This is going to ramble a bit. I ended up going a completely different direction from what I had in mind when I started. If you give a man a fishyou feed him for a day, the old saw goes. And if you teach him how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime. As […]

via If you give a man a fish… — The Writer in Black

I’ve been having a discussion with a friend, and he brought up the “how hard people have it” argument. One thing that occurred to me is that economic and technological progress didn’t occur in areas where people had it easy.

Polynesia didn’t develop engineering, but Scotland did. The expert sailors of the Mediterranean became experts because they had to leave their rocky islands in order to find food.

And then there’s the socialist dream: give everyone an income and provide for all their needs and they’ll have time to create artistic masterpieces and invent technological marvels. How’s that working out?

It’s said, if you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. Maybe, if you want a culture to reach the heights, it needs to start in the bottom of a well. By the time it reaches ground level, it’s built up momentum that makes it impossible to catch.

WhedonCon 2017

WhedonCon is a new convention; 2017 was its second year. This is a convention celebrating the works of Joss Whedon: Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Serenity, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, and others. As a result, I spent the past weekend doing what I call “Convention Weight Training”. This is a fitness program that involves moving lots of heavy objects to and from a hotel, and moving them around in the hotel as I need to get at supplies and equipment.

For the second year in a row, I handled supplies for the Green Room. I bought the snacks and munchies, the beverages, and provided a lunch set-up around mid day. Everyone was quite happy with the provisions in the Green Room, and I used just over 80% of my budget. (Thanks in part to Kneady Bakery, which donated three shopping bags filled with baked goods to the convention.) Hospitality uses a lot of ice, and after the hotel staff showed me where the heavy-duty ice machine lived, I filled up my 150-quart ice chest with ice both Friday and Saturday nights. I had a cart I could use to move the chest through the hotel, but lifting it off the cart when it was full was something that had to be done by hand.

So, the day after I finished loading stuff out, I’m still quite tired.

One thing I didn’t do very much of was attend the convention. I made it to one panel, and caught the tail end of one where the subject was the monsters we are all capable of becoming. Comparing Trump with Hitler was apparently considered not the least bit controversial.  (I chose not to call anyone on their non-inclusiveness at that point.)

A lot of the programming was kind of “how to do it” lectures and demonstrations — writing, make-up, special effects, and so on. There was a panel speculating about what the second season of Firefly would have been like, and a couple of panels dedicated to everyday heroes. There were also meet-and-greet sessions, autograph sessions, and photo opportunity sessions. If I were passionate about any of those, I’d probably not be working the Green Room.

All in all, I did have fun. I guess I fall into the class of “convention-running fans” — the sort who’s more interested in running a convention than in the subject matter of any given con.  I guess I like the challenge of putting together a spread for as little as possible.

Anyway, back to ranting about politics.

The Best Quotes From Thomas Sowell’s ‘The Vision Of The Anointed’ | John Hawkins’ Right Wing News

Source: The Best Quotes From Thomas Sowell’s ‘The Vision Of The Anointed’ | John Hawkins’ Right Wing News

“This (liberal) vision so permeates the media and academia, and has made such major inroads into the religious community, that many grow into adulthood unaware that there is any other way of looking at things, or that: evidence: might be relevant to checking out the sweeping assumptions of so-called “thinking people”. Many of these “thinking people” could more accurately be characterized as: articulate: people, as people whose verbal nimbleness can elude both evidence and logic. This can be a fatal talent, when it supplies the crucial insulation from reality behind may historic catastrophes.” — P. 6

“As sex education programs spread widely through the American educational system during the 1970s, the pregnancy rate among 15- to 19-year-old females rose from approximately 68 per thousand in 1970 to approximately 96 per thousand by 1980. Among unmarried girls in the 15- to 17-year-old bracket, birth rates rose 29 percent between 1970 and 1984, despite a massive increase in abortions, which more than doubled in the same period. Among girls under 15, the number of abortions surpassed the number of live births by 1974.” — P. 18

