Morning Links

Thursday, January 5th, 2012
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55 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  Brutusettu | 

    Does CATO have any funding from the entertainment industry? Just curious.

  2. #2 |  claude | 

    It was bad day for the drug warriors in Utah yesterday.

    “OGDEN, Utah — One officer was killed and five other drug task force members and a suspect were wounded in a gunfight Wednesday evening during a raid in an Ogden neighborhood, authorities said.”

  3. #3 |  nigmalg | 

    “It was bad day for the drug warriors in Utah yesterday.”

    I noticed that story. Has it been confirmed that the raid was drug related?

  4. #4 |  nigmalg | 

    nvm, I failed at reading apparently. It was indeed drug related.

  5. #5 |  claude | 

    “I noticed that story. Has it been confirmed that the raid was drug related?”

    Yeah it was a drug warrant. The cops dont raid homes in their darth vader gear if they really think the suspect is armed and dangerous. They usually stay in the street with a bullhorn in those instances. Its only when the suspect is thought to have drugs that they go storming in and shoot the pet gold fish, and anything else that moves.

  6. #6 |  A Critic | 

    Cato IS full of corporate shills. Amazing they haven’t gone full blown fascist yet.

  7. #7 |  damaged justice | 

    “It’s kinda’ fun”

    About as much fun as watching all those videos you post of people being beaten and dogs being shot.

  8. #8 |  Radley Balko | 

    Cato IS full of corporate shills. Amazing they haven’t gone full blown fascist yet.

    Care to show your work, or this just drive-by trolling?

    Show me a position a Cato person has taken that benefits corporations and is inconsistent with libertarianism.

    I can show you plenty of positions they take that corporations tend not to like.

  9. #9 |  Andrew S. | 

    Yeah, that thread is reminding me of why I’ve long since unsubscribed from /r/politics, and why I dislike political stuff seeping into /r/technology and other ones I’m subscribed to.

  10. #10 |  nigmalg | 

    I was watching some episode of Dallas SWAT last night. They had a drug raid segment and a non-drug barricaded person segment on the same episode.

    For the drug raid the APCs (yes, plural) drive just about into the house, ripped off the doors and windows, flash banged the residents and stormed the house.

    For the barricaded person, the APCs stayed back, a throw phone was used, and the SWAT team basically patiently waited for the individual to walk out for over 4 hours before making entry. When they did make entry, they specifically declined to throw flash bangs or gas so the homeowner could return later that evening.

    It really is too bad a SWAT team member didn’t notice the barricaded guy pick up a joint. It’s hard to believe that’s the difference between humanitarianism and warfare-level violence.

  11. #11 |  Aresen | 

    I was watching some episode of Dallas SWAT last night.

    Were all the snuff porn sites down?

  12. #12 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Were all the snuff porn sites down?

    No. No, they were not.

    BTW: Map story was great!

  13. #13 |  nigmalg | 

    “Were all the snuff porn sites down?”

    Sometimes my blood pressure is abnormally low. I consider Cops and SWAT to be self medicating.

    … I don’t know why I do it to myself.

  14. #14 |  A Critic | 

    @Radley

    I was being somewhat hyperbolic and somewhat facetious, but I (and many others) have long observed that Cato tends to be pro-business rather than pro-market. Overall Cato is a pseudo-libertarian populist outfit more interested in self promotion than in liberty. Same thing with Reason. A few good articles, a few good ideas, a few good speeches, but overall it’s a weak watered down facade of libertarianism over a deep dark heart of fascism. Should the pseudo-libertarian populists gain power this will be considerably more evident.

    I used to spend much more time reading Reason than Cato. The example I can easily recall was Ron Bailey’s resounding endorsement of Monsanto, GMO, and other fascist enterprises. Real libertarians don’t support government-corporate plant eugenics.

  15. #15 |  omar | 

    but I (and many others) have long observed that Cato tends to be pro-business rather than pro-market. Overall Cato is a pseudo-libertarian populist outfit more interested in self promotion than in liberty.

    My reading of their material couldn’t be further from this. Both institutions, that are completely separate, tend to be very principled.

