Jonah Goldberg Channels Bastiat – Hurricane Sandy Edition

Goldberg tweets: All I can think about is how all of this destruction will make NYC so much richer according to Paul Krugman. How soon before some very ill-educated journalist writes a story about the economic benefits of Sandy?  I give it less than a week. For the original argument against the broken window fallacy, … Continue reading Jonah Goldberg Channels Bastiat – Hurricane Sandy Edition

When Obamacare Really Kicks In

Most of the PPACA's most controversial provisions were backloaded until after this election. Unless Romney wins the presidency and Republicans at least make it close enough in the Senate that they can pick off a moderate Democrat or two on a roll-call, these provisions will start to kick in next year. Avik Roy explains: In … Continue reading When Obamacare Really Kicks In

Sunday Morning Quotation – Pinker on How the Commercial Spirit Helps Beat Racism

In this piece on Celtics legend Red Auerbach, Steven Pinker makes a great point about markets that is too rarely noted (outside the Chicago School that is): "Auerbach’s color-blindness surely came in part from principle and integrity, but it just as surely derived from one of the great virtues of the commercial spirit. Racism, because it favors … Continue reading Sunday Morning Quotation – Pinker on How the Commercial Spirit Helps Beat Racism

A new level of creepy

Just when you thought the Obama as Cult Figure movement couldn't get any creepier, the Obama campaign releases a new ad with Lena Dunham talking about how special the "first time" should be.  [No, I'm not going to provide a link]. Essentially the ad is saying that voting for Obama is a sexual experience.  (And … Continue reading A new level of creepy

From the Comments (Thought Experiment on Freedom)

From "A Thought Experiment on Freedom," I thought these comments were worth highlighting. FreeDem: Freedom is more than marginal tax rates and the monetary value of different policies. Is there a way to calculate it though? I don’t know. I think of something like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we need a hierarchy of liberty/freedom that … Continue reading From the Comments (Thought Experiment on Freedom)

Bertrand Russell on Rousseau

This is the boldest statement from a serious thinker that I've read today (from Russell's 1945 book The History of Western Philosophy): Ever since his [Rousseau's] time, those who considered themselves reformers have been divided into two groups, those who followed him and those who followed Locke.  Sometimes they cooperated, and many individuals saw no … Continue reading Bertrand Russell on Rousseau

Team Obama’s Chilling Defense of Killing Abdulrahman al-Awlaki

Conor Friedersdorf offers up some justifiably tough words in response to Obama senior adviser Robert Gibbs' glib defense of the drone assassination of 16-year-old, Denver-born American citizen, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki (essentially: "he should have chosen a different father"): Again, note that this kid wasn't killed in the same drone strike as his father. He was hit … Continue reading Team Obama’s Chilling Defense of Killing Abdulrahman al-Awlaki

George Will’s Recent Quip on Defense Spending

George Will had a strange (for him) piece on the debate and the rise of the "Come home America" view on foreign policy that didn't quite hang together and that led me and one of my wiser friends to say, "if only."  But it did have this wonderful line:  Romney thinks America should have "a military second to none," which … Continue reading George Will’s Recent Quip on Defense Spending

Lessons in the Political Duopoly

My oldest child was telling me about how he is going to vote for Romney in his elementary school election.  My youngest said he was voting for O'Romney.  Of course, he was just confused about the name of the Republican candidate; he's very young so it was an innocent mistake.  But perhaps he had a higher wisdom … Continue reading Lessons in the Political Duopoly

A Thought Experiment on Freedom

Imagine two countries, each the size of the U.S. In one of them, the average tax rate is 1% (of income) lower than the other, but unlike the other it randomly selects ten innocent individuals for execution each year (perhaps ritual human sacrifice!). Assuming personal income of $12 trillion like the United States, the lower … Continue reading A Thought Experiment on Freedom

Liberty Fund Video

Liberty Fund has historically talked softly but carried a very, very large intellectual stick.  With its growing web presence, Liberty Fund has become much more publicly visible over the last decade.  It now has great online content at the Online Library of Liberty, The Library of Economics and Liberty, and its newer Library of Law and Liberty, not to mention its wonderful EconLog economics blog.  Of course, Liberty Fund … Continue reading Liberty Fund Video

Nor is Dwight Eisenhower at the Foreign Policy Debate

Dwight Eisenhower in his Farewell Address (1961): A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction. Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in … Continue reading Nor is Dwight Eisenhower at the Foreign Policy Debate

John Quincy Adams Is Not At Tonight’s Debate Either

John Quincy Adams, July 4, 1821: And now, friends and countrymen, if the wise and learned philosophers of the older world, the first observers of mutation and aberration, the discoverers of maddening ether and invisible planets, the inventors of Congreve rockets and shrapnel shells, should find their hearts disposed to inquire, what has America done … Continue reading John Quincy Adams Is Not At Tonight’s Debate Either

George Washington Is Not At The Debate Tonight

From George Washington's Farewell Address (1796): Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it - It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and at no distant period, a great nation, … Continue reading George Washington Is Not At The Debate Tonight

Police Shoot Naked Person, Again

News out of Tampa, Florida is that another naked person has been shot by the police.  Unlike in the previous case of the young University of South Alabama student, this woman appears to have been "armed."   I haven't been able to find any more details about what that means (gun? knife? crowbar? etc).  Maybe this woman was brandishing a gun or … Continue reading Police Shoot Naked Person, Again

