DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

We have seen the future, and it sucks.

Archive for the 'Think about it.' Category

The Economic Guide To Picking A College Major

14th September 2014

Read it.

Actually, if I had it to do all over again, I’d have put my 20 in the Navy and then got out and gone into SQL Server development, for which no college degree is necessary (unless you want to work for one of those tiresome companies who want you to have a degree in SOMETHING whether it’s related to what you’ll be doing or not), and I’d be making just as much salary as I am now, plus a government pension.

And to Hell with your daddy and Yale….

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Every Single Health-Care Cost Is Distorted and Meaningless by Itself

14th September 2014

Sonic Harm turns over a very large rock.

The reality is that health care is basically (give or take) at least half socialized in every modern country, and that includes the US. There is not a free market for health care line-items in the US. Individual line-item ‘costs’ are not haggled over and comparison-shopped to find the equilibrium point of anyone’s supply-demand curves. All that’s really going on is that a bunch of socialism is taking place – stealth taxes, means-tested, and money being garnished from people in a ‘from each according to his ability [to pay]‘ sort of way, laundered through insurance companies or government agencies.

This ‘cost of an MRI procedure’ people obsess over has nothing to do with anything by itself. It’s just part of the gigantic formula that has been developed over time to slosh money around in ways that Smart People find ‘fair’ – completely distorted by politics, regulated by bureaucracies, prices being set line-item by line-item by committee (“Medicare codes”, whether Medicare is the payer or not). No single line-item means anything by itself. Yes you’re being ‘overcharged for an MRI’ if you focus on that line-item. Perhaps, likewise, you’ve been undercharged for the 20 minute visit from the nurse. Overcharged for the band-aid? Undercharged for the X-ray diagnosticiation time. I dunno! Who the hell knows?

And meanwhile, the person in the room to the left to you is ‘paying’ three times as much because they don’t have insurance but do have cash. The person in the room to the right of you, meanwhile, is paying $20 for the same exact thing because they have Medicaid (or gave money under the table to a mid-level hospital bureaucrat lady to fake paperwork to get them on Medicaid). And someone with no insurance and no money is in the ER waiting room waiting to see someone and the hospital will have to treat them free, if only because of EMTALA.

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Manual Transmissions Getting Rarer in the US

14th September 2014

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Improvements in the function and fuel economy of automatic transmissions have essentially killed the manual in the U.S., says Jack Nerad, the senior editor of Kelley Blue Book. Some of the country’s best-selling sedans — the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion — don’t even offer manual transmissions because so few buyers want them. Even some sporty cars, like the Jaguar F Type, come only with automatics.

“The manual transmission has become kind of a dodo bird,” he says.

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Don’t Take Your Vitamins

13th September 2014

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Many medical studies show positive health effects from higher vitamin levels. The only problem? These studies often can’t tease out the effect of the vitamins from the effect of other factors, such as generally healthy living. Studies that attempt to do this typically show no impact from vitamin use — or only a very tiny one on a small subset of people. The truth is that for most people, vitamin supplementation is simply a waste of time.

But don’t throw them away, because in another year or two ‘science’ will demand that you take them again.

I take vitamins because that way my mother-in-law will shut up about me taking vitamins. Worth the price, in my opinion, but your mileage may vary.

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Is the Islamic State Really ‘Not Islamic’?

13th September 2014

Jonah Goldberg points out that the main problem with Barack Obama is that there’s so much that he knows that ain’t so.

If we’re talking clarity, I’d say the Islamic State is clearly not Mormon. Or Lutheran. Or Buddhist. It most certainly is not the most extreme example of Quakers gone bad ever recorded.

As for its not being Islamic, that’s at best unclear, if not just clearly wrong. And the fact that the majority of its victims are Muslim is irrelevant. Lenin and Stalin killed thousands of Communists and socialists; that doesn’t mean Lenin and Stalin weren’t Communists and socialists. If such terrorists who kill Muslims aren’t Muslims, why do we give them Korans when we imprison them?

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Something Must be Done About All the Nice White Lady Schoolteachers

13th September 2014

Steve Sailer pulls back the curtain.

