Morning Links

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011
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46 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  Sinic | 

    That llama fetuses link is a caption contest goldmine.

  2. #2 |  Marty | 

    the comments on the editorial about the free market and Mexico are pretty good. the author is taken to task almost immediately by a commenter bringing up prohibition.

  3. #3 |  Highway | 

    Something I think is interesting in the immigration debate is that the usual ‘libertarians are heartless bastards who want to kill grandma and let businesses stomp on proles’ narrative is reversed. Of course not speaking for all libertarians because not everyone is in favor of more open borders, but in general, the libertarian argument is ‘treat people the same no matter what side of an imaginary line they’re on.’

  4. #4 |  Dr Duck | 

    I have a fantasy that NBC will respond in a muscular fashion to the Hoosier senator, declining to provide him with a blow-by-blow account of what led to the exclusion.

    In fact the fantasy goes beyond ‘muscular’ to insulting and even sneering, but I can’t let myself get carried away.

  5. #5 |  Leah | 

    The juxtaposition of the burning llama fetuses and the vast expanse of yoga mats in NYC… Wow. I don’t even have words for that.

  6. #6 |  Mattocracy | 

    If this guy wrote for Fox News intead of Guardian, he’d blame the violence in Juarez on gay marriage instead of capitalism. It’d be equally ridiculous.

  7. #7 |  Mike T | 

    Something I think is interesting in the immigration debate is that the usual ‘libertarians are heartless bastards who want to kill grandma and let businesses stomp on proles’ narrative is reversed. Of course not speaking for all libertarians because not everyone is in favor of more open borders, but in general, the libertarian argument is ‘treat people the same no matter what side of an imaginary line they’re on.’

    The leftist would just respond that the boundary of your real estate is nothing more than an imaginary social construct to which you have no right either. Their argument would also be more internally consistent since most leftists are globalists like the average libertarian, but unlike the average libertarian, their view on “imaginary lines” scales from national borders to your home’s borders with your neighbor.

  8. #8 |  Pablo | 

    Dear Sen. Coats:

    Go fuck yourself.

    [citation: U.S. Const., Amendment 1]

    Sincerely yours,
    NBC

  9. #9 |  TomG | 

    Unfortunately Pablo (#8), most major media organizations are sadly cowards in cases such as this one – instead of your completely correct suggested response, they will act as though they DO owe an apology. I’ve seen it time and time again, regardless of how unjustified the demand from the FCC or a congressman/senator really is.

  10. #10 |  Joe | 

    Dan Coats is not doing something stupid, it is called pandering to voters. Contemptable, but not necessarily stupid. Pablo has the correct response.

    Of course we know the reason NBC did what it did, not to out of some overt hostility to relgion, but in an attempt to be noncontroversial. So it ends up being controversial. Stupid, but whatever, it has the right to be stupid.

  11. #11 |  Brandon | 

    #6, it’s amazing how often I’ve seen this kind of idiotic crap from the left since it became undeniable that Team Blue is no different from Team Red. “Well Fox News did the same thing!!!” “No, they didn’t.” “WELL IT’S THE KIND OF THING THEY WOULD DO!!!!” I’m surprised you didn’t shoehorn in a reference to some conspiracy the Koch brothers are currently involved in in your imagination.

    #7, There is a difference between owning property and claiming dominion over everything within an imaginary boundary, including the people born therein.

  12. #12 |  Aresen | 

    The Guardian article is ridiculous, but as Marty @ 8:42 am notes, a number of the commenters do take the writer to task for his ignorance.

    Unfortunately, there seem to be an equal number who are lapping it up. (It is The Guardian, after all.)

  13. #13 |  Jesse | 

    That Guardian article is hilarious. The violence may be due to “capitalism” in a way, but it is precisely because said capitalism is operating in anything BUT a free market. It’s quite possibly the most un-free market there is in any product save plutonium.

  14. #14 |  Aresen | 

    I would like Sen Coates to explain why “under God” is in the Pledge of Allegiance.