    A reasonable criticism of Cato is that their principals would get in the way of their policy – i.e. climate change. Accusing them of not being principled at all, I think, is just wrong. Both of those institutions have been at the forefront of pointing out when big business uses the government to crush the competition. I don’t know where you get “a weak watered down facade of libertarianism over a deep dark heart of fascism” from that.

  16. #16 |  A Critic | 

    @Radley

    Here is the first part of a lengthy two part history of Cato/Reason/Koch and Rothbard: http://www.lewrockwell.com/gordon/gordon86.1.html

    I had previously read bits and pieces of the history but this is very detailed. The reason I and other libertarians don’t like Cato/Reason/Koch is that they are pro-state in some ways and in some times, and given power they will be pro-state in more and more ways and in more and more times.

  17. #17 |  A Critic | 

    @Omar

    I suggest reading the above link and the second part as well. There are too many pro-state, pro-military, pro-business people at Cato and Reason.

  18. #18 |  Andrew S. | 

    In other words, Cato/Reason/Koch aren’t libertarian enough because they’re minarchists and not anarcho-capitalists.

  19. #19 |  Aresen | 

    @ A Critic

    I’d rate lewrockwell.com a fair bit lower than NYT on the reliability scale. Somewhere around balloonjuice’s level.

  20. #20 |  Les | 

    From Merriam-Webster:

    fas·cism noun \ˈfa-ˌshi-zəm also ˈfa-ˌsi-\: a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.

    Yep, that sounds just like Reason and Cato to me. How could we possibly have missed this all these years?

  21. #21 |  Russ 2000 | 

    Liked the article on maps, but I have to say the comparisons with the “winner” and the Nat. Geo. equivalent weren’t very convincing. I liked the individual’s choices for terrain, forestation, and state borders, but nearly every other choice was inferior to the map it was compared to. For example, the individual listed a grand total of ZERO south suburban Chicago towns; it makes the area seems sparsely populated when it isn’t. And listing Wrigley Field twice seems nothing short of stupid, pointless clutter.

  22. #22 |  Radley Balko | 

    I’m well aware of the Crane/Rothbard wars. And there are of course two sides to the story of the split.

    It’s funny that you’d direct me to Lew Rockwell for an article explaining why Cato and Reason are “pro-state.”

    This would be the same Lew Rockwell who not only wrote many of the offensive parts of the Ron Paul newsletters, but also wrote articles under his own name in the 1990s making excuses for the Rodney King beating, calling for more tolerance of cops who administer “on the scene justice,” and even suggested we prohibit citizens from recording cops on the job, presumably so they could continue to beat black people with impunity.

    Rothbard pushed the same nonsense. Here are a couple choice quotes from Rothbard’s manifesto for a “right wing populism:”

    4. Take Back the Streets: Crush Criminals. And by this I mean, of course, not “white collar criminals” or “inside traders” but violent street criminals – robbers, muggers, rapists, murderers. Cops must be unleashed, and allowed to administer instant punishment, subject of course to liability when they are in error.

    5. Take Back the Streets: Get Rid of the Bums. Again: unleash the cops to clear the streets of bums and vagrants. Where will they go? Who cares? Hopefully, they will disappear, that is, move from the ranks of the petted and cosseted bum class to the ranks of the productive members of society.

    This was the same Murray Rothbard portrayed in your links as the noble embodiment of liberty who stood up to the “sometimes pro-state” Cato/Reason crowd. He’s advocating giving cops the power to determine guilt or innocence on the spot and administer extra-judicial punishment–and we can sort out later whether or not they were in error. Sorry, but it’s hard to take seriously the notion that Rothbard and Rockwell are the “pure” libertarians.

    There’s no question that Cato and Reason often advocate more incremental approaches in advocating for a more libertarian public policy. You could call that selling out, I guess. But it’s probably also why both organizations have had more real-world impact than the paleo crowd ever will.

    There’s merit to both approaches. But there’s a huge difference between criticizing Cato/Reason for advocating incremental approaches (privatizing Social Security instead of abolishing it, for example), and claiming they shill for corporations or are secretly fascist. Especially given that Cato and Reason explicitly, loudly, and frequently criticize corporate welfare and corporate rent seeking.

