Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Easter humour

easter1

miracle

DOWN TO THE DOCTOR’S: The world’s biggest paedophile ring, & Tuku rides the Treaty gravy train

_richardmcgrath Libertarianz leader Dr Richard McGrath ransacks the newspapers for stories on issues affecting our freedom.

This week:
The world’s biggest paedophile ring, and Mr Morgan rides the Treaty gravy train

fatherjack01 1. Catholic concern over right to die – When priests attack!!
      True to form, the institution flatteringly described by Richard Dawkins as “woman-fearing, guilt-gouging, truth-hating [and] child-raping” –- you guessed it: the Catholic Church -- is molesting defenceless people. This time it’s the dying, who can’t even run away. Looks like no-one is safe from the world’s largest paedophile ring.
    The Nathaniel Centre, a Catholic “bioethics” agency, says dying people should be offered food and water, but it opposes assisted suicide. One of the Catholic church’s poster girls, Agnese Bojaxhiu, a.k.a. Mother Teresa, used to take perverse delight in the suffering of the unfortunate people who chose to die in her care. Perhaps the Papists oppose abortion and contraception because that would leave a smaller pool of potential victims for the priest and bishop predators? Or am I being unkind?
    In an opinion piece on abortion, the Nathaniel Centre quotes a female writer who claims that unwanted pregnancies “[belong] to the entire congregation.” Is that the sort of mentality that gives kiddy-fiddling clerics their sense of entitlement to the warm bodies of Catholic children? Frankly, I find the notion that a fetus can belong to anyone else but the person in whom it is growing hideous and a form of slavery. This is the same mob that gave us the Inquisition, who persecuted Galileo for seeking the truth about our universe, and who were complicit in persecuting Jews during the Holocaust. Their current boss, Joe Ratzinger, who likes wearing that funny hat, should be arrested if he steps foot outside the Vatican City, and extradited to the United States or Ireland to explain why he and his organisation have covered up the monstrous activities of his underlings.
    Life is not a game of chess - children are not pawns for bishops to jump. Children are not wall sockets for priests to plug into. Bedtime is not when the big hand touches the little hand. People are not the property of the Catholic Church – they are thinking individuals with rights. And it’s time Joe & Co stopped lying to them: there are no harp-playing ghosts in some sort of afterlife. What you see is what you get. The metaphysics of this universe is the objective reality that one can perceive using sensory organs whose composition is determined by DNA coding, not by the Intelligent Design of an omnipotent spook.
    Accept it, move on and make the most of this life –- the ticket only gets clipped once.

underpants01 2. Minister says Morgan was ‘inadvertently paid twice’ – Your tax money has been used to pay Tukoroirangi Morgan, (he of underpants fame), $145,000 as a “Crown facilitator”, helping negotiate a Treaty settlement on behalf of Tainui and then “move other iwi through the settlement process” – presumably telling them how to help themselves to masses of money from the working people of today, who had no hand in what was done by past governments. Shouldn’t the Tainui have paid Mr Morgan’s fee – after all he was working for them – and shouldn’t iwi be paying him for information that will no doubt net them suitcases full of cash? And just to add insult to injury, an administrative error has meant that Tuku was overpaid for his valuable work. Hope he didn’t spend all that money on underpants.

3. And finally, here’s one that will warm the hearts of animal rights activists everywhere, a man allegedly attempted to give mouth to mouth resuscitation to a piece of roadkill, a several-days-dead opossum. And got arrested for his troubles. Really, haven’t the Pennsylvania police force got better things to do? And isn’t this a victimless non-crime? Still, it’s light relief from reading about the Fellowship of the (Ratzinger) Ring.                      

“When the people fear the government, there is tyranny – when
the government fear the people, there is liberty.”
- Thomas Jefferson  

‘Battle of Trafalgar’ - William Lionel Wyllie

Wyllie-Battle_of_Trafalgar‘Battle of Trafalgar’ - William Lionel Wyllie (detail)

A detail from a massive 42 foot long panorama of the Battle of Trafalgar! The battle that ensured Napoleon would never invade Britain with his armies, painted on a scale that matches how momentous that victory was.

MP075

And when I say a “panorama” of the battle, what I mean is a full 360-degree circle of canvas, in which the observer could stand and be overwhelmed. 

  “Difficult to imagine though it may now be, panoramas were the cinemas of their day [says the Royal Naval Museum website].  Invented in 1787 by Robert Barker, they achieved the height of their popularity at the time of the 1900 Universal Exhibition.  The name ‘panorama’ is derived from the Greek and means ‘see all’.  By creating a 360º image, often adorned with mock terrain in the foreground, and on some occasions sounds and scents, the artist tried to trick the viewer into imagining he or she was actually at the scene, rather than simply viewing a painting. . .

Even small and ‘on the flat’ as seen here you can imagine the shot and cannon blasts, the destruction wrought by flying balls of metal. It looks like being there would be be like visiting a canyon of hell.

