Monthly Archives: November 2009

Another “Truth in Venn diagrams” moment

Courtesy of via “Mostly Cajun

I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist.

Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra

Huckabee’s hypocrisy

The former governor munching on a Huckaburger that he'd try to keep you from eating

The former governor munching on a Huckaburger that he'd try to prevent you from eating. Credit: Reuters

According to this Twitter account, if former Governor Mike Huckabee’s lips are moving, he’s lying.  Let put that statement to a test.

Here’s an excerpt from a recent interview transcript (emphasis added):

The last time out, my biggest challenge was with the establishment Republicans who just never showed their support. And while I think a person can possibly win without them, the Republican Party needs to unite if it’s going to win in 2012.

Now let’s compare Huckabee’s appeal for unity to other comments he has made.  This is from a year-old Time article:

In a chapter titled “Faux-Cons: Worse than Liberalism,” Huckabee identifies what he calls the “real threat” to the Republican Party: “libertarianism masked as conservatism.” He is not so much concerned with the libertarian candidate Ron Paul’s Republican supporters as he is with a strain of mainstream fiscal-conservative thought that demands ideological purity, seeing any tax increase as apostasy and leaving little room for government-driven solutions to people’s problems. “I don’t take issue with what they believe, but the smugness with which they believe it,” writes Huckabee, who raised some taxes as governor and cut deals with his state’s Democratic legislature. “Faux-Cons aren’t interested in spirited or thoughtful debate, because such an endeavor requires accountability for the logical conclusion of their argument.” Among his targets is the Club for Growth, a group that tarred Huckabee as insufficiently conservative in the primaries and ran television ads with funding from one of Huckabee’s longtime Arkansas political foes, Jackson T. Stephens Jr.

Then there’s this little gem from HuffPo:

Republicans need to be Republicans. The greatest threat to classic Republicanism is not liberalism; it’s this new brand of libertarianism, which is social liberalism and economic conservatism, but it’s a heartless, callous, soulless type of economic conservatism because it says “look, we want to cut taxes and eliminate government. If it means that elderly people don’t get their Medicare drugs, so be it. If it means little kids go without education and healthcare, so be it.” Well, that might be a quote pure economic conservative message, but it’s not an American message. It doesn’t fly. People aren’t going to buy that, because that’s not the way we are as a people. That’s not historic Republicanism. Historic Republicanism does not hate government; it’s just there to be as little of it as there can be. But they also recognize that government has to be paid for.

It seems that Huckabee is all for GOP unity so long as everyone in The Village agrees with his big-government prescriptions.  Not to kick a big-government Republican while he’s down, but it seems he’d be more concerned about dealing with his Willie Horton moment right now.

UPDATE: Here’s why The Humble Libertarian doesn’t heart the Huckster.

Cargo Cult Science and the State

I think the educational and psychological studies I mentioned are examples of what I would like to call cargo cult science. In the South Seas there is a cargo cult of people. During the war they saw airplanes land with lots of good materials, and they want the same thing to happen now. So they’ve arranged to imitate things like runways, to put fires along the sides of the runways, to make a wooden hut for a man to sit in, with two wooden pieces on his head like headphones and bars of bamboo sticking out like antennas–he’s the controller–and they wait for the airplanes to land. They’re doing everything right. The form is perfect. It looks exactly the way it looked before. But it doesn’t work. No airplanes land. So I call these things cargo cult science, because they follow all the apparent precepts and forms of scientific investigation, but they’re missing something essential, because the planes don’t land.

Now it behooves me, of course, to tell you what they’re missing.But it would be just about as difficult to explain to the South Sea Islanders how they have to arrange things so that they get some wealth in their system. It is not something simple like telling them how to improve the shapes of the earphones. But there is one feature I notice that is generally missing in cargo cult science. That is the idea that we all hope you have learned in studying science in school–we never explicitly say what this is, but just hope that you catch on by all the examples of scientific investigation. It is interesting, therefore, to bring it out now and speak of it explicitly. It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty–a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid–not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked–to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated.

Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can–if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong–to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it. There is also a more subtle problem. When you have put a lot of ideas together to make an elaborate theory, you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else come out right, in addition. » Read more

I am an anarcho-capitalist living just west of Boston Massachussetts. I am married, have two children, and am trying to start my own computer consulting company.

The Blind Leading The Blind

Now, as we’ve all been taught for many years, the free market is the tool of evil brutes, who’d just as soon toss your kids into a sweatshop (if not outright slavery) to produce products that are dangerous and deadly, and will collude amongst their fellow ruffians to ensure that consumers have no recourse to change. Our government, on the other hand, is full of sweetness and light, and is the only possible thing protecting the masses of humanity from the fate those blackhearts in business would press on you.