“Implicit in the equating of statistical disparity with discrimination is the assumption that gross disparities would not exist in the absence of unequal treatment. However, international studies have repeatedly shown gross intergroup disparities to be commonplace all over the world, whether in alcohol consumption, fertility rates, educational performance, or innumerable other variables. A reasonably comprehensive listing of such disparities would be at least as large as a dictionary.” — P. 35

“What sense would it make to classify a man as handicapped because he is in a wheelchair today, if he is expected to be walking against in a month and competing in track meets before the year is out? Yet Americans are given “class” labels on the basis of their transient location in the income stream. If most Americans do not stay in the same broad income bracket for even a decade, their repeatedly changing “class” makes class itself a nebulous concept.” — P. 48

“In a given year, the number of divorces may well be half as large as the number of marriages that year, but this is comparing apples to oranges. The marriages counted are only those marriages taking place within the given year, while the divorces that year are from marriages that took place over a period of decades. To say that half of all marriages ends in divorce, based on such statistics, would like saying that half the population died last year if deaths were half as large as births.” — P. 59

“While the proportion of children living with both parents has been declining over the decades, still the 1992 statistics from a census survey showed that more than two-thirds–71 percent, in fact–of all people under the age of 18 were still living with both their parents. Fewer than one percent were living with people who were not relatives.” — P. 61

“Going back a hundred years, when blacks were just one generation out of slavery, we find that the census data of that era showed that a sightly: higherpercentage of black adults had married than white adults.” — P. 81

“As of 1940, among black females who headed their own households, 52% were 45 years old or older. Moreover, only 14 percent of all black children were born to unmarried women at that time.” — P. 81

“Everyone is for a beneficial outcome; they simply define it in radically different terms.: Everyone: is a “progressive” by his own lights. That the anointed believe that this label differentiates themselves from other people is one of a number of symptoms of their naive narcissism.” — P. 95

“One of the most important questions about any proposed course of actions is whether we know how to do it. Policy A may be better than policy B, but that does not matter if we simply do not know how to do Policy A. Perhaps it would be better to rehabilitate criminals, rather than punish them,: if we knew how to do it. Rewarding merit might be better than rewarding results: if we knew how to do it. But one of the crucial differences between those with the tragic vision and those with the vision of the anointed is in what they respectively assume that we know how to do. Those with the vision of the anointed are seldom deterred by any question as to whether anyone has the knowledge required to do what they are attempting.” — P. 109

“A succinct summary of the tragic vision was given by historians Will and Ariel Durant:

“Out of every hundred new ideas ninety-nine or more will probably be inferior to the traditional responses which they propose to replace. No one man, however brilliant or well-informed, can come in one lifetime to such fullness of understanding as to safely judge and dismiss the customs or institutions of his society, for those are the wisdom of generations after centuries of experiment in the laboratory of history.” — P. 112

“In the tragic vision, individual sufferings and social evils are inherent in the innate deficiencies of all human beings, whether these deficiencies are in knowledge, wisdom, morality, or courage. Moreover, the available resources are always inadequate to fulfill all the desires of all the people. Thus there are no “solutions” in the tragic vision, but only trade-offs that still leave many unfulfilled and much unhappiness in the world.” — P. 113

“In their haste to be wiser and nobler than others, the anointed have misconceived two basic issues. They seem to assume (1) that they have more knowledge than the average member of the benighted and (2) that this is the relevant comparison. The real comparison, however, is not between the knowledge possessed by the average member of the educated elite versus the average member of the general public, but rather the: total: direct knowledge brought to bear though social processes (the competition of the marketplace, social sorting, etc.), involving millions of people, versus the secondhand knowledge of generalities possessed by a smaller elite group.” — P. 114

“For the anointed, traditions are likely to be seen as the dead hand of the past, relics of a less enlightened age, and not as the distilled experience of millions who faced similar human vicissitudes before.” — P. 118

