Friday, 10 March 2017

Friday Morning Ramble, 9 March, ‘17


NZ universities: not awful.
Revealed: NZ's best universities – NZ HERALD
World university subject rankings 2017: new stars emerge – GUARDIAN

Could we perhaps put a levy on arseholes academics like this instead?
Auckland University academic says taxing migrants could generate $1 billion a year for infrastructure and services – INTEREST.CO.NZ

“Yesterday Justice Wylie ruled the Auckland Unitary Plan Independent Hearings Panel was justified in removing the provisions for [so-called sites of cultural significance] from the Unitary Plan.” And thank Galt for that.
Victory for democracy over iwi and bureaucratic elites – JO HOLMES BLOG

“National's timidity in dealing with the retirement age will cost taxpayer's an extra $58 billion. That will be paid for by those too young to enjoy the same perks.”
Letting Baby Boomers off Super age rise will cost $58 billion – NEWSHUB

“The problem is that the post-war welfare state was designed for a young and growing population. Like a pyramid scheme, entitlements for retired people would be funded by younger workers, who would in turn receive benefits funded by the next generation of workers. Sixty years on, the situation is quite different. As the population ages, and the birth rate slows, there is an increasing share of the population receiving benefits and a decreasing share of people paying for them.
    “The pyramid is being turned on its head.”
Reform & the Future – Patrick Nolan, NZ INITIATIVE

“Last week BNZ chief economist Tony Alexander was in the paper with some stern words for young people trying to find somewhere to live in a city that doesn’t have enough housing to go around…”
No, Boomers, it’s not like it was back in the day – Peter Nunns, TRANSPORT BLOG

“The unfunded obligation for the U.S. federal government's Social Security and disability program is currently estimated to be $11.4 trillion. In this month's Econlib Feature Article, Robert P. Murphy suggests an opt-out plan that would make both future beneficiaries and the federal government better off. No, it's not magic.”
Opting Out of Social Security – Robert Murphy, ECON LIB

“An excellent article on Attitude in sport, with a nice reference to New Zealand...”
Talent gets you noticed, character gets you recruited – JAMES LEATH.COM

As NZ tennis ace Chris Lewis celebrates his 60th, he looks back on his fortnight to remember at Wimbledon,
Chris Lewis' Fortnight to remember – WIMBLEDON.COM

Travellers to the U.S. have reported border agents reviewing their Facebook feeds - what do you do if you're asked for your passwords?
Protect your private data on a US visit – NZ HERALD




“From using smart TVs for spying to hoarding IT vulnerabilities …”
4 Takeaways from the Wikileaks 'Vault 7' CIA Leak – REASON

“So what’ve we learned? Well, first of all: The CIA, under the Obama Administration, spent more than $100 billion building the most powerful digital attack arsenal known to man… What really tickles our giblets is the CIA spent well over $100 billion creating the most sophisticated, powerful and dangerous hacking arsenal known to transhumans… only to carelessly lose it in the wilderness.
    “That’s right. The CIA’s fantastic beasts are out there. In the wild.”
#Vault7: The CIA’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Buy Them – LAISSEZ-FAIRE BOOKS

“This is just the latest in a pattern of brazen surveillance and flagrant Constitutional violations on the part of the US intelligence community.
    “But that’s precisely what I find MOST concerning– the LACK of concern over these new CIA documents.
    “People have such a low expectation of their government now, and have become so accustomed to the government routinely violating their civil liberties, that there’s hardly any public outrage anymore about these spying scandals.
    “More importantly, the lack of concern is indicative of what freedom means in the Land of the Free today.”
The most shocking revelation from the CIA spying scandal – Simon Black, SOVEREIGN MAN

“But even if Truman's homespun honesty and common man persona sometime wore thin, he deserves enormous credit for the startling admission that he regretted creating the CIA. Speaking to a biographer in the 1960s, less than 20 years after signing the National Security Act of 1947, Truman expressed a sense of foreboding about what the agency had become, and would become:

Merle Miller: Mr. President, I know that you were responsible as President for setting up the CIA. How do you feel about it now?
Truman: I think it was a mistake. And if I'd know what was going to happen, I never would have done it.