    “With typical thoroughness, Wyllie sought to make his own painting as accurate as possible.   Friends read through log books to identify the relative positions of the ships; the Navigation School was consulted to determine the correct position of the sun.  Wyllie even took a cruise off Cape Trafalgar itself to study the colour of the sea and the sky. . .
    “The huge canvas was specially made: in fact, the original was not big enough and a further piece was attached to each end, the joins hidden by watersplashes from falling cannonshot.  A sailmaker was employed to cut eyelets and the canvas was hung like a sail, with lacing at top and bottom.
    “Wyllie’s daughter, Aileen, herself a talented artist, was her father’s principal assistant with the mammoth task.  In an interview in later life, she referred to how she would ‘put on the equivalent of a pound of butter and go back and be unable to find the place’.  In all, it took nine months to complete the work, with Wyllie working most days from 10 in the morning until 5 at night, with a nap in the middle.  Much of the painting had to be done on step ladders; looking back, Aileen had nothing but admiration for her father: ‘At the time it seemed natural, but now that I am old, I cannot think how he did those hours on ladders in his 79th year.’  Such was Wyllie’s fame that people actually paid to watch him work!
     “In keeping with the style of the panorama genre, Wyllie designed the painting to be seen through the windows of the stern cabin of the French ship, Neptune. . .
    “The painting depicts the Battle at it height at 2.00 pm.  The two fleets are fully engaged.  To the left, in a haze of gun-smoke, Collingwood’s division is crushing the Allied rear.  To the right, the Allied van is trying to come round in the light winds to support its colleagues, but it has effectively been cut out of the battle by Nelson’s decisive tactics.  And in the centre is the Victory, still flying Nelson’s final signal, ‘Engage the Enemy More Closely,’ locked in a deadly struggle with the French ship, Redoubtable [a captured British ship under a French flag]. 
    “The only licence Wyllie allowed himself was to include the falling of the masts of the great Spanish four-decker, the Santissima Trinidad.  This significant event did not occur until 30 minutes later.
    “The Panorama was a great success.  45,000 people viewed it in the months immediately after it was opened.  One enthusiastic visitor even confessed to having seen it sixteen times!  When Wyllie died, less than a year later, on 6th April 1931, he will have known that his great work had struck a chord with the public and that he had more than played his part in keeping alive interest in [this turning point in European history].”

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Quote of the day: On unions

Reading up on some of those folk I included the economics family tree, I came across this quote from William H. Hutt on unions, as if he were talking to the EPMU this week:

    _quote Unions gain at the expense of other labor, not capital, and
the transfer reduces total output.”

(Paraphrased in John B. Egger’s biography of William H, Hutt,
from Hutt’s 1973 book Strike Threat System:
The Economic Consequences of Collective Bargaining)

Or as Vedder & Gallaway put it in 2002:

    “Unions transfer income from the unorganized to the organized, and depress total income to such a degree that even organized workers are poorer.”

In his earlier book Collective Bargaining, Hutt quotes from William Thompson, “a friend of Robert Owen, who some regarded as the most significant founder of modern scientific Socialism and the originator of the idea of ‘surplus value’.”

    “Thompson can hardly be regarded as a biased witness against working-class
bodies. He was, we are told, of the most kindly and gentle disposition, but when he
considered the workmen’s combinations of his day he was moved to passionate
condemnation of them. To him they were ‘bloody aristocracies of industry...
[The] excluding system depended on mere force and would not allow
other workers to come into the market at any price…It matters not,” he said in
1827, “whether that force…be the gift of law or whether it be assumed by the
tradesmen in spite of the law: it is equally mere force.”
    “Gains [of the unionised few] were always ‘at the expense of the equal right
of the industrious to acquire skill and to exchange their labour where and how
they may.’ This [Hutt reminds is] is the founder of scientific Socialism speaking
- not an employer.”

And William Stanley Jevons, from whom Hutt and others learned so much, summarises the same basic points even more forcefully in his 1883 book Methods of Social Reform and Other Papers:

Firstly. The supposed struggle with capitalists in which many Unions engage, for
the purpose of raising wages, is not really a struggle of labour against capital, but
of certain classes or sections of labourers against other classes or sections.
Secondly. It is a struggle in which only a few peculiarly situated trades can succeed
in benefiting themselves.
Thirdly. Unions which succeed in maintaining a high rate of wages only succeed
by PROTECTION—that is, by levying contributions from other classes of
labourers and from the population in general.
Fourthly. Unionism as at present conducted tends therefore to aggravate the
differences of wages between the several classes of operatives; it is an effort of
some sections to raise themselves at the expense of others.”

“An effort of some sections to raise themselves at the expense of others.” Just as it is with the minimum wage--which as Eric Crampton shows assiduously in repeated posts, raises wages for those in employment at the expense of those who aren’t, while reducing total incomes all round.

At the end of the argument Jevons concluded:

    “The Unionist overlooks the fact that the cause to which he is so faithful, is only the
cause of a small exclusive class; his triumph is the injury of a vastly greater
number of his fellow-workmen, and regarded in this point of view, his cause is a
narrow and selfish one, rather than a broad and disinterested one. The more I
admire the perseverance, the self-forgetfulness, the endurance, abstinence, and a
hundred other good qualities which English workmen often display during the
conduct of a great trade dispute, the more sincerely do I regret that so many good
qualities should be thrown away, or rather misused, in a cause which is too often a
hurtful one to their fellow-men.”

One can still say the same today.

When religionists and unionists attack together

I see the anti-Easter-trading busybodies are out early this year.  So here’s a classic Nick Kim cartoon for all the interfering wowserhood.

Easter_Trading[5]

Moral of the story: The state still owns your shop at Easter. And it still owns you all year.

Pope should stay, says Dawkins

On the back of revelations of his complicity in keeping under wraps the pederasty that permeates his Church,  people have been saying Pope Ratzinger should resign. Richard Dawkins has some advice for the Pope. 

    _quote No, Pope Ratzinger should not resign. He should remain in charge of the whole rotten edifice - the whole profiteering, woman-fearing, guilt-gorging, truth-hating, child-raping institution - while it tumbles, amid a stench of incense and a rain of tourist-kitsch sacred hearts and preposterously crowned virgins, about his ears.”

