Some Links

by Don Boudreaux on May 3, 2011

in Current Affairs, Financial Markets, Politics, Population, Regulation, Subsidies, Taxes, Terrorism, Video, War, Work

Herein is yet another reason why ancient Rome was not home to the industrial revolution.

Piyali Bhattacharya explains seven reasons to oppose tax increases.

The always-deeply-insightful Jim DeLong astutely explains that the Tea Partiers are generally more ethical than are the rogues and bandits on Capitol Hill and in the White House (and elsewhere in political-power places).

My good friend Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute asks how much regulation is enough.

The great Bob Higgs on what does not make a nation great.

University of Illinois law professor Larry Ribstein, over at Truth on the Market, exposes the myth of government protection of financial markets.

Mark Perry always entertains and enlightens when he edits a politician’s or a pundit’s economics-challenged or hypocritical prose.

Finally, my brilliant younger colleague Bryan Caplan has the lead essay at this month’s Cato Unbound.  Bryan is unfailingly worth reading, and carefully so.

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W.E. Heasley May 3, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Weekly Address: Taxpayer Subsidies for Farms are Neither Right, nor Smart, and They Should End – Mark Perry

Subsidies, the fertile ground of politicos! You see, politico A’s politically based subsidy should remain, its politico B’s politically based subsidy that should go. Only the subsidies that are political relevant [political constituency building] to A should stay, those subsidies politically relevant to other politico’s should go.

Then all subsidies should be ended. Nay. Nay. This would cut off the conduit of taxpayer funded subsidies which is one of the high powered fuels that run the political constituency building machine.

Its all about A – Z politico, and has little or nothing to do with Jane and James Goodfellow.

Ah, the evil of it all.

Eric Hammer May 3, 2011 at 3:58 pm

I think there is an oversight in the Ancient Rome example: lack of weekends. We have ~104 days off a year due to weekends, where as the ancients most likely worked every single day of the week. I am not 100% sure on that, as I can’t remember where I read it, but at the same time the whole Sabbath thing was different enough to be worth mentioning, so it probably was the case that it was normal to work every day in most cultures at the time. So even with 159 holidays they were really only up 54 or so counting weekends, and it about puts them on par with Bulgaria today.

Granted, Bulgaria is still not likely to be the next happening place to be, so the general conclusion likely still holds. I do wonder, however, just how universal those holidays were. Slaves probably didn’t get to take the day off, and perhaps only really city dwellers did. Probably irrelevant, however.

Now, a comparison of laws and regulations around businesses would be very interesting! Late Rome certainly had piles of laws, regulations and union issues that caused all sorts of economic troubles.

Don Boudreaux May 3, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Excellent point about weekends.

Gil May 4, 2011 at 1:09 am

I too was waiting for the part where the narrator would bring in weekends. But I guess some people work 6 – 7 days per week. However I was wondering whether the public holdays of Ancient Rome applied to citizens but not slaves hence it’s not really comparable.

Colin Keesee May 3, 2011 at 4:16 pm

That is correct the Romans did not have weekends or even the notion of seven day weeks. The idea of a seven day week, with every seventh day being a time for rest, was a Jewish idea that came to Europe as Christianity became the Religion of that Continent.

tomharvey May 3, 2011 at 4:48 pm

The title of Bob Higgs’ essay is so good (and tweet-worthy) that it should be mentioned here: “Killing a Man Does Not Testify to National Greatness”.

Frank33328 May 3, 2011 at 4:54 pm

From Bryan Caplan’s article:
“Is there any libertarian remedy for underpopulation that appeals to a wider range of political philosophies? Yes. The best available evidence implies that giving parents one-shot tax credits for every child they bring into the world would literally pay for itself. To verify this strong claim, we need two measurements. First: What is the total “fiscal externality” of a new baby—the present discounted value of the marginal cost of all the government services the baby will ever consume, minus the present discounted value of all the taxes the baby will ever pay?”

If I understand this correctly, and maybe (hopefully) I don’t, the remedy of paying people to have children appeals because the amount of wealth that a government will extract from the child over his/her lifetime is greater than that child’s burden on that government. I get a really creepy feeling about this, or is it just me?

BZ May 3, 2011 at 6:52 pm

He did dwell on that point a smidgen longer than felt right, but I think he was talking about this in the context of preventing entitlements from pushing our taxes through the roof.

vikingvista May 3, 2011 at 5:04 pm

“Countries cannot be great. They are abstractions and, as such, they are incapable of acting for good or for evil. Individual residents of a country may be great”

I couldn’t possibly agree more with this.

