Friday, 5 March 2010

FRIDAY MORNING RAMBLE: The ‘loose cannon’ edition

Another ramble round the internet—the best of the net that caught this liberty-lover’s eye.
  • Young Labour MP Jacinda Ardern had an uncharacteristic moment of honesty on Labour’s inaccurately named ‘Axe the Tax’ campaign.  Keeping Stock has the unusual news:
    Jacinda tells the truth
  • Lew at KiwiPolitico reckons there are good reasons not to “hate on Sensing Murder so much.”
    Resisting the decline
  • 4327124010_33737c608b Dating advice from the OK Cupid site: younger men should give the cougars a second look.
    Dating Trends
  • And marriage advice from Swiss researchers:
    Why your wife should be 27% smarter than you
  • Here are two propositions:
    1. Tort reform is essential for American health reform.
    2. The litigation lobby controls Washington.
    Sadly, both propositions are true. You can draw the conclusion yourself.
    Yaron Brook and others comment at PJTV:
    Rule Of Lawyers: How The Litigation Lobby Controls Washington (13 Min.)
  • Crusader Rabbit reckons Rodney Hide has discovered how to steal an entire waterfront.
    How to steal an entire waterfront
  • ACT’s Minister of Loose Cannons has yet to learn that there is no such thing as a throwaway remark in NZ’s body politic—not at least on a slow news week, while there is a partisan political commentariat to make hay while the sun shines out of your body parts.
    Wednesday on Kiwiblog Garrett weighed into discussions about Michael Laws and sterilisation, not, sadly, to make the obvious point about the two, but to suggest encouraging child-killers like the Chris Kahui and Maxyna King to do the right thing. He then went on to talk up “the Indians [who] did it 30 years ago (the reward was a transistor radio for every man who had a vasectomy) for population control reasons. I don’t recall why the programme was eventually abandoned.”
    Naturally, every bull-frog and legrope was out in force to lampoon the man.  His four off-the-cuff paragraphs spawned many more, but sadly in most cases their reading comprehension is on a par with his grasp of human affairs, none moreso than the contributors at the Sub-Standard and No Right Turn, who somehow equate “child killer” with “poor brown people” and “the poor” respectively.  Make of that what you will.
    Anyway, here’s a small sample of the feeding frenzy, which somewhat overshadowed the spotlight ACT’s luminaries would surely have hoped would fall on their party conference last weekend.  Instead, this, below. ACT hasn’t had this much attention since Rodney Hide got taxpayers to pay for his last world trip:
  • Phew! Mind you, despite his reading comprehension problems, Idiot/Savant is still right to point out that “ideas like this are one of the reasons the Bill of Rights Act includes a concrete right to refuse to undergo medical treatment.” If only the Bill of Rights had some power.
  • The Devil Made Me Do It… “That, apparently, was the defense that was put forward by the killer of Navtej Singh, the man shot by thugs in his liquor store and left to bleed to death.”
  • This cabinet’s Helen Clark is Steven Joyce. He’s everybody’s nanny.  This week’s Joyceian slug to freedom’s jaw was his announcement on new shackles on road users – or in the case of fifteen-year-olds, would-be road users.
    Both Eric Crampton and the MacDoctor have taken aim at the reasoning, or lack thereof, in Joyce’s latest encomia to authoritarianism, making the point, as just one example, that drunk drivers responsible for dangerous driving causing death are (wait for it) already well over today’s blood-alcohol limit of 0.08mg/l of blood. Which means they’ll hardly be listening to the pieties of Mr Joyce, will they, no matter what level he elects to set his puritanical blood test-meters at.
    Further, the total number of drivers who died on the roads last year with blood alcohol between today’s level of 0.08, and the Salvation Army’s Mr Joyce’s preferred level of 0.05 were exactly two.  And as Eric says, “we can’t even prove that alcohol there was causal.”
    In other words, (and these words now are mine) Steven Joyce’s announcement is based not on research, but simply on prissiness and puritanism.
  • Meanwhile, Lindsay Mitchell spots statistics from New South Wales on young drivers that show, once again, that the “research” behind shackling young drivers is about as thorough as that performed by East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit.
    What role the driving age? – LINDSAY MITCHELL
  • Now, let’s play spot the difference.
    When your parents made you eat broccoli when you were a kid:
    "Because I say so!"
    "How do we know that you "created or saved x million jobs, Mr President?"
    "Because I say so!"
    Read: How to Create 3 Million Jobs With Pencil, Ruler – Kevin Hassett, BLOOMBERG [hat tip G-Man]
  • CLICK FOR SIX REASONSChris Edwards at Cato has
    Six Reasons to Downsize the Federal Government
  • Mainstream economists bewail their inability to  “mesh” the two fields of “microeconomics” and “macroeconomics,” yet the feat was performed nearly one-hundred years ago by Ludwig Von Mises. “The essence of the new Austrian paradigm [of which Mises was a student] is analyzing the individual and his actions and choices as the fundamental building block of the economy…  Mises's great achievement in The Theory of Money and Credit (published in 1912) was to take the Austrian method and apply it to the one glaring and vital lacuna in Austrian theory: the broad "macro" area of money and general prices,” linking “micro” and “macro” nearly one-hundred years before mainstream economisgts even realised they needed to.
    Read Murray Rothbard’s expert explanation of Mises’ unjustifiably overlooked achievement:
    Money and the Individual
  • The last time a Kiwi debater appeared at the Oxford Union debates it was David Lange.  Until lat week, when Catherine Healey appeared to debate legalising prostitution. She swept the floor.
    Kiwi debater convinces Oxford Union on prostitution
  • Clint Heine answers almost every myth you’ve ever heard about Voluntary Student Membership (VSM) – and now that Roger Douglas’s VSM bill has been drawn from the ballot, you’re sure as hell going to be hearing a lot of them.
    The TRUTH behind the Compulsory Student Union Movement  - CLINT HEINE
  • Joannie_Rochette_Spiral_-_2006_Skate_Canada "An Olympic figure skater said that her recently-deceased mother taught her to think of herself first. She did just that and won a bronze medal."
    The Selfish Figure Skater – JOSEPH KELLARD
  • "Is it selfish to lose?"
    "Selfishness" in Sports – SANDI TRIXX
  • Take a look at this superb pair of posts on common law and property rights – two posts that puncture the ridiculous notion taught in law schools that “the passage of Acts such as the Crown Minerals Act and the Resource Management Act have not significantly altered the  common law concept of property rights.”
    Property Rights: Blackstone, Locke & the Legislative Scheme. Part I – MADELEINE FLANNAGAN
    Property Rights: Blackstone, Locke & the Legislative Scheme. Part II  - MADELEINE FLANNAGAN
  • Fact is, “there is no better time to remember why property rights are inalienable."
    Life, Liberty and the Right to Property – ATLANTIC SENTINEL
  • Jeff Perren’s new pin-up girl Anne McElhinney is “the most fabulous mess of a speaker.”  But a fabulous mess of a speaker who was once a European liberal (“with everything that implies”) who now thinks capitalism is great. Watch her tell an American audience what woke her up. And take her message: that capitalism’s supporters need to tell their stories better.  (Here’s Part One; click through to watch all four parts. It’s good.  Hat tip Sally O’B.)

