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The Fulcrum of Freedom

The Eugenicist Behind the Curtain

Far from being the natural outgrowth of a broad philosophical commitment to the idea of self-ownership and control of our own bodies, the Democrats stance on the right to abortion is the sole and glaring exception to an ideology that otherwise treats the bodies of women like the bodies of government owned cattle.

A party that tells women what size of soda she can buy doesn’t actually believe that women control their own bodies.

Once you no longer have enough freedoms to marshal the resources to defend yourself politically, they won’t have to humor you anymore and they will suddenly discover that your inability to choose your own soda size, cough syrup and cancer treatments also means you don’t have the ability to choose whether to have or refuse an abortion…

Death is the lowest-cost option for treating many diseases. Applying that treatment pre-birth saves even more money.

“A society, in order to progress, must not be burdened by the avoidable demands of unfortunate genes.


Inertial Inconsequence

The reality is that it just doesn't matter very much at all whether Barack Obama serves George Bush's fourth term or Mitt Romney serves Barack Obama's second term.

Quoted from: Kn@ppster

via: Aretae

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Economic Engineering

Here’s a metaphor for how I see the economic debate in the current election:

Imagine the economy is a bridge. The bridge has begun to groan and sway. Two engineers have proposed plans to strengthen the bridge.

The first engineer believes that more traffic moving faster over the bridge is the best solution. The second engineer proposes cutting away some of the bridge’s supports.

Obviously, neither one will fix the bridge. And either one will almost certainly bring it closer to failure.


Diet Like Its 1993

In the midst of debunking arguments for organic foods, a Missouri farmer points out something recent headlines have missed:

Yes, this summer’s drought, which hammered the production of both organic and conventional foods, has led to a decrease in yields, but it’s worth noting that this year’s disappointing corn yield would have been a record yield just 20 years ago. The worst drought in nearly a century, and a national corn yield that would have been a record in 1993!

Food prices will still rise, since there’s not much slack in demand for corn and the stuff corn is used to make. But the underlying story is one of optimism and abundance. Similar drought conditions starved people in the 1930s. Thanks to advances in all the technology used by agriculture, we can weather the worst weather.


Unintended Refugees

My lefty pallys on Facebook have alerted me to the imminent loss of a treasured restaurant in St. Paul:

Business is down for Mai Village Restaurant, and it is facing foreclosure. It's scheduled for a sheriff foreclosure sale at the end of October 2012.

Mai Nguyen and Ngoan Dang, owners of Mai Village, have put everything they have into the restaurant. Every single minute of their lives revolves around it.…

Mai and Ngoan were refugees from Vietnam. 22 years ago, they used all their savings to open Mai Village, one of the first restaurants to open on Saint Paul's east University Avenue…

But now, because of the economic recession and light rail construction, many customers are not coming to Mai Village like they used too.…


Comeuppance for Apple

Albeit a minor comeuppance, it still amuses:

Apple is [most recently] famous for accusing Samsung of “slavishly copying” the design of its iPhone. The copying claims led to a long-running legal battle that ultimately resulted in Samsung owing Apple about $1 billion. It seems Apple has been doing a bit of copying designs of its own.

The Swiss are famous for clocks and watches. Switzerland has long been the source of some the most iconic watch designs and beautifully intricate timepieces in the world. The Swiss Federal Railway service has accused Apple of copying its iconic railway clock.

Elementary School Costs More Than a House

Government policy always has economic impacts. Over time, these impacts accumulate and multiply upon one another. This leads prices of goods and services away from what they would be under a “freer market”. Distorted prices create distorted allocations, which may be good or bad, depending on how one feels about government manipulating markets in the first place.

At some point, though, the relative prices of things get so far away from “natural” prices that the system of valuation breaks down. This breakdown is what I call “The Great Repricing”.

Captain Capitalism runs a thought experiment which illustrates how relative prices have lost touch with relative values:


Riots for Many Reasons

I’ve been saying that economic forces will precipitate a Brief Period of Violent Upheaval. Commenter “Knarf” at Vox Popoli reminds me that socio-political frustrations are another source of ignition:

If Obama has his reelection stolen from him by The Man, the oppressed underclass of color will erupt in a convulsion of righteous anger and there will "Rodney King"-grade riots, looting, and burning in every major city in the country.

However, if Obama wins reelection, the people will erupt in a spontaneous joyous celebration, and there will be "Detroit Pistons win the NBA Championship"-grade riots, looting, and burning in every major city in the country.

