Friday, October 28, 2011

Wise Economists

Plenty of economists are smart people who can do fancy math and create nice models that have real-sounding results. But few economists are wise. Russell Roberts is wise.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Quote from Mises Daily

From today's Mises Daily:

"Politics and government twist the overwhelming advantages of our unique desires and skills into conflict. Instead of each of us going his own way to satisfy his needs and earning a living satisfying other people's needs in a manner each of us finds most accommodating, we are forced to choose between suboptimal options imposed by institutions. Politics distills options to the most ascetic elements when a cornucopia should prevail."

O, how very true.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Free Education

The internet is simply a wonderful tool, especially for disseminating knowledge and information. Clicking on this link will transport you to another blog where another 12 dozen links await your discovery. 

You will find the whole spectrum, ranging from Harvard Medical School courseware to Boston College Front Row to Standford Law to underwater basket weaving.  (okay, I made that last one up). 


Monday, October 24, 2011

Rugby and Freedom in America

While channel surfing yesterday, I stumbled across a rugby match.  New Zealand and France were playing for the rugby world championship (whatever that is).  I decided to stop and watch for a while, as I have never really seen a rugby match.  And it was brutal.

It takes a real man, unlike me, to play this rugged, brutal sport.  With the exception of one or two players, all wore no protection: no helmet, no pads, nothing!  Over the hour that I watched, two players were injured and needed medical attention.  Amazingly, the officials didn’t even bother to stop play as the medics were tending to players.  After New Zealand won, I went back to American rugby – football.  Although, after watching rugby, football didn’t seem as “cool”.

American football, and to a large degree, American life, is played out with safety as the top priority.  From the waist up, American football players are encased in protective wear.  They wear specially designed helmets, robust shoulder pads, tight fitting rib guards, perfectly shaped elbow pads, and padded gloves, all to minimize the chance of injury.  And I’m sure that each piece of that protective armor is regulated by some federal law so that some minimum safety standard is met.

Rugby players – they wear no protective gear.  Rugby players know the sport is rough, and choose to play anyway.  How many rugby players sport a complete set of teeth?  Yet, the sport is played without much regard to personal safety.  You see, it’s the game that matters most, not ensuring that every square inch of the human body is protected during play.  When safety becomes the overriding goal, things change – and liberty fades.  And I’m worried that we are trading (the appearance of) safety for our liberties.  And don’t think Big Government isn’t eager to facilitate this trade.  Our government is obsessed with safety, so much so, that if government were a person, we’d have them on medication for OCD.  Nearly every federal rule churned out each year by all the alphabet soup agencies is aimed at making us safer.

Under the guise of safety, our government can deny, limit, and ban nearly anything it deems too dangerous.  Throw children into the mix, and the rules grow by a factor of 10.  But protecting us from ourselves shouldn’t be the prerogative of lawmakers and bureaucrats.  For kids, that’s a parent’s job, and for adults, it’s your job.  Government should instead, focus on protecting our freedoms and leave much of the other stuff up to us.  Go rugby!

Friday, October 21, 2011

On the 'Paleo' Diet

So the Paleo diet is getting a lot of press now. I first stumbled on this thing a few years back when I was getting my sea legs regarding Libertarianism. I tracked back from a post by Karen De Coster on the Lew Rockwell blog, and started reading about it. It was intriguing, especially because Libertarianism seemed to line up with my way of thinking. I quickly noticed that a lot of the practitioners of the 'Paleo' diet weren't all that strict about it. A lot of them, for example, will use butter. Hmm... Paleolithic man probably didn't have butter. Why would butter be okay, but grains not, since I'll wager grains came before butter in our diet.

Speaking of what came when in the diet, where is the evidence that digestive systems evolve at a certain rate? Maybe 3000 years is sufficient time to evolve. After all, if people were agrarian, wouldn't those whose systems are better adapted to farming be the ones that thrived? So I'm thinking there's not a lot of traction to the Paleo view already.

But, all that said, there might be insight there if people who follow the diet are healthier in all forms. A main insight I think is valuable is that Paleo people prefer to eat grass-fed meat. I think that's reasonable, since corn-fed beef is a lot fattier, and grass-fed straight up tastes better. But that's not Paleo... that's Argentine. And, I think, a lot of people who've never heard of Paleo prefer leaner meat.

Another good point made by Paleo dieters, but again not just them, is to avoid processed food. This seems reasonable. Processed food has many additives, most of which were invented in the 20th century, and don't really resemble 'food.' And, such foods are high in sugar and sodium, two things you really don't need much of to get by. It's also fairly easy to overdose on sugar and sodium, and too much sugar = extra waistline.

So I'm not convinced Paleo is anything special. They definitely eschew carbohydrates, but then so does Adkins. A top point, for me, is that Paleo focuses as much as possible on food in its 'natural' state or with as little processing as possible. I think that's right, and we'd all do better to focus more on what's going in our bodies. But that's some stuff my Moms has been telling me since I was old enough to understand, and she's not Paleo. She's just sensible.

On another note, I wonder if Paleo dieters are like MMTers? If so, I expect quite the onslaught.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Whether or not you agree with Ron Paul's platform in general, this video is powerful stuff. How would you like it if, in the U.S., you had to pass through Chinese army check points?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Is college a scam?

John Stossel tackles this question and other “lies” about higher education.  A college education can help advance, even start, your career, but it isn’t for everyone.  Not everyone is well suited for college and that’s okay.  Bill Gates dropped out of college to start Microsoft.  There are presidents who didn’t graduate from college.
Understand that there are real opportunity costs with going to college, not to mention the huge tuition bill you’ll likely pay using borrowed funds.  It’s not uncommon to graduate from college with tens of thousands in student loans.

So, before you sign up, take a few minutes to learn if college is right for you.  You can start by watching this episode of John Stossel.  Best of luck!