Monday, September 26, 2016

She blinded me with science

Hillary Clinton says "I believe in science."  Well, I don't, and you shouldn't either.  I explain why at American Greatness.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Political Correctness and the Post-Growth Economy

Daniel Henninger writes that progressives “have chopped American society into so many offendable identities that only a Yale freshman can name them all.”

Regulation is a burden.  Let us be charitable and assume that there is no regulation out there that does not provide some benefit to somebody, and be more charitable and assume that that benefit is somehow related to the intended or ostensible purpose of that regulation.   Still, all regulations impose costs, and keeping people from engaging in what would otherwise be lawful activities mean that we get less of these activities and fewer people engaging with them.  As the governments of developed countries promulgate more and more regulations, say, to regulate a factory to reduce the degree to which it pollutes the environment or to regulate the factory floor to ensure that there are no pinups that make it a “hostile environment,” otherwise profitable economic activities are regulated out of existence.  Government grows, the economy slows.  Often in ways that cannot be spotted by the most eagle-eyed deficit hawk because the salaries of the regulators are only a tiny portion of the burden of regulation that falls on producers and consumers.

Political correctness is regulation, not always government regulation, of speech and writing aiming at regulation of thought and action.  In particular, regulation, as Henninger hints, favors the articulate over the inarticulate, the talkers over the makers.  Or rather, it forces the makers to lawyer up with Yale graduates or eliminates from the ranks of the makers those, like Brendan Eich, who themselves are not so articulate or who articulate wrongthought.  The result is less production, less wealth, fewer jobs, and greater inequality, because opportunities are available only to those who add to inspiration and perspiration well-tuned instincts for what can and cannot be thought or said.

Corporations are increasingly asked to police their employees.  One Harvard Law professor has demanded that a company fire or discipline anyone who expresses an allegedly sexist criticism of Hillary Clinton, and that companies that fail to do so are liable for creating a “hostile environment” that promotes harassment and discrimination against their female employees.  I am sure that for most Harvard Law professors and students virtually any criticism of Hillary Clinton is sexist.   Forget that for the moment, and put aside the danger such attitudes, whether enshrined in law or acted on by regulators in the absence of any colorable legal authority, pose to fundamental constitutional rights or basic aspects of republican government such as the accountability of government officials, even female or minority ones.  Such regulations burdens the economy.

Now some of that regulation, sensible people would agree, is worth the cost.  Nobody would want to legalize the casting couch, or let employers treat their female coworkers as perks of the job.   Mad Men is self-congratulatory progressive ideological porn, but Bill Wilder made this same point in The Apartment, in 1960 America, when JFK’s sexual adventures, like Hillary Clinton’s health today, were regarded by the respectable media as not fit to print.
But in 2016 America, and not only in America, people are starting to ask if all of this policing is justified or desirable.  Do we need the FDA to ensure that people cannot enjoy raw-milk cheeses?  Do we need the EEOC and the Justice Department to ensure that companies do not use standardized tests to screen potential employees for intelligence and relevant knowledge?  

We certainly need a President who knows that to ask these questions is not to answer them.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Election Day in Dreamland

In my first post for the American Greatness webzine, I discuss the American opiate crisis and its connection to government policies--particularly immigration.

Trigger warning: we don't give trigger warnings.

The University of Chicago pats itself on the back for fostering open debate on campus.  They warned the Class of 2000, "we do not support trigger warnings."  But wait....

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Hillary Clinton Lies about British Immigration Law and Equates Our Greatest Ally with ISIS

New Google game.  Pick any topic.  I mean, any topic.  Google that topic and Hillary Clinton.  Find readily demonstrable, "Four Pinocchio" lie.  I will show you how it is played.
In her speech Thursday linking Trump and the "alt-right," Hillary Clinton said that "Under Donald Trump, America would distinguish itself as the only country in the world to impose a religious test at the border. Come to think of it, there actually may be one other place that does that. The so-called Islamic State. The territory that ISIS controls. What a would be a cruel irony that someone running for president would equate us with them."
Well, I am not an immigration lawyer, but I do know a country besides ISIS that imposes a religious test for some people seeing to enter.  That would be...  the United Kingdom.  You see, back in 1705 the British Parliament passed the Sophia Naturalization Act, which naturalized all Protestant descendants of the Electress Sophia.  They did this because Sophia was heiress apparent to the throne, and they didn't want any whining about how she or any of kids or grandkids who might inherit the crown were foreigners and not true-born Britishers.  Why only Protestant descendants?  You see, the Brits had gone through a bit of unpleasantness (in Ireland it was a vicious, bloody civil war) to get rid of their Catholic King, James II, and they didn't want any more Catholics ruling them.
Now of course one of the bright kids in the front row will shout out:  "The Sophia Naturalization Act was repealed by the British Nationality Act of 1948."
Indeed, Chucky, it was.  But the British Nationality Act explicitly left intact any claim to British citizenship that was valid prior to the act.  So if you were alive when the act was passed in 1948, can prove your descent from the Electress Sophia, and have never gotten around to claiming your British Citizenship -- because, say, you were too busy fighting for Hitler on the Russian Front -- you can still get British citizenship.  BUT ONLY IF YOU ARE NOT AND HAVE NEVER BEEN A CATHOLIC.
Not only did Mrs. Clinton tell a lie, she insulted our staunch ally, Britain, by equating them with ISIS. "Ma'am, Boris Johnson on the phone.  He would like an apology."
{Oh right, another ally, Israel, kind of does it too.}

Friday, August 19, 2016

An Independent Empire -- the pitch

Michael Taylor and I are polishing up a truly marvelous history book, An Independent Empire: Diplomacy & War in the Making of the United States 1776-1826. We need an agent to sell it to a trade publisher. So, who out there can steer me to an agent? Contact Michael Kochin at

An Independent Empire tells the remarkable story of how politics, diplomacy, and war transformed a string of British colonies into one of the world’s great powers, the United States of America.