  • Richard Ebeling explains why supply-side economics is not, in the end, an economics of free markets.”Just as the old Keynesian macroeconomics has been a mechanism for distorting the economy through ‘aggregate demand’ tools,” Ebeling said back in 1980, "‘supply-side’ macroeconomics will almost certainly result in economic distortions through the use of ‘aggregate supply’ tools.” How right he was.
    Some Thoughts on Supply-side Economics
  • “If there had been no bailout and no stimulus, it would have been a depression for sure.” Well, no it wouldn’t, says Doug French.  But don’t financial failures and falling prices mean a depression and a stagnant economy?  Well, no they don’t.  Story, with historical evidence, here:
    Failure and Prosperity
  • Reason magazine has some common misconceptions about libertarians . . . with pictures!
    Common Misconceptions About the Other "L" Word
  • "The next time someone tells you that they trust the way government handles finances or they are A-OK with tax hikes because they benefit the common good, tell them about a little country called Greece.”
    Bankruptcy, thy name is Greece – VULCAN’S HAMMER
  • Richard Dawkins attracted so many fans to his website forum that it has collapsed in disarray, with accusations of mismanagement and more. “Amidst a tsunami of vulgar and vitriolic comments, the 85,000-strong forum on his official website had to be shut down this week.”  The Times has the (slightly embroidered) story. Open Parachute has the apology.
    Richard Dawkins unleashes tirade against fansTHE TIMES Richard Dawkins – wrong again! – OPEN PARACHUTE
  • And Open Parachute author Ken Perrott has attracted the ire of religionist Ian Wishart. Wishart objects to him being “openly atheist” at the SciBlogs site. Well, where else would be more appropriate, one wonders?
    Who's been a naughty Perrott - SMC told to watch posts – BRIEFING ROOM
    Perrott explains to Wishart how the world works in his comments:
    This is a bit pathetic, isn't it Ian?
  • Disgraced Climate Research Unit boss Phil Jones was in the hot seat before a parliamentary inquiry in the UK this week over what was found in the ‘ClimateGate’ emails. It didn’t go well for him.
    He argued that it was standard scientific practice to not share data
    Even so, he was treated remarkably gently.
    Climate balmy for Jones – ANDREW BOLT
    ”What the record shows is that Jones had no standard scientific practice of sharing or not sharing data. He had no consistent practice of abiding by or violating confidentiality agreements. He had his chance to sit before Parliament and come clean about the record. He had an opportunity to explain exactly why he took these various contradictory actions over the course of years.  Instead he played with the truth again.  Enough.”
    The Final Straw – Stephen Mosher, WATTS UP WITH THAT
    Video: Dr. Phil Jones Climategate testimony at the British House of Commons
    Phil Jones: Not Quite Ready For His Close-Up  - FORBES
    Peer review? What it this mythical thing you talk about? – GOTCHA!
    Steve McIntyre, whose requests for Jones’s figures kicked off most of Jones tirades, has posted his submission to the inquiry.  It’s a great read.
    McIntyre Submission with Figures – CLIMATE AUDIT
  • Scientist Roy Spencer tries to reproduce Phil Jones results for the American temperature record, which is front and centre in the claim that modern temperatures are rising.  What he found  from comparing the raw daw with Jones adjustments is that every time Jones made adjustments, they were always in the wrong direction. Conclusion: “It is increasingly apparent that we do not even know how much the world has warmed in recent decades, let alone the reason(s) why. It seems to me we are back to square one.”
    Spencer: Spurious warming demonstrated in CRU surface data – ROY SPENCER
    And more confirmation here that Jones’s adjustments, ostensibly to adjust for the Urban Heat Island Effect, were consistently misapplied. Edward Long checks the raw temp record for rural USA against urban USA and finds “that rural data has been adjusted warmer to meet urban trends.” No wonder Jones refused to release his working.
    Dr Edward R Long’s disturbing study of 48 urban rural pairs USA – ERRORS IN IPCC CLIMATE SCIENCE
  • So “the science, it appears, is settled: raw climate station data should be available for all comers.”
    Settled Science
  • And just a reminder while we’re here:
    Global Warming is Responsible for … Everything Bad!
  • And yet more on Al Gore’s  latest global warming whopper. You could call it a “snow job.”
  • The Onion has caught Obama lip-synching his speeches. Bob Murphy says it made him chuckle three separate times, “and that's good enough for government-bashing work.”

