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Treat Homosexuality Like a Religion?



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It’s an interesting argument, I’ve been pondering something similar too for a while. Though I think it would open up all sorts of unintended consequences too. Anyway, here’s an interesting take from

Hayek



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All this chat about Hayek is the perfect excuse (particularly as I am stuck in a near deserted hotel in the middle of nowhere) to tell my only story about the great man. It was some time in the late 1970s and the venue was (appropriately or inappropriately enough) the Keynes Auditorium (or Hall, or something like that) in Cambridge. Hayek was the speaker and most of the audience, stuck in the orthodoxies of that era, was either astonished, appalled or both.

At the end of his talk (which was, needless to say, quite brilliant) Hayek bravely asked for questions. Brimming with indignation and bubbling with bile, one man rose to his feet and asked “that’s all very well, Professor Hayek, but don’t you believe it is possible to have an egalitarian society.”

“Oh yes, “ replied Hayek, “you can have an egalitarian society – but only at the lowest possible level.”


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“Gay Marriage Versus Booty Call”



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Good point from a reader:


Jonah,
It seem somebody, liberals presumably, is re-writing the guidelines about the sanctity of marriage. On one hand, they’re claiming that a man and a woman who shack up together can live just as securely, and raise children just as well, as a married couple, and therefore they should not be looked down upon because they’re sharing a bed without a pair of wedding rings.
On the other hand, the liberals claim that a marriage between a man and a man, and a woman and a woman, is a sign that gays are committed to a stable, monogomous relationships, and hence can become part of the American family.
“It’s a beautiful thing,” they say.
So…which is it? Is marriage an archaic tradition whose time has passed only when a man and woman want to skip the altar and hit the sack? Or is it a “beautiful thing” only when it helps legitamize a man shacking up with a man and making booty-call sound less Sodom- and Gomorrah-like?

Web Briefing: July 14, 2014

My Kind of Reader!



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This guy hits all the right buttons:

Mr.Goldberg,

A few months ago, you floated the idea of making an anti-communist alarm clock along the lines of the Batman & Robin alarm clock from your youth (that alarm clock was a few years before my time.) I suggested that one could wake up to a song called Alger Hiss Was Guilty, sung to the tune of “You Don’t Win Friends With Salad.” [A taunting tune sung by Homer and the rest of the Simpsons to tease Lisa for her vegetarianism] I thought you might like to know that the song works with the Rosenbergs as well. “The Rosenbergs Were Guilty, The Rosenbergs Were Guilty etc…”

Regards,

[Name withheld]

P.S.

If the donation drive is still running next week (a pay week for me,) count on my contribution. I have a dentist bill to pay this week.

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Bad Idea For Epa



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The current front-runner to replace Christie Todd Whitman as EPA Administrator is Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne. He would be an unfortunate choice. While Kempthorne is better than some of the names floated to date (e.g. Whitman’s number two, Linda Fisher), Kempthorne would likely give the administration both bad policy and bad P.R. In the Senate, Kempthorne led the charge to adopt amendments to the Endangered Species Act that catered to big business and major environmental groups, at the expense of small property owners. The original sponsor of unfunded mandates legislation, Kempthorne watered down his bill to ensure passage by consensus. The result was a meaningless law. Again with his efforts to amend the Safe Drinking Water Act, Kempthorne was more interested in passing “reform” than in getting reform right. Only the intervention of more conservative Senators saved the substance of the bill.

Despite this history, Kempthorne’s conservative reputation ensured that anything he did was labeled a right-wing attack on environmental laws. It would likely be the same at the EPA: Kempthorne would be savaged in the press any time he sought to reform existing rules, while his actual record would be no better than Whitman’s. The Bush Administration can do better at EPA than this.

Another Terrific Reason to Have Nrodt On Your Coffeetable



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From a reader and subscriber and donor: “it’s worth the subscription price just to see what Roman Genn has on his drawing board every fortnight.”

F.a.Q.--How to Renew



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Here’s the key, if you want to renew your subscription to NROT.

Lowry’s Cat



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As you may have noticed, Rich has been a bit absent lately because he’s crashing on his book. I thought only we at NRO were mad at him. But apparently he’s been neglecting his cat too, judging by the look on its face.

