21 May 2008

Links! Links! Links!

Climate Change

- More Bjørn Lomborg. This time, you can read him in his own words in an op-ed he wrote for The Guardian, a British newspaper. Our opinion on Climate Change pretty well matches his--it's reasonable, empirical, and realistic.

- Lomborg Part II - Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review Online editor, interviewed Lomborg on the intersection of Climate Change and politics. Very interesting read.


- Jason L. Riley, member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board and pro-immigrationist, wrote about the problem of multiculturalism. Check out, Keep the Immigrants, Deport the Multiculturalists.

- In probably the best article we've read this year on the conservative outlook, Roger Kimball wrote an article entitled Conservative Gloominess. From that article:
Progressives cannot wrap their minds (or, more to the point, their hearts) around this irony: that “reform” so regularly exacerbates either the evil it was meant to cure or another evil it had hardly glimpsed.
- Looking for responsible energy policy? Larry Kudlow weighed in against cap & trade and tentatively in favor of a carbon tax.

- We wrote about it earlier this week when we quoted Pres. Bush's speech to the Knesset and asked readers to find "Barack Obama" in the speech. No one has succeeded yet. Mark Steyn, as usual, does a better job lampooning Obama and his Democrat apologists for their foreign policy idiocy--an idiocy which is even more indefensible in this instance than usual (no mean feat).

- Re: The appeasers in the Democratic party (and those among the Republicans): This, quote of the day:
Liberals think the way to deal with dangerous tyrants is to send in a sensitive president who will make Ahmadinejad fall in love with him. They imagine Obama becoming Ahmadinejad's psychotherapist, like Barbra Streisand in "The Prince of Tides.
- This next article, written by David Ranson, head of research at H.C. Wainwright & Co. Economics Inc., wrote about tax policy, much-maligned supply-siders, and the state of economic research. (subscription required, email us for a copy)

- Naomi Schaeffer Riley interviewed Roger Hertog about philanthropy and the cause of conservatism in higher education. Very interesting read.

- From the Seattle Times, a newspaper we usually only read for their sports coverage, on Boeing's 787 Dreamliner. This is quite the plane requiring a whole new style of production.

- Our fav. economist, Thomas Sowell, gave his recommended summer reading list.

- Finally, Dan Henninger, the other columnist we read without fail each week, on China and Burma and why non-democratic countries suck. It's summed up in the title, Democracies Don't Let People Die, but there's more to it than that. This is push-back against multiculturalists who think all governments, societies, and cultures are equally good, with no one better than the other.

*UPDATE 7:50pm MST: Pendulum Politics

- buruboi on the European demographics. This is a topic that interests us greatly. We'll leave it to buruoi to explain, but European demographics are such that their massive entitlement/welfare state programs are wholly unsustainable. This, combined with unemployment rates that are sometimes double the U.S.'s combine to create a dismal prognosis for Europe's economic future--Western & Northern Europe that is.

Countries in Eastern Europe and Ireland have produced low tax, pro-growth policies similar to the U.S.'s which should help them avoid the future pit and pratfalls of their euro-neighbors.

- RD on Moderation in U.S. politics. We read his post as an economic critique on the policies of the left and right. As in, apply a systematic way to value the priorities of both sides--his examples are the environment & abortion--and then compromise. This seems like wise counsel.

His critique of advocates on the right, so-called pro-lifers, is unfair and unsupported by empirical evidence. He says that the Right cares more about the lives of the unborn than it does people in less-developed countries. The truth is that religious organizations and self-described conservatives donate hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to charities and humanitarian philanthropies organizations around the world every year. Donations in the wake of the 2004 Tsunami are an illustrative example. (see the list of NGO donations).

RD, we agree with your call for moderation, but your critique of the pro-life right's motivations is not accurate.

**UPDATE 22 May 10:31am MST: Ben's assertion regarding a supposed contrast between Reagan, Nixon, (Olmert) responsible diplomacy and Bush's "chest beating" is inaccurately characterized--not least of all because liberals in the '80's used to bash Reagan for being a cowboy (Evil Empire, ramped up military spending, Star Wars, Iran-Contra, etc.).

The meme Ben (and Obama) willfully misread into Bush's comments is that we should never engage in diplomacy. But Bush never said that. This was not the point of Bush's Knesset speech.