An Independent Empire is a history of the foreign relations of the early United States. The rapid transformation of the Thirteen Colonies into one of the great powers of the Atlantic world ought to be understood as the function of the foreign policies, diplomacy, and military prowess of the early United States. We also explore how the development of a national, federal government allowed the new republic to pursue those policies. We further address a series of questions which have as much relevance to the early history of the United States as to its current politics. Should the United States pursue an interventionist or an isolationist foreign policy? Should formal international alliances be renewed or abandoned? Should commerce be globalized or nationalized? In the Presidential election year of 2016, these topics have never been more relevant, yet these were also the debates which shaped and directed American foreign relations between 1776 and 1826.
     We have written An Independent Empire with an educated, general readership in mind. The manuscript makes original arguments of scholarly value, but it not intended to gather dust on university shelves among academic monographs. For too long, histories of foreign policy and diplomacy have been reserved for specialists stuck in the ivory towers; conversely, An Independent Empire has been written to be read. The approach of An Independent Empire to the early history of the United States is also markedly different from other recently successful trade histories. Chernow’s Hamilton, Eliot Cohen’s Conquered into Liberty, and Heidler and Heidler’s Washington’s Circle, among others, have focused on particular people, episodes, or mere pieces of the larger picture. Our ambition is rather to present the whole sweep of the American Empire before the general reader.
     The manuscript is structured chronologically with each chapter – of between five and eight thousand words in length – focusing on short periods of United States history. Each chapter is then sub-divided into several sections which focus on the specific events, debates, and characters relevant to the respective historical period. We feel that this structure allows the reader not only to follow the compelling narrative of our subject, but also to “dip in” to specific parts of the history of American war and diplomacy. With our general readership in mind, we have been anxious to avoid academic jargon and impenetrable prose, and so we have written the manuscript using clear, elegant, and accessible language.  We have now completed the second draft, which is about 92,000 words (not counting references).

Monday, August 15, 2016

Q&A on Trump and the issues

Q&A on Trump and the issues with Richard Schultz
[Richard Schultz weighs in]
Okay, let's discuss the issues.
1. Every economist that I have seen has indicated that Trump's proposed economic plan will do nothing except make the rich richer, and that it will not aid the economy in general. How precisely do you think that his economic plan will aid the average American?
2. Trump has stated outright that he would have no problem giving orders to the armed forces that violate U.S. and international law. Do you think that this is a desirable quality in a commander-in-chief? Why or why not?
3. Given the precedents of Korea and Kuwait, do you think that a U.S. President's having announced in advance that he will not guarantee that he will honor defense treaties to which the U.S. is a signatory is more likely or less likely to keep the peace? What about his indication that he has no problem with nuclear arms races in the far and middle east?
4. Trump has indicated that he believes that there should not be a federal minimum wage. What effect do you think abolishing the federal minimum wage would have on the economy?
5. Trump has stated that he would renegotiate or refinance the U.S. National debt. His statements indicated that he either did not understand the nature of renegotiating or refinancing a debt or that he did not understand the nature of the U.S. national debt (or maybe both). What effect do you think an attempt to renegotiate the national debt would have on the U.S. economy, and what leads you to that conclusion?
6. Trump has no experience of government and apparently has at best a limited understanding of how the U.S. government functions. I have seen from some of his supporters the claim that his experience in business is sufficient preparation for the presidency. Given that Warren G. Harding, Herbert Hoover, and Jimmy Carter were successful businessmen before they went into politics, what *specific* aspects of Trump's business experience in your opinion have prepared him for the presidency?
[I respond]
1. Taxes matter little. Regulation matters a great deal. Trump wants to repeal or reform much economically crippling regulation. Hillary Clinton has never met a rule she doesn't like.
2. Under the Constitution the Federal government guarantees the security of the states. That guarantee contains no proviso exonerating the Federal Government from responsibility where to execute it requires violating US law, much less international law. And in fact every President has issued illegal orders.
3. The nuclear arms race in the Far East was a lost cause when Clinton failed to block North Korea. The nuclear arms race in the Middle East was a lost cause when Obama failed to block Iran, or maybe when LBJ failed to block Israel.
And yes, it is past time to rethink the commitments made to win the Cold War, which ended a generation ago.
4. The New York Times explains why minimum wages are bad:
Abolishing minimum wages would do wonders for youth and minority unemployment.
5. Trump was unaware that the US can impose a haircut on debtors at any time by inflating the dollar. Now that this was explained to him, he has dropped the issue. Trump knows little, but learns fast. His principal rival has learned nothing and forgotten nothing since 1992.
6. Harding was a fine President, generally admired at his death, and only his sudden demise prevented him from dealing with the scandals that tarnished his posthumous reputation. See the account in Paul Johnson's _History of the American People_. Trump has extensive experience working with government as a developer, though I agree he is no Herbert Hoover, who, let us recall, was prior to his Presidency probably the most admired living American for his relief work during and after World War I. I agree that a Jeff Sessions or a Bobby Jindal, say, would likely be a better President than Trump. But Sessions didn't run, and nobody seems to have wanted Jindal except me and him.