Friday, August 31, 2012

Huntsman on Immigration Reform

One of the issues that the WSJ seems better on is immigration.  While their arguments are often couched in terms of  the "national interest", and the economics of saving welfare programs (by bringing in more younger people to fill the bottom of the ponzi scheme pyramid), at least the arguments are true and they're on the right side of the issue.    Here's one such editorial from former governor Huntsman.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Keys to Success

Though I haven't clicked through the links, this basic list gibes with my experience.  Crossfit methodology embodies these principles, and I've been trying to figure out how to implement a similar methodology for "mental fit", but haven't had much success yet.  Where's the Greg Glassman of the mind?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Real Life Travails of a Doctor

Expect to hear more stories like this, and to wonder what kind of compromises your doctor is faced with when he or she treats you.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Center for Industrial Progress

I'm becoming more and more impressed with Alex Epstein's Center for Industrial Progress.  Here's a keynote address he delivered to the American Coal Council:

Monday, August 27, 2012

Muller on Fukushima

Here's an excellent article analyzing the radiation damage at Fukushima. An excerpt:
In hindsight, it is hard to resist the conclusion that the policies enacted in the wake of the disaster in Japan—particularly the long-term evacuation of large areas and the virtual termination of the Japanese nuclear power industry—were expressions of panic. I would go further and suggest that these well-intended measures did far more harm than good, not least in limiting the prospects of a source of energy that is safe, abundant and (as compared with its rivals) relatively benign for the environmental health of our planet.
If you are exposed to a dose of 100 rem or more, you will get sick right away from radiation illness. You know what that's like from people who have had radiation therapy: nausea, loss of hair, a general feeling of weakness. In the Fukushima accident, nobody got a dose this big; workers were restricted in their hours of exposure to try to make sure that none received a dose greater than 25 rem (although some exceeded this level). At a larger dose—250 to 350 rem—the symptoms become life-threatening. Essential enzymes are damaged, and your chance of dying (if untreated) is 50%.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Julian Simon's Timeless Insights

George will has a good  column out explaining why all the doomsday environmentalist predictions have failed to come true.  The money quote:
The modelers missed something — human ingenuity in discovering, extracting and innovating. Which did not just appear after 1972.
Read the whole thing, and be prepared to weep when you get to the end of it.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Catholic's Perspective

I think this Catholic perspective on the Ayn Rand - Paul Ryan connection is worth a read.  In particular, this is a fair question for Mr. Ryan:
 What exactly Ryan accepts and rejects will need to be articulated much more clearly in the coming weeks. I didn’t have time to get to the bottom of it in the interview. But it isn’t enough for Ryan to say that, on the one hand, he rejects her objectivism, but on the other, that he affirms her moral case for capitalism — because her moral case for capitalism is rooted in her objectivism. That root is, again, pure selfishness.
Moreover the author seems to think that Ayn Rand's rejection of Christianity comes from her dislike of charity.  Though certainly she was against altruism, I think the more telling contrast is what she was for: For Ayn Rand, pride is a major virtue (and an integral part of egoism), yet for Christians it's the single worst vice.  That's the deepest incompatibility that I see.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Ayn Rand's Appeal

Onkar has a new op-ed out at fox news.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Alex Epstein on Reframing the Moral Narrative

Well worth a listen to, particularly if you're interested in any form of activism or advocacy.  I personally wrote in my writing notebook a few years ago: focus more on aspirational values.  My idea was aimed at other issues, particularly how capitalism makes society more harmonious and allows people to rise to the level of their ability, but it applies in many other areas.

The importance of the issue became much more apparent to me after listening to a lecture Onkar gave at USC during a seminar focusing on the issue of individual rights. In a nutshell, life requires us to think and produce in order to have success; rights protect that ability in a social context.  So even though rights are defined in a negative way, i.e. the prohibition against the initiation of force, one should never lose sight of their purpose which is that they allow men to live better lives.  (Another reason I have so much disdain for the Mises Institute type libertarians, is that they go out of their way to use things like drugs and prostitution to make the case for rights, while in reality those are just  a consequence of the fact that the freedom to choose and to learn implies the possibility of going wrong, while retaining the mechanism to then correct the mistake.)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

On Green Jobs and Green Energy

Excellent criticism of green energy and "green jobs":
If the industry was fundamentally unproductive, so were my colleagues and I. We were wasting a tragic amount of time, talent--and other people's money--making a far inferior form of power when we could have been creating real advances in other, legitimate kinds of energy.
Just as disturbing was what these “jobs” did to people’s spirits. Every high-ranking person in solar or wind must eventually figure out, as I did, that he cannot compete in the market, that his competitive advantages are government subsidies and forced limitations on competitors.
Read the whole thing, I can't recommend it highly enough.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Radical only in comparison to Obama

It amazes me that Paul Ryan can be cast as a "free market radical".  IBD does a good job showing why on the issue of Ryan's budget.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Don Watkins on a Roll

Two good pieces by Don:

Ryan, Rand and rights

I really like this paragraph:
According to Rand, rights are moral principles that are designed to restrain society from interfering with an individual’s moral action. Morality helps an individual decide what he ought to do — rights tell society not to stop him from doing what he ought to do. Since morality, in Rand’s egoistic conception, tells an individual he should support his own life, act on his own independent judgment, produce the wealth he needs to survive, and seek out his own happiness, then a political system should enshrine the individual’s inalienable rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.
And  Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged: a paean to American liberty

Check out the comments to this second piece to get a sense of the state of mind of a good portion of Europeans.

Onkar on the Diane Rehm Show

Onkar will be on NPR today at 11:06 EST for an hour long discussion of Ayn Rand's influence on the conservative movement.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Don't Serve Them

I hope more and more people act this way and stop supporting their destroyers.  (See also an older post on ostracism for some thoughts on how to deal with immoral people in a free society.)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Upcoming Doctor Shortage

Brother, you asked for it.