“The presumed irrationality of the public is a pattern running through many, if not most or all, of the great crusades of the anointed in the twentieth century–regardless of the subject matter of the crusade or the field in which it arises. Whether the issue has been ‘overpopulation,’ Keynesian economics, criminal justice, or natural resource exhaustion, a key assumption has been that the public is so irrational that the superior wisdom of the anointed must be imposed, in order to avert disaster. The anointed do not simply: happen: to have a disdain for the public. Such disdain is an integral part of their vision, for the central feature of that vision is preemption of the decisions of others.” — P. 123-124

“Although Adam Smith regarded the intentions of businessmen as selfish and anti-social, he saw the systematic consequences of their competition as being far more beneficial to society than well-intentioned government regulation.” — P. 126

“In their zeal for particular kinds of decisions to be made, those with the vision of the anointed seldom consider the nature of the: process: by which decisions are made. Often what they propose amounts to third-party decision making by people who pay no cost for being wrong–surely one of the least promising ways of reaching decisions satisfactory to those who must live with the consequences.” — P. 129

“‘Hard cases make bad law’ is another way the tragic vision has been expressed. To help some hard-pressed individual or group whose case is before them, judges may bend the law to arrive at a more benign verdict in that particular case–but at the cost of damaging the whole consistency and predictability of the law, on which millions of other people depend, and on which ultimately the freedom and safety of a whole society depend.” — P. 130

“Those with the vision of the anointed often advocate the settlement of international differences through ‘diplomacy’ and ‘negotiation’ rather than by ‘force’–as if diplomacy and negotiation were not dependent on a surrounding set of incentives, of which the credible threat of military force is crucial.” — P. 130-131

“To those with the vision of the anointed, the question is: What will remove particular negative features in the existing situation to create a solution? Those with the tragic vision ask: What must be sacrificed to achieve this particular improvement?” — P. 135

“There are no solutions; there are only trade-offs.” — P. 142

“The vast penumbra of uncertainty around tort liability trials in the wake of the judicial revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, which jettisoned centuries-old laws and principles, leaving judges and juries to roam free and indulge their own inclinations, made it prudent for defendants to settle out of court, even if they had done nothing wrong. The uncertainty of outcomes was epitomized in two cases in which crane operators drove into high-tension electric power lines, leading to lawsuits against the manufacturer of the crane for failure to warn them–a claim dismissed without a trial in one state, on grounds that the danger was too obvious to require warning, and yet in another state leading to a damage award of more than $12 million against the manufacturer. In other words, there was no longer: law: in the real sense of the word, but only unpredictable edicts emanating from courtrooms.” — P. 170

“When the anointed say that there is a crisis this means that something must be done–and it must be done simply because the anointed want it done. This word becomes one of many substitutes for evidence or logic.” — P. 182

“Much discussion of the decisions of businessmen in general by intellectuals proceeds as if employers, landlords, and others operating under the systemic pressures of the marketplace are free to make arbitrary and capricious decisions based on prejudice and misinformation–as if they were intellectuals sitting around a seminar table–and pay no price for being mistaken.” — P. 188

“But, to those with the vision of the anointed, to say that a particular plan or policy is contrary to human nature as we know it is only to say that human nature must be changed. Thus the vocabulary of the anointed is replete with such terms as ‘sensitizing,’ ‘enlightening,’ or ‘reeducating’ other people.” — P. 190

“Another way of verbally masking elite preemption of other people’s decisions is to use the word ‘ask’–as in ‘We are just asking everyone to pay their fair share.’ But of course governments do not ask, they: tell. The Internal Revenue Service does not ‘ask’ for contributions. It takes.” — P. 197

“Many of the words and phrases used in the media and among academics suggest that things simply: happen: to people, rather than be being caused by their own choices and behavior. Thus there is said to be an ‘epidemic’ of teenage pregnancy, or of drug usage, as if these things were like the flu that people catch just by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.” — P. 198

“Widespread personification of ‘society’ is another verbal tactic that evades issues of personal responsibility. Such use of the term ‘society’ is a more sophisticated version of the notion that ‘the devil made me do it.’ Like much of the rest of the special vocabulary of the anointed, it is used as a magic word to make choice, behavior, and performance vanish into thin air.” — P. 199

