Friday, 2 September 2016

Friday Morning Ramble, 02.09.16


Okay, let’s talk…

Call for plain packaging on soft drinks – RADIO NZ

“Affordable housing campaigner Hugh Pavletich predicts house prices will be so high on the eve of the next election they will be ‘Key's Waterloo’.”
Key's 'Waterloo' – STUFF
New Zealand 'wins gold medal' for housing unaffordability as house prices outpace income growth and rents – INTEREST.CO.NZ

“Politicians are failing the public on the issue of housing affordability – and it’s not only those currently in government.”
Political Roundup: Politicians are failing on housing – Bryce Edwards, HERALD

Another big-spending mayoral candidate making wholly unrealistic rates promises. Haven’t we seen this before?
Never hug a corpse – WHALE OIL

You know that feeling when the floor disappears under a market? They’re feeling it in Vancouver.
Vancouver Real Estate Bubble Has Burst and Home Owners Are Panic Selling – CANADIAN INVESTOR

“Most Auckland households own their own homes, but because home-owning households tend to be smaller, most Aucklanders do not live in a house they own.”
6. Perspective – Hayden Glass, INTEREST.CO.NZ

“Alas, it has become necessary to write this.
”A heads up for those who haven't visited this website recently or ever but who may think by its name it stands for something: I'm pretty sure that the site maintained by Lindsay Perigo called ‘Sense-of-Life Objectivism" (i.e., SOLO) no longer represents any part of what that phrase represents.”
Time for SOLO to change its name – Peter Cresswell, NOT PC

The Virtue of Honesty – OBJECTIVE STANDARD


“Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming
that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.”
~ R.W. Emerson


Relevant to everywhere from Zambia to New Zealand’s fisheries. “In situations of human-wildlife conflicts, it is important to look for win-win solutions that avoid the fight.”
The wolf at the rancher's door – Hannah Downey, P.E.R.C.

"’Private’ prisons are really just taxpayer-funded, monopolistic agents for the state. There is nothing free market about them.”
Don't Confuse "Private" Prisons with the Free Market – Brittany Hunter, MISES WIRE

The larger the government, the larger the cronies.


You know, if the west can’t even sucessfully negotiate any more something as simple as what women wear on a beach, it really has lost its way. "The burkini is, in fact, a sad symbol of Islam today going backward on gender issues. France’s ban on it is a sad symbol of liberalism today going backward in reply. Classical liberals of any religion or none would do well to remember that this does not have to be a zero-sum game. It is possible to oppose the French ban on burkinis while also challenging the mindset of those who support burkas and burkinis."
Both Sides Are Wrong in the Burkini Wars – Maajid Nawaz, DAILY BEAST

And I thought they loved the coq?
French PM: Naked breasts represent France better than veils – NY TIMES

Markets v race: “While the state seeks to outlaw and abolish caste identity by making discrimination illegal, markets work in quiet and invisible ways by making caste identity irrelevant.”
Markets Are Breaking Down India’s Caste System, Turning Untouchables into Millionaires – Malavika Nair + GP Manish, FEE

A Map Showing Every Single Cargo Ship In The World. Check out the interconnectivity!


This is not The Onion.
Louisiana Officials Demand That Self-Reliant Locals Stop Surviving the Flood Without Permission – WASHINGTON STANDARD

Well you wouldn’t want what happens in your concentration camps made public, would you.
Danish delegation planning visit to Nauru detention centre refused visas  - GUARDIAN

“When neurotics turn to politics, they find an infinite series of reasons to feel bad, which helps them stay one step ahead of the realisation that their fundamental problem is inside their own heads and can be fixed by no one but themselves.”
Is the Fear of Markets Rooted in Neurosis? – Bryan Caplan, FEE

“The teachings of John Locke, born 384 years ago today, concerning individual rights, religious tolerance, and political individualism served as a cornerstone for the great American experiment in self-government, both in the sense of individual freedom and constitutional restraint. How far we've fallen since then…”
John Locke Is Needed Now More than Ever – Richard Ebeling, FEE

