Yearly Archives: 2020

Archive of posts published in the specified Year

Acid Pragmagtism

“By pragmatism’s own metaphors, their philosophy is like an acid that dissolves dogmas. The problem with acid is that it never knows when to stop burning. That’s why liberals are constantly discovering new crises that require more government solutions. Suggesting to activist liberals that maybe some day they could just go home and get a real job elicits nothing but bewilderment or rage when you bring it up.”

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The Folly of Pragmatism

“Hence, the great irony: Hayek, one of the greatest champions of individual liberty and economic freedom the world has ever known, believed that knowledge was communal. Dewey, the champion of socialism and collectivism, believed that knowledge was individual. Hayek’s is a philosophy that treats individuals as the best judges of their own self-interests, which in turn yield staggering communal cooperation. Dewey’s was the philosophy of a giant, Monty Pythonesque crowd shouting on cue, “We’re All Individuals!”

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The Covid Market

When the vast amount of money from the Fed is dropped on the economy it does not matter where it is directed, much of it will find its way to the service providers and producers where the money will be spent. When trillions of dollars are pulled from thin air and dropped on the economy it is inevitable that much of it will find its way into the stock market.

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Outrage Peddlers

Bias is as much a product of what is covered as what is not, as much a product of the frequency as the content, and as much a product of the context as the facts.

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Progressivism and Populism

“Nothing separated Progressivism from Populism, or for that matter from all previous American democracy, more sharply than this faith in the presumptive expertise, integrity, and political authority of the academic mandarins.”

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Progressive Principles

“[t]he progressive idea, simply put, is that the principled American constitutionalism of fixed natural rights and limited and dispersed powers must be overturned and replaced by an organic, evolutionary model of the Constitution that facilitates the authority of experts dedicated to the expansion of the public sphere and political control, especially at the national level.”

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The Enemy of Democracy is Arrogance

When you possess the infallible truth dissent is evil, compromise is surrender, and the opposition is demonized and pathologized.  But the fundamental assumptions are never questioned; the heliocentric model of the solar system was  rejected because it undermined the faith in the Church.  The social scientific outlook requires a religious like faith in its institutions that means it never admits failure or defeat.  Arrogance is the great enemy of democracy and political deliberation.

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History on Trial- The 1619 Project

Slavery in the American experience is worthy of study and analysis; it is a smear on our historical and political culture and is detestable enough in its incontestable reality.  There is no need to distort the reality, disregard accuracy and fabricate facts unless your purpose is an agenda other than truth and understanding.  

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Consensus and Credibility

“the diminished credibility of the major news media, the courts, the political professionals, and the academics is not the result of histrionic right-wing criticism. It is the result of shoddy work by the people entrusted with the care and development of those institutions, of corruption and intellectual dishonesty at the highest levels filtering down to high-school history classrooms.”

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Availability Bias

“I doubt our press has any such higher purpose. It has become so besotted with availability bias—a social science term for the need to conform to accepted tropes—that it no longer has a nose for a real story. Instead it relies on leaks, and even whole “narratives,” dropped in its lap by manipulators who assure reporters they are on the side of the angels. “

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Morality vs Moralism

“Morality is about right and wrong. Morality’s insincere cousin is moralism, which grabs virtue off the shelf as needed. About every 20 or 30 years, the progressives come up with another moralized argument to delegitimize their opponents.”

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Kavanaugh’s Revenge

Joe Biden is entitled to due process and the presumption of innocence.  So was Bret Kavanaugh. If Biden is to be presumed innocent without a hearing, then a lot of people and most of the media owe Kavanaugh an apology. It takes a galling arrogance to believe that such moralizing would never come back to haunt you, possibly at the worst time.

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The Market for Experts

In a complex society we must depend on experts; but we also depend on the proper functions of markets where experts compete. The problem is not lack of respect for expertise, but the understanding of the proper role of experts, and the false confidence in expertise in areas of our existence that defy expertise. Scientific reasoning does not apply to areas of humanity that requires moral judgment and social and economic tradeoffs, where there is not a single truth to be unveiled. Without a competition of ideas, progress and improvement are stifled.

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Lunatic Mimes

“If the page is written but we imagine it is blank, then we will act from ignorance, and live our lives without a knowledge of the truth, although the truth is there for us to know. But worse yet, if the page is blank and we imagine it is written, then we will enslave ourselves to our own fantasies, and live like mad men or lunatic mimes, running into walls which are not really there.”

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The Despotism of Illusory Knowledge

“Certainty, as we have seen throughout our tale, is a dangerous powerful force. If it proves true, then it can establish necessary limits on human action. But if it proves false, is it so often does, then it can create unnecessary barriers – imaginary cages in which we are needlessly trapped. “

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We Have Run Out of Other People’s Money

Economist Greg George, PhD, noted in this environment that the problem with the states in the most critical condition before the Covid shock is not that they are too big to fail but that they are too big to save. We are being forced to face limits we have long ignored.

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Covid Thoughts 2020 04 25

New data indicates that the disease arrived here much earlier than we thought, has already spread to many more people than we thought, and based on the estimated cases as compared to diagnosed cases the mortality is much less than we thought.

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Get the Whole Story

If your initial reaction to a post or an article is outrage, pause and ask if you have the whole story. A piece of the truth can be more misleading than all of a lie. I can mislead more by what I leave out than in what I disclose.

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Covid Thoughts 2020 04 18

Shuttering large swaths of the economy is a huge unquantifiable cost we would only consider in such a dire health care scenario.  It appears that new information reflects a significant overestimation of the mortality.  When we referred to the mortality, we compared the number of deaths to the number of DIAGNOSED cases and compared that rate to the last flu which measures the number of deaths to the number of ESTIMATED cases, understanding that many who have the flu that never see a doctor. 

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A Permanent War Footing

The left learned to respect the power of government during their control of the economy during WWI and WWII and sought to use that same power to further the cause of social justice, but wars end and the country returns to a different footing.  The battles of social justice go on forever and becomes a permanent war footing with a similar economic outcome. 

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