David Henderson at EconLog on Edward Conard's well-received book, Unintended Consequences. Professor Bainbridge has coverage of the "conflict mineral regulations" in Dodd-Frank. The Wall Street Journal reported last week on "the "conflict mineral" regulations of Dodd-Frank, which require onerous due diligence and disclosure of the "sourcing of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold used in the products of 6,000 publicly traded companies." The SEC, in a 3-2 vote, approved the rule "despite lack of evidence that the benefits of such disclosure outweigh the billions of dollars of burden to American industry—and that cost figure is before the inevitable rent-seeking strike-suit securities litigation…
Archives for August 2012
Ronald Dworkin has published a New York Review of Book Essay on the Supreme Court’s health care decision. The essay has all of the characteristics of the typical Dworkin NY Review essay: it stakes out the liberal position, argues for it with power and verve, but in the end is often to me unpersuasive.
Dworkin spends some time criticizing Chief Justice Roberts’s opinion. As readers may remember, I am no friend of his opinion, but I don’t agree with much of Dworkin’s criticism. Let me just discuss one issue. Dworkin is upset that Roberts first concludes that the Congress does not have the power to impose the mandate under the Commerce Clause before concluding that Congress does have the power to do so under its Taxing Power. Dworkin writes:
After some hesitation, the American Political Science Association (APSA) has cancelled its annual four-day, pre-Labor Day convention, with Hurricane Isaac bearing down on its New Orleans venue. Even proud contemporary political science must eventually submit to “the laws of nature and of nature’s God” in practice, while remaining resistant in theory.
Causing consternation for several days, the APSA, which was founded in New Orleans in 1903, had wanted to defy the laws of nature and proceed to meet in the city of its makers. (To be fair, several hundred convention participants, of the 6000 or so anticipated, were already in New Orleans prior to the long-scheduled Thursday, August 30 formal opening.)
Musing on a catastrophe of Katrina proportions, one person involved in organizing the Annual Meeting joked about a political science version of “Hunger Games.” However satisfying the vision of political scientists spearing each other might be (after making rational choice calculations), the APSA finally acknowledged the sovereignty of the laws of nature and likely averted disaster.
But the confrontation with brute nature brings attention to how political science scholarship set out to manipulate human nature. The first two decades of the APSA produce shocking examples of open assault on the American founding and the Declaration of Independence in particular. The APSA’s first presidents sought counterrevolution against the natural rights and the limited government that flows from them.
Does the free society depend upon certain institutions and persons that it cannot create?
‘He’s a real nowhere man, sitting in his nowhere land,
Making all his nowhere plans for nobodies.’
These misquoted lyrics from a famous Beatles’ song aptly characterize the 33 year-old Norwegian Anders Breivik who, after being found sane by his trial judges, last Friday received a 21 year prison sentence, the maximum, yet still ludicrously slight, term his country allows given how heinous were his crimes.
After receiving his sentence, Breivik was given the opportunity to comment upon it, but was abruptly cut short and the trial terminated after he began to declare his only regret was that he had not been able to kill more people.
Despite having admitted from the very start to all the killings, Breivik had pleaded not guilty to the charges of murder, not, paradoxically, as the prosecution had unsuccessfully tried to persuade the trial judges, on the grounds that he was insane at the time the killings took place. Rather, he had pled not guilty on the grounds of having been forced by necessity so to act in self-defense, a war against natives of his country like he and their culture having been for years waged by its governing elite through their complicity in its steady Islamization through mass immigration of Muslims, plus the policy of deferential multiculturalism that enabled the immigrants to resist integration.
I am deeply grateful to my friend Michael Uhlmann for his generous review of The Upside-Down Constitution in the Claremont Review of Books. After Rob Gasaway’s deep Engage review a few months back, Mike’s essay provides a second piece of evidence to the effect that perhaps, the book is best understood by lawyers who are masters at their chosen craft, yet transcend its conventional limitations: these guys understand me better than I understand myself. (Admittedly that’s also true of my nine-year-old, but in a different way.) I’m pleasantly surprised that Mike finds evidence of my “acerbic humor,” inasmuch as just about…
Listen to this podcast with author and Tocqueville scholar Daniel Mahoney on Tocqueville's prescriptions in Democracy in America for the challenges to liberty encountered in a democratic age. Darío Fernández Morera's review of Emmet Scott's Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: the History of a Controversy underscores the book's powerful rehabilitation of Belgian historian Henri Pirenne's thesis on Islam’s impact on the history of Europe. Morera notes that Scott looks at archaeological evidence from the seventh through the tenth centuries and from this concludes as follows: the paucity of archaeological remains between the seventh and tenth centuries in the Middle East and North Africa—all…
The judges in the case of Anders Breivik, the young Norwegian who murdered 77 of his compatriots supposedly in protest against his country’s social and political policies (thus creating more victims per head of population in Norway than did the September 11th bombers in America), found him to have been fully responsible for his actions, and sentenced him to imprisonment as an ‘ordinary’ criminal. They did not yield to what must have been a strong temptation to accept the following specious bar-room syllogism:
No one but a madman would have killed 77 people.
Breivik killed 77 people.
Therefore Breivik was mad.
This new edition of Liberty Law Talk is a conversation with Daniel J. Mahoney of Assumption College regarding Alexis de Tocqueville's counsel in Democracy in America on how Americans can best combat an unbound egalitarianism and the prospect of soft-despotism. Tocqueville's writings have been significantly featured over the past few years given his warnings and sense of the dangers of overly centralized government, so this conversation with a noted Tocqueville scholar will add greater depth to our understanding of what the author of the best book ever written about democracy can teach us regarding the challenges and opportunities that America…
AEI’s J.D. Kleinke has a long, eye-opening Forbes piece on the latest fads and foibles in the health care market. Aetna and Wellpoint have been buying up health (managed) care providers that principally service Medicaid populations. The valuations are rich: Wellpoint paid a 50 percent market price premium and about 18.4 forward PE for Amerigroup.
Behind this “Fools’ Gold Rush” is, of course, the Affordable Care Act, which (if implemented) will unleash mass migrations on a scale last seen when the frontier was still open—for example, from private and state plans into “exchanges” or Medicaid. Among the migrants are an estimated 9 million “dual covered” folks who are currently covered under Medi-care and –caid and will eventually be moved entirely into Medicaid. With something like $300 billion in revenues on the table, the betting is that there’s money to be made in that market. But how?