“The vision of the anointed is one in which ills as poverty, irresponsible sex, and crime derive primarily from ‘society,’ rather than from individual choices and behavior. To believe in personal responsibility would be to destroy the whole special role of the anointed, whose vision casts them in the role of rescuers of people treated unfairly by ‘society’.” — P. 203

“To say that ‘wealth in America is so unfairly distributed in America,’ as Ronald Dworkin does, is grossly misleading when most wealth in the United States is not distributed: at all. People create it, earn it, save it, and spend it.” — P. 211

“In short, while saving some innocent individuals from a false conviction is important, the question is whether it is: more: important than sparing other equally innocent individuals from violence and death at the hands of criminals. Is saving one innocent defendant per decade worth sacrificing ten innocent murder victims? A thousand? Once we recognize that there are no solutions, but only trade-offs, we can no longer pursue cosmic justice, but must make our choices among alternatives actually available–and these alternatives do not include guaranteeing that no harm can possibly befall any innocent individual. The only way to make sure than no innocent individual is ever falsely convicted is to do away with the criminal justice system and accept the horrors of anarchy.” — P. 225

“Those who today advocate ‘judicial restraint’ define it as judges interpreting laws, including the Constitution, according to the meaning that the words in those laws had when they were written.” — P. 227

“Judicial activism is a mechanism though which the (liberal vision) can be imposed on a public which does not support it, without having to go through elected officials who would not dare to vote for many of the features of that vision.” — P. 235

“As Hannah Arendt has pointed out, transforming questions of fact into questions of intent has been the great achievement of twentieth-century totalitarians. It is a dangerous achievement which has survived the collapse of both fascist and Communist empires and has become a hallmark of much of the Western intelligentsia.” — P. 244

“If the truth is boring, civilization is irksome. The constraints inherent in civilized living are frustrating in innumerable ways. Yet those with the vision of the anointed often see these constraints as only arbitrary impositions, things from which they–and we all–can be ‘liberated.’ The social disintegration which has followed in the wake of such liberation has seldom provoked any serious reconsideration of the whole set of assumptions–the vision–which led to such disasters. That vision is too well insulated from feedback.” — P. 247

“The charge is often made against the intelligentsia and other members of the anointed that their theories and the policies based on them lack common sense. But the very commonness of common sense makes it unlikely to have any appeal to the anointed. How can they be wiser and nobler than everyone else while agreeing with everyone else?” — P. 248

“Civilization has been aptly called a ‘thin crust over a volcano’. The anointed are constantly picking at that crust.” — P. 250

“A California farmer can always show the television audience the abundant crop he has been able to grow because of federal water projects. But no one can videotape the crops that would have been grown elsewhere, at less cost to the economy, if there were no federal subsidies to encourage the use of water delivered at great cost into the California desert instead of water delivered free from the clouds elsewhere.” — P. 257

“In the anointed we find a whole class of supposedly ‘thinking people’ who do remarkably little thinking about substance and a great deal of verbal expression. In order that this relatively small group of people can believe themselves wiser and nobler than the common herd, we have adopted policies which impose heavy costs on millions of other human beings, not only in taxes, but also in lost jobs, social disintegration, and a loss of personal safety. Seldom have so few cost so much to so many.” — P. 260

The Critique – Why As A Philosopher I Voted For Trump

Source: The Critique – Why As A Philosopher I Voted For Trump


I. “We are patronized by our inferiors”

….We are patronized by our inferiors. During the campaign Hillary Clinton and the Democrats did not just reveal themselves as elitists who are out of touch with the circumstances of many of their compatriots [2], and proud of it; who have contempt for half the country [3], and are willing to say so publicly; and who are willing, in fact, to say anything to gain and keep power.[4] They revealed themselves as fools….