“A majority of Americans despise their Presidential candidates.”
Poll: Clinton unpopularity at new high, on par with Trump – ABC NEWS

“If you don't like corruption in government, stop making government profitable. Hillary Clinton is not the cause of our malignant government, but only its most advanced symptom.”
Clinton's Pay-to-Play Is the Natural Consequence of Big Government – Peter Klein, MISES WIRE

With support this tepid … .”
Weighing Gary Johnson for PresidentOBJECTIVE STANDARD

“"It was refreshing to moderate a "town hall" with the Libertarian presidential and vice presidential candidates last week because Govs. Gary Johnson and William Weld respect limits on presidential power… Johnson understands that America is a constitutional republic and there are (and ought to be) checks on what presidents can do…
"Johnson and Weld hold clear positions — unlike aspiring dictators Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton."
Neither Dictator nor King – John Stossel, CREATORS

God damn you if the only words you can use to describe a person are “illegal immigrant.” Thank goodness at least one US presidential candidate understands that.


“It's become a tired old meme among Fed critics that the Fed is ‘stupid,’ the Fed doesn't get it, Yellen is stupid, etc.
When will the Fed's critics reject the monetary doctrine of the Fed?”
Jackson Hole Post-Mortem: "It May Take A Massive Program, Large Enough To Shock Taxpayers" – ZERO HEDGE

"What we now need is a free-money movement comparable to the free trade movement of the nineteenth century." ~ F. A. Hayek
Denationalization of Money – F.A. Hayek, FEE

“The math myth is the myth that the future of the economy is dependent upon the masses having higher mathematics skills.” Yet all research indicates that few use any “more than Excel and eighth grade level mathematics (=arithmetic, and a little bit of algebra, statistics and programming).”
The Math Myth – Maths professer David Edwards, ECON LOG

“It's not a matter of brains. No part of the earth (with the possible exception of Brentwood) is dumber than Beverly Hills, and the residents are wading in gravy. In Russia, meanwhile, where chess is a spectator sport, [they were] boiling stones for soup. Nor can education be the reason. Fourth graders in the American school system know what a condom is but aren't sure about 9 x 7.”
P.J. O'Rourke on the Math Myth – David Henderson, ECON LOG

“Here’s my list, in increasing order of importance.”
Big 6 (or 8) modern ideas in economics – Don Boudreaux, CAFE HAYEK

“GDP or GDP per person may not be a perfect measure of welfare but sometimes it does tell a story.” Certainly when that story, told in one dramatic picture, is the difference between communism and non-communism.
North vs. South Korea – ANTI DISMAL

“Too many economists continue to speak about market failures or injustices because of their reliance on wrongly constructed conceptions of perfect competition or monopoly or negative externalities that suggest that the only way to overcome presumed imperfections and unfairness in the market economy is through government intervention and redistribution.”
Austrian Economics & Public Policy – Richard Ebeling, FFF




So what’s wrong with a trade?
Ditch College, Get a Real Skill, Live a Good Life – Jeffrey Tucker, FEE

“When you uncover the meaning beneath “Good…Better…Perfect,” you find the antidote to overprotective parenting.”
GOOD: An Antidote to Overparenting – Lisa Van Damme, MEDIUM.COM

“We seem to have created a generation of children whose aspirations and expectations are immensely high, but whose initiative and follow-through are way behind. More young people are living at home with their parents than at any time since the 1930s. Yes, some of this is economic and due to high student loan bills. But it must go deeper than that.”
The Generation that Isn't Growing Up: What's Going On? – Dr Michael Hurd, LIVING RESOURCES CENTER
How to Set Your Do-Nothing Millennial Free in 4 Simple Steps – Dr Michael Hurd, LIVING RESOURCES CENTER


“Education is not merely neglected in many of our schools today,
but is replaced to a great extent by ideological indoctrination.”