Previous presidents, of course, understood that it was important to keep some of these nefarious characters around, preferably in ones cabinet where they can be closely monitored. The EEEVVVIIILLL Republican presidents, of course, gave them the position of “adviser”, while I’m sure the virtuous Democrats merely kept them around as “opposition research”.

Not Obama. He wants nothing to do with them whatsoever:

Obama's Cabinet

Ugh! Those dirty folks with their [cough]business[/cough] experience! Keep them away! They might tell us why reality will interfere with our 5 year plans!

What’s next, putting the fate of our automakers in the hands of a 31-year-old who’s never run even a lemonade stand? Oh, wait — he already did that.

Hat Tip: Nick Schulz @ AEI, via Katherine Mangu-Ward of Reason

The War of the Whoppers

For some time, it looked like Republicans were more persuasive liars than their counterparts in DC. After all, they (with the assistance of Judith Miller and The New York Times) convinced a great deal of Americans that aluminum tubes had been intercepted which were to be used to create nuclear bombs. Visions of Islamic terrorists flooding across our southern border with truckloads of nukes provided the rest of the political support necessary for us to begin military operations in Iraq.

Of course, these so-called weapons of mass destruction were never found, which forced President Bush to state that he “fully understood that the intelligence was wrong, and [he was] just as disappointed as everybody else” about it.

Now it seems the Democrats have been caught with their pants down. Already dubbed ClimateGate, it seems that the data which has been used by the left to push for tighter environmental regulations is at least partially based on junk science — and they’ve been covering this up for some time.  It will take some time to determine the impact of the revelation of hacked e-mails and other files, but I’d expect to see at least a few reversals in environmental policy over the next few years.

Currently, the War of the Whoopers is playing out on another front: health care.  Megan McArdle has a pretty good take on the fecal matter being spewed by both sides. We’ll start with the red team:

  • This bill uses accounting gimmicks to front load the taxes and back load the spending, which is the only reason it’s deficit neutral over the ten year window.
  • The Democrats are refusing to let cuts to doctor payments stand, and also, doctors don’t get paid enough.
  • Millions of people are going to be added to Medicaid, which is a terrible program because providers don’t get paid enough.  Also, it would be too expensive to add people to Medicaid.
  • Medicare costs too much, and also, shouldn’t be cut.
  • The Republicans favor “real reform” which mostly seems to consist of liability caps.

Now for the blues:

  • Insurance companies are evil institutions which deny everyone any care that costs more than a pack of Freedent gum.  Also, they cannot control health care costs without substantial government intervention, because they spend far too much on expensive procedures.
  • Ted Kennedy sure was a swell guy, wasn’t he?  He’d be proud of every dang one of us today.  (It is impossible to exaggerate how great a role this point played.  There was a five minute stretch which consisted largely of people telling Ted Kennedy’s replacement that Teddy would be awfully proud of him, and him saying, “No, really, Ted would be proud of you.”)
  • Small- and medium-sized businesses are groaning under the weight of their health care costs.  Also, starting next year, we’re going to force them to give you much more generous coverage from your employer, such as coverage for non-dependent “children” up to the age of 26.
  • This problem is incredibly urgent, which is why we have to pass this bill, which now takes effect in 2014, RIGHT NOW.

She covered it pretty well, but seemed to miss one piece of GOP excrement the left frequently observes: ties between Republicans and the health insurance industry.

I’ve made this point before and I’ll make it again: So long as the Republican leadership doesn’t try in earnest to remove the legislative ties between employment and health insurance, they are leaving themselves wide open to accusations of hypocrisy.

The Democrats are trying to convince the American public that they can increase regulations, insure everyone, and still cut costs without running up the deficit. And don’t forget President Obama’s pledge not to increase taxes. I’m sure even Joseph Goebbels would be impressed with this one.

But Republicans can’t say squat about deficit spending. To listen to the typical GOP incumbent on the campaign trail, deficit spending is some new evil Democratic invention. Although these Republicans voted for one bloated budget after another, somehow they are managing to convince the voters in their districts that they are the voice of fiscal responsibility.  I felt as if I needed hip waders at the last congressional town hall meeting I visited.

Troops are lined up on both sides of the battle line shooting outright lies and hurling bullshit grenades at each other.  It wouldn’t bother me if they fought to the last man and took each other out.  Of paramount concern, however, is that the American people are the ones suffering the collateral damage.

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