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Black Swans and Ron Paul

March 14, 2012 1 comment

 

I am in complete agreement with Taleb here. Ron Paul is the only one talking economic sense in the entire Presidential race. I give Newt some slack because he is the only one that has actually done the seemingly impossible, balanced a Federal Budget. But we don’t need a balanced budget, we need a reduced budget. We don’t need to control the growth of Government, we need to reduce Government. All this Bullshit about contraception is lipstick on a pig. It’s obfuscation to the real and only problem we are facing, fiscal meltdown.

My quibble is not with Taleb, but with this idea that the economic morass is a Black Swan. Black Swans are unpredictable. The mess we are in was/is very predictable.

Why Republicans Must Become More Libertarian

February 7, 2012 2 comments

Excellent interview with Sen. Jim DeMint

I like DeMint. He is not a Status Quo kind of guy.

I like how he equally criticizes Democrats and GOP for falling for more centralized control.

Every time you have a compromise, it’s more Government, more spending and more debt.

4 years of Obama or Romney….same thing really

Categories: Libertarian

Candidate Romney = Rise of the Libertarians

January 31, 2012 2 comments

A lot of people have been talking about what will they do if Mitt Romney is nominated for the GOP Presidential Candidate. I’m not alone in thinking that the GOP establishment is desperately trying to prop up Mitt as their establishment candidate. The establishment GOP media is pushing Mitt and attacking Newt. They have their various reasons, mostly citing “electability,” for pushing Romney but that won’t help Mitt if he should become the nominee.

The level of negative attacks coming from Mitt Romney’s campaign is turning people off. How else can you explain almost a $10 million ad blitz from Team Mitt (with 80% being attack ads) and losing independents nationally (his Raison d’être)? Mitt seriously lacks any Tea Party support as well. The establishment has been openly hostile to the Tea Party, wanting the votes but not the criticism. Rubio is a perfect example, elected by the Tea Party only to shun the Tea Party (TP Caucus and SOPA?)  and put himself in Mitt’s camp. Mitt probably think that since Liberals think Tea Partiers are all racists, he better stay away so as to not be guilty by association.

So what does that mean for the Libertarian party?

I would argue that many of the Tea Partiers are libertarian minded voters. I’d challenge anyone to find huge level of disagrement with Tea Party fiscal policy (since there is no central figure for the TP, Wiki is the best source)  and CATO’s fiscal policy. Many Tea Partiers are endorsing Ron Paul, an Austrian economic style libertarian. There would be no room for a Paul in a Romney administration, every knows it. So where will all that support go? Dr. Paul has said he will not run as a third party candidate, I believe him.

I think a lot of people that cannot stomach the notion of voting for Romney will instead vote for the Libertarian party candidate, most likely Gov. Gary Johnson. I know a lot of Paulites like Johnson. I like Johnson and I know a lot of Tea Partiers do too. Looking at Gov. Johnson’s fiscal policy aims, they mesh with the Tea Party.

If the GOP primary keeps going like it’s going, with Mitt Romney poisoning the well in his Pyrrhic quest for the nomination, I see the Libertarian Party growing. As Soros said, “There’s not much difference between Obama and Romney.” Where will the people go if faces with two of the same?

Update: Like Mana from heaven comes this great link from Legal Insurrection: The Conversation With a Florida Tea Partier That Should Scare Every Republican

“I see a Romney nomination causing Tea Partiers like me to tune out. We are already disheartened by the congressional leadership. Romney will be the final nail in the coffin. He is completely uninspiring, and is everything we have been working so hard to defeat within the GOP,” Rebecca said. “Don’t even get me started on that Bain Capital picture. Ugh. There is no way he can win. And I don’t want to have to defend him while he tries.”

“I will be voting this Tuesday. I will make it fit into my schedule. I feel like my vote matters right now,” Rebecca said. “But can you see how I might not make it a priority if I feel like either my vote doesn’t matter, or if I don’t feel like the candidate I’m voting for will be much different then what we have? Can you see how life may take precedence over casting an uninspired vote? I can’t be alone in this thought process, and if enough people feel this way (and I think they will) it will be catastrophic for Romney and really very bad down-ticket as well.”

