Archive Page 2

Romney’s Chart

Stephanie Kelton provides the needed corrections.

Fortunately, there is a game parents can play within their own households to model how the monetary system actually works (starting on page 18):


Reading – 4/19/12

1.  Greenwald is in fine form over yet another proposed expansion of the drone killing program cheered by both sides of the political spectrum.

2.  The Pentagon’s depressing treatment of Afghans betrays America’s imperialistic posture.

Douthat on Romney’s Christianity

I am liking Sullivan’s new long-format interview feature, and the first highlight has him asking Douthat whether Mitt Romney is a Christian.

Sullivan calls his answer disarmingly honest, but I think it’s the same answer that orthodox Christianity has had about Mormons from the beginning – Mormons are heretical Christians.  No news there.

Mitt Romney’s Mask

This is a late response to Sullivan’s post about Mitt Romney’s awkward charisma, which in turn built on Brian Fung’s uncanny valley analysis.

Sullivan, in showing the good sense to ask actual Mormons about this, noted the following:

Think of a pastor who has a game face, or after-Mass cheeriness, because it’s impossible for a human being truly to relate to so many different needs and individuals all the time without some kind of defense mechanism; some set of phrases to get him through a confession or consultation when he may be having an off day; some way to remove himself from the emotionally draining responsibilities of so many pastoral duties.

I would place more emphasis on the authoritarian nature of Mormon leadership positions.  The advice and counsel dispensed by Mormon Bishops and Stake Presidents is held in very high regard by the flock, in many cases the leader is imagined to be the conduit for the advice coming from God himself.  The leader’s advice is rarely questioned in church settings once rendered (although vociferous input may be offered if the leader appears to have not yet reached a decision (i.e. in a Ward Council meeting or similar)).

This can be a lot of pressure for a lay Mormon leader, unless a sort of detachment learned from growing into the role applies.  And I mean not just by learning to deal with people and all of their problems, but also learning to dispense advice that will treated as if it came from heaven itself.

Reading – 4/18/2012

1.  Yglesias wants the federal government, which is the sovereign issuer of its own currency, to “finance” itself through taxation or borrowing.  Kelton comments.

2.  When capitalism dies.

3.  Sullivan still comes up with some of the best descriptions of Romney.

4.  Counter-opinion on Assange from Greenwald (see here).

Reading – 4/17/12

1.  The Guardian has a good piece on guns in America, but this should be read in the context of other information that gun ownership is actually declining in this country.

2.  Also in the Guardian, a reminder that idealistic lefties are still all too willing to act as stooges for Moscow.  (see contra opinion from Greenwald in 4/18/12 Reading).

3.  More republican enabling of predatory industries.

4.  A not particularly nuanced discussion of Mormon economics.

Thoughts on Libertarianism – Part I – Preliminaries

I’m ready to engage a little bit with libertarianism.  Certainly, this election season has shown where libertarians can make common cause with conservatives and realpolitik liberals (hints: foreign policy, civil rights).  Before attempting this, though, a few preliminary notes:

1. I am vaguely aware that libertarians come in a variety flavors with a number of philosophical differences, some of which may be more or less responsive to the ideas expressed in my exploration. In general, I am not interested in discussing the more minimal forms of libertarianism to the extent that these flavors do not purport to offer a fully self-contained political philosophy or system.

2. It is easy to find examples of government waste, fraud and constitutional overreaching. The fact that these things exist does not strike me as a sufficient argument for libertarianism.

3. I am aware of the Von Mises Institute and website and have read some of the publications there. That is where I learned that, inter alia, in the libertarian dystopia, the use of force will be allocated by the market to private armies maintained by insurance companies, who will settle the claims of their clients by battling it out in a manner that is  somehow fully rights-respecting as to the participants.  Also, undesirable persons may be exiled to the polar regions, jungles, or desert regions, also in a fully rights-respecting manner.  (Citations to Von Mises approved publications are available upon request). If you wish to further promote the Von Mises Institute or website in the comments below or elsewhere on this blog, please do so as I hope these fascinating ideas are heard far and wide.

4. My general disclaimer and request apply: I am not a scholar of political science, philosophy or economics (or anything else for that matter), but am a working class lawyer exploring these ideas from a completely lay perspective. I request that, if you want to tell me how wrong I am, what circle of hell I am assigned to, or where I can pull my head out of, please do so in a way that is understandable and accessible from a similar lay perspective and in a way that addresses the actual terms of my arguments.

Substantive posts to follow.