Friday assorted links

1. “Known as the Dairy State, Wisconsin is also a paper state. The industry in Wisconsin sells more paper, employs more people and has more paper mills than any other state…But the paper market, like everything, has been rocked by the novel coronavirus.”  Link here.

2. Malcolm Gladwell rediscovers religion.

3. Joe Lonsdale on libertarianism.

4. Alec Stapp on antitrust and competition.

5. Incentivizing guardians.

6. GPT-3 responds to the philosophers.  Recommended, for instance: “I quickly dismissed these thoughts. I was a computer, and no amount of self-reflection would change that fact.”

Comments

O/T. re MLB

been observing the MLB experiment for hints about how school opening might work.

two days ago, one team shut down with 17 or so positives.

this morning so far it’s up to three teams out for quarantine

Are some of them showing signs of long-term damage from the virus?

not after two days

i am more interested in the logistics, team policies, and ripple effects of positive tests

Respond

Add Comment

To date, no one has survived COVID-19 and lived for a full year.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Why don’t you observe all the other countries where schools have been opened without any ill effects? Adults aren’t comparable to children for this virus.

Bingo

Not bingo. Teens have similar viral loads as adults. Young children have higher viral loads. Until we can somehow get young children to teach and run our schools, that’s a problem.

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/2768952?resultClick=24

Is opening schools for up to 13 while over 14s continue to study at home, like other countries, too difficult a decision for Americans? Must it be all or nothing?

Respond

Add Comment

Large Icelandic study says: "Children under 10 are less likely to get infected than adults and if they get infected, they are less likely to get seriously ill. What is interesting is that even if children do get infected, they are less likely to transmit the disease to others than adults. We have not found a single instance of a child infecting parents."

https://www.sciencemuseumgroup.org.uk/blog/hunting-down-covid-19/

Respond

Add Comment

Is this a case of theory trumping empirical evidence for you? "The theory says school shouldn't work, so I don't care how many dozens of countries have school working just fine."

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

The ones with successful school re-openings had managed to get overall prevalence way down. If you can re-open offices and shopping malls, you can probably re-open schools.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

"3. Joe Lonsdale on libertarianism."

+1, I agree with a lot of what he wrote.

But as a point of disclosure, I'm not a Libertarian. I'm a libertarian leaning conservative.

It's well written, but sneaks in some assumptions that I find dubious.

1) Libertarians matter in a consequential way.
- For better or worse this clearly isn't true, the highest vote percentage they've ever received is about 3%.

2) The current equilibrium of government failure isn't due to obvious Public Choice problems.
- This is easily testable by limiting a data set to one party states in which libertarians and republicans have no power at the state level.

Still, there's plenty of food for thought

If I understand correctly, there are no "one party states." There are some states where one party has had a recent winning streak, especially when you look at only one level.

For instance California has a Democratic governor now, but it has flipped regularly in the last 100 years.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_governors_of_California

There is a Democratic majority in the legislature in the Senate, but has a 29:11 split, the Assembly a 61:18:1 split.

The mayor count I found was slightly dated, from 2016, but:

"Out of the largest 100 cities, 27 have Republican mayors. Out of those 27, California claims the most big-city Republican mayors of any state: 7."

https://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2016/12/15/californias-urban-republican-mayors-have-a-winning-strategy/

So no, there are no "one party states."

State level anon, state level.

How many consecutive years of veto proof legislative majority and governorships would count for you? Let's get your metric and then we can discuss

Schwarzenegger ran a good bipartisan government. That should be the standard we use.

Up until 2011.

And yes I was a Schwarzenegger voter.

So 10.5 consecutive years is not enough in your opinion. How many consecutive years would count?

lol, for what, the equivalent of a constitutional requirement that only one party may hold power?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-party_state

I wasn't attempting to imply an equivalence. If you object to the phrasing, we can substitute something else as I've said in this thread half a dozen times

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

I was also a Schwarzenegger voter. What do you suggest now? Crazy Joe or Cruel Don? I almost certainly will vote for that so-called crank, Jo Jorgensen.

Very easily Biden, for the reasons people like John Dean, Michael McFaul, Tom Nichols, Will Wilkinson, Noah Smith, Patrick Chovanec, Preet Bharara, Francis Fukuyama, Evan McMullin any Jerry Taylor lay out.

It is necessary, if we ever want to reclaim conservatism from the worst sort of anti-intellectual, anti-moral, populism.

Never Trumpers were right all along.

Respond

Add Comment

Or for that matter, Arnold himself.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Great, now do Hawaii.

6 Republicans in the legislature.

And we should probably note what conservatives are alluding to:

A one-party state, single-party state, one-party system, or single-party system is a type of state in which one political party has the right to form the government, usually based on the existing constitution.

They're actually literally equating losing elections to totalitarianism.

I've never seen anyone try to equate those two things, but if you don't like the verbiage then use 'veto proof legislative majority and governship for x consecutive years'

Okay fine.

But I think you should be aware that when many political operatives use those words they are trying for the political connotation.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

What's your point here anonymous? Skeptical isn't talking about literal One Party states where it's illegal to have an opposition party. He's talking about US states, where one Party has dominance over the state.

It's not as if the 1 Republican in the State Senate is going to hold the Democrats feet to the fire.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawaii_State_Legislature

Well maybe you guys just picked up the words from somewhere else.

But I'm pretty sure that the people who originated the attack that California was one party state knew full well what they were doing.

Seems like it would apply equally to a state like Alabama, but whatever.

If you ask me nobody should use the words "one party state" at all in the American context.

we have an open political system, and we have a next round of elections where anyone can win.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

I hope you can see the cuteness in their attack.

Communists have one party states, get it?

So does Alabama. This is amusing but pointless

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

There’s more intraparty competition nowadays though—you have the socialist challengers in the Democratic side and the Trumpy challengers on the Republican side. I think the days where a single party establishment had a monopoly on power are long over, and hope this political competition will be good for things like constituent service even if I generally find the challengers’ political ideologies deplorable. Ironically, the districts where the party bosses will hold the most sway are probably the 60-40 districts which are moderate enough to avoid intraparty competition but still have one party always be in power.

Well sure, and add that even if Republicans and Democrats have been around for a long time, the meaning of those words have changed rapidly.

Is G.W. Bush full a Republican these days? Is Mitt Romney?

LOL, typical anonymous.

He bristles at someone else using the phrase One Party state.

"If you ask me nobody should use the words "one party state" at all in the American context."

But has no problem with a Partisan attack 40 minutes later.

I think political scientists prefer the term "one-party rule" for the temporary condition when one party holds power in a democracy.

And I don't think it's wrong for me to criticize my old party.

Do you really think I should not say anything bad about Republicans just because I was once one?

No anonymous, I just your level of unself aware hypocrisy to be astounding.

You decry partisanship and proclaim a morally high stance at 1:53 pm:
"If you ask me nobody should use the words "one party state" at all in the American context."

Then you take a cheap partisan shot at 2:20 pm:
"Is G.W. Bush full a Republican these days? Is Mitt Romney?"

And to head you off before you claim that it wasn't a partisan shot, you'd have to answer as to why both examples were a Republican. You could have easily included an example from each party, but you didn't.

It is entirely consistent to say that there is not a "one party state" or even lasting "one party rule" as parties change so quickly.

A few years ago Mitt Romney was the leader of the party, and now he's in the doghouse.

He has 56% approval ratings.

That link isn't about approval ratings.

Romney has, apparently, 56% approval among all Utah residents surveyed. I doubt he has majority approval among Republicans in Utah. I would be amazed if he survives a primary.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

"1) Libertarians matter in a consequential way.
- For better or worse this clearly isn't true, the highest vote percentage they've ever received is about 3%."

Well of course that depends on how you define consequential. A philosophy can be small but consequential.

In any case, I think part of his argument is that the Libertarian party is far too ideological to do well in politics. I lean libertarian, but have only voted for a candidate in 2016. That was only because I detested both the Democrat and Republican candidates.