  15. #15 |  celticdragonchick | 

    That Guardian article is hilarious. The violence may be due to “capitalism” in a way, but it is precisely because said capitalism is operating in anything BUT a free market. It’s quite possibly the most un-free market there is in any product save plutonium.

    He is pointing out that capitalism, reduced to strictly a market mechanism, is devoid of morals. The market will reward actions that are intrinsically evil so long as they are profitable. This is why I firmly believe that free markets MUST be made to serve the society, and not the other way around as many folks here would (at least it appears to me) have.

  16. #16 |  Mattocracy | 

    @ Brandon

    You obviously have no idea what goes on in my imagination.

  17. #17 |  celticdragonchick | 

    It’s pretty sad that an editorial like this one would even need to be written.

    Good comments at that editorial, though.

  18. #18 |  celticdragonchick | 

    Dear Sen. Coats:
    Go fuck yourself.

    Forget it, Jake.

    It’s Indiana.

  19. #19 |  Pablo | 

    #9 Tom G–yeah, unfortunately NBC will probably decide it is easier to kowtow to this jerk rather than get on his enemies list.

    #10 Joe–that is a good point and it reinforces something I finally realized a few years ago: if you try to make everyone happy (which is what NBC is doing), no one will be happy, so just do what you believe is right and let the chips fall where they do.

  20. #20 |  Mike T | 

    #11…

    #7, There is a difference between owning property and claiming dominion over everything within an imaginary boundary, including the people born therein.

    There are a few things wrong with this “rebuttal:”

    1. There is no practical difference between real estate property boundaries and national borders. One is an individual claim against other individuals, one is a claim by an entire nation (also known as a collection of individuals who happen to share a common language and culture) against another nation.

    2. Only totalitarian governments claim more than a limited sphere of authority over the population that they govern.

    3. The US Constitution explicitly authorizes the federal government to regulate foreign trade and immigration. The US Constitution is the framework in which you claim your rights against the state and make common cause when said rights are violated. If you selectively use it as toilet paper on issues like immigration, then you are no better than men like Bush and Obama who use it as toilet paper on other issues. Claims to the contrary are like an armed robber claiming moral authority over a murderer; the only way to avoid being a hypocrite is to be different in kind, not degree.

  21. #21 |  Charlie O | 

    I believes that Sen. Dan Coats is a closet Texan.

  22. #22 |  Mike T | 

    That Guardian article is hilarious. The violence may be due to “capitalism” in a way, but it is precisely because said capitalism is operating in anything BUT a free market. It’s quite possibly the most un-free market there is in any product save plutonium.

    The violence isn’t due to capitalism. It’s due to greed. This is the true face of what naked greed looks like. The users are greedy for their fix; they don’t care where it comes from. The dealers are greedy for their profits; they don’t care how they make them. The banks are greedy for the cartels’ business; they don’t care what they facilitate. The governments involved are greedy for power; they freely sacrifice innocence and justice for more authority and aggrandizement.

    The moral case against the drug war is that it is pure, unadulterated selfishness and greed run amok with no party involved virtuous in any capacity.

  23. #23 |  Jesse | 

    [i]He is pointing out that capitalism, reduced to strictly a market mechanism, is devoid of morals. The market will reward actions that are intrinsically evil so long as they are profitable. This is why I firmly believe that free markets MUST be made to serve the society, and not the other way around as many folks here would (at least it appears to me) have.[/i]

    It’s true that there will be a market for most products whether or not they are legal. However it is only when the market is not free that it requires evil to operate. Truly free markets do serve society by default. The only thing that can change that is when government steps in to restrict or eliminate the market.

    If all drug laws were eliminated tomorrow and they became completely unregulated, that is the condition of a “free market”. Anything less is not. If it were to happen, street prices would drop to a tiny fraction of their current levels, the cartels would be out of the drug business almost overnight and the associated violence would all but dissappear. Some of them would try to make inroads on some other criminal enterprise because that’s where the high profits are but at least it wouldn’t have to do with drugs anymore.

  24. #24 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Juarez is also a model for the capitalist economy

    Used to laugh at these guys (anti-capitalists), but they are winning by siding with “the state is the answer to every question”. Is it a dumb statement? Yes. But I cannot remember a time when anti-capitalism, pro-socialism/collectivism has been more widely accepted.