  23. #23 |  omar | 

    I suggest reading the above link and the second part as well. There are too many pro-state, pro-military, pro-business people at Cato and Reason.

    Ok, I read it.
    This article says nothing about Reason Magazine or The Reason Foundation.
    This article is a history of people involved with Cato from between 1976 and 1984. The criticisms of the staff at Cato refer to what people were doing and how they were acting 30 years ago. The only mention of anything from the present day is that one person mentioned in the article is still at Cato and another is currently a lobbyist.
    At no point in the article is it shown where Cato has acted against its own principals to further the wishes of one person or a group. Even if you can call the gradualism approach an example of this, this is 30 year old history. It’s simply not relevant to the future.

    This article is a pretty angry history piece concerning events which happened before I was born and aren’t relevant to current libertarian debates or the current political situation. The article is not very good, and it doesn’t persuade your point.

  24. #24 |  A Critic | 

    @Andrew

    “In other words, Cato/Reason/Koch aren’t libertarian enough because they’re minarchists and not anarcho-capitalists.”

    Exactly. Those who are in favor of “just a little” theft and coercion are corrupt. Give them power and they’ll grow into fascists. Once you embrace the seed of evil it is only a matter of proper conditions for it to sprout into a full fledged forest of evil.

  25. #25 |  Jay | 

    I don’t understand how one gunman hurt five cops and killed another. Lack of training? Did they go in with blindfolds?

  26. #26 |  A Critic | 

    @Radley

    “Sorry, but it’s hard to take seriously the notion that Rothbard and Rockwell are the “pure” libertarians.”

    I agree. That’s why I never endorsed either one. I’m A Critic, not A Supporter.

    “There’s no question that Cato and Reason often advocate more incremental approaches in advocating for a more libertarian public policy. You could call that selling out, I guess. ”

    I do indeed do so. They trade principle for power, and any apt student of history can foresee where that will go.

    “But there’s a huge difference between criticizing Cato/Reason for advocating incremental approaches (privatizing Social Security instead of abolishing it, for example), and claiming they shill for corporations or are secretly fascist. Especially given that Cato and Reason explicitly, loudly, and frequently criticize corporate welfare and corporate rent seeking.”

    Yet Reason, and I’m pretty sure Cato too, makes some notable exceptions, i.e. agribusiness corporations.

  27. #27 |  A Critic | 

    @Jay

    “I don’t understand how one gunman hurt five cops and killed another. Lack of training? Did they go in with blindfolds?”

    Most likely it was the lack of proper training. SWAT teams are taught to form a “stack”, a tightly bunched group of targets. This makes it easy for someone to fire rapidly and inaccurately yet obtain multiple hits.

  28. #28 |  picachu | 

    Boyd Durkin

    “Were all the snuff porn sites down?

    No. No, they were not.”

    That had me laughing hard.

  29. #29 |  Radley Balko | 

    Yet Reason, and I’m pretty sure Cato too, makes some notable exceptions, i.e. agribusiness corporations.

    I have a much narrower view than Ron on the proper breadth and scope of IP law, but I agree with him on the value of GMOs. From what I’ve read, his argument is that regulation has increased Montanto’s market share, and enabled it to monopolize the GMO market on some crops. And he makes a pretty convincing case.

    To what extent Monsanto should be able to control the GMOs they’ve spent considerable money developing (aided by corporate welfare and R&D boondoggles, I’m sure) is a complicated question. I don’t know nearly enough about the issue to have an educated opinion. But I can accept that other libertarians may disagree with the arguments I find convincing without feeling compelled to question their motives.

  30. #30 |  claude | 

    “I don’t understand how one gunman hurt five cops and killed another. Lack of training? Did they go in with blindfolds?”

    I havent found it in news articles yet, but some people who live in the area say he is ex-military and had a hand gun and a semi-auto rifle. Again, i havent read this in a official press release as of yet, however.

  31. #31 |  claude | 

    “he is ex-military”

    Now stuff is showing up and that may not be the case.

    http://www.standard.net/stories/2012/01/05/suspect-identified-ogden-shooting-6-officers

  32. #32 |  Cynical in New York | 

    Is it me am I just sick of the Cato-Reason/Rockwell-Rothbard fight within in the Libertarian movement. I personally like both and yea I dont agree with everything (like how Paleocons like Buchanan and Taki are featured on Rockwells site and how a Reason staffer said on a Fox program that Paul cant win for example) both sides say but both are important to the movement.