It was that Obama's tea-with-Tyrants and Carter's handholding-with-Hamas/Hezbollah is irresponsible and ignorant of reality. Meeting without precondition with tyrants and rogue terrorist states gains American nothing while lending prestige and legitimacy to thugs who kill American soldiers and threaten America and her allies.

When Nixon went to China, it was the result of 134 secret meetings, 18 months "behind-the-scenes" discussions by Henry Kissinger, and another 7 months of diplomatic hard work. (h/t: S. Lybbert)

Similarly, Olmert has not personally met with the Syrians--neither has the Israeli Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni. We (OL&L) and the U.S. may not like the result or tenor of the talks between the Israelis and the Syrians, but they are low-level meetings (thanks Kurt M.) with preconditions--not direct, POTUS-to-thug meetings w/o preconditions as Obama naively suggested.

Like Ben, we are frustrated with the Bush Administration's failure to stop Iran from killing American soldiers in Iraq and their continued nuclear development. To a lesser extent, we're frustrated with North Korea's continued belligerence.

But these failures do not invalidate Bush's Knesset speech, nor do they mean that the next President should meet with every two-bit terrorist in the world. There are lessons to be learned from Bush's failures, but Obama's is the wrong one.

If you have tips, questions, comments, suggestions, or requests for subscription only articles, email us at lybberty@gmail.com.


RD said...

The Lomborg argument is interesting, but it has a gaping hole in it: what about the economic and strategic consequences of energy independence? This is probably not nearly as relevant in Denmark as it is in the US, so it may not be a hole in Lomborg's logic - but it is in yours.

Further, does you agreement with Lomborg mean that you, too, would support increased aid for developing countries? Because judging from my impressions of you opinions, you would rather have that money returned to you as a tax cut.

As for your other articles, be sure to understand Kudlow, and Ranson in the context of economic research. I will email you about the one article. The overwhelming consensus among economists, both theoretical and empirical is that supply side economics is a myth. Even the Greg Mankiw's of the world have published on this topic (and he was in the CEA during the Bush tax cuts). Similar for cap and trade. Kudlow is an interesting commentator, but he doesn't have much of a reputation as an economist anymore.

Matt said...

RD--your point about cap and trade is a bit confusing. Are you saying that, like supply side, theory and empirics show that cap and trade programs do not work?

RD said...

Poorly worded on my part. Cap and trade receives a lot of support from economists (not Kudrow, of course) because it is a market solution to the common problem of negative externalities. Of course, it is only effective if it is done on an international level. But, the EU has long been willing to work with us on it, and we have refused.

Some good articles on it here.

As always, thanks Jake for the shout-out. Also good point about religious NGOs.

RD said...

I should add that the biggest problem with cap and trade (and a carbon tax) is that it affects competitiveness. That's why the international cooperation element is crucial.

Ben Treasure said...

Turns out Israel just brokered a deal with the Assad government in Syria, a week after Bush tried to talk a big game about the horrors of "appeasement."

...dang it.

kurt m. said...

Israel and Syria haven't brokered a deal. They've had ongoing low level discussions. Kind of a big difference wouldn't you say? Get passed the MSM headlines. How is this related to Bush's speech?

Ben Treasure said...

Okay next time you comment, try getting past (not passed) the barriers of this language.

The fact that Olmert is in direct talks with the regime responsible for the assassination of Rafik Hariri shows that the Israeli government is willing to completely rebuff Bush's antagonistic rhetoric. Or did you miss that on Natty Review?

What this shows is that smart people like Olmert - or Reagan or Nixon - are ignoring the predictable chest beating of failed diplomats like our current president.

Morgan said...

Good thing the grammer police showed up. Without them we wouldn't be able to keep the week minded riff-raff out . I was beginning to feel a little thretened, but now I feel safe again. Thanks for your vigilance.

Ben Treasure said...

No, thank you.

RD said...

Great Op-Ed in the NY Times today, of all places, about why it's a bad idea for the President of the United States to meet with tyrants without preconditions. Jake wisely points out that the Nixon in China event was nothing like Obama's aspirations.

This article is really worth reading. Here it is.

RD said...

Sorry but that article may require a login. The NY Times account is free. Just sign up and you're in.