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A serious response

Not literally a response to Kling, but I agree with Will Wilkinson (as usual):

My first thought upon hearing about the foiled plot to blow up airplanes was: good! My second thought: why are we spending hundreds of billions of dollars, massive manpower, and valuable intelligence resources in Iraq when we should be rooting out this crap instead? My third thought was: “mass murder on an unimaginable scale”? Bullshit.

What the root causes aren\'t

Greg Mankiw points to a paper by Alan B. Krueger and Jitka Maleckova, "Education, Poverty and Terrorism: Is There a Causal Connection?", which finds:

Perhaps surprisingly, our review of the evidence provides little
reason for optimism that a reduction in poverty or an increase in educational
attainment would meaningfully reduce international terrorism. Any connection

Have we gone off the deep end?

Someone please tell me this is a joke:

Steps to solving the “Muslim question":

1. Take away their weapons
2. Make them wear labels so we can distinguish them easily (to make sure they don’t get weapons again).
3. Move them all to ghettos
4. Round them all up and stick them in concentration camps.
5. …
6. Profit!

While Arnold certainly goes a bit far in tarring all muslims as Islamists, it is a ridiculous stretch to say that recognizing that there is something particular within the muslim community that (a) is driving murderous transnational hate & terror groups bent on killing civilians on purpose and (b) that something should be done about that particularity is somehow advocating a Final Solution style genocide. As Randall pointed out,

The Israeli government will be satisfied when militant attacks against Israel stop; Hezbollah and its allies will be satisfied when Israel is wiped off the map.

Its not westerners who're currently pushing for genocide. (er, "anti-zionism," my bad.) Read more »

Independence Day Roundup

Posts elsewhere of note on this fine day of remembrance of sticking it to the (British) man:

Tyler Cowen inquires as to the character of the founding fathers, and further wonders if he'd've supported the American Revolution way back when. Read more »

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.


Common Sense

Common Sense

Addressed to the Inhabitants of America
February 14, 1776 Read more »

King George\'s Proclamation of Rebellion

August 23, 1775

A proclamation issued by George III, responding to increasing hostilities in the American colonies. Read more »

The Critical Article

Back in the year 1215, the grand-daddy of them all was presented and signed (under duress) at Runnymeade, England - the Magna Carta.[1] And while it didn't make it to the final edition, there was an article within it that quite possibly planted the seed for the train of thought leading to the events we celebrate today in the US: Read more »

What color does a submarine weigh? (True or False?)

In my previous post, I explained the theoretical reasons why IUCs are impossible. In this one, I'll tackle the other reasons why arguing from this erroneous beginning yields bad consequences in argument.[1]

Specifically, I'll start addressing the meat of Brandon's post. His main point is that using the impossibility IUC as an argument against redistribution is a bad idea. That is correct, but not for the reason he says:

But in some cases, particularly those in which proponents of redistribution are most keenly interested, you can guess with near certainty which of two people will value a particular resource more. In virtually all cases, taking $1,000 from a billionaire and giving it to a starving beggar will help the beggar more than it hurts the billionaire. No, it’s not true 100% of the time, but you don’t need complete certainty; if you’re right 95% of the time, that’s good enough for government work.

Exploding IUCs on the roadside

My collegue Brandon says that interpersonal utility comparisons are possible. I disagree. Read more »

<i>On Liberty</i> and Liberal Indeterminacy

Is liberty good in and of itself? Or is liberty good because it produces good consequences? Read more »

Polygamy! Fvck Yeah!

[cross-posted from The 'Verse where comments are enabled]

Talking facetiously about HBO's new series Big Love, of course, which is about a suburban polygamist family dealing with the stress of (a) living the polygynous lifestyle and (b) hiding that not-quite-legal and definitely-socially-unacceptable fact from their suburban, primarily LDS neighbors. A show about polygamy has, of course, caused a major outcry amongst the usual suspects (socialcon-ery writ large), who point to it as further evidence of the evil of gay marriage.[1] First, its gays. Then, the Mormons! Or something.

Like the socialcons and NROniks, I have also not seen any of the episodes of the series in question/opprobrium. My excuse is that I don't have HBO and none of my friends have recorded it so that I may watch it at their place[2] to see for myself. Unlike them, I've gone to read the most excellent recaps of the series thus far on Television Without Pity,[3] and seriously, if anyone can read that and come away thinking that the show is in any way pro-polygyny, that person has a seriously warped view of the world (or is FLDS anyway, I suppose).

(spoilers ahead) Read more »

No Justice, No Profit

Via Mahalonobis, HedgeFundGuy spins a tale both theoretical and empirical on the toll of expropriation of social capital: Amy Chua's book World on Fire tells the world what libertarians have been saying for a while- democratization is more often than not a tool for expropriation (an advance auction on stolen goods, as a wise man once said). Read more »

The Beauty Myth?

Actual Austrian economist Michael Stastny seeks to disprove the contention that random hotties don't actually help increase sales.