November 19, 2011
Government intervention

The questions I ask when the idea that government should do more things comes up are “Do I trust the government?”, “Am I still likely to be able to trust the government in the future?” and, most importantly, “Will the government intervention be better than it not intervening?”. Where the benefits of government intervention are not clear and large, it is likely that the risk of government intervention is too high due to the costs that such intervention is likely to have, both intended and unintended (unintended effects are a significant problem for a government lacking perfect knowledge).


February 21, 2011

If your political position can be defined with one word, you’re not thinking hard enough.

I saw words to this effect a few days ago and I agree. It is also frustrating seeing and hearing people make comments on politics (or any issue really) without considering the ramifications of what they are proposing:

x is bad/not enough therefore we should support y

Sure y sounds lovely, but what happens if you follow through with it?

Don’t know? Then shut the fuck up until you do.

Scott Adams had a good post, “Philosophy versus Plan" , which covers similar ground and is pretty spot on.

I hope to post around this later.

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February 14, 2011
Anybody see a problem here?

So in recent times, Bobby Franklin, a Georgia state representative said of homosexuality:

The Bible says it’s a capital offense. You want someone with unrepentant criminal behavior? And it’s not just that, neither should adulterers, neither should thieves, neither should a lot of things. The church is full of sinners, but we’re told in 1st Corinthians it rattled off the homosexual, the adulterer, the thief, the liar, and such were some of you, but you’ve been washed, you’ve been justified and so forth. It’s not what you were. You’re not punishing a thought. But do you want an unrepentant drug dealer in the military? Same thing.


How does it come to pass that a US lawmaker doesn’t understand there’s a difference between Biblical law and US law? Or that he’s in a country which has a constitutionally mandated separation of church and state? Do Cobb County voters not understand this either? Is that why they (presumably) voted in such an idiot?

Of course, it wouldn’t be at least partially the result of a disconnect between religion, religious belief and observable reality, and if there was it wouldn’t be problematic anyway. And if one were to get annoyed at people making decisions which adversely affect them and others because of such a disconnect, that would be totally unjustified, right? Because religion’s not an insidious public bad at all.

November 10, 2010

People wonder why I have a tendency to rage against religion’s pernicious influence on society. Does this video help explain why?

Yeah, that’s right. I used the word, “pernicious”.

October 26, 2010
Catholic government PSA.

I’m posting this as a PSA. This is Michael Voris, of Real Catholic TV, talking about what he thinks government should be.

The man is deluded. Even if, hypothetically, religion provides morality (an idea I disagree with fundamentally as I believe religion is a human construct, the primary purpose of which is not to provide morality), where institutionalised - as in the Catholic Church - the purpose of the institution inevitably turns from the provision of that which is moral to that which will perpetuate the instituion’s life and extend its power (often these are complementary goals). A perfect example of this is how the Catholic Church has dealt with (and may even continue to deal with) pedophile priests. The existence of pedophile priests is unlikely to be the Catholic Church’s fault and from recollection the incidence of pedophilia from people in similar positions is much the same (although I could be wrong about this). However, the way the Catholic Church has dealt with these pedophiles over the years by covering their actions up and moving them to different areas where they can reoffend is patently not in the best interests of those affected and those who would be affected, and I doubt anybody will argue the Church’s actions were moral. The institution acted in the interest of self-perpetuation rather than in the interest of what was right. As such, it seems Michael Voris is deluded and either has a fundamental misunderstanding as to the reasons for a limited, democratic and secular government; a fundamental misunderstanding of how a Catholic government would actually work, or both.

He was called out on this video in various places around the internet. This is his response:

The man may be batshit insane but he is still too gutless/not batshit insane enough to post links to where he was called out by atheists around the web. After all, not showing or refusing to link to actual evidence of the other side after deliberately misportraying them is a sure-fire hint that your case is strong, right? Not that the target audience is likely to have the inclination to check out the other side of the argument but this behaviour disincentivises them even further and that is a problem.

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August 31, 2010
Tony Blair makes noise. Shouldn’t. Remains irrelevant.

World religions are threatened by forces both from within themselves and from the wider world, said Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister, today.

Christians and Muslims represent about half the world’s total population between them.

“Each was made to feel an outsider. Each stood out against the conventional teaching of the time. Each believed in the universal appeal of God to humanity. Each was a change-maker.”

“We face an aggressive secular attack from without. We face the threat of extremism from within.”

Arguing that there was “no hope” from atheists who scorn God, he said the best way to confront the secularist agenda was for all faiths to unite against it.

He said: “Those who scorn God and those who do violence in God’s name, both represent views of religion. But both offer no hope for faith in the twenty first century.”