II. “Who are you going to believe, us or your lying eyes?”

….Sixty-five years ago, Swarthmore psychologist Solomon Asch conducted his famous experiments, gathering groups of students together for what he said was research into visual perception. In fact, he wanted to study “a disagreement between a group and one individual member about a clear and simple issue of fact.”[7] He brought students together in groups, all but one of whom were his confederates. He showed the group a card with a line on it, and then a card with three lines—one the same length as the original, the others clearly shorter or longer. He asked the students, in sequence, which line matched the original in length. He started with his confederates, who agreed with one another. For the first few trials, their answers were correct. But then the confederates began agreeing on incorrect answers. In more than a third of the subsequent trials, the subject, who answered last, conformed to the rest of the group, giving a plainly wrong answer. “Who are you going to believe, us or your lying eyes?” Seventy-five percent of the subjects went with the majority on at least some trials. Only twenty-five percent resisted the pull of erroneous agreement completely….

….How often have we encountered statements like these over the past eight years? “Islam is a religion of peace.” “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” “Obamacare will bring down the cost of health insurance.” “The economy is in great shape.” “Raising the minimum wage doesn’t cost jobs; it creates them.” “Iran can be trusted not to develop nuclear weapons.” “America is stronger and more respected today than it was eight years ago.” These are not only false, but obviously false. The Quran repeatedly calls for violence against unbelievers.[8] Since December 2015, 68 Americans have died from terror attacks on U.S. soil.[9] More than 200 have been wounded. Obamacare has increased costs while decreasing patient choice, exactly as its critics predicted[10]; no system that increases demand for services while doing nothing to increase supply can lower costs. Obama has overseen the weakest economic recovery in decades.[11] The percentage of working-age Americans employed is at its lowest rate since the late 1970s.[12] Minimum wage increases raise the cost of employing people, which leads to fewer jobs.[13] Finally, Iran is already violating the nuclear agreement, according to German intelligence, and Russia, China, Iran, and other adversaries treat America with contempt.[14]….

III. The end of “phone and a pen” policy making

This election presented Americans with a clear choice: someone who agrees with the political philosophy of the nation’s founders, or someone who utterly rejects it. The United States was founded on the political philosophy of John Locke, adapted by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and other founders.[18] According to that “bottom-up” political theory, people have natural rights to life, liberty, and property. Government gets its power from the people; it is legitimate only with the consent of the governed. Its mission is to promote the general welfare by providing a framework for ordered liberty, a framework within which people can exercise their freedoms and pursue happiness. That is Donald Trump’s vision of government.[19] …

Hillary Clinton’s “top-down” progressive vision, stemming ultimately from Rousseau, is incompatible with that Lockean foundation.[21] It envisions a very different role for government. In her view, it is up to the government—in practice, the Supreme Court—to determine what rights people have. There are no natural rights, rights independent of government, inherent in us as human beings in Rousseau’s vision. Rights are creatures of government.

As such, rights can be limited or rejected if they conflict with government goals. Clinton’s platform sought to restrict freedom of speech, for example, by making it illegal to criticize political candidates during election campaigns.[22] That is what the Citizens United decision was about: whether the government could prevent Hillary, the Movie from being shown….

IV. Donald Trump: the supporting partner

….The Asch experiments point to a key and under-appreciated reason for Trump’s success. Only twenty-five percent of Asch’s subjects resisted peer pressure consistently throughout the experiment. Seventy-five percent were at least sometimes willing to betray their lying eyes. But the rate of such betrayal fell dramatically if even one other person answered correctly. As Asch put it, “The presence of a supporting partner depleted the majority of much of its power” (1955, 34). My thesis is simple: Throughout 2016, Donald Trump played the role of that supporting partner….

V. “A Basket Of Deplorables”

….Asch did not study what happens if the confederates mock the subject or the subject’s partner, if there is one. But it is not difficult to hypothesize the result. The emotional reactions the experiment generates would probably be intensified. Those afflicted with self-doubt would likely experience even greater self-doubt. Those with negative feelings toward the herd would likely have even more negative feelings toward them. Affection toward a partner would likely be intensified as well.