Sunday Morning Quotation – On the Electoral College

Given the possibility - admittedly slim - of Romney winning the popular vote but losing in the Electoral College, Republicans may not feel as sanguine about the EC today as they were following Bush-Gore in 2000.  But Republicans should not let mere partisanship sway them from their support for an institution that provides many functions, not least reminding us that states are meaningful political entities.  Here … Continue reading Sunday Morning Quotation – On the Electoral College

Early Voting

Here are some early 2012 voting numbers around the country, courtesy of the U.S. Election Project: Total ballots cast in the United States:  3,571,075 Total ballots cast in Ohio: 502,737.  This represents 8.7% of the 2008 total vote in Ohio (which went for Obama).   Total ballots cast in North Carolina: 387,721.  Of those, 49.4% were cast by Democrats, … Continue reading Early Voting

Out of context

Remember how the President and the MSM were upset about the whole "You didn't build that" comment was taking the President's words out of context?  I've seen the larger context and hold with those who think that, even in context, Mr. Obama's words sound pretty bad. But apparently it is OK for the president to … Continue reading Out of context

Life Without Capitalism

I hope our readers will find this new video from The Fund for American Studies worth a look (see below).  It makes a good point about how life without capitalism (and the "greed" that is often associated with it) wouldn't be as sweet as many imagine it might be.  Indeed, the benefits of capitalism are so ubiquitous in … Continue reading Life Without Capitalism

Romney vs. Obama (and Crowley apparently)

Three quick reactions: 1.  Romney blew the Libya part of the debate.  But can anyone explain why debate moderator Candy Crowley felt the need to jump in to defend President Obama during the debate?  And didn't she get it wrong?  Apparently Republican (and Democratic) preparation of the intellectual battlespace before the debate didn't induce Crowley to … Continue reading Romney vs. Obama (and Crowley apparently)

Scottish Referendum Deal Reached

British Prime Minister David Cameron and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond have reached a deal on the upcoming Scottish independence referendum. It looks as if the SNP have gotten what they wanted in several respects: 16- and 17-year-olds will be allowed to vote. The referendum will be held in late 2014. While the Electoral Commission … Continue reading Scottish Referendum Deal Reached

Somin on Romney vs. Obama

Ilya Somin has a detailed and thoughtful post contrasting Mitt Romney and Barack Obama from a libertarian perspective. He comes down tentatively on the side of Romney overall, but acknowledges that more pacifistic libertarians might reasonably support Obama as the lesser evil. The most informative section for me was that on judicial nominations. In particular, … Continue reading Somin on Romney vs. Obama

Get Serious Sully

Andrew Sullivan can't really honestly believe this, can he?: And after Romney's convincing Etch-A-Sketch, convincing because Obama was incapable of exposing it, Romney is now the centrist candidate, even as he is running to head up the most radical party in the modern era. Given his long-standing worship, adulation, and love of Obama, Sullivan has become … Continue reading Get Serious Sully

Gravity vs. the Electoral College Map

Sean Trende has an interesting take on the pull of "gravity" in the Presidential race.  Take home: Unless some kind of shock happens (like the 47% speech), gravity has been pulling Obama down such that the election is going to be extremely close and could even favor Romney slightly.  This would seem to be consistent with certain political … Continue reading Gravity vs. the Electoral College Map

Market Seems to Believe Romney Would Repeal Obamacare if Elected

...Judging from the the post-debate health care stocks performance. Of course, the assumption would have to be that the GOP both retains the House and takes the Senate, also unlikely. Context: I've had debates with people who say that Romney would quickly go back on that promise once elected, but I just don't see it. … Continue reading Market Seems to Believe Romney Would Repeal Obamacare if Elected

My Bloggingheads Conversation with Robert Farley

Robert Farley of the University of Kentucky and Lawyers, Guns, and Money had a "diavlog" with me on We covered Pileus, the Conor Friedersdorf essay on why he can't vote for Obama, libertarianism and foreign policy, and secessionism. This was my bloggingheads debut, and we hope to do more of these in the future. … Continue reading My Bloggingheads Conversation with Robert Farley

Sunday Morning Quotation – Alexander Hamilton on Human Nature, War, and Designing Institutions

Federalist #34 – Alexander Hamilton: To judge from the history of mankind, we shall be compelled to conclude, that the fiery and destructive passions of war reign in the human breast with much more powerful sway, than the mild and beneficent sentiments of peace; and that to model our political systems upon speculations of lasting … Continue reading Sunday Morning Quotation – Alexander Hamilton on Human Nature, War, and Designing Institutions

Must Libertarians Be Amoral?

A recently published paper by Ravi Iyer and coauthors on the "libertarian personality" has been getting a great deal of attention. To recap the findings, Compared to self-identified liberals and conservatives, libertarians showed 1) stronger endorsement of individual liberty as their foremost guiding principle, and weaker endorsement of all other moral principles; 2) a relatively … Continue reading Must Libertarians Be Amoral?

Do the Presidential Debates Matter?

Apparently the media "spin" on the debates does according to this study by scholars from Arizona State University: We demonstrate that the news media's “spin” or analysis following the last presidential debate in 2004 influenced citizens' evaluations of the candidates. The media's “instant analyses” in the twenty-four hours following the debate was decidedly one-sided, favoring President … Continue reading Do the Presidential Debates Matter?

The 2012 Presidential Election Has Begun

Below you'll find some interesting 2012 Presidential election data from the United States Election Project at George Mason University.*  This may surprise some readers since there has not yet been a single Presidential candidate debate, the official in-person election day is over a month away, and relevant and important data and events could be released/happen … Continue reading The 2012 Presidential Election Has Begun