‘Ratzinger is the perfect Pope,’ says Dawkins. [Hat tip Pharyngula]

And did you catch the Pope’s appointed apologist, Bishop Patrick Dunn, writing in yesterday’s Herald in defence of his boss. It’s so carefully worded it’s pathetic.  Here’s the core denial:

    _quote It is mistakenly claimed that in a letter written to bishops by Cardinal Ratzinger in 2001 regarding complaints of paedophilia by priests, he required that they be treated with total secrecy and that the police were not to be informed, under penalty of excommunication.
    “In fact, he made no reference to excommunication.”

Forgive the irony, Mr Dunn, but a child could see through that cheap ruse.

Mitchell fisks Misa [updated]

Lindsay Mitchell fisks Tapu Misa’s latest misbegotten diatribe in the Royal NZ Herald. She’s entitled to, since Misa begins by misreading Mitchell, before giving good grounds for wondering whether she can read, or write (or think) at all.

For instance:

Tapu Misa takes a trip to a private girls school to get to grips with the problem of “unwed mothers … who …  choose [the Domestic Purposes Benefit] as a lifestyle option.”

Lindsay Mitchell points out her stupidity.

Misa claims there is no evidence to say that “welfare payments provide incentives for childbearing, or discourage marriage.”

Lindsay Mitchell points out she’s mistaken.

“Women don't need to be dragged kicking and screaming off the DPB,” says Misa.

Well, maybe they do, responds Mitchell.

Misa quotes Susan St John saying "New Zealand's figures show clearly that when the job conditions are favourable and unemployment is low, benefit numbers fall."

But Mitchell shows St John and Misa are equally retarded in their use of figures.

Misa refers to some “2002 analysis by Bob Gregory, an economics professor at the Australian National University, [which] showed that most Australian women were constantly trying to get off welfare, but most ended up back on the benefit within a short time.”

Mitchell points out that not only has Misa got the facts of Gregory’s research wrong, the research itself was brought to light by Mitchell herself.

Oh irony, thy name is that of a Herald columnist. Or several of them.

Mitchell concludes her own piece, perfectly entitled ‘There is none so blind….’ by

    _quote I am not sure what Misa is trying to achieve with this column. Work and strong families are an integral part of Pacific culture. A denial that welfare can undermine both is self-defeating. But if she doesn't want to see the evidence then a private girls school is absolutely the best place to go looking for it.”

Why spend so much time pointing out facts to someone for whom facts are just so many things to massage?  Because that braindead uninformed sanctimony is the only opposition to any genuine reform, of the welfare system and beyond.

And when it’s eviscerated so compellingly, it deserves applause.

UPDATE:  Yesterday it was Misa. Today it’s Turia. Fisking the braindead is hard work.

_quoteInterviewed on Radio NZ this morning Associate Social Development Minister Tariana Turia [said] … single parents should be allowed to stay home until their children have ‘completed schooling.’ ”

Responds Mitchell:

_quotePaying single parents to stay home until their children complete school … is absurd.”

You can’t be clearer than that.

Understanding the Business Cycle

MisesAcademy

The technology of the world wide web is now bringing you live lectures on rational economics from The Mises Academy.  First course:

Understanding the Business Cycle

A 9-week online course with economist and author of the The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression and the New Deal Robert P. Murphy.

    In this introductory economics course, Dr. Murphy will guide students through an exploration of the Austrian Business Cycle Theory (the theory that enabled Ludwig von Mises and F.A. Hayek to predict the Great Depression and Peter Schiff and others to predict the current economic crisis), covering the fundamentals of Austrian Economics along the way. This approach combines the careful conceptual bricklaying of an introductory course with the excitement of a real-world applications course.
    The course will integrate video conferenced lectures, live chat, forum discussions, online readings, video, audio, slideshows, written assignments and more. It is designed for both students and financial professionals, to provide a detailed look at all the moving parts of the Austrian theory, which traces the origin of cycles to manipulation of the money supply and the credit markets by the central bank. It shows how it is impossible to understand the bust without first understanding the distorted production structure that occurs during an artificial boom.
    Understanding the Business Cycle considers both domestic and international implications, contrasts the Austrian theory with alternative theories, takes on common objections in the press and economic literature, and proposes reforms to eliminate cycles in the future. Particular focus on the current economic crisis comes at the end of the course.

Check out the full description and course syllabus here to see if you can organise the time—and to see some screenshots of the sort of thing you’ll be getting.

Why would you want to enrol?  For your own economic self-defence. As Ludwig von Mises said:

    "Economics must not be... left to esoteric circles. It is the philosophy of human life and action and concerns everybody and everything. It is the pith of civilization and of man's human existence.”

By that he meant rational economics—not the flatulent mainstream variety that just brought down the world.

    “Society lives and acts only in individuals; it is nothing more than a certain attitude on their part. Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders; no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way out for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interests, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle. None can stand aside with unconcern; the interests of everyone hang on the result. Whether he chooses or not, every man is drawn into the great historical struggle, the decisive battle into which our epoch has plunged us.”

‘The Mower’ – Hamo Thornycroft

Thornycroft-Mower

Inspired by the sight of a mower swinging his scythe while Thornycroft while out on the canal one summer afternoon, this 19xx bronze was produce from sketches drawn on the spot.

“Exhibited amongst the classical nudes and mythological figures at the Royal Academy, this life sized farmhand was viewed as a radical work of art – which it undoubtedly was.”*

“Whether it is a subject to be treated in sculpture on that scale is another matter…it hardly seems worth the dignity of art,” sniffed The Builder in their June 1884 issue.

The snobbery makes admiration ofits simple mastery all the sweeter.

Monday, 29 March 2010

The fucking fucker’s fucked

George Carlin talked about “the seven dirty words.”