Education Realist points out that the Drive for Diversity stalled out due to earlier Education Reforms. Teacher qualification tests were toughened up in some states, and Congress passed a law in 1998 intended to drive out of business bad education schools whose graduates couldn’t pass the test. Instead, the ed schools, no fools, just dropped affirmative action and stopped giving out diplomas until students had passed the state professional exams.

Funny how that works. Requiring actual, you know, performance really shoots ‘diversity’ right in the ass.

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Thought for the Day

13th September 2014

Is has come to this?

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Why a Gun Belongs on the Batmobile

12th September 2014

Read it.

Slow news day.

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Waging War Is a Decision for Congress Alone

11th September 2014

Andrew Napolitano is amusingly old-fashioned.

Madison knew that kings became tyrants through war. He fervently believed that by keeping the war-waging power in the hands of the president and the war-making power in the hands of Congress, the Constitution would serve as a bulwark against tyranny.

And we see how that worked out. Hey, better luck next time….

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Once More: Why “Climate Change” Alarmism Is Not Science

8th September 2014

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Science is a method, not a set of dogmas. The scientific method is pretty simple: you suggest a hypothesis, calculate what facts in the real world must be true if the hypothesis is correct, and then check the hypothesis against reality. If the hypothesis implies false propositions of fact, it is wrong. Case closed.

Climate alarmists stand the scientific method on its head. When their theories, as expressed in climate models, conflict with reality, they conclude that something must be wrong with reality. The heat that their models hypothesize must be “hiding” deep in the oceans, or whatever. This isn’t science: it is a combination of politics and religion. A proposition that cannot be falsified by experience is not a scientific proposition.

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Today We’re Eating the Winners of the 1948 Chicken of Tomorrow Contest

7th September 2014

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And I have no doubt that they deserve it.

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How a 19th Century Math Genius Taught Us the Best Way to Hold a Pizza Slice

7th September 2014

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Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

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WE OWE IT ALL TO THE HIPPIES

7th September 2014

Stewart Brand indulges in a little historical revisionism.

Forget antiwar protests, Woodstock, even long hair.
The real legacy of the sixties generation is the computer revolution

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The Truth We Won’t Admit: Drinking Is Healthy

7th September 2014

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In fact, the evidence that abstinence from alcohol is a cause of heart disease and early death is irrefutable—yet this is almost unmentionable in the United States. Even as health bodies like the CDC and Dietary Guidelines for Americans (prepared by Health and Human Services) now recognize the decisive benefits from moderate drinking, each such announcement is met by an onslaught of opposition and criticism, and is always at risk of being reversed.

Sometimes the old ways are best.

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Is Rachel @Maddow’s Haircut Waging War Against Heteronormative Patriarchy?

7th September 2014

The Other McCain is not afraid to ask the hard questions.

One of the rhetorical tricks of radicalism, a tactic at least as old as Karl Marx’s claim to have developed a scientific doctrine of socialism, is (a) to produce an elaborate theoretical explanation of whatever phenomenon they wish to criticize, (b) to denounce as a self-serving “myth” whatever common-sense justification is offered by defenders of the status quo, and (c) to claim that the inability of the status quo’s defenders to refute the radical challenge is proof that the “system” is illegitimate and must be destroyed. (It is certainly no accident that nearly all feminist theorists cite Friedrich Engels’s The Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State in expounding their own critiques of “male supremacy.”) Defenders of any traditional way of life are always at a disadvantage in debate with radical intellectuals who, having built or borrowed some theoretical argument for revolution, scornfully dismiss the defense of tradition as mere sentimental prejudice in favor of the status quo. Hurling accusations of bigotry and ignorance at their antagonists, radicals insist that progress beckons us toward an enlightened future, if only we can overcome the irrational opposition of The Forces of Darkness who wish to keep society enslaved to the benighted past.

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Wash. Hunter Chased Up Tree, Bitten by Black Bear

7th September 2014

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Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes….

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Obama’s Foreign Policy

6th September 2014

Hu on First copy

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Thought for the Day

6th September 2014

Startegery copy

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IKEA Catalog Video Spoofs Apple, Goes Viral

5th September 2014

Read it. And watch the video, for sure.

This is one of the most beautiful mockeries I’ve ever seen.

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What Every High School Junior Should Know About Going to College

5th September 2014

Bryan Caplan pulls back the curtain.

