Friday, 29 September 2006
But why should I comment? What the trustees of the Presbyterian church choose to get up to is none of my business, any more than it's any of my business what the Mormons, the Destiny Church or the Exclusive Brethren get up to.
It's their right to be bigoted and to believe nonsense, just as it's my right to have nothing to do with them -- and your right to make fun of their antediluvian attitudes-- but what they choose to do in the privacy of their own churches is certainly none of my business.
LINKS: Presbyterian Church votes to exclude gay ministers - NZ Herald
RELATED: New Zealand, Religion, Free Speech
It is a beautiful day in Wellington today. How rare – but a fine opportunity to discuss one of my favourite summer beers, Mac’s Nelson Reserve.
This fine beverage began life in 1996 as Mac’s Oktobermac – a name that makes little sense in both English and German. It was this pioneering craft brewery’s first limited release and originally it was a strong, malty golden lager, brewed loosely in the style of a German Oktoberfest or Marzenbier (March beer).
The beer was very well received and subsequently introduced into the full time range as Mac’s Premium Reserve. Later the name was changed again to Mac’s Nelson Reserve. To coincide with the launch of the new craft range, the beer’s name has been shortened to Mac’s Reserve. It’s had more names than Aargorn but it will always be Mac’s Nelson Reserve to me!
With a new name came a further flavour profile change. The hop profile was lifted marked with the addition of the winy, spicy Nelson Sauvin hop variety now joining the Southern Cross. This has boosted both the aroma and bitterness.
I like the new hop profile so much that I’m prepared to overlook the alcohol content dropping a whole 0.2% - something I am usually quite bitter about. [Pun intended.]
The decision to profile Mac’s Nelson Reserve today is not simply because it is a sunny day in Wellington (oh my!). I’m worried that it might be dropped soon. I don’t have any firm information on this but I fear Reserve will go simply because it doesn’t have a sharply defined brand (like Copperhop) or massive sales (like Gold) to save it.
This would be a shame if it happens as it is my favorite of the Mac’s bottled craft range. It is widely available in supermarkets and bottle stores – so buy some now!
That is quite enough complaining and moralizing. Mac’s Reserve pours a mid-straw gold colour with a thin white head. It offers up an enticing aroma of spicy, citrus hops with subtle hints of Sauv Blanc wine from the Nelson Sauvin hops. In the mouth it simply explodes with a juicy citrus tang followed by a crisp, clean, long finish.
RELATED: Beer and Elsewhere
Time for some great sport, and for those of you who don't understand the thrill, Thomas Bowden tries to make it clear in the context of a more authoritarian sport:
The essential value of spectator sports lies in their capacity to illustrate, in a dramatic way, the process of human goal-achievement. They do this by making the process shorter, simpler, and more visually exciting than it is in daily life--and by giving us heroes to admire... Ultimately, sporting events like football's Super Bowl offer a microcosmic vision of what "real life" could, and should, be like.Heroes aplenty there are onfield tomorrow, along with thrills, spills, high marks, spectacular goals, great human drama ... in short, over two hours of non-stop Australian Football, indisputably the world's most libertarian sport.
I say "most libertarian sport" since AFL is a team sport, and unlike tennis, say, which is explicitly individualistic, AFL shows in microcosm both the social conditions of libertarian society in microcosm and the spectacular results. The rules are all designed to keep the game going, to protect the guy going for the ball, and to stop one bloke initiating force on another bloke ... at least while anybody's looking. Just like libertarian guidelines for society. And the result of those rules is a full-blooded clash of both intellect and athleticism -- no "neckless wonders" on these fields -- where the competitors quite literally reach for the sky.
I say "non-stop," because unlike other sports where whistle-happy Hitlers spend their time holding up play and seeking the spotlight, in AFL (just like in a good libertarian society) the umpires are all but anonymous, and held in the appropriate level of contempt. In other sports such as rugby for example, much talk goes on before a game about who the match officials are and what effect they might have on the game ... in AFL however they're just called "white maggots." And no-one either knows or cares their names.
It's often said that sport allows the opportunity to perfect and admire a particular set of skills. What we see in microcosm on an Australian Football field is the pursuit of the integration of mind and body -- unlike soccer, for example, where the use of your arms are banned (and the skill of acting is raised to great heights), and unlike rugby or American football where following orders is strictly required for all but one or two players on each side (and unlike rugby league where thinking itself is banned) on an Australian Football field we see athletes who run up to two-thirds of a marathon every game -- at a sprint! -- while constantly evaluating their own and their team's tactics and strategy, and all while planning and plotting to counter their opponent's tactics and strategy.
And this all happens non-stop, in the cauldron of intense competition over more than two hours. If there's a more spectacular sporting example of libertarian values in action, you'd die of sheer sensory and conceptual overload I'm here to tell you.
Tune in tomorrow about this time and experience the thrill. Here's a run-down on teams and players and prospects. Here's the official AFL site with links, ladders and audio and video. And here's a summary of North American TV coverage of the AFL Final. In NZ, of course, you can catch it on Sky.
Oh yeah, and go the Eagles!
LINKS: The joy of football - Thomas Bowden, Capitalism Magazine
2004 Mark of the Year - Drop Punt site (includes You Tube highlights)
Real Footy site
AFL official site
AFL Finals series - Fox Sports
2006 Grand Final Parties - Australian Football Association of North America
AFL TV schedule for North America and Canada - Australian Football Association of North America
RELATED: Sports, Philosophy, Objectivism
The Maori Party is considering a deal which, if agreed to, will see it supporting the Labour party in parliament. In exchange for it's votes the Maori Party will receive a bale of blankets, a gross of shotguns, a hogshead of Lion Red, $250 worth of Lotto tickets and the foreshore and sea-bed.Now that's what I call a 'scoop.'
