Friday, 7 August 2009

Friday morning ramble [updated]

I’ve ended up the week with another huge number of things I’d wanted to say to you but never got the chance.  So here, in no particular order, is another ramble through some of the things I’d wanted to talk about at greater length – a bunch ‘o links you can come back to over the weekend and think about yourself.

  • Outgoing European Union President Václav Klaus had some unflattering things to say about his fellow European leaders, and something surprising to say about American president Barack Obama.
    Read Václav Klaus grades EU politicians. [Hat tip Reference Frame]
  • Great cartoon and comment over at The Visible Hand on the controversy over Anne Tolley’s canning of night school funding.
    Head over to Cartoon: Night classes.
  • College students today face an ideological onslaught from educators who are more concerned with creating "good citizens" than teaching them real knowledge, says Montessorian Marsha Enright, It's time for a new approach, she says, and she’s making one: She’s launching a “finishing school” for intelligent youngsters, to teach them everything they should have been taught in school but weren’t, and to “unteach” all the destructive nonsense they shouldn’t have been taught.
    Anyone who realises the enormously destructive role that leftist capture of the education system has played in the collapse of the culture will want to applaud her, and to read:
    Students Need Mental Ammunition.
  • In fact, if you Want Excellence in Education? Return to Reason says Michael Gold at The Egoist Blog.
  • And if you want cultural change, we need to get on with the essay competition I talked about last year.  And that’s just the start of it all.  Who’s with me?
  • Meanwhile, Rational Jenn offers more another tip for rational parents. "Explaining the virtue of Integrity to children can be difficult,” she says. “I helped my son begin to grasp this idea by pointing out an example of when he displayed that virtue himself."
    Read A Conversation about Integrity posted at Rational Jenn.
  • 6a00d8341bff5053ef01157218a82c970b-350wi What sort of arsehole architect would design this excrescence on the right for a clinic to treat patients with chronic brain diseases, dementia and cognitive disorders?  Answer: that arsehole Frank Gehry of course.
  • As we start to hear calls from the US for yet another “stimulus” package,  throwing good but rapidly depreciating money after bad, it’s time to get the lowdown on the crude Keynesianism at back of all the profligate stimulunacy.
  • Here, by the way, are some simple experiments to prove why “stimulus” can not work.
    Read Obama: Please Try This at Home.
  • And on a similar theme, why not read up On the Inescapable Contradiction of Fractional Reserve Banking.
  • It’s All About Say’s Law, you know. Yes, it really is.
  • Bubble, bubble toil and trouble.  Can Bubbles Also Be Made in China?  Looks horribly like it.
  • Good quote here from the 3-Ring Binder blog:
    ”1.The concept of individual rights is morality applied to politics.
    2. The purpose of the government is to protect our individual rights.”
  • Deliberation - BRIAN LARSENRobert Garmong’s been teaching philosophy to prisoners, and he reports they were far better students than his usual brood. 
    Read Teaching Intro to Philosophy...In Prison.
  • By the way, have you ever noticed that when you’re debating with graduates of various subjectivist philosophy courses they invariably end up telling you that your questions are “too complex” to answer successfully.  From whence comes this fetishistic complexity worship?  The Rational Capitalist explains: The Modern Intellectual's Virtue of Complexity, Part I.
  • This Bryan Larsen painting (right) is beautiful.  Just thought you’d like to see it too.
    Click on the picture to see it larger.
  • I’m still flabbergasted at the Nazis in Hawkes bay who are insisting that a family tear down a seawall they built to protect their home – they have been given until the end of August to pull down the wall, or face the possibility of jail time or a fine of $200000.  Just another example of why the Resource Management Act has to go so New Zealanders can get their property rights back.
  • Meanwhile, the Nazis at North Shore City are adding insult to economic calamity for the city’s developers, and those who would like to buy affordable homes from them.  They’ve just hiked their thieving “development levies”  by a whopping 150%.
    Gooner has the news at No Minister: Development levies.
  • 2724190 Speaking of petty fascism, Margaret and Keith Berryman (right) are enduring their last kick in the face from government: delayed for years in their fight for justice by the lying, dissembling and near-fraudulence of everyone from Helen Clark to Jenny Shipley to the NZ Army and beyond, they’ve now been told by a judge that their action against the government will fail because it’s too long after the event.  Poor bastards.
    They’re poster people for Thomas Jefferson’s much-repeated dictum that a government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away all you’ve ever earned.
  • Mythbusters’ Andy Savage reckons the show will keep going “as long as people keep believing stupid shit.”  Looks like it will be around a long time.  Watch him interviewed here at Reason TV
  • Apparently there’s to be a remake of my all-time favourite TV show The Prisoner, opening in October.  There’s a nine-minute preview below.  I’m worried by it. [Hat tip Charles Burris]
  • The swine flu outbreak has seen everyone look to government to solve the public health problem.  Stephen Hicks offers two cautionary tales to suggest we shouldn’t be so quick to look to government to solve this problem either.
    Read Two cautionary tales about cholera, the plague, and politics.
  • Canadian Paul McKeever offers “Required reading for anyone interested in the issue of socialised medicine: the Supreme Court of Canada's 2005 decision, which ended Quebec's ban on private health insurance. The reason: government health care is *rationed* care, which was leaving people to suffer and die.”
    Read Supreme Court of Canada - Decisions - Chaoulli v. Quebec (Attorney General).
  • George Reisman reckons you should listen to this phone-in interview on the ObamaCare Plan over at Fred Thompons’s website, including news of compulsory five-yearly counselling sessions on euthanasia for over-65s. “An assault on seniors” Reisman calls it.
    Listen here to the Betsy McCaughey Interview, and visit
  • And see also two videos on the reality of ObamaCare.
