Saturday, August 20, 2016
That Economics Joke,
Robert Tracinski has written a couple of times recently about how the Libertarians are blowing a historic opportunity to become relevant in this election. The first of these pieces drew an angry response from a Libertarian, prompting a second piece, titled, "If Libertarians Want to Be Relevant, Maybe They Should Focus on Promoting Liberty," in which Tracinski says, among other things:
[Nick] Gillespie's version of libertarianism is fundamentally defined by its hostility to the ideas and concerns of everybody else on the right. So how dare anyone suggest that the Libertarian Party candidates try to reach out to those people and appeal to them on their core issues? They don't need to change to appeal to us, we need to change to accommodate them.(I have omitted some of the above on the grounds of disagreement with the author: Liberty would fail miserably to realize the goals of any variety of totalitarian, for example. I would also add that, even in the kind of coalition necessitated by politics, there is a point at which you do have to say, "Take it or leave it," to potential voters.)
I find this grimly amusing because I come from the Ayn Rand wing of the right, and the big libertarian argument that I remember from long, long ago is that we Objectivists were too rigid and ideologically demanding. Libertarians were supposed to be better because they would have an ideological big tent. ... Now here comes a perfect opportunity ... for libertarians to reach out to disgruntled conservatives and persuade them -- and they're the ones who are being ... rigid and exclusionary.
This reminds me of two things. First, the following economics joke:
Two economists walked past a Porsche showroom. One of them pointed at a shiny car in the window and said, "I want that." "Obviously not," the other replied.Say what you will of the merits of the implicit argument, the Libertarians certainly aren't acting like they value liberty. And this brings me to the second thing this reminds me of: Peter Schwartz's essential condemnation of libertarianism, from Libertarianism: The Perversion of Liberty: "Libertarianism deserves only one fundamental criticism: it does not value liberty."
For further irony, the primary value their ticket brings to this election is that there is a sliver of hope it might win under highly unusual circumstances, and yet that party seems determined to snuff out even this sliver of hope, as imperfect as such an outcome would be.
"Whether it's as simple an issue as where to eat dinner or what movie to see, or as difficult a decision as whether to buy a house or have a child, mutuality is the only way any personal relationship can stand the test of time." -- Michael Hurd, in "Unblocking a Stalled Relationship" at The Delaware Wave
"Children must know that their minds and thinking skills, not cool backpacks and the latest iPhone, are the most crucial components of self-esteem and happiness. " -- Michael Hurd, in "A Healthy Outlook: Part of Good Parenting" at The Delaware Coast Press
"This is an exciting development, as the issuance of a gold bond would be a major step towards a working gold standard." -- Keith Weiner, in "Arizona Considers Issuing a Gold Bond" at SNB & CHF
When "Email Bankruptcy" Isn't Good Enough ...
I recently implemented "email bankruptcy," and thought it all but impossible to improve upon it as a means of handling email correspondence. And then I stumbled across a way to do so yesterday (See Item 2.):
Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh has devised a way to help busy employees avoid what he calls the "never-ending treadmill" of daily messages, reports the Wall Street Journal. Hsieh calls his technique "yesterbox." The idea is that each day, you answer yesterday's email messages -- but not today's, unless they're truly urgent. That way, you know exactly how many messages you have to get through, rather than constantly fielding new incoming emails throughout the day, and you can actually reach a point where you're "done" with your email duties for the day. Hsieh says that says this technique often lets him complete his email processing by noon, and that he actually responds faster (even though he's rarely answering in the same day a message was received) because it has stopped him from procrastinating on difficult responses the way he used to. The method "takes a lot of discipline," he says. "Unless it can't wait 48 hours, they are not your problem today."And the term "yesterbox" is an elegant way to remember the technique.That's good, because I don't need to do this now, but will have no trouble remembering the idea in the future.