~ Thomas Sowell


This is possibly the most important statement you’ll ever read about ethics. Certainly top ten:


~ Henry B. Veatch (quoted in Rasmussen & Den Uyl)


4197TkGD1DL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_And this, as a consequence: "Man's happiness or well-being, which in Aristotle's system also is regarded as the supreme end of all endeavour, is, indeed, dependent in part upon external fortune; it is not complete until this has afforded its good things; but ethics has to do only that which stands in our power, only with the happiness which man gains by his own activity. Every being, however, becomes happy by the unfolding of his own nature and of his own peculiar activity -- man, therefore, through reason. The virtue of man is, accordingly, that habitude or permanent state of mind through which he is made capable of the practice of rational activity; it develops out of the endowments of his natural disposition, and has for its fruit, satisfaction, pleasure." ~ Windelband
Wilhelm Windelband's, History of Philosophy – PAPER TIGER

"Explaining Postmodernism is an engaging book for those who wish to understand the modern left, which is the postmodern left. But this book also seeks to nourish the Enlightenment project, by explaining how the massive progress that mankind has made during the last 250 years is a result of the Enlightenment ideas."
Or as I said when it first came out, every student needs to have this book in their backpack.
The Postmodern “Counter-Enlightenment” Attack on Reason, Science and Capitalism – Anoop Verma, CAPITALISM MAGAZINE

“’Anthropogenic’ is a man-made fairytale.”
Four New Papers: Anthropogenic Signal Not Detectable in Sea Level Rise – CLIMATE CHANGE DISPATCH

The solar business model at work.
Britain’s Plan To Save Energy By Paying Businesses To Shut Down Falls Apart – DAILY CALLER

“Counting out the internal combustion engine is looking more like wishful thinking on the part of environmentalists, rather than a sober projection of the future. Sure, advances in battery technology and reduced production costs might bring electric cars closer to the cost-effectiveness and convenience of the internal combustion engine—but the good old ICE will still be able to leave the electric car in its dust."
Don't Count Out the Internal Combustion Engine – Robert Tracinski, REAL CLEAR FUTURE




“Science, I had come to learn, is as political, competitive, and fierce a career as you can find, full of the temptation to find easy paths." — Paul Kalanithi, neurosurgeon and writer (1977–2015)
The 7 biggest problems facing science, according to 270 scientists

To cure you they must kill you.
Chemotherapy warning as hundreds die from cancer fighting drugs – TELEGRAPH

It’s not inevitable.
Cure for cancer might accidentally have been found, and it could be malaria – INDEPENDENT

Nor this.
Is the end of Alzheimer's now in sight? – MAIL ONLINE

How to show proper respect to Soviet monuments …
Russia Wants Bulgarians to Stop Vandalising Soviet Monuments To Look Like American Superheroes


It’s true. These people exist.
Meet the people who believe the Earth is flat – Richard Dawkins.

It’s true. They exist: “Stefan Molyneux tells the Californian caller that if a mass shooting takes place, Californians who disagree with Stefan Molyneux's politics are not worthy of their lives being saved. In the latter half, Molyneux has a chilling message: if you do not agree with his doctrine, you are THE ENEMY and he shall treat you as such…_
”The proper response to Molyneux's pathology comes from Lisa VanDamme: ‘When the topic is the murder of innocent people, it is absolutely irrelevant — coldly, perversely irrelevant — to express your views about their lives, their work, their values. The murder of innocent people is evil. Full stop.’"
Disagree w/ Stefan Molyneux's Politics? Then He Says Your Life Doesn't Deserve to Be Saved – Stuart Hayashi, YOU TUBE

A friend has spent 4 years putting this game together. Give him a few minutes:
“You are the captain of a massive container ship. Millions worth of goods are your responsibility as you carefully head into port…It is finally good enough to call it a Beta version to try. Any feedback would be very welcome on the forum. You can find it all on the web-site.”
Give him your best advice.