That, I maintain, is precisely what the Clinton campaign and the media did during the 2016 campaign. Hillary herself attacked half of Trump’s supporters as “a basket of deplorables,” as “irredeemable.”[62] The other half she seemed to consider pathetic. The insult quickly became a badge of honor among Trump supporters, who began posting “Deplorable Me” and “Les Deplorables” memes on social media. It drove some who had been lukewarm about Trump’s candidacy to become eager supporters, and seemed to quiet objections from so-called “NeverTrumpers”.

Attacks on the candidate himself had much the same effect. Trump’s supporters saw the incessant accusations of racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, etc., as Asch’s subjects might have seen insults hurled at a truth-telling partner. The accusations did not push Trump’s supporters away from him; for the most part, they pushed them further toward him.

There are two key components to understanding the mechanism by which accusations of this sort strengthened the Trump campaign. The first is that most of the accusations themselves were unjustified. Pushing them made Clinton and her surrogates appear to be both knaves and fools. The second is that Trump’s supporters saw that what was generating the attacks was not Trump’s deviation from their opinions but his agreement with them. In short, they saw the accusations as essentially leveled at them. As the Democrats now know first hand, or at least should know, calling someone names is not generally an effective way of getting them to vote for you….

VI. Why I Voted For Trump

I voted for Donald Trump partly because I share his political philosophy (which I view as akin to that of the British Whigs); partly because I share his view of the current state of American society and the international order; and partly because I see the American political system as teetering on the edge of a cliff. A Clinton victory, I believe, would have ended the American republic.[91] Obama set out to transform the United States of America. He has done so by transferring power away from the people, and away from Congress, to the courts and to the executive branch. He won a few legislative victories, but has mostly ruled by decree, by executive order and especially by the rule-making of executive branch agencies. Clinton promised to continue the trend. She would have ruled more or less as a monarch with little Congressional limit to her power. The Constitution would have been a dead letter. She would have been able to impose her own moral vision on the entire country. That vision, moreover, rests on a narrative with limited correspondence to reality. And she would have removed the checks and balances of the American system designed to keep narratives and reality in line with each other….



Rape Culture Debate & American Academia: Laura Kipnis Attacks Sexual Paranoia on Campus | National Review

Source: Rape Culture Debate & American Academia: Laura Kipnis Attacks Sexual Paranoia on Campus | National Review

When I first heard, in March 2015, that students at the university where I teach had staged a protest march over an essay I’d written about sexual paranoia in academe, and that they were carrying mattresses and pillows, I was a bit nonplussed. For one thing, mattresses had become a symbol of student-on-student sexual assault — a Columbia University student became known as “mattress girl” after spending a year dragging a mattress around campus in a performance-art piece meant to protest the university’s ruling in a sexual-assault complaint she’d filed against a fellow student — whereas I’d been talking about the new consensual-relations codes prohibiting professor–student dating. I suppose I knew the essay would be controversial — the whole point of writing it was to say things I believed were true (and suspected a lot of other people thought were true), but weren’t being said for fear of repercussions. Still, I’d been writing as a feminist. And I hadn’t sexually assaulted anyone. The whole thing seemed incoherent.

According to our student newspaper, the mattress carriers on my campus were marching to the university president’s office with a petition demanding “a swift, official condemnation” of my article. One student said she’d had a “very visceral reaction” to it; another called it “terrifying.” I’d argued that the new codes infantilized students and ramped up the climate of accusation, while vastly increasing the power of university administrators over all our lives, and here were students demanding to be protected by university higher-ups from the affront to someone’s ideas — which seemed to prove my point.

The president announced that he’d consider the petition.

Do Some Feminist Professors Even Know What the Word ‘Rape’ Means?

Last week Inside Higher Ed published an essay from an anonymous feminist professor that truly has to be read to be believed. In it, she describes being triggered into literal hysterics by a male student’s essay (at one point saying that she screamed at her computer screen, “Zero! You get a f**king zero!) This student, who allegedly rather bluntly questioned the existence of “rape culture,” caused her to compare the student to the man she claimed raped her many years ago. Here are her exact words:

I imagined him being friends with my rapist (though the man who raped me is now significantly older than this student, he is frozen in the 18-22 age bracket in my mind). How, I wondered, could I possibly evaluate this student’s work in an “unbiased” fashion? Such a request would involve me living an entirely different life than the one that I have had.

