So Google decided to fire an employee who penned a memo titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber.”  The memo suggested that, while diversity was an important and shared goal, it may be a mistake to assume that all “gaps” — particularly gender gaps — are attributable to bias. The googler offered substantial scientific evidence to support the hypothesis that biological differences (and not bias) may explain much, if not most, of these gaps at the margins. The googler implored readers to treat people as individuals, rather than as members of groups, and to judge each person on their own merits. Finally, the googler suggested that Google had developed a stifled, partisan culture that ran contrary to the ideals of diversity and chilled the free exchange of ideas.

No shit.

According to Google’s CEO, Google fired the employee for allegedly violating the company’s code of conduct by “advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.” Much of the MSM has described the pro-diversity memorandum as a sexist, anti-diversity screed.

(1) I don’t really have a view of the claims in the memo (but other credible sources seem to agree). Google doesn’t really either, since its criticism focused on the claim itself — or rather a twisted account of the claim — and not the evidence. That being said, Google’s decision to censure critical inquiry because it runs contrary to Progressive dogma is itself very bad science. It undermines the credibility of Google’s broader commitment to evidence-based reasoning and diminishes Google’s ability to make “but science says” arguments in the future.

[It certainly puts the lie to the whole “Obama partners with tech to reengineer government narrative.” If tech relies on data except when relying on data is politically inconvenient, it defeats the whole purpose of bringing data-based decision-making to government. Although, that’s what I would expect from the self-selected group of googlers who opted to go work for the administration.]

(2) Google’s decision to make it a fireable offense to openly believe that biological differences contribute to (if not explain) different gender roles and outcomes — a belief that I suspect is shared by more than half of Americans and wayyyy more than half of humanity — is a pretty big blow for liberalism. (The media’s overt misrepresentation of the substance and intent of the memorandum are pretty terrible too, but we already knew the MSM was a shrill partisan outfit.)

It doesn’t really surprise me that some people within Google are science-hating, intolerant, close-minded bigots. It also doesn’t surprise that such people might concentrate in cost-centers, like HR, which add significant value (legally) by enforcing pro-regime monoculture.

It does surprise me a little that Google’s CEO would take such a visible stand against diversity and critical inquiry. When the most powerful company in the world signals that it will fire you if, in its sole discretion, it determines that you have violated Progressive taboos, it will certainly not foster coexistence, tolerance, understanding or peace. It will similarly erode Google’s credibility to promote anything like coexistence, tolerance, understanding or peace, or demand anything like those values from anyone else. Tolerance is a two-way street. Tolerance for me, but not for thee will backfire.

To give a sense of the hypocrisy, imagine the following immigration compromise: exclude/deport anyone who believes that biological differences contribute to, explain and justify different gender roles and outcomes. The anti-immigration crowd would take that deal in a heartbeat. Progressives would howl about racism and islamophobia.

(3) I think companies should be allowed to discriminate to their hearts content. I also, think, however, that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. If discrimination against the Progressive coalition is a cause of action, then other forms of discrimination must be actionable, as well. Google should be simultaneously liable for making a hostile work environment if it fires the employee (to non-Progressives) and if it does not (to Progressives). Just like firms should be forced to choose between discriminating against a trans for failing to accommodate his bathroom needs, or discriminating against women for allowing a male into the women’s locker room. Unfortunately, the absurdity will be embraced by lawyers, but hopefully it will also impose some discipline on this madness. Maybe not.

Before you shriek about false equivalencies and “historically” marginalized, oppressed, or powerless groups, it makes sense to consider at what point these “groups” are no longer “powerless.” When the most powerful company in the world fires people for disagreeing with you, you may have reached that point.

(4) Other than as a shareholder, I’m not really concerned that Google will slowly rot itself from the inside. There will be some social value lost, but I’m confident in the ingenuity and resourcefulness in humanity that some alternative will emerge to take Google’s place. [And by that point, the foot-stomping “break up Google” crowd will have moved on to some other “monopoly” that “can’t be stopped” without regulation, unlike the previously unstoppable monopolies, Google, Microsoft, Walmart, GM, AT&T, the cable companies, etc.]

(5) What does concern me, however, is that Google will use its considerable influence to advocate laws that will prevent ingenious and resourceful humans from taking its place. “If Google rots, we all rot!”

Google has already partnered with the ADL–led by the simpering lightweight Jonathan Greenblatt who will do anything to keep his place in the Progressive coalition–to combat “hate speech.” It would not surprise me at all if, at some point, Google, Facebook, and Twitter join together to offer the internet in humble sacrifice to their Progressive overlords. It’s already happening in Europe.

That is, after all, the political dynamic that drives much regulation:

Companies say, “we finally adopted these value-killing policies you’ve been nagging us about and now all of our customers are fleeing to these upstart competitors who are offering the exact same services you scolded us for! It’s not fair! Make them illegal!”

Regulators say, “That’s a great idea. We’ll regulate the bejeezus out of those ingenious and resourceful humans scofflaws.”