This is exactly the way a lot of people are feeling. It reinforces my point that a Romney nomination will cause a lot of people to just not vote Romney. They won’t vote Obama either, but Romney will be as much of a uniter for the GOP as Obama has been nationally.

Parallels to the 2008 Democratic primary? You betcha! Remember the PUMAs? Remember how they caved and enough HRC dems held their nose to vote for Obama? That turned out great didn’t it? There is little difference between the GOP establishment and Democratic establishment. Do we cave in this time as well, for another empty suit?

Thomas Sowell on Equality and Racism

August 15, 2010 8 comments

Anyone that reads this blog knows that I think very highly of Thomas Sowell. His logic is impeccable. In his latest column,  he writes about equality.

Ask the bean-counters where in this wide world have different groups been proportionally represented. They can’t tell you. In other words, something that nobody can demonstrate is taken as a norm, and any deviation from that norm is somebody’s fault!

Anyone who has watched football over the years has probably seen at least a hundred black players score touchdowns– and not one black player kick the extra point. Is this because of some twisted racist who doesn’t mind black players scoring touchdowns but hates to see them kicking the extra points?

At our leading engineering schools– M.I.T., CalTech, etc.– whites are under-represented and Asians over-represented. Is this anti-white racism or pro-Asian racism? Or are different groups just different?

So what is it about equality that gets people all riled up? Well I think the first thing, the one Sowell is poking fun of, is the idea of equality of outcomes. No one can tell you of a time or place, where everyone was perfectly proportionally represented. Why?The simple answer is, everyone is different. Each racial group has a standard normal distribution of intellect, athleticism, musical ability, mathematical ability, etc.

So when some bean counter is looking at racial statistics at X university. What are they really looking at? They are looking at distribution of a certain ability, say math, within a distribution of people with high math ability in that certain population.

If a certain racial group makes up only 20% of the total population. And if only 20% of a racial group are good at math and only 30% of those are good enough to get into MIT. It doesn’t take a MIT math wiz to tell you that you will never get equal representation (20%) of the total population at MIT.

That’s only part of the problem. The other part is the very notion of equality. What does it mean? It might sound like a dumb question, but it’s that very question that gets people all worked up to begin with.

Most Liberals, I’d say, have a notion that equality means that the outcomes have to come out equal. This is the equality of outcomes that Sowell talks about in Conflict of Vision. This is a basic premise of “Unconstrained Vision.” That since everyman is equal (a point that both Left and Right usually share) then the outcomes have to be equal as well. It’s a very Utopian concept that almost always fail to account for what is found in reality. This premise looks past natural ability, determination, and work ethic in determining the outcomes. Only the final number is important. If the final number doesn’t fit the ideal, then some nefarious motives have to be at work.

The other notion of equality is the idea of equality of opportunity. This idea, central to the “Constrained Vision,” is one that values the natural abilities in determining the outcomes. The only ideal is that everyone be giving the same opportunity to succeed in life, what happens is up to chance and that persons desires, work ethics and abilities.

Equality of opportunity stresses that the mechanism be equal, while equality of outcomes ignores the mechanism. By mechanism, I’m talking about laws, institutions and rules (All this is from Conflict of Visions). Equality of outcomes stresses the final tally, while the equality of opportunity doesn’t really care about the outcomes. Is it any wonder why the two sides talk past each other? The whole very basic premise of what is “equal” is radically different.

I’d argue that the equality of opportunity is the one true measure of equality. Men are equal to a certain extent. When talking about rights and privileges, then all men are equal. Yet, when we are talking about abilities, then all men are certainty not equal. I am not equal to Gordon Ramsay in the kitchen. I’m not equal to Lebron James on the basketball court. I’m not equal to Eli Manning on the football field as well. Yet neither are they equal to me at what I do best. Even when it comes to my chosen profession, I doubt any of them even know what Gas Chromatography or Mass Spectroscopy are, much less know how to analyze data and troubleshoot problems.