Going to college definitely sounds better.  Almost every authority figure in your life – educators and family alike – recommend it to each and every student.  But as you may have noticed, authority figures are often untrustworthy.  Indeed, they usually bend the truth whenever honesty makes them look bad.  This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go to college, but it is a reason to second-guess the party line, to seek out ugly facts parents and educators would rather ignore.

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Star Wars 7 Whiteness Update

4th September 2014

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When an initial casting list was announced for the upcoming Star Wars 7 movie, right-thinking Smart People reacted the only possible way they could: by complaining it was so disproportionately dominated by white males!

This was clearly the first thing we all noticed about the cast list. There was nothing else to even notice, really. It goes without saying that what proportion of the human-like characters in this long-ago galaxy far, far away are ‘white’ (=have skin hues similar to those found in European descendents here on earth), and female, is pretty much the only important fact to be adduced about a Star Wars movie, entertainment-wise.

You have been warned.

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Why We Procrastinate

1st September 2014

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The British philosopher Derek Parfit espoused a severely reductionist view of personal identity in his seminal book, Reasons and Persons: It does not exist, at least not in the way we usually consider it. We humans, Parfit argued, are not a consistent identity moving through time, but a chain of successive selves, each tangentially linked to, and yet distinct from, the previous and subsequent ones. The boy who begins to smoke despite knowing that he may suffer from the habit decades later should not be judged harshly: “This boy does not identify with his future self,” Parfit wrote. “His attitude towards this future self is in some ways like his attitude to other people.”

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Why Can’t the Media Talk About the Ivy League Without Freaking Out?

1st September 2014

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For the same reason that rich people can talk about money without freaking out — guilt and envy. (This is the sort of article you will only find in a Voice of the Crust.)

But that’s fairly typical of the convoluted, shamefaced, defensive way we talk about class in America: An Ivy Leaguer mocking another Ivy Leaguer because his denunciation of the Ivy League is just so Ivy League.

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s Feminism Sexist?

1st September 2014

Scott Adams understands the dialectic.

Note to Jezebel, Gawker, and Huffington Post: When you quote this post out of context be sure to leave out the text that doesn’t support your misleading headlines.

To answer your question, Scott: Yes, feminism is sexist, almost by definition, just as the NAACP and La Raza are racist organizations, also almost by definition.

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Which States Are in the Midwest?

1st September 2014

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Actually, the question ought to be phrased ‘Which states other than Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan are in the Midwest?’

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A Free Society Must Give Up Empire

1st September 2014

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If Americans want a free society at home, then they must convince the U.S. government to give up its global empire. The militarized police recently on display in Ferguson was no freak coincidence: Antiwar activists and other civil libertarians have been warning for decades that an aggressive US foreign policy would eventually destroy domestic liberties. Americans can’t ask their government to subjugate foreigners with bombs but bow to their own wishes at the ballot box.

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Multiculturalism — The Final Solution

31st August 2014

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Finally, the mainstream media are beginning to acknowledge the poisonous fruits of multiculturalism. For years journalists have been afraid to speak the truth about what is happening in Britain, just as the council workers in Rotherham who were responsible for child welfare were afraid to speak the truth. And what is the truth they have been so afraid to give voice to? Multiculturalism is a failure, both as a political theory and as a matter of fact.

When the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany joined forces at the beginning of the war, Time magazine referred to the enemies of civilization as “Communazis”. Each had their final solution to the question of how human beings should live together on earth, and they were both willing to employ absolutely any means in order to achieve that end. We have seen the same mindset in government, both at a national level and in local councils up and down the land for many years now. Their final solution to the question of how we are to live is “multiculturalism”, and woe betide anyone who questioned that unproven, impossible theory.

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Should You Take Notes By Hand and Read Paper Books?

29th August 2014

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My answer is ‘yes’, but that’s what I do and I’m one of those tiresome people who think everybody ought to do things my way.

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The World Is Squared: Episode 1 – “Switzerland, Country of Joyce”

29th August 2014

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This is a very odd piece that will tell you more than you ever really wanted to know about Switzerland.

