Assorted links

by on March 11, 2014 at 1:35 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 Ray Lopez March 11, 2014 at 1:49 pm

I will try and comment on each article, and be first, will be tough to do since it’s lunch time in DC but 1:45 AM here in the Philippines.

1) OK
2) Notice in the late 1960s, about the time hippies took over from geeks, and patents were being slammed, that Total Factor Productivity declined–no coincidence IMO.
3) OK. BTW in Serbia in the mid 2000’s they had a scheme to park your car and get time using your cell phone. I was there.
4) Assuming the character can be a psychological burden to actors. The Stanislavski method is bad. Explains why porn stars actually do have a greater than average lust for sex.
4) autistic kids have a greater fixed moral internal compass than normal kids…interesting.
5) I skipped this. I favor dual pricing of drugs btw which is illegal but would allow patented drugs to be used in Africa without fear of grey market importation (not the law now)
6) the Klan or the clan? I skipped this
7) OK this is the well known Bayesian false positive example. Google “Bayesian cancer example” for another example.

Time to hit the Enter button…will I be first?!

2 Gary March 13, 2014 at 4:45 pm

I think high functioning autistics do tend to have a greater moral compass, which may be why many gifted kids (which a larger than random number are high functioning autistics) have much more keen moral compasses as well.

I think autistics tend to just have logic down to a greater degree than neurotypicals. Perhaps very autistic people have fully rationalized the fact that humans aren’t the center of the world, (it’s not logical) and therefore don’t pay attention to them any more than they do a grass blade.

3 Dan in Philly March 11, 2014 at 2:01 pm

The Clan article is one which addresses many issues I haven’t seen addressed before. Or rather, a single powerful issue which seems obvious when I study history, namely that in the absence of a strong state, individuals are not made free to do as they please but rather tend to be swayed by other forces, be they clans, guilds, gangs, or whatever. It seems a blind spot of the libertarian movement that this issue isn’t addressed. Is it possible that only through a strong central state can individuals achieve maximum individual liberty?

4 dearieme March 11, 2014 at 2:27 pm

“be they clans, guilds, gangs, or whatever”: religious sects, for example.

“Is it possible that only through a strong central state can individuals achieve maximum individual liberty?” If so, it will be particularly important to distinguish a strong state from a large state. But is it true? Britain in the mid 19th century: the population had lots of individual liberty – no slavery (unlike the USA), no serfdom (unlike Imperial Russia), no conscription (unlike Prussia, France, Austria-Hungary …), a tiny army (ditto), religious liberty (common only in a few predominantly-Protestant countries), and a state apparatus that the ordinary man or woman would rarely meet. In other words, the state was certainly not large, but was it even “strong” in the sense that the authors mean? Come to that, what do they mean by “strong”?

5 Picador March 13, 2014 at 11:27 am

“be they clans, guilds, gangs, or whatever”: religious sects, for example.

… yes, or corporations.

The main stream of “libertarian” thought is very deliberately blind to institutional power that is not state power. It is an ideology whose primary purpose is to validate coercive institutions whose infringement of personal liberty is circumscribed by the state.

On the fringes, there are “libertarian” thinkers who actually consider these issues. The frame they use for their analysis is called “anarchism”. Why they don’t call it what it is is beyond me, but I imagine it has something to do with trying to avoid ostracism at the hands of exactly those powerful institutions that are being analysed.

6 Ray Lopez March 11, 2014 at 2:39 pm

@ Dan in Philly – here in the Philippines, where the clan is powerful, you get vendettas. But it’s also strangely liberating to find the state is absent. But it’s weird by Western standards. For example (and I’ve seen this in Greece as well): nobody respects the police, so you’ll get people who are warned by the traffic police start arguing with these police in the most rude manner. They don’t care since most of the time they’ll not get a ticket. In Manila it’s a little more polite than in the provinces it seems, since the big city is more impersonal, which helps the state retain its dignity. I personally wish the state would disappear, and then if I or a group of like minded people want law and order we can hire a private army, which is also seen here in the Philippines by way of a ‘gated community’.

7 j r March 11, 2014 at 2:59 pm

“It seems a blind spot of the libertarian movement that this issue isn’t addressed. – See more at:

What is more likely? That an entire philosophical and political school of thought has just overlooked a key aspect of its world view or that you just happen to be unaware of all the instances where the libertarian movement does address this point?

My money is on the latter.