The press reports, “Government and industry agree that regulation is in the best interests of everyone! Stop questioning our authority. Everyone go home.”

It will be hard to close the internet when so many of the people who built the internet are wrong-think wierdos like the fired googler, but it won’t be pretty.



Autocracy Continues to Rise

At least the New York Times is reporting on this stuff, although I worry it has to do with the growing subset of their readers that also wants to censure wrong think:

Social media companies operating in Germany face fines of as much as $57 million if they do not delete illegal, racist or slanderous comments and posts within 24 hours under a law passed on Friday.

When Viktor Orban (or righty MK in Israel) passed a law requiring not-for-profits to disclose foreign funding (because campaign finance and election meddling are vurry sirrious crimes), the EU threatened reprisals. As the New York Times noted at the time,

Prime Minister Viktor Orban . . . has moved Hungary in an increasingly illiberal direction.

Criminalizing righty dangerous minds? Well, the EU is apparently OK with that.

Also, the New York Times hilariously describes Soros as follows:

Mr. Soros, a major funder of programs that promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

I don’t think those words mean what you think they mean.

At least he’s nothing like Sheldon Adelson, “casino magnate and [] prominent political donor.” That guy is toxic — can’t trust anything he touches.

Autocracy Really Rising Now . . .

I wasn’t ready to ring the alarm bells over the European crackdown on political dissidents, but it seems like the ruling elite mean business:

From the New York Times:

In a coordinated campaign across 14 states, the German police on Tuesday raided the homes of 36 people accused of hateful postings over social media, including threats, coercion and incitement to racism.

Most of the raids concerned politically motivated right-wing incitement, according to the Federal Criminal Police Office, whose officers conducted home searches and interrogations. But the raids also targeted two people accused of left-wing extremist content, as well as one person accused of making threats or harassment based on someone’s sexual orientation.

“The still high incidence of punishable hate posting shows a need for police action,” Holger Münch, president of the Federal Criminal Police Office, said in a statement. “Our free society must not allow a climate of fear, threat, criminal violence and violence either on the street or on the internet.”

So, 36 people had their homes raided by police in a “coordinated campaign.” 34 of the victims were guilty of saying mean things about Team Left and 2 of them were guilty of saying mean things about Team Right. Goooo Diversity!

This comes as the Germans are debating even more “crackdowns” on wrong-think that will require tech companies to do their dirty work for them, or else!

The raids come as Germans are debating the draft of a new social media law aimed at cracking down on hate speech, a measure that an array of experts said was unconstitutional at a parliamentary hearing on Monday.

The measure, championed by Justice Minister Heiko Maas for passage this month, would fine Facebook, Twitter and other outlets up to $53 million (50 million euros) if they failed to remove hate speech and other forms of illegal content.

Under German law, social media users are subject to a range of punishments for posting illegal material, including a prison sentence of up to five years for inciting racial hatred.

Under the draft statute, networks must offer a readily available complaint process for posts that may amount to threats, hate speech, defamation, or incitement to commit a crime, among other offenses.

Social media outlets would have 24 hours to delete “obviously criminal content” and a week to decide on more ambiguous cases. The law, approved by Germany’s cabinet in April, would be enforced with fines of up to $53 million.

Let’s hope those “experts” are right about the constitutionality of the law, but it seems as though things have already gotten out of hand.

In case you need a reminder of how the politics of “hate” work, when a Muslim girl is brutally raped and murdered on her way home from mosque, it is a suspected hate crime . . . until the perpetrator is discovered to be an illegal immigrant from El Salvador, and then it becomes “road rage” by a “22 year old construction worker from Sterling.” NOTHING TO SEE HERE! Whew. What a relief. Just road rage . . .

Google announced that it too was going to step up its efforts to curb “extremism” online. Not to worry, Google won’t outright ban merely “offensive” content, but it does block advertising, promoting, commenting or other forms of engagement.

And A.G. Eric Schneiderman is adding Pro-Life protesters to his list of political enemies to destroy, along with tech entrepreneurs, scientists, and of course, Donald Trump.

Democracy dies in the darkness . . . is apparently the strategy.

Autocracy Rising, Europe Edition

It’s hard to get a real sense of the magnitude of the issue from afar, but it seems like thought-crimes are on the rise in Europe. So-called “hate speech” laws have been predictably deployed to censure dissident views, particularly on hotly contested issues — like immigration, which just so happens to be one of the most hotly contested issues in Europe (and everywhere in the West).

But hey, why debate the merits of immigration when you can just make criticizing immigrants illegal?

From the UK (in a story from last year):

The number of people being arrested for “online crimes of speech” have increased dramatically in London.

While arrests for aggressive, threatening or hateful speech on social media declined between 2010 and 2013, the numbers rose last year.

According to the Register, a total of 2,500 Londoners have been arrested over the past five years for allegedly sending “offensive” messages via social media. In 2015, 857 people were detained, up 37 per cent increase since 2010.

. . .

The legislation has been used to arrest Twitter users responsible for racist hate speech. According to Vocativ, among many recently arrested was a Scottish citizen who had posted hate speech about Syrian refugees on his Facebook page.

