David Friedman talks about Tribal Politics. Here's some science:
Back before I gave up on arguing climate change issues on Facebook I concluded that almost nobody there on any side of the argument understood the mechanism of greenhouse gas warming. They thought of CO2 as an insulator, like a blanket. If that were all it was it would block incoming heat from the sun as well as outgoing from the Earth. The essential characteristic of a greenhouse gas is selective transparency, the fact that it is more transparent to the short wavelength light coming down from the sun than to the long wavelength light going up from the Earth.
The ignorance is not limited to Facebook. There is a video online that purports to demonstrate the greenhouse effect with a simple experiment performed by a young student. What it actually demonstrates is that CO2 is less transparent than ordinary air, not that it is selectively transparent, which is what being a greenhouse gas requires. The video is presented by the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the Clean Air Conservancy.
If you work that into a dinner-table debate, your lead-in should be "Ackshually…"
An excellent Ronald Bailey article from the current issue of Reason has emerged from behind the paywall: The Luddites' Veto.
No sensible person could favor irresponsible research and innovation. So RRI—"responsible research and innovation"—may sound like an innocuous idea. As it takes hold in Europe, though, the term has clearly become a cover for what amounts to a Luddites' veto. Now the notion is percolating among American academics. If it finds its way to the halls of state, RRI would dramatically slow technological progress and perhaps even bring it to a grinding halt.
That wouldn't be an unexpected byproduct. Several RRI proponents have explicitly argued for "slow innovation," even "responsible stagnation." One of them—Bernd Carsten Stahl, a professor of critical research in technology at De Montfort University in the United Kingdom—has even compared technological breakthroughs to a pandemic. "We should ask whether emerging technologies can and will be perceived as a threat of a similar level as the current threat of the Covid virus," he wrote in 2020. If so, he added, they would require "radical intervention."
RRI is the bastard child of the "precautionary principle." And it's the latest incarnation of the always-present tendency to hold back technological, economic, and social dynamism. If you haven't read Virginia Postrel's book, The Future and Its Enemies… well, do that: Amazon link at your right.
Glenn Harlan Reynolds, aka the Blogfather, deploys the F-word at the NYPost, as he describes How Team Biden is getting more and more corporations to do its bidding.
Fascism involves government control, but not ownership, of the means of production. Private companies exist, but they’re simply arms of the government.
That’s pretty much how things work in America today, except that even functions traditionally government-performed in countries like Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy have been outsourced to private organizations.
Take reordering the economy. The Nazis’ program of Gleichschaltung rearranged everything to suit the party’s goals, with the supervision of party officials and government boards.
As long as you're at Amazon buying The Future and its Enemies, you might want to pick up a copy of America's Emerging Fascist Economy by Charlotte Twight. It's © 1975, so Glenn isn't ackshually pointing out anything new.
In his syndicated column, Jacob Sullum points out the Gun Grabber in Chief's latest attempt at Grabbing. Without the pesky need to ackshually pass legislation. Biden's Attack on 'Ghost Guns' Fits a Pattern of Lawless Firearm Regulation: The President and His Predecessor Both Tried to Impose Gun Control by Executive Fiat.
During his 2022 State of the Union address, President Joe Biden promised he would "keep doing everything in my power" to eliminate "ghost guns you can buy online and assemble at home." But Biden actually tried to do something that was not in his power: He purported to ban that previously legal business by administrative decree, provoking a preliminary injunction that was expanded last week.
In a rule that took effect last August, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) rewrote federal law in a vain attempt to prevent Americans from making their own guns. That rule is part of a pattern: The Biden and Trump administrations both have sought to unilaterally impose new gun controls, reversing long-standing ATF positions while defying the rule of law and the separation of powers.
Jacob notes that was nothing new, either: Trump's "bump stock" ban in 2019 turned "gun owners who had legally purchased bump stocks" into felons subject to punishment of "a $250,000 fine and up to 10 years in federal prison, even though the law had not changed." He should have been impeached for that.
And finally, an item brought to my attention via my Google LFOD news alert: I Am New Hampshire’s State Motto. Please Remember You Can Die While Living Free.
“Live Free or Die.”
Since 1945, I’ve been the Granite State’s official motto. I’m rugged. Independent. I don’t bend to authority. Naturally, New Hampshire residents look to me for guidance. And to be sure, many who draw inspiration from my words live long, liberated lives. But some, admittedly, do not.
So I’d like to take a moment and reiterate this: You can most definitely die while living free.
I thought this was common knowledge, but apparently not. Certain people are clearly under the impression they can do whatever the hell they want here and nothing bad will happen. They climb Mount Washington—alone in January. They ride their motorcycle down the Kancamagus highway–at 2 a.m. with no helmet. They go water skiing in Lake Winnipesaukee—alone in January at 2 a.m. with no helmet.
Clever, funny, and devoid of any understanding of the motto. But that's OK.