  • Remember how the ObaMessiah promised “change”?  Bankrupting America has a good look at
    The Odd Couple: 5 unfortunate similarities between Bush and Obama
  • blanket "The recent health care ‘summit’ shows why Republicans need to argue that ObamaCare is immoral, not just impractical."
    Ryan At The Summit – PAUL HSIEH
  • "As the Democratic Party melts down, the Republicans, as usual, demonstrate why a contradictory philosophy can not form the foundation of an effective political movement."
    Does the Decline of the Democrats mean the Decline of the Republicans? – RATIONAL CAPITALIST
  • Have you heard that Democrats have reacted to the outrageous success of the Tea Party movement by starting so-called Coffee Parties. They’re insisting on “cooperation” instead of dissent. How ironic, says the NEW CLARION, “Remember during the Bush presidency when dissent was the highest form of patriotism? We didn’t hear much from the left about “cooperation” when it came to the Patriot Act or the war in Iraq. And when Congress stopped Bush’s Social Security reform cold, there were no complaints about ‘obstructionism.’  The idea of forming a movement around ‘cooperation’ is a gimmick to help the Democrats succeed with their socialist agenda.”
    Coffee Party II
  • Ari Armstrong reminds readers about the political threat of the religious right.
    Conservative Deceit About Christian Liberty  - FREE COLORADO
  • Callum McPetrie, a recent guest poster here (thanks Callum), tells his teachers (and other people who need to know) about
    Liberalism and the American Revolution
  • Sculpture Bronze - Tuby Jean Baptiste - 1668 - Fountain of ApolloIf you were just about to start an economics reading group, you could do a lot worse than lean on the recommendations and pre-prepared questions of this successful group. [Hat tip Noodle Food]
    Liberty in the Books
  • Here’s an exciting new art website run by architect John Gillis.  It’s called ArtGrok, which as any reader of Robert Heinlein will understand, “to ‘grok’ something is to understand it completely.  This site is dedicated to the full understanding of the various arts.”  Great stuff! (Click the pic at right to see the sort of analysis John will be offering.)
  • For years I’ve argued that the primary reason for political activism is not to get elected, it’s to shift the debate – to raise a set of goal posts that the other teams didn’t even know existed, and encourage them to start playing towards them. 
    It’s all about shifting the debate.
    What I didn’t know was that this argument has a name.  It’s called “shifting the Overton Window.”  Putting your ideas into the “window of political possibility.” It’s a concept that every political activist should understand.
    Glenn Beck Highlights Mackinac Center’s “Overton Window” – MACKINAC CENTER
    Overton Window - WIKIPEDIA
  • “This is a strangely fascinating film from a streetcar in San Francisco 1905, before the earthquake, that illustrates what it means for an order to emerge out of seeming chaos. There are a thousand accidents waiting to happen that do not happen, namely because of rational individual planning and self interest. In some ways, it is a beautiful image of freedom,” says Jeffrey Tucker. “Just imagine what the do gooders and central planners would do with such a scene today.”