Gay Marriage



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You may have noticed, I’ve stayed out of much of the Corner badinage over the issue of gay marriage. I am sympathetic to all — or almost all — of the arguments made by Frum, Kurtz, Derbyshire and others. I’m also sympathetic to Stuttaford (and Andrew Sullivan). On the one hand, I’m perfectly willing to accept the possibility that if we legalized gay marriage it would turn out to be an unmitigated disaster. Of course, as with so many cultural disasters, the odds are it would unfold so slowly few people would recognize its causes. We’d probably just redefine disaster as another form of success as we do so often when the culture goes to hell.

But I guess the only question I have for the conservative opponents of gay marriage — and I count myself among them, I suppose — is: What do they propose to do about gays? Let’s assume gays aren’t going anywhere. Let’s assume that whether it’s nurture or nature or both, there’s nothing we could do culturally or medically or otherwise to change the fact that out-of-the-closet-gays are a permanent fixture of human reality for centuries to come. What then do they propose? If their answer to the permanence of homosexuality is “nothing,” that’s certainly ideologically defensible. Inactivism should always be the first instinct of the conservative.

But if we take Stanley at his word that homosexual promiscuity is as bad as he seems to think it is, what cultural signals should we send to discourage it? After all such promiscuity is bad for the unmarried too, right? Certainly encouraging gays to enter stable relationships would curb such behavior. As a matter of politics – cultural and democratic – it just strikes me as impractical not to have an alternative social institution on offer for gays if, as a society, we are going to deny them access to the institution of marriage. If marriage is off-limits, is it such a horrendous compromise to change the laws so as to allow gays to share assets and entitlements with their partners? What is wrong with permitting private contracts to deal with such things as visitation rights to hospitals and all of the other “rights” currently denied to couples who cannot marry? Yes, I think government should give social space to the institution of marriage, but why should government forbid private contracts between private citizens. If a single man wants to designate another man who is not a blood relative as the beneficiary of his social security death benefits why should the government stand in the way?

In short, while I’m tempermentally sympathetic to “do nothing” proposals, this seems like one of those cases where you can’t beat something with nothing. I’ve come out in favor of civil unions of one kind or another, not because I’m excited about it, but because I don’t see how there’s any other option in the long run.

The World War Ii Economy



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The idea that the war ended the Great Depression has served both Keynesian and anti-Keynesian polemical purposes over the years. A critical examination of the Keynesian version of the idea can be found here.

This Is The Perfect Attitude



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Another e-mail:


To: [email protected]

Subject: onate again.

Thanks
Carl


Hillary’s “Sales”



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The Prowler reports that Hillary’s Senate office is requiring — “encouraging” — groups to buy her book in bulk if they want her to speak at their events.

Thanks



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I want to thank the Cornerites who came to Borders on 57th and Park Ave. in New York City last night to hear about Gouverneur’sGentleman Revolutionary: Gouverneur Morris, The Rake Who Wrote the Constitution. (Among other things, Morris helped create that address, since he planned the Manhattan street grid.) Tonight the Rake becomes a bridge and tunnel person, visiting The Book Shop in Morristown, New Jersey at 7:00 PM.

Re: The Rosenbergs



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It should be no shocker that I agree totally with Roger about the Rosenbergs. But Roger, you might have missed this piece in last Sunday’s NYT Week in Review section where the paper lets the Rosenberg’s kids make the most sympathetic case for their parents. If memory serves this is not the first time the Times has played this game. They also did a fawning profile of Alger Hiss’ son. The technique is very clever because it allows the author to be more sympathetic to traitors out of deference to their children and the reader goes along with it.

Indian Trust Fund Scandal



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Glenn Reynolds is noting the Indian Trust Fund scandal. It’s about time. Jacob Levy’s been on the case for a while (as have many conservatives and libertarians, as I noted here). Most of the mainstream media, on the other hand, remains AWOL on this important story of government mistakes and malfeasance.

Kavanaugh & Estrada



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The Bush Administration’s apparent decision to nominate Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (noted here) could have interesting implications for the Miguel Estrada nomination, notes Howard Bashman.

Final Ghost of The Day



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Third, the front page of the Washington Post notes that Hispanics have now officially passed blacks as the nation’s largest minority group. That, and the rising number of Asians as well, is yet another reason why the Supreme Court and the rest of the government ought to end affirmative action. Maybe–I doubt it, but maybe–the case might have been made at one time for giving preferences to blacks over whites, but now places like the University of Michigan are giving preferences to Hispanics over Asians. What’s the historical justification for THAT?

