URLs du Jour

2018-10-13

[Amazon Link]

  • One of my lefty Facebook friends was moved to post this Guardian story (from July 2017): Just 100 companies responsible for 71% of global emissions, study says. Those damn capitalist pigs!

    Just 100 companies have been the source of more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988, according to a new report.

    The Carbon Majors Report (pdf) “pinpoints how a relatively small set of fossil fuel producers may hold the key to systemic change on carbon emissions,” says Pedro Faria, technical director at environmental non-profit CDP, which published the report in collaboration with the Climate Accountability Institute.

    Gosh. But …

    Number one evil corporation on the GHG emitter list? It's "China (Coal)", accounting for 14.32% of that 71%. That's more than three times the GHG emissions from number two on the list.

    Do you consider China to be a "company"? Neither do I.

    And that number two is? Aramco, a state-owned enterprise (Saudi Arabia).

    And number three: Gazprom, majority-owned by … the Russian government.

    And number four: National Iranian Oil Co, another state-owned enterprise.

    Finally, down at number five: ExxonMobil, an actual private company. But further down you see Coal India, Pemex, Petroleos de Venezuela SA,…

    This isn't hard to figure out, but the Guardian actively misleads its readers by blaming "companies" for GHG emissions. Unfortunately, it works, as in the case of my lefty friend. And I might could have responded with our Amazon Product du Jour.


  • Arnold Kling has thoughts related to political tribalism. Is it possible to Love them out of their cult?.

    This approach appeals to me. One of my favorite children’s fables is the one about the sun and the wind competing to get a man to take off his coat. The wind blows hard and cold, but that only makes the man pull his coat tighter. The sun bathes the man in warmth, and he removes his coat. I think there is a lesson there for those involved in political conflicts.

    But I think that there are complicating factors. Most important, I worry that political anger is fueled by emotional needs, not good intentions. The anger comes from internal demons, a sort of bitterness (self-hatred?) that the individual projects outward.

    Suppose that there is a spectrum of personal contentment. At one end of that spectrum there are people who are happy with their lives and comfortable in their skins. They feel gratitude. Many of the conservative and libertarian intellectuals that I regularly follow fit in this category. The folks I know at Reason, at National Review, or in the GMU economics department. At the other end of the spectrum are young men who are so frustrated and angry that they become serial killers.

    The politics of anger falls somewhere in between. At the extremes, it might be close to the serial-killer end of the spectrum.

    I think there's a lot in what Arnold says: to a first handwaving approximation, lefties tend to be more bitter, angry, and humorless. (Even their comedy shows are humorless, a sad state of affairs.)

    On the other hand, that could well be my cognitive bias speaking. I await peer-reviewed research.


  • Jonah Goldberg writes on Nikki Haley’s excellent timing.

    Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley surprised virtually everybody this week when she announced she’d be resigning from her post at the end of the year.

    In doing so, Haley has managed something unique. She leaves the Trump administration with her reputation not merely undiminished but actually enhanced. She’s popular with both pro- and anti-Trump factions on the right, and with shockingly high numbers of independents and Democrats. She has a long list of accomplishments under her belt and no embarrassments or scandals. She is almost certainly the most popular politician in America.

    She's also one of the few Republicans I'd be more or less happy to vote for, given the opportunity.


  • At Reason, Peter Suderman detects… is it irony? I don't have a good handle on irony. Anyway, Peter thinks it's irony, I suppose that's good enough for our porpoises: Donald Trump Defends Medicare, a Socialist Program, from the Threat of Socialism.

    Over the past few months, Donald Trump has staked out an aggressive opposition to "Medicare-for-all," an increasingly popular liberal slogan that has multiple meanings but usually refers to some sort of single-payer health care system.

    This is rather rich coming from a candidate who touted single-payer's virtues during the Republican presidential primaries. But Trump's opposition is not merely ironic. It is self-contradicting. The president's primary argument against Medicare-for-all is that it is a socialist scheme that would ruin Medicare, the nation's largest socialist health care program.

    As noted in the article, Trump's position is not only ironic, it's actively harmful to what's needed: overall reform of the inequitable, unsustainable, US entitlement system.


  • At NR, Kevin D. Williamson profiles lovely Sweden: The Rorschach Nation.

    For the American Left, Sweden is the great exemplar of what progressives erroneously call “socialism” or “democratic socialism,” even though the actual facts of life in Sweden’s open and entrepreneurial economy are far from socialistic. They point to Sweden’s robust economy, enviable standard of living, and the general contentedness of its people and conclude that what the United States needs is higher taxes, more social spending, and a larger public sector. Conservatives cannot help but notice that progressives draw precisely the same lesson from . . . everything: that the wisest course of action is to give more money and power to people and institutions politically aligned with progressives.

    For some on the American right, Sweden is a socialist hellhole. The talk-radio ranters and Internet-based rage retailers conclude that Sweden is a socialist hellhole because . . . Sweden must be a socialist hellhole. It has very high taxes, a sprawling welfare state, and public-sector spending that represents an enormous share of GDP. The problem with that analysis is that Swedes don’t seem to believe that they live in a socialist hellhole, and Sweden sure as heck doesn’t look like one. It has its troubles, including worrisome unrest within its poorly assimilated immigrant community, but in the main it is a prosperous, healthy, and happy country.

    Kevin's article is kind of a plug for Johan Norberg's new documentary, Sweden: Lessons for America?. If you're a podcast person, there's a Reason interview here,


  • And Steve Horwitz had a Cafe Hayek quote of the day, and I thought it was good enough to say "me too":


Last Modified 2018-10-13 3:56 PM EST