It’s worth highlighting her essay not so much because of one professor’s unbalanced reaction to one student’s essay but because of something else — something far more indicative of campus propaganda on rape and sexual assault. Here’s her description of teaching about “rape culture.”

It was the middle of the semester, and we were covering rape culture. As any feminist instructor who has ever taught about rape culture probably knows, covering this topic is challenging for a multitude of reasons. Sometimes we encounter students who realize that they have been raped who come to office hours looking for resources. Other times, students learn that they have actually perpetrated rape and struggle to reconcile that with their images of themselves as “good people” and “not one of those (usually) guys.” And many feminist instructors, especially those who are women, know all too well what it is like to navigate the “mansplaining” of a few men students who would like to ardently deny that rape culture exists. (Emphasis added.)

Read the italicized portion again. She’s claiming that thanks to feminist instruction, some students actually “realize” that they’ve been raped, while others “learn” that they’re rapists. This is extraordinary. Rape is not difficult to define — unless, of course you’re redefining it. And if she is describing people who “learn” that they’ve committed actual rape, why is she not calling the police? If she’s not calling the police, is she placing other women in danger? After all, didn’t she just “learn” that a sexual predator is on the loose?

Here’s a fundamental problem with campus “rape culture” arguments. On the one hand, campus feminists argue that colleges are in the grips of an extraordinary crime wave — with women at astounding risk of experiencing sexual violence. On the other hand, these same feminists will argue that it’s entirely fine if women choose to leave these crimes in the hands of campus tribunals – that people they believe to be actual criminals should receive academic discipline only, leaving them free to rape again.

Do feminists want to take rape seriously? Then they should define it according to the law and refer every single rape claim to law enforcement. But if they’re really talking about drunken hook-ups or radical new concepts of consent, then they should speak the language of morality and manners, not crime and punishment. Otherwise, they drain the word of its real meaning and contribute to the skepticism they so loudly condemn.

Climate Editors Have a Meltdown – WSJ

Source: Climate Editors Have a Meltdown – WSJ


But not even the EPA’s Mr. Pruitt or the New York Times’s newest recruit exhibits the ill grace to phrase the “so what” question.

“So what” is the most important question of all. So what if human activity is causing some measure of climate change if voters and politicians are unwilling to assume the costs (possibly hugely disproportionate to any benefit) of altering the outcome of the normal evolution of energy markets and energy technology.

You Can’t Deny that Venezuela is a Socialist Calamity – Foundation for Economic Education – Working for a free and prosperous world

Source: You Can’t Deny that Venezuela is a Socialist Calamity – Foundation for Economic Education – Working for a free and prosperous world



Economists have long understood the dynamic at work here. Marx and other socialists thought that those in charge of the planning process, and for Marx that was the whole community, could rationally determine what to produce and how best to produce it in the absence of markets, exchange, and prices. Since Mises’s famous essay in 1920, however, we have known that doing so is not possible.

Genuine market prices are necessary for people be able to make determinations of value in anything larger than a household. Without prices, there is no way to know, not just what people value but (more importantly) how to make what they value using the least valuable resources possible.

In other words, rational production decisions are impossible without market prices, and market prices can’t exist without exchange and therefore there has to be private ownership, especially of the means of production.

But what happens when those given the power to make such decisions realize they cannot achieve their perhaps well-intentioned goals? The power does not go away. More often than not, the first reaction is precisely what we’ve seen in Venezuela: crack down harder on producers for not living up to impossible demands and ration goods to punish consumers for “hoarding.” And when that doesn’t work, go to more draconian authoritarianism, and do whatever it takes to hold on to power.

After a while, these exercises of brute power have consequences. They attract those with a comparative advantage in exercising such power (and perhaps those who have a high consumption value for doing so) into positions of power. Marxism is not Stalinism, but the inability of Marxian socialism to live up to its promises creates the conditions that make Stalinism possible and likely. In other words, Stalinism is an unintended consequence of Marxian socialism.