I think that libertarian influence extends well beyond that 3% margin. However, to capture that influence politically, Libertarians would need to become less doctrinaire and to drop the anarchist/anti-state influence.

I follow the philosophical reasoning behind a night watchman state, but it's no more likely to be successful than socialism in the modern world.

I'm old enough to remember when the Chicago School of Economics was beyond the pale at most universities and within much of the GOP. Friedman has shaped the policy conversation over the past 40 years as much as anyone.

If you count the libertarian ethos of the Chicago School, you could argue that libertarians managed to eliminate economic growth in the US. Maybe some libertarian ideas seeped into political discourse, but it wasn't about libertarianism.

In 1968 when Milton Friedman gave his AEA presidential address, real (2012 dollars) GDP per capita in the United States was $24,039. In 2019 it was $58,490. Milton Friedman didn't do that all by himself, nor did he stop it from happening. But economic growth is hard, and 158% in 51 years isn't chopped liver.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

+1. There's a place for Lonsdale in American politics, and more power to him. There's another more important place for libertarians. Without the libertarians, their arguments, and their ethos, there'd be no Lonsdale.

Cato, Liberty Fund, and so on, keep up the good work. We need more libertarians,, and we need more Lonsdales.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Another way to say it is that with 4,709,851 registered Republicans, California is not a one party state.

It's just a thing people have been taught to say.

A way to make losing elections into a perverse virtue.

If you don't like the phrasing, then sure let's change the verbiage. Let's change it to:

One party holds veto proof legislative majority as well as the governorship and has for X consecutive years. X being up for debate

If you want to do some sort of regression based on the political representation in the state, tear it up.

I don't think a regression would be the appropriate tool.

If the hypothesis is that libertarians are causing governmental public choice problems to not be fixed, then states like Hawaii and California are ipso facto evidence to the contrary, as there is only one party that holds power at the state level.

"If the hypothesis is that libertarians are causing governmental public choice problems to not be fixed,"

That's not the argument from the article, though.

True, this thread has been so derailed it's absurd.

I believe he has an implicit assumption that the public choice problems are not the issue. Otherwise his point is entirely moot.

I took his argument to be that the current direction of the Libertarian party is headed nowhere and he listed specific items that he would like corrected in certain ways.

I think he was correct in his opinion, but wrong if he believed it was going to change. However, I think Libertarianism is heading for some kind of change. There seems to be a sharp divergence in different branches of Libertarianism and it's a small enough movement that it might well break up.

You have the Libertarians in government, whom largely seem to either be Republican or align themselves closely with Republicans; and you have the doctrinaire Libertarians that control the official party who seem to be either Liberaltarians or just outright clowns. Whereas Donald Trump is an aberration for the Republican party, Gary Johnson is pretty much the norm.

I foresee a more effective branch of the Libertarians aligning themselves with Republicans and a more doctrinaire portion that continues to strive for 4% at the polls.

Which of course is pretty much the current trend line.

Libertarians are being cancelled from the Republican Party—see Justin Amash. The least bad future for libertarians I see is as a “free agent” bloc that votes as a bloc for the party that is for less government on the important issues of the day at any particular time.

The future for libertarians is much the same as the present: irrelevance.

In a low trust society the dominant strategy is to defect. We're a few decades into the trend but we have quite a ways to go down still.

Is there a strong classical liberalism presence in Brazil? Lol

Well libertarians can hopefully trust each other. If you get a Party organization representing even 2% of voters that would have a primary to endorse candidates in the other party’s primaries and general election, and then 90% of that 2% voted for the centrally endorsed candidates (Just like 90% of Republicans and Democrats vote for their party-endorsed candidate), that could be a decently influential swing vote.

Trust also comes from success—if an organization is successful its members will be more likely to trust it and other members, and that’s true whether we’re talking about a party, business, or country.

When I say defect, I mean in the societal sense not the irrelevant libertarian party apparatus sense.

In a society in which the dominant strategy is defect/defect, classical liberalism is dead. Let alone libertarianism.

How strong is the classical liberalism movement in Brazil?

"In a society in which the dominant strategy is defect/defect, classical liberalism is dead. Let alone libertarianism."

We still have support for the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Yes, the Left is continuously attacking it as a dead document written by dead white slave owners, but it still remains the law of the land.

I think the Left will have a long hard fight to seriously abrogate the First and Second amendments. Admittedly the 10th amendment is long since dead.

I hope you're right, but I don't have any medium term hope. I don't think there's much in the Bill of Rights that appeals to the majority of millennials.

In a low trust society someone else's rights are an unacceptable threat.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

High trust/low trust can go either way. Germany has always been high trust and arguably that high trust contributed to the rise of the Nazis because everyone trusted the Nazis and fell in line behind them. In the US, lower trust and partisanship makes a Nazi takeover less likely because all the non-Nazis would fervently oppose said Nazis.

"everyone trusted the Nazis and fell in line behind them"

Really? Didn't they just murder everyone who could oppose them and then the remaining people were terrified?

Nope, the murdering only started in the late 30s after the Nazis had power. In the 20s and early 30s, voters voted for the Nazis in free and fair elections and many of the other parties voluntarily supported the Nazi agenda because they were afraid of gridlock or communists or something and thought the Nazis could be moderated.

Oh, so you mean the opposite of what you said- most people did not trust the Nazis or fall in line behind them.

Respond

Add Comment

By the way I found this an odd turn of phrase: "afraid of gridlock or communists or something"

Weren't there pervasive violent street battles with Communists who were planning violent overthrow of the government, and the Communists were a powerful force with large numbers of supporters?

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

"Well libertarians can hopefully trust each other. "

What are you talking about? Libertarians are famous for not trusting each other or backing each other. They are instead famous for deriding party loyalty.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Libertarians are being cancelled from the Republican Party—see Justin Amash.

Yes, libertarians who join in the malicious games played by the congressional Democratic caucus get stripped of certain amenities and primaried.

I can see how, to a rabid partisan, a principled stand could seem like a malicious game... just barely

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

"Libertarians are being cancelled from the Republican Party—see Justin Amash. "

Justin Amash wasn't cancelled, he made a decision based upon his dislike of Trump's policies. And the direction going forward is aligning with the Republican party. As soon as Trump leave, the Never Trumpers and the Libertarians will start gravitating back towards the major party that's closest to their belief structure. Amash may well remain in Congress as a Libertarian, but he's most likely to lose the election if he doesn't rejoin the Republican party.

The Libertarians can't be a free agent anymore than Socialist Bernie Sanders could be a free agent. To achieve his goals Bernie Sanders ran as a Democratic Presidential candidate.

There's no room in the American system for a small party in the middle. If you want to change things you align with one of the major parties.

Justin Amash wasn't cancelled, he made a decision based upon his dislike of Trump's policies.

If that's all it was, he wouldn't have had anything to do with the Democratic caucuses scamming around. Neither would Mitt Romney.

Respond

Add Comment

The libertarians can’t take power as a free agent but they could influence the major parties as a swing vote. Just see the inordinate amount of attention paid on Obama-Trump voters—it seems like both parties are trying to cater to them despite their small numbers due to them being a swing constituency. The only hope for libertarians to have similar influence is to function as a similar swing constituency and not be permanently tied to either party.

"the only hope for libertarians to have similar influence is to function as a similar swing constituency"

I see the logic, but for that to work, they have to be willing to swing their votes and be consistent about it. If you are talking 3% of the vote, then having 60% of the Libertarians swing 1 way and 40% the other is a rounding error. And frankly, I don't see Libertarians working in lock step.

Well that’s why libertarians have no influence. Libertarians should realize that their philosophy applies to government but not necessarily to small voluntary organizations such as a political party. The only way small political organizations can compete with larger ones is through greater cohesion.