If I had sufficient spare time and a wholly warped sense of priorities, I think I could trace the boundaries of the wars of religion by driving around and listening to regional radio. As far as I can tell, Catholic cantons really go for snare drum backbeats and 2/4 time – if Mumford and Sons aren’t huge in Vaud, they are really missing an opportunity. Protestant cantons are much more into generic AOR. Everywhere in Switzerland gets a signal for the Europop collossus that is RTL2. However, the country does not seem to have any local attempts at hip-hop, for which I greatly respect them.

All in all, though, it’s a fascinating country, and if I hadn’t been born American I wouldn’t have minded terribly much being Swiss.

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Richard Florida, Academia Perplexed by Gentrification Research

29th August 2014

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Gentrification is such a nice, hot phrase for something liberals enjoy while simultaneously decrying it for ruining city slum authenticity. It is not like rich conservatives are gentrifying those areas. Simple reviews of vote history in elections by census tract can show the media progressives how they are just attacking the hands that pay for them. Academia even has a nice myopia or selective amnesia about gentrification. In no other way can one explain this piece of work from Richard Florida.

Comedy continues as the writer notes research finding that gentrification is very dependent on the percentage of Black inhabitants, with 40% a magic line. It might not just be “explicit racism”, but other factors. Here is an idea: maybe it is crime statistics for the area. Maybe there is a sweet spot where real estate values are depressed by the crime and blight in the area but the crime and blight might be more manageable with an increased police presence. Do black gangs operate in 65% black neighborhoods but have less of a footprint in 30% black neighborhoods? Just asking before I label gentrification scouts as racists.

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The Inversion Conversion

29th August 2014

Charles Krauthammer finds that his bullshit detector has gone off.

Democrats used to wax indignant about having one’s patriotism questioned. Now they throw around the charge with abandon, tossing it at corporations that refuse to do the economically patriotic thing of paying the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world.

Odder still because Democrats routinely ridicule the very notion of corporations as persons. When Mitt Romney suggested that corporations were people in 2011, Democrats mocked him right through Election Day. In the Hobby Lobby case, they challenged the very idea that corporations can have religious convictions. Now, however, Democrats are demanding that corporations exercise a patriotic conscience. Which is it?

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When Chinese Children Forget How to Write

28th August 2014

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To all the whiners about learning cursive: It could be worse.

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Pop-up Character Bread Molds Make Breakfast Fun For Everyone

28th August 2014

Read it.

Actually, these seriously creep me out.

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38 Maps That Explain the Global Economy

27th August 2014

Check it out.

From the point of view of the people providing the maps, of course. Your mileage may differ, depending upon your ideological bent.

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Whopper Donut Cheeseburgers, Eh?

26th August 2014

Read it. And ponder the picture.

So Burger King is going to acquire the Canadian Tim Horton’s donut chain, in yet another tax inversion that causes so much cranial-rectal inversions among liberals. I sure hope we get a donut Whopper cheeseburger out of this merger. With bacon. That would be more awesome than a deep-fried Twinkie. (Lo and behold, turns out the genera already exist.)

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Vacations and Vocations

26th August 2014

Kevin Williamson lays down some inconvenient truth.

President Barack Obama is spending his vacation golfing on Martha’s Vineyard. Hillary Rodham Clinton is spending her vacation in the habitual Clintonian mode, making a vulgar spectacle of herself in the Hamptons. Joe Biden, not that anybody cares, is off to Grand Teton.

Senator Rand Paul, on the other hand, is spending his vacation in Guatemala, performing eye surgeries on poor children who need care. (Eliana Johnson wrote about the trip here.) As the Washington Post points out, this is not a new thing for the senator-surgeon; on this trip, he saw two patients he’d first treated 15 years ago.

Quite a contrast.

Senator Paul will come out of his vacation looking pretty good. Given the political class’s endless appetite for self-serving theater, I found myself wondering why President Obama, Mrs. Clinton, or Vice President Biden did not choose to spend their vacations in a similar way, offering to put their skills and abilities to use on behalf of others. And then I realized that this was a deeply stupid question on my part.

What the hell would they do?

