite tired. I don’t think God having a value scale requires action, per se. If you accept that God gave us free will and that he wants us to behave in a certain way, it’s still logical that he deems free will more important than obedience. In my tiredness, I overcomplicated things.

  4. Mike M says:

    I find China’s lobbying for inclusion in the SDR interesting. They have had a front row seat watching the havoc imposed by the IMF post WWII. I doubt they have a desire to for the Western Banking cabal to remain in the driver’s seat as power shifts east. I can only conclude this is a bridge, a means to a greater end, perhaps expanding convertibility and liquidity for the RMB.

  5. Mike M says:

    Lew said late on Monday night that the US still had concerns over the AIIB. “We very much welcome China’s increased participation in infrastructure investment, and the concerns we’ve raised about the needs for standards continue,” Lew said.

    Lew should try the comedy circuit. He is preaching about standards? … Really?

  6. The Pen is Mightier says:

    Here’s another discussion of the Indiana pizza situation:


    • Mike M says:

      Interesting piece, thanks for linking.

      This entire episode would not be a waste of time if it prompted a broader discussion of the proper concept of rights. Sadly that doesn’t sell commercials on cable.

  7. Raja says:

    Would Jesus be a capitalist or a socialist by our current understanding of these definitions based on resource control?

    • Mule Rider says:

      Given that capitalism and socialism are systems for allocating “scarce” resources and that Jesus works through a spiritual realm with infinite resources and power, I don’t think He can be placed into such simplistic human structures.

  8. Tel says:

    More Bitcoin, with funky guitar riffs, and even some Greeks around the place.


  9. Major.Freedom says:

    That video of Snowden was epic.

    That Oliver guy is brilliant, he not only made the interaction funny, but I think he touched a nerve, an admittedly embarrassing one, of what the general public cares about. It still works because fighting back against surveillance of pictures of people’s naked parts can be a gateway to the more sophisticated a s complex issues of the whole surveillance program. Have to start somewhere.

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