  33. #33 |  A Critic | 

    @Radley

    “I have a much narrower view than Ron on the proper breadth and scope of IP law, but I agree with him on the value of GMOs. ”

    You should study agriculture before you support GMOs. Modern agriculture violates every single operating principle of nature. GMOs are a downright stupid attempt to sustain this unsustainable system. It’s like a steroid using body builder adding meth to their diet of supplements to keep going for a while longer. Yeah, it will work in the short term, but in the long term you’ll be even more screwed. Monsanto’s defense against the accusations of gene pollution is that every modification they make to the plants makes them weaker. They are telling the truth about that…but think about it. They are making the plants weaker, and they are making the global food supply ever more dependent on an ever weaker gene pool. That’s downright stupid. Really stupid. Really really really stupid. I can’t emphasize enough how idiotic it is. Doesn’t matter how many degrees or experts you have agreeing with you, putting all of the world’s food eggs into one basket is the stupidest idea in all of history.

    GMO is the result of the unholy triumvirate of government, corporations, and academia (all of which are funded and assisted by the state) working together to realize the dream of eugenics in plants and animals. They want perfect looking bland characterless uniform clones/copies with no deviations. Doesn’t work for people, won’t work out in the long run for plants or animals. The fundamental premise, that we can engineer life and control it and prevent “undesirables”, is the same fundamental premise that underlies eugenics.

    “But I can accept that other libertarians may disagree with the arguments I find convincing without feeling compelled to question their motives.”

    Anyone who endorses food fascism is not a libertarian. Mr. Bailey isn’t a libertarian, he’s a technocrat, and all technocrats are statists, and all statists are not libertarians. A genuinely free market would not support a state-sponsored monopolization and domination of the global gene pool of food stocks.

    On my to write list is a book on food, fascism, and freedom. I plan on addressing Mr. Bailey’s fallacies. I’ll send ya a copy in year or three. This format is far too brief to address such a complicated topic.

  34. #34 |  Mattocracy | 

    “I do indeed do so. They trade principle for power, and any apt student of history can foresee where that will go.”

    Yes, and any history student can tell you how being unyielding and uncomprimising has always worked throughout history. Heaven forbid anyone be pragmatic rather than an ‘all or nothing’ approach. More often than not, the latter gets you nothing.

    Nothing makes two libertarians hate each other quiet like disagreeing on some minor bullshit matter. We would rather die alone based on disagreements than acheive with what we have in common.

  35. #35 |  A Critic | 

    From Claude’s link:

    “The officers knocked and, when they did not receive an answer, entered the house, and were fired on. ”

    The Marines taught me that you should never go through the front door, and that whenever possible you should make your own entrance. This is why.

    SOP is “the stack”, that’s where they all line up and enter the “funnel of death” as SWAT teams call it. This shooting is the worst-case scenario that SWAT teams plan for. Had the shooter invested in better cover and arms it could have a whole lot worse.

  36. #36 |  omar | 

    GMO is the result of the unholy triumvirate of government, corporations, and academia (all of which are funded and assisted by the state) working together to realize the dream of eugenics in plants and animals. They want perfect looking bland characterless uniform clones/copies with no deviations. Doesn’t work for people, won’t work out in the long run for plants or animals. The fundamental premise, that we can engineer life and control it and prevent “undesirables”, is the same fundamental premise that underlies eugenics.

    This is not simply true. Not one sentence of it.

  37. #37 |  claude | 

    A critic:

    “The Marines taught me that you should never go through the front door, and that whenever possible you should make your own entrance. This is why.”

    We are back to the suspect being ex military.

    “A woman who claims she is a family member of the fallen officer told KSL’s Doug Wright Thursday morning that task force members were highly-trained for such situations. She said the family was told Wednesday night that the suspect may be former military and was armed with an automatic weapon and a handgun.”

    http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=18748705

  38. #38 |  Les | 

    A critic, as long as you keep misusing the word “fascism,” it’s not unreasonable to ignore your opinions on the matter. Your opinions on GM foods sound like opinions by vaccination opponents: broad, meaningless statements on “nature,” warnings of calamities to come, and zero scientific evidence to support your assertions.

