Morning Links

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

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132 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  matt | 

    wow autocorrect ftl…

  2. #2 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    The problem with getting old is that you have to see people talk about history wrong again and again. That and the diapers.

  3. #3 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    At #102 I was talking about matt’s knowledge of the tech industry.

  4. #4 |  matt | 

    Uh I’ve been involved with the computer industry for over 20 years. So I would love for you to point out where I am incorrect..

    Oh there you go cynical at least one of the lurkers has spoke up.

  5. #5 |  Elliot | 

    @ matt (#86), Ayers was mentioned all over the place on Fox and talk radio. The rest of the media, however, basically yawned. They reported a few details, shrugged their shoulders, and then obsessed over Bristol Palin or some other juicy gossip.

    I use the USPS, too. The bastards in Washington enforced a monopoly going back a couple centuries, so I don’t get the choice. What’s your point?

    I’m not defending McCain or Palin. They got the full rectal exam they deserved. And, I despise them both, each in their own way.

    But Obama’s limited political experience, his political philosophy and upbringing, lack of private sector experience, and associations were not scrutinized as other candidates’ details were. He was an exciting speaker. He would be the first black president. He was charming and fresh and new. Why bother looking beneath the surface at his substance? They had their Cinderella story, so they took it easy on him.

    The old lady is a strawman…

    I only wish that you could trade places with one of the many people being evicted because they couldn’t afford to pay their taxes—at least for a few days to experience the deprivation, fear, and humiliation of having the sheriff show up to escort you out of the home you and your spouse paid off decades ago, to know that strangers would be pawing through your personal belongings, selling off that which was precious to you…all to make sure the local schools were funded.

    That happens every damned day, dozens of times. I know people who face hard choices to avoid that problem, who must worry that a broken pipe, a burned out air conditioner, or some other unexpected expense will cost them more than they can afford.

  6. #6 |  matt | 

    Look the private industry can do some wonderful stuff but lets not gloss over the fact that the government provided most of the funds for computer research in the early 1900s and even today provides a great deal of funds for the development of cutting edge technology.. Sticking to the dogma that the private industry will save us all is no better then sticking to the dogma that government will save us all…

  7. #7 |  matt | 

    Well Elliot you should know by now that the media in general prefers to obsess over juicy gossip and the story of Ayers and what he did +40 years ago just wasn’t juicy (except to partisons such as you).

    My point? uh you know what fedex and ups is right?

    You’re the one that brought up McCain and frankly I don’t care about what an aquantice did 20 years ago either…

    Well as evidenced by Obama’s actions while in the political arena it was obvious that he was a moderate who at times bent over backwards to get a consensus (comments from state Republicans support this notion). His upbringing was a classic American story where a disadvantaged single parent child worked hard and grew up to be a successful politician (could of been a rich lawyer if he wanted to). I didn’t see anything wrong with that either. I obviously disagree with your assessment that the media took it easy on him considering the media was more then happy to drag him through the mud on the most obscure connections. Unless you are aware of some mind blowing scandal that wasn’t covered and would like to share that with me.

    Don’t even try to lecture me on being evicted. You have no clue what kind of shit I had to deal with as a kid and young adult..

  8. #8 |  Elliot | 

    matt (#107):Well Elliot you should know by now that the media in general prefers to obsess over juicy gossip and the story of Ayers and what he did +40 years ago just wasn’t juicy (except to partisons such as you).

    I don’t vote and I’m only asking that the media be as thorough investigating Democrats as they do Republicans. But you call me the partisan? That’s just bizarre.

    …you know what fedex and ups is right?

    USPS has a monopoly on first-class mail.

    Well as evidenced by Obama’s actions while in the political arena it was obvious that he was a moderate who at times bent over backwards to get a consensus…

    Obama the “moderate”?

    There’s no point in us even discussing that.

    Don’t even try to lecture me on being evicted. You have no clue what kind of shit I had to deal with as a kid and young adult.

    Don’t call the plight of real people a “strawman”.

