Friday, 15 April 2011

FRIDAY RAMBLE: The ‘Atlas’ Weekend Edition

I have no idea yet whether it’s good, bad or (most likely) indifferent, but on the weekend that Atlas Shrugged:Part 1 opens on screens across the States, how could I not start with the principle the book most clearly illustrates:

“There are no victims and no conflicts of interest among
rational men, men who do not desire the unearned …  men
who neither make sacrifices nor accept them.”
                   - Ayn Rand

A principle that, once recognised, provides the strongest possible reason for benevolence that could possibly be imagined.
Think about it.
And now, on with our usual Friday morning show. But first, a message from Wesley Mouch:

  • Who’s Wesley Mouch? “When Rand created the character of Wesley Mouch, it’s as though she was anticipating Barney Frank (D., Mass). Mouch is the economic czar in “Atlas Shrugged” whose every move weakens the economy, which in turn gives him the excuse to demand broader powers. Mr. Frank steered Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to disaster with mandates for more lending to low-income borrowers. After Fannie and Freddie collapsed under the weight of their subprime mortgage books, Mr. Frank proclaimed last year: ‘The way to cure that is to give us more authority.’ Mouch couldn’t have said it better himself.”
    Remembering the Real Ayn Rand – Donald Luskin, W A L L   S T R E E T  J O U R N A L
  • Here’s one question to ask yourself this weekend: Are you a maker, or a taker?
    Are you a producer or a moocher? – Gen La Greca & Marsha Enright, D A I L Y  CA L L E R
  • 340x_custom_1276644309238_picture_43 Whatever the success or otherwise of the film Atlas Shrugged, and reviews are already mixed, there’s no doubt that there’ll be yet another huge spike in interest in the book. And just to be ready for it all, the Atlas Shrugged website has been drastically updated with substantial new content and new resources to enhance understanding of the ideas behind the novel.
    Atlas Shrugged website 
    –A Y N   R A N D   I N S T I T U T E
  • It’s not only Christchurch earthquake victims being screwed by organisations like EQC. Japan had its own version of interventionist ineptitude.
    How the Japanese Insurance Industry Screwed the Average Person on Earthquake Insurance – E C O N O M I C  P O L I C Y  J O U R N A L
  • “Nice to have”? Or impossible to afford. I can’t help thinking that  if this economic plan had been implemented back in 2008, we wouldn’t be in the position we are now. "We call it the Don't-Spend-So-Goddamned-Much Plan" …
    Finally: A Credible Economic Plan – L I B E R T A R I A N Z, 2008
  • How many NZers would have left money with Mark Hotchin if they’d known he was so credulous?
    Suppression of market-relevant information – O F F S E T T I N G   B E H A V I O U R
  • Copyright protection on the net? Right idea, wrong process.
    An own goal  - David Farrar, K I W I B L O G
  • No wonder, when you have MPs involved. Why do people want people like this making decisions for them? About, well, about anything really?
     Katrina Shanks internet law parody by Kurt Sharpe. – S T U F F
  • Quick, download NationalMP2.o now…
    It's Upgrade Time – I M P E R A T O R   F I S H
  • “Human character (or at least behavior) was changed, and changed forever, by seventeenth-century Britain’s insistence that ideas were a kind of property. This notion is as consequential as any idea in history.”
    The Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam, Industry, and Invention
    – Dale Halling, S T A T E   O F  I N N O V A T I O N
  • “Unfortunately, Libertarians, Socialists and many Economists do not know the difference between a monopoly and a property right. Here are three easy questions for Libertarians, Socialists, and Economists to determine if a right is a monopoly or a property right.”
    Monopoly/Rent Seeking vs. Property Rights/Intellectual Property 
    – Dale Halling, S T A T E   O F  I N N O V A T I O N
  • As always, Paul Walker has some excellent Blog Bits. Two in particular.
    Blog Bits – A N T I   D I S M A L
  • Eric and I will have to disagree about the merits of playing NWA at a club—or anywhere else for that matter—but we don’t disagree it’s a disgrace to be arrested for it.
    Two disgraces that are, and one that isn't – O F F S E T T I N G   B E H A V I O U R
  • Mind you, it has always been so in this small authoritarian backwater.Anyone else remember how the riot squad used to “visit” gigs up in Airedale St just to bust them up?  As the Newmatics remembered, those weren’t the days.
  • “The Marxian doctrine of the alleged arbitrary power of employers over wages appears plausible because there are two obvious facts that it relies on, facts which do not actually support it, but which appear to support it. These facts can be described as ‘worker need’ and ‘employer greed.’”
    Wages and the Irrelevance of Worker Need and Employer Greed 
    – G E O R G E   R E I S M A N ‘ S   B L O G
  • “There is a sense in which the whole of Marx’s writing boils down to several embarrassing questions.” This is truer than Marxists care to admit.
    Terryfied – Don Boudreaux, C A F E  H A Y E K
  • Here is a chart of oil prices.
    216546_177936218925442_100001271958300_466275_5134679_n And here is a chart of oil prices priced in gold.
    215330_177936535592077_100001271958300_466276_6101348_n Do you think maybe there might be some kind of lesson here? [Hat tip Keith W.]
  • You’re just in time for our 2011 Gold Quiz! How much do you know about gold? Jeff Clark challenges you to test your knowledge. Also in this edition: Gold – the performing commodity; and, three ideas killed stone dead since the 2008 crash.
     The 2011 Gold Quiz  - C A S E Y   D A I L Y   D E S P A T C H
  • “Aggregate economics just doesn't work.” So why do we even need macroeconomics at all?
    Macro is not having a good day - A N T I   D I S M A L
  • Debt? Think it’s your grandchildren paying for your government’s  debts? Think again. As with war, so too with profligacy and waste…