But is necessary homicide always to be regretted? I am content to allow rabid animals to roam the woods meeting a natural nonviolent end, but I don’t really regret their killing. A murderously evil human, unlike any animal, always has the potential of greatness, I suppose, but I believe experience shows that they typically remain homicidal until the end. In spite of the unrealized potential availed to them by the physical nature of their human minds, I don’t regret their killings either.

In times of potential conflict, people get the choice to present themselves to others as rights-respecting entities, or as oblivious forces of nature. I have no remorse for any kind of action that I or others take against a force of nature.

But then, I’m a Viking.

Methinks1776 May 3, 2011 at 5:21 pm

:)

vidyohs May 3, 2011 at 8:50 pm

I read the Higgs article and I had my own comment in mind. Then I read the comments and think you’ve made a good case.

So, I’ll just add my voice to say that I thought Higgs came across as just the kind of guy that would cheer and support a Little League that did not keep score in its baseball games.

Like you, VV, I think there are times when bad animals must be killed or they do harm or cause death to good animals, I grew up in a time, place, and with people who did the things they had to do because they had to do them as their responsibility, and with no regret.

Though it would never be something I would do in regards to the killing of a man like Osama Bin Laden, I can understand people celebrating the fact that our troops got him. Higgs misses the point that the celebrations seem to be more about that fact than about the killing itself. Just a celebration of a process and good men that put an end to the speculation that Osama could do something like that again.

I’d be curious if Higgs would be stupid enough, given the opportunity, to ask one of those Navy Seals if he regrets putting Osama down and expect a mournful reply.

Methinks1776 May 3, 2011 at 10:23 pm

One of the reasons I love the cafe is that through it, I have been introduced to the works of people like Bob Higgs.

I generally agree with him – this is nauseating. It’s even more nauseating because bin Laden has long been pretty irrelevant within al Quaeda for a long time. I believe it’s set up as a loose network of like-minded terrorists and lacks any real leader (just like the Tea Party!!! OMG! Coincidence….????). I could maybe understand if this were a brutal dictator and his death meant the possibility of finding relatives alive in a concentration camp, but this joy is scary. I’m not weeping that he has shuffled off this mortal coil, but I’m fearing for our souls.

Gil May 4, 2011 at 1:16 am

So you’re implying we should have let OBL go off and die of natural causes because he’s no longer a player in the game?

Methinks1776 May 4, 2011 at 7:39 am

I’m implying he hasn’t been worth the hunt for a very long time. A lot of wasted lives and resources.

vidyohs May 4, 2011 at 10:14 am

M’lady,
The quick shot analysis that Osama was irrelevant to Al Quaeda for a long time is an easy call in retrospect (Monday morning QBing) and in view of the lack of real information. But, you’re not alone in making that MM QB call. I think it will be awhile yet before we are treated to any details of what the information those Seals took out of Osama’s compound might tell us about his past and current plans as well as any future role he/Al Quaeda may have envisioned.

As for me, yeah I fear for our souls, but not over this. This is but a pimple on the fear that watching what the government did to the Branch Davidian compound put into me.

crossofcrimson May 4, 2011 at 8:01 am

To be fair, I don’t think he’s saying that we should all be particularly mournful…..but rather that killing someone, even if it’s prudent, should never be joyous. Those are two very different things.

I think finding joy in things like this are a big red flag on a personal level.

It reminds me, in a way, of many of my liberal friends who take literal joy in taxes being raised (and not just for the benefit that results, but literally for the taxation itself). It’s one thing, if you’re one to make the argument, to say that stealing is necessary but regrettable. It’s another thing to simply revel in it.

I’d like to think that this is even more obvious with killing. But separating vengeance from justice seems like an ever-more-difficult task.

Stone Glasgow May 4, 2011 at 2:01 am

Agreed regarding the abstraction of a nation state, but I don’t think Osama’s murder is a “necessary homicide.” I think that we are ignorant if we imagine that he is evil, and that his followers do not think that they are as moral as we are.

If an American entered your home, killed your child, and began raping your wife as we grabbed a beer from your kitchen, would you not feel justified in killing him?

vidyohs May 4, 2011 at 7:12 am

Simplify it.

Our evil guys got their evil guy.

