Atlas Shrugged Ads Allegedly Rejected – Censorship?

Big Hollywood is reporting that MSNBC, CNN, and CNBC have rejected Atlas Shrugged - Part I ads.  According to BH's discussion with Shrugged producer Harmon Kaslow: The most interesting development, however, is that in their effort to expand television advertising, MSNBC, CNN and CNBC “have all rejected a 15-second ad for ‘editorial’ reasons [with] no further … Continue reading Atlas Shrugged Ads Allegedly Rejected – Censorship?

The decline of the monarchy

The image at the left of a younger William conjures up images of his beautiful mother.  The one on the right is the current Prince William. How far the monarchy has slipped in so little time!  If these people can't be beautiful, what good are they anyway?  They definitely needed the addition of some commoner … Continue reading The decline of the monarchy

Our Own Royal Courts

I find the lavish official state dinners, White House dinners, inauguration balls, and assorted similar gatherings to be akin to the holding of royal court - especially when the President is the center of attention or even the host.    Thus I was delighted to see Dana Milbank of the Washington Post criticize the rather court-like White House Correspondents’ … Continue reading Our Own Royal Courts

Thatcher and Paine on Hereditary Monarchs

"Those who imagine that a politician would make a better figurehead than a hereditary monarch might perhaps make the acquaintance of more politicians." - Margaret Thatcher Ummmm, why would an educated, free people need a figurehead at all, Ms. Thatcher?  More broadly, I'll take Thomas Paine over the Tories and monarchists anyday: We have heard the … Continue reading Thatcher and Paine on Hereditary Monarchs

Soros on Hayek

Pileus readers may be interested in George Soros' new short essay on F.A. Hayek and Karl Popper. Soros lauds Hayek's "fallibilism" but attacks him for inconsistency in endorsing "market fundamentalism." According to Soros, Hayek is an "apostle of a brand of economics which... is a formalized and mathematical theory, whose two main pillars are the … Continue reading Soros on Hayek

Royal Wedding

I really hope that Americans have enough sense to skip the royal wedding tomorrow.  Repeat after me, "When in the Course of human events..."  I'm not sure what is worse, the British monarchy or the people (both here and abroad) infected with royal fever.  Unbecoming of the spirit of liberty and democracy, many modern Americans of both … Continue reading Royal Wedding

Putting humanity on screen

A new trend among pro-life advocates seeking to curtail elective abortions is requiring the use of modern technologies to dissuade expectant women from killing the life within them.  An example is a new proposal in Michigan that "requires that  doctors perform an ultrasound, offer a description of the ultrasound image, an opportunity to listen to … Continue reading Putting humanity on screen

Get yer hot links here

1.  Haley Barbour's decision not to enter the 2012 Presidential race may make it more likely that Daniels will run.  2.  As I hoped, Obama is apparently going to release his birth certificate - and nicely kill off the Trump balloon?  Still wonder why it took so long. 3.  According to the Boston Globe, the Democratic-dominated House … Continue reading Get yer hot links here

The Unintended Consequences Of The Welfare State

Fellow Pilei James Otteson recently wrote a great op-ed in Forbes on the unintended consequences of the welfare state.  He was too humble to advertise it here, but I have no shame about recommending the work of my esteemed co-bloggers.  Here is a key section: The welfare state encourages people to ignore, to violate--even to pretend does … Continue reading The Unintended Consequences Of The Welfare State

Honesty as a Weapon

One reason I support the "virtue" approach to morality is that, attractive as some moral rules are in the abstract, there are almost always cases in which good judgment requires either appropriate interpretation or even suspension of them. Take the moral rule that one should always be honest. Honesty is clearly a virtue, but it … Continue reading Honesty as a Weapon

Cheap sex as collective action failure

In recent months, we have seen increased attention to the slacker men who aren’t settling down and getting married.   Kay Hymowitz, author of Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men Into Boys, gives voice to all the young women who wonder “where have all the good men gone?”  In her WSJ article … Continue reading Cheap sex as collective action failure

