URLs du Jour

2018-03-17

[Amazon Link]

  • We start a new Proverbial chapter today with Proverbs 14:1:

    1The wise woman builds her house,
        but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

    I think there's something metaphorical going on here, but never mind that. I think this is the first Proverb we've covered that talks specifically about women. Or even acknowledges the notion that they can be as wise/foolish as men.

    The suggested Amazon link… well, we try to keep things PG-13 here, but I could not resist.


  • Jonah Goldberg writes at Commentary on Karl Marx’s Jew-Hating Conspiracy Theory. But not just that. Jonah treads some Deirdre McCloskey ground:

    From the time of antiquity until the Enlightenment, trade and the pursuit of wealth were considered sinful. “In the city that is most finely governed,” Aristotle wrote, “the citizens should not live a vulgar or a merchant’s way of life, for this sort of way of life is ignoble and contrary to virtue.” In Plato’s vision of an ideal society (the Republic) the ruling “guardians” would own no property to avoid tearing “the city in pieces by differing about ‘mine’ and ‘not mine.’” He added that “all that relates to retail trade, and merchandise, and the keeping of taverns, is denounced and numbered among dishonourable things.” Only noncitizens would be allowed to indulge in commerce. A citizen who defies the natural order and becomes a merchant should be thrown in jail for “shaming his family.”

    As history ground on, anti-commerce became linked with anti-Semitism. (Jonah notes the Jew-hatred of Martin Luther; even as a mostly-technical Lutheran, I'm feeling some shame about that.) But mostly he notes the anti-Semitic roots of Marxism: "The atheist son of a Jewish convert to Lutheranism and the grandson of a rabbi, Karl Marx hated capitalism in no small part because he hated Jews."


  • The Google LFOD Alert rang for a Seton Hall University page, written by one Steven Kairys M. D.: Medicare, Medicaid and the Rising Tide of Health Care Costs: Will We Ever Get It Right? What's the problem? Well, LFOD is the problem:

    Root causes of our national polarization are not obtuse. We are a country that prides itself on personal freedom and independence: the New Hampshire Live Free or Die morality; the American mythos that the rare stories of people making it out of desolation are the normative path for anyone with the will and energy to follow; the moral failures of those left behind. This is the American Myth embedded into every controversy about rights and privileges.

    These American Myth success stories are more persuasive in our national debate on benefits and entitlements than all the data and studies that continue to pile up to refute the Myth-- especially for the population of swing voters who are themselves poor and hanging on – who believe that it is all "those others" that abuse the system and take away dollars and services that should be aimed at the more deserving.

    Kairys sets up his "myth" strawman, but embraces a bigger myth on his own: as Bastiat put it: "The state is the great fictitious entity by which everyone seeks to live at the expense of everyone else."


  • An editorial in the Caledonian Record (a paper serving northeastern Vermont and northern New Hampshire) notes some bad press for our state: In N.H., Shots In The Dark.

    When grading the “Live Free or Die State,” the Center for Public Integrity most recently gave New Hampshire an “F” on Public Access to Information; Political Financing; Electoral Oversight; Judicial Accountability; and Ethics Enforcement. N.H. gets a “D-” for Legislative Accountability; Lobbying Disclosures; and State Civil Service Management. It scores a “D” for Procurement; a “C-” for State Pension Fund Management; and a “C” for Internal Auditing and Executive Accountability.

    To be fair, even though the Center for Public Integrity's state rankings (last performed in 2015) give NH a D- overall grade for Integrity, they are a tough grader; their highest grade was a C (for Alaska). California and Connecticut got C-'s; everyone else was D+ or below. Didn't they ever hear of grading on a curve?


  • They even invoke LFOD down in Pennsylvania. The (Ardmore PA) Main Line Times reports on: Hundreds of students from Main Line schools take part in walkouts against gun violence.

    Noting that some of the students were carrying a “Live free or die” banner, a reporter asked if some held differing opinions about gun control. [Lower Merion High School Superintendent Robert] Copeland agreed that some do but said discussions on the issue have been civil.

    Although the reporter quoted liberally from the gun-grabbing students and their enablers, he couldn't be bothered to actually interview anyone with "differing opinions".


  • The Hill reports: High cigarette taxes have led to thriving black market across America. And of course…

    Cigarettes are also smuggled out of states, particularly when their neighbors have a much higher excise tax. The opportunity is large, not only for individuals trying to save a buck by crossing into another taxing jurisdiction, but also for organized crime cells seeking to make thousands of dollars. The top outbound smuggling state in this year’s study is New Hampshire, at 85 percent. For every 100 cigarettes consumed in the Live Free or Die State, another 85 are smuggled elsewhere, probably to neighboring states.

    The authors of the underlying research, Michael D. LaFaive and Todd Nesbit, are affiliated with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a free-market advocacy group. So they tend to see the neighboring states' high taxes as the problem, not NH's relatively low one.


  • And whether you view this xkcd cartoon with a chuckle or a shudder, depends, I guess:

    [xkcd on
    the Robot Future]

    Randall Munroe's mouseover text: "I mean, we already live in a world of flying robots killing people. I don't worry about how powerful the machines are, I worry about who the machines give power to."

    Will Randall follow through on this train of thought and go full libertarian? Doubtful, but we'll see.