Moenui Maori Party Chair Tari Kuahinga told the Kiwi Herald that she was made the offer by 'a bloke tieing up his dinghy at the Moenui jetty on Saturday. He said he was representing some other bloke who lived off-shore.'
LINKS: Maori Party offered 'bribes' - Kiwi Herald
RELATED: Politics-NZ, Humour, Politics-Maori Party
'The Decline and Fall of American Conservatism,' by C. Bradley Thompson
In 1994, American voters elected Republican majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate for the first time in forty years. This ascent to power gave Newt Gingrich and his colleagues the opportunity to launch their “Republican Revolution” with its signature “Contract with America” platform. The election was said to mark the end of an era—the era of big government liberalism that had dominated American political life since the New Deal. After struggling for almost half a century to gain political power, the conservative movement finally seemed to have reached the political promised land.And what was the result?
In practice, the Republicans began to whittle away at the welfare state. Their first post-election budget proposed to eliminate three cabinet agencies (the Departments of Commerce, Education, and Energy) and more than 200 federal programs. Within a year, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives had reduced federal spending by almost $14 billion.2 Such early successes led even Bill Clinton to declare in his 1996 State of the Union address that the “era of big government is over.”3 A Republican Congress passed and Clinton signed far-reaching welfare reform legislation that promised to end “welfare as we know it.”4By the end of the 1990s, America’s political fault line appeared to have moved considerably to the Right for the first time since the early 20th century. The advocates of limited government faced an historic opportunity to begin the process of dismantling the welfare state and deregulating the economy...But did they? And if not, why not? And just who's been driving the Republican train?
It is not just Republicans but conservative Republicans who are driving this train. As William Rusher, co-founder of the modern conservative movement, reports, the “conservative movement has come to dominate the Republican Party totally.”5 [...] For over forty years, ever since the Goldwater election debacle in 1964, conservatives have methodically pursued ideological control over the GOP. Now that they do control the Republican Party and all three branches of the federal government, what exactly have conservatives bequeathed to America?The size of government gives a good indication of the level of government intrusion in the lives of citizens. Here's a brief summary of the legacy these "small-government" conservatives have bequeathed America:
It's not pretty, is it? A decent summary of the level of government spending is Tax Freedom Day, the day when you stop working for the government and begin working for yourself. Here's how Tax Freedom Day looks in conservative-dominated America:
"Government spending has increased faster under George Bush and his Republican Congress than it did under Bill Clinton.." "More people work for the federal government today than at any time since the end of the Cold War..." "If post 9/11 defense spending is taken off the table, domestic spending has ballooned by 23 percent since Bush took office..." "...despite President Bush’s much vaunted tax cuts, Americans actually pay more in taxes today than they did during Bill Clinton’s last year in office..."
When state and local taxes (controlled in the majority of places by Republicans) are added to federal taxes, Americans worked for the government eight hours a day, five days a week, from January 1 until July 12, meaning they worked full-time for the government for more than half the year. As Tom Feeney, a congressional Republican put it: “I remember growing up and reading in some school textbooks that if more than half your paycheck went to the government, then you were living in a socialist society.”7 Just so, Mr. Feeney.So much then for "small-government" conservatives. The result of their political dominance of American has been a more socialised country than at any other time in its history -- more than under Lincoln, or Franklin Roosevelt, or Lyndon Johnson or Jimmy Carter, and less even than under Bill Clinton, under whom government spending (excluding defence and homeland security spending) grew only half as much as it has under President Bush.
How can this have happened? What explains it?
Two generations ago, conservatives denounced the growth of government and called for a revolution to roll back the Leviathan State created by Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. In 1994, conservatives, with their Republican Revolution, rode into power on just such a platform of limited government. Yet today, the conservative intellectual movement and the Bush administration are engaged in a very different kind of revolution—a revolution for big-government conservatism."What happened to the idea of limited-government conservatism? Have the conservatives been corrupted by power, or is there something in their basic philosophy that has led them to embrace big government?"
That's the question we'll begin answering in the next excerpt, posted here Monday. Feel free to jump ahead.
LINK: The Decline and Fall of American Conservatism - C.Bradley Thompson, The Objective Standard
RELATED: Politics-US, Politics-NZ, Politics, Objectivism, History-Modern, History-Twentieth Century
This really is great art. Look how much Rodin does just with gesture and intensity -- he makes even an open hand tell a story of decision and resignation.
Thursday, 28 September 2006
annette presleyRELATED: Blog
willie jackson and lindsay perigo
milton friedman are you a libertarian interview
riva san vitale - mario botta
four last songs - jesse norman
reasons why the war in iraq is good
online political quiz
female soldiers in uniform
between the lines libeskind
soane house section
While I may agree with certain statements made by the IPCC, surely you and the Royal Society would respect my right to disagree with other statements or at least to call them into question.You can read the news report on Moore's statement here, and further comment on the Royal Society's squelching (posted here at 'Not PC' on Monday) from George Reisman.
You cite the IPCC as the authority yet surely you are aware that science does not work by committee or by "consensus."
Certainly the Royal Society would agree there is no scientific proof of causation between the anthropogenic increase in atmospheric CO2 and the recent global warming trend, a trend that has been evident for about 500 years, long before human-caused increase in CO2 was evident.
