More WFB

February 28, 2008

The Economist has a good one too.

Thoughts on WFB

February 28, 2008
Yesterday, William F. Buckley passed away.  I must say something on such an occasion, given that this blog being dedicated to the idea of Fusionism, and Mr Buckley was perhaps the original Fusionist.
Many, many others have provided worthwhile thoughts and remembrances, so I won't add anything on his historical contributions to the Conservative Movement.
I haven't tackled any of Mr Buckley's books and have only read some of his more recent articles.  However, my thinking has been heavily influenced by many of the early writers at National Review.  I think all Conservatives, Libertarians and non-liberals, in general, owe Mr Buckley an enormous amount of gratitude.
Mr Goldberg has made an obvious prediction here.  However, I think its a wonderful time to reflect on how National Review and the Conservative Movement have changed in the last several decades.  I'm have no doubt that Mr Buckley would welcome serious, thoughtful contributions on this subject.  Finally, I doubt these critiques will be made exclusively by the Left.  For example, the WSJ piece that I linked above, says:
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.
I provided some of my own thoughts on these issues here.  I miss the independence of the old National Review.  Would libertarian publications publish (grudgingly) positive thoughts on any of today's National Review types?
I think Conservatives have a lot to learn from Mr Buckley and from the history of the movement so far.  Conservatives, like Mr Buckley in the early years of NR, should work with as many sort-of-like-minded allies as possible; don't required Conservatives to have a checklist of required positions, merely require a Conservative disposition or attitude and then enjoy the debate.  If agreement on a particular issue is too widespread within the movement, then the movement has probably lost some of its intellectualism and become too dogmatic.  Bring back some monarchists, for example.
Don't become a subsidiary of the Republican Party.  That Party's electoral success is at best tangentially related to the success of the Conservative Movement.
One of the main points of Conservatism and Fusionism has always been limited government.  I think the failure of the Movement to actually, meaningfully limit government despite its other successes has been severely underrated.  (It may be a bigger problem when it comes to keeping the movement unified than the fall of Communism).  The failures in this area require new, and I think more radical policies to try again for success.  It should also cause Conservatives to be more anti-government in general and anti-war in particular.  War necessarily leads to bigger government, and once government grows, we can't reduce its size.
Whatever happens to the Movement in the future, opponents of the ever-increasing power of the State and defenders of Virtue and the Permanent Things will, in many way, always stand in the shadow of Mr Buckley.

How to make everyone a millionaire

February 28, 2008


Behavioral economics

February 27, 2008

A good take here.

The costs of a childless society

February 27, 2008
Professor Cowen says:
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?
It's nice of the good Professor to suggest that some people should be allowed to fly.  I hope our new economist overlords will continue to grant us some freedoms, even if they increasingly work to tax all costly behaviors (i.e. all behaviors).
The question I have in response is: what price should be paid by childless people for being childless?  After all, if everyone is childless, the GDP of the world will gradually approach $0; that's a PPP-adjusted loss of roughly $65 trillion.  Even if you don't use a discount rate that guarantees your desired outcome in advance, that's still a huge loss.

Secession in Montana . . .

February 26, 2008
if the gun case at the Supreme Court doesn't go the right way?  See the third letter here:
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.
Cool theory, though I doubt anything will come of it.

50 great crime writers

February 25, 2008

The list