Ghosts Ii



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Second, USA Today has a stupid editorial on “Racism: Past and present,” arguing that America was once racist and, unfortunately, the “ghosts of the past still haunt the nation.” The three examples of America’s continuing racism are (1) the Tulia, Texas scandal; (2) the conviction this week of a reputed Klan member for murdering a black man 37 years ago; and (3) the fact that in many places, like cemeteries, the Confederate flag–”a repugnant symbol of American slavery”–is flown. Please. Items 2 (the crime was 37 years ago, and the recent news is a CONVICTION) and 3 (the flag need not be a “repugnant symbol” of slavery, certainly not when flown at cemeteries) are ridiculous. Yes, racism still exists (see item 1), but the glass is not half full or even half empty: We’re getting down to the bottom of the glass, and USA Today should be celebrating that fact, not pretending that things are gloomier than they are.

Ghosts Past and Present in Today’S Papers



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Some items of note in today’s papers.

First, the New York Times has a stupid editorial on “Remembering the Rosenbergs.” The Times begins by intoning that, when the Rosenbergs started their espionage activities, “the Soviets were still our allies,” but that, when they were arrested, “the McCarthy era had begun.” The implication is that wanting to give the atomic bomb to the Soviets wouldn’t have been such a big deal except for the rantings of a few demagogues. The editorial acknowledges, as it must, that “Julius was an atomic spy”; as for Ethel, “the mother of two young sons,” the editorial asserts that some evidence “strongly suggest[s] that Ethel played little or no role.” There’s a big difference here between “little” and “no.” In any event, the Times concludes, “The Rosenberg case still haunts American history, reminding us of the injustice that can be done when a nation gets caught up in hysteria.” Sorry, but the Rosenbergs got what they deserved, and what haunts the Times is that it has been wrong about them.

Re: Keynes, Hayek & Krugman



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Noah Millman sets me straight on Keynesianism:

Japan has been mired in a deflationary depression for 10 years, and has been priming the pump furiously, to no obvious effect.

The Keynesian National Recovery Act and other New Deal legislation did little or nothing to end the Great Depression, and may have prolonged it. What the WPA and the like did accomplish was charitable (it put people to work and thereby kept them from hunger) and psychological (it told people someone was doing something for them, and thereby kept political stability). But the New Deal did not bring economic recovery. What finally brought about a solid and sustained economic recovery in the 1950s was the revival of global trade after WWII.

If you buy into the basic assumptions of monetarist and/or supply-side economics, you can’t also buy into Keynesian economics. They are mutually exclusive. Monetarists believe that inflation and deflation are purely monetary phenomena. Supply-siders think what drives growth in the long term is the marginal return on invested capital. Keynesians think that what drives both inflation and growth is “aggregate demand” which they think the government can manipulate through deficit spending and/or running a surplus. If growth is low and inflation low, a Keynesian would say that government should spend more to increase aggregate demand. A supply-sider would say that this will actually decrease growth because the increased spending will require raises in taxes or in borrowing (which implies hikes in future taxes, which would be discounted back to the present by the market), which in turn would reduce the marginal return on invested capital. And further, a supply-sider would say, this deficit spending would increase inflation because, by reducing returns on investment, it would encourage consumption over investment. With an uptick in inflation and a drop in real growth, you could get a rise in nominal growth, which would look like a recovery to debtors and other folks at the bottom of the economic barrel, but for the economy as a whole you’d have a net loss.

Of course, you can also not buy into ANY economic theory, and simply conclude that economics is a branch of psychology, and therefore whatever works works. This was basically the Clinton/Rubin economic stance: don’t worry about the theory, just do what the markets seem to want and all will be well. That works fine until the market decides that you really have figured out how to ensure permanent low-inflation growth, at which point you’ll have a speculative blow-off and a deflationary crash. Which is what just happened to us. This is the Austrian “malinvestment” thesis of where depressions come from–the market periodically “overinvests” after which there’s a deflationary recession to work off the excess capacity thus created – and the standard critique from economists is that it isn’t an economic theory (why should the market “overinvest” sometimes but not other times?) but a psychological one. Which is true. But that doesn’t disprove the theory.

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