I am sure the Royal Society is aware of the difference between an hypothesis and a theory. It is clear the contention that human-induced CO2 emissions and rising CO2 levels in the global atmosphere are the cause of the present global warming trend is an hypothesis that has not yet been elevated to the level of a proven theory. Causation has not been demonstrated in any conclusive way.
LINKS: Greenpeace co-founder asks UK's Royal Society to stop playing political blame game on global warming - ITNews
Britain's Royal Society seeks to squelch opposition to greens on global warming - George Reisman's blog
Schwarzenegger bets the state - Not PC (Monday 25 Sept)
RELATED: Politics-US, Environment, Global Warming
In 1994, American voters elected Republican majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate for the first time in forty years. This ascent to power gave Newt Gingrich and his colleagues the opportunity to launch their “Republican Revolution” with its signature “Contract with America” platform. The election was said to mark the end of an era—the era of big government liberalism that had dominated American political life since the New Deal. After struggling for almost half a century to gain political power, the conservative movement finally seemed to have reached the political promised land.What has been the result of that "Republican Revolution," that historic "victory of the right"?
What did the conservative movement's ascent to the commanding heights of government deliver? Well, as I mentioned here briefly on Tuesday, it certainly hasn't been limited government. Andrew Sullivan observed in Time Magazine two years ago that the result has been more accurately characterised as "Big Government liberalism with religious-right moralism. It's the nanny state with more cash. Your cash, that is. And their morals."
Professor Brad Thompson's masterful analysis of the decline and fall of American conservatism, -- to which I linked the other day and from which I intend to begin posting excerpts -- is in many ways an update of Ayn Rand's 1960 speech 'Conservatism: An Obituary' (published in her book Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal).
Looking at what Rand had to say about the conservative movement in 1960, it quickly becomes apparent that not much has really changed in nearly half-a-century. In that speech Rand pointed out that "the meaning of the "liberals" program is pretty clear by now. But what are the "conservatives"? What is it that they are seeking to "conserve"?"
That's the crucial question, isn't it, and as the long day of Labour rule looks to be waning in New Zealand and the pendulum swinging slowly to the right, it's just as crucial to answer that question here. Here's part of Rand's answer back in 1960:
It is generally understood that those who support the "conservatives," expect them to uphold the system which has been camouflaged by the loose term of "the American way of life." ["Mainstream New Zealanders" anyone?] The moral treason of the "conservative" leaders lies in the fact that they are hiding behind that camouflage: they do not have the courage to admit that the American way of life was capitalism, that that was the politico-economic system born and established in the United States, the system which, in one brief century, achieved a level of freedom, of progress, of prosperity, of human happiness, unmatched in all the other systems and centuries combined--and that that is the system which they are now allowing to perish by silent default.What do New Zealand's conservatives stand for? Is it enough to say you stand for "the issues that matter to mainstream New Zealanders"? What goals, what direction, what political principles or social ideals do those "issues" encompass? What solutions and what intellectual values do they represent? What might we expect such leadership to deliver?
If the "conservatives" do not stand for capitalism, they stand for and are nothing; they have no goal, no direction, no political principles, no social ideals, no intellectual values, no leadership to offer anyone.
Analysing the electoral victory of American conservatism ten years on offers some idea of what conservatism might deliver here. From tomorrow I'll begin posting excerpts from Brad Thompson's analysis of what that victory delivered in America. Stand by from tomorrow, and in the meantime (if you haven't already) do feel free to jump ahead.
LINKS: The Decline and Fall of American Conservatism - Brad Thompson, The Objective Standard
The Nanny in chief - Andrew Sullivan, Time magazine
Our first ten tasks - Don Brash
Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal - Ayn Rand, summary at the Objectivism Reference Center
RELATED: Politics-US, Politics-NZ, Politics, Objectivism, History-Modern, History-Twentieth Century
Artist Michael Newberry points out the subtle nature of Duchamp's pissoir as an exemplar of philosopher Immanuel Kant's view of art:
Kant states: "The beautiful in nature is a question of the form of the object, and this consists in limitation, whereas the sublime is to be found in an object even devoid of form."
Kant is contrasting the beautiful with the sublime. He connects, quite reasonably, the beautiful with the form of an object but, oddly, he attaches formlessness to the concept of sublime. To give you two examples, think of the Venus de Milo and Duchamp's Fountain. The Venus de Milo is a beautiful female form embodied in stone, which "consists in limitation" in the sense that she is a final concrete end. The Fountain, a urinal, on the other hand, derives its postmodern aesthetic value not because of its value as a sculpture but because of its "concept". Its purpose was, incidentally, to offend the sensibilities of the art-going public and artists by the act of exhibiting a toilet as art. Kant's concept of the formless nature of the sublime elevates the concept of the aesthetic work over the work itself. In other words, it is the concept that counts and not the artwork.
So what do you think this time? Is the pissoir good art? And if so, do you find Kant's view of art persuasive?
LINKS: Pandora's Box Part III: The Newsly Discovered Version - Michael Newberry, Free Radical
Nude descending a staircase - Marcel Duchamp - Not PC
RELATED: Art, Objectivism, Philosophy
Wednesday, 27 September 2006
Oddly, it's not the proposal for a separatist judicial system that has attracted opprobrium, but the response by Don Brash in the Herald on Sunday that there were "few, if any" full-blooded Maori left.
There are clearly many New Zealanders who do see themselves as distinctly and distinctively Maori but it is also clear there are few, if any, fully Maori left here. There has been a lot of intermarriage and that has been welcome.All the usual suspects have been invited to be up in arms today, but not as far as I can see at Judge Baragwanath for proposing what amounts to a slippery slope to apartheid [PDF], but instead at Brash's unwise comments that the judge continued to talk "as if the Maori remain a distinct indigenous people."
