The Economist has a good one too.
More WFBFebruary 28, 2008
Thoughts on WFBFebruary 28, 2008
In his last years, Buckley grew discouraged about what he considered the drifts of the American right. In an interview with this page in 2005, he noted that "I think conservatism has become a little bit slothful." In private, his contempt was more acute. Part of it, he believed, was that what used to be living ideas had become mummified doctrines to many in the conservative political class. At the Yale Political Union in November 2006—Buckley's last public audience—he called for a "sacred release from the old rigidities" and "a repristinated vision." It was a bracing reminder that American conservatives must adapt eternal principles to new realities.
How to make everyone a millionaireFebruary 28, 2008
Behavioral economicsFebruary 27, 2008
A good take here.
The costs of a childless societyFebruary 27, 2008
Your net carbon impact depends far more on the number of children you will have than any other variable; remember good environmentalism uses a zero rate of discount. So people with no biological children should be allowed to fly a lot and people with lots of biological children should not get to fly so much at all. Is that so far from the reality we observe?
Secession in Montana . . .February 26, 2008
There was no assertion in 1889 that the Second Amendment was susceptible to a collective rights interpretation, and the parties to the contract understood the Second Amendment to be consistent with the declared Montana constitutional right of "any person" to bear arms.As a bedrock principle of law, a contract must be honored so as to give effect to the intent of the contracting parties. A collective rights decision by the court in Heller would invoke an era of unilaterally revisable contracts by violating the statehood contract between the United States and Montana, and many other states.
50 great crime writersFebruary 25, 2008
An example of John Adam’s Natural AristocracyFebruary 25, 2008
In Web 2.0?
Rape on campusFebruary 25, 2008
An interesting piece at City Journal:
If the one-in-four statistic is correct [that one-in-four women on college campuses are victims of rape or attempted rape]—it is sometimes modified to “one-in-five to one-in-four”—campus rape represents a crime wave of unprecedented proportions. No crime, much less one as serious as rape, has a victimization rate remotely approaching 20 or 25 percent, even over many years. The 2006 violent crime rate in Detroit, one of the most violent cities in America, was 2,400 murders, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults per 100,000 inhabitants—a rate of 2.4 percent. The one-in-four statistic would mean that every year, millions of young women graduate who have suffered the most terrifying assault, short of murder, that a woman can experience. Such a crime wave would require nothing less than a state of emergency—Take Back the Night rallies and 24-hour hotlines would hardly be adequate to counter this tsunami of sexual violence. Admissions policies letting in tens of thousands of vicious criminals would require a complete revision, perhaps banning boys entirely. The nation’s nearly 10 million female undergrads would need to take the most stringent safety precautions. Certainly, they would have to alter their sexual behavior radically to avoid falling prey to the rape epidemic.
None of this crisis response occurs, of course—because the crisis doesn’t exist.
Collective action problems and anarchy (or minarchy)February 22, 2008
Ms McArdle writes:
I concede that there is a collective action problem in providing actual public goods, like the military and statues of politicians on horseback; that is why I am not an anarchist, or even a minarchist.
I think there are at least a couple logical steps missing between the premise and the conclusion. In other words, I don’t think that the existence of collective action problems necessarily imply that anarchy or minarchy are wrong.
I can see two possible objections immediately:
1) The question should be whether government does a better job of solving the collective action problems than the private sector. In situations where the collective action problem is so large as to prohibit any private solution (would this happen?), the question would then be about whether the cost of setting up a government to solve the problem outweigh the benefits of “solving” the collective action problem.
2) The second objection would be ethical. Governments take money by force, if one viewed this as unethical then the fact that government uses its “evil” power for “good” ends does not necessarily make the whole thing ethical. In other words, the ethical objections against starting a government may still outweigh the economic benefits of starting one.
[Update: a good follow-up on taxes and collective action]