We all have our strengths and weaknesses. This is so obvious that most people overlook it when talking about equality. I think that those of the equality of outcomes persuasion kind of wish away that fact. When talking about economics (income equality is the biggie), people tend to forget that not all people act the same exact way. We all act in our interests. The variation with various ethnic and racial groups is enormous. The variation within the total human population is even bigger (imagine that).

If we all acted the same way, life would be boring. If we all acted the same, a central tenet of modern human self-worth, that we are all unique and different, is meaningless. Think about that for a minute. If we act all the same, meaning the same abilities and skills, then really each person is not really worth much of anything, since there are billions of exact duplicates all around the globe. One thing that makes human life so valuable, is that we are all unique. That we all do have differing skills, abilities and wants.

If you think about the liberal unconstrained view of equality, outcomes, you’ll notice that the end run is exact duplicates. If we were to achieve the liberal Utopia where everyone is “equal,” it doesn’t matter if they are all equally living in the mud, eating bugs and all dying from Malaria. We are all “equal” right. No one is better off than the rest. There is no room for innovation or the entrepreneurial spirit. Those are the things that lead to “unequal” outcomes. After all it was Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos drive, entrepreneurial spirit and leadership (all innate skills and abilities) that lead to their “unequal” outcomes of extreme wealth. In order to have equal outcomes, the extraordinary would have to be culled from the human race.

Of course a Liberal would contest that equal outcomes means everyone is as wealthy as the Gates, Jobs and Bezos of the world. Yet, I find that assertion flat-out insane. How do you create wealth? You don’t just print it out of a printing press. You can’t just add zeros to a bank account to create wealth. Wealth is created by innovation, drive and entrepreneurial spirit, the exact things that would need to be culled in order to attain equality of outcomes.

A cursory look at history supports my case. Pretty much every government that tried to create equal outcomes has done so by bringing everyone down to the lowest common denominator. From Maoist China, Stalinist Russia, to the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and the Revolution in Cuba, the people live a far lower standard of living than even the poorest person here in the  “unequal” US. Hell the Cubans only just recently were allowed cell phones (although it does them no good), where as practically everyone even those living on food stamps and welfare have had cell phones here in the US for years.

One of the things that got us started on heavy-handed government regulation of the housing market were statistics showing that blacks were turned down for mortgage loans more often than whites. The bean-counters in the media went ballistic. It had to be racism, to hear them tell it.

What they didn’t tell you was that whites were turned down more often than Asians. What they also didn’t tell you was that black-owned banks also turned down blacks more often than whites. Nor did they tell you that credit scores differed from group to group. Instead, the media, the politicians and the regulators grabbed some statistics and ran with them.

The bean-counters are everywhere, pushing the idea that differences show injustices committed by society. As long as we keep buying it, they will keep selling it– and the polarization they create will sell this country down the river.

Racism is a common reason for inequality, according to Liberals. The reason is simple, they can’t find any episode from history, except those above which they want to forget, that has had equal outcomes. Racism is the only way they can cope with the fact that their ideas don’t work. It gives them a bogey man to blame because their whole concept of equality is wrong, they are thinking in the wrong terms. Outcome based equality is a pipe dream. All that we can do, giving a wide range of human interests, skills and abilities, is create an environment where everyone is given equal opportunity.

Modern Liberals can’t handle that. That would mean ending racial quotas (the most pervasive form of racial discrimination on the planet in my opinion), the end of collecting racial statistics and the end of Affirmative Action. But you can’t play identity politics that way. Identity politics is the core of the modern Democratic party. Look at their push for illegal amnesty. Even the most ardent Liberal will concede that it is for electoral political reasons.

Ironically,The Liberal world  the very opposite of the world in which Dr. King wanted. Dr. King wanted a world were people were judged by the content of their character NOT the color of their skin. Modern Liberals judge people by the color of their skin or what they are packing in their pants/pantsuit first and foremost.

Racism will be around for as long as there is money in keeping it around. The last time I checked, not too many conservatives or libertarians were giving money to Sharpton or Jesse Jackson. More importantly it will continue to be used as a weapon for as long as the people fall for it.

Obama, Journolist and Media Elitism

July 27, 2010 4 comments

I wrote this comment over at JohnWSmart.com. It’s just more on my thoughts of Obama, Journolist and media Elitism.