For my own part, if asked, I would have simply said that good law is colour blind, and I am just as opposed to racist Pakeha as I am to racist Maori.
That the colour of the blood in a person's vein should be of no relevance to any politician, nor to any court, nor in fact to any one at all. We need to begin seeing people as individuals, not as representatives of their race, their tribe, their ancestors or their bloodline.
That how much blood of whatever type anyone has running through their veins is of far less importance than the ideas that are in their heads. It is the ideas in their head and the choices they make based on them that a person should be judged, not on what their ancestors might or might not have done.
That the choices that people make are a more important determining factor in the need for a justice system than whatever their whakapapa might say about them -- the need for a single and objective justice system must override whatever politically-correct nonsense is momentarily fashionable, and it most certainly overrides the purported need for a separate, racially based justice system, which can only be seen as a slippery slope towards apartheid.
That ideas and choices are what move history and what make us human, not superstitions, "blood quantum" and ancestor-worship.
That's what I would have said if asked.
UPDATE: Link to Baragwanath's paper added, courtesy of Idiot/Savant.
LINK: Few if any full Maori left comment horrifies - Stuff/NZPA
What is distinctive about New Zealand law and the New Zealand way of doing law? New Zealand law and Maori [PDF] - Justice Baragwanath, Address to Law Commission
RELATED: Racism, Maoritanga, Politics-NZ, Politics-National, Law
The reason? The federal Fish and Wildlife Service issued an edict in February that all habitat supporting the red-cockaded woodpecker (pictured left) will be protected, and began issuing maps indicating which particular habitats are to be effectively nationalised by this protection -- property around Boiling Springs Lakes was a prime target, and those property-owners have been quick to move to protect what is theirs. Story here.
It's a result about which no-one is happy, (and just another result brought about by our old friend the Law of Unintended Consequences -- the law of human life and human affairs that "illuminates the perverse unanticipated effects of legislation and regulation").
The residents aren't happy, because they're losing the stands of trees that helped make the place a good place to live, but they're doing the only rational thing in the circumstances.
The lovers of the red-cockaded woodpecker (however many there might be) aren't happy because the habitat for their hero has diminished, but as yet they haven't paused to reconsider their scheme.
And presumably the red-cockaded woodpeckers previously resident in the trees around Boiling Springs Lake aren't happy either, but unlike their human defenders they'll never be able to understand why their homes have been cut down.
But it's all an entirely logical and predictable result of the federal Fish and Wildlife Service's authoritarian wildlife protection policy, and one long predicted by more enlightened wildlife advocates such as Australia's Graham Webb. Webb points out that if you want to protect wildlife for people who value them, then those who own the habitat in which the wildlife in question reside need to be able to extract some value from that fact. Conservationists need to recognise the property rights of those who host the wildlife they want protected.
As Webb said in the case of a rare variety of Australian cockatoos, if you simply declare them protected then every farmer who finds a red-tailed black cockatoo on his land is going to knock off the whole family before any wildlife agency gets a sniff, and the ownership over his land gets effectively removed. By contrast, if a value can be extracted from hosting these creatures (by farming for export perhaps, or selling tickets to come and visit them and learn about them) then the property-owner has an interest in protecting the habitat instead of destroying it.
If you want to protect wildlife, in short, you need to recognise the property rights that land owners have in their property, and look too to recognising a property right in wildlife. Eat them, skin them, and save them.
See here for Graham's discussion of this proposition that recognising a property right in animals makes for 'sustainable conservation':
...An increasing body of conservationists believe local people should not be treated as the enemy of conservation (Hutton and Dickson 2000). They should be active partners, at the frontline. To achieve and sustain this, they need to receive tangible, sustainable benefits for their efforts. In most cases, the only sustainable way of providing those benefits is through using wildlife for economic gain. That is, conservation through sustainable use (CSU).Graham's own crocodile park outside Darwin is a great example of one way this can work. The private conservation projects here in NZ and the various Southern African private wildlife parks are other good examples of private 'sustainable conservation' that succeeds by eschewing the idea of protecting non-existent 'intrinsic values' and instead by answering the question, "Of value to whom, and for what?"
In short, if you want to save wildlife, you need to be able to 'farm' the wildlife and recognise the property rights that inhere in them. The alternative is setting people against wildlife, and there's not only no need for that, it's counterproductive to both.
LINKS: Rare woodpecker sends town running for chain saws - AOL News
Crocodylus Park - Wildlife Management International
Conservation and sustainable use of wildlife - an evolving concept - Graham J. Webb, World Conservation Union [15-page PDF]
RELATED: Politics-US, Conservation, Property Rights, Environment
By offering the chance to see the All Blacks at the pub, the ad breached the advertising code which says liquor advertisements should not use or refer to identifiable heroes or heroines of the young. The authority upheld the complaint because the Cock and Bull described itself as a pub, restaurant and brewery as well as mentioning two liquor products in a preceding ad.Herald story here. I'll refrain from "juvenile name-calling" on this. Feel free however to exercise your own imaginations in correspondence to the Advertising Standards Authority. You can email them with your view of this rank stupidity on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pictured above is an example of what you can't advertise is showing on a big screen in your bar.
