Who said this?

November 20, 2007

From here:

I am convinced that the bold use of government to serve human rights and dignity
is not only a good thing, but a necessary thing. I believe the security of our
country depends on idealism abroad—the promotion of liberty and hope as the
alternatives to hatred and bitterness. I believe the unity of our country
depends on idealism at home—a determination to care for the weak and vulnerable,
and to heal racial divisions by the expansion of opportunity.

Not some progressive or liberal, nor was it a former president like Wilson or LBJ.

It was George Bush’s speechwriter. Your supposed to believe this stuff if you are a conservative now. I guess it doesn’t take long for the philosophical groundings of political beliefs to change.

Review of "History of Christianity" by Paul Johnson

November 19, 2007

This is a large book, in which facts are presented somewhat anecdotally, but without much of a unifying theme. I enjoy Mr. Johnson’s more recent works, in which he is (much) more willing to express his opinions. If nothing else, these opinions provide a unifying theme which helps pull together a history of such a broad scope.

I got a better sense of how Christianity developed from W.T. Jones’s A History of Western Philosophy: The Medieval Mind. Dr. Jones did a wonderful job describing the early development of Christianity as well as some of the major ideological problems of and diversions within Christianity. Plus, it’s a much sorter read.

Review of "The Saint: Five Complete Novels by Leslie Charteris

November 19, 2007

This was a fun book to read. Your time is probably better spent on Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer character, but this was fun nonetheless. It’s the kind of reading that would go well with The Dangerous Book for Boys, as Mr. Charteris writes in the same antiquated-feeling style. Plus, how can I be too critical of a book which has a tax collector as one of the bad guys?

Good stuff on IQ

November 19, 2007

It’s important to remember that within Conservatism and Liberalism, there are groups that deny evolution. This piece, points out one of the ways in which Liberals react against evolution.

Update: more on this piece here.

Empty values

November 19, 2007

From Professor Boudreaux

Economists have all the answers

November 19, 2007

Professor Caplan has solved another one of our problems, but everyone else is too ignorant to fix it. This gets to some of the problems with free market economists (who I agree with almost 100% of the time) trying to fix our problems. Ignoring the arrogance of the Professor’s assurances, the problems are as follows:

1) The state of VA has already taken tax money from people and used to pay for the roads. Do the roads then belong to VA, who can force people to pay for them again? Piling a “fair” tax on top of our unfair tax system, doesn’t necessarily make the tax system fairer.

2) The real problem is, more fundamentally, that tens of thousands of people need to get from VA into DC at the same time everyday. They all need to come over only a few bridges (or by subways, which are very crowded at that time, so it’s not clear to me how much more capacity they have or where people would park in VA to get on the subways). So, why not tax companies that start their work day at 9:00, or tax groups who have successfully opposed the building of more bridges over the river?

Further, these people have already paid for the roads. So, I agree that tolls would be great, if roads were privately owned – since they’re not the answer isn’t so clear.

[As an aside, I haven't read Professor Caplan's book yet. From the reviews I've read, it sounds like he's identified some interesting biases which ensure that "errors" in voting are not normally distributed about the "correct" choice. His solution, which seems to boil down to the creation of an economic aristocracy, sounds a bit creepy though.]


November 17, 2007


Nothing scares the government

November 15, 2007

more than a threat to its currency.

Update: more here

Review of "The Prime Minister"

November 15, 2007

The Prime Minister” by Anthony Trollope was wonderful. I’ll have to read some more Trollope.

I have been reading a lot of nonfiction about sex differences and a lot of fiction examining sex differences lately (for example in Manliness, Taking Sex Differences Seriously, The Old Man and the Sea, Tom Sawyer, and Tom Jones and I suppose I should mention watching Knocked Up). “The Prime Minister” fits nicely in this sequence, as Trollope’s insight into the characters of women (Emily), good men (Arthur) and bad men (Lopez) are fantastic. And of course the politial maneuverings are fascinating as well.

Some other reviewers have said that coming to “The Prime Minister” without have read the previous 4 novels in the sequence leaves some of the characters as flat. I didn’t find that at all.

Bowden on Wolfe

November 14, 2007

I just came across this review of “I am Charlotte Simmons” by Mark Bowden. It’s great.


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