URLs du Jour

2012-10-03

  • Don't Vote An eggshellent Reason article titled "Your Vote Doesn't Count" by Katherine Mangu-Ward is now online, and it gets the coveted Pun Salad Read The Whole Thing™ award for the day. Ms. Mangu-Ward is witty and perceptive. Sample:

    Voting is widely thought to be one of the most important things a person can do. But the reasons people give for why they vote (and why everyone else should too) are flawed, unconvincing, and sometimes even dangerous. The case for voting relies on factual errors, misunderstandings about the duties of citizenship, and overinflated perceptions of self-worth. There are some good reasons for some people to vote some of the time. But there are a lot more bad reasons to vote, and the bad ones are more popular.

    See if you don't agree.

  • OK, so you might vote, or not. Gonna watch the debates? There's one on tonight! Not me, bubba. David Bier notes "How Debates Make Us Dumber". Brief and convincing. For example:

    In tonight’s debate, you will not learn of the great issues of the day. Those, I can assure you, will not be addressed, and even if they were, the shallow slogan with which they would be dismissed will only grant the illusion that they are not so great a problem after all. Nor will you even learn anything about the candidates or how they will “rule us.” You will just discover the better entertainer, the greater fraud, and perhaps even the next fancy of the democratic mob.

  • But if you decide to watch the debate, here's a drinking game. For example:

    • Obama uses one of the following phrases: “Middle class,” “wealthy,” “fair share,” “Neil Armstrong,” “Sasha and Malia,” “Caymans”: Shot.
    • Romney uses one of the following phrases: “Job creators,” “job-killing,” “class warfare,” “Olympics,” “Obamacare,” “Kenya”: Shot.*

    That's just one. Here is one from Peter Suderman at Reason.

    In any case: even if the debate makes you dumber, the drinking can give you an excuse for that.

  • James Taranto appealed to my inner Heinlein fanboy yesterday:

    Because It Is a Harsh Mistress

    "Why We Need a Supercomputer on the Moon"--headline, Wired.com, Oct. 2

    Heh!

  • [Amazon Link] In case you're interested, I recently read Frank J. Fleming's short and cheap and wonderful Kindle book, How to Fix Everything in America Forever: The Plan to Keep America Awesome. My take is here.

  • Various smart folks of a libertarian bent have taken to their keyboards to opine on whether to vote for Mitt Romney, or not. Both sides make good points, check them out if you're in the market:

    • On the pro-Romney side: Stephen Green, aka VodkaPundit.

      We don’t get to choose this year between “good” and “better’” — have we ever enjoyed that choice? But we do get a sharp distinction this year between “bad” and “worse.”

      I’m going with “bad” because I’m not sure we’ll survive another term of the worst.

    • Doug Mataconis says: there's no case for a libertarian to vote for Mitt.

      I’m not going to tell other libertarians how they should vote. Some have made the decision that defeating President Obama is their top priority and I can understand that. Others, like me, are sick of choosing between the lesser of two evils and seeing the person you voted for leading the nation further down the road to calamity. Some, like Kevin Boyd, are suggesting that not voting for President at all is the way to go. You can all choose for yourselves. For me, though, I have yet to hear a persuasive case for any libertarian to support Mitt Romney, which is why I will be voting for Gary Johnson.

    • And Timothy Sandefur agrees with Mataconis:

      Worst of all, in my mind: a Romney victory would spell the end of the Tea Party movement. The Republican Party would then be able to discipline libertarian-leaning Republicans to support the Administration in just the same way that they’re trying to yoke libertarians to support the ticket. Free-market libertarians could have said no when George W. supported expanding Medicare. They could have said no when George W. proposed bailouts. Now, once again, they have a chance to say no. And they better do it while they still can—and insist that the 2016 nomination go to someone who actually believes in limited government and individual freedom.

    • Ted Frank is a one-issue voter: Supreme Court nominations.

      One can point to individual unhappy results from Republican-appointed justices, but it is a mathematical certainty that Obama-appointed justices will flip the Court on […] critical issues of the rights of individuals against the government—none more critical than First Amendment protection for political speech. Once that falls, the game is over and libertarians have lost permanently. This alone is a dispositive libertarian case for Romney, even before one gets to the difference between a Romney and Obama on economic freedom and regulation.

    Like Mataconis, I'm enough of a libertarian to not tell you how you should vote. But I think all these guys should be read in the light of the Mangu-Ward article cited first today. Clarify your reason for voting, then decide what makes sense in light of that.