Yes, it works. Of course it would: art is the technology of the soul.
Why Art Therapy Works – PSYCHOLOGY TODAY


“The aim of art is to represent not the outward
appearance of things, but their inward significance.”
~ Aristotle

“How the most detested song in human history got built.”
An Oral History of “We Built This City,” the Worst Song of All Time - GQ

It’s amazing, the things I just can’t get out of my head …



… like this …



… and this (be patient now, it’s worth it – and  turn it up!):



Thanks for reading
And have a great weekend,

[Hat tips, quips and thank yous due: Phil Oliver, Craig Ceely, The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (Official), Anoop Verma, Maajid Nawaz, Craig Biddle, The Friedrich Hayek Society, Michael Strong, Bernie Greene, Stephen Franks, Paul van Dinther, Alice Jackson, Stuart Hayashi, Open Group on Objectivism, George Evans Light, I Love Carbon Dioxide, Louise Lamontagne, Scott Powell, Making New Zealand]



  1. Interesting that you quote Lisa VanDamme re the Moleneux piece. I've heard him attack that exact sentiment ("The murder of innocent people is evil.") by arguing that anybody who votes or accepts the state cannot be held innocent as they actively or passively initiate force against those who don't. I would volunteer to find the video but it was midway through some 50 minute rant, and I'm honestly not going to sit through several of them again just to find it.

    Speaking of incoherent rants: what is up with the comment section of the Independent (as in the malaria link). That went from zero to racist vitriol in no time at all. Makes one glad for the filtering that happens here.

  2. Honesty “is the refusal to fake reality—i.e., to pretend that facts are other than they are."
    I wonder about this definition, in that it is correct, but doesn't seem to account for several instances.
    You have a link above about people believing in a flat earth. If you showed them multiple lines of evidence and deduction, and included photos, yet they persisted with their belief, then what is the descriptor here, if not dishonest.
    You've surely met true [religious] believers, and produced multiple examples of how their belief is false. Yet no matter what you say, belief persists. Even if you've agreed what "1", "+", "=", "2" all mean, and you find that there is still not belief in the answer to 1+1 equalling 2. Isn't that dishonesty?
    Socialists - how much evidence do they need to give up on their damaging beliefs?; that Mao Zedong and Che Guevara are other than heroes to be admired. Recently read article that Cuba should be as wealthy as Italy given where it was under Batista - yet Cuba would still be held up as paradise.
    Human caused global warming [climate change] - again how much contra evidence is required to shift a belief. It doesn't quite fit the above definition, but it ain't honesty to refuse to consider the opposite. {I looked at socialism and found it very wanting}
    Printing money with abandon, when the consequences are obvious - a crash of some magnitude at some time because of this ignoring of economic fundamentals.
    So, sticking your fingers in your ears and going la-la-la, is not exactly honest.
    And people don't always pay for their ignorance. E.g. I've met happy camper religionists (as well as your dour Presbyterians [and worse])

  3. About the science thing.....
    The article argues that peer review is broken, that replication never happens, etc. I can only conclude from such statements that this person does not understand how science works (sadly, not an uncommon issue even among scientists).
    The peer review process was never intended to capture all issues with papers. Such a thing would be impossible, and inevitably lead to mere orthodoxy as was seen in the Middle Ages. How could it, when much of science by design extends beyond what humans previously knew? Peer review was only ever intended as an initial vetting of papers to ensure they meet the minimum standards. The words “initial” and “minimum” are the key points people forget. The formal peer review process is a single step in science, and amounts to nothing more than a few experts saying “Yes, this is worth adding to the conversation.” There is another peer review process—one that lasts far longer, goes far deeper, and is far more powerful, but far slower: the use of scientific knowledge by scientists, engineers, and others.
    Every time a scientist uses a paper to draw a conclusion, illustrate a point, or argue against a point, they are reviewing that paper. In aggregate, this means that papers are reviewed thousands of times or more. The cream rises to the top usually (I think de Vrise got shafted with the re-discovery of Mendel’s flawed work, but it happens, and science is about truth, not personal glory). Papers that are good are verified constantly in the hurly-burly of actual use of the information therein. No reviewer has this kind of time when they get a paper; editors of journals want results, and this precludes spending a lifetime tinkering with an idea. But five thousand researchers all using the concepts in the paper for their own purposes results in a very thorough test.
    This is also where the cited article’s statements about replication are flawed. Replication doesn’t mean perfect reproduction of the experiment—there’s no point to such a thing usually. What happens in the real world is that researchers MOSTLY reproduce an experiment, but with alterations that allow them to find new data/draw new conclusions. This counts as a replication, because it’s based on the original design and if the original paper is flawed the new research will fail. Numerous failures and frauds in science have been identified by exactly this method. It’s not fast, certainly, but it’s effective in the long run.
    (As an aside, please note the equivocation between “science” and “experimental sciences”. The majority of the discussion in the linked article is simply not relevant to such fields as geology, anthropology, paleontology, or astronomy—historical sciences that preclude, for obvious reasons, the kinds of experiments you learned about in grade school. This doesn’t mean they don’t run experiments, but the differences between natural and laboratory experiments are significant.)