Our evil guys do what they do because the good guys don’t stop them, and their evil guys do what they do because good guys don’t stop them.

Where was/is the beginning of evil in this world?

Maybe we are all just evil? Possibly it is wise to understand that there is evil in the world and we should all act accordingly, eh?

Perhaps Americans should wake up to the fact that when we hire an employee, put all our power and resources in his hand, and then find we can’t supervise him because of that, then we are evil because we are responsible for the evil that servant is going to do….in our name.

carlsoane May 3, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Bob Higgs goes too far in his claim about groups. If, for example, he does not believe in the moral greatness or depravity of a group then I imagine he would be just as comfortable leaving his child with an unknown member of Al-Qaeda or with an unknown Navy Seal.

The fact that each person is ultimately morally responsible for his/her actions does not negate the importance of group ethos.

BZ May 3, 2011 at 6:55 pm

Walter Williams addressed this best I think (no way I could find the article again, but it was very memorable to me). He pointed out that the kind of thinking engaged in here boils down to substitutes for perfect knowledge in a world where we don’t know everything about every individual. Not sure that’s quite the same point Dr. Higgs was making, namely that the fallacy of composition is a Fallacy After All. :)

crossofcrimson May 4, 2011 at 8:10 am

It really depends on the nature of the group you’re talking about regarding how far you can take the argument. It makes more sense to generalize the qualities of a group that forms around some kind of ideological or religious pact than a group that simply falls between certain geographical boundaries for instance. For instance, if I’m in the “kill a baby a week club,” it’s safe to assume that almost everyone in that group is not a good person – but it’s still those individuals that are bad, even you’re addressing them all by simply using the group as a handle. When you get into groups that are not so tightly bound by common ideas or behavior, then it starts getting silly to use group handles even if you acknowledge individual action.

He’s not saying that bad people can’t group – he’s saying it makes no sense to say something like, “America is Great/Good”….Because some Americans are, some aren’t, and there are shades of in-between.

carlsoane May 4, 2011 at 9:48 am

I agree with your point that it is much easier to make a generalization about a small group that forms around a common principle (e.g. Doctors without Borders)

But, I believe you can even make some observations about abstractions as large as the United States. Otherwise, you risk taking the position that the institutions and governing principles of a nation are irrelevant. For example, I know there are many horrible American citizens(Jeffrey Dahmer comes to mind), but that doesn’t mean that I cannot make any generalizations about the relative merits of the United States vs. Al Qaeda.

crossofcrimson May 4, 2011 at 1:49 pm

“But, I believe you can even make some observations about abstractions as large as the United States. Otherwise, you risk taking the position that the institutions and governing principles of a nation are irrelevant. ”

Interestingly, I think that depends on the nature of the particular system in question. Since we have clear divisions and usurpations of power in a quasi-representative fashion, most of which is steered by pluralities at multiple tears, I think generalizing to that extent is still very much in question. When around half of the people vote, and, even then, maybe 40% of those people ultimately win, it certainly doesn’t bind us as some unanimous glob of citizenry. I find that Americans disagree vehemently on many things; politically, religiously, ethically. And I think, based on those differences, we can all point out a thing that “America” has done which we thought wasn’t good – and maybe downright bad. And as it would be unfair to categorize that mindset of the 25-30% of the population that resulted in the representation at that time as ubiquitous, so I think it’s unfair (or, at least, improper) to generalize Americans, at any given time, as being exceptional nor sub-par.

carlsoane May 4, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Your point is a good warning about over-interpreting the mandate of rulers in a democracy, but international law requires that we operate at the national level of abstraction. There are certain actions we must take that are based on our assessment of the qualities of a nation as a whole.

crossofcrimson May 4, 2011 at 6:08 pm

“Your point is a good warning about over-interpreting the mandate of rulers in a democracy, but international law requires that we operate at the national level of abstraction. There are certain actions we must take that are based on our assessment of the qualities of a nation as a whole.”

I disagree fairly adamantly. But, even if we were to assume the above, I still don’t see how that lends license to making blanket statements about a huge group of people with very diverging views.

Anotherphil May 4, 2011 at 9:23 am

“Our evil guys got their evil guy.”

That’s not simplification, its intellectual negligence, substituting moral relativism for the difficult distinctions that are required in dealing with a world where not everybody is a benign rational free agent.

Holman Jenkins (WSJ) gives a much better account of the end of OBL, conscious of moral quandary without being paralyzed by it.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703922804576301080593536542.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

,

Sam Grove May 4, 2011 at 1:53 pm

that are required in dealing with a world where not everybody is a benign rational free agent.