  9. #9 |  delta | 

    #91: “Private industry in a free market would have developed it [the Internet] sooner, better and less expensively. It’s not our fault that the government cheated. After all, they can kill with impunity to get their way — how do you trump that?”

    That’s one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever read.

  10. #10 |  Aaron | 

    Delta, there are people who refuse to believe that it’s possible for the government to ever contribute positively toward something.

    The Internet was created by the government, pure and simple. Private industry did nothing comparable. This is a pure and honest fact. Government 1, private industry 0.

    Now, once you add on a whole bunch of other things, the situations gets far murkier, with plenty of negatives and positives get added on both columns.

  11. #11 |  OBTC | 

    The “Stalin would be proud” link …

    made me cry.

  12. #12 |  Les | 

    All I would like to see is that such people be treated exactly like the “non-leftist” counterparts.

    Again, I agree 100%. But what tends to happen is that people make excuses for their team. It happens just as much on the right as on the left. People who think that Henry Kissinger deserves respect are no different from people who feel the same way about Che Guevara.

  13. #13 |  Elliot | 

    Aaron (#110):Delta, there are people who refuse to believe that it’s possible for the government to ever contribute positively toward something.

    While some people may make such a claim, you’ll find that most laissez-faire advocates don’t make such absolute statements.

    I could do all kinds of “positive” things if I get to use your money to pay for it, on top of giving myself special advantages to keep you from competing on an equal basis with me (or at all, in the case of a monopoly).

    That only government could carry out the Apollo program in the 60s is testament to the power of using plundered money. But even with all of those advantages, there are copious examples of the suppression of free market choices resulting in economic disaster. Take the USSR and North Korea, for starters. Then look at Social Security, Medicare, ObamaPelosiCare, the “Green Jobs” in Spain, price controls for cities under siege, etc..

    Yes, sometimes the unethical use of brute force accomplishes a goal easier than respecting the freedom of others. But so what? It’s unethical.

    Using reason to convince others is the only ethical approach, aside from the use of force in defense.

    The Internet was created by the government, pure and simple. Private industry did nothing comparable.

    What the government did to kick off the internet was peanuts compared to how private enterprise has enhanced internet-related technology and used it to implement new market possibilities.

    Private industry has done magnificent things, far beyond the scope of the original ARPANET. All sorts of inventions, commercially profitable innovations, skyscrapers, factories, etc. were made while the government only served as an obstacle.

    This is a pure and honest fact. Government 1, private industry 0.

    More like government 100, industry 10,000,000.

    Now, once you add on a whole bunch of other things, the situations gets far murkier, with plenty of negatives and positives get added on both columns.

    It’s ultimately pointless to try to guess what would happen if the government had been kept to a minimum and people allowed to engage in free market activity. If you think “Obama Saved Capitalism” or other fairy tales, then you’ve already made up your mind what result you want and you won’t do anything but imagine a bunch of Madoffs and Enrons wreaking havoc.

    While I can only guess that things would be much better for most people, it doesn’t matter. What matters is what’s ethical. Spending other people’s money to do “positive” things isn’t ethical. End of story.

  14. #14 |  Elliot | 

    Les (#112):But what tends to happen is that people make excuses for their team. It happens just as much on the right as on the left. People who think that Henry Kissinger deserves respect are no different from people who feel the same way about Che Guevara.

    I’ve never seen anyone sporting a Kissinger t-shirt or an nightclub called “Henry” with a neon icon of his likeness.

    The Nazis had their Nuremberg and anyone who praises them is dismissed from decent society and relegated to the kook fringe.

    Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Ho, Pol Pot, Castro, and the Kims died or will die old men, never being subjected to trial. (Ceauşescu was one exception, though his crimes never seemed to make an impact on people pushing socialist agendas.) The New York Times still has Walter Duranty’s Pulitzer Prize (at least as recently as a few years ago), but no newspaper which published articles by a reporter who denied the Jewish Holocaust could get away with such a travesty.

