Links for January 17, 2011: “An American Conversation” on Tucson, Drug Prohibition, etc.

January 16, 2011
  • Reason.tv once again lives up to its name.

  • On January 5, 2011, a gang of gun-wielding thugs rampaged into a private residence and killed a grandfather of 12. My question is: Were the killers inspired by violent “drug war” rhetoric, or were they simply crazy? It is time for an American Conversation on the tragedy in Framingham. Raids like this are conducted over 100 times each day across America. Yes, people die.

  • Vodpod videos no longer available.

    ANN COULTER: I have one statement for you: the welfare state. No, people can not do whatever they want to do and live however they want to live, as long as Ann has to pay for it, when they can’t hold a job and raise their own kids and buy their own food and pay for their own rent. You get rid of the welfare state and we’ll talk about people sitting home and shooting heroin all day, but right now, oh, and now I have to pay for their health care!

    JOHN STOSSEL: So because we have a social welfare system, we have to give up these other freedoms?

    ANN: Yeah, as long as Ann is paying for it.

    Ann Coulter is a little more forthright than the average prohibitionist. Her argument is that since the government is forcing her to pay for something, then it might as well be what she wants most of all, which is to bastille her fellow citizens when she disapproves of their private, personal conduct. If she weren’t forced to pay for something, she might then be open to not paying out of her own pocket to imprison people who have committed no crimes against her or others.

    If Ann doesn’t want government health care money and living expenses to go to drug addicts, then her solution is counter-productive. Even prior to ObamaCare, the only people in the United States of America who have been constitutionally entitled to state-funded health care have been prisoners. Her argument, essentially, is: “I don’t want to pay for drug addicts’ health care food, room, and board, but I love throwing them all in jail, where I’m guaranteed to pay for all of their health care, food, room, and board. It is more important to Ann that we throw drug users in jail than it is that we save Ann’s tax money.”

    That is the logic of prohibition. For more hemming, hawing, evading, and stammering, see part 2:

    Vodpod videos no longer available.

    You can decide for yourselves whether the logic of prohibition wins the day. Read the rest of this entry »


  • Links for October 18, 2010: Hungarian Government Does Something Worthwhile, the Likelihood of an Informed Electorate, others…

    October 17, 2010
    1. Vodpod videos no longer available.

      I didn’t know what to expect when I clicked the link. The lesson unfortunately has nothing to do with the economics of socialism. It has to do instead with the Hungarian government’s laudable efforts to hold accountable companies whose carelessness causes great damage to surrounding land. Yes, socialists can do some good things sometimes….

    2. The problem with democracy.

    3. Great work, ladies and gentlemen.

    Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.


    Links for October 4, 2010: Police Corruption in NY, How Many Stimuli Does It Take To Revive an Economy?, others….

    October 3, 2010
    1. An absolutely chilling story of police corruption in New York City. Officers are pressured to reach arrest quotas by making illegal arrests while underreporting major crimes to make themselves look successful. They then go to disturbing lengths to intimidate an officer who does not perform. But first: what could happen to you if you make terroristic threats on facebook.

    2. You’ll hear proponents of government stimulus often say that the private sector is not creating jobs fast enough. Have any of them ever thought to ask why not? As it turns out, they’re afraid of something: the uncertain regulatory environment, of course. Read the rest of this entry »


    Links for March 8, 2010: Philly Bars Raided for Serving Unregistered Beers, Hitchens on Rand, others….

    March 18, 2010
    1. Philadelphia Daily News | Troopers raid popular bars for unlicensed beers: Dozens of gallons seized after 'citizen complaint'

      "'My main beef with this whole convoluted situation is that the PLCB is the sole regulator of a set of products that they do not even know the names of,' she said." … "Maida said that the couple's attorney had told them that they have until 6 p.m. tonight to compile evidence to prove that the confiscated beer is properly registered. 'The onus is on us to prove our innocence,' she said."

      I'm trying to imagine these citizens who apparently carry the PLCB list of registered beers in their hip pockets, just in case somebody offers them a beer they do not recognize….

    2. YouTube | Hitchens Destroys the Cult of Ayn Rand

      I've never read any Ayn Rand. I bought "The Fountainhead" in audiobook form on clearance a couple months ago. I have not yet listened. Based on what I've heard about her and her cult, I do not disagree with anything Hitchens says here. I understand that Rand had no love for the Libertarian Party. Read the rest of this entry »


    links for 2010-02-16

    February 17, 2010
    1. World Socialist Party (US) | Labor Theory of Value

      Looking for a simple, concise explanation of the theory, I find instead this litany of apologetics. Written almost entirely on the defensive, the article explains nothing about the Labor Theory of Value except why Marx scoffed at requests to explain it: — “if one wanted to ‘explain’ from the outset all phenomena that apparently contradict the law, one would have to provide the science before the science” (Collected Works vol. 43, p. 68). I don’t know if that explanation satisfies you, but I find it wanting. I think, ultimately, Marx uses the word “VALUE” as a term of art that means simply that part of an item’s existence attributable to the labor required to produce it. So, if I spent 50 man-hours making 50,000 turd sandwiches, Marx would “VALUE” those turd sandwiches at the going rate for 50 man-hours of labor. Sure, the labor theory of value makes sense in THAT context, but what about real life, in which we don’t always have the luxury of defining words as we please?

      Update: It has come to my attention after listening to a lecture on the opening chapter of Marx’s Capital that Marx believed that useless items had no value. He actually employed three terms of art, and what he saw as the relationships between them, to describe what a layman would call “value”. The terms are: use value, exchange value, and value. An explanation of this in the linked article would have been helpful.

    2. reason.tv | Don’t Get Hurt

      Fear of addiction and other harms resulting from prescription pain-killers is overblown, argues Ted Balaker at Reason. Read the rest of this entry »


    links for 2010-02-07

    February 8, 2010
    1. Stop the Drug War (DRCNet) | Obama's Drug War Budget Destroys the Myth of Change

      Strong rebuke for the White House's 2010 drug war budget.

    2. Mises Economics Blog | "Who dat" owns the term "Super Bowl"? – Douglas French

      Commenting on the trademark infringement involving the term "Super Bowl".

    3. Mises Institute | Wage Earners and Employers – Ludwig von Mises

      More reason not to fear the Citizens United case: "It is a myth that there prevails a conflict between the interests of the corporations and firms and those of the people employed by them. In fact, good profits and high real wages go hand in hand." —Still, though, I'm hearing from many different sources that the court brought up the First Amendment issue "sua sponte". If this is true, as it is looking more likely to be, I would consider that to be 'judicial activism'. I will have to update my prior posts where I denied the claim…. Read the rest of this entry »