Welcome to the new year’s very first Ramble! (The political year must really have started up down under.)
I had plenty of things I wanted to talk about over the break, and found lots of stuff to show you, but with the help of the drinks cabinet I managed to restrain myself until now. Much of what I had to talk was oddly enough about one man and his activities, and reactions to him and them (can you guess who it is?) whose reign does and will continue to offer multiple opportunities to learn – on all fronts!
So here are just a few of those many links:
“66 per cent of NZers surveyed “support [voluntary] euthanasia as a legal means of ending the lives of people with painful, incurable diseases.”
Most Kiwis support euthanasia for those with painful, incurable diseases – STUFF
“But Uber et al are not taxi 2.0. The real story is about ridesharing and its ability to increase vehicle occupancy rates and reduce congestion… If there was a way that the government could costlessly beat [the threat of traffic congestion and ever-larger traffic corridors], it would be a good (and popular) thing for a government to do, right?” Wrong, apparently.
Who to blame for appalling road congestion? Start with National’s feeble attitude to ridesharing – David Seymour, THE SPINOFF
Law of Unintended Consequences, Lesson #5473: Commerce Commission issues draft decision blocking Fairfax/NZME merger on basis it creates a monopoly. Analysts tell Fairfax it must withdraw from NZ if it doesn’t merge, creating the same alleged monopoly.
Credit Suisse believes Fairfax will leave NZ 'one way or another' if merger rejected – STUFF
Actually, a good transitional solution to something better, if a better solution to affordable housing isn’t possible: 1) Take Cities Out of the Resource Management Act; 2) Share GST Revenue to Build Infrastructure; 3) Compulsory Insurance for New Buildings. But, yes, it wouldn’t be ACT if it didn’t involve compulsion.
The House Price Problem (and a Solution) – David Seymour, ACT
Germany may hold the key to solving New Zealand's housing woes – Oliver Hartwich, STUFF
The National Party is just Labour without the identity politics. Some in Labour want to end that point of difference. “The identity politics debate is like a cancer eating out the strength and heart of the centre-left,” they say, “and it doesn’t have to be like this.”
The identity politics debate has become cancerous for the centre-left. One Labour MP showed how to join the dots – Simon Wilson, THE SPINOFF
COME HEAR MORE ABOUT THIS NEXT WEDNESDAY IN AUCKLAND!
“Libertarians in Brazil have built a burgeoning movement. Unlike Olavo de Carvalho’s conservative movement, the libertarians lacked a central ideological leader and have achieved very impressive results in a relatively short period of time. Today, libertarianism is growing faster in Brazil than in any other country.”
Why Brazilians Are Demanding "Menos Marx, Mais Mises" – Adriano Gianturco & Luciana Lopes, FEE
Adriano Melo - Brazilian Journey to Liberty – AUCKLAND LIBERTY ON THE ROCKS
Direct from Lebanon, Karl Sharro trolls America.
America, You Look Like an Arab Country Right Now: Welcome to the club – Karl Sharro, POLITICO
“People everywhere are biting their nails this election season, wondering how the damage could be limited. But let’s take a step back and ask whether it has to be this way. What if the power of government were so limited that it didn’t matter who occupied the White House? Wouldn't that be a vast improvement?”
It Shouldn't Matter Who the President Is – Jeffrey Tucker, FEE
"This also explains why [Obama-worshipping left-liberals] are so deeply traumatised by the rise of Trump and have now suddenly discovered the virtues of faux ‘resistance.’ They worked hard to amass all this power, only to have it fall into the hands of such a colossal boor. Funny how that works."
Donald Trump Is Not My President, and That’s Just Fine – Robert Tracinksi, THE TRACINSKI LETTER
Trump will have vast powers. He can thank Democrats for them. – Glenn Greenwald, AGAINST CRONY CAPITALISM
Obama’s Legacy? The Imperial Presidency That He Passes On To Trump – DAILY BEAST
What’s scarier than Trump? The elite revolt against him – SPIKED
“There is just one big problem with Trump’s plan to make America great again: Big government, which is what brings countries down rather than lift them up. The big spending, the constant wars, the socialism, the regulation, the interventionism, the taxation, and the inflation ultimately cause a country to implode…
“Trump and his fellow conservatives have it all wrong. As America’s Founding Fathers understood so well, a great nation is one that that has a very small and weak government with very limited powers.”
Trump Will Not Make America Great Again - Jacob Hornberger, FFF
“Trump has fashioned himself as anti-establishment, a classic populist. You might think that has something to do with being anti-government, but you would be terribly wrong.”
