Friday, 6 February 2009

Waitangi Day Ramble

No Waitangi post this morning. Instead, I’ll point you to what I write every year: One-Law-For-All Day, since all I’d need to change is the prediction about the protests. And point you to historian Paul Moon’s thoughtful piece from Wednesday’s Herald, which looks ahead to “a post-Waitangi Tribunal era for the Treaty,” and why the Treaty isn’t a suitable candidate for inclusion in any new constitution.

And while I’m sending you elsewhere, how about I point you to a few more posts from all sorts of places that I wanted to write about, but haven’t had time.

  • Keynesian policies are not the answer,” writes John Montgomery in The Australian. He’s right, you know.
  • Even Dick Armey, former majority leader of the House of Reps (and economics professor) has seen the light: Washington Could Use Less Keynes and More Hayek he says in the Wall Street Journal. “The late Austrian economist offered good reasons to be skeptical of government action,” says Armey. “It's clear why Keynes's popularity endures in Congress. Intellectual cover for a spending spree will always be appreciated there. But it's harder to see any justification for the perverse form of fiscal child abuse that heaps massive debts on future generations.”
  • A numb nut in Wednesday’s Herald argues the economy can be revived with the “cash boost” of a raise in the minimum wage, which will (he says) fix “one of the key problems facing our economy … a lack of purchasing power.” I would have thought one of the key problems is precisely the sort of economic ignorance he exhibits!
    Henry Hazlitt explains root and branch why a raise in the minimum wage will do the very opposite of what our numb nut argues for, and will hurt the very people the advocates argue it will help.
    Head here, Economics in One Lesson, and then scroll all the way down to Chapter Eighteen: Minimum Wage Laws. It’s the authoritative debunking.
  • More than 100,000 NZers now “officially unemployed” (not to mention nearly 300,000 on welfare)and the antediluvians want the minimum wage raised! The proper solution to getting them back to work is to abolish the minimum wage. Even the Ashburton Guardian gets the message.
  • “What matters most right now,” says stimulus-mongers, “is getting money into people's hands!” Um, says Jeff Jacoby, Money for nothing won't grow the economy. Never has. “A new New Deal will not work any better than the old one did. Recessions hurt, but recessions compounded with colossal government growth hurt worse. So much worse, sometimes, that they turn into depressions.”
  • The BBC has a TV series on The Great Depression, which shows the BBC’s favourite economists don’t have a bloody clue about economic history. Read The BBC Account of the Great Depression.
  • Here’s what their historians need: Four great essays explaining the Austrian Theory of the Business Cycle. This stuff is, almost literally, gold! Turn your printer on now.
  • Something else that might be useful depression-era fodder: Ari Armstrong aimed to survive on just US3.57 dollars a day for food! And you can too, if you need to. Here’s how it worked out.
  • And did you know the American Government has a food policy? “Surely, what food to buy and eat should be an individual or, at most, family decision,” says Jeff Perren at Shaving Leviathan. “But it points to a much larger problem, one that reveals one of the root causes of the current crisis: the longing for the 'safety' of dependency, the desire to have an all-wise parent solve your problems.” Read Letting Government Order (for) You, Recipe for Disaster.
  • “A precedent-setting High Court ruling will deprive individuals of their rights over their own land, says a frustrated landowner.” Hasn’t he been keeping up? The Resource Management Act did that long ago.
  • Do you need more examples of Why the Liberal View of Government is Wrong?
  • American bank lending has stalled, despite the nearly trillion-dollar bailout (remember how they promised to cover us in TARP). So that worked, didn’t it. Here is a Tip to Policy Makers: Don't Bail Out Insolvent Banks Ever Again.
  • BB&T is one of America’s most profitable, and least leveraged, banks.
    Last Thursday the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights hosted a lecture by BB&T board chairman John Allison focusing on the current financial crisis from a free market banker’s perspective – the causes, and thirteen necessary cures. Interestingly, NZ had already stumbled into four of the thirteen.
    Read a write-up of the talk an listen to an audio file of the Q&A here at the Free Agents blog.
  • Speaking of bankers and economics, here’s another economic concept you need to get your head around: Fractional Reserve Banking, one of the major causes of the banking collapse. The Rational Capitalist has the lesson for for you.
  • Even Pam Corkery’s defending banks now! And David Slack (and his readers) gets real about “borrowers who find themselves marooned on the desert island known as Fixed Rate.”
  • The New York Times has 2008 in photos.
  • Lindsay Mitchell has a tale from the underclass.
  • And Stephen Franks looks at the tut-tutting about Fiji. Nothing about the present Fijian situation as outlined to me, says Franks’s colleague, was as simple as he’d been led to believe.
  • Over at Spiked Online, editor Brendan O'Neill comments on the fact that the recent birth of only the second set of octuplets to be born alive in the United States seems to have devolved into a "finger-wagging morality tale," with busybodies of all descriptions getting in their two cents' worth. Gus van Horn suspects the problems might be even bigger than O’Neill suspects. Read Whose womb is it, anyway?.
  • A lesson for the Obamessiah: As Wall Street Bonuses Go, So Goes the Liberty of All of Us.