    "There are 400,000 words in the English language, and there are 7 you can't say on television. What a ratio that is! 399,993...to 7. They must really be baaaad. They must be OUTRAGEOUS to be separated from a group that large."

Now the Broadcasting Standards Authority—hallowed be their hold on us—have raised the ratio.  They have thirty-one words they say they have tested for “acceptability” on air and declared to be “fairly or totally unacceptable” on television and radio, most of which were used today by broadcasters reporting this report.

Crampton reckons it must have been fun doing the surveying—and that there’s probably at least one South Park episode in it.

But it turns out at least that the BSA’s bureaucrats do have a sense of humour.  BSA boss Wanda Harland challenges you to use all thirty-one in a sentence . . .

“A Film Critic's Year-Long Quest to Find the Worst Movie Ever Made”

Plan-9-Outer-Space_02_240210120810

It took a year and he wrote a book about them: that special type of film that is so bad it’s good. Movies like Plan 9 from Outer Space, Showgirls, Mac and Me, Transformers 2, “and any movie by Uwe Boll … ”

The-Return-of-Doctor-X-01_240210120840 And apparently one in which Humphrey Bogart appears as a vampire!  Uugh!

“So bad it’s good”? So what the hell does that mean then?

    A: “I think boredom is probably the bottom line. That’s actually perversely what I was looking for, a movie that was so terrible that you’d rather watch a blank wall for two hours. I did find a few like that. It’s probably very difficult to make a movie that has no redeeming value whatsoever. A bad movie that’s really good is a movie that’s terrible but its terribleness is consistently over-the-top, wild, weird and funny.”

Ah, now that makes some sense.  Check out the interview with said film critic here about his year-long wallow in schlock—including some clips from what he calls the best of the worst.

Scorched Earth Hour [update 3]

It seems the wowsers’ Earth Hour this year was a bust, with few if any people, places or cities taking it seriously. That’s progress.

Mind you, Earth Hour in North Korea was a stunning success once again.

Dr Richard McGrath sent me pictures of his own efforts to beat back the darkness.  He calls it ‘Scorched Earth Hour.’

earth_hour01 earth_hour02

Anyone else got any decent pics of their own Power Hour celebrations?

UPDATE 1:  Dave Mann has sent some pics of his Power Hour celebrations on Saturday, saying:

    “We ran all our house lights on Earth Night as well as illuminating every outside security light and the deck, where we ate a delicious dinner with the stereo going. Outside in the drive we had 2 cars running with the headlights on full and the hazard lights going. Every 10 minutes or so we headed down to them and blasted the horns (2 horns are better than one because the resonance set up by the two different frequencies really carries). It was a great celebration of human achievement.”

Great stuff.

Image0087a Image0083a

UPDATE 2: Dinther sent me these photos of his contribution to brightening the planet:

    “For this [he says]I switched on 23 separate lights and added 3 500w halogen lights. I even turned up the brightness on my computer monitors screens. Just to celebrate power hour to the max I also turned on all entertainment appliances. TV's computers and stereo's. Like others invest in more Christmas lights every year, I may just keep an eye on Halogen lights on sale for next year. I did inquire to the cost of renting these big aircraft search lights to light up the Waitakere Ranges but the cost was just a tad too much. Maybe we can organise something for next year.”

powerhour 003A great idea! I think he was meaning something like this, which another punter used to keep the luddites at bay.

26417_375835641621_645886621_3815443_6157890_n

Unfortunately however, he gets points off for having a shamefully dark carport, and at least one bedroom without lights on at all.  Shame.

UPDATE 3:  Writing from Australia, where Earth Hour started, environmentalist Sara Phillips sees the light (so to speak).  Writing at the spiritual home of warmism, the ABC, she opines:

    “Sitting in the dark is hardly sustainable behaviour - what happens when you want to read a book? Or cook dinner? If it's such a great “first step” surely we should try to do it all the time. But of course, that's not feasible.
    “Sitting in the dark is not sustainable for more than a symbolic hour. And if anyone is going to understand the concept of sustainability it ought to be the green groups.”  [Hat tip Andrew Bolt]

Wowsers ganging up on Andrew Williams [update 5]

Since when did having a couple of late evening drinks and a public piss on the way home constitute grounds for resignation from anything?

It’s hardly grounds for anything, let alone news.  Who among us can't say they haven't done the same, and wouldn't again?

And why not? A few drinks after dark and a piss against a tree when you’ve finished is hardly as bad as, say, dismembering New Zealand’s major city, now is it.

So frankly, the attacks on the North Shore mayor Andrew Williams for doing what we all do looks like something of a beat up—especially when the rag this “news” appeared in is the Sunday Star Slime, and the group of Andrew Williams’ critics seem for the most part to include that group of people firmly focussed on dismemberment.

It makes you wonder what sort of opposition from Williams those Super Shitty advocates doing the beat up are expecting?

UPDATE 1:  Oh for fuck’s sake.  Bloody Farrar is now drawing little maps showing where Andrew Williams walked, and “what many may not know … that he would have actually walked past a set of public toilets” !

Wow.

Get a bloody life, David.

UPDATE 2:  Take note that the rag in which this “revelation” first featured was the the Sunday Star Slime (a tabloid in all but name), and the alleged journalist running the story is a muckraker from way back, was sacked by TVNZ for stalking another TVNZ presenter, Mike Hosking, went on to set up a website that purported to expose celebrities doing whatever celebrities do, and was most recently to be found sneaking into Eden Park posing as a terrorist (satirised so deliciously by Chris Keall at NBR). Oh, and in a previous life was best known for spying on his now employer.