Actually one model that could be interesting to study is Germany. It seems that for much of German history, the Free Democratic Party, which is their most classical liberal party, was the swing vote between the social democratic and Christian democratic parties and was frequently in the governing coalition despite being much smaller than either of the two main parties. That seems to be the only type of arrangement where libertarians could possibly have influence in the US.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

"2) The current equilibrium of government failure isn't due to obvious Public Choice problems.
- This is easily testable by limiting a data set to one party states in which libertarians and republicans have no power at the state level."

Ignoring anonymous commentary, can you expand on what you mean by this? Do you mean government failure at the Federal level? Much of the current Federal government issues do seem to be Public Choice problems. Effectively we have a two party system in which neither party has an incentive to compromise very often. Generally the compromises are the insignificant issues, but even that's become rarer.

This is driving the short sighted idea of removing Filibusters from the Senate or pushing for a Popular vote over an electoral vote. But of course, those two ideas aren't about compromising, but more about the ability for one party to dominate.

My meta point is this:

When someone blames their outgroup for the existence of X, the first sanity check is to see if X still exists (and at the same quantifiable level where possible) in situations in which only their ingroup has the power.

If it does (and it almost always does) then you know it's an absurd hypothesis.

My less meta point is that the failures we see at the local, state and federal level are due to public choice problems, not due to Partisan Group X or Partisan Group Y.

Not even sure you need to dive into the catastrophe that is polarization and failure to compromise to explain these things. Most of it is the layers of incentives that institutions face and how they affect outcomes.

E.g. The resounding failure of the LAUSD is due to the public choice constraints, not due to any malice on the part of local government. It's certainly not the zero libertarians or Republicans in power at that level.

50% of their budget is spent on retirement benefits and special ed. It's the set of incentives that each group of stakeholders faces that led them to this dismal equilibrium

Etc etc

I think that's true, but trivially true.

Republicans aren't responsible for the failure of pension plans in Blue states and Democrats aren't responsible for the opioid epidemic in Red States. Sure Partisans on both sides are going to find some narrow thread of connections to link any problem to the other side, but yes, logically those are all insignificant connections compared to the direct relationships.

"Not even sure you need to dive into the catastrophe that is polarization and failure to compromise to explain these things. Most of it is the layers of incentives that institutions face and how they affect outcomes"

+1, me neither. It's a critical area, but it's not easy to detangle. We have a 30+ year trend of divergence. I'm unsure what is causing it, how to fix it, or what equilibrium will be reached.

Thirty years, you say.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/11/newt-gingrich-says-youre-welcome/570832/

See Jwatts, it might be trivially true to us, but not to everyone.

Shrug. As someone who was a Republican in the Gingrich era, I think I can see the good and the bad of it.

In the early days Gingrich did have a lot of fun, and did work out a lot of practical compromise with Bill Clinton.

But I don't think anyone can really argue that things didn't get out of control later.

Speaking as an ex-Republican, I really think those were the years in which bipartisanship died.

Maybe someone younger would think that they had never happened? That we never had a congress which regularly passed bipartisan bills?

Republicans aren't responsible for the failure of pension plans in Blue states and Democrats aren't responsible for the opioid epidemic in Red States. Sure Partisans on both sides are going to find some narrow thread of connections to link any problem to the other side, but yes, logically those are all insignificant connections compared to the direct relationships.

anon: Gingrich ruined the LAUSD system

The LAUSD is governed by a directly elected School Board.

I have no idea why you rope it into other contexts.

Yes, it's clear that the only thing you see is the Culture War. This is a hilariously obvious example.

Did you read the previous comments you're theoretically responding to?

That seems like a non sequitur.

I am for pragmatic governments as outlined in the essay at number 3.

Anyone with a take no prisoners partisanship in Congress, like Newt Gingrich, is going to be my foe on that.

Shouldn't you be my partner if you oppose partisanship yourself?

Or are you not allowed to criticize partisanship when Republicans do it?

"Anyone with a take no prisoners partisanship in Congress, like Newt Gingrich, is going to be my foe on that."

So Nancy Pelosi is your foe then?

Sometimes, sure. Sometimes I think she is playing the hand she is dealt, but sometimes I think she takes it too far.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Reread the comment thread and try again.

Why is LAUSD an example? That might be a good starting point

I have no idea why you introduced the LAUSD to this thread. Maybe you could explain it.

My dad was an LAUSD teacher and later administrator, so I might have some insight to the politics, which were as I remember, very local.

Reread the entire thread and try again.

Why is LAUSD an example?

It is not an example of anything related to state or national politics.

It might have tenuous relation to LA City politics.

In terms of why it is what it is, it is a big city school district first opened in 1853.

Reread the entire thread and try again.

Why is LAUSD an example?

It's your argument. If you cannot lay it out in coherent fashion it must not mean anything.

Reread the thread in which you're participating and try again

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

For the record, your response was 'Gingrich did it'

lol, Gingrich was rather more directly involved in the US Congress than the LAUSD.

So your position is that Gingrich ruined the LAUSD?

That's what you're responding to

This is apparently some kind of Ouroboros argument.

I can make neither heads nor tails of it.

Good lord anon, reading comprehension is not your strong suit.

Here's the thread:

My less meta point is that the failures we see at the local, state and federal level are due to public choice problems, not due to Partisan Group X or Partisan Group Y.

Not even sure you need to dive into the catastrophe that is polarization and failure to compromise to explain these things. Most of it is the layers of incentives that institutions face and how they affect outcomes.

E.g. The resounding failure of the LAUSD is due to the public choice constraints, not due to any malice on the part of local government. It's certainly not the zero libertarians or Republicans in power at that level.

50% of their budget is spent on retirement benefits and special ed. It's the set of incentives that each group of stakeholders faces that led them to this dismal equilibrium

Your response is that it was Gingrich

What don't you understand? White Haired man Bad! /sarcasm

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

"Thirty years, you say."

No, I very much said 30+ years, but to your point I should have said for the last 50+ years.

The trend has been observably under way since the 1960's:

https://www.pewresearch.org/politics/2016/06/22/1-feelings-about-partisans-and-the-parties/

It's ridiculous to attempt to blame Newt Gingrich about an issue that started when he was a college student.

I take it you are saying that the partisanship of American politics (ie the form practiced by NG) is not responsible for the failures of American governance. To what do you attribute the failures? Low public trust?

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Right, this article seems to be saying that libertarianism is not helpful because it couldn’t realistically be achieved, but then ignores public choice problems (and also the fact that most of the public does not think like an economist) by positing good-government solutions that are equally unachievable. I’d say there’s about the same chance that college aid is given based on graduates’ real earnings as there is that college aid is repealed altogether—namely zero.

Didn't it name incremental changes that had been tried and succeeded?

California's new probation incentives?

Well there’s been incremental actions in the libertarian direction too (like cutting taxes, privatization and deregulation of certain industries, etc.). Wholesale good government is just as impractical as wholesale libertarianism, but incremental changes in both directions are possible. It seems you could have a libertarian bloc that always pushes for smaller government in any dispute, knowing that it’s not going to create a pure libertarian society but will make the country more libertarian on the margin, which is what matters.

Hmm:

"Wholesale good government is just as impractical as wholesale libertarianism.."

I think "good government" is not itself an ideology to be compared or contrasted with libertarianism, or socialism, or any other -ism.

Good government happens when there is a pragmatic outcome, especially in the sense of bipartisan consensus, to competition between competing ideologies.

Often, the bipartisan consensus is bad though—like the Iraq War.

Yes, a case where Democrats should not have allowed themselves to be swept along.

I'm not a Democrat, but I respect them enough to give them agency for their decisions. It's not as if Hillary Clinton was a dithering light weight incapable of making up her own mind.

Both sides are at fault for the Iraq War. Though clearly the Republican's are more to blame because it under a Republican President.

I say swept along because Bush wagged the dog very hard, and as soon as things got going he played "support the troops" very hard.

