Interesting stuff – 2016-06-26

Here’s what I found interesting this week.

[Oops, I forgot to publish it on Sunday.]

The “confessions of an elitist” is a wonderful piece of writing. I’d strongly encourage you to read the whole thing, but a few of them jumped out at me.

I believe that the systematic rhetorical degradation of political opponents betrays a coarseness of mind and spirit that is corrosive of the norms of civility essential to democratic politics.

I believe that the reduction of political argument to 140-character tweets is ruinous to democracy.

I believe that a mass media facilitating a serious debate over complex issues, rather than playing “gotcha” games, would fulfill its ambition to be the fourth estate and be applauded by serious citizens.

I believe that kowtowing to political correctness and indulging in identity politics are signs of low intelligence, cowardice, or both.

It’s not a long read, just go there and read the whole thing.

Here’s a public statement issued by Real Clear Politics that encourages people to respect those who oppose gay marriage. The signatories all affirm gay marriage. What a concept! I emphatically agree, and I would encourage the same mentality from the pro-nuclear-family side too. The drive to support gay marriage is fundamentally wrong for such a long list of reasons, but let’s not demonize gays. Let’s not badmouth them as people. They are mistaken, not evil. Well, at least no more evil than the rest of us!

[Obvious disclaimer; if they act like jerks, then they are jerks. Just like some people who oppose gay marriage are jerks because they act like jerks. That’s not what we’re talking about here; this is about the normal, civilized, people with whom we disagree.]

The statement seems to be written in the wake of the dismissal of the Mozilla CEO over a private donation to support a pro-nuclear-family initiative. The statement is written to affirm gay marriage, but oppose the heavy-handed punishment of those who disagree. Clearly these guys aren’t familiar with Marcuse and the New Left.

The headings of the statement say it all:

  • Diversity Is the Natural Consequence of Liberty
  • Progress Comes from Persuasion
  • Free Speech Is a Value, Not Just a Law
  • Disagreement Should Not Be Punished
  • Enforcing Orthodoxy Hurts Everyone

There’s a little nugget or irony buried in the signatures, however. Peter Thiel is one of the co-founders of PayPal. PayPal revised their expansion plans into North Carolina because that state supports gender clarity.

If Thiel is opposed to sacking a single individual because of his personal stance on this issue, it hardly seems likely that he would support introducing economic “punishment” on an entire state of people because of their views. I don’t follow Silicon Valley very closely, so I don’t even know if Thiel is still associated with PayPal anymore, but if he is, the irony runs thick.

But, that’s par for the course, I suppose.

So economists might just be discovering that the economy is heavily influenced by these strange entities called “humans.” Fancy that. So fiscal policy needs to take human nature into consideration.

Kind of makes sense, doesn’t it? In fact, this is why my short book on politics – For the Love of Alberta – includes both fiscal and social observations. It seems to me the concept of “fiscal conservative, social progressive” is a hallmark of political bipolar disorder.

Like it or not, people are holistic, and our policies (on all fronts) need to be aware of this and consistent on these issues.

And speaking of bad government policies, Ontario apparently has them in spades according to MacLeans. And if you read the article carefully you’ll see that the political initiatives are both fiscally and socially progressive.

And they are failing.

Go figure.

Again, if you need an explanation of why right-leaning policies tend to produce far better results, my book is written to address precisely that question.