Trump’s Economic Plan: Higher Taxes, Higher Inflation, and Higher Minimum Wage – Jeffrey Tucker, FEE
“There are three forms of journalism today: outright lying, biased advocacy / propaganda, and unbiased reporting… In reality, people hear the advocates. And they are the jurors. And, as long as both sides of an issue have competent advocates, with no side being shut down, the truth, and therefore justice, will normally prevail. The people are smart jurors.”
A New Paradigm for Journalism – Vinay Kolhatkar, FACEBOOK
“So instead of going Galt it
seems the GOP is going alt.”
~ Ben Shapiro
“Donald Trump tore up the broad consensus on international free trade with a miserable, protectionist inaugural speech on Friday. So explicit was his outlook that those of us who had become complacent about his economic impact – the “how bad can he be?” crowd – have had to sit up and reassess.”
Trump is wrong: Protectionism leads to misery, not prosperity – Ryan Bourne, CITY A.M.
Withdrawing from TPP was a Senseless Act of Wanton Destruction – Daniel Ikenson, CATO
Why Trade Restrictions Always Backfire – Lawrence Reed, FEE
International Trade Thuggery – Walter Williams, TOWN HALL
The False Promise of "Buy American" – Daniel Ikenson, CATO
“Buy American” Is Un-American – Harry Binswanger, CAPITALISM MAGAZINE
Free speech in America?
Four more journalists get felony charges after covering inauguration unrest – GUARDIAN
Turns out, apparently, that the best offence against postmodernism was being a buffoon. (The author, it seems, has never heard of a Pyrrhic Victory.)
Donald Trump Is The First President To Turn Postmodernism Against Itself – David Ernst, THE FEDERALIST
“It's almost as if the Clinton Foundation was a scam set up to sell public service to private bidders.”
The Clinton Foundation Shuts Down Clinton Global Initiative – OBSERVER
“You're not for "women's rights" if you're
silent about Islam's war on women.”
~ Bosch Fawstin
The great Thomas Sowell is retiring from commentary just when his brand of commentary has never been more needed.
Farewell, Dr. Sowell – GUS VAN HORN
Even without the inevitable cockups, The Wall will cost multiple billions (as one comparison, a very good chunk of NZ’s GDP), will take years (possibly not even finished before Trump’s term ends), and guess which country will probably supply most of the labour, and how the construction itself will make the border more permeable, not less.
A Wall Is an Impractical, Expensive, and Ineffective Border Plan – David Bier, CATO
Here's how much Trump's border wall will cost - CNN
Make American manufacturing great again? Open the borders.
Help American Manufacturing With Open Borders – OPEN BORDERS: THE CASE
“"The measure of an economy’s health isn’t the quantity of physical stuff it produces, but rather the value that it produces. And value comes in a variety of forms."
Yes, America Still Makes Stuff, and It Wouldn’t Matter if We Didn’t – Steven Horwitz, FEE
“We will never know how many Andras Grofs were lost to the West because, for foreign nationals, the right to earn a living and stay indefinitely, let alone vote and hold public office, has always been tightly controlled by the State. Such policies have been justified on the basis that the glue that holds a nation-state together is the commonality of history, language, tradition, culture, and religion…
“The question before us is whether a nation-state that secures individual rights for its citizens can disregard the unity offered by cultural traditions, language, race, and religion.”
Must a Moral Nation Have Limitless Immigration? – Vinay Kolhatkar, SAVVY STREET
“Again, I agree with Mazlish and others that our country is in cultural free-fall. Still, I don’t think an ideological screening of immigrants (or anyone else) is the solution.”
A Response to Ed Mazlish’s Call for Ideological Screening of Immigrants – Amy Peikoff, DON’T LET IT GO
Open Borders: The Case – OPEN BORDERS
“The Syrian #refugees are warmly welcomed because the sponsorship is privately funded by Canadian churches, non-profits, charities, and bands of individuals who extend compassion at their own expense, rather than use tax dollars. In short, the refugees are wanted and not an economic burden.”
Canada's Private Refugee System Fosters Generosity, Acceptance, Kindness – Wendy McElroy, FEE
A couple of fundamental reminders about what government is for, and why. (They couldn’t be more topical.)
Man's Rights; The Nature of Government – Ayn Rand, AYN RAND INSTITUTE
"Nothing that is morally wrong
can be politically right."
William E. Gladstone
“Snow in the Sahara Desert? The climate is always changing. Another reason why we need cheap, reliable, and abundant energy to help us flourish in the face of this change.”
A metre of snow falls in the Sahara desert – TELEGRAPH
“A couple of questions…. Can you build a wind turbine, or start a wind turbine, without fossil fuels? The answer is no and no, you cannot.”
Wind farms use fossil fuels for construction and operation – Gary Johns, THE AUSTRALIAN
“’Science’ is perhaps the most abused word in the English language.”