As I said yesterday …they did it because they think they know better. They thought Obama had rays of sunshine coming out of his ass. They thought Obama was going to do everything he promised. They thought that everyone else was just too stupid to see how wonderful Obama was.
They were wrong. They can’t come to accept that they got taken by a conman. They can’t come to grips with it so they turn their self-loathing anger towards anyone who did know better. That’s why they hate the Hillary Dems so much. That’s why they hate the tea partiers so much. That’s why they hate Palin so much.
The media elite, professorial elite, etc still think they are so much better and smarter than everyone else. They don’t understand how normal regular people could see past the bullshit. In fact they don’t think anyone could have. So they invent reasons why people didn’t drink the Kool Aid.
Racism has to be the reason for a lot of them. They pick racism because it fits their narrative. Racist are dumb in their eyes, so they should have fallen for the Kool Aid, but the reason they didn’t was because their hatred for blacks overpowered everything else. How often did you hear accusations of racism against Hillary Dems?
That’s why they try to label the tea party as racist. The elite have no other explanation for why they didn’t fall for the Kool Aid. The same explanation goes to why they hate Palin so much as well. How often did you hear how dumb Palin is? That still doesn’t fit their narrative though. So they invent other things to throw at her to vilify her in their eyes. To them, Palin being a college educated woman, she should have fallen for the Kool Aid hook line and sinker, like all those other college educated women that think Obama is so wonderful.
It’s all about elitism. The email’s show that. They think they are better, faster smarter…and don’t understand how, if they got taken, why everyone else didn’t get taken with them. They don’t understand how anyone “dumber” than them, could have seen that the emperor has no cloths.

I’ve always thought that most of the disdain and animosity towards the tea party comes more from an aura of elitism than any thing else. You can see it every time  a Sanchez, Maddow, Olbermann or Mathews speaks about the tea party. There is nothing but disgust in their voices. Obviously, those “news” people know everything about the tea party already. They already ‘know” that the tea party must be racist for opposing the POTUS. It’s plainly evident every time they speak.

You would expect it from those people. You’d expect them to have a hatred for a President that they adore so much. But what about the Republicans and Libertarians? Why do prominent and intellectual GOP and Libertarians have the same disdain?

I recently read a article, Where to Libertarians Belong? on Reason.com. And I notices a very high level of Elitism on the part of Brink Lindsey. It made me think of other times at volokah.com and even Cafe Hayek, where the authors (professors in Law and Economic, respectively) have had similar levels of disdain for the tea party on an intellectual level. Almost all libertarians like the anti-Statism rhetoric from the tea party, but they don’t really support them. Is it elitism or skepticism?

Being academics, I’m more inclines to the former than the later. Academia is notorious for producing know it all’s and people that think they know better than anyone else. Everyone know about academic elitism. Now think about how that plays into the Journolist saga, remember than Kathleen Parker said (to paraphrase) don’t worry about it because most of the people were editors and professors. Of course my suspicions are in no way any proof of anything. I can’t link to that many articles because frankly I can’t remember where I saw writing that showed disdain for the tea party via elitism. It’s just a gut feeling I have after reading, literally hundreds and hundreds of blogs post and articles on various academic blogs and news sites. Just keep this in the back of your mind the next time you read things about the Obama and the tea party.

This is why I love Google!

July 19, 2010 2 comments

Have I said how much I love Google lately? This picture shows why.

Krugman meet Hazlitt

Economics in One Lesson is a book by Henry Hazlitt, a self-educated libertarian economist.

Hazlitt wrote for a who’s who of American journals and newspapers; The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek (back before they turned into a Democratic Party propaganda machine), and Krugman’s own The New York Times. Ah if only Hazlitt were writing for the Gray Lady now, instead of Krugman!

The best part about an ad for Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson (EiOL) on Krugman’s NYT article is that EiOL is a hallmark of Austrian Economics. It’s pretty much required reading for anyone interested in Austrian economics. By the way you can get EiOL for free as pdf here.

