On Monday, the insight-machine known as Matt Ridley will deliver the Manhattan Institute’s Hayek Lecture. Matt delivers this lecture because he is the 2011 winner of MI’s annual Hayek Prize. He won – against an impressive crop of competitors – with his wonderful book The Rational Optimist.
Cato@Liberty has such a large number of especially important posts recently that I devote all of today’s “Some Links” post to them. In no particular order…
… Dan Ikenson again clearly and cleanly exposes the Economic Policy Institute “as an unrivaled purveyor of economic nonsense.” For the umpteenth+1 time: EPI’s claim that U.S. trade deficits increase American unemployment – and especially EPI’s claim that it can measure the number of jobs allegedly so “destroyed” – is a comically sad attempt at hocus-pocus wizardry that would embarrass the most thread-bare street-corner magician.
… In this video – as my dear friend Tom Palmer notes – “Russian philosopher Leonid Nikonov explains the differences between socialism, cronyism, and free market capitalism.”
… Chris Edwards reveals that Warren Buffett’s grasp of tax facts is palsied. (Mark Perry chimes in, too, over at Carpe Diem.)
Unlike many on the left, instead of abandoning socialism once he discovered the full horror of Stalinist rule in the Soviet Union, Orwell abandoned the Soviet Union and instead remained a socialist.
I’m no expert on Orwell, so I assume that Bernstein is correct. If so, Orwell should have known better.
Socialism (especially as understood in Orwell’s day) is central economic planning. Everyone must conform to the plan. Individual disagreements with the plan – as well as individual creativity and initiative – are repressed, for these invariably upset the plan.
And with freedom of choice and action necessarily all but obliterated, freedom of thought will practically not be tolerated.
Despite his brilliance, Orwell apparently exhibited an infantile naiveté by failing to see that any government truly committed to central planning is inevitably a government exceedingly impressed with its imagined transcendent powers and sacred assignment.
Is it surprising when such a government brutalizes any and all who stand in its way?
… is from page 798 of Will & Ariel Durant’s 1965 book The Age of Voltaire:
History would be worthless to us if it did not teach us to keep on our guard against the natural intolerance of an orthodoxy wielding power.
Is it a good idea to raise taxes on the rich to fight inequality? I debate Chuck Collins on the topic here on Wisconsin Public Radio. It goes for about an hour.
Here’s a letter to the Washington Post:
Kathleen Parker’s discussion of two kinds of smarts – “book smarts and street smarts” (“Smart money betting on stupid politicians,” Sept. 18) – calls to mind a vital point made by F.A. Hayek in his 1945 article “The Use of Knowledge in Society“:
“Today it is almost heresy to suggest that scientific knowledge is not the sum of all knowledge. But a little reflection will show that there is beyond question a body of very important but unorganized knowledge which cannot possibly be called scientific in the sense of knowledge of general rules: the knowledge of the particular circumstances of time and place. It is with respect to this that practically every individual has some advantage over all others because he possesses unique information of which beneficial use might be made, but of which use can be made only if the decisions depending on it are left to him or are made with his active cooperation.”
Too many “Progressives” overestimate the importance of scientific knowledge (“book smarts”) relative to that of “knowledge of the particular circumstances of time and place” (“street smarts”) – and too many conservatives commit the opposite error.
Donald J. Boudreaux
I discuss the President’s latest plan for the defict on On Point, NPR show out of Boston hosted by Tom Ashbrook. The counterpoint comes from David Osborne. It’s a lively discussion. Our part begins around the 20 minute mark and goes for about 40 minutes.
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, September 22, 11 (06:28 pm)
Why is Archbishop John Hepworth treated by the media as an unquestioned truth-teller when he accuses a priest of raping him 45 years ago?
Is it simply that this Archbishop of some fringe church is accusing a Catholic priest, the archetypal villain of this militantly secular age? Would Hepworth’s claims have been accepted quite so readily had he named, say, a Greens activist instead?
Would independent Senator Nick Xenophon then have named Hepworth’s alleged rapist in Parliament, exposing him to shame and scorn?
The reasons so far for wondering if there is much more to this case than a rape - as in forcible sex against a clearly unwilling victim - include:
- At the time of the rapes, Hepworth was in his 20s, and not easily overpowered.
- He has never gone to the police with his claim.
