Wednesday, 23 December 2015

'Twas the Wednesday-before-Christmas Ramble . . .

“Q: [Is it] appropriate for an atheist to celebrate Christmas?A: “The secular meaning of the Christmas holiday is wider than the tenets of any
particular religion: it is good will toward men...

    The charming aspect of Christmas is the fact that it expresses good will in a cheerful, happy, benevolent, non-sacrificial way. One says: ‘Merry Christmas’—not ‘Weep and Repent.’ And the good will is expressed in a material, earthly form—by giving presents to one’s friends, or by sending them cards in token of remembrance…    “The best aspect of Christmas is the aspect usually decried by the mystics: the fact that Christmas has been commercialised. The gift-buying . . . stimulates an enormous outpouring of ingenuity in the creation of products devoted to a single purpose: to give men pleasure. And the street decorations put up by department stores and other institutions—the Christmas trees, the winking lights, the glittering colours—provide the city with a spectacular display, which only ‘commercial greed’ could afford to give us. One would have to be terribly depressed to resist the wonderful gaiety of that spectacle.”
            ~ Ayn Rand, The Objectivist Calendar, Dec. 1976
It’s Christmas, yes, but rust never sleeps…

“New Zealand's Anti Money Laundering regulations sure do increase the fixed costs of being in business.”
Anti Money Laundering Costs – Eric Crampton, OFFSETTING BEHAVIOUR

“’...Green Party social development spokeswoman Jan Logie said international evidence shows about 70 per cent of people seeking income support are in a violent relationship..’”
No, Jan. Your international evidence does not show that.
Typically dodgy claim from Green MP – LINDSAY MITCHELL

If everyone living in somewhere zoned “medium-density” could all read this submission, New Zealand’s cities could all be much better places.
For a bigger Khandallah – Eric Crampton, OFFSETTING BEHAVIOUR

"Housing affordability can’t be solved under the status quo. There are too many vested interests in keeping house prices high. The capital losses required to make housing “affordable” relative to median household incomes around the country are too damn high."
Housing affordability can’t be solved under the status quo - Brennan McDonald, JUST SOME THOUGHTS

"But anyway do you note how the tree is now magically up to 600 years old. Previously they only claimed it was 500 years old.  But actually Auckland Council has said several arborists have said it is 150 to 200 years old – making it no different to probably tens of thousands of trees.
"The media just report the claims of 600 without scrutiny."
The kauri tree that keeps getting older - KIWIBLOG

Markets for everything. (But why make it compulsory?)
Compulsory trading of Xmas presents – STEPHEN FRANKS

"On those latest child poverty stats..."
Child poverty stats - Eric Crampton, THE SAND PIT
Which inequalities matter? - Ken Arrow, THE SAND PIT
The Threefold Disaster that Comes from Imposing Economic Equality - GEORGE REISMAN'S BLOG

"Make a great gossip site and the readers of the world will beat a path to your online door! He did and they didn’t.
"Put Sean Plunket and Paul Henry back-to-back in the morning, and the punters will just keep on watching or listening. He did and they didn’t.
"Summon Heather du Plessis-Allan to your executive suite and impress on her the relationship between ratings for the new evening television show and her future employment prospects. He did and the cops executed a search warrant on her Wellington apartment."
David Cohen on the troubles in the media landscape - WHALE OIL

Long, heartfelt, and his last blog post ever (he says).
Signing off - My Last Blog Post | Nicky Hager; Heather Du Plessis-Allan; Deborah Hill-Cone; Giovanni Tiso - Individualism & the Tyranny of Each Other – Mark Hubbard, LIFE BEHIND THE IRON DRAPE

"The origins of political correctness apparently go back nearly a hundred years where some claim it began as cultural Marxism. It only evolved into what is generally know as political correctness now in the last decade of two of the twentieth century..."
Origins of Political Correctness - Pete George, YOUR NZ

“The free-speech wars of 2015 began in tragedy with the Charlie Hebdo massacre, when Islamist gunmen murdered eight cartoonists and journalists and four others at the Paris offices of that satirical weekly. The free-speech year in the UK is ending in farce, with a Belfast pastor facing a possible jail sentence for preaching the honest evangelical Christian view that Islam is ‘satanic’, and thousands demanding that the world heavyweight champion – of pugilism, not philosophy – be  blacklisted by the BBC for making homophobic and sexist remarks.”
2015: The Year we forgot what free speech means - Mick Hume, SPIKED