Upon reading this piece, this came to mind:

We’ve been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of the culture

— Rev. Ray Mummert (

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August 16, 2010
Andrew Williams and Cameron Slater

I thought I’d use this post to detail a problem with democratic politics that I intend to consider more specifically later.

North Shore mayor Andrew Williams has threatened legal action against right-wing blogger WhaleOil.

The move follows postings by WhaleOil - real name Cameron Slater - criticising the Auckland Super City mayoral candidate for drinking in a local bar.

After the mayor’s visit to Mac’s Slater posted sarcastic comments on his website - including using “shhh” after words to infer drunken speech and calling Williams derogatory names.

Williams responded by sending out a press release just after midnight accusing Slater of stalking him and indulging in some heavy sledging of his own against Slater - including commenting on Slater’s mental heatlh [sic].

Williams told Fairfax he had already spoken to the police about possible criminal harassment charges and was seriously considering pursuing such an action.

"I spoke to my wife about it today and think I will," Williams said. (accessed 16/8/2010)

In short, Andrew Williams, the North Shore Mayor, is threatening legal action against Cameron Slater, also known as the blogger WhaleOil, for a specific offense. The specific offense is that of criminal harassment. Criminal harassment has a specific definition:

a person harasses another person if he or she engages in a pattern of behaviour that is directed against that other person, being a pattern of behaviour that includes doing any specified act to the other person on at least 2 separate occasions within a period of 12 months. (accessed 16/8/2010)

However, the legislation goes further than this detailing the behaviours that constitute harassment:

  • (a) watching, loitering near, or preventing or hindering access to or from, that person’s place of residence, business, employment, or any other place that the person frequents for any purpose:
  • (b) following, stopping, or accosting that person:

  • (c) entering, or interfering with, property in that person’s possession:

  • (d) making contact with that person (whether by telephone, correspondence, or in any other way):

  • (e) giving offensive material to that person, or leaving it where it will be found by, given to, or brought to the attention of, that person:

  • (f) acting in any other way—

    • (i) that causes that person (person A) to fear for his or her safety; and

    • (ii) that would cause a reasonable person in person A’s particular circumstances to fear for his or her safety. (accessed 16/8/2010)

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August 3, 2010
Should there be a law to enforce names of political parties being accurate representations of their policies?

I really would like it if our political parties had to be appropriately named. We could have the “Myopic, taking liberties away, getting more power for ourselves and being dicks to people because they’re not a special interest group we’re affiliated with party”. Of course, it would be hard to differentiate between the parties as that pretty much sums them all up, but maybe there’d be new parties coming in as most people would be unlikely to vote for a serious party that had to be so overt about its aims. Or am I giving most people too much credit?

July 30, 2010
Links dump.

Nick Cave Rewrites The Crow, Cillian Murphy to Star?
In retrospect, The Crow wasn’t a great movie. The reason for its cult status is most likely the combination of its tone and style and the death of Brandon Lee. Nonetheless, it’ll be interesting to see what Nick Cave does with it, if it gets made.

No zero lower bound on words
Considering the importance of signalling in monetary policy, suggesting that it may be even more important than what is actually done with respect to interest rates (at least with the typically cautious movements of most central banks, I suspect) and criticising the vagueness of the Fed’s targeting signals.

Things you learn in high school
An interesting consideration of two different Chicago high schools after a visit. Worth considering what is said even if one doesn’t agree.

The left libertarian position stated amazingly well
It may be an extreme position to most, but it certainly has some merit, and again, the ideas are worth considering even if one doesn’t agree.

THE PUBLISHING DEATH SPIRAL — part one — The Cold Equations
An interesting look at how part of the supply chain functions in publishing today. Just note that it’s only part of the story.

Head shift: Why not look for more time to move rather than as little as possible?
Considering a different approach to fitness than is typically espoused.

The arrogance of the here and now
The unspoken assumption that we are more right than anybody else anywhere else at any other time.

July 20, 2010
National’s Employment Law changes.

• The voluntary 90-day trial period for new employees will be
extended to cover all employers.

• The Employment Relations Authority will have the ability to
filter out vexatious or frivolous claims early on.

• The Authority will be moving to a more judicial mode of
operation, with the right to cross-examine witnesses.

• Rules on union access to workplaces will change, so that
any access will require the consent of the employer. That
consent cannot be unreasonably withheld.

• Employers will be able to ask for proof of sickness or injury
within three consecutive days of an employee taking sick
leave – but they’ll have to cover the employee’s costs in
obtaining proof.

The Employment Law Package

The National government is seeking to make changes to employment law at present. Basically, at the moment, it is actually relatively difficult for a business to dismiss employees in a clean manner even if there is good justification. As such, the proposed changes are primarily focused towards fixing that.

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