… is from page 17 of the indispensable Harold Demsetz’s 1988 collectionOwnership, Control, and the Firm:
Restricting one’s freedom to use pecuniary wealth to influence others, say by offering higher prices to win agreements to sell, results in greater emphasis on “personal characteristics competition.”
Ponder carefully this indisputable reality.
I haven’t yet read Michael Marlow’s The Myth of Fair and Efficient Government, but my GMU Econ colleague Dan Klein recommends it, so I put it not only on my reading list but in this “Some Links” for your consideration.
Think that “Progressives” really are oh-so-lovely when it comes to civil liberties? Cato’s Tim Lynch has some news u can use.
Matt Ridley’s Manhattan Institute Hayek Lecture on Monday was outstanding. A portion of it appeared late last week in the Wall Street Journal.
Here are the opening ‘grafs:
The crowd-sourced, wikinomic cloud is the new, new thing that all management consultants are now telling their clients to embrace. Yet the cloud is not a new thing at all. It has been the source of human invention all along. Human technological advancement depends not on individual intelligence but on collective idea sharing, and it has done so for tens of thousands of years. Human progress waxes and wanes according to how much people connect and exchange.
When the Mediterranean was socially networked by the trading ships of Phoenicians, Greeks, Arabs or Venetians, culture and prosperity advanced. When the network collapsed because of pirates at the end of the second millennium B.C., or in the Dark Ages, or in the 16th century under the Barbary and Ottoman corsairs, culture and prosperity stagnated. When Ming China, or Shogun Japan, or Nehru’s India, or Albania or North Korea turned inward and cut themselves off from the world, the consequence was relative, even absolute decline.
Knowledge is dispersed and shared. Friedrich Hayek was the first to point out, in his famous 1945 essay “The Use of Knowledge in Society,” that central planning cannot work because it is trying to substitute an individual all-knowing intelligence for a distributed and fragmented system of localized but connected knowledge.
So dispersed is knowledge, that, as Leonard Read famously observed in his 1958 essay “I, Pencil,” nobody on the planet knows how to make a pencil. The knowledge is dispersed among many thousands of graphite miners, lumberjacks, assembly line workers, ferrule designers, salesmen and so on. This is true of everything that I use in my everyday life, from my laptop to my shirt to my city. Nobody knows how to make it or to run it. Only the cloud knows.
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, October 01, 11 (11:59 am)
The most widely repeated excuse given by the Left for dismissing my argument about choosing Aboriginal identity - and for denying my right to have written as I did about it - is that I got some facts wrong in discussing a couple of dozen examples.
And the factual error that almost everyone has seized upon - from David Marr to Kerry Chikarovski - is the cited byThe Age as well:
The European ancestry he supplied for them was sometimes wildly off the mark: for example, he wrote that Aboriginal lawyer and academic Larissa Behrendt looked as German as her father - yet her father was Aboriginal and dark-skinned.
I believe it is now unlawful - or at least against the values of the Racial Discrimination Act - to argue that someone has a choice in deciding with which of the various ethnicities in their ancestry to identify, and to put any pressure on them over their choices. But before this ruling I would have argued that Paul Behrendt, ruled by the judge to be an “Aboriginal” man of ”dark skin”, did not disprove my case but illustrate it, even if you accept, as the Sydney Morning Herald did in writing his obituary and showing his picture, that his own account of his background was true:
WHEN Paul Behrendt finally found his mother’s Aboriginal people, it was, he said, “just like throwing off chains. My soul was free.” His mother had died when he was four and his father could not support their nine children. Young Paul was put in an orphanage and told he was white.
Although he suspected he was part-Aboriginal - teachers would chastise him in mock pidgin English - his suspicions were not confirmed until he was 14, when he left Burnside Homes. A brother filling in forms to join the army asked if their mother had any “coloured” blood.
Their father, Henry Behrendt, hit the roof: “As far as I’m concerned your mother was white!” Henry Behrendt would not discuss it further but his outburst confirmed the boy’s thoughts.
I cannot make my former argument now, or at least do not dare. I repeat: Paul Behrendt is an Aboriginal man of dark skin, according to a Federal Court judge, and I am in breach of the Racial Discrimination Act, in part for saying he was not.
But to everyone who simply accepts the line now put out by the Left on why I was “wrong” and my argument discredited, I urge you to click on the link to the obituary and in the privacy of your own thoughts to reach your own conclusion about how wrong I was, and the true significance, if any, of the error.