Truman Was Right About the CIA – Jeff Deist, MISES BLOG




“House Republicans have released their proposed measure to “repeal and replace” Obamacare.. The measure is … less a repeal of Obamacare and more of a repair of it, keeping numerous basic features intact.
    “If you want to know why Republicans have bogged down, notice one peculiar thing about the Obamacare debate so far. It’s not really a debate over Obamacare, it’s a debate over Medicaid. The reason is that this is what Obamacare mostly turned out to be: a big expansion of Medicaid.”
A Bill with No Governing Philosophy – Robert Tracinski, TRACINSKI LETTER

Peter Schiff: “So much for replacing Obamacare with the free market.”
House Republicans release long-awaited plan [not to repeal and replace Obamacare – WASHINGTON POST

Don Boudreaux takes on Trump’s anti-trade charlatan Peter Navarro. “Peter Navarro’s attempted justification of policies to reduce America’s trade deficit is a river of rubbish.”
What an Embarrassing Performance by Peter Navarro – Don Boudreaux, CAFE HAYEK

“Why is this nightmare vision more inviting to so many than the alternative scenario – that the electorate were simply not convinced by the arguments for Hillary Clinton, or for Remain? On some level, perhaps it is easier to blame defeat on a conspiracy of right-wing funders and mysteriously powerful technology, than to accept that convincing others to share your ideas is harder work than you realised.”
It wasn’t Big Data wot won it – Timandra Harkness, SPIKED

“I was going to leave it to others to comment on the "Trump Towers Wiretapping" claims, but then I read a fake news story on the subject that pulled me to my keyboard. Here's my take …”
Fake News, Partisan News, and the Wiretapping Story – Ari Armstrong, FREEDOM OUTLOOK

“Justice Clarence Thomas sharply criticises civil forfeiture laws. The one-justice opinion discusses the Supreme Court’s refusing to hear the case (a result Thomas agrees with, for procedural reasons mentioned in the last paragraph); but Thomas is sending a signal, I think, that at least one justice — and maybe more — will be sympathetic to such arguments in future cases.”
Justice Thomas sharply criticises civil forfeiture laws – Eugene Volokh, WASHINGTON POST

"If you’re a professional intellectual (e.g., a philosopher, an economist, a journalist, or a political talk show host), and if your aim is to defend capitalism, and if an extremely careful thinker writes books with titles such as Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal and The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution, might you have a professional responsibility to examine this thinker’s arguments and to determine whether her views are true and worth sharing—or false and in need of (honest) dismantling?
    "Why, then, have conservative intellectuals chosen instead to ignore or misrepresent Rand’s ideas? Why won’t they consider the principles of her philosophy, take them straight, represent them accurately, and either acknowledge that they are true—or explain where Rand erred?"
How Conservatives Begat Trump, and What to Do About It – Craig Biddle, OBJECTIVE STANDARD


The Industrial Revolution and child mortality — one item:


But …
Could the Industrial Revolution have Happened Today? – JOEL HIRST

“Let’s clear this up - there is no gender pay gap. Men and women make different career choices for themselves and on average perform unequally because we are motivated very differently.”
International Women's Whining Day – OLIVIA PIERSON.ORG

“Terrorism is first a mindset—committing to a cause that includes a willingness to kill anonymous others indiscriminately… Defeating that enemy then must be a multi-front battle—police, military, diplomatic, cultural, and philosophical.”
How to Tame Religious Terrorists – STEPHEN HICKS

“There is a form of community that is the whole basis of the market economy. It is an extended network of human relationships worked out in peace and mutual agreement. So far as we know, the capacity to form such cooperative relationships is distinct to the human experience.”
Liberty and Community Go Together – Jeffrey Tucker, FEE

“As a public service, and to save the planet, obviously, I will tell you what it would take to convince skeptics that climate science is a problem that we must fix. Please avoid the following persuasion mistakes.”
How to convince climate skeptics – SCOTT ADAMS

“Instead of praising jobs for their own sake, we should ask why employment is so important… But what about unemployment? What if people want to work, but can't get a job? In almost every case, government programs are the cause of joblessness.”
How the Market Creates Jobs and How the Government Destroys Them – Walter Block, MISES DAILY

“I spent nearly a decade of my young life in ‘hard’ left movements. At the core of my ideology was a burning desire for liberty, and an intense distrust of the state. In my last dark days with the left, I pleaded for objectivity, reason, rationale, only to have my requests fall on deaf ears. The last actors in the space took to the streets to smash Starbucks’ windows and foolishly posture when they should have been pleading with their peers to reconsider a truly anti-statist perspective.”
Why I Left the Left – Evan Stern, FEE

