May 31, 2010

From Ferdinand:

The shard of liberalism embedded in libertarianism is egalitarianism – the myth that all human beings are interchangeable irregardless of culture, class, race, national origin, or sex. This is why, when it comes to matters of cultural and tribal preservation, most libertarians, from mainstream Beltway-goers to Ron Paul-loving Austrian types, sound completely identical to liberals. Take this classic example, where LewRockwell.comcontributor Eric Margolis took the side of rioting Muslim crybabies during the Muhammad cartoon debacle. . . .

As I wrote last week, multiculturalism is the enemy of freedom. The presence of multiple tribes in a single area requires excessive coercion from the government in order to keep the peace. The Muslim riots that occurred in Paris a few years back are proof positive that “live and let live” is impossible due to inter-tribal conflict. Libertarianism is only feasible in culturally homogenous nations – in a multiethnic, multiracial society, it is suicide.


A Sunday juxtaposition

May 30, 2010

Democracy in Jamaica:

THE violence tearing apart Jamaica, a democratic state, raises serious questions not only about its government’s capacity to provide basic security but, more broadly and disturbingly, the link between violence and democracy itself. The specific causes of the turmoil are well known. For decades political leaders have used armed local gangs to mobilize voters in their constituencies; the gangs are rewarded with the spoils of power, in particular housing and employment contracts they can dole out. Opposition leaders counter with their own gangs, resulting in chronic violence during election seasons. . . .

It may or may not be true that democracies do not wage war with each other, but a growing number of analysts have concluded that, domestically, democracies are in fact more prone to violence than authoritarian states, measured by incidence of civil wars, communal conflict and homicide.

If only someone could have seen this coming . . .

Review of “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” by Douglas Adams

May 28, 2010

I’ve got a soft spot for detective novels and science fiction novels, so how could I resist the best of both worlds?

The book is well summarized here. I don’t have much to add to that. It makes for an engaging, quick read, but I wasn’t blown away. I’ll update after I’ve read the other books on the list. Perhaps I need some time to think about how sci-fi intersects with detective novels. I suppose sci-fi has the possibility of rendering detective novels ridiculous (via some fantastical explanations). This story nicely walks this line – but definitely gets right up to the line, which perhaps explains my mixed review.

Vintage ads

May 28, 2010

My favorite one is the second to last.

Cromer and Romer

May 27, 2010

In the comments at Aretae’s


May 27, 2010

In Flint, Michigan:

Violence and shootings have exploded in Flint during the last 30 days, including more than 100 reported assaults and nine homicides. . . . There have been 21 homicides in Flint so far this year. In all of 2009, there were 35 homicides, according to preliminary numbers issued by the FBI this week. . . .

"Criminals feel like they have the freedom in this city … (and) people feel like they are prisoners in their own homes."

Fear not though, they have a plan:

Flint Mayor Dayne Walling on Monday introduced a program called Cease Fire that he said will involve comprehensive training for community police officers who will be deployed Thursday, training for volunteers and partnerships with church leaders.

Unfortunately, (and obviously) this plan has no chance of working.

Quote of the day

May 27, 2010

From Zero Hedge:

The Freddie Mac 30 year Fixed Rate Mortgage rate for the May 27 week was announced, and, in tried and true "let no crisis go to waste" fashion, it has dropped to a fresh 2010 low of 4.78%. So to recap: stocks are where they were at the beginning of the year, the US federal debt is over $13 trillion, QE is over, Europe is imploding, China is tightening, North and South Korea are blasting The Eagles at each other at over 200 dB in clear violation of the Geneva convention, there is no oil left in the GOM, US double dip is accelerating, Marsian global rescue swaps are being considered by the Fed, yet mortgages are cheaper than they ever have been, as the government goes double all in in its attempt to reflate the housing bubble. Well played, Ben, well played.

You’re bailing on Freddie so that this can continue . . .

The equation for war

May 27, 2010

Ferdinand has been on a tear (for example). In a couple posts, he’s said: "proximity + diversity = war"

I think this is close but wrong. The real equation is: proximity + diversity + democracy = war.

It’s easy to think of counterexamples to his equation, e.g. Singapore or the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

It’s only when diverse peoples have the opportunity to band together to steal the wealth of other peoples, i.e. when they have a democratic political system, that war ensues.

More gold-friendly opinions in the WSJ

May 27, 2010

From today:

The transition to a firmer monetary footing to support entrepreneurial capitalism could be initiated by linking major global reserve currencies to gold and silver—commodities long associated with monetary functions. It would logically begin with the dollar. As a first step, U.S. citizens could ask Congress to authorize the limited issuance of gold-backed Treasury bonds that would provide for payment of principal at maturity in either ounces of gold or the face value of the security, at the option of the holder.

The level of public confidence in fiat dollar obligations versus gold would be revealed through auction bidding, with yield spreads clearly reflecting aggregate expectations of their comparative values. In the same way that inflation-indexed Treasury bonds measure expectations about future changes in the Consumer Price Index, gold-backed Treasury bonds would provide a barometer of the Fed’s credibility.

By linking the dollar to gold, Americans would establish a vital beachhead for sound money and provide a model that other nations could emulate.

Two years ago, you were considered crazy – by the mainstream financial/business press (for example) – for saying stuff less extreme than this about gold.

You can’t fix stupid

May 26, 2010

Even I – cynic that I am – am surprised by this:

A recent study found that poor folks – households earning under $13,000 per year – spend about 9% of all their income on lottery tickets.

Dear God!