  39. #39 |  BamBam | 

    fascism roots: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fasces

  40. #40 |  A Critic | 

    @Les

    “A critic, as long as you keep misusing the word “fascism,” it’s not unreasonable to ignore your opinions on the matter. ”

    My experience has been that opinions are ignored as a matter of course. I was rather surprised that anyone bothered to respond to me, although I suppose as I was attacking cash sources I should have expected it.

    Fascism as I understand it is corporatism, the merging of state and corporations, with the end being total power and control, same as any type of statism.

    “Your opinions on GM foods sound like opinions by vaccination opponents: broad, meaningless statements on “nature,” warnings of calamities to come, and zero scientific evidence to support your assertions.”

    It reduces the diversity and strength of the gene pool. The changes are so pathetically weak that they are not reproducible through reproductive means, or in other words, the altered specimens reject the changes, most likely because the changes are not real improvements. The modifications are done primarily by copying and pasting DNA and the beta testing is done by the public – and anyone who has a grasp on the fundamentals of quality programming should see the folly in that.

    Further, GM crops are intended and used to sustain the unsustainable practice of monoculture that is dependent on petro-fertilizers that deliver less than 1/30th of necessary nutrients and minerals, a practice that wastes precious water and erodes the very precious topsoil, a practice that creates lower overall yields and that continues to lower the quantity of nutrients in the fruits and vegetables. All of this produces a people ever more dependent not only on oil for food, not only on corporations for food, but also government to protect the oil and corporations, thus empowering the government at the expense of our liberty.

    Rome did the exact same thing. It created the latifundia, ever bigger farms staffed with cheap imported foreign labor, and it used monocrops, and it ignored the operating principles of nature, and it grew from a republic into a vast empire, and it had it’s bread and circuses and it’s foreign wars and so on and so forth. America is New Rome and the end shall be the same. For a preview of the future of this land, check out the formerly verdant lands of the Middle East and North Africa.

    Recommended reading: “Topsoil and Civilization”

  41. #41 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    rant
    Bono (idiot) backs Santorum because of Africa/AIDs funding. Here’s Santorum:

    “We need to keep and expand our commitment to humanitarian aid, especially in Africa,” Santorum said in a speech to the National Press Club in April 2011. “China and Islam are competing for the hearts and minds of much of Africa, and we cannot turn our back from the investment and commitments we have made.

    I didn’t know China and Islam were the enemy (if there is such a thing). Santorum sure does. Fuck this guy AND Bono. This kind of State Team crap has wrecking millions of lives in Africa. Too bad Bono can’t see around his own swelled head to notice.

    /rant

  42. #42 |  BamBam | 

    @33 “They are making the plants weaker, and they are making the global food supply ever more dependent on an ever weaker gene pool.”

    And they are producing stuff that one can consume, but it isn’t food. It lacks many of the vitamins/etc that the natural version has (e.g. when comparing GMO carrot to non-GMO carrot), and has negative side effects. To what degree cannot be stated because GMO is such a new thing that long term studies do not yet exist.

    I will stick with my Farmer’s Market and those there that do not spray and allow me to see how they grow food on their farm. I give myself the best chance at eating natural food. Your body is genetically wired through a lot of evolution to perform optimally when you eat certain things. Your body is a machine, just like a vehicle. You can keep it running, but it is sub-optimal and you could be hurting yourself.

    Consider Primal Diet and give it a read. I was skeptical, gave it a try 2 months ago, and I feel so much better and had several life-long health issues disappear in weeks. I will never go back to processed foods and non-fresh foods and a carb-based diet. Natural veggies, meat, nuts for me.

  43. #43 |  BamBam | 

    @33 to be clear, I agree with you. I was adding my personal experience and suggesting everyone do some research on the info.

  44. #44 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    A Critic asked to show his work. Provides link instead.

    o_0

    But I can accept that other libertarians may disagree with the arguments I find convincing without feeling compelled to question their motives.

    This is what the Internet must be like on planet Bizzaro.