8 david March 11, 2014 at 3:47 pm

Our kind host TC was actualy a contributor to 1990s vintage discussion over whether private militias would form a stable anarchy, or dissolve into the strongest warlord resurrecting the state…

9 Dan in Philly March 11, 2014 at 4:02 pm

The world is filled with things I don’t know. I haven’t come across anything which addresses my questions about the subject, which I think I noted above. Your link only takes me to the top of this page, can you refresh?

10 j r March 11, 2014 at 5:12 pm

The link is just what appears when you cut and past from this page.

I’m not your research assistant. Try Google.

11 BenK March 12, 2014 at 9:21 am

But one of the largest elements of freedom is the freedom to join, leave, create and shape the organizations that are in one’s life – freedom of association is part of this.
As technology and organizations have advanced, in the past century or so the state has become able to interfere with increasing effectiveness in this process. We see it
with communism particularly, because before that the means didn’t exist. Now we see it with the ‘liberal democracies.’

Individual liberty does not truly exist in the context of the naked state. It is an illusion. Individual liberty is also very effectively crushed in a wholly market environment without
the state or any other association. The frictions of legalism and market mechanisms are insufficient for human liberty. They must be balanced by both family and community,
which should be somewhat balanced (in tension and reinforced, both) by the other. These are crudely lumped together as ‘clan’ by an ill-intentioned rhetoric.

Where two forces collide, they war incessantly and tend to absolutism. State and market are locked in this ideological struggle at the moment. Three or more forces have the
potential to create more complex interactions. Adding family and community to those two creates a much larger body of potential dynamics. Ideologues may suggest that
giving the family official power ‘corrupts’ their view of the ivory pure market or state, but that’s precisely the point. Family need not subsume or capture the market, or the state,
as it has in the past. They can exist in balance. They must.

12 chuck martel March 11, 2014 at 2:05 pm

#6 Another thoughtless apology for the nation/state, skipping over the fact that the nation/state’s primary objective is to use individualism to eliminate the competition of the family and clans. An atomized individual is zero threat to state hegemony while clan affiliation compromises loyalty to the state abstraction. This guy is 100% off base.

13 david March 11, 2014 at 2:12 pm

The writer takes converse, actually: individualism as the objective good, with state hegemony and elimination of the clans being the necessary means to that end. He doesn’t disagree with you about the mechanics, though.

14 chuck martel March 11, 2014 at 2:16 pm

“In addition, the modern self is a creature of state development. In historical terms, the modern self is a legal and governmental achievement as much as a cultural one. It rests on an even less-typically acknowledged history of institutional growth embodying the political principle Hegel deemed “universal” as opposed to “particular” altruism. ”

When somebody uses Hegel to make their argument it’s obvious that they’re having a synapse failure.

15 ummm March 11, 2014 at 2:05 pm

#2 we’re probably seeing diminishing returns than a great stagnation. Other countires may be stagnating (India, Eurozone, Japan) but the USA is whizzing ahead with the strongest economic indicators as measured by growth, consumer spending, exports etc. It’s not to say we don;t have problems but compared to the rest of the world we have it pretty good. No stagnation in Silicon Valley, LA, Manhattan, DC, Aspen, etc.

#6 The state can help create prosperity if it doesn’t throw too much money at things that don’t create much economic value like excessive education and entitlement spending

16 The Cranky Professor March 11, 2014 at 2:12 pm

#4 – anyone who has ever been involved with an actor coulda explained with more vivid examples that YES, acting is psychologically problematic.

17 Mark Thorson March 11, 2014 at 2:31 pm

At least this particular case of “compassionate use” isn’t an attempt to obtain quack medicine, but some are. For example:

Have there ever been cases when “compassionate use” resulted in successful treatment? If not outright quack medicine, it usually involves giving experimental drugs to desperately ill people. In those cases, it’s more about hope than treatment.

In this case, what if the treatment was successful but it delayed introduction of the drug for a month? There could be dozens or hundreds of other people who don’t get the drug because of this delay. That doesn’t seem very compassionate to me, not to those people. Somebody has to make these decisions, and I don’t see anything wrong with letting the pharmaceutical company do that. They are the closest to the technology, and I’d defer to their wisdom in managing it.

18 Michael March 11, 2014 at 2:59 pm

Re #6, note that the author, Mark S. Weiner, is Jewish. Jews have an interest in promoting universalism among gentile groups and eliminating traditional tribal and ethnic identities. Universalism among gentile host groups and the elimination of genetically based identities among gentiles means that Jews in diaspora are treated equally by the gentiles while Jewish identity is relatively preserved. This helps maintain a competitive group advantage against increasingly atomized and unorganized gentiles.