    No, the “right” doesn’t get away with it “just as much”. For that matter, the underlying premises of the “left-right” political model are loaded with bias. Hitler and Stalin were nearly identical in their abominations, but they are stupidly put as far apart on the “spectrum” as possible. Meanwhile, chumps like Mark Potok of the SPLC get away with classifying libertarians like Judge Andrew Napolitano as “right wing extremists”, as though he were closer to fascism than the Obama/Pelosi/Reid bunch who engaged in economic fascism by interfering in banks, insurance companies, and automakers.

    There is no parity.

  15. #15 |  Justthisguy | 

    Reading just maybe a third of the comments on this post is making me think seriously about changing my voting registration from Libertarian to Republican.

    Kids, these days…

  16. #16 |  Bill | 

    Regarding the trolley dilemma, I think the word “libertarian” doesn’t mean what they think it means. When considering the case of the worker and the switch, a libertarian might take a utilitarian approach: after all, the worker has assumed a degree of risk in choosing employment in the trolley industry, and the riders assume a certain risk by choosing to ride the trolley. But the fat man is merely a bystander, who has not knowingly assumed the risk that a lunatic will throw him off a bridge. By doing so, you are conscripting him for use as a makeshift trolley brake, which is very un-libertarian. Or, to consider it in different terms:

    Guy Administering Test: Would you throw the fat man off the bridge to save the lives of the five trolley passengers?:

    “Libertarian”: Absolutely. It only makes sense to sacrifice the individual to save the many.

    GAT: Well, it so happens that the fat man also has a very fat wallet. Would you be willing to take the wallet and throw it in front of the trolley to save the passengers?

    L: Well…he gets the money back, right?

    GAT: No, the money gets ground up in the trolley’s gears. He doesn’t get it back.

    L: Well, then, no! That’d be like TAXATION! I’m a libertarian! I’ve got principles!

  17. #17 |  Joe | 

    Is Michael Moore the fat guy?

  18. #18 |  BSK | 

    Let’s look at other possible solutions for the trolley problem:

    Religious person: Either “God willed it to be, so I shall not interfere” or “I’ll pray for it to stop!”
    Communist: “Lets all throw ourselves in front of the train together while simultaneously shooting the conductor and passengers. All must share the misery.”
    Feminist: “Throw a fat man, yes. But not a fat woman. And women are never fat. They are simply plus-sized and should be loved the same.”
    Libertarian: “Is it a public transporation train? Let the fucker crash into City Hall.”
    Republican: “Those people chose to get on the train, so they deserve their fate. Then again, that fat guy got himself fat and perched himself above the rails, so he deserves to get pushed. Wait, are any of them donors?”
    Democrat: “Oh, no, we musn’t let the passengers die! But we musn’t kill the fat man, either. How about, NO ONE dies? Wait, are any of them donors?”
    PETA member: “Clear any animals, insects, microbes, or pieces of dust blowing in the wind out of the way!”

    Any others?

  19. #19 |  Cynical in CA | 

    @ #113 | Elliot

    Thanks for picking up the slack, Elliot. Banging my head against the wall makes me tired. The plundered money fact trumps every other argument for me. That others don’t agree with that premise merely indicates their violent statist tendencies and/or brainwashing.

  20. #20 |  Cynical in CA | 

    @ #116 | Bill

    A libertarian doesn’t throw the fat man off the bridge because it’s wrong to kill for any reason, with very narrow exceptions for immediate self-defense. The respondent does not have to take action to solve problems not of his own making. Therefore, the five workers die, because as you noted, they understood there were risks in their choice of employment.

    It’s that simple, from a libertarian perspective. Not sure what that other speculation was on your part.

  21. #21 |  Cynical in CA | 

    Ah, my fan club is back ….

  22. #22 |  Cynical in CA | 

    #110 | Aaron — “Delta, there are people who refuse to believe that it’s possible for the government to ever contribute positively toward something.”

    There are people who believe that it’s impossible for the government to ever contribute positively toward something.

