Friday Highlights

Good morning.

  1. So, selling to oligarchs I guess. Seems to me the small town gun store in the US is slightly, err, more prosaic.
  2. Hayek and Obamacare.
  3. This brings up a (slightly) more serious question. Saltpeter, as every pirate knows, was fed by Captain Treach to his sailors as a anti-viagra agent so they would just get drunk in port and he could get his ship back out. The question is … if you favor the background check thing for guns … why do you not also favor background checks before guys could have saltpeter-free food so prevent rapes (which are far far far more common than the occasional mass shooter).
  4. Everybody’s seen videos of the near-to-Moscow meteor. If you haven’t, go here for 5.
  5. More attempts to tamper with your freedom of association.
  6. Yikes.
  7. Advertising.
  8. NYTimes and standards of reporting accuracy.

Have a good weekend!

15 Responses to Friday Highlights

  1. Hayek and Obamacare.

    Interesting conclusion:

    To make it quite speculative, I believe Hayek — if fast-forwarded into the present — might favor a mix of forced savings into health savings accounts, cash transfers to the poor, and direct government provision of basic health care services for the very needy. Whether or not I am right, Hayek is far from laissez-faire on health care. But I doubt Hayek would have come close to supporting ACA

    But that is essentially how the ACA works. It’s basically the system you’d get if you said to a bunch of people something like “sit in this room and come up with a system that works to achieve nearly universal coverage but still makes choosing between competiting private insurance companies the primary way that coverage is achieved (at least for those under 65) while still allowing for the person who really, really wants to either be totally out of the system or go beyond what the system provides the freedom to do so”.

    if you favor the background check thing for guns … why do you not also favor background checks before guys could have saltpeter-free food so prevent rapes (which are far far far more common than the occasional mass shooter).

    While a mass shooting merits attention, it is such a small portion of total gun violence that it shouldn’t be a key success indicator (KPI). The analogy is a bit faulty. Feeding people drugs to alter themselves against their will have never been considered an acceptable default position. Most states, even many tyrannical ones, assume that first a person must actually do something wrong before you can start messing with their body in some way. But a presumption against being allowed to do or own certain things have never been considered an equal violation of liberty. For example, the default is that you may not drive a car or fly a plane. These things require you to first get a license. The above analogy would work better if gun control advocates were demanding that from birth everyone’s trigger fingers be encased in a steel cast preventing them from firing a gun to be removed only after passing some background check or whatnot.

  2. More attempts to tamper with your freedom of association.

    People who don’t know what their freedoms mean should not be allowed to invoke them in political discussion.

  3. Everybody’s seen videos of the near-to-Moscow meteor. If you haven’t, go here for 5.

    Can we say that this is the first time ever in known history that a human has actually been injured by a meteor?

    Years ago I remember a plane blew up just off of Long Island and for while it was unclear what caused it. One person speculated it might have been hit by a meteor and did some calculations of so many meteors hitting the earth every year, so many planes in the air at any given moment and found, believe it or not, that the odds of seeing at least one plane hit by one over the history of air travel to date was surprisingly high….something like 5-10%

  4. Boonton,

    People who don’t know what their freedoms mean should not be allowed to invoke them in political discussion.

    And people who don’t know what “associate” mean shouldn’t claim others don’t know what freedom is. Or perhaps, like Obama, you are some sort of Communist who thinks business owners aren’t people who count when political freedom is involved. Lenin and Stalin called them “kulaks” and sent them into the gulag archipelago (I’m listening to the Gulag Archipelago vol 1 on audible right now, btw).

    Employment is a form of association. Or have you figured out how to be employed without forming any sort of social association with those with whom you work?

    But that is essentially how the ACA works.

    Yah, in fantasy land perhaps.

  5. Lenin and Stalin called them “kulaks” and sent them into the gulag archipelago

    Indeed, there’s no difference between the Soviet gulags and anti-discrimination laws on business.