President Obama – Birth Certificate Controversy II

I wrote a piece earlier wishing this controversy would go away.  I still wish it would. If the President is an honest to goodness American-born citizen, then birtherism is a needless distraction from the real issues confronting the country and a waste of the opposition's resources (time, energy, money, political oxygen, etc).  If the President wasn't a natural born … Continue reading President Obama – Birth Certificate Controversy II

Military Patrols in Georgia (U.S. that is)

CBS News 3 in Columbus, Georgia reports that the U.S. military will soon be patrolling in that city.  According to the television station: "Starting at 10 o'clock Friday, two senior non-commissioned officers from Fort Benning will be on courtesy patrol.  The soldiers will be wearing armbands that read, 'Courtesy Patrol.'" Doesn't this at least violate the spirit of … Continue reading Military Patrols in Georgia (U.S. that is)

Sunday Morning Quotation – Daniel Webster on the War in Libya

Well, actually, it is Daniel Webster on James Polk's behavior as the Mexican War drew near.  And President Obama didn't just make military movements to bring on war but actually went to war on his own without Congressional authorization, formal or otherwise.  I can't imagine Webster being as pusillanimous about defending Congress' powers as our current … Continue reading Sunday Morning Quotation – Daniel Webster on the War in Libya

Patients as drones

Let me tag on to Marc's excellent post on the recent Krugman piece.  Seldom have I read a more internally incoherent argument (and for Krugman, that is saying a lot). Krugman makes the highly relevant point that "We’re talking only about what will be paid for with taxpayers’ money. And the last time I looked … Continue reading Patients as drones

Three Budgets

The Wall Street Journal had an interesting article yesterday by Stanford economist John Taylor (of Taylor Rule fame) looking at three different U.S. budgets as a percentage of GDP over the next decade.  Here is a chart which nicely tells the tale: My chief quibble with the article is that this sentence is misleading: "And if GDP and … Continue reading Three Budgets

Barrier to Reform: The Customer is Always Right

In today’s NYT column, Paul Krugman asks a question that is interesting only because it leads me to a broader question. First Krugman.  He notes that the GOP budget proposal promotes reforms to “make government health care programs more responsive to consumer choice.” Krugman then asks: “How did it become normal, or for that matter … Continue reading Barrier to Reform: The Customer is Always Right

Interposition: Part Four: New York and the First Act of Interposition

New York was Hamilton’s great project. So closely divided was the state, that at various moments, he despaired of its coming into the union. At one point the Antifederalists offered a compromise. They would support a conditional ratification dependent on the passage of certain key amendments, including the all important construction of delegated and reserved … Continue reading Interposition: Part Four: New York and the First Act of Interposition

Nationalists Open Up Big Lead in Scotland

On May 5, Britain votes in a referendum on a new electoral system called "alternative vote," also used in Australia (polls show it going down to defeat), but in Scotland and Wales, there are also elections to the devolved parliaments. The Scottish National Party (SNP), which advocates independence for Scotland within the E.U., is heading … Continue reading Nationalists Open Up Big Lead in Scotland

Are Americans Underrepresented?

One overlooked electoral reform to decrease the power of special interests in the U.S. political process would be to expand the size of the U.S. House quite significantly, so that legislators cater to much smaller electorates. (More radically, state partition could also be promoted to expand the size of the Senate.) Accordingly, I thought today's … Continue reading Are Americans Underrepresented?

Support for Gay Marriage Now the Majority Position, Say Several Polls

Popular support for gay marriage has been rapidly increasing in the last two years, and several polls now show that support for gay marriage is a plurality or majority position in the American public, according to research by Nate Silver. This shift in public opinion is happening far too rapidly to be due to generational … Continue reading Support for Gay Marriage Now the Majority Position, Say Several Polls

Was the Interstate Highway System a Good Investment?

At the Economist's Democracy in America blog, R.A. makes some good points in favor of skepticism on the question, riffing on Robert Fogel's research on the economics of the railroad. Excerpt: Highway construction generated some positive effects and some negative effects. We tend to focus on the positive effects and remark on how constrained the … Continue reading Was the Interstate Highway System a Good Investment?

The Lessons of History and Fiscal Responsibility?

“The political process will outperform S&P’s expectations ... The fact is when the issues are important, history shows that both sides can come together and get things done.” So says White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, in response to Standard & Poor’s announcement yesterday that it has changed its outlook for US sovereign debt from … Continue reading The Lessons of History and Fiscal Responsibility?

