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Contrarian Investing and March Madness

Just as in stock market investing, I use a contrarian strategy for NCAA tournament betting pools. It involves making an upset pick I may not even believe is a good pick. Why? Read more »


Double Standards

In the comments to the Debra LaFave post below, Lisa Casanova asks,

Ok, I really want to know. You’re a parent, and you find out that a)your 14 year old daughter is having a sexual relationship with her male teacher, or b) your 14 year old son is having a sexual relationship with his female teacher. Would you have the same reaction to either of these revelations? Why or why not?


My Absurd Belief

Tyler Cowen asks,

What is your most absurd view? Comments are open. Yes your comment should be crazy but serious too. It should refer to a view which you actually hold, but many other smart people consider untenable and bizarre.


Unschooling

While homeschooling has its share of critics, unschooling - perhaps the most controversial approach to homeschooling - is a completely foreign idea to most. Vincent J. Schodolski writes about the growth of the unschooling approach among homeschoolers.

The Browns are part of an approach to education that is called "unschooling" and allows children to pursue what interests them, rather than trying to make them interested in things that interest others.


Pong Craze Sweeps America

Catching up on reading after my self-imposed six week exile from the blog, here are a few things that caught my eye. These are probably old news for most of you, but just in case...

An Arab-American psychiatrist Wafa Sultan went on Al-Jazeera and boldly criticized mullahs and clerics in the Arab language. She has since received numerous death threats. Read more »


Gratuitous Co-Blogger Homage

The wonder of the Internets is that Utopia is created in front of our eyes slowly enough that people don't appreciate it nor even notice it. It's the boiling frog in reverse. The concept known as "friendship" takes on a whole new, expanded subset of properties compared to when I first went "online" way back in 1993.

Brandon and Scott - I love you guys!


False Conventional Libertarian Wisdom

Below, Patri asked what false Conventional Libertarian Wisdom we still hold on to. The following was my response in the comments, with a few modifications.


1) The belief that libertarians are playing on a level field against statists in the political arena. This gives rise to the naive belief that if we put forth a better effort, get better candidates than theirs, we’ll win. Just like in high school. Get the most votes, simple as that.

When this doesn’t happen, libertarians fall into despair. Contrary to this bit of CLW, the dynamics of the political marketplace heavily favor statists. Sure Blue Guys don't help, but Blue Guys aren't fundamentally the problem. Elections are won with money, and money is given in return for favors of special privilege - the exact opposite of libertarian policy prescriptions. It’s not a contradiction that a country with so many people who define themselves as “socially liberal and fiscally conservative” has no libertarians in major political offices. That isn't to say that I don't appreciate the efforts of libertarians to enact political change. I just hope they realize the magnitude of the odds stacked against us in the political arena.

See also Hypothetical Answer On Political Parties

2) The belief that things only and always get worse. If that’s the case, how was progress ever made? How did we get to where we are now? Why do I feel reasonably sure (though not completely) that I won't end up living in a cage somewhere during my life even though over a hundred million did during the last century?

3) The belief that liberty has to be respected for it’s own sake (libertarian morality) for people to prefer it. Liberty merely has to be in people’s self-interests. Not everyone finds the moral argument against taxation convincing, but make it easy and profitable to evade taxes, and nearly everyone will take advantage of it.

4) The belief that collective action is the same thing as collectivism. The market itself is a collaborative endeavor. So is civil society. So are the network effects that maintain any political structure, whether one that favors big government or one that favors limited government. Read more »


What Massacre?

Clara points to the re-writing of history.


Don\'t Be Evil

Google strikes deal with the Chinese government; blogosphere goes apeshit.

Is refraining from dealing with the Chinese government on its terms - as recommended by most bloggers who care about freedom and human rights - any different from refusing to trade with people because of the actions of their government?


A Second Chance

Michael Blowhard writes about his "near death experience".


Samuel Alito: Big Government Republican

According to George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley:

Despite my agreement with Alito on many issues, I believe that he would be a dangerous addition to the court in already dangerous times for our constitutional system. Alito's cases reveal an almost reflexive vote in favor of government, a preference based not on some overriding principle but an overriding party.


Cylert And Meta-issues

The FDA has recently banned Cylert, the only anti-narcolepsy drug that keeps Teresa Nielsen Hayden functional. There are a few meta-issues that seem to be overlooked in the comment thread that ensues.

Meta

Teresa is directing her well-justified anger at Ralph Nader and the Public Citizen's Health Research Group, both of whom called for the ban on Cylert: "Fckng Ralph Nader, fckng Public Citizen". She is critical of Peter Lurie, one of the officers of the PCHRG:

Peter Lurie did his residency in Family Practice and Preventive Medicine. The fact that he's got the Narcolepsy Network screaming in protest over this action should tell you how wrong he is when he dismisses Cylert as "an outmoded drug." That man has no idea what he's talking about. He can't have asked the narcoleptic community; they'd have told him right off that for many of us, there's no other drug that substitutes for Cylert. This is gross professional irresponsibility. Lurie ought to have his license yanked.

She has identified the problem as a group of people who are working against her ability to take Cylert. But are people really the problem? These people are merely an expected result of winner-take-all dynamics of regulation. If a drug can either be "safe" or "not-safe", and as a result, legal or banned, a powerful incentive is created for interest-groups to form and battle to use regulation to achieve their preferred outcome. It's inherent in the system design. Understandably, a group of people are the proximal target of Teresa's criticism, but the system itself is the meta-problem. Read more »


Not That...

Larry David can't bring himself to go see "Brokeback Mountain". Read more »