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June 30, 2014

"Politics Pays"

Yet another brilliant and beautiful piece by Kevin D. Williamson. Three of my favorites (but read the whole thing):

Uber, AirBNB, et al. are very popular with consumers and producers alike. In fact, that is the reason that politicians and the entrenched economic interests in whose service they operate are dedicated to destroying them: Nobody would worry about Uber if so many consumers did not judge it preferable to traditional cartel-run taxi services. The very fact that Uber is in the judgment of many consumers a better product is what provides the motive for destroying it. That is economic, intellectual, and moral perversion, but that is how politics operates. Its mandate is to stand between consumers and producers until it gets its cut. . . . 

Our political bureaucracies are grasping and vicious, and some of the larger of them are dominated by people who are, if we’re being frank, not especially bright. No society can long thrive by making its creators and innovators subservient to its pimps and thieves. . . .

It is baffling that my progressive friends lament the influence of so-called big money on government while at the same time proposing to expand the very scope and scale of that government that makes influencing it such a good investment. Where government means constables, soldiers, judges, and precious little else, it is not much worth capturing. Where government means somebody whose permission must be sought before you can even begin to earn a living, when it determines the prices of products, the terms of competition, and the interest rates on your competitors’ financing, then it is worth capturing. 


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I have one undergraduate class that can be used by ed majors who want to teach govt, history, or social studies at the HS level. 25 seats, and I usually allow in 3-4 more. Because the first day I explain how I grade: if you do just what I ask, that's a C. Write it well and maybe a C+. Do something extra and earn a B, with the +/- depending on your logic and writing. To earn an A you have to bring something original and defend it.

On the second day at least 5 students will be gone. I also explain that without any effort on my part the grades usually fall on a curve, which means probably 3-4 grades of F, usually among those who attend class only sporadically,

The ones who stick it out seem to learn a lot, if they earn at least a C. That is, I think, my job. To help them learn.


Who is John Galt?

Ted Craig

Two thoughts:

1. While regulation brings advantages to cartels, it also brings costs. The answer might not be regulating Airbnb or Uber, but rather lifting regulations on existing providers. The problem is, the general public wants regulations until they become inconvenient. The young people who use Uber and Airbnb whenever they travel to Denver for some legal pot also voted for Obama and like the idea of Warren '16.

2. The problem with bureaucrats isn't that they come from education schools. It's that they come from third-tier law schools. It's an issue of certification over qualification.

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