LINK: Watchdog finds All Black ad contravenes code - NZ Herald
Cock and Bull, Hamilton
RELATED: Politics-NZ, Beer and Elsewhere
I think we all know spin when we see it, and I think we're all clear that Labour has been spinning like a washing machine with a broken bearing for the last two months -- the polls alone have shown that much.
But as poll follows poll and More Spin has led to Extra Spin and then to Super Spin -- and still the polls indicate that none of it is working -- it's clear that the election spending issue just can't be laundered this way. Voters aren't buying it, and the parties needed to pass legislation legalising it are quietly looking to their own laundry.
So we're getting close to the Hang Out To Dry part of the cycle for Labour, aren't we, and who do you think will be awarded that honour? Someone has to pay, don't they. Someone has to go for this issue to be cauterised.
Who's the one, do you think? Who do you think is going to take the rap for the failure of the spin and the decision to fund the election campaign dishonestly? Could it be Pete Hodgson? He's been the "strategist" of the failed spin. Or Heather Simpson? She it seems was the one who signed off the spending. Or could it be H1, Helen Clark herself, the one who called the pledge cards the centre-piece of their campaign, only to deny later that spending on the cards was campaign spending? Are the knives being sharpened for her? Is there a reason so few cabinet ministers have opened their mouths on this one to defend their leader? Has Phil Goff been hosting barbecues again while Helen goes skiing "somewhere in the South Island"?
Care to make the call yourself? Who do you think will be the one who's going to be hung out to dry? Make it quick, the spin cycle's almost up.
NB: Read Audrey Young's summary in this morning's Herald to see an accurate state-of-play report, and see just how few ways out there are for Labour.
RELATED: Politics-NZ, Politics-Labour, Darnton V Clark
It does look pretty ironic however that for a major communications company running both internet and phones a) they don't appear able to communicate with each other, and b) in radio interviews this morning chief executive Martin Wylie's phone seemed congenitally unable to stay connected. He clearly had no more success when he was trying to call Fiji.
What's more relevant in talking about the former poster girl for theft is that in the name of competition, the cheerleaders for nationalising Telecom's infrastructure are now becoming cheerleaders for higher broadband prices. "We can't make money with competition like this," they're bleating about Telecom's new prices. Poor babies. I can't say I'm sympathetic. (Expect to see all the cheerleaders for nationalisation talking soon about how it's in the public interest for the public to pay more for broadband...)
And in a further irony, fresh from sacking Annette Presley, Callplus chief executive Martin Wylie was bleating yesterday that Telecom's new broadband pricing structure "was announced by Telecom without any clarification or reference to wholesale customers." Does he really expect a call from a competitor when they're about to change prices when he can't even call his own company's major shareholder when he's giving her the push?
UPDATE: A friend just emailed me and suggested I make the point that Annette can hardly complain if her shareholding is "unbundled" unilaterally, now can she. "Poetic justice" is how my friend put it.
LINKS: Wholesalers unhappy with Telecom's new price plans - NZ Herald
CallPlus issue put down to marriage - TVNZ
RELATED: Telecom, Politics-NZ
So what's your opinion: Good art, bad art, or "an explosion in a shingle factory"? Or would you prefer this nude descending a staircase?
As they say in exam questions, please back up your answer.
LINK: Nude Descending a Staircase - Wikipedia
The Armory Show - University at Buffalo
Tuesday, 26 September 2006
Thompson's article is long, but very, very good. I'll post a summary of it in a day or so, but do yourself a favour and read it all now: the good folks at The Objective Standard are letting the online version out of the house free. Don't take my word for how good it is; here's Greg at Noodle Food raving about it:
Wow.Go see for yourself.
Wait, let me try that again: freakin' wow!
It is eye-opening and jaw-dropping, a stunning analysis that gathers up the oddities we have been seeing in the rise of the Republicans, explains them with some wonderful philosophical detective work, and frames it all in terms of fundamental principles having life and death importance to us all. C. Bradley Thompson brings the goods, and I now understand the cryptic, stammered, rave reviews of his lecture -- along the lines of, "It was amazing: I kept thinking it couldn't get any worse, and then he would reveal a whole new level of badness!"
LINK: The Decline and Fall of American Conservatism - The Objective Standard
I laughed, I cried, it changed my life! - Noodle Food
RELATED: Politics, Objectivism, History-Modern, History-Twentieth Century
The idea that increases or decreases in oil prices are what drives the inflation rate ... is an ancient Keynesian-style myth, based on the idea that producers have exorbitant power to make consumers shell out no matter what the economic conditions. Of course the myth has a convenient advantage for [central banks], in that it completely removes the [central banks] from blame, which is why you often find [central bankers] promoting the myth--most recently [Alan Greenspan's successor] Ben Bernanke.As Milton Friedman has always said, "Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon." Think about that. And here's another related myth: the one that says "inflation is under control."
Is it? If inflation is "under control" how come some prices (energy, housing, medical care, education, interest rates) have been going through the roof, while some other prices (computers and computer accessories, wireless phones, watches, shoes and clothing) have been gently and benevolently been falling over recent years?
The answer of course, as Lew Rockwell explains here, is that the official inflation figure, the Consumer Price Index, is simply an artificial fiction designed to conceal these changes -- but is an artificial fiction on the basis of which our central bank is strangling the economy and exporters with higher interest and exchange rates than would otherwise be the case.
Can anyone tell me why we put up with it? Why are even mainstream economists these days happy to accept that the markets for shoes, clothing and computer can be managed by the market, but the market for money has to be managed by a government department, even when it's demonstrably destructive? And as a supplementary question, why is it that it is the freer markets are the ones in which prices have been gently and benevolently falling, while it is the more controlled markets in which prices are increasing?