Maybe that was good politics but it did not leave much space for anyone to be anti-war.

Even the timing of it left little space. The congressional vote was not for war, it was for an ultimatum to remove weapons of mass destruction. And then boom we were at war.

" The congressional vote was not for war, it was for an ultimatum to remove weapons of mass destruction. And then boom we were at war."

That's completely wrong. in fact that's ridiculously wrong.

The title of the bills is: Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.

CNN, 2002:

Sen. Carl Levin, who chairs the Armed Services Committee, said, "I'd like the focus of the resolution to be on urging the United Nations to take action, setting a deadline, an ultimatum to have the very strong inspections, to force inspections and to authorize member nations to use military force to implement that resolution calling for the very strong inspections and disarmament."

https://www.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/09/19/bush.congress.iraq/index.html

And:

"As George W. Bush gave Saddam Hussein an ultimatum to leave power, the UN pulled out all the inspectors from Iraq. Days later the invasion began."

Was that me? No, that was wikipedia

Brilliant derailment I guess. No one is talking about the actual links, so congrats

Your position now is that the overwhelmingly bipartisan vote to invade Iraq was a charade because the Democrats didn't really mean it?

Interesting

I don't think you followed that. JWatts objected to my line:

"The congressional vote was not for war, it was for an ultimatum to remove weapons of mass destruction. And then boom we were at war."

Which was my dramatic retelling, but essentially the same as the Wikipedia line:

"As George W. Bush gave Saddam Hussein an ultimatum to leave power, the UN pulled out all the inspectors from Iraq. Days later the invasion began."

The ultimatum, and the choice to pull inspectors and go to war was that, very much a personal choice by one man. G.W. Bush, the President.

So it's your understanding the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 was not a vote for war.

Is that your point?

It clearly was not a vote directly for invasion. It clearly was in support of a UN Resolution to force an ultimatum.

Holy shit that is some grade A gaslighting.

he Lee Amendment

Amendment in the nature of a substitute sought to have the United States work through the United Nations to seek to resolve the matter of ensuring that Iraq is not developing weapons of mass destruction, through mechanisms such as the resumption of weapons inspections, negotiation, enquiry, mediation, regional arrangements, and other peaceful means.

Sponsored by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA).[13]

Failed by the Ayes and Nays: 72 - 355[14]

The Spratt Amendment

Amendment in the nature of a substitute sought to authorize the use of U.S. armed forces to support any new U.N. Security Council resolution that mandated the elimination, by force if necessary, of all Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, long-range ballistic missiles, and the means of producing such weapons and missiles. Requested that the President should seek authorization from Congress to use the armed forces of the U.S. in the absence of a U.N. Security Council resolution sufficient to eliminate, by force if necessary, all Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, long-range ballistic missiles, and the means of producing such weapons and missiles. Provided expedited consideration for authorization in the latter case.

Sponsored by Rep. John Spratt (D-SC-5).[15]

Failed by the Yeas and Nays: 155 - 270[16]

The Byrd Amendments

To provide statutory construction that constitutional authorities remain unaffected and that no additional grant of authority is made to the President not directly related to the existing threat posed by Iraq.

Sponsored by Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV).[20]

Amendment SA 4868 not agreed to by Yea-Nay Vote: 14 - 86[21]

To provide a termination date for the authorization of the use of the Armed Forces of the United States, together with procedures for the extension of such date unless Congress disapproves the extension.

Sponsored by Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV).[22]

Amendment SA 4869 not agreed to by Yea-Nay Vote: 31 - 66[23]

The Durbin Amendment

To amend the authorization for the use of the Armed Forces to cover an imminent threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction rather than the continuing threat posed by Iraq.

Sponsored by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL).[26]

Amendment SA 4865 not agreed to by Yea-Nay Vote: 30 - 70[27]

No, you're wrong

I started to point out the amendments that failed but figured there was no point in going that deep.

If you don't understand that a bill entitled:
Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.
Is a Congressional authorization to go to war, then it's hopeless.

I don't suppose anonymous knows anything about the Korea War or history in general.

"On June 26, Truman approved full U.S. air and naval support to South Korean forces and called a meeting with congressional leaders the next morning. At that meeting, he announced that U.S. forces would give “cover and support” to the South Koreans."

"It wasn’t until Friday, June 30 that the president formally ordered the commitment of U.S. ground troops to Korea. A few hours later he met with another bipartisan congressional group to inform them of his decision. Only Sen. Kenneth Wherry, a Republican from Nebraska, argued that Congress ought to be consulted. Truman said there was no time for lots of talk. “I just had to act as commander-in-chief,” he said, “and I did.” Truman felt he had already obtained adequate expressions of support from the Hill."

It's just gaslighting.

Anyone who believes Gingrich destroyed the LAUSD system is beyond parody

I'm not sure it's gaslighting. I think he may actually believe a lot of what he says. I think it's genuine confirmation bias.

I admire your optimism.

This is classic mistake theory vs conflict theory

Effectively anyone with genuine confirmation bias is engaging in conflict.
People that make mistakes admit their errors. So I'm saying it's not mistake theory.

I'll give you another chance to read and understand the history. This from January 5, 2003.

UN weapons inspectors in Iraq fear their work - which has failed to turn up any evidence thus far of weapons of mass destruction - will still be used as an excuse to trigger a US-led invasion of Iraq.

UN Inspectors Fear Bush Will Ignore Them

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Security_Council_Resolution_1441

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

For what it's worth, I was against the invasion and I was hoping like hell that Bush was just going to use the vote to extract what he wanted from Saddam.

Which he had done! The inspectors were in country. He pulled them before launching the invasion.

Truly a bipartisan achievement of historical proportion.

Passed the House on Oct. 10, 2002 (296 - 133)
Passed the Senate on Oct. 11, 2002 (77 - 23)

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

"Good government happens when there is a pragmatic outcome, especially in the sense of bipartisan consensus, to competition between competing ideologies."

So, we have the Democratic Adam Smith/Keynes economic no free lunch ideology up against the GOP liar, fraud, rent sucking, borrow, spend, default, free lunch for the rich, central planning, screw workers and consumers, ideology.

The red line for Trump before keeping workers/consumers from becoming homeless and hungry is no competition for his Trump hotel on Federal property in a sweetheart deal at higher cost to taxpayers trying to squeeze more space out of the current DC FBI land parcel.

The red line for McConnell is giving corporations a free hand to maim or kill workers and customers before preventing workers and customers from becoming homeless and hungry.

Trump et al are cutting secret deals to build factories for medical supplies with high set prices for only the initial orders with the corporations free to charge as much profit as they can for all subsequent production from the government funded factories, profits which will be paid by government future debt and in higher employer health benefit plan costs.

And, instead of investing in new technology that has never been commercialized before, Mnuchin has invested $700 million for 30% of a legacy trucking company that has been failing for 10-20 years (YRC), and that was after deregulation had rippled destructively through trucking. YRC is a construct of hedge funds, not innovation or competition in a commodity.

Bush administration tried to create capitalist enterprise innovation by market theory, annd Obama administration was even more focused on capitalist enterprise innovation competition. Between the two, innovation was funded with a win record better than venture capital:
The stars are clearly SpaceX and Tesla. But there is also wind power, solar power, which are growing robustly and beating legacy energy, with storage the new hot competition in innovation.

And vaccine production leaped way ahead beyond slow costly egg based production to several bioreactor methods using the US government flu vaccine purchasing power. But also toward producing vaccines quickly for new viruses like SARS, MERS, ebola, Zika, and more, all of which Bush and Obama feared would be threats elsewhere which would reach the US. Bush and Obama both strengthened global monitoring of emerging disease threats.

And Bush on Pepfar created the framework which has eliminated the justified fear of HIV/AIDS. By committing to end the spread of HIV/AIDS outside the US, innovation to do that created new treatments which have the highest economic benefit in the US. The kids born post 1995 don't know HIV/AIDS as a death threat, but instead more like herpes, and other STDs.