    Government should not be handing out bailouts, nor should it be telling employers whether they can pay bonuses.
    First they came for the CEOs . . .
  • Another lesson for the Obamessiah: The ‘Buy American’ earmarks affixed to Obama’s USD$800 billion “stimulus” package won’t save jobs, it’ll cost ‘em. And by raising prices, it will mean that fewer roads and schools will be built with the “stimulus” money. The Law of Unintended Consequences strikes again, as Paul Walker summarises. ‘Buy American’ is un-American.
  • “A lot of people get annoyed with Austrian economists because they tend to be so dogmatic (we prefer the term consistent),” says Austrian economist Robert Murphy, “and because they cloak their strictly economic claims with self-righteousness (we prefer the term morality). After a good Austrian bashing of the latest call to steal taxpayer money and waste it on something that will make a given problem worse, the stumped critics will often shout, ‘Oh yeah? Well do you guys have a better idea?’" Responding to the challenge, Murphy has An Austrian Recommendation for President Obama.
  • For those of us who were alive at the time of the Soviet Union and its Evil Empire, who would have thought we’d live to see a Russian political leader lecture the US on the dangers of statism, and the fallacies of Keynesianism: Vladimir Putin gives the US’s political leaders an economics lesson on free markets.
  • Message to Obama (yes, another one): fewer and fewer Americans believe that we are causing climate change. Obama's America:It's a denier nation.
  • John Lewis analyzes the resounding Republican defeat in the 2008 election, and shows that the party faces a fundamental decision that will determine whether it orchestrates a comeback or stumbles into further defeat. Read Reason or Faith: The Republican Alternative.
  • And Craig Biddle shows why capitalism is the only moral social system on earth. It’s true. Read Capitalism and the Moral High Ground and challenge yourself.
  • Liberty Scott does some back-of-the-envelope cost-benefit analyses for Steven Joyce, National’s Minister for Roads. Read Roads under National. [NB: Looks like Steven is already reading.]
  • Martin Weitzman argues you can’t do ‘cost-benefit analyses’ on the 'need' for carbon taxes. It’s technical.
  • The Daily Telegraph reports that an 84 year old man is suing UK Labour MP Ann Keen for laziness, saying she breached her “duty of care” to a constituent [hat tip Kiwiblog]. Why sue? I want my MPs to be lazy – the lazier they are, the less they get in my way. You know my two favourite NZ MPs in recent years? Judith Tizard and Jonathan Hunt. In the current cultural environment, the country needs fewer zealots in parliament and more Ministers of Wine and Cheese like those two.
  • Marcus says No to Green Communism!
  • It’s prayer time at No Minister.
  • Some recommendations from Stephen Hicks:
    • William Easterly on an entrepreneurial education success story: Ashesi University in Ghana.
    • Meanwhile, back in the States, poor educational achievement is not a money problem - somewhat exasperatedly, Neal McCluskey explains for the umpteenth time that schools have plenty of money.
    • And there’s Life at Wal-Mart! A former senior writer at Wired magazine gets a new job and ponders upward mobility for low-pay employees. Mininum-wage advocates take note.
  • And while we’re talking Stephen Hicks, here is Michael Warby's review for Australia's Quadrant magazine of his masterful book Explaining Postmodernism. FWIW, here’s my short review: It should be in every student’s backpack.
  • Positive Parenting! There, that got your attention.
    Rational Jenn talks about Positive Discipline: What's In Your Parenting Toolbox?.
  • In the week of her birthday The Hero of Capitalism this week is an obvious choice: Ayn Rand. She leaves us with A Legacy of Reason and Freedom.
    Happy Birthday, Ayn Rand.
  • Read the First Impressions of viewers of the Impressionist masterpiece Boulevard des Capucines posted here the other day when it first appeared in 1874 at the World’s First Impressionist Exhibition.
  • And while we’re on things artistic, things French, nearly veryone I know loves the film Amelie. For at least half the the people I know, it’s their favourite film. The Nearby Pen has a great series of posts analysing the film that all of those people will love. Scroll down and start with the post at the bottom of the page.
  • And finally, some beautiful music from a post I was just sent. “Joseph Hoffman steps up to the piano to fill our ears with delight.
    The Magic Fire music of Wagner:
    And the Chopin-Liszt The Maiden's Wish:
    And Mendelssohn's Spinning Song followed by Rachmaninoff's Prelude in G (this is so fresh, so exuberant, so new!):

And don’t forget to read last week’s Objectivist blog roundup, which this week has posts on religion, activism and a possible pathway to Objectivism's penetration in Washington. Enjoy, and have a great weekend!



  1. In all seriousness, you have to be pretty stoked with getting a mention in the Ashburton Guardian. When was the last time the Libz got into the papers?!

  2. Thanks for the link to my series on Amelie!

    I (finally) saw a Very Long Engagement, by the same director (and also starring Audrey Tautou).

    If you loved Amelie for the same reasons I did, you will love that film as well.

  3. Hi Daniel,

    You're very welcome. And I agree with you about A Very Long Engagement. :-)

  4. Thanks PC, it was maybe half-rhetorical...steer clear of Perigo-like references to "orifices" in press releases etc and who knows what'll happen ;-)

  5. Thanks for the link! Appreciate it very much. And I'm slowly working through the rest of these interesting links, too. Fun!


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