17 May 2010

More Youthful Folly

Sami Kent is 19 years old and coming to the conclusion (ruefully) that Hugo Chavez may not be such a nice fellow after all.

Some background here: My uncle has family in Venezuela. They are some of the nicest people I have ever met (and I've been blessed in my life by being surrounded by wonderful people). They are strikingly enterprising, quick to laugh, hard-working and just fun to be around. And, I am told, that most of their countrymen share these qualities.

But what they don't have is freedom. They need to get special permission to leave the country. They can only work in particular industries, and only keep their jobs if they behave. Dissent is dealt with harshly. They must depend on the black market and use (illegal) American dollars because the country's infrastructure and economy have been destroyed by a megalomaniacal dictator that personifies why socialism is such a terrible idea.

Anyway, good old Sami, at the precious age of 13 was taken in by The Revolution Will Not be Televised (sorry, make that utterly taken in). He writes:

For someone who had grown up in Britain during the Blair years, where there was an overwhelming centrist consensus among the parties, the strength of Hugo Chávez's socialist conviction was appealing.

Right, so living in a properly functioning democratic republic where property rights are respected and the rule of law is taken as a given, he found appealing a murderous, thug dictator. Because Britain just isn't socialist enough, I guess.

But every fairy tale has it's monster and junior seemed to realize this: "I was, however, blind to the creeping authoritarianism of the Venezuelan government."

No kidding.

But then he writes this:

Even now, however, I cannot completely shake off my fondness for him, nor have I lost the instinct to defend him – once you have invested that much hope in one person it is extraordinarily difficult to let it go. I hate to think that one of the first articles I have written is against el Presidente, agreeing with some neocons whom I despise.

I guess neocons can here be defined as "those whom Sami Kent despises," because there is no context, no parameters, no examples. Or perhaps, "those who have the temerity to disagree with international relations and political history expert, Sami Kent."

Later he uses the word "bourgeois" in a sentence. Context doesn't matter, because I've come to the conclusion that anyone who uses the word "bourgeois" and isn't being ironic or making a joke pretty much lays down the gauntlet and is impossible to take seriously. Especially when the writer is 19; when the writer has been lucky enough to live in one of the greatest societies in the history of mankind; when the writer doesn't have the slightest idea of what the man who's principles he will always respect if not his politics has done to millions of people.

As I get older I find it increasingly difficult to take young people (or socialists) seriously. This article is a good example of why. If you don't know what you're talking about, don't say anything.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to Indefinte Imprisonment

Listening to NPR on Saturday...

So a couple of millennials with nothing better to do head on over to the Middle East, learning Arabic and teaching English (God Bless their bleeding little hearts).

They "had some time off" (from what, exactly?) and decided to go on a hike.

Without a map.

Did I mention that these idiots were in the Middle East?

They stumble into Iran and get arrested. Completely innocent of anything, of course.

And now they're in prison. They've been for ten months. I've rattled my brain since Saturday trying to figure out why I should care. I'm coming up empty. They belong in prison and I couldn't care less if they rot there the rest of their lives.

If we are able to point out to more people that actions have consequences, maybe some good can come of this after all. I kind of feel bad for the parents, but maybe they're partly responsible for having such stupid children.

Krugman on Libertarianism

Paul Krugman writes that Libertarianism won't work because it requires "incorruptible politicians."

Er, no. Libertarians seem to get the fact that politicians are just as corruptible and self-interested as everyone else, which is why the bishopric of politicians should be strictly confined and closely monitored. Libertarians would block an increase in the level of damages on a tort. Libertarians would realize there is no need for legislators to get involved in the business of the judiciary.

It seems to me that Progressives and Liberals like Krugman are the ones who wish to give politicians ever more power and responsibility. Which is funny, because he seems to realize that politicians are corruptible.

Don Boudreaux and David Boaz weigh in, basically saying the same thing. And, of course, he is taking Friedman out of context, because he is a lying, disingenuous prick.

15 May 2010



This guy may end up being just another horse bleep politician, but for now

Gov Christie calls S-L columnist thin-skinned for inquiring about his 'confrontational tone'

I kind of like him.

13 May 2010


I stumbled across this post be a gentleman named Alex J. Pollock. It is short so here it is in its entirety:

Bureaucracy and Tyranny
By Alex J. Pollock
May 12, 2010, 2:51 pm

We tend to think of “bureaucracy” as meaning sluggish, complicated, unresponsive paperwork and process. But it has another, more threatening meaning: Rule by the bureaucrats, just as “aristocracy” is rule by the aristocrats—in other words, rule by unelected officers who impose their ideas on you, but cannot be voted out by you or anyone else. Bureaucracy in this sense has an inherent love of power and yearning for authority which cannot be questioned.

Consider the recent activities of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The SEC criticized Goldman Sach’s synthetic CMO deal. Whatever one may think of the merits of the deal, should you be able to disagree with an attack on you by a bureaucracy? Goldman Sachs publicly disagreed. The SEC got the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation. Warren Buffett defended Goldman Sachs. The SEC announced it was investigating inadequate disclosures by Buffett’s company.

Coincidence? Or a message that you will certainly be punished if you dare to disagree with the bureaucrats?

The Founding Fathers well described “swarms of officers sent hither to harass the people.” It is worth pondering how bureaucracy may have inside it a tyranny trying to get out.

I would like to recommend Bureaucracy by Ludwig von Mises. It is an excellent little book on the problems that arise when the legislature or executive abdicate their constitutional authorities to increasingly autocratic, poorly managed bureaucratic offices.

12 May 2010

Terrorists on Campus

I might take the alleged student more seriously if: a) she wasn't an idiot, and b) she didn't so much resemble Danny DeVito.