UPDATE. SEE THE CUTE PANDA! Interesting graphs as well.
Our man in DC has a jaundiced look at the universal basic income idea. Still waiting for the results of the trial but anecdotally:
In the five years after suffering a job loss, a Finnish family of four that is eligible for housing assistance receives average benefits equal to 73 percent of previous wages, according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. That is nearly triple the level in the United States. …the social safety net…appears to be impeding the reinvigoration of the economy by discouraging unemployed people from working part time. …Mr. Saloranta has his eyes on a former Nokia employee who is masterly at developing prototypes. He only needs him part time. He could pay 2,000 euros a month (about $2,090). Yet this potential hire is bringing home more than that via his unemployment benefits. “It’s more profitable for him to just wait at home for some ideal job,” Mr. Saloranta complains.
After he stopped the waters from rising Barak Obama turned his attention to the Middle East.
During the eight years of the Obama administration, half a million Christians, Yazidis and Muslims were slaughtered in the Middle East by ISIS and other Islamic jihadists, in a genocidal campaign waged in the name of Islam and its God. Twenty million others were driven into exile by these same jihadist forces. Libya and Yemen became terrorist states. America – once the dominant foreign power and anti-jihadist presence in the region – was replaced by Russia, an ally of the monster regimes in Syria and Iran, and their terrorist proxies.
On the upside, the rising waters seem to be under control. More on the upside of increasing CO2, in addition to greening the planet and helping to increase crop yields the plants are getting better at using water.
Tracking deregulation under Trump. h/t Art Vandelay threadster. I have not done a count but this may help to placate people who think that Trump’s only achievement so far has been to end the war on coal and CO2.
For people with time to read. A lengthy demolition of one of the fashionable leftish memes that we suffer from a national inferiority complex – “the cultural cringe”. This the introduction to the CIS pamphlet which came out after the original publication in the quarterly Agenda. With the permission of the family (the author died on the road to Melbourne to watch a limited-over international cricket match) I put the essay on line. As a long-time test follower I never thought that any good would come from limited-over cricket.
The publication of this occasional paper signals an ambition on the part of the Centre for Independent Studies to pay more attention to broad cultural issues. This is not to say that such issues have been entirely overlooked in the past. But because of the need to maintain priorities for the allocation of limited resources, there has been an emphasis on economic and social issues. Of course liberalism is not just an economic doctrine, and its intellectual leadership from Adam Smith to Hayek has spoken to the human condition in the round. The cultural initiative extends the exploration of the liberal principles of freedom and individual responsibility into areas such as education arid the arts, which are afflicted by excessive state interference and debilitating fashions.
Those who are concerned with public policy might question a turn to cultural issues on the ground that these do not really call for any government initiatives at all. But governments at all levels are becoming increasingly involved in cultural matters. This needs to be challenged, or, at the very least, monitored and subjected to appraisal. A ‘cultural agenda’ might include issues like the threat to free speech posed by ‘political correctness’, government subsidies for the arts, intellectual property rights, and obscurantist fashions in the humanities.
Public policy apart, there are all manner of myths abroad that undermine the vigour of our social and intellectual life. One of the most pervasive of these is the subject of this essay by the late L. J. Hume. The notion of the Australian cultural cringe is one of the great cliches of our times. According to legend, the humble colonials of yesteryear were “inert, deferential and passive’ before the great overseas powers, especially Britain, but this dismal state of affairs changed for the better during the 1960s, or perhaps with the accession of the Whitlam Government in 1972. Hume’s painstaking analysis of the legend is fascinating and devastating, revealing a tapestry of ignorance, selective quotation, and misreading of documents.
Hume’s task would have been more difficult if the ‘cringe theorists’ (practically the whole galaxy of progressive historians and social commentators) had been more circumspect in their statements. The phrase was coined by A. A. Phillips in the very limited context of imaginative literature and has since been generalised to the whole Australian experience. But the theory collapses at every point where Hume prods it.
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.
Hume also speculates on the purpose that is being served by such a feeble yet popular misconception. He considers that progressive intellectuals seek to draw inspiration from the myth that they have heroically escaped from a hideous spectre (the cringe). They wish to be regarded as uniquely robust, optimistic and assured, while they rekindle the fires of nationalism. But Hume points out that nationalism is a product of insecurity and self-doubt because communities that are truly sure of their place in the world do not embrace nationalistic postures or feel a need to assert their independence. The nationalists protest too much.
The debate on the republic has provided a vehicle to maintain their nationalistic rage, but in the light of Hume’s critique they will need to lift their game considerably to provide enlightenment rather than mere sound and fury.