In meatspace I’ve been seeing an unusual amount of anger lately. From all factions. Two months of Presidential campaigning is unlikely to soothe anyone.


This Means War

Arnold Kling strays from economics to politics and concludes:

This year's pre-election hatefest is already out of control, in my opinion. It will not end well.

I agree. We differ by his belief that a Brief Period of Violent Upheaval is unlikely, while I say it is inevitable.

Although I see it precipitated by economic issues, his sketch fits in my frame.


Happy Anniversary!

On August 12, 1812, the Middleton Railway put two steam locomotives into regular service, marking the beginning of the railroad era—the social, economic, and political consequences of which would be vast.



Harper’s Fairy

Still too busy to blog. But I wanted to get on the record for a thought about Chick-Fil-A day (or Chickenstock, as described by one participant).

The upcoming period of violent upheaval could take the proportions of a civil war. If so, it will be fought between liberty-minded individualists and post-modern theophobes. In a sense, gay is the new black.

If so, Chickenstock may have been the Harper’s Ferry of our next civil war.


Boston Choking on Transit Subsidy

I enjoyed wasting a lot of time playing the original version of SimCity. It simply but reasonably modeled the basic problems in city planning. As my town’s population grew, roads got so congested that commerce started to fail. So, like a good planner should, I would build transit lines.

Using cheat codes to give my plans an essentially unlimited pile of tax revenue to spend, I built block upon block of high-density buildings. Eventually, all the roads were replaced by transit lines. That allowed further increases in density, but, eventually, even the transit lines were choked by all the demand for traffic.

What I saw on my computer screen in 1990 is happening to Boston today:

Forget Money

[R]eal hiring is a function of real demand, which in turn is a function of purchasing power.

Quoted from: Karl Denninger

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Drones for the People

The equipment used to make this video (via Guy Kawasaki) probably cost in the low four figures at most. It will only get cheaper. It’s probably only a matter of time before inexpensive video links for flying these devices remotely will be available, if they aren’t already (were the guys who made this video using one? — it looks like they may have been). And all of the equipment will get smaller with time.

That’s Jonathan at Chicago Boyz.

Mind Pillows

A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.

Quoted from: Stephen Wright via Theo Spark

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Sean Hannity is Not the Future

[Obligations and opportunities in meatspace have been taking all my time. I have much to point at, but no free fingers to do it here.]

A few months ago a finished a book called The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy - What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America's Next Rendezvous with Destiny. Written in 1997, the authors predicted a major change in the socio-cultural-political order sometime near 2010. The twenty-somethings of today are in the same cyclic position as the boomers were in the 1960s.

Since I have been predicting a collapse and Brief Period of Violent Upheaval for a few years, I find the theories in The Fourth Turning to be brilliant. I may have joined the Liberty Movement and made friends with the Paulbots just in time to be on the right side of history:

This past Sunday night I was watching Madmen which this season takes place in 1966 New York City. One of the key ongoing themes of the show is how the World War II and Korean War generations dealt with the massive influx of new ideas which were born from the baby boomers. There was a good bit of fear, but for many of the characters there’s even more a sense of just plain confusion. What the hell is going on?


Ron Paul Wins Minnesota

For a guy who is so roundly dimissed, it is easy to find anti-Paul snark around the intertracks. One of the standard barbs is to point out that Ron Paul hasn’t won any States during primary season.

That changed yesterday:

All the CD conventions have conclude and Paul has won 20 out of the 24 delegate slots at stake and nearly all of the alternates. Given that the composition of the delegations to the state convention, which is set for May 4-5 [May 18-19] in St. Cloud, is similar to that of the CD conventions, there is a very good chance Rep. Paul will come away with the lion's share of delegates from Minnesota.


Sunrise or Sunset?

CBS NBC ABC logos rendered in the Obama logo style

Never forget this NRR maxim:
The news is not what is happening, it’s just what they’re telling you.

Via: Maggie’s Farm


Velvet Invasion

Vox illustrates one reason he’s not a libertarian:

For example, consider open borders. That seemingly libertarian position is actually anti-freedom, as there would be nothing to stop China from sending 30 million Chinese to the UK and 55 million to the USA, gaining voting rights, then voting to sign a treaty of surrender to the Chinese government.

Equal to any other primary duty of a political body is the duty to defend itself from competing political bodies. Weak states get eaten.



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