  • Here’s a burning question: What’s the etiquette of sex while staying in another person's home? Ms Manners answers.
    Sex in Guest Bedrooms – NOODLE FOOD
  • Some things you didn’t know about Louis Pasteur, beer and Germans – and how Louis Pasteur’s beer caused a Great War!
    The Beer of Revenge – MALTHOUSE BLOG
  • A simple scientific experiment could help determine whether ‘dark matter’ is real, or just science’s biggest fudge factor.
     Dark matter could meet its nemesis on Earth – NEW SCIENTIST
  • And finally, we’re off soon to see the magnificent Simon O’Neill show Wellington why he’s now ranked amongst the top ten Wagner heldentenors in the world.  You can can see why for yourself here, singing with Waltraud Meier under Daniel Barenboim.

        Enjoy your weekend.


        1. Garrett is awesome. I can't wait to see what he says next.

        2. Cheers for the link. I'm sure that Jacinda won't make the same mistake (telling the truth) ever again!

        3. My property rights series is "superb"? Ah, head swell! Thanks :-)

        4. Rex Widerstrom5 Mar 2010, 17:33:00

          Garrett weighed into discussions about Michael Laws and sterilisation, not, sadly, to make the obvious point about the two...

          Single best line of the whole affair :-D

        5. "My property rights series is "superb"? Ah, head swell! Thanks :-)"

          Any thing about a Womens property right to her own body re abortion per chance....?

        6. Good comment James.

          Locke said "Every man has a Property in his own Person."

          Don't expect the Christian "Libertarians" to agree with THAT though...

        7. Another thing - the word around the Christian traps is that the Flannigan's (and that's DOCTOR Flannigan to you) shot down James Valliant in flames.

          For the record they did not even address most of his points.


        8. Hi Ruth

          I've not encountered the "Christian Libertarians". Who on Earth are they?


        9. Christian Libz7 Mar 2010, 17:49:00

          Ruth, how about you go and buy yourself a vibrator, huh? There are some here.

          Being Christian and pro-freedom is much better than you trying to pretend to be a right-winger, but actually you're just another socialist Jonkey's ass kisser. You also support the fucking Greenpeace anarchists. You're not a friend of freedom. You're an asshole socialist.

        10. Christian Libz

          So you disagree with Locke?


        11. "Being Christian and pro-freedom is much better than you trying to pretend to be a right-winger, but actually you're just another socialist Jonkey's ass kisser. You also support the fucking Greenpeace anarchists. You're not a friend of freedom. You're an asshole socialist."

          Just gotta love that Christian love and concern for their fellow men expressed in comments like this huh?

          Theres no reason a Christian can't be a Libertarian...but its the inevertible clash between their beliefs and Libertys defence of the rights of the iindividual that causes problems for them.

          Von Mises wrote about this very thing in his essay Liberty and Tolerance...

          ..."Liberalism limits its concern entirely and exclusively to earthly life and earthly endeavor. The kingdom of religion, on the other hand, is not of this world. Thus, liberalism and religion could both exist side by side without their spheres' touching. That they should have reached the point of collision was not the fault of liberalism. It did not transgress its proper sphere; it did not intrude into the domain of religious faith or of metaphysical doctrine. Nevertheless, it encountered the church as a political power claiming the right to regulate according to its judgment not only the relationship of man to the world to come, but also the affairs of this world. It was at this point that the battle lines had to be drawn.

          So overwhelming was the victory won by liberalism in this conflict that the church had to give up, once and for all, claims that it had vigorously maintained for thousands of years. The burning of heretics, inquisitorial persecutions, religious wars these today belong to history. No one can understand any longer how quiet people, who practiced their devotions as they believed right within the four walls of their own home, could have been dragged before courts, incarcerated, martyred, and burned. But even if no more stakes are kindled ad majorem Dei gloriam, a great deal of intolerance still persists...."

          The ball is in the Christian/Libertarians you stick by dogma even when its confronted by a morally superiour set of ideas?

        12. "The ball is in the Christian/Libertarian court... do you stick by dogma, even when its confronted by a morally superior set of ideas?" Well said James

          Religious ethics are simply pre reason, tribal, collectivist ethics, set in the concrete of religious dogma, at a time that a written account became possible.

          Socialism/Progressivism is the secularization of religious/tribal ethics.
          While a Christian can support libertarian politics, however they rationalize it, challenging the moral origins of the views of secular people who claim to be rational, offers better ground in the advancement of liberty.


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