Archive for the ‘Libertarians don’t live by argument alone’ Category
So late last night I had a twitter stoush with Craig Emerson. He made some silly comment that I replied to and it was on. With several others tweeting encouragement from the sidelines. The insults and snark flew thick and fast with arguments, positions, and people swirling in and out as if we were on a roller coaster. I had a great time. Emo kept offering me a job as an adviser to Tony Abbott – in the excitement I suspect Emo forgot which side of politics he is on. I did ask him to write me a reference letter.
Anyway in the kerfuffle the lefties produced one of their chestnut arguments: “What have the Romans done for us?” (We all know the Monty Python skit). This was in reply to taunting about debt levels. This has two practical equivalents: first the debt was used to prevent Australia from going into recession during the GFC and, second the government builds airports, roads, rail links etc. Emo kept on and on about aqueducts. We hear this sort of argument all the time. Thing is, nobody can point to any recent airports that have been built. Or aqueducts. Some did point to the Sydney Harbour Bridge – but I’m sure it wasn’t paid for by the Rudd-Gillard government’s spending spree.
Things have gotten far too serious around here. So I thought some wine, woman, and song would lighten the mood. BYO wine.
This is from the 25 anniversary production of the Phantom of the Opera.
Nick Cohen has a joke about editors:
A plane crashes in the Sahara. Only a reporter and an editor survive. At first they hope that rescuers will see the smoke rising from the wreckage. But the fire dies, and no one comes. They are lost and alone under a merciless sun, and start walking.
For days, they march in horrendous heat. Their water runs out. Their skin peels. Their minds reel from sunstroke. Finally, they collapse — blistered and dehydrated — at the bottom of an enormous sand dune.
“Let’s curl up here and die,” gasps the editor.
“No!” cries the reporter. “We cannot give up. Let’s climb to the top of the dune and see if there’s any hope.”
They stagger up — two steps forward, one step back — and reach the top of the dune. On the other side they see a beautiful azure oasis, shimmering in the sun. They roll down the hill and — a miracle! — the oasis is not a mirage. The reporter plunges his hands into the cool, pure water of life. If he lives to be a hundred, he thinks, he will never again experience another moment of such sublime perfection. He is about to raise his cupped hands to his lips when he glances up and sees that the editor has opened his flies and is urinating in the water.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” he bellows.
The question leaves the editor surprised and affronted.
“Why, I’m improving it,” he replies.
Substitute “university administrator” for “editor”.
Rowan Dean was on fire yesterday in his AFR column.
Banks, financiers and economists around the world greeted with unabashed excitement the release today of the long-awaited research paper by two hugely influential Australian academics into the dangers of fiscal “rebalancing” in an era of supposed austerity.
Entitled This Time It’s Over, the ground-breaking paper is already being hailed as a masterpiece, and its authors, professors Gillhart and Swanoff, are being lauded as two of the greatest financial visionaries of our age.
Their work explodes the doctrine of “mindless prosperity”, which the authors describe as the pointless quest by individuals working outside the public sector to generate wealth of their own accord.
Built upon the work of several obscure and hitherto unrecognised economic thinkers of the 20th century such as Germany’s Professor Weimar von Wheel-Barrow and the American folk-singer Idaho Dustbowl, the brilliant new theory explains how governments can repay spiralling debts through the simple but effective expedient of borrowing more money.
“Furthermore, Professor Gillhart and I have demonstrated through extensive experimentation with a complex working model we call ‘the Australian economy’ that it is impossible to pay off your debts if you don’t actually have any money. So why bother?
Nor do they rule out two-way causality. “Sometimes making promises you can’t afford allows you to grow your debt, other times growing your debt allows you to make promises you can’t afford,” they claim. …
Our very own Julie Novak has just passed her final PhD examination. While it’ll be a couple of days before we can get all the paperwork done (mostly me having to write a 50 word précis of a 79,901 word thesis that took close on three years to write) and Julie can officially call herself Dr. Julie, or Julie Novak PhD, or just plain Julie, I thought we should break out the champers and celebrate immediately.
The thesis was entitled “The economic consequences of the size of government in Australia” and she found inter alia that an increase in government size by ten percentage points is associated with a lower annual GDP per capita growth rate of between 1.2 and 2.5 percentage points. Both examiners reports were glowing with praise as were my colleagues at her defence before the thesis was sent to external examination.
Well done Julie!
Know, however, there is no rest for the wicked and we’re expecting to see more posts from you.
I also know that there are several Cats who are writing their PhD theses, so be inspired. Get off your bum and write. You know who you are.
Science fiction fans should be in premature mourning after the news of Iain M Banks’ terminal cancer broke yesterday.
While not a personal favourite his Culture series is widely and highly regarded. I think I made the mistake of reading his best work, Use of weapons, first. The other books in the series are good, but not up the magnificence of Use of weapons.
Come and join us in Sydney for the 1st ALS Friedman Conference — listen to some of the best and brightest national and international speakers, meet other libertarians, and enjoy a fun-filled weekend of learning, friendship and the inevitable arguing that comes from putting more than one libertarian in a room at the same time.
Special guest speaker is Dr Tom Palmer from the Atlas Network and Cato Institute in the USA.
Other guest speakers include Cassandra Wilkinson, Prof Sinclair Davidson, Dr Eric Crampton, Adam Creighton, Prof Jason Potts, the Hon Dr Gary Johns, Dr Ben O’Neil, the Hon Dr Peter Phelps MLC, Dr Michael Keane, Chris Berg, Dr Jeremy Shearmur, Tim Wilson, Dr Charles Richardson, Cr Clinton Mead, David Russell AM QC, Jennifer Buckingham, and many more.
I am reliably informed that there are still tickets available for the conference days but that the dinner is sold out.
Day session tickets are still available and a package deal for both days is only $80 for Adults and $50 for students.
The Conference Schedule is here.
“We turn off our lights for Earth Day – Earth Hour fucking hell. Nobody outside of Australia knows about Earth Hour, believe me. We turn our lights off for an hour and then we see at our neighbours and they’ve left their fucking lights on and they’re ruining the planet.”
“That’s how we think politically it is no use for Australia enacting just by itself enacting one. It’s a good lesson and they should do it but it’ll cost — even China doing it unilaterally won’t work.”
Look’s like ‘Sir’ Bob is some sort of denialist. Rather than dissing our Earth Hour and our carbon tax he should be grateful we’re saving the Earth. Or something.
Anyway – his greatest contribution to human civilisation is below.