Do you ever consider that you might be projecting your own benign rationality upon your government?

Anotherphil May 4, 2011 at 10:08 pm

No, what would make you think I find the government a BRFA?

I find much objectionable by the government. I don’t however think I will go to work one day and be incinerated summarily.

Borrowing from Churchill: Western Civilization is the worst form of government ever invented, except for any other that’s every been tried.

I know you agree, because you aren’t writing from some Islamic autocracy and signing off “peace be with you” to satisfy the authorities of your piety.

vidyohs May 3, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Kind of hard to get a good enterprise going and keep it flourishing when your workers are all off at the games.

However, there was more to it than just time off. “The World of ROME” Michael Grant, Mentor Books (my copy is falling apart now and I have evidently lost the page that had the copyright and publishing information), has in its 3rd chapter some interesting facts about how the powers in Rome viewed science and industry.

“…Cicero concludes that “all mechanics are engaged in vulgar trades; for no workshop can have anything liberal about it.” The laboratory was not a place, in fact, for leading Romans; and any tendencies toward abstract science that they might have possessed would have found equally little appreciation. Roman reliance on slave labor was another discouragement to inventiveness, since it both allowed techniques to stagnate and caused social prejudice against the manual efforts which might have improved them. There are also stories about the fears of emperors regarding the economic dislocations likely to be caused by inventors. Tiberius was alleged to have killed a man who invented an unbreakable sort of glass, because his discovery would have cheapened the value of the imperial owned metals; and when Vespasian was offered a labor-saving machine for transporting heavy columns, he was said to have declined it with the words: “I must always ensure that the working classes earn enough money to buy themselves food.”

I’d say that the Romans not only didn’t do a hell of a lot of formal work, but when they did, they didn’t understand what they were doing.

Didn’t we conclude that George the muirduck is a Roman descendant? It explains a lot.

MWG May 3, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Robert Higgs’ column is an excellent read and puts into words (almost) perfectly my thoughts over the killing of OBL and the country’s reaction.

vidyohs May 3, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Pity. That. Do you let your kids play in games where they keep score?

If you can make up a moral dilemma over the killing of Osama, where none really exists, then please make sure you remember to stay out of the way of those who will take the responsibility of seeing you remain safe to watch your kid play sports to no known conclusion.

MWG May 3, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Vid,

Nowhere in my post did I make a ‘moral’ argument against the killing of OBL. In fact, I thought his death was quite appropriate, especially at the hands of US soldiers.

Do I think we’re ‘safer’ now that he’s dead? No. Are we better off now that he’s dead? Maybe, though I doubt we’ll see a dismantling of the of the massive federal bureaucracy that is the DHS, an ending of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the cutting of a massively bloated military budget.

The fact of the matter is we’re decidedly less free as a country since 9/11 and the federal government has more power than it’s had in a longtime, so excuse if I don’t join the throngs of sheople in the streets yelling USA!, USA!, USA! or America! Fuck ya!

As Higgs said: “anyone can see that the U.S. government will use this particular killing as evidence of its dedication to and capacity for carrying out the noble service of protecting—and, failing that, avenging the deaths of—the American people. (Never mind that trillions of dollars, tens of thousands of deaths, untold destruction of property, vast human misery, and sacrifices of essential liberties in this country went into gaining the proudly proclaimed achievement of killing a single man.).”

vidyohs May 4, 2011 at 7:02 am

“Nowhere in my post did I make a ‘moral’ argument against the killing of OBL.”

Really?

“Robert Higgs’ column is an excellent read and puts into words (almost) perfectly my thoughts over the killing of OBL and the country’s reaction.”

Your words.

So, are you now telling me that you didn’t really read the Higgs piece? If you did read it, how could you have possibly missed the effort by Higgs to create a moral dilemma? I saw a very superficial analysis and wussie moralizing in his piece. Considering the analysis had already been done and much better in numerous other outlets, all Higgs added to it was his wuzzie moralizing.

People that create that kind of wuzzie moralizing scare me as much as Osama, or Obama, because they are the kind of people who clog up weak minds with the idea that because doing what is necessary can be messy, emotionally disturbing, or starkly revealing of character, then it shouldn’t be done. We don’t live in a perfect world and personally I don’t see but the thinnest veneer of civilization on the most refined acting people on the planet and in the most cultured places on the planet, underneath is the same savage that roamed the Earth 50,000 years ago.

