March 22, 2013
In a recent post, Adam Garfinkle talks about why our adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan will necessarily fail.
Well, strictly speaking, he is talking about statism and anarchism, and advertising campaigns, and the Tower of Babel. But he still gives a pretty good explanation of why we are tilting at windmills in the Middle East.
What also follows from this is a second verity of political life, namely that the political institutions of any society emerge from that society far more than the other way around. The United States is a democracy because its founding society was egalitarian-minded, not the other way around. All of the American Founders and all of their tutors, from Locke to Montesquieu to even the great bad-boy of the time, Rousseau, understood this. The idea that a governmental form could remold or create a society after its desired image earned the derisive label “talismanic” at the hands of William Taylor Coleridge.
I have noted this concern before, in my much less erudite way.
November 27, 2012
Over at Mark Perry’s excellent Carpe Diem blog, Mark has an ongoing series about “markets in everything.” As soon as I saw this, I thought of his series.
As you can see from this photo, Hurricane Sandy took out a section of Hwy 12 on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
There is a bypass across the sand, but it requires a 4×4 vehicle. When we drove through today, there was a thriving trade of locals with 4x4s and trailers ferrying two wheel drive vehicles (sometimes with an entire family still inside) across the half-mile or so of sand. A waitress at a local restaurant told us that the going rate was a surprisingly reasonable $25.
There were orderly queues of cars waiting on the side of the road to be loaded, and the only government presence I could see was an NC DOT pickup truck who was keeping an eye on the condition of the sand road.
Edit: I sent these pictures to Mark, and Carpe Diem is carrying the story.
July 3, 2012
To paraphrase George Monbiot:
There is not enough oil. We are all going to die!
. . . oh, wait . . .
There is too much oil. We are all going to die!
It must be really depressing being an environmental alarmist. No matter what happens, you have a compelling need to see it as a dire threat to the very existence of humanity.
As one would expect, Mr. Monbiot fails to note that much of the United State’s newly found energy wealth is in the form of natural gas, and as a result, “total [U.S] CO2 emissions this year are on track to drop to the lowest level since 1991.”
If you were wondering where all the Puritanical guilt went as our society become more secularized, I think the environmental movement has found it for us.
June 8, 2012
This is borderline sacrilege . . . but funny none the less.
As Aragorn might have put it if he was in the oil business, “A day may come when the hydrocarbon supply of men fails, when we forsake our internal combustion engines and break all pipelines and refineries, but it is not this day. An hour of woes and solar cells, when the age of oil comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we frack! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you drill, Men of the West!”
– Walter Russell Mead, Global Warming in the Golden Age of Oil
April 11, 2012
Everyone knows that soccer is a foreign invasion, but few people know exactly what is wrong with that. More than having to do with its origin, soccer is a European sport because it is all about death and despair. Americans would never invent a sport where the better you get the less you score. Even the way most games end, in sudden death, suggests something of an old-fashioned duel. How could anyone enjoy a game where so much energy results in so little advantage, and which typically ends with a penalty kick out, as if it is the audience that needs to be put out of its misery?
– Stephen H. Webb, Soccer Is Ruining America, Wall Street Journal
March 16, 2012
Mozambique’s new energy reserves may not be pretty or clean, but they have two advantages that trump everything else: they are lucrative, and, unlike the unicorns that the global climate movement insists will descend from the Misty Mountains any minute and solve all our problems while saving us money, they are real.
Walter Russel Meed, Via Meadia