  • So come on, Is Health Care a Right? Answer the question, Congressmen!
  • Come on, What 'right' to health care?
  • You want a quick post that gives a hint to what a true free market in health care could be like. This is it: Target's Free Market Health Care Innovation.
  • Why do so many seemingly intelligent people lose their critical faculties when it comes to public transport – especially public transport by train? Liberty Scott fisks all the idiots gathered around the altar of the train.
  • shulman-koenig Architectural photographer Julius Shulman died last month. For most people, when they think of modernist architecture, it will be a photograph of Shulman’s – like the classic at right -- that will come to mind.
    Read the Wall Street Journal’s obituary here: How Julius Shulman Told a House’s Story.
  • This looks like my kind of art gallery too – a Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow that “has invited art lovers to write their thoughts down in an open Bible on display as part of its Made in God's Image exhibition.”  PZ Myers reckons “It's an interesting idea. I've signed a few bibles at people's request myself — I usually mark up the first page with the question, ‘Where are the squid?’” 
    Read My kind of art gallery.
  • Matt Nolan at The Visible Hand reckons there’s now fourteen economics blogs in New Zealand.  Flatteringly, he includes my bumbling efforts in the list.
  • If you haven’t yet seen the video of the Inspector General of the US Federal Reserve Bank admitting she hasn’t got a clue where several trillion dollars has gone, then yyou really need to have a look now.  It’s frightening.
  • And speaking of mismanagement at The Fed, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has been circling the States giving “Town Hall Meetings” to ramp up his popularity in the face of a public appalled at the almost daily evidence of the incompetence of him and his colleagues.  Jeff Perren runs the rule over Bernaanke’s Kansas meeting, saying that “During the entire period the ‘deer in the headlights’ look never left his face.”
    Read Bernanke Grilled At Townhall in Kansas, and see if you can answer Jeff’s question:
    ”It's always a little shocking to see a man who has taught at Princeton be so stupid. What remains a mystery is why men of intelligence like Bernanke absorb and accept the blatant nonsense that a healthy-minded college freshman could poke big holes through without effort.”
    Any ideas?
  • What’s the answer?  End the Fed. Economist George Selgin says Congressman Ron Paul's bill may never pass, “but history suggests the US economy would be better off without the Federal Reserve.”
    Read End the Fed? A not-so-crazy idea..
  • Here’s some vintage pro-inflation propaganda from America’s last Great Depression.  Maybe Ben Bernanke could re-release it?
  • Take a look at America’s Debt Clock.  It’s frankly frightening.
  • Speaking of a deer in the headlights, perhaps it’s a shame Mr Bernanke hasn’t got a friend like Paddy, an Irish hunter, who dialled 911 to say, "I just shot at something that I thought was a deer but it was another hunter. I'm afraid I just killed Mick." The operator says, "It's OK sir, it may not be as bad as you think. First, make sure Mick's really dead." Paddy says OK and sets down the phone. Then the operator hears a gunshot. Paddy picks up the phone and says, "OK, now what?"
  • Afghanistan: Destination? Non-victory.
  • Conservative intellectual Bill Kristol – America’s Matthew Hooton -- demonstrates on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart why the term conservative intellectual is an oxymoron.
    Watch here at this link, and you might begin to understand why Ayn Rand called today’s conservatives “futile, impotent and, culturally, dead.
    “They have nothing to offer and can achieve nothing [she said]. They can only help to destroy intellectual standards, to disintegrate thought, to discredit capitalism, and to accelerate this country’s uncontested collapse into despair and dictatorship.”
    Kristol is Exhibit A for the prosecution. Watch here at this link.
  • Or as Andy Clarkson (aka The Charlotte Capitalist) asks, "Are Conservatives Going To Save Socialism Again?"
  • If you thought those subjectivist philosophy professors were snarky about Ayn Rand in the New York Times this week, then you should have seen how Friedrich Nietzsche was received by his “colleagues” at Basel University.  Ouch!
    There’s nothing so vicious as a philosophy professor in the face of a competitor who’s telling them their time is up.
  • Subjectivist philosophy professors don’t like Ayn Rand, but why are more and more businessmen falling in love with her novel Atlas Shrugged?
    Alex Epstein gives a pithy explanation in Why Businessmen Love Atlas Shrugged.
  • Speaking of outraged charlatans, psychotherapists are outraged that Wikipedia has put online the Rorshach inkblot tests that they use to help practice their chicanery. Poor dears.
    Read A Rorschach Cheat Sheet on Wikipedia?.
  • By the way, you won’t believe the Internet Porn Statistics, even when they’re so elegantly presented.  Watch Internet Porn Statistics.
    Thank goodness we’re all paying $1.5 billion to get broadband, eh?
  • 2009476953 A 1951 Phoenix home that famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed for his son has been sold for US$2.8 million.  That’s its lounge on the right.  Head here to learn more.
  • Eric Crampton reckons Phillip Field’s conviction for corruption is Eroding our Clean Green image.
    Although Jim Hopkins reckons that between Phillip Field and Bill English, they might be able to help us close at least one gap with Australia: the corruption gap.
  • Here’s what some people are calling “the greatest letter of complaint ever” – a disgruntled Virgin Airlines passenger writing to Richard Branson.  Hilarious.
    Read Greatest ever letter of complaint.
  • Fellow Wagner fans fearful of how Katherina Wagner is execrating her grandfather’s work might at least like to know that she’s bring the Bayreuth Festival experience to the web, including live webcasts of performances! Head to the really excellent Bayreuth website here, and you’ll find yourself in heaven. Or at least Valhalla.
  • In Ayn Rand's final public talk, she exhorts a group of businessmen to stop apologizing, and stop supporting anti-capitalist institutions: "It is a moral crime to give money to support ideas with which you disagree. It is a moral crime to give money to support your own destroyers." See how the force of her ideas captivated an audience and drew a tumultuous response.
    Watch The Sanction of the Victims.