Unlike Senator Paul, neither the president nor the vice president nor the former secretary of state has anything that one might describe as a useful skill. That’s not quite right: They have skills that are useful . . . to themselves. As for skills that are useful to other people — you’d be hard pressed to think of one. If you were a poor family in Guatemala, which would you rather have: the services of a pretty good ophthalmologist, or those of an excellent orator? (Never mind that, unlike Senator Paul, President Obama does not speak Spanish — or, indeed, any foreign language.) Imagine dispatching Hillary Rodham Clinton to Calcutta or Joe Biden to Conakry and then expecting them to do something useful. The idea is preposterous.

Contrast that with professor of orthopedic surgery Tom Price (R., Ga.), obstetrician Mike Burgess (R., Texas), or cardiovascular surgeon Charles W. Boustany (R., La.). Mrs. Clinton may, in making the Hamptons rounds, even pass the childhood home of former physician Howard Dean, whose family split its time between East Hampton and Park Avenue. Even Howlin’ Howard has a useful skill, though his medical license lapsed a decade ago.

Quite a contrast indeed.

Politicians can redistribute wealth, but they do not create any. They can attempt to command the energies of those with the ability and inclination to produce valuable goods and services, but as politicians they do not produce. The entire idea of politicians as society’s leadership is an inversion of the real order of things: Government is not here to lead anybody anywhere — it is here to serve us in the important but limited role of coordinating collective action toward such ends as physical security and the enforcement of contracts.

If you think that President Obama can provide you with health care, let him take a scalpel to your eye. I dare you.

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The Secret History of the Telephone Network

24th August 2014

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The history of telecommunications is a long story of progressives and populists demanding “public interest” regulations that produce and protect monopolies, followed by progressive and populist demands for regulations to fix the problems that their earlier regulations created. At each step, activists were coached and coaxed by the political and business interests in question.

Progressives today are traveling the well-worn policy path of trying to fix old mistakes by making new ones. They demand competition while promoting municipal public utility broadband systems. “Open access creates competition,” they claim, never minding that the unbundling requirements that force providers to lease their systems to competitors only create “competition” by turning an existing provider into a de facto monopoly. The goals of the modern net neutrality movement—which in effect seeks to prevent Internet Service Providers from providing anything but lowest-common-denominator service—might as well adopt the same early slogan of monopoly-era AT&T: “One System, One Policy, Universal Service.”

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Indulging in Destruction

24th August 2014

Theodore Dalrymple lays down some inconvenient truth.

Strangely enough, my experience of being a foreign correspondent, if that is what it was, has never caused me to doubt the veracity of what I read in the newspapers, which I swallow as a boa constrictor swallows a goat.

However, I have followed riots around the world vicariously ever since, and it seems to me that the principal precondition of such events in the modern world is clement weather. The association is much stronger than with, say, injustice, partly because there is complete agreement as to what constitutes clement weather, whereas what constitutes justice has been in dispute since at least the time of Plato. We all recognize good rioting weather when we see it, but injustice—well, we could go on arguing about it for days. Everyone can contain his anger in the rain.

But to hate injustice is not necessarily to love justice; and one might have supposed that the first duty of those who claim to hate injustice was themselves to act justly. Virtually by definition, those who riot violently (as did a small number of the protesters) do not act justly, for almost always they do damage, sometimes much damage, to the interests of those who have not caused the injustice against which they supposedly protest, and therefore commit an injustice against those who are unknown to them. Such is the case of the crimes against property, or rather, as my friend the economist Peter Bauer used to insist, against the owners of property, in Ferguson (property cannot suffer, but its owners can). Two injustices do not make righteousness.

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HAPPY DANCE SUNDAY

24th August 2014

Penny Lane

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The Core Democrat Party Platform

23rd August 2014

IQ

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Checklist of Rationality Habits

23rd August 2014

Read it.

Below is the checklist of rationality habits we have been using in the minicamps’ opening session.  It was co-written by Eliezer, myself, and a number of others at CFAR.  As mentioned below, the goal is not to assess how “rational” you are, but, rather, to develop a personal shopping list of habits to consider developing.  We generated it by asking ourselves, not what rationality content it’s useful to understand, but what rationality-related actions (or thinking habits) it’s useful to actually do.

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Black Cop Shoots Unarmed White Teenager in Utah

23rd August 2014

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The policeman’s name is being withheld, unlike Darren Wilson’s –whose address was exposed by outside agitators.