I do not have to go back to youtube and replay videos of the 9/11 attack to remember seeing everyday people jumping to their deaths from above the burning portions of both WTC towers, nor do I need to research to remember the death statistics from that day. For all Higgs, you, and I know, each of those people he condemns as savages for celebrating Bin Laden’s death are people just like me, they remember and understand they live in a savage world and savages can inhabit the home next door (remember the scenes of the Union protests and seizure of the Wisconsin Capitol).

I say again what I said above in reply to VikingVista, the analysis by Higgs is superficial, and though the death of Bin Laden is a part of the celebrations, I think he misses the very real fact that the celebrations were more about honoring the men and women that tracked him down and ended any speculation about what Bin Laden could or could not do in the future.

Also as I said above, like you, no one would find me in the street celebrating the killing of Osama Bin Laden; but perhaps for different reasons. The morality of it does not bother me at all (see paragraph above about remembering 9/11). I saw no more particular savagery in the celebrations, possibly less, than I saw in celebrations of elements in Detroit when their NBA franchise won the NBA Championship.

Do I think we are more free, more safe, does the federal government have more power than ever before? Those are issues and analysis I had already read in at least 4 other worthy information sources, and analysis I believe done better because they did not have the Higgs taint of moralizing…..well one other did to some extent.

Do I think the government has more power since 9/11? No.

The government has had all the power on display since 1865, it has used that power in the past (and against its own people), and will again. What you are seeing is words and actions that are more open, more acknowledging, and more assertive that the federal government can do what it damn well pleases. Codifying that power into visible written law does not mean that it hasn’t been there and hasn’t been used.

crossofcrimson May 4, 2011 at 8:15 am

” I think he misses the very real fact that the celebrations were more about honoring the men and women that tracked him down and ended any speculation about what Bin Laden could or could not do in the future.”

I don’t think we’ve been watching or listening to the same Americans the last few days if that’s really what you got out of it….

whotrustedus May 4, 2011 at 9:36 am

vidyohs,

can you post links to some of the other pieces that you mention?

vidyohs May 4, 2011 at 10:29 am

@whotrustedus

WSJ
Drudge
AP
Blaze
redstate

They all carried analysis from various people, it is possible that what I saw on Drudge and AP were one and the same, but I don’t believe so. Hell, everyone with a keyboard and time had an opinion to post.

vidyohs May 4, 2011 at 10:53 am

@crossofcrimson

“Also as I said above, like you, no one would find me in the street celebrating the killing of Osama Bin Laden; but perhaps for different reasons. The morality of it does not bother me at all (see paragraph above about remembering 9/11). I saw no more particular savagery in the celebrations, possibly less, than I saw in celebrations of elements in Detroit when their NBA franchise won the NBA Championship.”

That’s what I saw; but, I’ll be honest and tell you that I didn’t waste a whole lot of time viewing clips of celebrations. I watched most of the one taken at the Naval Academy and looked at some still photos of celebrations in places like Times Square. I think it shallow analysis of their activities to claim they were blood thirsty savages celebrating the brutal death of a man, and then trying to build a moral case that you and I should turn away from doing the things that need to be done, or at best go the rest of our lives disgusted with ourselves for do the necessary.

In my opinion Osama needed his application of retro-active birth control, just as Ted Bundy, Jeffery Dhalmer, et. al. did. Trying to tell me that it was unlikely that he would ever again try to, or be able to, do what he did I dismiss as senseless speculation. He did it once, I don’t need to moralize beyond that. Now we know he won’t do it again. Are there others that will take his place, but the numbers are reduced by one. good enough for me.

MWG May 4, 2011 at 12:34 pm

“I saw a very superficial analysis and wussie moralizing in his piece.”

I saw a man who was expressing his dismay at the collectivist direction both this country’s political leaders have taken as well as its citizens.

“because they are the kind of people who clog up weak minds with the idea that because doing what is necessary can be messy, emotionally disturbing, or starkly revealing of character, then it shouldn’t be done.”

Show me in the Higgs piece where he said Osama should not have been killed. His criticism is of the collectivist reaction of both our political leaders and citizens.

“I think he misses the very real fact that the celebrations were more about honoring the men and women that tracked him down and ended any speculation about what Bin Laden could or could not do in the future.”

I’ll go with corssofcrimson’s answer and assume we’ve been watching different Americans over the last few days.