But I must repeat. The judge has ruled that none of the “fair skinned Aborigines” who took legal actual against me had a choice in deciding their “racial identity”, and I broke the law to say that they did and in the way that I did.
The only other picture of Paul Behrendt I could find, for balance..
(UPDATE: The link to the obituary is fixed. No comments for legal reasons.)
The ABC’s Drum runs a poll on my court case (50/50 result at the moment), but the question begging a vote against me is bizarre. Note that my articles, however offensive some choose to judge them, were an explicit plea to look beyond divisions of “race”, and to look to what unites us as human beings. Yet here’s how the ABC chooses to define the “yes” case on declaring them unlawful:
The “no” case is that it’s a blow to free speech. That the choice is posited this way is not only deeply offensive, but inaccurate.
(Thanks to reader Peter.)
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, October 01, 11 (09:41 am)
It is extraordinary to see my gleeful critics pouncing on my court loss to invest me with so many failings I never realised I had. Here’s Martin Flanagan:
One good thing to come out of this case was Bolt admitting his confusion about his identity as an Australian. I’ve never thought Bolt ‘’got’’ Australia, just currents of discontent within it. (When does he write with passion about an Australian painter, poet or sportsperson? About an Australian place?)
Where? Well, Martin, if you look to the right of this screen, you will see under “Categories” a link to Personal stuff I’m glad I wrote. It’s been there for a long time.
One click, and you have your rebuttal. Among the sample of columns there of the kind you say I don’t write is one in particular that is closest to my heart.
And it’s curious to be pigeonholed as someone so disconnected and out of love with this country as to “get ... just currents of discontent within it”, when the articles that get Flanagan most upset are ones in which I reject the fashionable fallacy that this is a racist, uncultured and devastated land, founded on genocide.
How utterly strange. I feel like I’m in some Alice in Wonderland fantasy, where words mean nothing, dreams trump reality and things are the very opposite of what they seem. Which kind of is what got me here in the first place…
(As for his first few paragraphs of allegations, some quotes would be nice to back them up. I wonder why they are missing?)
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, October 01, 11 (09:39 am)
Either way what has been missing in recent years is what our mothers used to call “good manners”. I mention this because the one universal trait I have witnessed in the truly successful political and business leaders I’ve met is courtesy and civility.
I have found manners to be the clearest window into the character of people. Why?
Don Argus was fond of making a cup of tea for his guests. Finding the time to make a cup of tea for people demonstrates that he was not “hassled”, that his office was running efficiently enough that he had the time for this simple courtesy. It demonstrated that he was not overwhelmed by being the CEO of one of Australia’s largest banks.
John Howard would always make a genuine inquiry about someone’s interests or the health of their family. In doing so he was demonstrating that he was not self-centered, that he was genuinely interested in what was going on outside his prime ministerial cocoon. In doing so he was also signalling that his time with them was an important investment for him, earning loyalty and respect. In fact on one occasion a colleague brought his two young boys in for a quick snap with the then PM, but ended up leaving 45 minutes later after Howard had given the boys a personal tour of his office, shared tea and biscuits and discussed the rugby and sports with them. Given that this happened the afternoon before a state reception for the Queen, the effort was pretty extraordinary, and importantly, never forgotten by the colleague.
I am grateful for one generous line in particular in his article, as welcome as water in a desert.
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, October 01, 11 (09:28 am)
Gerard Henderson asks new Greens Senator 12 questions about her extreme-Left past. Here’s just one of them:
During your Meet the Press interview on 3 July 2011, you were asked about your involvement with Survey magazine. Huw Riminton queried whether you wrote for, and edited, “a newspaper called Survey that was funded, in whole or in part, by the Soviet Union”. You responded that you “assisted” with Survey “to some extent”. You also referred to being “young” at the time.
Question 12 : The final editorial in Survey – which was signed by you – was published in July-August 1990, when you were aged 39 Do you regard the age of 39 as being so young that it should provide an excuse for editing a magazine which supported the communist regimes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe?
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, October 01, 11 (09:18 am)
The Gillard Government plans to cut our emissions by 160 million tonnes a year by 2020 actually involves paying foreigners for offsets for 100 million tonnes of that target.
That means billions a year sent overseas on schemes in, say, India:
A diplomatic cable published last month by the WikiLeaks website reveals that most of the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects in India should not have been certified because they did not reduce emissions beyond those that would have been achieved without foreign investment. Indian officials have apparently known about the problem for at least two years. The revelations imply that millions of tonnes of claimed reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions are mere phantoms, she says, and potentially cast doubt over the principle of carbon trading.