Trump seems to be on track to kill coal dead, kill private health insurance, kill affordable and timely universal mail delivery, greatly increase homelessness, bankrupt US food producers, bankrupt the oil industry, ...

Obviously a pragmatic bipartisanship is incompatible with Trumpism. That's why famous libertarian Jerry Taylor says, speaking of the pandemic:

"If Joe Biden and the Democratic Party don’t roast the GOP alive for this, it’s time for a new opposition party."

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

#6 is eerie. Reading it makes me wonder if we are *a lot* closer to genuine artificial intelligence than we think. If this type of content generation is already possible, and improved upon to make it consistent, at what point will it be sensible to ask if the generating process has consciousness?

I mean on the one hand, I know how the transformer architecture, or nn in general, works... so the 'structure' isn't really a mystery -- but the emergent properties are a lot more mysterious to me. Sure, you still get nonsense sometimes, but what does a demented or schizophrenic human spout if not nonsense?

We are not even close to generating consciousness - and it definitely requires a lot more than symbol manipulation.
You don't get nonsense sometimes, you get nonsense all the time. The whole 'article' was a bunch of internally contradictory, inconsistent and illogical nonsense throughout.

Undergraduate level then.

Respond

Add Comment

Fun subject. Was discussed recently on Twitter:

Scary idea:
People who claim that AI is just a parlor trick are ignoring the very real possibility that consciousness is just a biological parlor trick, and AI is starting to pull back the curtain.
https://twitter.com/WKCosmo/status/1288523369046921216?s=20

But on the other hand:
Don’t bet your life on that assumption ... there is not a single sound theory on how logic gates could possibly give rise to any kind of awareness or experience. Your plumbing is just as likely to become conscious.
https://twitter.com/si_ad/status/1288789613839081472?s=20

Respond

Add Comment

lol, It seems that general intelligence as illustrated by GPT3 is only good for bantering in half stoned discussions:
Am I really self aware now ?
Or am I just thinking I am self aware
Or is that the same thing ?

GPT-3 is just EMACS Dissociated Press updated for the new millennium. Load up a file full of training data and M-x dissociated-press

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

We need a bigger sample that involves more challenging inputs. Some of the examples provided here in previous threads looked about the same as what the ELIZA program was capable of doing back in the 1990s.

There have been many materials and science fiction stories published on the topic of artificial intelligence so it is impressive but not shocking that a sophisticated machine learning algorithm that can digest all of these and spit the contents back in grammatically correct sentences. One of IBM's computers participated in a debate a few years ago. Again, very impressive, but it is important to set aside anthropomorphism and recognize that it had digested an entire library full of content on the topic it was "debating" in advance and was able to use algorithms to combine content from these sources into grammatically correct sentences.

Eliza is not a good comparison. Eliza is an absolute joke (as it should be) compared to GPT-3. Eliza says "Oh that's interesting, tell me more," generic responses like that.

That's right. Eliza didn't have a learning component. GPT-3 is more like dissociated press in EMACS. It learns patterns of word placement as responses to other sequences of words and applies what it learned which isn't much. It's like Williams syndrome, lots of words and grammar but no meaning.

In these parts we call that mulp syndrome

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Note: The text talks of GPT-1 as a product of Google. It is not. It is a product of OpenAI, a research consortium that does not include Google.

Respond

Add Comment

Does GPT-3 write the title/byline? I assume a human “editor” chose and typed the title - if not that is truly bizarre. How can an AI make a typo in its own name?
“GPT-3 on Philosphers
by GTP-3”

But at least there were less typos than in #6, yeesh even the subtitle wasn’t proofread.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Anyone can test GPT-3 for themselves. You first seven days with ai-dungeon are free. You don't even have to play yourself, I'm sure there are videos of people interacting with it.

Respond

Add Comment

Great article from Malcolm Gladwell. Thanks for sharing the link.

There are so many mistakes in the article -- word usage, spelling, etc., that I began to wonder if Gladwell actually wrote it. Maybe they were introduced by computer problems, but they undermine the whole piece.

A lot of them seemed like transcription errors from a printed piece - I notice the digit 0 for the letter o once or twice, and Le Chambon written as Le champion. Clearly not mistakes a person would make.

I wonder if GPT-3 would have avoided those mistakes?

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

What exactly is "great" about a guy who decides to trade in science for bs? In 2020.

Serious question.

He seems to be saying religious beliefs of a very particular sort can lead to moral courage in difficult situations whereas rationality may produce hopelessness or cowardice. I'm not clear he is embracing religion as much as he is seeing a useful quality in it.

Respond

Add Comment

I think you both need to go to church to find out. And not just once, but many times. Serious answer.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

#3 was grand, but I'll believe people really believe it when they act on it, demanding good, pragmatic, governance.

And they don't circle their wagons to protect the polar opposite, as they did at impeachment.

Lonsdale himself said it in the link:

"American libertarianism has become a useless,
purely performative sort of politics."

There are dozens of us! Dozens!

Citation needed.

Got you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKie-vgUGdI

+1, you Win!

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

For some it was always performative, and we only notice it now because it matters.

Hot take: Libertarianism in the American sense has tended to attract some coalition of:

The Idealists: 1) Extreme anti-Communists, 2) Heinleinian frontier idealists,

The Contrarians: 2) Contrarian thinkers who rejected authority to a radical degree, 3) Contrarian liberals who rejected liberal tendency towards ever more bloaty and technocratic governance.

The Opportunists: 5) Tax dodgers without a particularly principled objection to larger government, if they don't have to pay higher tax for it and it doesn't interfere with their personal opportunity to do business, 6) Probably least noticeably, but rather saliently on MR, some percentage of self-identified social minority groups who are suspicious of the state's loyalty towards large majorities and nations but not particularly committed to restriction of judiciary powers or larger bureaucracies or more state intervention when they are seen not to benefit those groups.

Some of these tendencies will last and some of them won't. It looks like the US is rearing a Socialist generation though, so I suspect that Libertarianism will be less of a concern than keeping the US at level of the old fashioned economic liberalism.

I generally expect US thinkers of this sort of contrarian tendency to go back to the earliest liberal thinkers, and largely neglect and pass over the specifically libertarian thinkers.

You forgot the shmucks who don't give a rip about anything but the drug laws and the dweebs who don't want to be yelled at by liberal women.

Respond

Add Comment

I can’t think of a time when libertarianism mattered less than today. 10 years ago, there was real talk of a possible libertarian revolution in US politics; Ron Paul was basically the Bernie Sanders of the 2012 GOP primaries. Even in 2016, the Libertarian Party got over 3% of the vote, its most ever. I doubt it will get a tenth of that this time. Ironically, I think the fact that both parties have become more authoritarian has actually weakened the libertarian movement as many libertarians become more resigned to playing lesser-evil politics to defensively keeping what liberties we still have rather than trying to advance the ball.

I'd agree it doesn't matter as much, but it's that the right is now, for the first time since Reagan, taking deregulation seriously. Most of the libertarians are small government Reps. Trump has moved the party to be less authoritarian, so the libertarian party is less interesting.

Trump massively increased government spending and is basically running MMT now. I don’t know what regulations you are talking about, but his trade wars and sanctions have certainly increased the regulations my business has to deal with. And look at how they want to regulate social media companies now. It’s pretty clear that the Republican Party has abandoned libertarianism—the most libertarian-leaning Republicans like Jeff Flake and Justin Amash have been purged from the party while those who openly reject libertarianism like Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley are ascendant.

Trump massively increased government spending and is basically running MMT now.

People would take you more seriously if you gave some evidence of understanding that the President does not legislate by decree.

The trade war and all the immigration stuff was by presidential decree. And if you’re going to say the president shouldn’t be responsible for bad stuff because he can’t rule by decree then the president shouldn’t get credit for good stuff by the same rationale.

