19
Jul
12

All linky, no thinky: Special edition on Reason magazine

So far, blogging seems to be the biggest casualty of my new job.  In any case I’ve accumulated a ton of open tabs, and rather than try to string them together into an intelligible post I’m just going to vomit them forth into WordPress, with a bit of snark and little else in the way of added value.  This one’s all from Reason‘s Hit & Run blog.

——

First we have a lulzily indignant paean to category error:

(h/t Reason, ofc.)

The author of this ironically sincere piece — we’re well into the realm of metacommentary here — is up in arms over the fact that some of her friends might be conservatives (or libertarians; she’s a bit confused on the distinction).  Brian Doherty has a lot to say, and most if it is witty and incisive and includes anecdotes like this:

And I distinctly remember a marketing person at ZDNet, who was trying to organize a debate over Internet regulation, screaming in frustration across the office, “Goddamnit. Is anybody here NOT a libertarian?”

But what I get most strongly out of the Phoenix piece, which Doherty doesn’t mention, is that its author is mostly just frustrated with the realization that libertarians — and even conservatives — are people too, not just abstract and easily-despised Others.  They might even be people with whom she’s friends — or worse, people who buy the same clothes she does.  How horrifying!

(Full disclosure: I’m a vociferous anarchocapitalist and I wear Naked & Famous jeans to work.  Finding hipster jeans that will accommodate legs with muscle on them is a bit of a challenge; fortunately, raw denim stretches.)

——

I hear someone recently gave a speech that sounded a bit like this:

If you have a mosque in Tennessee, somebody along the line gave you a hard time until you paid them off. There was a xenophobic zoning official somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to swim in an ocean of paperwork. Somebody invested in roads and bridges, and used that investment to stonewall you. If you’ve got a mosque — you didn’t build that. Somebody else could have made that happen, but didn’t.

I might’ve gotten a few of the words mixed up, but the intent’s basically there, right?  Government’s inextricably entwined in major struggles and accomplishments, invested in every step of the way — including the three steps back after two steps forward.  If government wants to step up and take credit for the successes of new businesses great and small, it’s also going to have to step up and take the blame for xenophobic disgraces like this one:

——

Next we discover that Jesse Walker — and Alex Pareene — dislike Aaron Sorkin as much as I do:

Pareene:

He’s a smug, condescending know-it-all who isn’t as smart as he thinks he is. His feints toward open-mindedness are transparently phony, he mistakes his opinion for common sense, and he’s preachy. Sorkin has spent years fueling the delusional self-regard of well-educated liberals. He might be more responsible than anyone else for the anti-democratic “everyone would agree with us if they weren’t all so stupid” attitude of the contemporary progressive movement.

Bang.  On.  (There’s more.  Click through and RTWT.)

Sorkin’s worship of the Great Man theory reminds me of the sort of person who admires Robespierre and Stalin — but, carefully, only in the abstract, because those purges are kind of awkward.

——

You know those late-’80s dystopias in which prisoners are subjected to horrible experimental medical experiments?  (Okay, okay, this theme far predates the ’80s but I’m thinking of Skinny Puppy albums.)  Well, imagine a world in which we replace the destitute and disadvantaged with the extremely rich.  After all, those plutocratic fuckers need to “pay their fair share”, right?  Wouldn’t it be great if they helped advance the cause of medical science and maybe scouted out some horrifying side effects the way that douchenozzle in the red Camaro scouts out traffic cops?  Why, progressives would be ecstatic — and not because they’re at all resentful of the successes of others, no sir, it’s just because they only hear noises that might save babies.

Spoiler warning: We actually live in that world.  And of course bioethicists are complaining.

Naturally.  Someone comes up with a new cancer treatment, and the first thing a bioethicist says is “That’s horrible!”

——

Turns out that Jimmy Carter is racist.

——

Finally, you know how people are constantly talking about Canada and Sweden as if they’re basically the Soviet Union with the hammers and sickles filed off (and wonderfully successful, therefore socialism works)?  Yeah, not so much.  Sweden’s been massively privatizing and deregulating its public sector, and Canada’s been deficit-hawkish and growth-focused for quite some time now.  Great comparison, bass-ackwards conclusion.

——

Maybe this weekend I’ll clear up the tagged articles from my economics RSS feed.

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5 Responses to “All linky, no thinky: Special edition on Reason magazine”


  1. 1 TMI
    July 20, 2012 at 13:15

    Who follows politics in Canada? Isn’t it more or less simply another Minnesota?
    .

    • July 21, 2012 at 11:40

      Skippystalin does, for which we should all be grateful.

      • July 22, 2012 at 08:17

        Hey, hey now…Canada’s reputation as redder than blood is extremely useful. Don’t go debunking it! Do you think the Americans would have let Canada get away with actual budget cuts if they had known? They’re being predictably embarrassed as a result, and likely to get uppity if they notice.

        I did some fact-checking based on a gut feeling

        By the way, a high Canadian dollar actually hurts our economy. Given that we’re an export economy, a higher dollar increases the price of said exports. We’re doing better than the Americans in spite of a high dollar, not because of it.

        So, about that?

        Canada reported a trade deficit equivalent to 793 Million CAD in May of 2012. Historically, from 1971 until 2012, Canada Balance of Trade averaged 1.8000 Billion CAD reaching an all time high of 8.5900 Billion CAD in January of 2001 and a record low of -2.7000 Billion CAD in July of 2010.

        Canada’s high wealth correlates with a high dollar and a trade deficit.
        This obsession with trade is hurting Skippy’s observations. Canada’s GDP is $1.7 trillion. Exports are in the range of $30-$40 billion. Based on the latest year I have numbers for, exports were 2.5% of Canada’s economy. In a good growth year, exports could be completely wiped out and Canada could still barely post an increase.

        Would suck for the prairies, though, as Canada exports over half its wheat.

        Public workers going to have to pay dramatically more into their benefit plans. If they don’t, current retirees, who really can’t fend for themselves, are going to take it in the neck soon.

        Interesting point. Someone’s going to get jacked, and it is just a question of who. I look forward to grinning evilly when it turns out to be the less powerful partner.

  2. 4 Ish
    August 6, 2012 at 08:12

    I used to make fun of Hipsters, back before it was cool. Now I pretty much just mock Chavs… you might not have heard of them. They’re pretty obscure.


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