The Once and Future Prez

This post is a pre-emptive comment rescue, of sorts. As you may (or may not) be aware, Jaybird runs a weekly bookclub over at Mindless Diversions of the seminal graphic novel series Sandman. We’ve reached book 8, and the stories we covered this week: Hob’s Leviathan, a story of a sailor and hidden depths, and…

The Best Video Game Ever: “Bastion”

Note: This post is part of our League Symposium on the Best Video Games Ever.  To see a list of all posts in the Symposium so far, please click here. The spoilers in this post are encoded with ROT13, if you want to contribute spoilers in the comments, please do the same. The question of “are computer…

It’s done, woo hoo!

The Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Act (2013) passed it’s third reading last night 77-44, legalising gay marriage in New Zealand. The Act won’t go into effect until later this year, as it still needs to receive the Royal Assent from the Governor General, but that is a mere formality. This post by Canterbury economist Eric Crampton has some good excerpts from the final speeches. I recommend Maurice Williamson’ speech…

Yes, But Which Arts?

Note: This post is part of our League Symposium on Higher Education in the 21st Century. You can read the introductory post for the Symposium here. To see a list of all posts in the Symposium so far, click here. From a policy perspective, education is a confused mess. Everyone agrees education is good, but there’s no…

Safety, at what price?

A few days ago I was sent an interesting article by Mad Rocket Scientist, Regressive Effects of Regulation, authored by Diana Thomas at George Mason University’s Mercatus Centre. The paper’s central focus is on a trade-off that we all deal with every day, and is a major focus of government policy – the trade-off between prosperity and safety.…

Trade Sequence Part 5 – The Rich Man’s Burden

Hey everyone, I thought the brief lull between the April Fools’ listicles and the Education Symposium was a good time for the next part of my trade sequence.       Here’s the current contents page. Introductions and Definitions They took our Jobs! The Tribulations of the Working Class The Race to the Bottom The Rich Man’s Burden (you are…

Nearly There …

The Definition of Marriage Bill, which would legalise gay marriage in New Zealand, passed through Committee of the Whole yesterday. This is basically the last real hurdle before the passage of the Bill. As the Parliament website notes, there are only two hurdles left to cross: the vote at the Third Reading and the Royal Assent, where the…

Trade Sequence Part 4 – The Race to the Bottom

So, I’m doing this again. I thought it was high time I returned to my Trade Sequence, I can’t spend the whole time enjoying Wellington abnormally good summer weather. In light of the recent discussions about sweatshops / working conditions in developing countries, I’ve decided to expand what I was going to say about that into a full post. The new Contents…

Is Constitutional Obedience Damaging America?

That is the question raised in the latest Econtalk podcast, wherein Russ Roberts interviews Constitutional law professor Louis Michael Siedman. Siedman argues that one of the central principles of US government, that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land and all government activity must be concordant with it, is fundamentally flawed. This is an unusual position for a Constitutional law professor to…

Opposite Day: Can’t Handle the Truth?

On Opposite Day, we do our best to argue in service of a position that, under normal circumstances, we argue against. Coke people might sing the praises of Pepsi, Cat people might talk about why Dogs make for superior pets, Political Types might put forward the position that is usually held by their opponents. After…

Trade Sequence Part 2 – They Took Our Jobs!

First off, I have to say I’m both pleased and apprehensive I managed to get over 100 comments on my first post without actually saying anything. I hope that it’s a sign of ongoing interest in the topic, and not you guys running out of steam in the first post. I’ve gotten some interesting comments so far, and just so I don’t put anyone off, I just wanted to explain…

For the Greater Good

… the greater good Libertarianism is a very diverse ideology there’s a real blend of intellectual systems within it and much of the reason for that is that libertarianism is a purely political philosophy, it doesn’t address how non-political morality should be constructed.  Take me and Jason for instance, unlike Jason I’m a consequentialist so I…

What is Democracy Good For?

Note: This post is part of our League Symposium on Democracy. You can read the introductory post for the Symposium here. To see a list of all posts in the Symposium so far, click here. TLDR Summary: “Is liberal democracy viable?  Yes, for now.” Since I am, in all likelihood, the second biggest democracy sceptic in the League…

A Clash of Models

Note: This post is part of our League Symposium on inequality. You can read the introductory post for the Symposium here. To see a list of all posts in the Symposium so far, click here. Whenever I encounter a factual view (as distinct from a moral or aesthetic one) I disagree with I end up asking myself…

Friday Jukebox: Antipodean Incursion Edition

It occurred to me recently, that I haven’t actually done of these yet, and as it happens this week is the perfect opportunity. You see, this week marks the US release of New Zealand artist Kimbra’s first album Vows. You may be familiar with Kimbra from her role in Australian musician Gotye’s Somebody I used to know, but she has her own distinct style, and it would…

What’s a Grecian Government Urn?

The situation in Greece seems to be coming to a head, with the Greek people near-united in opposition to austerity, but not apparently sufficiently united on an alternative. The mainstream left has lost ground to a coalition of far-left parties which are totally opposed to austerity. Even the fascists are crawling out of the woodwork, as they…

Sunday Blognado: Metablognado!

Today I want to do a round-up of my blognado experience. First, allow me to explain the origin of the name.  There was a short-lived TV series called The Middleman.  It was perhaps the geekiest show ever, it was glorious.   During the back half of its only season a running joke developed where one character would refer to something as being “a ___nado”, leading another character to ask “You…

Saturday Blognado: Taxes and Welfare

This post is something of a coda to my Tuesday post on taxes, this time taken from the other direction. The most common objection to welfare system is that it discourages work, leading to protracted welfare dependency.  This can indeed happen, and through a similar mechanism to one of the reasons that the laffer curve eventually bends downward.  Pretty much every benefit…

Friday Blognado: The downward spiral

Today marks the end of blognado proper.  While I do hope to put up a post on Saturday and Sunday, they will be much shorter than my customary door-stopper length as I will be otherwise engaged for much of the weekend. Today I’m going to write a much more political post than I normally do.  Specifically, I’d like to discuss what I…