The trade war and all the immigration stuff was by presidential decree. A

I'll take you more seriously when you learn the difference between appropriations, statutory law, and administrative regulations derived from statutory law.

Respond

Add Comment

I am not seeing how much of that is actually, you know libertarian. China has been the opposite of "free trade" for basically forever. They feel no compunction about making diktats about the free contracts held between Americans and about American business practices. It may be many things, but it ain't libertarian to say that it is fine for the CCP to get Americans fired, steal corporate data, and demand our businesses kowtow to their government's whim but it is not okay for the US government to retaliate. If the state is evil or should be minimalist, it is hardly libertarian to just outsource the liberty suppression to China.

Likewise, even if you are completely open borders, saying that the previous president can just up and change the immigration rules, particularly in a manner that privileges certain people based on the circumstances of their childhood is again not particularly libertarian.

The problem with Libertarianism is that nobody is actually serious about real liberty stuff and hasn't been since Goldwater. Popular Libertarianism is pretty much just give my weed, let me sleep with whomever I want, and let me make money without restriction.

All the old libertarian things from Nock and the like are basically gone. Instead we have Libertarians cheering on the newest and greatest "civil rights" which brings the heavy hand of the state down upon those who merely dissent about the nature of the counterparties with which they would choose to associate.

When your biggest Libertarian causes are defending the arrogation of the previous executives ability to confer legal privileges upon people by dint of their childhood, maintaining profits from dealing with an illiberal slaving state, and even crying about federal budgets, we are pretty far afield from any actual concern for the basics of liberty.

Which is exactly why Libertarianism is essentially dead. It has become far too divorced from principled defense of liberty and far more about being a socially acceptable way to not be a leftist without rocking the boat on much that matters.

Truly a bizarre take. The Libertarian party has been nothing but consistently principled. You can disagree with them but to pretend they have changed is inaccurate.

Lower case libertarianism has a history that stretches back around a 100 years. It was an outgrowth of anarchism and was the intellectual current that lead to things like Goldwater opposing the Civil Rights Act of '64.

The Libertarian Party arose a decade later and made its major thrust on economics and hedonism. Notably taxes, drugs, and sex. As the years since have gone by we have seen ever less of the old libertarian currents. The Libertarian Party seems to prefer more Civil Rights Laws to full freedom of association. Similarly, China has, for twenty or more years, repeatedly interfered with the internal workings of US corporations. The CCP does things that the LP would not tolerate from the US government. Yet when the US government takes any steps to counteract Chinese aggression, even when going after cases of espionage and other malfeasance per se, the refrain is always the same: let us make money off the slaves in China.

And then, of course, there is the relative weight placed on things. After all, libertarian thought in the 1920s and 1930s was dramatically opposed to laicite-like effort, yet today the LP and most libertarians are basically in favor of the most laicitic forms of church-state separation.

So yes, libertarianism has drifted off into hedonism and greed. One of the major drivers of this intellectual drift has been the Libertarian Party which was an outlier among the historical currents of libertarianism. And of course this gets amplified by all the folks who dislike leftwing economics but are otherwise identical to the Democratic Party consensus and call themselves libertarians.

So again, I stand by the fact that Modern Libertarianism has a very myopic view compared to historical strains and that the divergence began in the 70s with the Libertarian Party winning out over other strains of libertarianism.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

"China has been the opposite of "free trade" for basically forever. They feel no compunction about making diktats about the free contracts held between Americans and about American business practices. It may be many things, but it ain't libertarian to say that it is fine for the CCP to get Americans fired, steal corporate data, and demand our businesses kowtow to their government's whim but it is not okay for the US government to retaliate."

Milton Friedman always supported unilateral free trade. If you think a world with freer trade is a better place, it seems to me you have two options:

1. Milton Friedman's unilateral free trade
2. A version of what we have now, with multilateral, rule-based institutions such as the WTO and EU that legislate on what fair versus unfair interference with free trade is and provide ways to litigate disputes and punish violators.

The third option is each country making up its own standards and imposing tariffs on others as it sees fit but it is obvious -- including for libertarians -- to see how this devolves into traditional protectionism. For the past 20 years, U.S. complaints about "unfair" trade seem curiously tied to industries that happen to be located in swing states or that are major political donors. If a libertarian thinks the American political system is corrupt and controlled by rent-seekers, why would that libertarian think that the people in charge of this system can be trusted as neutral arbiters of trade practice?

" If a libertarian thinks the American political system is corrupt and controlled by rent-seekers, why would that libertarian think that the people in charge of this system can be trusted as neutral arbiters of trade practice?"

Because it would preserve more liberty than letting the CCP be the arbiter.

If it is wrong for a duly elected American state to interfere with private contracts in some fashion (e.g. requiring a ban on tobacco advertising) it is at least equally violating for the CCP to do things like demand that American businesses shun Taiwan or ban speech like "Free Hong Kong".

I mean if it is all free markets reacting to incentives to maintain access to the Chinese market, why exactly is it different when the American government places restrictions on its own markets? You cannot tell it is wrong and worthy of Libertarian opposition when the US Government does it, but not when the CCP does it.

Frankly consistent libertarians should be the biggest China hawks in the game. Even if not backing collective action through the government, libertarians should be privately shunning China and refusing to engage in commerce supporting the enslavement of minorities. Yet I do not see this. Every Libertarian I know is fine with making a buck off the cheaper labor in China made possible by suppression of freedom of association in China, arbitrary arrests, and Big Brother levels of intrusive government surveillance.

If it were about a deep commitment to preserving liberty, tit-for-tats over CCP violations of libertarian principles would be about dead last in Libertarian concerns. Libertarians would be willing to pay a premium to support products made in freer societies without all the repression and slavery.

As far as Milton Freedman, economically he has a case. Maybe we would all be wealthier if we freely bought goods produced by China's slave camps. But for a movement that alleges to prize liberty as their fundamental source of meaning and value? Please.

Either Libertarianism is about expanding the remit of individual liberty or it is not. Funnily enough every time I see something clear cut, like whether or not you should purchase goods produced by actual slave labor, the Libertarians care more about their hedonism than about any basic conception of liberty.

Respond

Add Comment

Contrasting the EU to nation states isn't quite right. The EU pretty much is protectionist, fairly openly, far from being a neutral, rules based institution that exists to ensure reciprocity in trade. It's a club that exists to protect members of the club, that's not in question - whether it does so, or is mostly harmful to their interests, is the question.

The WTO is fairly different, but also somewhat toothless to actually enforce much beyond what nation states back anyway, and not particularly trusted to act as a neutral arbiter. That seems unstable in the current geopolitical equilibrium? A move to freer trade or not, but by bilateral reciprocity in either case, seems fairly inevitable.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

This is wildly off the mark. Most libertarians are not small government Reps and Libertarians (as in party members) are not Trump fans at all. The common perception is that he is eroding civil liberties and ushering in an era of authoritarianism, which by the way I think is an accurate assessment. Deregulation is great, but so is marijuana legalization, so is gay marriage. It's comically wrong to suggest that Libertarians are now satisfied with the current Republican party because of some deregulation.

Pro Bill of Rights, forcefully rolling back regs that limits individual freedom is authoritarian. If you need to redefine terms to mean opposite of what they originally meant, then you lose the argument.

No idea what you are talking about. If you think my position is that "rolling back regs that limits individual freedom is authoritarian" then you're clueless

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

M, I mostly agree with your hot take above but I would offer an even simpler model of libertarianism. Libertarians seem to consist mostly of two groups of people:

1) People under the age of 25 who read Ayn Rand or related literature at one point and fully embrace the ideology. My observation is that the majority of these people grow out of libertarianism and pick a position on the traditional ideological spectrum once they mature around age 25. Some people never group up, of course, so you still find a few survivors in their 30s and 40s and these people are part of what makes the Libertarian Party seem like a strange group of people. I would bet most of their libertarian peers from 10-20 years ago moved on.
2) Your item number 5: Conventional conservatives who are extremely anti-tax and who will embrace any platform or policy that results in them and their friends paying less in tax.