Have a think about that.
LINKS: Will an oil price fall push inflation down? - Frank Shostak, Mises Institute
What government is doing to our money - Lew Rockwell, Mises Institute
Exporters pay price for inflation fighting - Not PC (Jan, 2006)
Consumer Price Index - Statistics Department
Price stability, inflation and deflation - Reserve Bank
We are living in dangerous and potentially cataclysmic times. There will be no significant material and economic progress [in Muslim communities] until the Muslim mind is allowed to challenge the status quo of Muslim conventions and even their most cherished shibboleths. Islam’s borders are bloody and so are its innards. The fundamental problem for the West is not Islamic fundamentalism. It is Islam, a different civilisation whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power.Answer here, at Crusader Rabbit. I'm sure you'll be as surprised as I was.
LINKS: "....The fundamental problem for the West is not Islamic fundamentalism" - Crusader Rabbit
RELATED: Religion, War, Politics-World
NAME UP TO THREE:
Song(s) That I Loathe to the Core of My Being
- God Defend New Zealand (the world's worst anthem)
- Ten Guitars (the world's second-worst anthem)
- Staying Alive, Bee Gees
Musical artist(s) That I Loathe to the Core of My Being
- Barry Manilow
- Elton John
- Pink Floyd
Rolling Stones Song(s) I Like
- Sympathy for the Devil
- Pay it Back ;^)
Beatles Song(s) I Love
- And My Bird Can Sing
- While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Who Song(s) I Love
- Love, Reign Over Me
- I Can't Explain
- Can You See the Real Me
Dylan Song(s) I Love
- It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
- Every Grain of Sand
- Ballad of a Thin Man
Lou Reed/Velvet Underground Song(s) I Love
- Coney Island Baby
- It Wasn't Me
- Pale Blue Eyes
Reggae Songs I Love
- Johnny Was, Bob Marley
- Police and Thieves, Junior Murvin
- Sonny's Letter (Anti-Sus Poem), Linton Kwesi Johnson
Country Song(s) I Can Stomach
- This Drinking Will Kill Me, Dwight Yoakam
- One, Johnny Cash (proof that every singer and every songwriter might just have one good song in them)
Movie Soundtrack(s) I Love
- Cotton Club, John Barry
- Amadeus, Wolfgang Amadeus Someone or Other
- anything by Ennio Morricone
- anything by Nino Rota
Cover Song(s) I Love
- Stardust by Hoagy Carmichael, performed by Louis Armstrong
- Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen, performed by John Cale
- Sweet Jane by Lou Reed, covered by Cowboy Junkies
Contemporary Top-40 Artist(s) I Secretly Love
... I don't think I even know any contemporary top-forty artists...
Song(s) That Bring Me To Tears
- Papa's Song, Les Miserables
- Missing You, Christy Moore
Rap/Hip Hop Song(s) I Can Stomach
- Original Wrapper, Lou Reed
Blues Songs I Love
- 32:20 Blues, Robert Johnson
- Stomp Boogie, John Lee Hooker
- Killing Floor, Howling Wolf
Novelty Song(s) I Love
- Big Bottom, Spinal Tap
- Monkey Song, Hoagy Carmichael
- Ying Tong Song, The Goons
Soul/R&B Songs I Love
- Try a Little Tenderness, Otis Redding
- Land of a Thousand Dances, Wilson Picket
- Motown Junk, Manic Street Preachers ;^)
Power Ballad(s) I Love
- Because the Night, Patti Smith
- Nothing Else Matters, Metallica
- Passion Play, Hello Sailor
Pre 1950s Song(s) I Love
- Ain't Misbehavin', Louis Armstrong
- Im Treibhaus, Richard Wagner
- Body and Soul, Coleman Hawkins
Singer/Songwriter Songs I Love
- From St Kilda to Kings Cross, Paul Kelly
- No Man's Land, Eric Bogle
- Your Ghost, Kristin Hersh
Songs I Still Love From When I was Fourteen
- Smash it Up, Damned
- Transmission, Joy Division
- Search and Destroy, Iggy & the Stooges
Song(s) to Have Sex To
- Leibestod, Richard Wagner
- Roll Up to My Bumper, Grace Jones
- European Female, Stranglers
Drinking Song(s)I Love
- Vagabond's Drinking Song, Mario Lanza
- Billy Bold, Graham Brazier
- Boys from County Hell, Pogues
Monday, 25 September 2006
"No!" is the answer given by Tariana Turia, Mike Smith and Atareta Poananga (the woman who made the claim and who's like a little wind-up toy on this issue) - Maoris can't be racist, they claim, because racism implies a power structure, and as Maori aren't part of the power structure then ipso facto, they can't be racist. According to Atareta then, it's only those nasty whiteys that can be racist, and it's not racist to say that.
"Yes, of course they can!" is the answer given by Lindsay Perigo. Racism is a repudiation of individualism, and a concrete expression of the collectivism and tribalism with which Maori culture is rife.
You can watch the show being repeated again on Tuesday night on TV One, or you can go here and check it out now.
And don't forget Willie Jackson and Lindsay Perigo are together again for one more week on Radio Live, noon to 3pm. Good combative radio. Listen online or check out your local frequency here.
LINKS: Eye to Eye, 23 September, 2006 - TV One [Quicktime movie]
RELATED: Racism, Maoritanga, Politics-NZ
All together now:
I see a red card and they got to pay it back.UPDATE: Turns out there really is a Vast Right Wing Conspiracy ...
They stole from public funds now they must pay it back...