- His accusations are vehemently denied by the priest he accuses, who is of good reputation among his parishioners.
Yesterday I also noted a report that he’d misappropriated $1200 from his parish about 30 years ago to pay for his son’s baptismal party - although he says he’d always planned to repay the money.
Now reader Mick points out some curious paragraphs near the end of the original (sympathetic) article by Tess Lawrence on Hepworth’s claims:
But as a young priest, he was invited to the beach by two priests. According to Archbishop Hepworth’s statements, after walking on the beach one night, one of the priests “stripped off and began wrestling with me”.
“He was stronger than me,” Hepworth said. “Or perhaps I was just weary of it all . . . I remember cold, wet sand and forced sex....
“I have had a vivid memory of that event, and of the guilt the next day as I drove back to Adelaide,” Hepworth said.
“By then, I had an awareness of the illegality of homosexuality, a sense of gross sinfulness, but alsoa sense of the glamour of the group with which I had been involved…
“I want to state quite clearly that I never fully consented to sexual activity with (the priest still working in Adelaide)."…
Despite this, Archbishop Hepworth alleges that the priest sexually assaulted him up to seven more times. He said he felt “so weakened physically and emotionally” that he did not resist....
Despite the fact that he has been married, divorced and remarried and has three children, he also wrote: “Perhaps it is the only real love that I have ever known, and it is a love distorted and beyond my reach over all of my adult life.”
I think Senator Xenophon should feel sick, and start drafting an apology.
I’m not saying Hepworth’s allegations are false. I am suggesting that even his own account suggests that whatever occurred was far more ambiguous than rape as we usually understand the word. Indeed, it’s not clear even from Hepworth’s own account that any rape occurred.
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, September 22, 11 (11:09 am)
Of all the people to complain about the unauthorised release of information...:
(Thanks to reader Jason.)
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, September 22, 11 (11:03 am)
Julia Gillard reminds the free-wheeling Foreign Minister who is boss:
JULIA Gillard’s office has told Kevin Rudd to rein in his high-flying overseas travel expenses.
An email from the Prime Minister’s chief of staff to his counterpart in the Foreign Affairs Minister’s office noted the cost of a hotel suite in Sweden was more than $1700 for one night.
Mr Rudd’s man was told to keep accommodation costs to a “minimum” after the estimated cost of one trip came to $77,000.
The email ... referred to a request for approval from Mr Rudd’s office for an official visit to China, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Thailand to begin the following day.
“It is noted that the estimated cost of the visit is $77,607,” said the email from Ben Hubbard to Philip Green on May 12.
“In relation to accommodation costs, you should make every effort to ensure costs are kept to an acceptable minimum.”
A spokesman for the PM said last night: “Ministers are routinely encouraged to minimise costs.”
Coalition troublemakers claim that Rudd may soon remind Gillard who the real boss is - or should be:
As the amendments were introduced into parliament, multiple Coalition sources said they had heard that Mr Rudd, dumped by faction leaders in favour of Ms Gillard in June last year, had been telephoning colleagues to determine whether he had the numbers for a leadership challenge.
The sources reported that Mr Rudd was either five votes or 11 votes short of rolling Ms Gillard and returning to the Lodge.
Calls are made:
LABOR MP Shayne Neumann has fuelled speculation that Kevin Rudd is quietly preparing the way for a return to The Lodge, repeatedly refusing to say if he had spoken to the Foreign Minister about the leadership.
Mr Neumann today dodged questions on whether Mr Rudd, a fellow Queenslander, was “working the phones” to build support for a potential challenge....
“Kevin Rudd speaks to me from time to time and the Prime Minister talks to me from time to time,” Mr Neumann told reporters at Parliament House.
Rudd will keep playing his leadership tune until the cows come home:
Lock in the Greens’ vote for Rudd:
BOB Brown has declared the Greens’ minority government deal with Labor would survive a change of prime minister, saying the agreement was with the party, not Julia Gillard.
Amid fresh leadership rumblings in Labor, the Greens leader said the Labor leadership was “up to them”.
“We are in an arrangement with the Labor government and we made that arrangement with Julia Gillard as leader of the Labor government,” said Senator Brown.
“But who Labor appoints as their leader is up to them.”
Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott will from sheer self-preservation stick with Labor, whoever leads it. Andrew Wilkie seems sure to vote against the Government by May over the pokies deal anyway, but Bob katter said yesterday he could back Rudd, too.
(Thanks to reader Shaneeh.)
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, September 22, 11 (06:47 am)
Paul Sheehan on Tony Abbott’s authenticity:
While dining out this week I was regaled by a friend who dismissed Tony Abbott as a ‘’bogan’’.
I knew what he meant, and didn’t even argue, because the quality he was referring to is Abbott’s strength and Labor’s nightmare.
Even though Abbott was a Rhodes Scholar; has three degrees in economics, law and philosophy; was educated at four elite institutions, St Aloysius, Riverview, Sydney University and Oxford University; is highly articulate; has written three books and raised three daughters who are all pursuing tertiary studies, Abbott does have a streak of bogan in his essence.
This essence has put fear and loathing into Labor because it connects to an electorate where a large majority have neither the time nor inclination to follow politics closely, and whose overriding concern is their own household’s wellbeing.
But Sheehan adds that a true bogan would back Julia Gillard’s Malaysian deal. He means that as a criticism of Abbott’s opportunism.
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, September 22, 11 (06:28 am)
Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey goes too far in denigrating Wayne Swan’s winning of Euromoney’s finance minister of the year award:
I thought … I should first check the previous recipients of the award. Over the last few years we have had two Slovakian ministers, a Serbian, a Nigerian and a Bulgarian. In 2001, there was a Pakistani finance minister. That is quite an extraordinary one, that one. Then there was Poland, Russia, Denmark and the United States.
From Hockey’s tone, the clear inference seemed to me to be that Slovakians, Nigerians, Pakistanis and the rest could not possibly make competent finance ministers. It sounded off - a pompous sneering at foreigners from places with funny names.
Congratulations to Wayne Swan on his prize. Unfortunately for Australia, however, having the world’s greatest Treasurer is bad for your wealth. Taking all the winners since 1982, when a Treasurer wins the prize, his or her country’s GDP growth rate halves. But then again, losing half your GDP growth is surely a small price to pay for glory.
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, September 22, 11 (06:17 am)
Former NSW Labor Minister Rodney Cavlaier says Labor is a now a party without a moral compass or much competence, and voters have figured it out:
Australians understood something was terribly awry long before the media. A party sitting on 27 per cent is down a hole for a reason. Electors have worked out that the narrow base from which Labor draws its MPs has created governments lacking in basic competence and authenticity.
Labor has advocated, for example, four positions on dealing with climate change.... In the absence of a values system or respect for the party platform, is it any wonder the electorate reckons Labor will do anything to remain in power? ...
The Labor Party has not polled in the 20s since the founding years. Young people decline to join unless they want paid employment… Labor, formed to fight for the powerless, has become a coterie of and for party insiders.
Gillard made much of a target of an extra 8000 new members… So that the target is not just hot air, let the national secretariat state national membership numbers and commit to its annual publication. This is standard procedure for community organisations. Not for the ALP, however, whose membership numbers are the darkest of secrets because they map its terminal decline.
In NSW, ... we know membership had fallen to 15,389 in 2009. The whispered number this year is 8500. In 1911 it was 92,000. In the 1970s it was about 22,000. Not to publish the present number of members will attest the reform announcements are bunkum. Which, of course, they are.
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, September 22, 11 (06:07 am)
Blogging was a direct attack on MSM hegemony at both the micro (fisking) and macro levels (explanation space). I just don’t see Twitter as the same threat. It is a flood of unmermorable chatter that is easy to ignore. Blogging had the potential to break the power of the MSM guild. Bloggers, at their best, presented arguments. Arguments can both change minds on the immediate subject and undermine the credibilty of those establishment pundits who present weak cases on a regular basis....
At a minimum, blogging brought a lot of outsiders to the pundit/editor game. Twitter seems more useful as a way for insiders ...to extent their brand and magnify their voice.
It is one of those quirks of history. One new thing is revolutionary. The next new thing consolidated the position of the powers that be.
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, September 22, 11 (05:50 am)
Tony Abbott is indeed playing cautious:
EMPLOYERS have attacked Tony Abbott’s decision to oppose the reinstatement of individual contracts, accusing the Coalition of “putting its head in the sand” and ignoring major problems with the federal workplace laws.
