04
Feb
10

We interrupt this nerdfest…

…for a brief return to politically-charged content.

——

On the question of “Is taxation really theft?“, we discover commentary here, here, and here (h/t Uncle) to the effect that the Internal Revenue Service is buying sixty (more) short-barreled shotguns.  Are IRS agents really kicking down that many doors these days?

Render unto Cæsar… or else

I’m not all that worked up about armed tax collectors — quelle fucking surprise — but it’s instructive to point out the iron fist when it removes the velvet glove.  Most people have their income taxes withheld from their paycheques and their sales taxes included in their bills, which makes it easy for them to forget that they’re being extorted under threat of force.

(And of course if you want one, you have to pay extra tax on it.)

——

Next we discover that LabRat put torch to tinder and lit the DADT Drama Llama on fire here and here (Update: and also here).  Further discussion here, here, and especially here and here.  (Read the last two if you read nothing else.  And yes, I’m getting awfully lazy with my linking.)

One particular feature of the anti-repeal argument that rubs me raw has to do with the “rational, objective” points raised in opposition.  (Can’t let people on the internet think you’re a fagbasher, after all.  Might lose you some face if they did.)  Comments about unit cohesion and open romantic relationships in the ranks and homophobes lynching their fellow servicemen sound a lot better than “butbutbut… OMG TEH COOTIES!“, but being grounded in an objective reality they can be investigated.  (Which is something we ought to do anyway, and oh look!)  In particular, the folks advancing these arguments never seem to address the obvious question: given that a whole lot of nothing happened when Britain, Canada, and Israel (to pick the first three that come to mind) dropped their bans on GLBT service personnel, what is it about Americans that makes us unable to handle teh ghey in our armed forces?

While I’m on the subject, it seems to me in my more cynical moments that the Democratic party leadership has carefully timed the DADT debate to provide a wedge issue for the 2010 midterm elections.  (Why wasn’t DADT repealed by simple executive fiat in mid-2009? Because it wasn’t politically convenient to do so.)  This points to mainstream conservatism’s new-found respect for civil rights being an attempt to forestall that Democratic wedge by making it irrelevant in the spring, when only policy wonks and bloggers give a shit about the midterm elections.  Good outcomes in the narrow sense, but not the process I’d have hoped for.

——

Finally, steering this post off into philosophical matters like a front-wing vortex into a brake duct, I can’t help but point out two illuminating posts on EconLog: first, Arnold Kling on his position between Rothbard and Hayek; and second, Bryan Caplan responding to the notion that libertarians should stop worrying and learn to love the government.

——

Well, that clears the decks for a little while; now we resume our glib analysis of pre-season Formula One cars.

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4 Responses to “We interrupt this nerdfest…”


  1. February 4, 2010 at 20:38

    Agh, I hate DADT. The Man took a simple ban (no gays) and made a mess out of it (we won’t ask, unless you make it obvious, then we’ll crucify you). Better to have left it alone or repealed it outright.

    It’s past time to make DADT go away. This was one campaign promise I was looking forward to.


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