  45. #45 |  Aresen | 

    @ Boyd Durkin | January 5th, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Bono (idiot) backs Santorum because of Africa/AIDs funding.

    Nice to have all the idiots in one place.

  46. #46 |  omar | 

    This format is far too brief to address such a complicated topic

    Then why are you throwing around unsourced freshman-caliber opinions about “food fascism”. Deep meditations like “Anyone who endorses food fascism is not a libertarian” do nothing to advance anyone’s understanding of the world.

    Please, go away for a year or three, write your well-sourced book, and we will all have a conversation. Until then, you just sound like a crazy person.

  47. #47 |  Aresen | 

    Rome did the exact same thing. It created the latifundia, ever bigger farms staffed with cheap imported foreign labor, and it used monocrops, and it ignored the operating principles of nature,

    The latifundia were a problem not because of the crops that they grew but because they replaced the small-holders, who were the basis of Rome’s citizen army. This was a long process that involved the growth of the empire in the post-Punic Wars period. As the citizen-soldiers were no longer able to return to their farms between campaigns, they lost them to debt collectors (they had to borrow to buy their equipment). The debt collectors were typically acting for the Senatorial and Knight classes who were building up estates.

    By and large, however, the latifundi grew the exact same crops that the smallholders did. (And that same soil has continued to produce crops even up to the present.) The fantasies of ecofreaks had nothing to do with the fall of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Empire.

  48. #48 |  Cyto | 

    I don’t fully agree that Marx’s take on fact-checking is all that good. I do agree with his assessment that all too often these sites substitute “untrue” for “rhetoric that we don’t like”. I’ll go further and argue that they often seem to be partisan or ideologically driven attack sites. But in using Politifact’s “end medicare” fact-check as his shining example, he picks a poor example. Changing from “single payer subsidized guaranteed health insurance for seniors” to “multiple payer subsidized guaranteed health insurance for seniors with consumer choice” may be a bad idea (or not), but it is not even arguably “ending medicare” unless you want to play Clintonesque semantics with the definition of “medicare” as only meaning “single payer subsidized guaranteed health insurance for seniors”. Progressive-leaning FactCheck.org agrees that this is a year-end-award-winning whopper. They also predict that it will make their list for 2012’s biggest whoppers as well.

    Unfortunately, it seems that Marx is not alone in his critique. It is understandable that the left leaning blogosphere was irate that one of their favorite republican floggers took on the entire Democrat party, but I have a harder time understanding where the Libertarian leaning writers are coming from. This form of rhetorical dishonesty is not just damaging to the political discourse as Marx argues, it is entirely destructive of it. For a better example, look at the last attempt to even discuss social security reform: we never even had a debate because the seniors were scare-mongered into believing that their benefits were going to be cut. Or try having an honest debate on drug policy outside the safety of Libertarian-leaning panels and blogs. Dishonest scare-mongering about pushing drugs on children and crack babies will drown out any reasoned discourse.

    But he did get me motivated to visit those sites to see what they are up to lately. In doing so I quickly found a better example of problems with fact-check sites. In this example Ron Paul mentions a poll suggesting that ‘the majority of the American people support the gold standard’. When the Paul campaign provided a link to his source (an article mentioning 3 polls) it turns out they weren’t national polls. Politifact then turns to a Rasmussen poll that shows 57 percent of likely voters nationwide support the gold standard, but only after being asked a followup question (44 percent before the followup). Their analysis? Paul lied.

    Really? There are in fact several polls from around the country and nationwide polls that show a majority in favor of a gold standard – but Politifact doesn’t think they measure up to their standard of “nationwide” and “the american people”, so it is a lie? You could call characterizing it as “the american people” an exaggeration, but a lie? Plus, the thrust of his statement is about how far the debate on the gold standard has come – from kookie fringe to something included in national polling – not the exact percentage points of support. If the very first “fact check” that I clicked on at Politifact is this questionable, it must be fairly common. Why then would you choose a Medicare example that is much less clear cut (so much less so that left-leaning factcheck sites agree with its status)? I suppose the answer is that Marx knows his audience and his readership is much more likely to identify with a takedown of an attack on team-blue.

