A new reactionary

January 21, 2009

Some interesting comments from Professor Caplan, that seem Reactionary to me:

But slavery wasn't just a "grave antilibertarian flaw"; it made the whole Revolution absurd.  Of course, every revolutionary didn't own slaves; but even to make common cause with the slaveholding philosophers of freedom to fight against minor British taxes is a libertarian travesty.

The consequences of the Revolution were as flawed as its origins.  In practical terms, its main effect was to open up Indian lands to colonial genocide.

Spoken like a true Reactionary.

"Close insolvent banks"

January 20, 2009

It's called a free market system.  Some people used to believe in it.

Detroit and progress

January 20, 2009

Scary stuff


January 20, 2009

Some terrible information here.  One would hope this information would force shut eyes open, would pull heads out of the sand.  One wouldn't hold one's breath.

Pundit hats

January 20, 2009

"Most will believe the hats make them look distinguished"

Maybe this could replace that orphan thing

January 18, 2009

as the definition of chutzpah

The WSJ and the crisis

January 17, 2009

Here's their summary:

This history is crucial to understand, both for the Democrats who now assume the levers of power and for Republicans who will want to return to power some day. Mr. Bush and his team did many things right after inheriting one bubble. They were ruined by monetary excess that created a second, more dangerous credit mania. They forgot one of the main lessons of Reaganomics, which is the importance of stable money.

So the lesson of Reaganomics was the importance of stable money?  Does that mean the WSJ would support stable money over a tax cut?  I don't think so.

If the lesson is that we need a stable currency, something has to be done to reform the Fed, but I doubt the Journal would even support such a proposal (let alone abolition).  Republicans and their allies in the press can talk about currency stability, but they are unwilling to do anything to bring about a stable currency.

I think the Journal's diagnosis is correct, and for that they deserve credit.  The problem is that they don't offer a cure.  The Fed, which was powerful enough to undermine the currency, will emerge from the crisis more powerful.  Thanks, in part, to the Journal's support of legislation which has given the Fed "emergency powers" which are largely unchecked.

As Instapundit says

January 16, 2009


Now, I'm not a doctor, but it's my impression that rather than our "uncomfortable feelings about sexuality" that "have caused STDs to be stigmatizing," it's more the oozing sores.

I’m sorry, but you owe $194,400

January 16, 2009

All of us do (pdf) – I suppose that almost doubles for those of us that pay taxes.

The war of ideas

January 16, 2009

For decades Conservatives and Libertarians have been fighting a war of ideas.  The purpose of this war was to prove the failure of certain Liberal policies.  If such proof could be found, the Liberal policies would be discredited and, more importantly, discarded.  New, sound policies would then be implemented – and, presumably, these new policies would be of a Conservative or Libertarian bent.  Think of welfare reform as an example.

Another example was Keynesian economic theory.  This was recently quoted by Professor Mankiw:

John Cochrane, a professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, says that among academics over the last 30 years, the idea of fiscal stimulus has been discredited and in graduate courses, it is "taught only for its fallacies."

New York University economist Thomas Sargent agrees: "The calculations that I have seen supporting the stimulus package are back-of-the-envelope ones that ignore what we have learned in the last 60 years of macroeconomic research."

I think this is correct.  So, what does it mean that the "consensus" response to the crisis has followed this discredited path?

It means that fighting a war of ideas is a giant waste of time.  It doesn't matter if Conservatives or Libertarians win the war of ideas – they will still lose.  (Even the welfare reform victory is in jeopardy.  Obama has pledged to cut taxes for 95% of the population.  Since only about 50% of people pay income taxes, one wonders how taxes can be cut for the remaining 50%.  Apparently they will "get a tax refund."  Normally, this type of payment would be called welfare.  The war of ideas has been lost to strategy of renaming something.)  Keynesianism became a part of the Liberal religion/ideology.  It is now impervious to economic evidence.


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