LINK: Pay it Back - Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, You Tube
RELATED: Politics-NZ, Politics-Labour, Darnton V Clark
The bet is that somehow, merely by virtue of the bet’s having been made, new technologies will be developed that will make it possible to comply with the law without any great increase in cost or major economic loss.Read on here. Meanwhile, over in the UK the Royal Society is getting headlines for putting politics before science.
There is a “false sense somehow that there is a two-sided debate going on in the scientific community” about the origins of climate change, said Bob Ward, the senior manager for policy communication at the Royal Society.But this is just dishonest, says Reisman:
The reality is that “thousands and thousands” of scientists around the world agree that climate change is linked to greenhouse gases, he said, with “one or two professional contrarians” who disagree.
The Royal Society is totally dishonest in its claims and is out to intimidate and silence those with whom it disagrees. There are not one or two “contrarians” who dispute the claims of the Greens concerning global warming but over 17,000 scientists.UPDATE: Britain's International Policy Network, included in the the Royal Society's front-page attack, have struck back:
These scientists in fact have actually signed a petition stating their opposition in no uncertain terms. As the organizers of the petition point out, the signers “so far include 2,660 physicists, geophysicists, climatologists, meteorologists, oceanographers, and environmental scientists who are especially well qualified to evaluate the effects of carbon dioxide on the Earth's atmosphere and climate.”
As they further point out, the signers “also include 5,017 scientists whose fields of specialization in chemistry, biochemistry, biology, and other life sciences make them especially well qualified to evaluate the effects of carbon dioxide upon the Earth's plant and animal life.”
(The complete list of signatories is on line, organized both alphabetically and by state of residence of the signers, at http://www.oism.org/pproject/pproject.htm#357. The list of the 2,660 signers who are physicists, geophysicists, et al. is on line at http://www.oism.org/pproject/a_sci.htm. The list of the 5,017 signers who are scientists specialized in chemistry, biochemistry, et al. is on line at http://www.oism.org/pproject/b_sci.htm.)
The petition was organized by Frederick Seitz, who is the Past President of the National Academy of Sciences and President Emeritus of Rockefeller University. The petition itself is online, at http://www.oism.org/pproject/s33p37.htm...
Several recent news reports have carried claims relating to IPN’s work on climate change. Here, we seek to set the record straight.Read the whole response from IPN here.
In a recent front-page story in The Guardian (“Royal Society to Exxon: stop funding climate change denial,” September 20), the following statement is attributed to Bob Ward of the Royal Society: “It is now more crucial than ever that we have a debate [about climate change] which is properly informed by the science.” We could not agree more. The letter continues “For people to be still producing information that misleads people about climate change is unhelpful.” Again, we agree entirely and believe that both statements are consistent with the Royal Society’s mandate to promote science.
However, according to the story, Mr Ward then asserts that “The next IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] report should give people the final push that they need to take action and we can't have people trying to undermine it.” This seems to be quite the opposite of “a debate which is properly informed by the science.” It suggests that – at least from the perspective of the Royal Society – the purpose of the IPCC is to promote a political agenda for action. Without wishing to prejudge what the IPCC will produce, there is I think a legitimate concern that under such circumstances the IPCC might fail accurately to portray the science...
LINKS: Betting the State - George Reisman's blog
Britain's Royal Society seeks to squelch opposition to greens on global warming - George Reisman's blog
Response to article in Guardian, 20 September, 2006 - International Policy Network
RELATED: Politics-US, Environment, Global Warming
LINKS: Jolie takes on Atlas - IGN
Jolie shoulders Atlas - Variety
Who is John Galt? Brad Pitt, apparently - Hit & Run (April, 2006)
Atlas Shrugged, the novel - Objectivism Reference Center
RELATED: Films, Objectivism
Find out more here about the ultimate back room boss.
LINKS: H2: The power behind Clark - Liberty Scott
H2 might bury her boss - Not PC
RELATED: Politics-NZ, Politics-Labour
Sunday, 24 September 2006
New Zealand came up a whopping $15.16 billion short in its dealings with the rest of the world in the year ended June - the biggest shortfall, relative to the size of the economy, since the oil shock days of 1975.
Wow! That's a really bad thing, isn't it? Certainly, this guy seems to think so: ANZ National Bank chief economist Cameron Bagrie said the current account deficit was "monstrous."
"We have been saying it is close to a turning point for 18 months, but it keeps on getting worse. Will a lower dollar really turn it around materially? I suspect not. I think the only way to get it back down below 5 per cent [of gross domestic product] is to have an outright domestic recession."Well, he might be an economist, but unless he's simply pointing out the dangers inherent in trying to 'fix' such a thing -- which is possible, I admit -- I would have thought "moron" would be a better description for him.*
According to conventional wisdom, the country's current account deficit gets "worse" as it gets higher. But does it really? After all, this isn't the balance sheet of some trading entity called New Zealand Inc (which entity exists only in the imagination of economic nationalists), this figure represents private transactions, ie., the sum of all private transactions freely entered into that cross the New Zealand borders over the last year, with the level of the figure representing nothing more than the money that's heading offshore in return for the goods and services bought with it. These are transactions that have been voluntarily entered into by individuals in the full expectation of either making a profit from them, or being able to afford them.
In short, it's a measure of the degree to which foreigners want to trade with us and invest in us, and to which we can afford to trade with the rest of the world. The money going offshore didn't come from nowhere -- as supply creates its own demand (think about that for a minute) the money going offshore to buy imported goods and services was first produced here, often by virtue of previous imported goods and services used in the service of producing more wealth.