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, October 01, 11 (08:01 am)
Christopher Pearson, in discussing my case, puts the argument as I would wish but do not now dare, having had my own opining on this declared unlawful:
In the 80s, when Aboriginality enjoyed a sudden cachet and some privileges, Tasmanian people with claims to one part in 64 of indigenous descent were making the most of them and adopting a rhetoric in which the other 63 parts were dismissed as being of no consequence.
At the same time, many of their siblings exercised the conscious choice not to identify as Aboriginal. In some cases, it was a matter of having struggled so hard to keep up within the lumpenproletariat that they couldn’t bear the idea of falling what many would regard as one rung further down the ladder. While most people who now identify as Aboriginal are inclined to say they’ve always done so, at least in urban settings racial identity tends to be less of a fait accompli than a liminal zone, where individuals have options…
My old friend and sparring partner Gary Johns cut to the chase with a fine column on the subject in Thursday’s edition of The Australian. “Cultural identity is arguable and should be discussed in a free and open manner. If not, then Australia is entering a world where Aboriginal people, especially those of light colour and claiming discrimination (or favours) based upon their race, become a laughing-stock. Is this what the activists wanted? Forget constitutional recognition, this decision has undercut goodwill.”
For balance, and as a warning to Pearson, I should again stress that the Federal Court has ruled that my views on this issue (and presumably Pearson’s) are against the “values” of the Racial Discrimination Act:
In fact, it seems from Justice Bromberg’s judgment that it is against the values of the Racial Discrimination Act for me to write columns likely to “pressure” people to give up some racial identity.
Again, I quote: ”Such pressure may ultimately cause a person to renounce their racial identity. Conduct with negating consequences such as those that I have described, is conduct inimical to the values that the RDA seeks to honour.
“People should be free to fully identify with their race without fear of public disdain or loss of esteem for so identifying.”
To argue against their choices is apparently “destructive of racial tolerance”. ... Crucial to Justice Bromberg’s finding is that fair-skinned Aborigines such as the claimants do not choose their ethnic or “racial” identity, even though one of the nine in the court action against me conceded in court that her own sister disputed her account of their genealogy and did not consider herself to be Aboriginal.
One thing that I think saves Pearson is that he gives no actual examples of people who obviously had choices to make. The discussion is largely in the abstract, shorn of some examples so preposterous that the issue becomes lightning clear.
There is much of great interest in Gerard Henderson’s analysis of the case, including material I do not think prudent for me to draw particular attention to - and material which Henderson himself introduces very, very carefully with no further comment. I’ll only note here the conclusion, and urge you to read the whole:
As the case law stands following this decision, there are considerable limits on what can be said in Australia’s multicultural society – especially if a person’s “tone” displeases a member of the judiciary.
There is another matter. The Federal Court has conclusively found that there is such an entity in Australia as “fair-skinned Aboriginal people”. What, then, will be said next time when some “fair-skinned Aboriginal people” condemn the European “invasion” of 1788 or take part in “Invasion Day” protests – since the Federal Court has now officially found that Aboriginal people can have significant European heritage? Eatock v Bolt is capable of giving weight to the view that some Australians are the descendants of both the invaded and the invaders. [Actually, Gerard, the judgment makes it dangerous for you and me to point out that bifurcated ancestry and to ask why one heritage is claimed and the other not. This was the whole point of my columns.]
Justice Bromberg is, no doubt, a well meaning person. But the decision in Eatock v Bolt has given significant publicity to Andrew Bolt’s cause. Also he has brought down a judgment which could severely limit free speech. Bolt’s columns were offensive and contained some errors. However, even after reading Bromberg J’s judgment, it is not at all clear how Bolt committed an act of racial discrimination by querying the aboriginality of what the Federal Court found to be fair-skinned individuals.
As someone who gets on very well with Dr Anthony Dillon, I must caution him to speak much more carefully in future - both in his argument and his tone, which some people with far lighter skin complain is “offensive”:
In my view, it’s arguable that Dillon has breached the Racial Discrimination Act, or at least its “values”. But, of course, he has one thing in his favour that I can never claim.
Putting Dillon in the dock would make this issue even more interesting.
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, October 01, 11 (07:46 am)
It’s now October. I tipped that Julia Gillard could be gone by September.
She is, in fact, gone, but not yet in the way I meant.