MWG May 4, 2011 at 12:43 pm

@Vid.

“In my opinion Osama needed his application of retro-active birth control, just as Ted Bundy, Jeffery Dhalmer, et. al. did. Trying to tell me that it was unlikely that he would ever again try to, or be able to, do what he did I dismiss as senseless speculation. He did it once, I don’t need to moralize beyond that. Now we know he won’t do it again. Are there others that will take his place, but the numbers are reduced by one. good enough for me.”

I guess from a collectivist standpoint, there’s no need to look at the costs.

Since 9/11, we’ve spent over $1 trillion fighting numerous wars and nation building, killed thousands, ‘codified’ attacks on our own liberties here at home, and we’ve only increased the terrorist pool… but hey, at least we killed Osama, right? USA! USA! USA!

crossofcrimson May 4, 2011 at 1:58 pm

@vidyohs
“I watched most of the one taken at the Naval Academy and looked at some still photos of celebrations in places like Times Square. I think it shallow analysis of their activities to claim they were blood thirsty savages celebrating the brutal death of a man, and then trying to build a moral case that you and I should turn away from doing the things that need to be done”

Two things here:

The first, in response to the latter part of the quote, is that I think you’re attacking a strawman (although I don’t think it’s intentional). No one, and I mean no one, that I’ve seen on the libertarian side has been “building a moral case that you and I should turn away from doing the things that need to be done.” What they HAVE been doing is reminding people precisely how uncivilized it is to revel in the death of other human beings, whether killing them is prudent or not. It may seem like a somewhat subtle point, but it’s there, and it’s the whole thrust of this and similar reactions.

The second point is that if you’re not aware of the somewhat “savage” responses from the public, then you might want to start reading some facebook/twitter messages, or catching video (not stills) of the “celebrations” in NY and DC. Pay particular attentions to the chants or what almost anyone interviewed says. Very few people are celebrating an abrupt end to potential terror. Personal vindication through vengeance seems more like the tone.

vidyohs May 5, 2011 at 10:01 am

@MWG

From the Higgs article:

“No matter how much one may believe that people must sometimes commit homicide in defense of themselves and the defenseless, the killing itself is always to be deeply regretted. To take delight in killings, as so many Americans seem to have done in the past day or so, marks a person as a savage at heart. Human beings have the capacity to be better than savages. Oh that more of them would employ that capacity.”

Follow that to its only logical conclusion, my friend, and tell me it isn’t the foundation of moral case building. To me it is plain as day.

Let’s pull out just this one sentence:
“”No matter how much one may believe that people must sometimes commit homicide in defense of themselves and the defenseless, the killing itself is always to be deeply regretted.”

What would lead a man to say such a thing? To me those are the words of a wuss, a sensitive new age guy who never leaves the toilet lid up.

I am a country boy, raised by hard nosed practical country people; and, I can guarantee you that if I am attacked by someone who has stated and indicated intention to kill me, and I managed to do him in first, the only regret I will have is that I will now have a mess to deal with regarding the investigation that will result. It will be a distraction in my life, not a regret. I would in no way shoulder an ounce of responsibility for the death of the person who attacked me. I would get up every day in joyful celebration that I prevailed and lived. That is my morality.

No we weren’t watching different Americans, we were just seeing them through our own individual lens. I don’t know your background so I don’t know what would persuade you to view people and the way they act as you seem to do. For me, as I said, I am a country boy, old country boy, who grew up before wuss and sensitive new age guy things were created.

Personally I think the people who took to the streets in celebration, the chants of USA USA were the acts and chants of fools, I just think that for different reasons than you.

Anotherphil May 4, 2011 at 10:10 pm

“If you can make up a moral dilemma over the killing of Osama, where none really exists, then please make sure you remember to stay out of the way of those who will take the responsibility of seeing you remain safe to watch your kid play sports to no known conclusion.”

I think that just hit the light stand in the outfield.

Mao_Dung May 3, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Bryan Kaplan shouldn’t write about things he knows very little about. I don’t think that he is the “ultimate resource” on the problems caused by the population explosion. As usual, he’s a dogmatic libertarian out of his league. Never once did he mention the plight of of the natural world or other species in his unecological, illogical essay encouraging people to go forth and multiply in order to create more human capital. I doubt he cares much for the food stamp program that feeds 40,000,000 including 1 in 4 children in the U.S., yet he wants more mouths to feed. By the end of the century, there will be over 10 billion people to literally burn up the globe some more. Bryan will be nicely ensconced in his air-conditioned office pontificating some more bull, so what’s it to him?