Another irony is that Hazlitt wrote a line by line refutation of Keynes’ General Theory, titled The Failure of the New Economics. (Link is to a free pdf version.) As we know Keynes is the Krugman as Bacon is to the perfect cheeseburger, inseparable! John Chamberlain, editor of the Freeman, notes:

Mr. Hazlitt takes up the General Theory line by line and paragraph by paragraph, discovering scores of errors on almost every page. Not only does he kill Keynes; he cuts the corpse up into little pieces and stamps each little piece into the earth. The performance is awe-inspiring, masterly, irrefutable — and a little grisly. At times one almost feels sorry for the victim. But, since Keynesian doctrines have created so much misery in the world, any sympathy is misplaced. Hazlitt’s job had to be done.

Who at Google did this? Maybe the Machines are conscious and have a sense of humor. I don’t know.

At least this goes to show everyone that I do read Krugman. I feel dirty afterward but I still keep an open mind and I’m willing to read from those, whose views I fundamentally disagree. How often do you think Liberals do the same?

The next Rand Paul Scandal

May 29, 2010 1 comment

Rand Paul made the mistake, again, of speaking openly about a hot button issue. Should children of illegal aliens be giving citizenship if they are born in the US? Listen to the whole interview here, and see really what Rand was talking about.

Now what did Rand really say? He said that we are the only country that permits foreign nationals to obtain citizenship just be being born in this county. The whole “anchor baby” meme.

As with all wedge issues, your either 100% for it or 100% against it, there is very little gray area. Rand is right, that democrats would generally like to allow all illegals to become citizens because they usually vote democrat. The reverse is true as well, republicans don’t like the amnesty approach because they wouldn’t get their votes. Of course, I’ve said before, both parties like it this way, because it create an instant constituency. Democrats pretty much automatically get the Latino vote, and Republicans automatically get the “close the border” vote. Which is why Rand said that neither party has the willpower to do anything about the boarders.

The whole idea of citizenship by being born in the US comes to us from the 14th amendment.

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Now there is an argument to be made that “jurisdiction therof” clause was put in there to “exclude persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers.” That was what the author of the Citizenship Clause, Senator Jacob M. Howard said. That’s the interpretation I’m sure Rand Paul is thinking about as well.

Most proponents of this view would cite Elk v. Wilkins, which determined that children of Native Americans born on a reservation were not citizens in part because the reservation is not technically a part of the US jurisdiction. This lack of citizenship was rectified by the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924. Personally, I don’t think this view is applicable since the question posed by Rand is one of where the children are born in the jurisdiction of the US.

The only other time the Citizenship Clause was challenged was in the case of United States v. Wong Kim Ark. This is a more substantial case, but reading the opinion, it doesn’t really give the proponents of amnesty much to work with either.

The question presented by the record is whether a child born in the United States, of parents of Chinese descent, who at the time of his birth are subjects of the emperor of China, but have a permanent domicile and residence in the United States, and are there carrying on business, and are not employed in any diplomatic or official capacity under the emperor of China, becomes at the time of his birth a citizen of the United States, by virtue of the first clause of the fourteenth amendment of the constitution: ‘All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.’

In a 6-2 decision, they found for Wong, that he is a citizen. Yet, I think the dissenting opinion holds more sway now than it did back in the late 1800s. The finding for Wong is heavily influenced by english common law (Jus Soli), which the dissenting judges said was/is no longer valid in the US after independence.

From what little I have read, I think the dissenting opinion holds more sway, since the Constitution is the supreme law of the land not the Magna Carta. Of course this leads in the to whole should the US be subject to international law debate, which I don’t want to get into (I say no).  It should be noted that SCOTUS has never fully addressed the problem of are children born in the United States to illegal immigrant parents are entitled to birthright citizenship? Which is exactly what Rand Paul is talking about.

It’s an interesting question, that I’m sure both sides will get heated about. Yet, this ony underscores why I like Rand Paul. He gets people thinking about questions that need to be answered one way or another, but everyone is too afraid to too complacent to ask. I mean what would happen if SCOTUS were to rule against illegal immigration anchor babies? They could, and very easily, since the Court doesn’t really hold to any common law ideals anymore.

One more thing, Paul is right that other countries don’t allow for anchor babies. How much air time do you think that will get on the MSM? Probably none.