Congratulations to Andrew Bolt. He reminds us that a short time ago he was almost a lone voice talking sense on climate change. One day a book will be written, “The Skeptics Who Saved Australia”, the people who held the line when it was desperately thin.
Spare a thought for Brendon Nelson. He was taking an appropriately wary line, not quite skeptical but as much as you could expect at the time. The ALP media made so much fuss about his low poll ratings (instead of looking at the rabble of Government), the Liberals were spooked into trying the Turnbull experiment. Which could have been terminal.
Data on cases and convictions in the wake of the UK riots. h/t Tim Blair.
Lorenzo Warby’s housing links.
A fascinating historical piece about the amazing range of firearms used in the Battle of the Little Big Horn (Custer’s last stand). Decades ago I read a piece about a grass fire at the site which exposed the spent cartridge cases from the action, so military historians could reconstruct the location of individual troopers to supplement the oral history of the indians. [see footnote]
Australia’s leading public intellectual turns his attention from economics and genocide to climate science.
Peter Klein’s “back to school” advice for MBA students, email etiquette, how to miss classes etc.
Jo Nova on the way previous generations practiced conservation as commonsense without being captivated by “the green thing”.
Heads up on a new book on national competitiveness. Relates to the issue of regulation.
This book asks whether democracy is a pre-condition for economic development, what the proper role of government is in the age of globalization and whether successful government led policies were the cause of South Korea’s economic development. As well as these key questions, the book covers the issues of whether the government should rely on the market process to encourage economic development or must they interfere, and by what criteria one can judge a proposal for policies for economic prosperity.
Ben Powell’s list of articles on the cost of occupational regulation and other things. h/t Pete Boettke at Coordination Problem. See also on that site Steve Horwitz on incompetent journalists, also debating with trogs and Pete Boettke’s tribute to Warren Samuels (1933-2011) a great scholar in the history of economic thought.
John Armstrong’s call for reform of the humanities. h/t Andrew Norton’s new blog where he has a nice piece on funding for the humanities where he replies to people who have attacked him as an economic fundamentalist (naughty naughty!). This quote is Armstrong:
I BELIEVE THE academic humanities require radical reform – not just in their institutional framework but in their intellectual self-conception, their sense of purpose, of mission even; in their habits of mind, their modes of admiration and the direction of effort. Ironically, such reform is needed to return the humanities to their grandest, most longstanding ambitions. Wisdom should be powerful in the world: that is why we teach, research, and engage the public.
Pressing the theme of the humanities, here is Les Murray’s defence of poetry. Not new, but a different link from the one that was on my website. Some helpful person got in touch to say my link was dead but the essay can be found here.
Another link on that page is an essay by the late Len Hume who took up the leftwing meme of the dreadful Australian “cultural cringe” and showed that it is a bollocks for the most part. Wonderful stuff! Reprinted in the Rathouse with permission (and thanks) from Len Hume’s literary executor.
For example, the economic historian Edward Shann is described as one who ‘untiringly defended Anglo-colonial economic dependency’. In fact, he opposed tariff protection (a genuine cringe); he deplored the accumulation of foreign debt (for the benefit of investors in London and New York, as he put it); and he felt Australians should exploit their advantages in primary industries and the proximity of growing Asian economies. Stated in 1930, this has a strongly contemporary ring, and not one of cringing subservience to the Home Country.
Footnote on the Battle of the Little Big Horn
One of the strange things to emerge from the story is the unwillingness of many soldiers to kill the enemy, and the huge waste of ammunition.
Firing high has always been a problem, and it apparently does not stem solely from inadequate training. Soldiers and military historians from Ardant du Picq to Paddy Griffith and John Keegan have commented on the phenomenon. In Civil War battles, 200 to 1,000 men might stand, blasting away at the opposing lines at 30 to 50 yards distance, and only hit one or two men per minute. Commanders constantly admonished their troops to aim low and give the enemy a blizzard at his shins. Regardless, the men continued to fire high–sometimes intentionally, sometimes without consciously knowing what they were doing.
In Vietnam, it was estimated that some firefights had 50,000 bullets fired for each soldier killed. In the Battle of the Rosebud, eight days before the Little Bighorn fight, General George Crook’s forces fired about 25,000 rounds and may have caused about 100 Indian casualties–about one hit for every 250 shots. One of the best showings ever made by soldiers was at Rorke’s Drift in an 1879 battle between the Zulus and the British infantry. There, surrounded, barricaded soldiers delivered volley after volley into dense masses of charging natives at point-blank range where it seemed that no shot could miss. The result: one hit for every 13 shots.
Indeed, it was at times even difficult to get soldiers to fire at all. After the Battle of Gettysburg, 24,000 loaded muskets were recovered; only 12,000 of them had been loaded more than once, 6,000 had from three to 10 rounds in the barrel, and one weapon had been loaded 23 times! One conclusion is that a great number of soldiers are simply posturing and not trying to kill the enemy.
At the Little Bighorn, about 42,000 rounds were either expended or lost. At that rate, the soldiers hit one Indian for about every 840 shots. Since much of the ammunition was probably lost–Indians commented on capturing ammunition in cartridge belts and saddlebags–the hit rate must have been higher. Yet the results do not speak highly of a supposedly highly trained, ‘crack’ cavalry regiment.