    Mike T. wrote:

    The US Constitution is the framework in which you claim your rights against the state

    There might be a cynical alternative point of view on the Constitution.

  25. #25 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    The market will reward actions that are intrinsically evil so long as they are profitable.

    Then you are arguing that people are intrinsically evil.

    free markets MUST be made to serve the society

    Then they are no longer free markets.

  26. #26 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    I don’t mean “Jesse” when I say “you”. I mean the author of the article.

  27. #27 |  Highway | 

    Mike T., People (like me) who argue for immigration reform don’t disagree that the government can regulate immigration. It’s how that is done where the disagreement arises. Treating people as different merely because they’re on the other side of the line from people on your side of the line is what the problem is. It’s not getting rid of the power to regulate immigration to not use that power in arbitrary and capricious ways.

    The reduction argument is interesting and something to think about, and it probably is a difference in degree, such that if the government ever decided that there will be no privately held property, then there wouldn’t be a difference. Privately held property rights depend on the backing of the government to recognize and defend those rights based on the recognized ‘owner’ of the property.

  28. #28 |  Jesse | 

    Understood.

    I think the argument about intrinsic evil misses the point, I’d say instead that all people are intrinsically selfish to one degree or another. The different degrees of selfishness determine the lengths different people will go to, and risks they will take, to earn profit (within the framework of the opportunites available to them.)

    The line about markets being “made” to serve society was curious. If a market is forced to do anything beyond it’s own voluntary exchange, then obviously you’re right, it’s not a free market anymore.

  29. #29 |  Sinchy | 

    I don’t understand how Radley could say the guardian article is “Hands down, the dumbest thing you’ll read today”.
    There were insights and reflections that were thoughtful and interesting and worth discussing. Maybe Radley doesn’t see the connections threading the current consumerist, capitalist system to the violence of the drug war, but the op-ed was not “dumb.” It seemed pretty thought provoking to me.
    The author did point out the obvious link between narco-trafficking and the banks, which of course are part of the capitalist system. That is a link many people don’t think about. Perhaps the reason why we don’t legalize drugs and create a free market is because the current capitalist structure wants to protect it’s profit center.
    Whether or not one sees capitalism as a force for good or evil seems like a debate that’s worth having, and if so then this article isn’t even close to “Hands down, the dumbest thing you’ll read today.” Dan Coats probably takes the title.

  30. #30 |  Marty | 

    ‘The author did point out the obvious link between narco-trafficking and the banks, which of course are part of the capitalist system.’

    You seem to be hinting at govt coercion, which is what the banks (and many corporations/industries) engage in. The ‘current capitalist structure’ is the regulations enacted to protect power and market share by those in power.

    What makes the article so bad, is that the author is blaming greed and capitalism for a problem that was created by men using coercion, not men trying to run a business. We can see the direct consequences of prohibition and the effects of eliminating prohibition by looking at our own history.

  31. #31 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    legalize drugs and create a free market

    These are two very different things. The current discussion is to legalize some drugs in the US and heavily limit/regulate their sale and use. There is no wide-spread discussion to create a free market for drugs in the US. In fact, there is no wide-spread discussion to create a free market for anything in the US. Counter to that, the discussions and actions are virtually all about running away from free markets for every product and every industry and select from several alternative market options that all increase the state’s role and control.

  32. #32 |  lunchstealer | 

    In respect for my uncle, who was killed by a Japanese bomb in the radio room of the USS Yorktown (CV-5, not CV-10) I always use the historic version of the Pledge that was used during WWII. If “One nation, with liberty and justice for all” was good enough for the men who fought and died in the Pacific, then it’s good enough for me.

    And fuck any unpatriotic asshole who tries to tell me otherwise.

    (this follows my brother’s theory that there’s no right-wing position that can’t be attacked from further right, and no left-wing position that can’t be attacked from further left).

  33. #33 |  Jerry | 

    Anyone notice that fugitive Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger was arrested outside of his house in CA rather than using a “No Knock” Raid that happens to so many less violent people?