“One now and then hears the interpretation expressed that
financing war by state loans signifies shifting the war costs
from the present onto following generations… This interpretation
is completely wrong. War can be waged only with present goods.
One can fight only with weapons that are already on hand; one
can take everything needed for war only from wealth already
on hand. From the economic point of view, the present generation
wages war, and it must also bear all the material costs ...”
                       - Ludwig Von Mises, Nation, State & Economy


  • When Denis Dutton died, it seems his magnificent Arts & Letters Daily died with him.
    Arts & Letters Daily  - C A T A L L A X Y   F I L E S
  • The book The Spirit Level is still being taken seriously as an evidential tool to argue for interventionism. Chris Snowdon explains that the “evidence” is painfully thin, and terribly tortured.
     Should We Sacrifice Economic Growth for Equality? – I . E . A .
  • A debate to watch over the weekend: “Government, what is its proper role?”
  • 4731533855_7d65790718_oBob Jones writes more politely about “leadership” than I think I’ve ever seen him write before.  But he still thinks it’s bollocks.
    The Actual Habits – Bob Jones 
    – G E T   F R A N K
  • Here’s a question answered to help you buy baby’s clothes:  “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.” Can you guess how long ago that was written?
    When Did Girls Start Wearing Pink? – S M I T H S O N I A N  [hat tip Noodle Food]
  • This is cool. This amazing software developed by a NZ company takes raw photo images, and constructs digital 3D models from them. [Hat tip Lyn B.]
    A R E O S C A N
  • Ho w Google works, in one simple flow chart. [Hat tip Geek Press]
    How Google Works – P P C   B L O G
  • You do know it’s okay to dislike good art, don’t you?
    Appreciating Art (It’s OK to [Dis]Like It.) – T R E Y  G I V E N S
  • And finally, there’s music for everyone this Friday. For everyone else going those “extra Miles” (ho ho) …
  • … for everyone moving on …
  • … and for everyone suffering from absent lover(s), here’s Rainbow. (I liked the comment at YouTube: “Graham Bonnet may have looked like a Miami Vice extra, but what a fucking awesome voice.”)

Have a good weekend, y’all.

PS: Time to start thing about those beers for the colder seasons. Just sayin’.

PPS: And by the way, who’s this bloke?



  1. Who's this bloke?

    The 'Crack a Woody' bloke. Currently working onscreen in the US. Appeared in the last series of 'True Blood' for one.

  2. Agreed about Arts and Letters Daily. I've emailed the editor (his email at bottom of home page) to voice my displeasure.

  3. So I'm not the only one who has hardy clicked through on a link at all at A&LD for months and months.


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