In addition, as state control becomes more clearly ineffective, people start to work around it by establishing distorted forms of market exchange. Bribery of politicians and bureaucrats, threats to producers, cronyism, and nepotism all become the ways of getting things done. Scarce resources have to be allocated somehow, and markets are like weeds in that they will grow in the cracks left by the failures of planning.

Intellectual Negligence

To the outside world, corruption and poor implementation caused socialism to fail. But that gets matters completely backward: corruption and ineffective political actors are not the cause of socialism’s failure, but a result of that failure. When you make real markets illegal and when your attempts at planning inevitably fail, what you get is the bribery and corruption of black markets. Once again, these are not what Marxism intends, but they are an inevitable unintended consequence.

Martin, Brown, Gray And CNN: Fake News

Stately McDaniel Manor

Trayvon Martin

CNN has long been derisively known as the “Clinton News Network” for its unabashedly left-wing bias and fawning coverage of the Clintons. More recently, as a consequence of its obscenely unprofessional coverage of Hillary’s Clinton’s failed second run for the presidency, CNN has come to epitomize “fake news,” as President Trump has so accurately termed it. A recent article—Black Lives Matter cases: When controversial killings lead to change—is a telling example of CNN’s dedication to social justice over accuracy and professional journalism. I’ll focus on only three of the vignettes CNN chose to belabor, those of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Freddie Gray. First, Trayvon Martin:

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California, Illinois, and New York Keep Losing People to Other States | Mises Wire

Source: California, Illinois, and New York Keep Losing People to Other States | Mises Wire

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It seems that many residents of the West Coast and the Northeast are leaving those regions behind.

In March, for example, the Sacramento Bee reported that California “exports its poor to Texas … while wealthier people move in.” Former Californians report that a lackluster job market, a high cost of living, and high taxes are pushing them out.

This week, Chicago Magazine reported on Chicago’s highly publicized diaspora. One interviewee reported the crime, high cost of living, and taxes drove him out of Illinois and across the state line to northern Indiana. “I couldn’t have this size house in Illinois,” he said.

Last week, Bloomberg reported that state-to-state mobility is strong with increasing numbers of workers moving to “rapidly growing regions where employment is plentiful.”

The United States has long been notable for the frequency with which its residents move around. This isn’t always without social and psychic costs to those who move, and their communities.

But, the ease with which workers and families can pick up and move across state lines provides many with the option of moving to a totally new geographic and legal environment where the burdens of taxes and the cost of living may vary greatly. Best of all, unlike Europe, there is no language barrier that comes with moving across the continent to find a new job.

If one can take advantage of the amenities of other states with relative ease, then residents are more likely to leave behind their current situation for what they perceive to be better digs.

Thus, according to the 2015 American Community Survey numbers released late last year — the most recent number available — 7.5 million Americans lived in another state just one year earlier — and thus decided that the time had come to move from their home states.

But, of course, those who moved were not evenly distributed, and there are some big differences by region.

When we look at the net number of residents moving in from other states, we find that the destination for most of these 7.5 million migrants was states in the South and in the West — excluding California


The map, however, fails to account for just how large was the migration out of certain states, specifically, New York, California, Illinois, and New Jersey. When we ignore foreign migrants and look at just state-to-state flows, we find that more than 191,000 people left New York while more than 129,000 people left California. The top destinations for migrants were Florida, Texas, and North Carolina1:net_by_state.png


On the other hand, states like California, New York, and Illinois can seek comfort in the fact that their populations aren’t really declining in absolute terms thanks to migration from foreign countries. California residents may be fleeing to other states, but those former residents are being replaced by new residents from abroad.

Can this be sustainable over time? It depends on the nature of those moving away and those moving in. If those leaving California and New York are highly productive workers seeking a tax break and lower cost of living, then this could lead to a net drain of wealth-producing people. On the other hand, if those moving to new states are primarily retirees or low productivity workers, then the states they’re leaving may do just fine with new immigrants who may be able to easily replace those who are leaving.