Friday, August 17, 2012

FDA to Regulate Adult Stem Cells?

Keith Lockitch has a good editorial on the subject.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Immigration and the Olympics

I'm becoming more interested in the issue of immigration, so will be posting more often on the subject.  Here's a good editorial by Ira Stoll using the Olympics to concretize the effects of immigration policy.  I particularly like the ending, but read the whole thing:
Winning Olympic medals is nice for patriotic spirit and national prestige, but there’s a bigger point here that goes beyond the world of sports. It's easy to count medals and see how much immigrants have added to American athletics. The contributions in science, business, art, music and cuisine can be harder to quantify, but they are there, too. Close the immigration door tighter, as restrictionists recommend, and we’d have fewer Olympic medals, but also fewer scientific discoveries, fewer successful high-tech startups and fewer worldwide hit songs. Open it wider, and we’ll have more.
Impossible to count are the medals that would have been won, or jobs created, by immigrants who would have liked to come here but have been shut out by border guards or immigration laws that create long waiting lists and bureaucratic obstacles. America’s history has long been one where citizenship is available not only by bloodline or birthplace but by willingness to commit to the Constitution. Critics tend to see immigration as a zero-sum game, in which immigrants take jobs away from native-born Americans. But the Olympics are a wonderful example of the way in which immigration is a win-win, with immigrants working together with other Americans to create achievements of which all Americans can be proud.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Rogge Thinks a Sailor is an Olympic Legend But Usain Bolt Isn't

Off topic for this blog, but since Bolt is my favorite athlete, I'm sharing this story which details the incredible stupidity of  the director of the IOC.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Onkar on the Mike Slater Show

Don Watkins highlights two of Onkar's radio appearances.  One starts just after the 7:00 min mark, the second nearer 8:30.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Full Story on GST and Bain

Kimberley Strassel is my favorite WSJ columnist, here she looks at the story behind the GST bankruptcy.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Regulating Men into Poverty and Dependency

The consequences of nanny state regulation are made manifest in this particularly tragic case:

"Nate and I are now in a shelter," Lynette Johnson said. "Doug can't stay with us because he takes prescription narcotics to deal with his pain and the shelter does not allow him with those kinds of drugs."
She said the situation has been stressful on the family. Lynette is afraid to be away from her husband in case she has a seizure.

Nathan wanted to help out his family by selling hot dogs from a cart he bought with money he saved. He worked out an arrangement with the owner of a local sporting goods store to sell hot dogs in the parking lot. The owner of the store thought it would be a great way to attract customers and even offered Nathan a sales commission if he got people to rent his motorized bicycles.
The city of Holland, however, shut down the business 10 minutes after it opened, informing Nathan it was in the city’s commercial district where food carts not connected to downtown brick-and-motor restaurants are prohibited.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

"The Result of Reasoned Engineering and Thought"

An interesting video summarizing the challenges the Mars lander had to overcome.  (I wish the whole project had been left in private hands, under private funding; nonetheless it's an impressive accomplishment of reason and technology.)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Not Counting on SS

Though there are no deep insights here, or any particularly principled analysis, I find it encouraging to see the media carrying positive stories highlighting individual self-reliance vs. dependency on the "social net".  Maybe the American spirit still has some life in it?  If so, we need to help those who still have it to see that it's a moral quality not just practical prudence.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

The WSJ on Romneycare 2.0

A good article detailing the (d)evolution of socialized medicine in Massachusetts.  I really can't understand how anyone can believe the Republicans will repeal Obamacare when their presumptive nominee is the one who ushered in its predecessor/model.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The Nature of "Building"

Harry Bingswanger has a great piece rebutting Obama's "You Didn't Build That" speech.  I particularly liked this observation:
If you do not create everything, you create nothing.
Since Thomas Edison didn’t discover electricity, invent glass, learn how to forge metal, and devise language, he didn’t invent the light bulb. An artist doesn’t create a painting because the pigments are already there on his palette. A child putting together Lego blocks is not building anything because the Lego blocks were provided for him.
The only act that would count as creation is making something out of nothing–creation ex nihilo.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Capitalist Study Material

I agree with Don.  All the links he lists are well worth reading / listening to.

Monday, August 06, 2012

CA Going BK

What will California do when it runs out of victims to loot?  I fear it will get federal transfer payments and thereby effectively loot the responsible states.  Hopefully the other states will stand up to this and prevent any bailout, but there's not much precedent for anti-bailout victories.  In any case, I enjoyed Bill Whittle's video on CA going out of business, though I disagree with cities or states giving money to businesses to relocate (though I see nothing wrong with tax moratoriums).

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Atlas Shrugged in German

Atlas Shrugged has a new German translation. Not sure how much difference it will make, but it certainly can't hurt (and it might help prime some of the best minds in Germany to emigrate).

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Who Built It?

The Undercurrent also has a good take on who deserves the credit for building a successful business.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Best Picture Rebuttal - "You Didn't Win That"

Thursday, August 02, 2012

History of Roads

I found this factual history of roads, written in rebuttal to Obama's Marxist comments, quite interesting. In particular the number of times that governments built infrastructure at a loss, meaning they destroyed value. Of course, losses happen to private investors and entrepreneurs as well, but they have an incentive to learn from the experiences and not repeat them. When it's other people's money involved, and you have a gun to transfer that money, there's no such incentive.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

"Disability" "Insurance"

An interesting column detailing the lax and ever more generous disability welfare programs. Another reason that these government programs should be eliminated (and replaced by private insurance if that's what people are willing to spend their own money on).