  4. As for half of published research being wrong, that’s partially due to publish-or-perish. But it’s also partially due to the nature of science. We’re only just starting to study psychology, sociology, ecology, and a few other fields in a rigorous manner. If you look at the history of any science, the initial stages were….weird. Look at early evolutionary theories, for example. Or, look at the early days of medicine (the four humors and the like). Or chemistry (though to be fair a lot of the weirdness had to do with mercury poisoning, and a lot of the rest due to the academic culture of the time). These fields are too young to have established coherent paradigms. And fields like evolutionary psychology are too young to be taken seriously at all; while they may have a few good ideas, they don’t even know how to find data to support their conclusions yet. This is no attack against these fields—they’re young, and the current researchers are doing work far more difficult than any that will come later. But the fact is that when you step beyond the limits of human knowledge, as these folks do, you’re going to make mistakes. That’s part of the process, and that’s why it’s incumbent upon everyone reading scientific publications to verify them for themselves.

    I’ll be the last to say that science is perfect. I think the publish-or-perish environment we have created has castrated science by destroying its capacity to perform long-term studies. And funding is a joke—at least one institution that refused federal grants found that its researchers had more time and money for research after forbidding grants! Most scientists today aren’t scientists, they’re grant-writers who farm out the actual research to graduate students (who consequently live and work under horrible conditions). And political pressures have destroyed the objectivity of far too many scientists (as a scientist in the private sector I have experienced this first-hand). But to repair science we must understand what science is. Science isn’t a way to get fast answers, because frankly we don’t know what the questions are 99 % of the time—the greatest moment for a scientist isn’t “Eureka!” but rather “Wait, what the hell?” Science is a slow process, one that takes generations—but one that will eventually find the big-T Truth.

  5. I watched that Molyneux clip, and I don't believe your summary of what he said is fair or correct when taken in context. Your overall judgement of the man may well be correct (I'd never even heard of him till you mentioned him a week or two ago), but all I heard him say in this particular clip (paraphrasing) is that you shouldn't risk your own life to save the life of other people who are inimical to your own values. That's not the same as saying they don't deserve to be saved.

  6. Occasional report
    The posts here are almost required reading, but I am noticing some transgressions from good think creeping in.
    I really can not understand the SOLO drama, and it could probably make you cautious of purist thinking.
    Some of the arguments for the absolute rights of Immigrants are unworldly.
    The Redneck fascist society therefore extends you an invitation to our next meeting in Christchurch.
    We curse and swear a lot, some of them drink alcohol and smoke dope, the show is fairly white, but we do have two immigrants from Hungary, who make the rest of us look like pansies.
    Some one said you had a reader from the Crimea so we looked up Crimea in Google and it said there were no Libertarians at all there, and in fact it was illegal.
    This encouraged some excitement and it was declared by a close vote that Libertarianism is a “fundamental fallacy”
    The intellectuals among us remind the group that it is our duty to activate against the progressive State, as He says,and we are prepared to fight the great fight at the borders, some carried away with pride reckon we should shoot anything with its bum pointing West.


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