Tom Wolfe in The Atlantic

October 31, 2007

So good, especially after reading all the lame environmental apocalypse/over-heated anti-Bush ones (I hardly think these concerns represent the “American Idea”).

The conclusion:

“America remains, as it has been from the very beginning, the freest, most open country in the world, encouraging one and all to compete pell-mell for any great goal that exists and to try every sort of innovation, no matter how far-fetched it may seem, in order to achieve it. It is largely this open invitation to ambition that accounts for America’s military and economic supremacy and absolute dominance in science, medicine, technology, and every other intellectual pursuit that can be measured objectively. And it is absolute.

“Yet from our college faculties and ‘public intellectuals’ come the grimmest of warnings. The government has assumed Big Brother powers on the pretext of protecting us from Terror, and the dark night of fascism is descending upon America. As Orwell might have put it, only an idiot or an intellectual could actually believe that. “


Wisdom from Trollope

October 31, 2007

“Where there is a woman in the case a man cannot be expected to tell the truth”

(From “The Prime Minister”)

Great Fusionist article

October 31, 2007

Here it is.

“if a majority in Congress were to expand SCHIP (Children’s Medicaid) to families making from $60,000 to $80,000 per year, the state would simply be stripping certain people in society of resources and redistributing said resources to others—others who don’t need them by definition (read: they aren’t poor). And the IRS becomes our moral proxy?”

The Conservative goal of virtue is not attainable through (necessarily coercive) big government.

I’m a big fan of Warren Buffett . . .

October 31, 2007

but this is asinine. If he wants to pay more taxes, he could take more income during the year or just send the government a bigger check.

Further, is he implictly saying that giving money to the Gates Foundation (as he did in massive quantity) was worse that giving it to the government (which he will apparently only do if other people are forced to)? If not, why wouldn’t his example of having the government confiscate less from him so that he can give it to a charitable organization be the one to follow?

Standards run amok

October 31, 2007

This is a bigger problem than globalization enthusiasts (myself included) than let on. In a fully globalized world, the country/union with the strictest standards for the production of goods or provision of services is the one that will actually determine what the standards are. It’s easy to foresee this development and ensuing regulatory competition becoming highly costly and being riddled with unintended consequences. As the article concludes:

“The larger theme here is that unelected officials in Brussels, and protectionist politicians in EU capitals, are using their regulatory power as a tool of economic nationalism. Under the cover of some nice-sounding social goals, they are harming U.S. companies and reducing commercial freedom. This is a growing threat to U.S. prosperity, and American politicians and regulators had better wake up to it.”

The problem is that American companies are going to want to comply with EU requirements. Clearly the EU has the right to set its own standards (if the US does as well). I don’t really see an obvious process to address these concerns for politicians and regulators.

U.S. Navy

October 31, 2007

This is a great piece. I read it right after I finished “To Rule the Waves“. The article made for a great book review.

As I always say . . .

October 31, 2007

you can’t fix stupid, so you might as well give ’em cash.

A take on "Understanding Human History"

October 31, 2007


Losing men

October 31, 2007

This is interesting. Since I am reading “Taking Sex Differences Seriously” I also know that marriages are less likely to last if the woman makes more than the man. I wonder if we will see a increase in divorce rates, if women become generally better educated than men.

Knowledge and environmentalism

October 31, 2007

One more from Cato. This debate is a perfect example why being cheap is likely to make you a better environmentalist than trying to chase the latest green fads. There are just too many variables. Is eating organic food better? Maybe it is because it doesn’t use fertilizers, etc. or maybe it’s not because it encourages clearing land to plant more land-intensive crops. Who knows? The market is the best method of solving these problems. This is also the strongest argument for a carbon tax – as long as someone can figure out the proper cost of the tax, which is, in my opinion, not a trivial problem.