“Unfortunately, Islamists aren’t the only ones who fundamentally oppose free thought and free speech. On this point, they have intellectual allies in the West, particularly among postmodern intellectuals and their fellow travellers. Consider the following quote...”
At the heart of the attacks on free speech an attack on reason – Steve Simpson, VOICES FOR REASON

“The West needs to beat Islamism on the battlefield of ideas.”
2015: The year the West terrorised itself – Frank Furedi, SPIKED

“Here at spiked, we like to celebrate the fruits of human endeavour. Such life-bettering changes are the result of ingenuity, toil and an unwillingness to accept our lot. They come from our unique determination to master our surroundings and conquer nature.”
The greatest human breakthroughs of 2015 – Neil Ross, SPIKED

"The former secretary of state, senator, and first lady is already running against Donald Trump. She might win, but the country will lose."
Hillary Clinton Will Win the Democratic Nomination But Is an Awful Candidate - Nick Gillespie, HIT & RUN

“Donald Trump showed up in typical form at the Republican presidential debate, aggressively lobbing insults at his competitors and promising repeatedly to make America great again by… well, in truth it’s never quite clear…
    “One reason for this is that Trump often seems to have no idea what he is talking about, and frequently appears to be making it all up on the spot.”
Trump's "No Spoilers" Policy and Brainfart Fascism: The half-baked authoritarianism of "just give me power" – Peter Suderman, ANYTHING PEACEFUL

“Of the 75 political claims by Donald Trump during the current campaign that have been vetted by the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact checking organisation Politifact not one – not a single one – has been rated as ‘True’.”
Not one of 75 Trump claims is actually true – KIWIBLOG

“At the last Republican debate, the presidential candidates didn’t have many positive things to say about immigrants or refugees. This could be because they believe a lot of very inaccurate things about them. Here are the top five most egregious things that the GOP presidential hopefuls had to say in the last debate.”
The Five Biggest Immigration Myths of the GOP Debate – David Bier, ANYTHING PEACEFUL

"The left keeps lamenting the shrinking middle class. And the middle class IS shrinking as a percentage of Americans. But here's the the catch: Turns out that 2/3 of the middle class losses are because they moved to “rich”!"
Yes, America's middle class has been disappearing....into higher income groups - Mark Perry, AEI

“In questions of science the authority of a thousand is
not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.”
~ Galileo Galilei

“The meeting of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris was a revivalist convention full of factoid-laden stirring speeches.  Politicians, bureaucrats, NGOs and business lobbyists all competed to demonstrate their “concerned” credentials.  The outcome was an agreement to impose higher energy costs accompanied by mutual backslapping with, for the elite, selfie pictures with Al Gore.”
Greenhouse policy after Paris: marching to penury – Alan Moran, CATALLAXY FILES

Steve Milloy: “Can't think of any do-gooder doing as much good as new Aussie coal port.
Australian government OKs plan to expand coal port near Great Barrier Reef – JUNK SCIENCE

“If you enjoy making small children cry – and who doesn’t? – then Fairfax has the perfect Christmas gift idea.”
It’s “The Fright before Christmas”. Can we scare the kiddies? – JO NOVA
"Is there any evidence of any 'accelerations' (or departures from long-term linear trends) in the rate of sea level rise?" Short answer: No. Longer answer: Hell no.
Spectacular Sea Level Fraud From The IPCC - REAL SCIENCE

"The end of law is not to abolish or restrain,
but to preserve and enlarge freedom."

~John Locke

“It sometimes takes a dose of national chauvinism for implications of poor policies to sink in.  So it is with the UK, where a sudden realisation that France has overtaken Britain in home ownership rates has led to soul searching.”
Housing: the Tragedy of Planning Continues – Alan Moran, CATALLAXY FILES

"According to a disturbingly pleasant graphic from Information is Beautiful entitled simply 20th Century Death, communism was the leading ideological cause of death between 1900 and 2000."
Communism Killed 94M in 20th Century, Feels Need to Kill Again - John J. Walters, HIT & RUN

"To be a useful assistant in the running of a totalitarian state it is not enough that a man should be prepared to accept specious justification of vile deeds, he must himself be prepared actively to break every moral rule he has ever known if this seems necessary to achieve the end set for him."
Why the Worst Get on Top - FA Hayek, THE FREEMAN