The Opposition Leader also faced dissent from within the Coalition, with Liberal backbencher Jamie Briggs insisting he would continue to argue for individual statutory agreements, as “genuine” workplace flexibility could not be achieved without them.
Liberal MP Kelly O’Dwyer offered support for Mr Briggs, saying: “We need to have the debate. In the course of the Coalition developing its industrial relations policy before the next election, I’m sure we will debate a range of issues.”
But it seems odd that employers should demand Abbott fight for what they themselves so meekly conceded to Labor when it rolled back WorkChoices. It seems odd for business to demand Abbott battle as most employers did not when first threatened by Labor’s pointless global warming policies.
Yes, there needs to be a debate to break down the huge fear campaign that would come if the Liberals ever suggested a return to individual contracts. Why don’t employers start to make that case themselves?
That said, Abbott will at some stage - closer to an election - need to put a platform to voters that gives him a mandate if he’s elected. It would be a wasted opportunity, and a straightjacket, to win with a huge majority, but no mandate for what most needs doing.
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, September 22, 11 (05:43 am)
Katter’s new party has an early win:
CARL Rackemann put the fear into batsmen when he took the ball - now the former Test cricketer’s ambition of taking to the field of politics is gathering the same pace his once-devastating bouncers had.
A third-generation Kingaroy farmer, the 12-Test bowler is firming as the frontrunner to win the state seat of Nanango, held for 40 years by former premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen, as a candidate of Bob Katter’s Australian Party…
Mr Rackemann, who joined two rebel cricket tours to South Africa in the 1980s, said it was this debate over the rights of farmers, as well as the future of Australia’s food growing capacity and mining, that convinced him to enter politics.
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, September 22, 11 (12:18 am)
Professor Robert Manne, voted Australia’s “most influential public intellectual”, claims the wicked Murdoch press has misquoted him:
ROBERT Manne has denied telling a gathering at the Byron Bay Writers Festival that he had avoided criticising the Gillard government’s asylum-seeker policy because he did not want to assist the Coalition.
Manne told the Sky News Showdown program yesterday that his remarks had been “completely distorted” by The Weekend Australian Editor Nick Cater, who had spent an hour in conversation with him in front of an audience at the festival on August 7....
“At a certain point I came to the view that Australian public opinion would not put up with any system of getting rid of mandatory detention and onshore processing with people in the community… I was arguing that the Left has to be more pragmatic in its policy. That is what I argued.
“Nick Cater gave a completely distorted version. And when you look at what he said. it’s not a direct quote.”
Really? Here’s what Manne said to Cater, as you can hear for yourself:
At the festival, Cater questioned Manne’s “inability to condemn outright, in print, the Gillard Government’s policy when it is manifestly as bad and inhumane as the Howard Government’s policy”.
“It strikes me as being selective,” Cater said.
Manne replied: ”I am not willing to fight for a cause, or not anyhow for this cause, if it’s going to help the Coalition,” he said.
“If the Gillard Government just allowed the boats to arrive, you know, a huge number did arrive in 2010, as they got rid of the Pacific Solution, if that happened it is just too much to the advantage of the Coalition.”
Cater asked Manne if this was an issue where “politics trumps morals”.
Manne replied: “Sometimes that’s true there’s a tension between politics and morals.”
If Manne cannot even report his own statements correctly, and lets politics trump principle, why should we believe his moralising accounts of our history?
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, September 22, 11 (12:04 am)
Senator SIEWERT (Western Australia—Australian Greens Whip) (14:17): My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Senator Conroy. I ask about the recent sightings of one adult and three baby bilbies at the site of theproposed James Price Point gas hub, which is prime habitat for the bilby. Bilbies are acknowledged as a vulnerable species by both the WA and federal governments, yet Woodside has begun clearing on this site. Does the uncontrolled clearing through this area contravene the government’s own bilby recovery plan, and has the minister asked his department to consider this evidence in light of that recovery plan and the EPBC approvals process?
Just pick up the damn bilbies and move them. How hard can that be?
(Thanks to reader David.)
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, September 21, 11 (06:39 pm)
Someone’s tried to put Kevin Rudd back in his box. The Herald Sun has a story tomorrow that will stretch the tension in Canberra to close to breaking point.