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/04/world/04population.html?hp

Methinks1776 May 3, 2011 at 10:25 pm

if you followed your own advice, we’d never hear from you.

Marcus May 3, 2011 at 10:38 pm

Mao_Dung’s post clearly illustrates just how poorly liberals think of people. To him people are just costs. A burden.

I can’t imagine why any rational person would elect as leaders people with an ideology that finds human beings to be so contemptible.

Methinks1776 May 3, 2011 at 10:58 pm

You read his entire post? You monkey :)

Sam Grove May 3, 2011 at 10:53 pm
Gil May 4, 2011 at 1:11 am

Gadzooks! Are you saying the world population is going to slide into poverty by the end of the 21st century?

Gil May 4, 2011 at 1:19 am

Nature must be torn down and paved over to provide for new farms and cities. Humans must never ever take second place to Nature.

HaywoodU May 4, 2011 at 7:00 am

Are you saying humans are not a part of nature?

Anotherphil May 4, 2011 at 9:33 am

“Bryan Kaplan shouldn’t write about things he knows very little about”

Neither should you. His name is spelled “C-A-P-L-A-N”, but facts seem to matter very little to you and its hard to accept the moral indignation of somebody whose pseudonym is one of the great mass murderers of all time.

On the other hand, isn’t it great that 14.3% of the population is on food stamps? They’ll be so grateful and pliable as they vote for statists promising bread and circuses. Dumbass.

J Galt May 4, 2011 at 1:01 am
Gil May 4, 2011 at 1:36 am

Julian Simon’s fallacy is that humans are not fungible and it’s obvious when some parts of the world thrive while many other parts flounder. Human wealth gained in the West over the 20th century is purely about productivity whereas the population growth for the same period in India has been mostly Malthusian. If there was any causation with wealth creation and population growth then India should be extremely wealthy and ahead of every other nation as they don’t have the child restriction that China does.

However where does Caplan think any country’s “underpopulated”? If there’s no thing as “overpopulation” there cannot be “underpopulation”. If technology can support more people then it can also support less people. China could theoretically lose 1 billion and be better pff if the remainder had the know-how and infrastructure of the U.S.A.

Stone Glasgow May 4, 2011 at 1:51 am

Humans are like bullets and government is like a gun. Without a properly functioning firing pin, barrel, and trigger nothing happens. The bullets pile up, rust, and die.

Dan May 4, 2011 at 2:47 am

Do not agree

Chris B May 4, 2011 at 5:37 am

I would say that Humans are like water, and the government is like a drain pipe. When the drain pipe becomes clogged up, kinked and cracked, much like the Indian government is corrupt, bureaucratic, and the epitome of cronyism, it limits the ability of the water to flow smoothly and properly. Having more water just means the problems from the drainage issue will be magnified.

Stone Glasgow May 4, 2011 at 5:49 pm

A properly functioning gun would be like a government that has a military, police, courts and rule of law and not much else. The bullets, that actually do all the work, are allowed to work very well when the gun works well and stays out of their way.

What don’t you agree with Dan?

dsylexic May 4, 2011 at 6:32 am

india was in a malthusian trap because its citizens lack(ed) freedom -primarily economic freedom.human resources are useful only if they have freedom.slaves are mere cattle.

Gil May 5, 2011 at 2:02 am

Yeah. Yeah. And the West was always free?

Marcus May 4, 2011 at 7:24 am

If you’re crediting technology then you’re missing the point. Technology doesn’t just happen. Your example demonstrates this. Technology has a cause and socialism isn’t it. What your example shows us is that, from a Malthusian perspective, socialism turns people into animals.

Don has written about the underlying cause of the explosion of technology and productivity. It starts with Enlightenment ideals. Grok it.

Sam Grove May 4, 2011 at 2:01 pm

The difference between the west and India and China is that in the west, people are are/were held as valuable resources while in socialist India and China, people were held as burdens and costs.

The results speak for themselves. Simon did not hold that populatiin growth alone is responsible for productivity. He was well aware of the problems of India and China.

Gil May 5, 2011 at 2:03 am

Really? Poor people of traditionally poor countries see large families as necessities thus have as many children as they can. If anything children nowadays are burdens for the first 15 to 18 years of their life.

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