Orhan Pamuk, Localist

Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk has been one of my favorite authors since I read Snow a few years ago. Snow is an atmospheric novel set in ethnically mixed eastern Turkey (the city of Kars). The novel paints a picture of a "frontier" city's characters, political and religious intrigues, dilapidated architecture, climate, and topography. While the … Continue reading Orhan Pamuk, Localist

Hayek versus Habermas: Round 2

In a recent post I pointed out that Habermas’s theory of communicative ethics and deliberative democracy fails to recognise a fundamental point highlighted by Hayek – that much of the knowledge central to the process of social communication cannot be put into words. In this post I focus on a related error in the Habermasian … Continue reading Hayek versus Habermas: Round 2

Sunday Morning Quotation – Waco Edition

According to the PBS website accompanying its Waco: The Inside Story edition of Frontline: Have any federal agents been disciplined for wrongdoing in the Waco affair? And were any of the surviving Davidians convicted of federal charges? Two ATF supervisors, Chuck Sarabyn and Phillip Chojinacki, were fired, although they were later reinstated at a lower rank. No … Continue reading Sunday Morning Quotation – Waco Edition

Interview with Atlas Shrugged Movie Producer Harmon Kaslow

We were lucky enough to get the opportunity to interview Atlas Shrugged movie producer Harmon Kaslow during the opening weekend of the film.  Here are his responses to some of our questions:   1.         Who is your favorite Rand character? Henry Rearden. He's the focused, hard-working, innovator, visionary entrepreneur ... and even though he has an … Continue reading Interview with Atlas Shrugged Movie Producer Harmon Kaslow

Shocking News: Government Beat By Jet Blue

President Obama recently complained about the technological backwardness of the White House.  According to news reports, he said: "The Oval Office, I always thought I was going to have really cool phones and stuff.  I'm like, c'mon guys, I'm the president of the United States.  Where's the fancy buttons and stuff and the big screen … Continue reading Shocking News: Government Beat By Jet Blue

Robust Political Economy and Realistic Idealism

What criterion should we use to evaluate political theories and the institutions they advocate? In my book Robust Political Economy, I argue that it is the criterion of ‘robustness’. Institutions that meet this criterion are those best placed to cope with fundamental constraints that arise from the human condition. The most important constraints are those … Continue reading Robust Political Economy and Realistic Idealism

Mission Creeping

In an op-ed in tomorrow's New York Times and IHT,  The Three Emperor's League President Obama, President Sarkoky, and Prime Minister Cameron call for Qaddafi's departure and for the international community to nation-build in Libya.  Here are three snippets: Our duty and our mandate under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 is to protect civilians, and we are doing that. … Continue reading Mission Creeping

The Path to Credibility and Fiscal Sustainability

The week began with the IMF’s judgment that the US lacks a “credible strategy” to stabilize its debt. As noted in the Financial Times (4/12/2011): In an unusually stern rebuke to its largest shareholder, the IMF said the US was the only advanced economy to be increasing its underlying budget deficit in 2011, at a … Continue reading The Path to Credibility and Fiscal Sustainability

A State Only Thomas Friedman Could Love

China, the benevolent decision-maker of Thomas Friedman's dreams, has continued to make bold and decisive moves to further the public good.  This time, according to the New York Times, the government has all but banned the depiction of time travel on television shows.  According to the paper of record, "The guidelines discouraging this type of show said … Continue reading A State Only Thomas Friedman Could Love

“My Man Mitch” – Will He Run?

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is a very popular presidential choice among the adult section of the Republican Party who realize that the "red menace" of government debt and deficit spending is a serious threat to the republic's economic and social future (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen even called the debt "the greatest … Continue reading “My Man Mitch” – Will He Run?

That Was Fast

Wasn't it just five minutes ago that Democrats and Republicans alike were hailing their budget resolution from last week as "historic" and "unprecedented" in its cuts? Even the usually understated WSJ called it, as I pointed out only moments ago, "The Tea Party's First Victory." I guess that was then. Today the WSJ reports that even … Continue reading That Was Fast