19 lords of lies March 11, 2014 at 3:27 pm

realtalk. 90% of these “here comes the clanstapo!” articles are written by members of a minority tribe with subconscious (and sometimes conscious) ulterior motives.

20 msgkings March 11, 2014 at 5:07 pm

Note that the author of this post, Michael, is (probably) not Jewish. Non-Jews have an interest in promoting Jew-hatred among gentile groups and stoking traditional tribal and ethnic conflicts. This helps maintain a gentile advantage against filthy rat-like Jews and other ‘minority’ tribes.

21 Michael March 11, 2014 at 6:11 pm

Yes, different people and peoples have different interests and compete among each other.

22 lords of lies March 11, 2014 at 9:14 pm

against filthy rat-like Jews

projection much?

23 msgkings March 12, 2014 at 12:26 am

Everyone knows Jews are disgusting. Some folks can’t handle the truth. It’s called noticing.

24 Anthony Alfidi March 11, 2014 at 4:17 pm

The best link is Kaleidic Economics on our continuing stagnation. Innovations continue but they are now primarily incremental improvements to existing tech (mobile apps). The revolutions in 3D printing and drones are still in the boutique stage. The commentary needs to address the role of immigration in pressuring wages lower.

25 Roy March 11, 2014 at 7:01 pm

#5 is awful journalism and shouldn’t be read without the first comment, which is absolutely correct.

26 Casey March 11, 2014 at 7:30 pm

Basically link 6 seems to be saying that we need a strong state as a counter to overly strong clan and family ties. I see no reason to accept that the state is the only institution capable of providing this however. The only reason it even seems so is because its forced all competitors out of the market so to speak. Even now we have models like the history of unions, before they were coopted by the state, and mutual aid societies that offer a very different kind of model. The state is not equivalent with society.

27 Brian Donohue March 11, 2014 at 10:16 pm

#6 was dumb. My extended family has always been a source of strength and pride to me, a feeling of belonging to something larger than myself in this atomized society.

People who don’t have what I have seem to spend a fair amount of effort trying to construct a synthetic version of this.

The idea that this is a threat to my freedom is absurd.

28 Paul March 11, 2014 at 11:26 pm

Never heard of the Middle East? Or consanguineous marriage?

A closely knit extended family in a liberal democratic state is not a clan. Unless you live in some in an ultra-conservative Mormon community where girls are forced to marry their uncles, cousins, etc. Or, I have read, if you are a Pakistani in Britain (though I am unsure of the veracity of that story.)

29 Brian Donohue March 12, 2014 at 7:17 am

Well, the article suggests that either we accept a strong central authority or are resigned to the rule of the clan. Doesn’t scan for me at all.

30 Paul March 12, 2014 at 10:57 pm

Reading over the article again, I think that it is poorly argued. The parts where the author lays out the goods that clan can provide in the absence of a government strong enough to enforce the law makes sense and is well explained, but I think that the author then skips a lot of steps in the argument he was attempting to make in defense of some version of the welfare state. Were he to have said that the state must at least be strong enough to enforce its own laws with some degree of reliability, and then noted that such a thing has been rare historically and is really only a modern achievement, it would have been a much stronger and clearer argument. Because historically, a government or state that could reliable enforce its own laws is a strong central authority. And indeed, once you have such an authority that can enforce laws, it makes sense that the masses would organize and fight to control such an entity to further their own interests. I think that is more or less the historic origins of liberal democracy.

31 chuck martel March 11, 2014 at 11:39 pm

The state, in this case the US, encourages harmless tribal affiliations that distract their members from serious subjects. Fans of NFL teams make up such an affiliation and the government works hand-in-hand with that organization to maintain its viability. Groups that develop a tribal structure that doesn’t embrace the state’s monopoly on loyalty are ruthlessly dealt with, witness the Branch Davidians and Move.

32 ThomasH March 12, 2014 at 11:46 am

I’d like to see the NZ parking scheme used in the DC metropolitan area.

33 nike air max 95 March 13, 2014 at 3:07 am

“Tibet independence” by several steps under the guise of a “middle way” and “non-violence”, according to the article. No matter how the Dalai clique changed their approach, their attempt to internationalize the “Tibetan issue” has remained the same

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