UPDATE 3:

Cartoon by EMMERSON UPDATE 4:  Colin Espiner writes on ‘Fear and loathing on the North Shore’:

    “I've seen a few hatchet jobs in my time covering politics, but this one takes the biscuit.
    “Let me say right up front that I'm no fan of North Shore Mayor Andy Williams. He's bombastic, opinionated, shoots from the lip, and makes as many enemies as he does friends. A bit like Auckland Mayor John Banks, actually…
   “But of the stitch-ups, of all the nasty, low-down, personal vendettas, of all the naked, backstabbing, below-the-belt, shin-kicking attacks, the orchestrated beat-up on Williams has me almost feeling sorry for him.”

UPDATE 5: Heh heh.  This is good satire from Imperator Fish: ‘Urinating Minister Must Go – Critics’:

    “Embattled Local Government Minister Rodney Hide has refused to resign, amid claims he is drunk with power…”

And Ruth states the obvious:

    “This Williams fool is far less a danger to the populace than Hide.”

Auckland meet-up: Economics for Real People

I’m looking forward to going along to this tomorrow night--the first meeting of the year of the Auckland Uni Economics Group. Should be fun.

Seminar 1 Looks to me like everybody’s welcome, not just students.

Here’s the full blurb I’ve been sent by the organisers:

    The first meeting of the year of the University of Auckland Economics Group takes place next Tuesday, 30 March at 6.00pm.

            Level 0, Room 5
            Owen G Glen Building
            University of Auckland Business School

Seminar 1: Economics for Real People
   
Have you thought that economics seems divorced from the real world?  In next Tuesday's presentation and discussion, we'll look at the importance of economic ideas and how they have shaped societies over the last few centuries. We'll use real life examples to demonstrate ideas and concepts which help us identify bad economic theories. With the recent global financial crisis, there are plenty of examples.
    And how do the lyrics of one 'rap' song help us understand economics? Find out next Tuesday!
    The discussion is interactive and is open to all, not just students and not just those majoring in economics. Throughout this year, guest speakers from overseas, the business community and academia, will present economic ideas which have changed the world.
    See you next Tuesday and invite your friends.

More info at the new Auckland Uni Economics Group blog.

New improved Economists Family Tree [updated]

After much research, gnashing of teeth and drawings of many more lines and boxes, I’ve produced a “new improved” version of the economics family tree I posted last week.  After much work it’s becoming fully comprehensive, yet seductively simple. 

W-01 Economists Family Tree

I think it’s a vast improvement on the last version, which had lost most of the clarity.

You’ll note, among other things, that there are two general streams of thought emerging out of history—one of which, with some exceptions, is largely ignored by the mainstream—and the other of which is largely in praise of big government. 

That the last time there was general agreement was back just after the Marginalist Revolution, around the turn of the last century, out of which ‘progressive’ era all the various fragmented schools of today really emerged.

That many things (both good and bad) began with Knut Wicksell.

That there was economics (both good and bad) before Adam Smith.

You might note too the profound distance between the two Britons Philip Wicksteed over the direction of the Marginalist Revolution—a distance measured both by their separation in the chart and by Wicksteed’s assertion that Marshall and his followers were insufficiently aware of how radical that revolution was, making them little more than “a school of apologists” for the failures of the classical school to construct a valid theory of value.

That there’s really no such thing as a  “neo-liberal” school—a “school” which exists only the minds of Susan St John, Jane Kelsey and their fellow travellers.

That for some decades after the British Classical School codified the study of economics, Karl Marx’s version of their work virtually had the English-speaking world to itself—which explains a lot--but his influence in economics a century later was less so than it was in other fields.

That until recently mainstream economics took very little from the seminal stream of Austrian thought, except what the “Neo-Classicists” took from Hayek and (the partial-Austrian) Schumpeter.

That there is a direct line forward from Carl Menger (“the true and sole founder of Austrian economics proper”)through Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk and Ludwig Von Mises to George Reisman, and from Reisman back to the many valid but now-forgotten ideas of the Classical School—and an indirect line back from John Maynard Keynes back to the the unsound and misbegotten fallacies of Malthus and the mercantilists, and forward to the ‘Neo-Classical Synthesis’ that institutionalised those errors. . .

So it’s getting there.  Mind you, it’s still not perfect. I haven’t included all the economists who feature on the various ’ten most influential economists’ lists of all-time, or even of the twentieth-century. And I’m now under heavy pressure from Will Wilkinson and a couple of others to add the New Institutional School . . . even though I have got Ronald Coase in there.  At the moment.

Rest assured that I’ll be speaking to a historian of economic thought on Wednesday—as you do—to get some more perspective, and to get firmly upbraided for my errors.

Friday, 26 March 2010

FRIDAY MORNING RAMBLE: The No-David-Bain issue [updated]

Welcome to another ramble round things and places that caught this liberty-lover’s eye this week . . . without any mention of David Bain. Apart from this one.