How Climate Science Became A Religion – Alex Epstein, FORBES
So it’s the warmest something for some somethings. Or something.
Science Without Numbers – Robert Tracinksi, THE TRACINSKI LETTER
You Ought to Have a Look: 2016 Temperatures, Business-as-Usual at the UN, and the Cost of Regulations – Patrick Michaels, CATO
“When egalitarians like Oxfam say some people are ‘worse off,’ they really mean those people are getting rich more slowly than some others.”
Inequality Doesn't Create Poverty – Ryan McMaken, MISES.ORG
The world's richest billionaires aren't stealing from the world's poorest – IB TIMES
“Quick run-down on those "8 richest people" that Oxfam's condemning in this year's fund-raising drive. The common thread is they made stuff cheaper and better, effectively donating trillions to random strangers.”
Their wealth is the prize money that drives innovation ... – Peter St Onge, FACEBOOK
“Popular perceptions of Classical Liberalism are riddled with straw man fallacies… Classical Liberals study and debate within a broad individualist tradition that concerns the whole of civilisation… Too many people know nothing about the depth of Classical Liberal thought. As a result, three myths about Classical Liberalism reflect the straw men of what I call Comic Book Liberalism.”
Neither trickle-down, nor Galt’s Gulch, nor Right Wing: notes on Comic Book Liberalism vs. Classical Liberalism. – David Magram, STEPHEN HICKS
“Social justice is the anti-concept that employs the concept of ‘justice’ in order to gain moral credibility—and then obliterates that concept in people’s minds and replaces it with the idea that the forcible redistribution of wealth is moral.”
“Social Justice” is an Assault on Justice – Craig Biddle, OBJECTIVE STANDARD
“For most of recent history, the choice facing electorates has been binary: you could support the “Left” or the “Right” tribe, Conservatives or Labour, Democrats or Republicans. You could vote for a third party, of course, but only as a protest. This system worked well on one level: it allowed moments of profound change, as in 1979 or 1997, and ensured the peaceful transfer of power.
“But it was a crude way of translating voters’ preferences into action, especially in a heterogenous society that cannot any longer be divided into distinct economic classes …; when the central issues become questions of identity, immigration or self-government, superimposed on conflicting, nuanced views about taxation and spending, the tensions can no longer be contained.”
Voters used to Netflix have no time for Left and Right. We are entering the age of pick-and-mix politics – Allister Heath, TELEGRAPH
“And it works, of course, with equal fallaciousness in the other direction.”
The Oldest Rhetorical Trick in the Book – Don Boudreaux, FEE
“The scene comes as the landlord, Schneider (Todd Grinnell), enters the apartment with a Che Guevara shirt on. It elicits response of disgust from the various family members; Penelope (Justina Machado), the mother yells at Schneider, 'Do you have any idea what this come mierda (commonly interpreted as dumb-ass) did?' 'Grew an awesome beard and modeled for t-shirts?' the man cluelessly says. The family explained that Guevara was not Cuban, but was Castro’s right-hand man. The daughter, Elena (Isabella Gonzalez), further explains why Cuban-Americans hated him so much. 'He burned books, he personally banned music, he personally oversaw executions, he’s a mass murderer,' she exclaims..."
Netflix Show Calls Out People Who Wear Che Guevara Shirts – LIBERTARIAN REPUBLIC
Aaron Haspel: “If you're going to read only one thing about superintelligence -- and unless you're a professional, I strongly recommend no more than that -- then this should be that thing.”
Superintelligence: The Idea That Eats Smart People – IDLE WORDS
“The Myth: We tried free banking and the result was constant bank runs and panics. The Federal Reserve was created to make the system stable and it succeeded.
”The Reality: America’s recurrent panics were the product of financial control, and there is no evidence the Federal Reserve has made things better.”
Banking Panics and the Creation of the Federal Reserve – Don Watkins, VOICES FOR REASON
Check Out This Gorgeous, Unbuilt Tech Firm That Frank Lloyd Wright Designed For Silicon Valley – S.F.LIST.COM
For those unfamiliar with the great man and his music …
Brian Eno – 10 of the best – GUARDIAN
“The long journey that turned Shayne Carter, one of New Zealand’s great guitar heroes, into a classical music fan… All I had to do was listen.”
‘All I had to do was listen’: Shayne Carter on how he fell deeply in love with classical music – THE SPINOFF
Finding Refuge in the Extraordinary: Romantic Music as Fuel to Set the Soul on Fire – Michelle Dunk, A SPARK OF PASSION
The intelligent truckdriver’s classical music starter pack [now with playlist!] – NOT PC
And finally, it’s Mozart’s birthday, one of Shayne’s favourites, and we’re the ones who get to celebrate!