There are a lot of folks who think that a border fence is part of the “solution” for illegal immigration in the US. The problem with fences is that they work both ways. A fence now might seem like a good idea to keep people out; call me paranoid, but at some point in the future, I fear the same fence might also be used to keep people in.
The very phrase “insecure borders” conjures an image of government failing at its most fundamental responsibility—namely, protecting citizens from invading marauders. People see in their minds’ eyes an America increasingly at risk of being conquered by foreigners, leaving Americans at the mercy of invading rapists, plunderers, and murderers.
Immigrants, however, aren’t invaders, much less warriors in a conquering army.
For perspective, ask if America’s borders were insecure until 1921 when, with the Emergency Quota Act, Uncle Sam first began seriously to restrict the number of immigrants allowed into the United States. Were Americans, until just 90 years ago, living in peril of their lives and livelihoods because U.S. borders were “insecure”?
In fact, the security of American borders—if by this phrase we mean genuinely decreased risks to Americans’ persons and property—would almost certainly rise with open borders.
Socialism: Quick, what’s the murder capital of the world: Kabul? Juarez? Try Caracas, Venezuela, a city whose dictator, Hugo Chavez, has made murder a means of extending his control.
The silent protest at Monday night’s Miss Universe Pageant in Las Vegas was invisible to nearly everyone — except Venezuelans. On her final catwalk, the ranking Miss Universe, Stefania Fernandez, suddenly whipped out a Venezuelan flag in a patriotic but protocol-breaking gesture.
Fernandez waved her flag for the same reason Americans waved theirs after 9/11 — to convey resolution amid distress. Her flag had seven stars, significant because Chavez had arbitrarily added an eighth, making any use of a difficult-to-find seven-star banner an act of defiance.
Emboldened by the crass nature of the opposition to the center [i.e., the “Ground Zero mosque”], its defenders have started to talk as if it represented no problem at all and as if the question were solely one of religious tolerance. It would be nice if this were true. But tolerance is one of the first and most awkward questions raised by any examination of Islamism. We are wrong to talk as if the only subject was that of terrorism. As Western Europe has already found to its cost, local Muslim leaders have a habit, once they feel strong enough, of making demands of the most intolerant kind. Sometimes it will be calls for censorship of anything "offensive" to Islam. Sometimes it will be demands for sexual segregation in schools and swimming pools. The script is becoming a very familiar one. And those who make such demands are of course usually quite careful to avoid any association with violence. They merely hint that, if their demands are not taken seriously, there just might be a teeny smidgeon of violence from some other unnamed quarter …
Social Security is predicted to go negative in 2037, at which point it must reduce benefits.
OK, 2037 — no worries. Except that, as I said, I turn 41 this summer, which means I’ll turn 67 and qualify for full Social Security benefits in mid-2036. The very next year, the Social Security trust fund will be exhausted, according to the “intermediate” scenario contained in the most recent Social Security Trustees Report, available here (see Section IV-B and Appendix E). The program will still pay out some benefits — but less than 3/4s of what it now promises. So what happens then? That’s not a good question if you’re my age or younger.
But suppose you’re not my age or younger. Suppose you’re 10 years older than me, and will have collected 10 years of benefits by 2037. Don’t feel smug — you’ll be asking “So what happens next?” when you’re 77. That’s not a good question at your age, either.
Me, I figure I will never see a Social Security payment. That, or the currency will be so devalued as to be worthless for planning purposes. Via A Birthday Gift from Paul Krugman | Cato @ Liberty.
The “currency” that drives the political marketplace is fundamentally different from the private economy. In the private economy, it is enough to have a good idea, identify a new product, develop it, and sell it to an identified (or created) customer base. In the market, entrepreneurship and competition determine outcomes. Returns and values matter and are ultimately determined by individuals making choices.
In the political economy, good ideas, philosophical values, and economic efficiency have little to do with how public policy decisions are actually made. The biggest error made by advocates of government planning, from Marx to Keynes to Obama, is the assumption that bureaucrats and elected officials possess both the detailed knowledge and right motives to be able to solve the economic problems of a nation. While microeconomics correctly assumes that individuals act in their own self-interest, every macroeconomic proposal for government intervention assumes that public officials act in the public interest, somehow supressing their individual interests to the greater interests of society.
In reality, public choices are driven by the inetersts of those making the choices – the politicians who draft, promote, and vote on the legislation; and the special interests that work to influence the political decision-making process. Politics is driven by the need to solicit new voters to the polls. Power (to tax, spend and regulate) is used to consolidate those votes, and to buy more votes at the margin. The policyagendas of both parties are driven by this pursuit of votes and power.
O’REILLY: Do you believe — do you believe that gay marriage is a threat to the country in any way?
BECK: A threat to the country?
O’REILLY: Yeah, it going to harm the country?
BECK: No, I don’t. Will the gays come and get us?
O’REILLY: OK. Is it going to harm the country in any way?
BECK: I believe — I believe what Thomas Jefferson said. If it neither breaks my leg nor picks my pocket, what difference is it to me?
I agree with Glenn Beck. Via Glenn Beck: Gay Marriage No Threat To Me, Or America.
“Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts” is how the great Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman defined science in his article “What is Science?” Feynman emphasized this definition by repeating it in a stand-alone sentence in extra large typeface in his article. (Feynman’s essay is available online, but behind a subscription wall: The Physics Teacher (1969) volume 7, starting page 313.)
Immediately after his definition of science, Feynman wrote: “When someone says, ‘Science teaches such and such,’ he is using the word incorrectly. Science doesn’t teach anything; experience teaches it. If they say to you, ‘Science has shown such and such,’ you should ask, ‘How does science show it? How did the scientists find out? How? What? Where?’ It should not be ‘science has shown.’ And you have as much right as anyone else, upon hearing about the experiments (but be patient and listen to all the evidence) to judge whether a sensible conclusion has been arrived at.”
And I say, Amen. Notice that “you” is the average person. You have the right to hear the evidence, and you have the right to judge whether the evidence supports the conclusion. We now use the phrase “scientific consensus,” or “peer review,” rather than “science has shown.” By whatever name, the idea is balderdash. Feynman was absolutely correct.
All emphasis mine. Via Pajamas Media » The Difference between ‘True Science’ and ‘Cargo-Cult Science’.
Why does an elite that is actually not admirable in what it does, and not effective or productive, that has added little or nothing of value to the civilizational stock, that cannot possibly do the things it claims it can do, that services rent-seekers and the well-connected, that believes in an incoherent mishmash of politically correct platitudes, that is parasitic, have such an elevated view of itself?
The old British aristocracy could at least truthfully say that they had physical courage and patriotism and cared for their shires and neighborhoods and served for free as justices of the peace. The old French aristocracy could at least truthfully say that had refinement and manners and a love for art and literature and sophistication and beautiful things. The old Yankee elite could truthfully say that it was enterprising and public spirited and willing to rough it and do hard work when necessary. This lot have little or nothing to be proud of, but they are arrogant as Hell.
Why aren’t these people laughed out of the room?