Needless to say, there were no national news crews sent to Salt Lake. Rachel Madcow did not froth at the mouth about what a horrible, racist country America is. Chris Matthews avoided his usual spittle-spewing public meltdown. The Revs Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson were nowhere to be found.

Then again, David Duke was unavailable for comment. The Aryan Nations did not show up. The leader of the American Nazi Party did not lead a chant saying “What’s his name?” “Officer X.” “How do we want him?” “Dead!” There was no looting in Salt Lake by aggrieved whites.

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A Plague on Both Their Charities

23rd August 2014

Sarah Hoyt has some words of wisdom. (Really. They are.)

Look, no humans band up then sit in their clubhouse twirling their moustaches and saying “now we’re going to be evil.” But human organizations often become evil. Partly this is because the people willing to do the donkey work of running a voluntary organization are often – not to say always – the type of mind that seeks power over others. If the charter of the organization allows them to achieve that power by dividing (as it were) the world in two and playing us against them, they will, and they will drive the association down an ever more paranoid path. At the end of which there’s always evil and attack on the “the other.”

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Thought for the Day

22nd August 2014

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How Presidential Elections Are Impacted by a 100 Million Year Old Coastline

22nd August 2014

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The legacy of ancient coastlines, chalk, soil, cotton, and slavery can still be seen today.   African Americans make up over 50%, in some cases over 85%, of the population in Black Belt counties.  As expected this has and continues to deeply influence the culture of the Black Belt.  J. Sullivan Gibson writing in 1941 on the geology of the Black Belt noted, “The long-conceded regional identity of the Black Belts roots no more deeply its physical fundament of rolling prairie soil than in its cultural, social, and economic individuality.”  And so this plays out in politics.

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How to Be Fired

22nd August 2014

Gavin McInnes is caught up in the same old.

It’s not even the real trannies who are mad. They’re on my side. It’s the fake trannies who want my guts for garter belts. You see, the hot thing with the kids today is pretending you’re transgendered. To mock this is to take away their “me snowflake” status and make them admit they’re just like everybody else. Telling normal people they’re normal is now a hate crime. The government was just kicked off Wikipedia for citing my article. A congressional staffer mentioned it and now they’re considering booting all of congress off of Wikipedia for good. Want to update your constituents on a new bill? Sorry, one person in your building exhibited signs of transphobia.

Anyhoozers, this happens to pretty much everyone. If you’re lucky, you get a good payout. If you’re even luckier, they got the story straight. I don’t know how many of my friends have almost lost their minds after being fired for something that never happened. All it takes is one angry coworker and next thing you know a nonexistent “You” said “nigger” or grabbed someone’s ass.

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It’s Time for a Four-Day Workweek

21st August 2014

Read it.

Hear, hear.

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Israel and Hamas

21st August 2014

Scott Adams cuts to the chase.

So let’s all stop fantasizing that the government of Hamas and the government of Israel can make a lasting peace via traditional peace talks. To do so would mean one of their governments is operating outside its intended design. American efforts to broker such a peace are just for show. No one expects peace because the systems of government that Israel and Hamas each selected make that impossible. You can’t have peace unless one of the two governments involved is replaced by an entirely new system that is designed in a way that allows peace to even be an option.

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The Phantom Time Hypothesis

21st August 2014

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I love the smell of conspiracy in the morning.

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Unicorn Governance

19th August 2014

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When I am discussing the State with my colleagues at Duke, it’s not long before I realize that, for them, almost without exception, the State is a unicorn. I come from the Public Choice tradition, which tends to emphasize consequentialist arguments more than natural rights, and so the distinction is particularly important for me. My friends generally dislike politicians, find democracy messy and distasteful, and object to the brutality and coercive excesses of foreign wars, the war on drugs, and the spying of the NSA. 

But their solution is, without exception, to expand the power of “the State.” That seems literally insane to me—a non sequitur of such monstrous proportions that I had trouble taking it seriously.

Then I realized that they want a kind of unicorn, a State that has the properties, motivations, knowledge, and abilities that they can imagine for it. When I finally realized that we were talking past each other, I felt kind of dumb. Because essentially this very realization—that people who favor expansion of government imagine a State different from the one possible in the physical world—has been a core part of the argument made by classical liberals for at least three hundred years.

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