  49. #49 |  Leah | 

    Russ 2000- I agree about some of the choices of what to and what not to show on the map. I think the issue though, is that with anything there is going to have to be trade-offs of size vs. detail. Particularly since this is one guy doing this, he’s going to have his own biases and knowledge gaps. I think it appeals to me from a map-design standpoint (making words curve over rivers instead of obliterating them, etc) and not necessarily from a precision standpoint. There’s no such thing as a perfect map, but this one does a pretty cool job of making choices and trade-off that your standard map wouldn’t.

  50. #50 |  A Critic | 

    @Omar

    “Then why are you throwing around unsourced freshman-caliber opinions about “food fascism”.”

    The answer is that it IS food fascism. As fascism treats people it also treats plants, animals, and the land. That is to say fascism views these things as mere machines to be engineered, designed, manipulated, controlled, dominated, as if it is possible to wave the magic wand of legislation/GM and make everything into the vastly over simplistic idealized photogenic fascist fantasy.

    “Deep meditations like “Anyone who endorses food fascism is not a libertarian” do nothing to advance anyone’s understanding of the world.”

    Truism are true, but pointless.

    “Please, go away for a year or three, write your well-sourced book, and we will all have a conversation. Until then, you just sound like a crazy person.”

    Excellent advice that I shall do my best to heed. Thanks!

  51. #51 |  A Critic | 

    @Aresen

    “The latifundia were a problem not because of the crops that they grew but because they replaced the small-holders, who were the basis of Rome’s citizen army.”

    Both aspects were a problem per the perspective expounded upon in “Topsoil and Civilization”. Comparing the best available descriptions of the land occupied by the Romans before and after their agricultural exploitation provides a stark history lesson.

  52. #52 |  Russ 2000 | 

    I do indeed do so. They trade principle for power, and any apt student of history can foresee where that will go.

    Then you are essentially arguing from a “purity of essence” standpoint. And any apt student of history can foresee where that will go.

  53. #53 |  Mattocracy | 

    I’d like to see some source material about all this GMO allegations. Crops weaker, less healthy? Despite the fact that we humans are larger, stronger and living longer than ever before? Dispite the fact that we are getting a greater yield per acre than we ever have before? Lotta statements being made without evidence to back it up.

  54. #54 |  StrangeOne | 

    These comments are a lot funnier when you decide to never read one persons comments. I can’t take “A Critic” seriously after that last thread where we had to explain concepts like “fertilization” and “renewable resources” to someone who claimed to know a lot about what was best for “the earth” and the imminent doom from “food shortages”.

    I really like the Julian Sanchez article btw. The entertainment industry, somewhat ironically, is legendary for the amount of bullshit they will spin as truth. They would strangle the internet with the false reason of retaining their profits, when they really want to destroy the only real competition to their hegemonic control of culture and information. Of course under the “assume stupidity before malice” principle they may actually think their bill would somehow protect their profits, but I doubt it.

  55. #55 |  A Critic | 

    @Mattocracy

    “I’d like to see some source material about all this GMO allegations. Crops weaker, less healthy?”

    Yep. That’s why you can’t save seeds from GMO crops. They don’t stick.

    “Despite the fact that we humans are larger, stronger and living longer than ever before?”

    Yep. Wendell Berry addresses that much better than I ever could in his essays.

    “Dispite the fact that we are getting a greater yield per acre than we ever have before?”

    Greater yields than ever before yet are we also adding greater amounts of compost and fertilizer? No, we aren’t (I’m not counting the stimulant commonly called fertilizer). Are we increasing the diversity, strength, and health of the soil lifeforms? No we aren’t.

    Imagine a huge bucket filled with 100++ ingredients all necessary to grow plants. Now imagine taking out a ladle full, and throwing 3 ingredients back in. Bigger yields are like a bigger ladle. As the ladling continues you keep adding 3 ingredients, the same 3. How long can you keep removing the essential ingredients of life before there isn’t enough left? Time will tell. Vitamin content of vegetables is already declining 1/3 from it’s former measured value. Increasing outputs without increasing inputs means the system is doomed. It’s incredibly stupid.

    “Lotta statements being made without evidence to back it up.”

    Not nearly as many as made by the state and corporations about how they produce food, and if you look, you shall see what I mean.

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