    A more reasonable conclusion is that you’re simply unaware of what freedom of association means in the context of the Constitution.

  6. Boonton,

    A more reasonable conclusion is that you’re simply unaware of what freedom of association means in the context of the Constitution.

    In the context of English I know what it means. Mr Scalia tells us that is important. Apparently you (in the light of 1950s and 1960s case law) disagree. You also seem to think that thinking that a felony conviction (or not) should be irrelevant to an employer. You (apparently) defend this by implying your list of allowed criteria for employment selection is and should be Constitutional. I think you are wrong. What you haven’t done is produce anything persuasive to argue that the state should control association in this way contra reasonable readings of the text of the Constitution.

  7. So by this reading tell me why my freedom of association could not be used to assert a right to set up and run a brothel?

  8. Boonton,
    For the same reason you can’t set up a meth lab.

  9. Really? Let’s see, on one hand I have some women who want to ‘associate’ with men in exchange for money, on the other hand I have some men who want to associate with women in exchange for money. Why can’t I have this whole bunch of people ‘associate’ with me at a house or building I either own or rent? If Freedom of Association means essentially freedom of business then I’m home free.

  10. Boonton,
    Remember what you’re defending. You’re defending the right of the government to prevent an employer from discovering or asking a prospective employee “have you been convicted of a felony?”

    Uhm, you can do that in Nevada you know (Alaska?). There is no federal restriction on opening a brothel. Perhaps your Constitutional argument holds.

  11. I think the proposal is more along the lines of preventing an employer from hiring/firing on account of past convictions (unless one can show a direct relevance to the job). In that case it’s more about the regulation of the economic transaction itself and if Association is a free form right to economic transactions then why not the brothel?

  12. Boonton,

    In that case it’s more about the regulation of the economic transaction itself and if Association is a free form right to economic transactions then why not the brothel?

    I am unaware of any federal statutes making brothel’s illegal. Perhaps you could help me out there. Brothel’s are legal in Nevada as I noted. Do you think zoning is Constitutional? Is that perhaps why you don’t have federal zoning laws?

    I think the proposal is more along the lines of preventing an employer from hiring/firing on account of past convictions (unless one can show a direct relevance to the job).

    How is that different from what I said?

  13. I am unaware of any federal statutes making brothel’s illegal. Perhaps you could help me out there.

    1. As I’m sure you’re aware, the post-Civil War amendments incorporated much of the essential Bill of Rights to the states. So even if the Federal gov’t isn’t outlawing brothels, you’d still have to confront the issue of whether or not state or local gov’ts are violating your reading of freedom of association.

    2. Meth labs are illegal under Federal law so dodging the hypothetical doesn’t help you there.

    How is that different from what I said?

    You said just ‘ask’. If there was a law against ‘just asking’, even if the employer demonstrated the response had no bearing on the hiring decision (sort of like you are sometimes asked for you race when you apply for a job online, the question is asked in its own section at the very end and the answer is not given to the hiring manager but kept by HR for statistical analysis) you might have a free speech question.

  14. Boonton,

    If there was a law against ‘just asking’, even if the employer demonstrated the response had no bearing on the hiring decision (sort of like you are sometimes asked for you race when you apply for a job online, the question is asked in its own section at the very end and the answer is not given to the hiring manager but kept by HR for statistical analysis) you might have a free speech question.

    I see. You “can” ask. If you do however, you are required to perform reams of documentation that you did not and would not use the results of your question. Seems to me that saying you “can” ask is disingenuous. And seriously, you can’t ask or find out if you prospective employee is a felon? You really support that? How can that not have bearing on any job? (My two convictions for armed robbery shouldn’t give you any pause. … No no. Don’t worry that’s all in the past. You know when I was in my 20s trying to be authentic and all.)

  15. Are you asking about the wisdom of the policy? I take it then you’ve lost the Constitutionality argument.

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