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What Social Animals Owe to Each Other

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Wisdom of Ringo

"Everything the government touches turns to crap."

--Ringo Starr

Monday, April 14, 2008

Why No Republican Should Ever Be Elected President

Well, one reason why. Given how the media, encouraged by the politicians, see the political spectrum, any Republican administration will be portrayed as advocating and practicing laissez faire. If it happens with George II, it'll happen with anyone. The result is that when the economy turns sour under a Republican, the laissez-faire administration be blamed. Protests and demonstrations of the facts to the contrary will largely fall on deaf ears.

This is what's happening right now. You will have a hard time convincing someone that the housing and credit problems aren't the result of the free market. The job is not made easier by the "vulgar libertarians" (Kevin Carson's term) who speak as though they believe what we have is a free market.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

O Goody! Another Reason to Go to War!

"Henceforth, should any danger threaten your people, America and the NATO alliance will stand with you, and no one will be able to take your freedom away."

--George II on the occasion of NATO membership invitations to Croatia and Albania

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Newest Scribblings

I get nervous when presidential candidates -- or their surrogates -- take up subjects that are clearly none of their business. Actually, most of what they talk about is none of their business. But some things are so far over the line that hearing politicians discuss them gives me the creeps. Herbert Spencer, where are you when we need you?
The rest of this week's TGIF, "Statecraft Is Not Soulcraft," is at Foundation for Economic Education website.

John McCain, the Republican candidate for president who dubiously claims the status of war hero because he was imprisoned and beaten after bombing civilian targets in North Vietnam 40 years ago, apparently wants other young men to have the chance to become war heroes.
The rest of this week's op-ed, "100 Years in Iraq?" is at The Future of Freedom Foundation website.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Starting the Invasion off Right

Unsurprisingly, the U.S. invasion of Iraq began with a bombing that killed innocents, children included. Jacob Hornberger of The Future of Freedom Foundation has the story here.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Herbert Spencer, Social Darwinist?

Charles Johnson brings to our attention a revealing quotation from Herbert Spencer. For more click on "Herbert Spencer Anti-Defamation League (Part 423 of ???)" in "Sheldon's Shared Items" on the right.
It is very easy for you, O respectable citizen, seated in your easy chair, with your feet on the fender, to hold forth on the misconduct of the people – very easy for you to censure their extravagant and vicious habits …. It is no honor to you that you do not spend your savings in sensual gratification; you have pleasures enough without. But what would you do if placed in the position of the laborer? How would these virtues of yours stand the wear and tear of poverty? Where would your prudence and self-denial be if you were deprived of all the hopes that now stimulate you …? Let us see you tied to an irksome employment from dawn till dusk; fed on meager food, and scarcely enough of that …. Suppose your savings had to be made, not, as now, out of surplus income, but out of wages already insufficient for necessaries; and then consider whether to be provident would be as easy as you at present find it. Conceive yourself one of a despised class contemptuously termed the great unwashed; stigmatized as brutish, stolid, vicious … and then say whether the desire to be respectable would be as practically operative on you as now. … How offensive it is to hear some pert, self-approving personage, who thanks God that he is not as other men are, passing harsh sentence on his poor, hard-worked, heavily burdened fellow countrymen …. (Social Statics, pp. 203–5)
Pretty pathetic Social Darwinist, if you ask me.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

A Key to the Mortgage Debacle

From Arnold Kling at EconLog:
In the case of mortgage markets, the internal contradictions of regulatory policy are more of a problem than the execution of the policy. For example, you can't place a high priority on home ownership for the "under-served" and then act all put out when so many of these folks who can't afford homes wind up in foreclosure.