11-2-13 Hodgepodge

Saturday, November 02, 2013

"Invisible"? To Whom?

There is a thought-provoking article on "invisible work" in The Atlantic. Among other things, it considers how (and why) investors and government regulators might want to measure the economic impact of web-based businesses, such as Airbnb. As you might expect, the entitlement state both wants a piece of the action and, ill-informed by ancient stereotypes about capitalism, seeks to control it:

Last week, in the face of growing scrutiny from the city of New York, the five-year-old accommodation-sharing company Airbnb released some data designed to make its case as a good neighbor -- even an economic catalyst -- in the five boroughs. [links in original]
Do follow the first link in the excerpt to see why a company founded on enabling consenting adults to do business with each other is having to explain that it is a "good neighbor", and to whom.

It is about equal parts amusing and pathetic that every new technological advance that frees up time from less productive activity is viewed as a "threat" by a meddlesome third party.

Weekend Reading

"[T]rying to compromise when none is possible is futile." -- Michael Hurd, in "Appeasement Isn't Smart" at The Delaware Coast Press

"Rand's great insight was that every element of this anti-capitalist framework came from the same error: ignoring and denying the mind." -- Yaron Brook and Don Watkins, in "Ayn Rand Rewrote the Story of Capitalism to Show That It Is a Necessary Good" at USApp

My Two Cents

The Brook and Watkins piece underscores a crucial aspect of cultural activism by specifically addressing weak defenses of capitalism: Even many people whose hearts are in the right place have work to do if they are to be able to help turn the tide in favor of freedom.

Should We Call It "Cultural Illiteracy"?

The following passage, from a column about soccer, reminds me of occasional encounters I have had on many other subjects:
It's reached the point at which as soon as you say a player has played well, you're accused of overhyping him and raising unrealistic expectations. Or criticize England and you're told you're demanding the impossible, that England is rubbish and has been for sixty years. So you end up trying to couch every assessment in a way that makes it clear you don't think Andros Townsend is the messiah and you don't demand England should win every game 8-0.
One must tailor his message to an audience, yes. This does entail some setting of context, some clarity about one's premises, and a degree of patience in making one's evidence and logic clear, But at a certain point, one has to stop. Some people, through lack of intellect, poor thinking habits, or outright evasion, can not or will not see even the best-put, most straightforward points.

Never let such "readers" -- and our culture has made them as common as flies -- wear you down to the point that you feel like you have to write what Ayn Rand aptly called "the Unanswerable Article" [my caps]. They are beyond help: Ignore them, and address a truly rational audience instead.


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