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Archive of posts published in the tag: Kevin Williamson

Radical Omnipotence

“I care less about whether the top personal income-tax rate is 39 percent or 36 percent than I do about whether we can pick one and stick to it for a few decades at least, and, more generally, about ensuring that we do not undertake big and disruptive changes to the policy environment without real consensus and careful deliberation. But instead of that conservative approach, every time a party achieves a temporary majority in Congress or control of the White House, its leaders promise revolution and a radical reordering of taxes, regulations, incentives, terms of trade, and everything else they can think of. “

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Covert Spending

“Subsidized credit is the coward’s way of spending money on friends and cronies, because spending-by-lending allows you to list these subsidies as “assets” on your books rather than characterizing them as spending.”

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Liberalism and Paternalism

“Strongman democracy is in practice very much like ordinary monarchy or dictatorship, and the strongman usually outlasts the democracy. It is democracy without liberalism.”

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The 2 Percent and the 80 Percent

“As is so often the case in our contemporary politics, what we are talking about matters mostly because it is a way of not talking about something else.”

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Is the Mass Shooter Problem Exaggerated?

“The problem with America isn’t that it is full of guns — the problem with America is that it is full of Americans.”

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Liberty is Boring

“Because the hatred of adjacent heretics is more intimate and more intense than the hatred of distant infidels, these rightists end up doing things that would be otherwise inexplicable,”

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Stability is Boring

“The free world isn’t free because it is rich — it is rich because it is free. Freedom is not only a moral good but also a practical one: Because we have a system that enables us to fail quickly and fail cheaply, we can try many different approaches to social and material problems, throwing everything we have at them and seeing what works. Authoritarian societies, in contrast, have trouble adapting to fluid conditions, often discomfited by problems that cannot be solved with bayonets.”

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The Consequences of Our Ignorance

While distrust of media has led people to even less reliable sources we are misled as much by the omission of stories that are true as we are by the acceptance of stories that are not.  Facts, incomplete or out of context, can also be used to mislead.

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Preventing Putins

“What liberal societies have is not better men — it is independent courts, a free press, the rule of law, checks and balances, democratic accountability, competitive elections, powerful private institutions, and vibrant civic life. There have been some men of remarkably low character elected to the American presidency, but the American system has limited the damage they could do.”

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Freedom of Mind

“Free speech and freedom of mind, if we understand them properly, should be rooted in intellectual humility. It is possible — it is certain — that some of the things we believe are wrong, be those matters of fact, matters of moral judgment, or estimates of the dangers posed by words and ideas that offend us. “

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The Cost of Media Failures

“The more elite institutions fail to do their basic jobs, and the more they abuse their positions at the commanding heights, the more room they create for populist demagoguery..”

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Why The Radicals Devour Their Own

“As every good utopian knows, The Plan cannot fail — The Plan can only be failed. And that is how the people-over-profits socialist humanitarians of the 20th century ended up murdering more than 100 million people in the pursuit of fairness and social justice.”

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Motivating Madness or Extremism

Rhetoric may not stop extremism, but it will direct and influence it.  If Trump is deemed responsible for Charlottesville then Omar and her gang are responsible for Colleyville.

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Normalizing Luxury

There is the unplanned and unintended benefit of making luxuries into ordinary items. Such spending primes the pump on some items, but it is not an essential element for progress.  When wealth is generated to provide consumers with products and services they want we all benefit; when wealth is generated by rent seeking behavior most of us lose.

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Remembering the Yacht Tax

Progressives think the Constitution is organic and the economy is mechanical; in reality it is the reverse.  Thinking you can tax an isolated segment without affecting others ignores the dispersed nature of knowledge that no central authority can emulate.

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Permanent Crisis

We need to realize that crisis are inevitable.  Ideologues will debate causes long after they pass, but it does not matter if the cause is excessive individualism, unfettered free markets, limited government, excessive government, globalism, the administrative state, or utopian socialism. Any theory of human action in a complex interrelated world will fail occasionally; but we fail a critical test when we equate the ‘failings’ of an ideology with the ‘failure’ of an ideology.  To understand our beliefs we need to know their limits.

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The Only Loyalty that Matters

“If you are not used to the intellectual compartmentalization required of an American politician, it can be jarring to hear, e.g., Senator Sanders demanding “revolution” at 10 a.m. and denouncing “insurrection” at 10:15 a.m”

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The Liberal Q-Anon

“A note to our progressive friends: This is your version of Q-Anon — falling for obvious, ridiculous lies because you want to believe the worst about people you hate.”

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Democracy and Climate

“Progressives have long struggled with the tension between their desire, often genuine, to be democratizers and their desire to give experts (however unreliably identified) a larger role in the administration of public affairs. “

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The Agent Principal Problem

Because socialism always begins with a man in a workshirt and ends with a guy dressed up as Cap’n Crunch,

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