  1. Elijah Lineberry7 Aug 2009, 13:16:00

    If Bernanke had even half a brain he would not be attending Town Hall meetings at all.

    He is a civil servant, afterall, not a politician and is answerable to Congressional oversight not the general public.

  2. I'm having a hard time in recovering from the crime-scene biscuit.

    - Sam P

  3. "why the term conservative intellectual is an oxymoron.
    Watch here at this link, and you might begin to understand why Ayn Rand called today’s conservatives “futile, impotent and, culturally, dead.
    “They have nothing to offer and can achieve nothing [she said]. They can only help to destroy intellectual standards, to disintegrate thought, to discredit capitalism, and to accelerate this country’s uncontested collapse into despair and dictatorship.”"

    (Thanks for the plug, but...)

    Not accurate. First of all, Rand was talking about conservatives of 40-50 years ago. Second, and more important, taking Bill Kristol as representative is cherry picking. What about Thomas Sowell, Jonah Goldberg, Andy McCarthy, Mark Steyn, and many others who are much more clear headed and consistent, and - best of all - often right?

    You might as well choose Larry Kudlow and call him representative. Not.

  4. On the 'positive' side, you are so right about that grotesque Gehry grotesquerie. The man should be disbarred, or whatever is the architectural equivalent.

    It looks like something melted
    in a cartoon nightmare.

  5. That thing that is NOT architecture by Gehry is an abomination, and an assault on my senses.


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