    “He said more than 20 firearms, including both handguns and rifles, had been found in the Santa Monica apartment where the two lived, along with hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash.”

    I guess when there is a real chance of someone firing back, the COPS aren’t quite so gung ho to go all guns a blazin!!!

  34. #34 |  celticdragonchick | 

    Then you are arguing that people are intrinsically evil.

    My Hobbesian realism is showing again. This is why I am deeply cynical regarding human nature and the chances that any large society can exist without some sort of coercive government.

    Then they are no longer free markets.

    Shades of gray. As free as possible within the context of whatever values the society holds, and without causing some sort of social upheaval with the outcomes.

  35. #35 |  celticdragonchick | 

    The line about markets being “made” to serve society was curious. If a market is forced to do anything beyond it’s own voluntary exchange, then obviously you’re right, it’s not a free market anymore.

    The market is not a force of nature. It is a societal construct, and it is not universal (For instance, there are sub-Saharan cultures that do not recognize the notion of private property and exchange in the way that we do, and their form of exchange is perfectly valid for them since it is based on leveraging ties of inter-dependance among groups for mutual survival, instead of profit). Therefore, if the market as constructed is not serving the needs and values of the society, then what is supposed to change? The society…or the thing that was created to aid that society?

  36. #36 |  Aresen | 

    @ Jerry | June 23rd, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Yeah. I wonder how come Mr Bolger didn’t manage to flush all the evidence while the cops were waiting for him.

  37. #37 |  Big A | 

    Regarding people being intrinsically evil- I’m curious how pervasive this viewpiont is with individuals who desire a structured market and increased regulations. I bet these views go hand in hand. People are bad, therefore they must be directed and guided to do good things.

    #34- if you actually believe people have some evilness about them, doesn’t that include yourself, and wouldn’t that mean you don’t deserve to have a functioning society? Also, how can a society made up of evil citizens have any value?

  38. #38 |  Deoxy | 

    I side fully with #7 Mike T – “imaginary” lines, indeed.

    Our current system IS arbitrary and capricious AT BEST – having had a few foreign friends try to navigate it, I’ve seen (almost) first-hand how ridiculous it is.

    But making arguments about “imaginary lines” and other such drivel that sound like insane “open borders” types doesn’t help the cause any.

  39. #39 |  Highway | 

    It’s not much more ‘drivel’ than declaiming that ‘open borders’ are ‘insane’. It might be a position you don’t agree with, but that certainly doesn’t make it any more ‘insane’ than the position that someone you don’t know is somehow less than another person you don’t know solely because they live ‘over there’, rather than ‘over here’.

  40. #40 |  JOR | 

    “Regarding people being intrinsically evil- I’m curious how pervasive this viewpiont is with individuals who desire a structured market and increased regulations.”

    I’m not sure but it seems to me that however ‘selfish’ or ‘evil’ you think people to be, intrinsically, would be pretty much irrelevant to what system you think ‘works best’. Because whatever system you get, it’s made of people. If people are stupid and evil, then yeah, markets are gonna suck, but governments are going to be made of those same people. If people are basically good, then they’ll generally do the right thing as they understand it as rulers, but then you don’t need rulers anyway because, well, people are basically good.

    Of course, if people are weird, complicated mixes of good and bad groping their way through a complex, ambivalent, and often frightening world, then you’re left with more interesting questions like: Does a lack of accountability bring out the better or the worse in people? Do positions of power tend to attract better or worse people?

  41. #41 |  JOR | 

    “Then you are arguing that people are intrinsically evil.”

    Actually, no. The quoted statement only claims that 1) some actions are intrinsically evil, and 2) some of these actions can sometimes be profitable.

    For what it’s worth, I’m a market anarchist and I agree with both of those claims (they seem very obviously true). I also agree that a free market will reward intrinsically evil actions that are profitable (by definition). The “free market” is not some godly entity made of magic, it’s just people doing stuff. It’s up to people to make evil unprofitable, just as it’s up to people to get whatever else they want out of the world.