  • CLICK HERE FOR STORY Never mind bloody Earth Hour this weekend.  Auckland’s Racket Bar is holding a Power Hour tomorrow night, featuring the world's longest multi-box chain, coal-fired air-conditioning and a light show visible from outer space.!  Cool.
    Plus: BRING IN YOUR OWN ELECTRICAL APPLIANCE AND RECEIVE A FREE TIGER BEER!
    Sounds like a place to be.
    --> Power Hour at the Racket Bar  
  • And Libertarianz leader Richard McGrath encourages all New Zealanders to turn on all their lights during Earth Hour this Saturday night.
    “The Dark Ages were a grim chapter in human history. I don’t feel the need to relive those times.”
    --> Light Up The Country This Earth Hour, Say Libz
  • “The symbolic message that Earth Hour sends is deceptive and destructive.”
    --> “Earth Hour” Symbolizes the Renunciation of Industrial Civilization
  • Another carbon tax domino falls—Nicholas Sarkozy has given in to reality and to political pressure, and pulled his country’s much feted carbon tax scheme.
    So if he can see sense . . .
    --> France backs down on plans for carbon tax
  • It’s a bit early to crack down on beneficiaries, says Peter Osborne.  There’s a few things that need to be done first . . .
    --> At Least Do the Job Properly Paula
  • For instance . . .
    --> Why not just scrap WFF Bill?
  • One would hope that those who parade the “neutrality” of Radio NZ journalists might give some thought to John Stossel’s consideration of government-paid journalists.
            “That journalists are supposed to be the watchdogs, not lapdogs of government
        doesn't resonate with many on the Left. …
            “ Journalists shouldn’t get government funds. Using NPR and PBS [and Radio NZ] as
        a defense reminds me of the child who killed his parents then pleaded for mercy because
        he was an orphan. “
    --> Journalism's Parasites [hat tip Thrutch]
  • Yet another economist is getting “sick of reports that talk about these massive benefits of government spending without actually looking at them in context with, you know, opportunity cost.” Matt Nolan lets rip.
    --> I’m sick of this …
  • Speaking of political economy, Labour’s David Cunliffe reckons at the Red Alert blog that "Keynes is alive and well." That Keynes "rescued" 2 Depressions. I comment. Could be the start of a good debate.
    --> The Turning Point (III): The Keynesian Resurgence
  • A “frustrating” Massey University survey on abortion etc. shows far too many busybodies far too interested in what women choose to do with their bodies.
    --> Frustrating abortion survey out
  • No smell-o-vision yet (thank goodness) but 4-dimensional cinema has arrived!  Eat your heart out Avatar.
    --> Too much realism
  • Speaking of Avatar, director James “Dickhead” Cameron politely calls for a debate with climate skeptics.  On the behalf of “boneheads” everywhere, Anne McElhinny accepts. “It appears some negative comments about the nonsensical politics of Avatar by me and others did not go unnoticed by the richest man in Hollywood who described the criticism as ‘ranting.’  So, James Cameron I accept your invitation.”
    I almost feel sorry for the over-precious poseur.
    --> James Cameron – I Accept
  • “The front page story in the Dominion-Post [yesterday] is about disabled woman Margaret Page. She wants to die, and so is refusing food and water, effectively starving herself to death. The hospice she is in, St John of Godhome, is refusing to intervene.
    And so they should be. This is fundamentally a question of autonomy. Our lives belong to us, not to someone's Invisible Sky Fairy, and certainly not to the state.”
    Bravo!  If only Idiot/Savant would follow that principle consistently himself!
    --> The right to die
  • The Family’s Commission CEO offers “a heaven-sent opportunity” to close the bloody place down.
    “Blend the bloody thing in somewhere and give it six months to wither and die as the departmental CEO redirects its funds to something useful,” says Adolf.
    --> Now Get Rid Of It
  • CLICK FOR STORY!“A guy phoned up who worked for NASA who was interested in how we took the pictures,” Mr Harrison told The Times
    “He wanted to know how the hell we did it. He thought we used a rocket. They said it would have cost them millions of dollars.”
    But not when you use a balloon, a camera and a roll of duct tape.
    --> Journey into space with a balloon and duct tape
  • Lisa Van Damme’s Van Damme Academy offers a unique curriculum for students, and “Director’s Teas” where parents themselves get to experience it.
    Check out, for example, this masterful art appreciation class with “Mr Travis.”  It starts unusually, but you’ll be amazed what – in just twenty minutes -- he can show you in what you thought was a simple painting.
    --> The VDA Art Curriculum - Part 3 of 8 [Click through for the full lecture]

 

  • Rodbeater has been trolling again—so excerpts of his trash have been posted to his Redbaiter’s Bile blog.
    Head along and “enjoy” some edited samples of his invective—and get a clue why this idiot is banned.
    --> Redbaiter’s Bile
  • The argument is over, and the liberals have won. But Matthew Yglesias reckons ObamaCare is their high tide.  Sounds like wishful thinking-but a lot are buying that Kool-Aid.
    --> The End of Big Government Liberalism
  •     “You need a way to maintain your morale—to counter the effects of dispiriting circumstances. In short you need a solid basis to expect a better future.  What can provide it when the news headlines fill you with revulsion?
        “The virtue of optimism.  .. But [by this I mean] a very particular type of optimism. It is not wishful thinking..  It is confidence in one's own potency, and it has to be maintained and fought for like any virtue.....”
    --> Tom Minchin - Hope is Dead - Long Live Optimism
  • Who are "the forgotten men and women of American health care”?
    The doctors, of course.  How many have heard from them?
    --> Who cares about the doctors?
  • A quote now for every time someone calls you anti-health care or anti-education…

“Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the
distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every
time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists
conclude that we object to its being done at all.”
– Frédéric Bastiat