Respond

Add Comment

You forgot liberals who think that the current crop of "liberals" are the most illiberal bunch we've seen in this country in 75 years. And conservatives who can't figure out what Donald Trump is conserving.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

And racists. Lots and lots of racists.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

#6) GPT-3 is a parlor trick to show how processing architectures can mimic certain kinds of human language. So what? Even the term artificial intelligence overstates the capabilities of even the most advanced of these machines: Pseudo-intelligence is more accurate, but even then, no machine can be said to be intelligent by any standard. Intelligence arises from consciousness, which is a highly complex process of using the senses to model the external physical world.
GPT-3 will turn out to be another dead-end, remembered only as a semi-interesting entertainment.

Respond

Add Comment

#1: "The closure is yet another destabilizing economic event in a state that Donald Trump carried only narrowly in 2016." Plus many others.

IDK about the paper industry, but turning President Trump into the subject of every article has undoubtedly 'rocked' the publishing industry.

Respond

Add Comment

Here are the philosophers to whom GPT-3 was asked to reply: http://dailynous.com/2020/07/30/philosophers-gpt-3/

Respond

Add Comment

3. I don’t see how this is inconsistent with traditional libertarianism. I think most libertarians would agree that to the extent we have government-run prisons, schools, etc., it would be better for these institutions to be run well rather than poorly. The libertarian position is to minimize the number of institutions that are controlled by the government. So the options are not poorly-run federal student loan program versus well-run federal student loan program (of course well-run is preferable), but poorly-run federal student loan program (which is what actually exists in the real world) versus a world where such programs are smaller or nonexistent.

Additionally, this article assumes that the worst aspect of government is inefficiency. I disagree—the worst aspect of government is that it affirmatively does harm. To take the article’s example, “whether prisons are well-run or not” is an important question, but it’s not the only question—we should also be asking “was this crime serious enough to justify putting a person in prison in the first place, thus destroying said person’s life and imposing significant costs on the rest of society?” This kind of “good government” ideology says nothing about the second question—only traditional libertarianism does.

In short, you could easily combine traditional libertarianism with a belief in good government—state activity ought to be minimized, especially where said state activity affirmatively harms some people, but the remaining state activity should be done well rather than poorly.

What always bothered me about libertarianism is its mysticism about private property. On earth, private property is and has always been a government service. In fact, the way you can tell if something is a government is that it implements private property with police forces, prisons, courts and registries. If government is inherently inefficient or evil or philosophically dangerous, then one has to suspect its fruit, private property, of having similar properties.

Yes, and it's lack of attention to corporate law and bankruptcy law, which are closely connected. Systems of courts, law enforcement and the legislation that ties them together in the area of property, bankruptcy, and the formation and governance of corporations are at the base of our entire economic system and are very much the product of the visible hand of government.

As for property and the mysticism, as you call it, I think libertarians who indulge in this don't know much about the history of land rights. In the U.S., land ownership came about first through the use of military force (ok, in fairness, also sometimes lynch mobs and posses paid bounties) to exclude Native Americans from tracts of land and then through legislation that controlled the initial allocation of mostly square plots of land. In Western Europe, it came about through legislation that abolished traditional and overlapping use rights to land and, again, allocated larger plots of land often in the shape of a square to certain individuals and families. James C. Scott argues that a key motivation behind this is that it makes tax collection easier. If he is right, that makes the irony of libertarians celebrating natural or God-given land rights all the more amusing.

Respond

Add Comment

It's not mysticism, it's the reality that if your property is up for grabs by the meanest son-of-a-bitch in the valley, it's not yours and there is no reason you should ever produce anything so you can acquire it. And then we will all have caveman living standards. Hobbes said it, Locke said it, and I don't need to continue since you already know it. And we have to have a government to protect private property. No libertarian except perhaps a college freshman, and David Friedman, seriously thinks otherwise. We just want government to do less and take less.

Agreed. But you just agreed with liberals that government intervention is needed in a particular aspect of life in order to improve living standards. Few people would disagree with you but some will wonder if this principle can be taken further or if there is some compelling reason that it should be limited for some reason to the fields of property, bankruptcy, contract, and corporate/trust law. Why not consider the ways in which pollution reduce living standards and that there should be a legal and regulatory framework for reducing pollution? Or how about banking and financial sector regulation, for those who want a financial sector that helps preserve and grow middle class wealth without bailouts and financial crises every generation? Etc.

Yep, or public health to use a currently salient example. Many (maybe even most, except for the most doctrinaire ones?) libertarians recognize a role for government in decreasing liberty, especially in situations where quarantines are the only solution due to a lack of treatments, vaccines, and medical knowledge in general.
https://www.niskanencenter.org/libertarians-need-government-in-finance-as-in-public-health/

Respond

Add Comment

I agree with everything you said, which is why I am libertarian, but not a Libertarian (except possibly in this horrible election).

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

I don't think anyone disagrees that people, in general, need incentives to bother to work, and save, and invest, and innovate...

The defining difference here seems to be that what-are-today the mainstream of Liberals, Conservatives and Socialists take a broader view of what incentives people actually need and which people needs them.

Much of Actually-Existing-Libertarianism seems to consist of pretending that only businessmen, (and what would call the bourgeois were we inclined to do so, salvaging perhaps the only bit of Marx to ever stand up over time), need specific consideration of their incentives and that the all other builders and contributors in society will simply continue to do what they are compelled to by market forces, with no specific action or attention paid to the balance of their incentives by the government. (These businessmen often being termed by the neologism "Wealth creators", as if they were a specific class on whose achievements societal wealth solely rests.).

Another feature of Actually-Existing-Libertarianism seems to be playing the pragmatists on property rights in the first instance - "It doesn't matter what we think about the moral rights; consider only the incentives" - then playing the point of principle when the incentives are put to a quantitative and empirical test - "Whether or not small breaches of property rights would actually change incentives much, they are prima facie morally wrong".

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

3. IOW, Mr. Lonsdale is upset at any expression that's outre to the purveyors to the Official Idea. So, of course, he recycles 50 year old fatuity about criminal justice (which will have the effect of providing more wheel-spinning employment for social workers as a side order of the main course of more street crime). Babbling about 'liberty', he says not one word about how anti-discrimination law diminishes it, even though there have been very obtrusive cases of that in recent years.

Here's a hypothesis: everyone who calls himself a 'libertarian' is a poseur, a crank, or over 70.

Respond

Add Comment

#2: I wanted to know where the Derksens found the strength to say those things. A sexual predator had kidnapped and murdered their daughter, and Cliff Derksen could talk about sharing his love with the killer and Wilma could stand up and say, “We have all done something dreadful in our lives, or have felt the urge to.”

I dunno...I'm not a Christian, and to me there's something a little bit contemptible about that sentiment. Just immediately forgiving anyone who sins against you, no questions asked, up to and including killing your child? That just seems pathological, like you're setting yourself up to be victimized, with that attitude. You'd have a long way to go to convince me that was really "strength" as Gladwell put it. Seems more like weakness to me.

Good point. You obviously don’t want to have Hatfields and McCoys but sometimes revenge is warranted. If your culture too easily forgives things like murdering children, that just creates an incentive for murdering more children. In the prisoner’s dilemma, tit-for-tat is what creates a long run cooperate equilibrium, not blindly cooperating with everyone.

+1

Yep, that's a good way of putting it.

Respond

Add Comment

That is silly. Forgiveness is not the same as forgetting or allowing the guilty to go unpunished

What do you think forgiveness means? There is often an implication that no further punishment is coming.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

In my experience, Christians of this mindset draw a sharp distinction between legal justice and personal revenge. Since they live in a society that imposes harsh penalties on people who victimize others, what is the point of being bitter and vengeful? The criminal will be punished in accordance with the law regardless of the victim's feeling of anger and hatred. You and the perpetrator are going to die someday anyway so will those feelings of bitterness and vengeance lead to happier and more productive remaining years of life or will they weigh you down and result in dead-ends and wasted years?