    There, fixed it for you. And guilty as charged, for all the perfectly valid and sound logical and moral arguments presented ad infinitum in these comments.

  23. #23 |  Cynical in CA | 

    Jacob Hornberger says it far better than I ever could. Read the first two op-eds.

    http://www.fff.org/blog/index.asp

  24. #24 |  Bill | 

    Cynical, thanks for clarifying my point. My main point was that if you were to frame the thing in terms of dollars and cents, a lot of people who CALL themselves libertarians would have probably seen it in “taxation is theft” terms, but because it was framed in this improbable story didn’t see how profoundly un-libertarian throwing some guy off a bridge would be. Maybe it’s because the story seems like such an abstraction, or maybe they never got the idea of the non-aggression principle as the foundation of libertarianism in the first place.

  25. #25 |  Windy | 

    Matt, the level of education “in the early 1900s” was well above the level of education today. Have you ever seen the test 8th graders had to pass (to graduate to high school) back then? Most college grads couldn’t pass it today. I said private schools would become affordable to almost everyone because without the taxes we now pay to fund public schools being stolen from people, they would have a couple to a few thousand more dollars in their pockets each year which they could then use to pay private school tuition for their children. I never suggested the cost of tuition might come down but now that you mention it, it just might with more students attending it might bring costs down, too.

  26. #26 |  Cynical in CA | 

    The federal student loan program has been demonstrated ad nauseum to inflate the cost of college educations while simultaneously diminishing the value in the marketplace of possessing one. That is just one example of how government interference in education inflates costs, and how the freed market would bring education into equilibrium with the lowest costs possible and the highest value possible.

  27. #27 |  albatross | 

    Windy:

    A smaller fraction of people went to school back then. If your local public school, with all its flaws and organizational dysfunctions, can send 50% of its students home after the 8th grade, they, too, will be able to demand a lot more from the high school kids.

  28. #28 |  albatross | 

    Cynical:

    There’s a pretty big difference between these two statements:

    a. Government can never contribute something positive to the world in some area.

    b. Government involvement in some area is likely to do more harm than good, on average.

    For example, there are books in the world that are full of lies, some lies that will lead people to screw themselves over. It would be possible (and surely has happened) for a government to ban those destructive books, and thereby make the world a better place. And yet, most of us don’t want the government in the book banning business. It’s not that we don’t think they would ban some books that really were bad influences on the world. It’s that we don’t trust anyone with the power to decide which books may and may not be read by adults–we expect that giving someone that power will lead to them banning a lot of good and useful but controversial books, silencing their political and social opponents, etc.

  29. #29 |  albatross | 

    In my experience (reading popularizations–maybe this is very different in, say, academic philosophy), essentially all attempts to make “scientific” statements about the basis of morality end up miraculously reaffirming the starting moral intuitions of the scientists involved. This is pretty-much the opposite of what we see with the sciences applied to nature–where trying to understand astronomy and biology rather notably leads you to have lots of angry people yelling at you for challenging their starting intuitions about the world.

  30. #30 |  Cynical in CA | 

    “For example, there are books in the world that are full of lies, some lies that will lead people to screw themselves over. It would be possible (and surely has happened) for a government to ban those destructive books, and thereby make the world a better place.”

    Your statement is true only if we agree on the premise. My premise is that government involvement, in the present system, is always negative and always results in the world becoming a worse place. It’s the broken window fallacy. Your banning of a book containing lies, while appearing on the surface to be a positive thing, is completely counteracted by the banning of the book, which is always a negative thing.

    Individuals must be free to fail, free to read whatever they can, and use their own mind and sense of morality to determine what is good and what is bad. The government stepping in to do that for them is, in my mind and the minds of other like-minded freedom-loving individuals, always and forever a negative.

    It’s OK, albatross, we can agree to disagree.

  31. #31 |  Elliot | 

    …we can agree to disagree.

    I never agreed to that!

  32. #32 |  The Riviera Times | 

    The Riviera Times…

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