Dennis Shanahan says Labor has decided a sudden execution didn’t work with Kevin Rudd, and a slow death for Gillard is a safer option:
The destabilisation campaign is already under way, the Foreign Minister is being presented in the best possible light across portfolios and some ministers are trying to play down the impact of the internal campaign, but they concede it exists.
For a variety of reasons the strategies of those intent on removing Gillard and those intent on defending her position are coalescing with the same aim, that Gillard will remain Labor leader until at least December and then through to February next year…
Polls showing the Foreign Minister could “save” Labor are viewed sceptically, even by Gillard critics, and no Labor MP wants a poll now.
Second, Gillard will be expected to absorb all the odium attached to the broken promise on the carbon tax, the power-sharing deal with the Greens, the failure of her plans to send asylum-seekers to East Timor and Malaysia, her agreement to limit poker machine gambling and in clearing up the mining tax at last.
Finally, Labor strategists are now convinced a lingering death for a leader, as was the case with Hawke in 1991, is more acceptable to the public than a clinical assassination without warning.
Underlining this thinking is also the correct assumption that Kevin Rudd remains as dysfunctional and self-obsessed as he ever was, and that the public support for him now would vanish like pies at a grand final. If Rudd is to be made leader again, it must be just before an election, so voters don’t get time to remember what made him so bad. Call it the sugar-rush strategy.
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, October 01, 11 (07:32 am)
I may not speak because I’m too rude, but Julian Burnside can tweet all day:
Mr Burnside said last night he had not intended to suggest Mr Abbott was a pedophile and his Twitter gaffe was only meant to be a private reply to a “rather weak pun about church people"…
The Opposition Leader, renowned for wearing Speedos during ocean swimming events, declined to comment…
Mr Burnside’s Twitter comment came a day after he used a radio interview about the Andrew Bolt racial discrimination case to say that society had formed a view that there were “limits to what you can say that might vilify or hurt other people”.
The Melbourne-based human rights lawyer had been using the social networking site to comment on a new book, Tony Abbott: A Man’s Man, by Susan Mitchell, which is highly critical of Mr Abbott. He tweeted “ ‘sexist’ Abbott blasted in new book” and shared the view that the Liberal leader was “a dangerous man with no moral compass”.
Mr Burnside said he received a private message and replied to it with the comment “Paedos in speedos"… Mr Burnside said that he could not recall whether the message he was replying to was a comment from @RobertaWedge, asking: “@JulianBurnside Are sexist abbots like predator priests?”
His memory failed him, just as it was getting particularly interesting.
Twitter sure seems to reveal a nasty streak of some in the Left’s discourse:
Last year, comedian Catherine Deveny lost her regular column in Fairfax’s The Age after she tweeted that she hoped child star Bindi Irwin “gets laid” at the Logies. Indigenous lawyer Larissa Behrendt came under fire for suggesting on Twitter that watching bestiality during a television show was “less offensive than Bess Price” - an indigenous activist who is in favour of the Northern Territory intervention.
Excuse me for being still a bit self absorbed after the week I’ve had, but had I tweeted what Burnside and Behrendt have, would I still have a job? Would I ever hear the end of it?
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, October 01, 11 (07:29 am)
There’s what Labor says and what Labor does:
TRADE Minister Craig Emerson has reignited the Big Australia debate by insisting Australia must boost immigration levels to fully exploit its potential in the “Asian century”.
In a move that puts him at odds with Julia Gillard’s 2010 election campaign call for “a sustainable Australia, not a big Australia”, Dr Emerson has warned that labour and skills shortages threaten to restrict the nation’s capacity to lift exports and must be met with higher immigration levels.
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, October 01, 11 (06:56 am)
Academic Susan Mitchell, author of a new book on Tony Abbott, says the Opposition Leader is just too rude:
The author blamed Mr Abbott ”for a decline in civility in our political discourse”...
Mitchell then demonstrates what a more civil political discourse is like, when conducted by a woman of the Left:
Her overall image of Abbott the man is one of being ”pugnacious, aggressive and arrogant”… (and) a leader who is “trapped in the past”.
TONY Abbott is a sore loser, afflicted by ‘’innate and deeply embedded sexism and misogyny‘’..
TONY Abbott is a bully who hates women, and his outdated social views are a threat to national cohesion and plurality…
”He is extremely dangerous because he is a man of the past,” Dr Mitchell told The Weekend Australian yesterday… and accused him of “deeply embedded misogyny"…
“He is a man . . . unable to comprehend what women—who are 50 per cent of those Australians he wishes to govern—need and expect from a modern leader… (He) knows no other world but the one populated with his male heroes”,
So this is a civil discourse. What is an uncivil discourse, according to Mitchell, is...:
....his aggressive campaign against Labor’s proposed carbon tax
Mitchell is a hypocrite who in my opinion reduces people to grotesque caricatures to suit an ideology that is itself a grotesque caricature.