"Africa may be the world’s poorest continent, but it is no longer a 'hopeless continent,' as The Economist magazine described it back in 2000. Since the start of the new millennium, Africa’s average per capita income adjusted for inflation and purchasing power parity rose by more than 50 percent and Africa’s growth rate has averaged almost 5 percent per year."
Africa is Growing Thanks to Capitalism - Marian Tupy, HUMAN PROGRESS.ORG

"People think the world is in chaos. People think that the world is on fire right now for all the wrong reasons," says author Johan Norberg. "There is a segment of politicians who try to scare us to death, because then we clamber for safety we need the strong man in a way…"


“The best scientific minds have been driven by curiosity and intellectual challenge, not practical applications.” Really?
We Need More ‘Useless’ Knowledge – CHRONICLE

The struggle for oppression. Episode I.
How Randy Newman Solved Stanley Fish’s Credibility Problem – STEPHEN HICKS

The struggle for oppression. Episode II.
The Wannabe Oppressed – Stanley Kurtz, EDUCATION WEEK

This week marks the 100th anniversary of the February Revolution, what Ayn Rand called “the good revolution,” that ushered in the most liberal government in Russia's history.
Russia Could Have Been a Democracy – VICTIMS OF COMMUNISM

“Saudi Arabia, Iran, North Korea, China, Russia, Syria: the National Union of Students hasn't even *tried* to table a motion to boycott *any* other foreign country...yet it boycotts Israel‬.”
I'm calling out the loons who make Israel bashing the mother of all virtues – Maajid NAwaz, TIMES OF ISRAEL


Defrosting a windmill with a helicopter“Thank god for fossil fuels to build it,
maintain it, oil it constantly, and then to rescue it in cold weather.”


“Work is well underway on a new graphic novel based on Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, to be published in the next couple of years by New American Library (NAL), a division of Penguin Random House with the approval of Leonard Peikoff. The designer and artist is Bosch Fawstin with a script by him and Amy Peikoff, adapted from the novel. The graphic novel will most likely be published in three volumes over a period of a few months after it is completed.”
It has to be better than those films, doesn’t it?
Graphic novel based on Atlas Shrugged to be published – VOICES FOR REASON

"If some men attempt to survive by means of brute force or fraud, by looting, robbing, cheating or enslaving the men who produce, it still remains true that their survival is made possible only by their victims, only by the men who choose to think and to produce the goods which they, the looters, are seizing. Such looters are parasites incapable of survival, who exist by destroying those who are capable, those who are pursuing a course of action proper to man." ~ Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness
The Objectivist Ethics, by Ayn Rand – CAMPUS. AYN RAND

Yaron Brook tells Oxford, UK, high school students …
Why Capitalism Is The Only Moral System – lecture – STEEMIT

"We who wish to advocate capitalism must take the moral high ground—which is ours by logical right—and we must never cede an inch to those who claim that self-sacrifice is a virtue. It is not. Self-interest is a virtue. Indeed, acting in one’s rational self-interest while respecting the rights of others to do the same is the basic requirement of human life. And capitalism is the only social system that fully legalizes it. Grounds do not get more moral than that."
Capitalism and the Moral High Ground - Craig Biddle, OBJECTIVE STANDARD

Time for an interlude …

… maybe more than one.

Alright. Encore:


[Hat tips to and quips and snark borrowed from Sunny Lohmann, Julian D., Amy Peikoff, Monica Beth, Rust Watkins, Paul Harrison, Stephen Hicks, Prodos Marinakis,


  1. Surveillance - Ben Goldacre points out that even the best systems are going to give you false positives. The more people you try to check on, the more false results, such that you start missing finding true terrorists, and so much of the point of surveillance is lost.
    Bad Science link
    Thanks for another week of interesting articles and comments

  2. A number of these links are about convincing people, and the Left will never do so until they accept one fact: That their opposition holds a different opinion than they do. This self-evident concept completely eludes the Left. And this means they have little capacity to convince anyone of anything. They have no idea where their opposition stands, so they have no idea what arguments will be effective. Take climate change--the "debate" is nothing more than the Left hammering on the same half-dozen points over and over again. Trump was elected in large part because the Left completely ignored why the Right disagreed with Clinton. This is why their main form of "convincing" the other side is to put as many bodies in the streets as possible--they can't rationally debate the issue, even if reason is on their side!

    Until the Left learns to listen to what their opposition says and respond to it, they will only ever convince people by chance or indoctrination.


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