"Of the 25 most polluted places on Earth, how many do you think will be in the relatively free-market parts of the world?"
Capitalism Loves the Earth, but the Greens Hate Capitalism  - Stephen Hicks, SAVVY STREET

"In this era of “savage capitalism,” the world has seen unprecedented declines in poverty and increases in global welfare."
In Praise of Capitalist Globalisation - Corey Iacono, ANYTHING PEACEFUL

A documentary featuring Yaron Brook, John Allison, Charles Calomiris, Peter Wallison, George Selgin, and many others... "the documentary God and Washington don't want you to see!"

“Life involves risks. Sometimes we’re presented with dilemmas where each choice involves a potential loss. But potential loss can also bring the potential for gain. So, is it worth it?”
“Homewrecker”: The Psychology of Affairs – Dr Michael Hurd, LIVING RESOURCES CENTER

"In memoriam."
Alright, I'll Sweep The *&%$ Stairwell... - IMGUR

"Ask anyone to name the archetypal genius, and chances are it will be Ludwig van Beethoven. This is hardly surprising, as Beethoven largely created the image of what genius should be."
Beethoven, Anguish & Genius - 3 QUARKS DAILY

"This blind faith in cancer screening is an example of how ideas about human biology and behaviour can persist among people -- including scientists -- even though the scientific evidence shows the concepts to be false. "Scientists think they're too objective to believe in something as folklore-ish as a myth," says Nicholas Spitzer, director of the Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind at the University of California, San Diego. Yet they do."
The science myths that will not die - NATURE

"The crux of the complaints is that, rather than trying to cure the dying people whom she rescued from Calcutta’s streets, to better their condition and help them fulfil their potential, she merely provided basic facilities in which they could “die beautifully”, in her favourite phrase."
How saintly was Mother Teresa, really? - INDEPENDENT (UK)
Mother Teresa: Sadistic Religious Fanatic  - PATHEOS

"So let me pick and choose from the above and add a few more elements to give you my take on the appealing transformation of Ebenezer: I give you the Scrooge the Aristotelian."
Will the real Scrooge please stand up? - STEPHEN HICKS

"I turned 22 last Saturday and now that I am officially an old man who must look for a pasture to retire on/ride off into the sunset, I wanted to offer my thoughts on the 22 books that were most influential for me over the past few years and are those that I'd recommend to anybody before they turn 22."
22 Books You Need to Read Before Turning 22 - Zac Slayback, ZAC SLAYBACK

"Whether you’ve just come across Ayn Rand, or you’ve studied Objectivism for years, ARI Campus has something for you."
Objectivism: A philosophy for LIVING ON EARTH: Online Courses - AYN RAND CAMPUS

"The greatest thing you might read ever."
Mother dies from cancer, leaves hilarious ... letter to her family - FOX61.COM

"The ley lines, the hallowed dome of St Paul’s, packs of hungry dogs – and a tipsy surveyor in the 1930s ... these are the invisible forces shaping the City’s skyline" - "an outstanding piece of explanatory work."
'A tortured heap of towers': the London skyline of tomorrow - Oliver Wainwright & Monica Ulmanu, GUARDIAN

If you are in London, don't travel on the Tube this Christmas without a ticket ...

“When you want to help people, you tell them
the truth. When you want to help yourself,
you tell them what they want to hear.”

~- Thomas Sowell

Christmas according to philosophy's miserablist wing:

The world according to feminism's misanthropic wing ...

The world according to Caspar David Friedrich:

Have a great Christmas, everyone!
And thanks for reading over 2015.
(It would have been awfully lonely if you never showed up!)

[Hat tips to and quips from Grim’s Hall, Brian Micklethwait, Small Dead Animals, Anoop Verma, William N. Green, Yaron Brook, Stephen Hicks, Vinay Kolhatkar, Robert Tracinski, Michael Neibel, Richard Rider, Stephanie Renée Guttormson, Paul Litterick, Scary Bible Quote of the Day, Ken West, God Nauseum,, New Scientist, Steve Goddard, G-Unit, Isaac Halamuda]

1 comment:

  1. Yes, he does say :) Thanks for the final plug. Have a great holiday season Peter. Enjoyed your blog, as always, over 2015, and look forward to it in 2016.


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