To make one small point. Abbott, this man who is “unable to comprehend what women ... need” from politicians and who “knows no other world but the one populated with his male heroes” is a married man with three loving daughters. He also has a woman as his deputy and more women in key positions on his staff. (And, indeed, women voters are almost as likely to vote for him as they are for Julia Gillard,)
Mitchell should be ashamed of herself for her grossly uncivil and even more grossly simplistic discourse.
And how authentic a representative is Mitchell of our cultural Left?
She is a former senior lecturer in Communications and Creative Writing at The University of South Australia. She is an Emeritus Professor at Flinders University where was recently a Writer-in–Residence… Susan is an accomplished radio broadcaster, having presented the morning program on the ABC in Adelaide (where she won “The Better Hearing Award” for clear speech)...She has been a Director on the Literature Board of The Australia Council, on the Board of Film Australia and the Board of The South Australian Tourism Commission.
I’d say more about Mitchell, but there are rules about how rude conservatives can now be.
The two great myths are Abbott as extremist and Abbott as ideologue. The Australian public shuns such traits and Abbott’s poll ratings affirm this is not how the public sees him. The effort to paint Abbott as extremist and ideologue, once Labor’s central strategy, has failed so far.
Labor, however, cannot give up. Undermined by its own dysfunction, it will keep playing the Abbott card because it has few other options and is convinced he is a destructive force unfit to become prime minister. Labor’s last hope remains a bet against Abbott’s political character.
Andrew Bolt – Saturday, October 01, 11 (06:40 am)
Aborigines who want to develop their country apparently aren’t real Aborigines, according to whites who know better how they should live:
The Kimberley Land Council, the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Cultural Centre, and the Kimberley Language and Resource Centre, representing the 29 tribal groups across the entire Kimberley, camped for the past four days at the Fitzroy community and reaffirmed their support for the decision by Jabirr Jabirr traditional owners to back the ($30 billion) contentious LNG project (at James Price Point).
The Weekend Australian was invited to the meeting, the most important gathering of Kimberley Aborigines each year, where issues of police and justice, youth suicide, health education and culture, law and language are debated. Mr Watson, an elder with the Nyikina Mangala people, said like so many others, he had been a “CDEP man” and for many years had depended on the taxpayer. “I’m an old man now, but I don’t want to live off the welfare system; I can’t buy a house, I can’t buy a car . . . it takes me many years to save up for a car,” he said…
His son, Anthony, a KLC representative and one of several prominent Aborigines tagged “toxic coconuts” in an anti-gas newsletter recently circulated around Broome, said the Aboriginal unemployment rate in the Kimberley was appalling…
“Many of our men are dying before they are 50. We have so many social and health problems, sometimes we just don’t know where to start. Yet when we try to deal ourselves into the game we are racially abused and criticised for helping our people.”
Last week, former KLC chief executive Wayne Bergmann accused green groups opposed to the Woodside project of reneging on a 2007 deal in which they promised to back any Aboriginal decision on the project if an onshore gas facility was confined to a single hub along the pristine Kimberley coast…
Showing The Weekend Australian around their camp, the (ant-developemet) protesters outlined their daily strategy, which begins at 6am when they “frock up” in clown suits, wigs and masks to begin their blockade of the road to James Price Point. ...
The blockades - held about 6.30am, 1.30pm and 4pm - mean Woodside workers spend hours sitting patiently in their cars, windows up, with air-conditioning on. Some workers constantly video-tape protesters who jump in front of them, wave placards in their faces, and dance to whatever music blares from a nearby boom box…
None of the protesters interviewed by The Weekend Australian was from the Kimberley, but all said the fight was now a national and international issue that was gathering pace on various well-visited websites that linked green groups across the globe.
Carter McDonald, 40, from Gympie, was planning to head to Tibet and Nepal but decided to come to the Kimberley because “this is the most important thing I can do”....
Liz, who didn’t give her surname, said she missed out on her 17-year-old son’s graduation because she believed this fight was more important. A travel consultant whose last stop was Darwin, she said ... the project was destroying the important traditional songlines that ran along that part of the coast, she said.
The Woodside project would do nothing to enhance their way of life, she added.