  • Here’s something to ponder for fans of “efficient markets.” Buyers of bonds now rate Berkshire Hathaway’s bonds safer than those peddled by the US Government. Which means, as Bloomber reports, “The bond market is now saying that it’s safer to lend to Warren Buffett than Barack Obama.”
    --> A Fiscal Train Wreck
  • “A sudden drop-off in investor demand for U.S. Treasury notes is raising questions about whether interest rates will finally begin a march higher—a climb that would jack up the government's borrowing costs and spell trouble for the fragile housing market.” And not just for the housing market.  This is the beginning of the end for that school of economists who maintain that government debt is the basis on which currency is organised.
    --> Hoping for a rich uncle, part two
  • “AsMargaret Thatcher once said, "the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money." Michael Barone reports, “in recent weeks U.S. Treasury bonds have lost their status as the world's safest investment…”
    --> Obama, Meet Reality aka The Bond Market
  • Does NZ really need a Productivity Commission anyway?  Paul Walker doesn’t think so.
    --> Productivity commission, Why?
  • On better things . . . Rachel Miner “shares some tools which have added much joy for me by helping me capture the precious moments of parenting. There are so many experiences that are both easy to forget and worthy of remembering."
    --> Tool: Capturing the Precious Times
  • Jo Kellard offers a guide for how to start thinking about potential careers and career choices.
    --> Did Students Heed My Career Advice?
  • The title says it all:
    --> The Nature of Consciousness Vs. Religious concepts
  • "We may have lost the first round in the health care battle,” says Paul Hsieh. “But if we follow these principles,the final victory can still be ours."
    --> "ObamaCare: The Coming Battles"
  • Earth doesn’t care whether our lights are on or not; if we’re producing or not; which Korea is starving, or free, or not.  The night lights of Korea tell the story of man’s emergence from slavery into freedom.
    For in the slave state that is North Korea, “Earth Hour” is for life.
    --> Earth doesn’t care about our lights, our electricity
    earth-hour-carbon-sense-368
  • "Amazing! A company that provides really great food allergy information that is NOT coerced by the government! Why in the world would they do such a crazy thing?"
    --> Now THAT'S What I Call a Food Allergy-Friendly Company
  • A list of psychological disorders.  Some of them are genuine.  All are bogus.
    --> Take the DSM-5 disorder quiz! 
  • Guess who’s against medical marijuana in California?
    That’s right.  The growers.
    --> Baptists, Bootleggers & Vidalia Onions
  • “The new anti-"Zionism" - or anti-Semitism for many - has gone mainstream in a deadly serious way.”
    --> The betrayal of Israel
  • “The great green paradox of the Coromandel is that the place celebrates its mining heyday at every turn.”
    --> Coromandel can bear more mining
  • New book Genetic Roulette purports to take apart genetic engineering, detailing “65 separate claims that the technology causes harm in a variety of ways.”  The Academics Review website dismantles every one of them.
    Science is the winner.
    --> Genetic Roulette

music1 “Music,” by Theo van Oostrom

  • If you’re somebody who only reads Penthouse for the articles, then you’ll have already seen this: Penthouse magazine taking down Al Gore. “Al Gore and his pals in the science establishment want us to totally change our lives because of a theory that might not even be true. Have the sacred cows of global warming been gored beyond repair?”
    --> An Inconvenient Fraud?
  • This is worth digesting: Doug Casey’s Special Report on the state of the world economy.  Twenty pages of charts and stats that tell you the story in pictures that so many wish to deny.
    --> The Good, Bad, and Ugly: “Outlook for the Economy” [pdf]
  • Scott de Salvo suggests Objectivists should get behind Ron Paul.  Hmmm.
    --> Why Ron Paul Is THE Objectivist Moral Imperative
  • CLICK HERE David Harriman’s Logical Leap: Induction in Physics won’t be available for purchase until this summer. But his ‘Periodic Table of the Sciences’ is available now.
            “The Periodic Table of the Sciences is a graphical
         description of  .. science education. Within each
         column, the table shows the stages of development
         (from bottom to top) of the five major theories that
        are essential to a basic education in science. The order
         of the columns (from left to right) reflects the fact that each theory is a prerequisite
        for the next.
            “The concepts of science have a necessary order. Kepler’s laws of planetary motion
        must come before Newton’s law of universal gravitation, electric charge before atomic
        theory, and atomic theory before modern biology. This logical order is shown in the table—
        vertically in the development of each theory and horizontally in the progression from one
        theory to the next. Thus, the Periodic Table of the Sciences captures the integration and the
        hierarchy of scientific knowledge.
            “For students and teachers, the table serves as a reference that demands an answer to two
        crucial questions: what previous knowledge does an idea rest on, and where does the new
        knowledge lead?”
    --> Periodic Table of the Sciences 
    --> For a more in-depth analysis, see Harriman’s articles in The Objective Standard
  • It’s amazing what’s now available on the internet. 
    Philosopher Stephen Hicks has put his entire 15-lecture Philosophy of Education course online, in video.  Normally you’d pay thousands of dollars for this . . . but it’s yours for the price of your internet connection.
    My bet is most of you will head straight to the ‘Big Bang’ and ‘The Creation Story’  in Lecture 2.  Me, I might head straight for what he has to say about Post-Modernism in Lecture 14.
    --> Philosophy of Education: An Introductory Course
  • 752px-Nancy_Pelosi_0009_3-300x239 Nancy Pelosi a constitutionalist?  No, I didn’t think so either.
    --> Nancy Pelosi vs. the Founding Fathers
  • This is “must-see TV” says Tim Blair. “A couple of things about the BBC’s excellent Generation Jihad investigation:
        “One, baby jihadis born and raised in the West are driven entirely by ideology (says one British extremist, previously jailed for terrorism offences: “I’ve never been a victim of poverty or any kind of family break-up or anything like that").
        “And two, these jihadis are a serious menace, despite – paradoxically – being complete losers.”
  • Eric Crampton talks about the hoped-for rise of “The Ninny State.” Apparently you and I are being mocked, and we didn’t even know!
    -->  Ninny state?
  • Life is rough for warmists right now. “In Britain, the 'Climate Change Museum' has been forced to change its name to the 'Climate Science Museum' and in Russia, the country's top climatologist has come out and said that: ‘The winter of 2009-10 was one of the most severe in the European part of Russia for more than 30 years and in Siberia it was perhaps the record-breaking coldest ever.’
        “And, as a result of all this contrary data, the global warming theorists are now threatening violence. “
    --> Ian O'Doherty: Don't tase me, bro
  • Greenpeace isn’t just paid by the government to lobby them—taking money straight out f taxpayers’ pockets--it also steals directly from its members’ bank accounts.
    But it should be no surprise: greenies are less honest than the rest of us.  We knew it just by watching Al Gore’s and Paul Watson’s lips moving, but turns out research shows it too!
    --> Watchdog warns Greenpeace donors
    --> Goodies behaving badly
  • Must be hard hating technology.  It means you’d have to hate people who are so good at celebrating it … like the genius who designs Apple’s retail stores.
    -- > Meet the Genius Behind Apple's Beautiful Retail Stores