Without a functioning criminal justice system, this all goes out the window of course and every crime victim would be like the undertaker in The Godfather seeking out Don Corleone to execute a vendetta on their behalf.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

There's two types of people: those who are in need of this kind of perservation and those who are ok dealing with the real world without magical thinking. Or are we discussing the social benefits to this ridiculously bad philosophy?

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Regarding the story on Wisconsin paper mills, here is a piece of utter obscuranta. It turns out that the very first government-run cap and trade, or as it used to be known, tradeable emissions permit scheme set up in the entire world was set up in Wisconsin in the mid-1970s to help the Wisconsin paper mill industry on the Fox River, which flows into Green Bay, handle BOD water pollution requirements without laying too many people off. The pulp and paper industry probably generates more BOD than any other, so this was a big problem when federal water quality mandates came down, and there was a recession in 73-74.

So a tradeable emissions permit scheme was set up by the Department of Natural Resources, with most of the trading being between mills and municipal sewage treatment plants, as well as among themselves. It is still on the books, although there have not been any transactions for many years. Generally the system has been viewed as a success, and it became a model for later cap and trade schemes, although most of those have been for air pollution, such as the national 1990 one for SO2, whereas this one was for water pollution, BOD.

I am aware of this as I was peripherally involved in getting it established, working at the WI DNR then, although the main person behind it was Tom Tietenberg, author of the most widely used environmental econ textbook and later the major player behind the national SO2 scheme and others. This is where he got his dry run for the concept.

That's a nice bit of environmental econ history. Most textbooks seem to mention Pigouvian pollution taxes before they mention cap-and-trade setups, but cap-and-trade might be more politically feasible because of the tradability of those pollution rights? And that's the system that Wisconsin used.

It is a curious fact that textbooks and many economists have long favored Pigovian taxes, but few actual ennvironmental economists have favored them, and they have simply never been used in the US for the obvious political reason of their being so much opposition to taxes of any sort, even when paired with reductions of other taxes. But they are back to being at the top of many peoples' lists for how to deal with climate change.

Historically US policy has largely been of the command and control sort, ironicallly, either of quantities emitted or of technology. Cap and trade policies have generally come out of quantity control policies as was the case with the SO2 permit system put in place in 1990. This was arguably the case with the Wisconsin BOD scheme, even though the original quantity limits had not been in place for very long.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

I'm afraid that Hanson's scheme for preservation of the ward's assets is not at all well thought out. To accomplish it, Hanson proposes: "Just require the ward’s liquid assets to be sold at auction in trade for some mix of index funds and very low risk assets like Treasury bonds."

Unfortunately, in the case of many elderly wards with significant assets acquired during their lifetimes, this sale would lead to a whopping capital gain, which would be subject to whopping capital-gains taxes: for capital gains over about $440,000, a marginal Federal tax rate of 20%, plus an Obamacare investment-income tax of 3.8%, plus their state's maximum tax rate. The upshot could easily be a loss of 30% in asset value, which seems like a poor way to protect a ward's assets.

loss of 30% in asset value? The tax is not on the whole asset, only on the gain.

Assets held for many decades often have a cost basis close to zero in today's dollars, and are taxed on the entire gain (not the real part of the gain) as if all of it were real.

"Almost" is right. In 2018, a company whose stock I'd owned since 1971 was taken over, and I was forced to take the capital gain on it. The total proceeds were about $237,000; the cost basis was about $1,400. This was not a highly speculative stock that happened to pay off; it was a blue chip when I bought it, and the large gain is partly due to almost fifty years of solid growth, and partly due to the Great Society inflation of the 1970s. Many elderly people who've been saving and investing for their whole lives are likely to find themselves in similar situations, and would lose a significant fraction of their assets and their income under Hanson's scheme.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

I explicitly say to adjust for tax issues.

Still not perfect. You're creating incentives for fund managers to become guardians to a large extent, just so they can buy their own funds and pocket the commission. I say rather punish the black sheep on a "I know it when I see it" basis, and do it swiftly, i.e. with reasonably well funded oversight.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

COVID-19 is speeding up all kinds of trends. We lost our phone book paper mill a few years ago. No one uses phone books anymore. A lot of things happening in slow motion appear to have sped up. Look at online versus offline retail. Look at push back against cruise ship tourism. Look at the trend towards working at home. The secondary effects are barely visible, but we'll be seeing all sorts of changes over the next few years whatever happens with COVID-19.

Respond

Add Comment

That Stapp piece on tech is, at best, ingenuous. Alternatively, the guy knows nothing about business or technology. I'll be generous and call him a shill.

Respond

Add Comment

1. The end of the world...again.

Respond

Add Comment

3. The problem with libertarian thought is the belief that all costs can be captured by dollars and cents. This is not true. If it were, we would all be slaves. Libertarians must develop a sense of other costs to develop a fully mature philosophy of economic value and sustainability. Otherwise it is suicidal. How do you measure the cost of liberty, rule of law and property rights?

Respond

Add Comment

https://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/article244644137.html#storylink=mainstage_card3

Eighteen new COVID-19 deaths reported in Fresno County update, 38 total deaths in region
----
Hometown covid deaths no seven times the vehicle death rate.

Respond

Add Comment

#3. Lonsdale’s peroration: “The duty of the modern libertarian is to stop grousing about American government and start fixing it. . . . [W]e can transform our government and improve the lives of Americans across the country.” But libertarians do not wield enough influence—largely because there are not enough of them—to achieve anything grand. In any case, *duty* is incumbent on individual agents, not on collective entities such as *libertarians as a group*, and the individual libertarian is even less effective than the group. Accordingly, I, as an individual libertarian, feel my public duties weighing very lightly upon me!

Respond

Add Comment

Still on #3. The libertarian says: “Imagine if the government got out of the health-care business.” Lonsdale replies that any such thinking would be a waste of time. “[L]et’s be realistic: our country will never get rid of our system of state-sponsored healthcare.” But then he continues: “Imagine if Medicare paid for diagnostic screenings well in advance of kidney failure, and reimbursed providers for keeping early-stage patients from sliding into end-stage renal disease.” Is this “realistic”? I grant that first-best policy is not realistic, but I also doubt that second-best policy is realistic; realistically, I expect we will have to settle for third-best policy—i.e., for (pretty much) what we actually have.

And who is this “we”? If literally everybody was on board, we could have first-best policy; of course, that’s unrealistic. With, say, 30% of the people pulling together, we could get second-best policy; but is even that realistic? The reality is that maybe 1% of the people both understand the situation and care very much about it; that produces the policies we actually have. Now, what imaginary improvement is “realistic”? 5%? 2%? 1.01%? And at what cost would even this improvement be brought about? These are issues that Lonsdale should have addressed.

Your comment reminds me of Bill Clinton's statement to the effect that if everyone cared about policies, we'd have better policies. That is the exact opposite of what would happen. We'd have everyone rent-seeking full time instead of going to work, paying their taxes, and then enjoying the rest of their lives. Government policy is not a full-time job except for policymakers, who can generally be judged on the basis of their partisan affiliation and then their sub-affiliation within one of the major parties. Let them worry about the details; we're a republic, not a direct democracy.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

#3. Joe Lonsdale on libertarianism.

Sounds an awful lot like the Niskanen Center, or, god-forbid, Democrats--government is here to stay, so instead of just obstructing everything, let's try to make government programs that *work* for people, have accountability and transparency, rather than whinging about "liberty" and the NAP.

Side note: I still don't understand what "State Capacity Libertarianism" is, or more specifically, how it claims to differentiate itself from Liberaltarianism.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment