The Economist's Cookbook

Recipes For A More Free Society

  • "The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they know about what they imagine they can design."

    - F.A. Hayek

Damn Sweden! Pt 1

Posted by The_Chef On 2:57 PM 0 comments

Damn my Swedish blood. This is from an article on a new Swedish blog system that is supported by a Swedish newspaper. Read the following and see if anything seems contradictory.

Does Metro have any control over what its bloggers write?
No, they are free to write about whatever subjects they wish. But most of them will probably cover fashion, politics, culture and so on.

What happens if one of your bloggers says something illegal - something that could be construed as hate speech for example?
If we see something illegal the blogger will be obliged to remove it. There is also an abuse function that readers can click on if they see anything inappropriate. If people are reported we will keep a close watch on them. And if they continue to publish illegal material we will close them down.

N.B. This is the original from an article about the blog and one of its posters who is the stereotypical blond bombshell, and I think a model.

Hail Britania!

Posted by The_Chef On 2:25 PM 0 comments

The Empire defends some level of free speech. I say some level because Britain has a history of restricting its press and suppressing views that are inflammatory and contrary to parliament or are "restricted" for security reasons.

Here is the link.

It's high time people in the west stand up and tell these imams where to stick it. I'm all for freedom of religion, but not when it impedes my right to free speech.

The Flaw in Democracy?

Posted by The_Chef On 1:00 PM 0 comments

This is an article from TCS Daily in which Bryan Caplan is interviewed about the implications of his new book The Myth of the Rational Voter. This is really a groundbreaking piece of work. For those of you interested, look for it online, you probably won't find it in your local bookstore.

Part that I really enjoyed:

"Another observation: If politicians did exactly what voters want, it would be a disaster. Since politicians expect that voters would blame them for a disaster, it is not in their interest to give the voters exactly what they want. So politicians have to strike a balance between adopting popular policies, and getting tolerable results. Maybe this is why almost everyone distrusts politicians - as I say in my book, "The public calls them venal for failing to deliver the impossible.""

MC Hammer has nothing on Virginia Schools apparently...

So a no touching policy eh? So students aren't even allowed to high-five because some tight ass administrator feels that it might lead to what? A fight? This is absurd on a whole new level. Jesus, maybe if you morons actually put kids through a rigorous academic program as opposed to some watered-down excuse for an education then perhaps, just MAYBE... you wouldn't have problems like this. Jesus, talk about micromanaging people's lives. I mean I'm all about giving kids direction and stability ... but this is ridiculous on a level that I would only expect from a politician.

"All touching -- not only fighting or inappropriate touching -- is against the rules at Kilmer Middle School in Vienna. Hand-holding, handshakes and high-fives? Banned. The rule has been conveyed to students this way: 'NO PHYSICAL CONTACT!!!!!' "

I need a hug :(

Why I Hate the TSA pt. I

Posted by The_Chef On 8:54 AM 2 comments

Let's face it, I don't travel much, but when I do I don't like to be groped, prodded, patted, and fingered by people. Just as I don't like that in normal life. But somehow these goons that work for the Transportation Safety Administration are allowed to abuse me as much as they want in the name of "safety." I'm sick of some big wet douche who barely graduated High School and has an IQ level below that of some deep-sea invertebrates digging through my property. This lack of intelligence is demonstrated here.

Ab-freakin'-surd. Seriously ... what the hell is wrong with this country. We're like damn sheep! This has truly reached a level of absurdity that just blows my mind. That people put up with this shit is simply a joke. The best thing for airline safety is to allow passengers to carry pocketknives and knitting needles and maybe even a chainsaw onto a plane. Seriously...

These regulations exist to make people "feel" safe. In fact, if people have learned what the loopholes are, we are actually LESS safe. It's ridiculous. I don't get it. How is some 360 pound walrus rooting through my bags supposed to make me feel better about traveling in the air?

This is bullshit and its time people stood up and called the TSA and police out on their bullshit and abuse.

Police state's suck and I'm tired of living in one where everything you do is watched and everyone 'could be' the next terrorist. Well right now, I'm pretty scared, but not of some Islamic whack-job, I'm scared of the government and the power it is wielding over those of us who live in this country.

Who is terrorizing whom?

On the Al Gore line...

Posted by The_Chef On 9:56 AM 1 comments

I just had to post these ... South Park is amazing!

Raising awareness about Manbearpig..

*Dies laughing*

This is just too much! Your Tax Dollars at work!

A bomb designed to release a powerful hormone causing a breakdown in military structure, because of sex....


Just too much....

File Under "WTF?!"

Posted by The_Chef On 3:11 PM 4 comments

So apparently "Excessive Nudity" is now a crime....

See here.

... Now would someone please explain to me what the hell excessive nudity is. This makes absolutely NO sense. I thoght nudity was more or less an all or nothing kinda thing. Oh well... More power to those practicing excessive nudity.

I'm sure the cops enjoyed the show though...

Ah ha, so the battle of the so-called "Documentary" An Inconvenient Truth, championed by none other than our favorite Al Gore has become a graduation requirement at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island.
Now aside from the fact that I simply hate Al Gore as a human being and find him to unabashedly stupid... I think this is just absolutely absurd...

It's like saying you can't graduate college without watching Mel Brooks' Classic Blazing Saddles. I'm sorry but I'm not exactly into watching propaganda... especially not as a graduation requirement.

File Under "B" for Blowhards

Posted by The_Chef On 2:15 PM 0 comments

So apparently according to some experts in the piping and fuel delivery business the supposed plot to "blow up JFK" would have caused collateral damage and little more.

Found here.

Hat Tip to Liberated Living for the heads up.

Typical reactionary knee-jerk reaction to the threat: "Oh my god! THOUSANDS WILL PERISH!"

Reality: "those explosions and fires are going to be fairly restricted.." (pipeline expert Richard Kuprewicz)

Typical Gov't/Media Tagteam... Assumption -> Exageration -> Fear Mongering ->Proven Wrong

Only in Van-Dam and Bruce Willis Films do pipelines blow up killing thousands.

Protectionism is ... Moronic pt.I

Posted by The_Chef On 10:11 AM 14 comments

So I'm sick of hearing about this Amnesty Bill that is in the works in the House and the Senate and that the Bush Administration seems to be pushing. There are alot of people spouting nonsense about how this immigration will hurt Americans and do all of these other awful things.
So let's look at this issue. Let's get the flag-waving statists who use their patriotism to cover their ignorance out of the way and get down to the meat of the matter.

Immigration has been the backbone of this country since its founding. Now all of a sudden we hear cries of "Close the border!" and all of this other nonsense. Illegal Immigration is a problem in one and only one aspect and that is the aspect of the welfare state. (Those of you that know me, know that I absolutely loathe the welfare state, it creates perverse incentives, rewards lack of productivity, and creates an entitlement mindset.)
So let's look at this immigration deal. These people come to the US for a better lifestyle than is offered in Mexico, They work low-income jobs which many Americans would not work and here's an interesting fact from the 2005 Census Bureau: Nearly one-quarter of all hispanics marry non-hispanic spouses. The number get's higher for those born in the US. Roughly 32% of all US-born hispanics marry non-hispanics, and 35% of all college educated hispanic females mary non-hispanic husbands. So .... apparently they assimilate pretty damn well.

So the argument that they don't assimilate well into american culture is just WRONG.

Next is the argument that they are "taking" American jobs. Allow me to explain, there is no "right" to your job. So first off if someone wants to underbid you for your job, that's just the way things work. You have to be willing to negotiate and haggle to keep what you have.
Second, it seems very odd to say this. 99.99% of first gen hispanics don't come to this country to work in high skill jobs. They are working in low-skill labor markets which by the way, is a very easy market to enter and exit (well except for minimum wage, which we won't get into here.)

Third there is the argument that the increase in immigration = more of a terror threat.

Here's an interesting thing... Immigrants are less likely to commit a crime than naturalized citizens... wait for it .... Yep that argument from the idea of crime is nonsense. ANd on a side if the Immigration service can't tell a difference between Achmed and Juan, we gotta a whole different set of problems.

The biggest problem people have is immigrants drawing benefits from the welfare system, but that is merely a symptom of the disease. So if we didnt have a welfare state, this wouldn't be a problem.

To Continue the Debate...

Posted by The_Chef On 1:31 PM 7 comments

Well upon learning several things, I think that another response is in order.

1.) Antilib, Welcome madam and I do appreciate the mental exercise that I am having to go through.

2.) When I say "reason" I mean high cognitive function, and though self awareness might be a factor in that, but I still don't believe that any dolphin is capable of a higher level of thought beyond "Oh look ... FOOD!" In fact it has yet to be determined if "learning" in animals is nothing but a conditioned response. To say that they reason, and have the word retain any of its meaning I believe is extremely ... premature. As an aside, it seems to me that species which spawn the likes of Flipper and Shamu are not quite on the level of species which spawned Mozart, Plato, Hayek, and Hawking.

3.) Antilib still makes a fundamental flaw in her assumptions about humanism and materialism. the flaws exist in the fact that value is radically subjective. Allow me to elaborate...
She states:
"Let's say I was referring to definition number one of humanism and definition number two of materialism, emphasis on "worldly possessions constitute the greatest good and highest value in life". One definition is stating that human interests/values/dignity are of primary importance, while the other states that worldly goods are of primary importance, ergo you cannot reasonably be a humanist and materialist.Let's say I was referring to definition number one of humanism and definition number two of materialism, emphasis on "worldly possessions constitute the greatest good and highest value in life". One definition is stating that human interests/values/dignity are of primary importance, while the other states that worldly goods are of primary importance, ergo you cannot reasonably be a humanist and materialist."

Your very argument is flawed in that you assume that Materialism is something that is not a value of people. That is to say that antilib accepts the idea that Humanism is "any system or mode of thought or action in which human interests, values, and dignity predominate". materialism could well be a human interest or value.

Antilib, I think, incorrectly assumes that the value of material things is unnatural or inhuman. On the contrary, I think it's very human to desire and want things that make life more pleasent or more comfortable and free-market capitalism is the most efficient way to produce those things. As such, it is best at fulfilling human desires.

Now if you want to make the argument that people shouldn't value material things ... then this is not really the place. I believe people should be allowed to value whatever they want (provided it doesn't infringe on my or anyone else's property rights. I have a feeling that philosophically neither of us will ever convince the other.

And for the record, Jon is a Liberal, of the Classical Variety.

Materialism and Humanity

Posted by The_Chef On 10:11 PM 1 comments

Antilib in the preceding post had this to say:
"We're in a societal decline because materialism and humanism are competing forces, they just don't play well together. You can emphasize the importance of goods or you can be pro-people, but you can't be both, and the farther the spotlight moves away from people onto material goods, the more apathy, crime, drug abuse, crime, domestic violence, crime, etc. you're going to see."
Now let's examine this. I heartily disagree with antilib and believe that he doesn't properly understand capitalism, humanism, or materialism.
Let's get some working definitions:

1.any system or mode of thought or action in which human interests, values, and dignity predominate.
2.devotion to or study of the humanities.
3.(sometimes initial capital letter) the studies, principles, or culture of the humanists.
4. Philosophy. a variety of ethical theory and practice that emphasizes reason, scientific inquiry, and human fulfillment in the natural world and often rejects the importance of belief in God.

  1. Philosophy The theory that physical matter is the only reality and that everything, including thought, feeling, mind, and will, can be explained in terms of matter and physical phenomena.
  2. The theory or attitude that physical well-being and worldly possessions constitute the greatest good and highest value in life.
  3. A great or excessive regard for worldly concerns.
Does anyone see a conflict? If we accept the Def. 1 & 4 of humanism and Def. 2 of materialism, they go quite well together.

Capitalism does not create social situations, it responds to them. Capitalism is not some sort of chaotic beast rampaging over the lives of the people that live under it. It is a method to creation of wealth, well-being, technology, invention, and creation. To say that capitalism runs roughshod over human nature is completely false. Entrepreneurs and the suppliers of goods and services respond to the desires of their consumers. So if you have a problem antilib, it should be with those consumers, not the producers. They provide what people want. Man is a builder and inventor. man is set apart from the rest of the world as we know it by one very distinct factor: reason.

It is the use of reason which makes man what he is, not some sort of abstract, absolute altruism which will ultimately lead man down the path of self destruction.

Antilib raises an interesting point, but one that I think is fundamentally flawed.