   _quote To suppose all consumers to be dupes, and all merchants and
manufacturers to be cheats, has the effect of authorising them
to be so, and of degrading all the working members of the community.”

                               - ARJ Turgot (1727-1781)

  • And finally, something completely different. Specially for Helen Simpson, a Telephone Call From Istanbul . . .

Enjoy your weekend!

Curno Public Library and Auditorium - Archea Associati

Tyler Cowen calls this new library and auditorium by Florence-based architectural practice Archea Associati “beautiful.”

Archea-Associati-Biblioteca-e-Auditorium-Comune-di-Curno-012

Archea-Associati-Biblioteca-e-Auditorium-Comune-di-Curno-011 Archea-Associati-Biblioteca-e-Auditorium-Comune-di-Curno-08

Beautiful? What say you good folk

Thursday, 25 March 2010

First they came for the word ‘progress’ …

There’s a word out of history that’s come back to haunt us.  It’s called “Progressive,” and it’s pure poison.

A decade ago if you’d got a dollar for every time you heard the word ‘Progressive,’ you’d still be in the poorhouse. Now? You hear the word on every street corner, and in every internet chat room. If you had only half a dollar for every time you heard it (which is all today’s dollar is worth anyway) you’d still quite easily make Forbes’ list of billionaires.

So what happened, and when. As Google Trends indicates In 2004, something happened to turn it all around and bring back a word from a hundred years ago. Take a look:

Prog-Soc-04to08

Clearly it’s a new thing, and clearly it’s being used to delineate the same, or similar characteristics, as the world socialist . . .

Lib-Prog

. . . and the word “liberal.” (NB: You’ve got to be careful checking Google Trends for “liberal” since you’re liable to wind up measuring Tony Abbott’s mates in Australia.)

So what happened in 2004?  Any theories? To rule out just one theory: it’s not Glenn Beck, if that’s what you’re thinking. He didn’t take off until last year.

BeckTrend

So what’s the explanation?

Here’s one theory.

At the turn of the century, the advocates of big government picked up the word “progress” and started to bandy it around.  “Progressive” they called themselves when they started to implement government daycare, ban alcohol, and set up government control of the banking system and wartime central planning of the commanding heights of the economy—despite none of these representing any kind of progress but the government gaining ground and liberty being forced to yield.

Socialists laid claim to the world “progress,” just as they laid claim to the notion that socialism was “scientific” –- and their Old Right and “liberal” opponents sat back let them do it.

What a victory! 

By masquerading as being in the vanguard of progress, they made their opponents, by implication, appear as the apostles of reaction.  Of the antediluvian.  Of the status quo.  It made their opponents look like dinosaurs, and their opponents stood back and let them do it.

What an underhanded victory!

So why, later on, did they drop the nomenclature? Not because they had no right to it. They dropped it because they saw something better. 

Just as Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt and their fellow travellers stole the word “progress” when they had no right to it, Franklin Roosevelt and his fellow-travellers stole the word “liberal” even though they had no right to that. But no matter. They saw it was no longer being used, they picked it up, and they used it for all it was worth even though it was the last way to describe their aims.

Where liberalism used to mean the belief in small governments and the importance of liberty and equality before the law—a belief that had flowered in the sweet, liberal air of the freest time in human history, the nineteenth century--now in the mid-twentieth century it was held to mean being made equal by the law. By law wielded by big government.

Quite some sleight of hand, that one.  Exchanging “negative liberties” for “positive liberties, and making small government = big government, and all by the use of one word.

What could be more ingenious!

But now, after a century-and-counting of never-ending Square Deals and Fair Deals-- of New Deals, Great Societies and Fascist New Frontiers—and ever bigger and ever-more intrusive government to remedy the never-ending failure of every promised Utopia to arrive, it was clear that particular jig was up.  Up for good.  It was clear even to moronic numb-nuts and Democratic Party planners (but I repeat myself) that modern “liberalism” is nothing more than old-style socialism, with all the incumbent failures and bad aroma thereof.

Something had to be done to add perfume to the stink of failure so the Grand Old Project could go on as before.

Enter (stage left) Hope. And Change.  And the return of an old friend: “Progressivism.”

You think it’s a coincidence that Mr “Hope and Change” arrived on your doorstep at the same time as that revivified old word did?

ObamaTrend

This was one dog that learned from all the old tricks in the Alinsky-Gramsci toolbox.  One young dog who knew how his prior masters had tamed the populace with the help of a word, and wanted to work the same magic. He grabbed the mantle of “progress,” and once again his opponents let him get away with it.

And just as it was Religion that gave the first generation of American Progressivism its legs, now–-via the oxymoron of “social justice” and the religiously inspired “duty” to be your brother’s keeper—it’s that old-time religion again that’s being used to bury liberty for good, just as surely as if it were a hatchet being buried in its back

So how does that sound as a theory?

And what are you going to do about it?