It's a "problem" only to extent that a protectionist sees all interaction with foreigners as a problem when it involves us handing over money to those nasty people, a "problem first invented by sixteenth-century mercantilists who sought to make their countries great by restricting imports and subsidising exports. But it's a problem only if one ignores what we get with that money, as this aggregated figure does.
As Ludwig von Mises notes of the "balance of payments problem":
While an individual's balance of payments conveys exhaustive information about his social position, a group's balance discloses much less... No provident action on the part of a paternal authority is required lest a country lose it whole money stock by an unfavaourable balance of payments. Things in this regard are no different between the personal balances of payments of individuals and those of a soverign nation. No government interference is needed to prevent the residents of New York from spending all their money in dealings with the other forty-nine states of the Union [or of Aucklanders in dealings with the residents of the rest of New Zealand]. As long as any American [or NZer] attaches any weight to the keeping of cash, he will spontaneously take charge of the matter.Perhaps this is why, despite the monstrous headline and the talk of needing a depression to "cure" the problem (another example of a "cure" being worse than the disease) the Herald itself reports,
the ratings agencies [upon whose say so many of these private decisions are made] always more relaxed about current account deficits that were not the government's doing but reflected private sector transactions.So why do people and headline-writers get so upset about these figures? After all, we don't get excited about the balance of payments problem that Auckland has with Wellington, do we? And as Walter Williams points out in this classic debunking of the 'Trade Deficit Fallacy,' we don't get excited about our 'trade deficit' with the grocer either:
I buy more from my grocer than he buys from me, and I bet it's the same with you and your grocer. That means we have a trade deficit with our grocers. Does our perpetual grocer trade deficit portend doom? If we heeded some pundits and politicians who are talking about our national trade deficit, we might think so. But do we have a trade deficit in the first place? Let's look at it.Exactly. Perhaps it's because too many economists view this place as New Zealand Inc., as one big aggregate rather than as many individuals cutting their own deals, making their own payment plans, and mapping out their own entrepreneurial path. The sum total of all these things (when the plans work out well) is an overall increase in wealth, and as Cato's Alan Reynolds explains the common factor in markets with "monstrous" current account deficits
Insofar as the grocer example, there are two accounts I hold. One is my "goods" account, consisting of groceries. The other is my "capital" account, or money. Let's look at what happens when I purchase groceries.
Say I purchase $100 worth of groceries. The value of my goods account rises by $100. That rise is matched by an equal $100 decline in my capital account. Adding a plus $100 to a minus $100 yields a perfect trade balance. That transaction, from my grocer's point of view, results in his goods account falling by $100, but when he accepts my cash, his capital account rises by $100, again a trade balance.
The principle here differs not one iota if my grocer was located in another country as opposed to down the street. There would still be a trade balance when both the goods account and the capital account are considered.
Imbalances in goods accounts are all over the place: My grocer buys more from his wholesaler than his wholesaler buys from him. The wholesaler buys more from the manufacturer than the manufacturer buys from him, but when capital accounts is put into the mix, in each case trade is balanced.
International trade operates under the identical principle.
is that they are all growing; talking in June for example about the US's "improved " current account surplus he pointed out:
The Economist's survey of world forecasters estimates the current account deficit will reach 7.3 percent of gross domestic product in Spain this year and 5.6 percent of GDP in Australia. I think the U.S. current account deficit will be about 6? percent. The flip side is that 61/2 percent of GDP measures the difference between foreign investment rushing into America minus U.S. investment flowing abroad. We have a large capital surplus, otherwise known as a current account deficit.Perhaps the easiest explanation to understand all this is that given by Frederic Bastiat, "who once reasoned that a country's balance of trade can be better restored if ships carrying imports just sank rather than reach the country." Is that what New Zealand's economists would prefer?
What do countries with large capital account surpluses have in common? Economic growth over the last year was 3.1 percent in Australia, 3? percent in Spain and 3.6 percent in the United States.
But in the end, perhaps the best solution is that proposed by this Texan banker:
My solution is to stop keeping foreign trade statistics. We don't keep records on interstate trade between Texas and California, so we don't know which state has the deficit and which has the surplus. And we don't care. But if we kept the statistics, we would know and the deficit state would do something foolish to correct the "problem."Let's hope the economic nationalists presiding over own "deficit state" aren't reading ANZ economist Cameron Bagrie's mail.
* UPDATE: Cameron Bagrie has confirmed to me a) he's not a moron; and b) he was pointing out the dangers inherent in trying to 'fix' such a thing, which was precisely the point, he says, that he was making to the Business Herald. Which goes to show, perhaps, just how reliable journalists are when they want a headline.
LINKS: Our trade deficit - Walter Williams, Washington Times
Our capital account surplus - Alan Reynolds, Washington Times
The Balance of Trade - Frederic Bastiat, from the book 'Economic Sophisms'
Why Bastiat is my hero - McTeer, Texas A&M
Balance of payments - Concise Encyclopaedia of Economics
Mercantilism - Concise Encyclopaedia of Economics
RELATED: Economics, Politics-NZ
Try and make a sermon out of that one, folks.
19:32 Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. 19:33 And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. 19:34 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. The Seduction of Lot 19:35 And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. 19:36 Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father.
LINKS: Genesis 19 - Skeptics Annotated Bible
Lot, the just and righteous - Dwindlng in Unbelief
Did Lot's daughters think God had killed every man except Lot? - Skeptics Annotated Bible
Family values in The Bible - Skeptics Annotated Bible
RELATED: Religion, Nonsense