  42. #42 |  celticdragonchick | 

    I see I started something here in the way of a debate. Alas, I am getting ready to take my family on a trip to Washington DC and the Smithsonian Museums, so I will have to pick this up later.

  43. #43 |  Mike T | 

    Treating people as different merely because they’re on the other side of the line from people on your side of the line is what the problem is. It’s not getting rid of the power to regulate immigration to not use that power in arbitrary and capricious ways.

    Consider these five cases:

    1. A Mexican in Mexico.
    2. A Mexican in the US legally on a permanent residence visa.
    3. A Mexican in the US legally on a travel visa.
    4. A Mexican in the US legally on a short-term work visa.
    5. A Mexican in the US illegally.

    The federal government has a very different relationship with them. In the case of the first, it has no legitimate authority over the Mexican at all. In the case of the last four, it does by virtue of the Mexican’s presence on US soil. His or her presence makes them implicitly under the jurisdiction of our sovereign government without any consent on their part (the same is true when we travel to Mexico).

    In each of the remaining four cases, the Mexican has certain rights and liberties under law. #s 2-4 make him able to enjoy a great deal of near citizen-like rights. #5 makes him incapable of exercising any liberty other than those explicitly recognized in the Bill of Rights (almost all of which pertain to how the US government will remove said Mexican from US soil) and those granted him by federal statutes and treaties.

    We can’t even have a rational debate on how to treat immigrants without recognizing that there is most certainly a natural difference invoked by which side of the border you are on, as well as your relationship with the state sovereign over that side of the border. To say that a Mexican on our soil is entitled to the same treatment as a US citizen is to effectively abolish our sovereignty as a nation. To say that US citizens living in Mexico have equivalent rights is to likewise assault the self-determination of the Mexican people. Any assault on a people is the same as an assault on all individuals in that community as individuals.

    If more libertarians would stop looking to their immediate desire to hire cheap labor and think about it on a higher issue, they’d quickly realize that open borders is one step away from the Socialist dream of uniting the world in a global workers collective. It should bother libertarians greatly that the first modern political writer who wanted to abolish national boundaries was Marx, not a classical liberal.

  44. #44 |  Mike T | 

    And yes, I know you didn’t say you want to abolish national boundaries. What I am reminding others here is that the first major “open borders, free trade” advocate was Karl Marx (inspired by Ricardo he may have been, but Ricardo is a nobody compared to Marx).

  45. #45 |  David Chesler | 

    One August morning nearly two decades ago, my mother woke me and handed me a painting, The Storm on the Sea of Galilee. I grew to love my Rembrandt and discovered a passion for art.

    One day I rode my bicycle to the nearby Sotheby’s. When I handed my painting to the clerk she flipped it around, examining it. “This is stolen,” she whispered. “Don’t come back here again.”

    I decided then that I could never give anyone reason to doubt I was an art collector. I convinced myself that if I worked enough, if I achieved enough, I would be rewarded with being an art collector. I felt I could earn it.

    But I am still an art thief. And that means living a different kind of reality. It means going about my day in fear of being found out. It means rarely trusting people, even those closest to me, with who I really am. It means keeping my paintings in a shoebox rather than displaying them on shelves in my home, so friends don’t ask about them.

    I’ve taken good care of the Rembrandt all these years. I grew up with this painting. This is my painting. Yet even though I think of myself as an art collector and consider The Storm on the Sea of Galilee my painting, my museum, the Isabella Stewart Gardner, doesn’t think of me as one of its own.

  46. #46 |  unger | 

    #43: You keep saying ‘we’ and ‘our’. Why, when the problem at hand is the existence of people who quite obviously do not place the same value on cultural isolationism as you do? (I do not mean ‘isolationism’ in a negative sense; I simply do not know a better term to describe the combination of the beliefs ‘culture X > culture Y’ and ‘Gresham’s Law governs influxes of Y into X’.) They don’t want your rules. They don’t value your culture as you do. If you’re going to assert that you’re right and they’re wrong, and to hell with whatever they want and to hell with their supposed properties, then man up and say it straight, but don’t talk about them as if you’re all one big happy ‘people’. It’s …dishonest.

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