I mean, imagine if the police started systematically arresting BLM activists for saying nasty things online.

And more recently, the Cheshire police took a moment from its busy terror investigation to warn people that hurting the wrong people’s feelings is illegal:

“We would remind all social media users to think carefully about what they are saying before posting messages online,” the force warns.

“Although you may believe your message is acceptable, other people may take offence, and you could face a large fine or up to two years in prison if your message is deemed to have broken the law.”

From The Netherlands (courtesy of the New York Times):

A Dutch court on Thursday convicted 20 people of sexist and racist online hate speech directed against a black politician and media personality, in a case that many here saw as an indictment of the ostensible culture of tolerance in the Netherlands.

Twenty-two people were charged with harassing the politician, Sylvana Simons, though she said in a complaint that she had received abusive comments from 40,000 internet users. One defendant, who received 80 hours of community service, the day’s harshest sentence, was accused of digitally adding Ms. Simons’s face to a video of Ku Klux Klan members lynching people. . .

The court said it had focused on prosecuting those who had made the worst comments and whose identities could be ascertained.

“Freedom of opinion is great, especially if it fits into a social debate,” the court said in a statement. “But when this opinion is an insult, threat, riot or discrimination, there is a criminal offense.”

The court added that it hoped the sentences would have a “deterring effect.”

Ms. Simons, 46, was born in Suriname and raised in the Netherlands, where she gained prominence as a television and radio presenter. In testimony, she said she had become a target online after announcing her candidacy for the pro-immigrant party Denk.

I’m sure they do hope for a “deterring effect,” but that’s kind of the problem.

In Sweden:

Authorities in Sweden are prosecuting a 70-year-old woman for a hate crime . . .

As refugees poured into the country in 2015, the woman charged with a hate crime wrote a Facebook post that said migrants “set fire to cars, and urinate and defecate on the streets,” according to FriaTider, an online magazine.

Again, these are anecdotes relayed by highly motivated narrators (although, in the case of the Times, their motivations run the other way), so I’m not prepared to ring any alarm bells. But, I haven’t seen anyone actually contesting these accounts — and it’s not like there aren’t already enormous social and cultural costs to wrong-think (putting aside legal ones).

But isn’t hate speech bad? Do we really need to defend racists?

That’s kind of besides the point. Once we start putting certain speech off limits, the self-serving temptation to expand the category of off-limit speech is way too tempting for any healthy free society. It’s cheeky for sure, but this chart illustrates the point nicely:

“Hate speech” turns the kulturekampf into a one-way street. We can diminish the relative stature of your tribe (and elevate ours), but if you flip the script, we’re going to send you to jail. The other tribe isn’t going to put up with that for long.

What do you call it when socialists and nationalists govern together?

In my last post (and elsewhere), I criticized Trump’s (self-appointed) ideological vanguard for their Lefty/statist orientation, i.e. government-as-mechanic that tightens a tariff here and raises a rate there and — voila — The Economy! I also warned that a one-party system, with the political battlefield reduced to an internecine struggle between two Lefty coalitions fighting over the means of production coercion, was really scary news for all the peace and freedom loving people stuck in between, i.e. liberals.

Recently, Arnold Kling wondered about the same thing: what does a compromise look like between these two lefty coalitions?

My first thought is national socialism. It needs another name, because of all the Hitler/holocaust baggage, but here is why it makes sense.

The nationalism would include immigration restrictions, protection of “culturally significant industry” (e.g., wine in France), and cultural pride. This would appeal to the anti-Bobos. The socialism part, which requires technocratic management of economic outcomes, would appeal to the Bobos.

To get to national socialism in the U.S., the left would have to give up its attachment to multiculturalism and the right would have to give up its attachment to free markets (which Alberto Mingardi says has happened). Right now, it is easier for me to imagine the latter than the former, but maybe if the left loses one more election that could change.

That sounds about right (and it’s always been strange that the National Socialist movement is widely accepted as the epitome of right wing politics, but that’s another thought for another day).

Again, ethnonationalist socialism is actually pretty common. Off the top of my head, most of the regimes in North Africa and the Middle East (except for Israel and the emirates) are basically fascist: militant, ethnocentric, nationalist and socialist. It’s an observation that typically gets dismissed because of all the “baggage” associated with the original national socialists, but I think that’s a diagnostic failure.

For many a good reason, our cultural memory of the Nazis (and Hitler) is that of frothing at the mouth madmen and true Bond villains. The problem with that caricature, however, is that we’ll never see the next Nazis coming (indeed, they’ve been here for a long time) because we’re expecting some ghoulish evil mastermind to emerge as their leader — i.e. Hitler as we’ve reimagined him. But that Hitler wasn’t real and those characters by and large do not exist outside of their parents’ basement.

More importantly, one doesn’t require evil intentions to perpetrate great evil — quite the contrary, it’s righteous intentions and a broadly inspiring message that are (and always have been, including with Hitler) the prerequisites for inflicting harm at an order of magnitude to be considered evil. Indeed, it’s pretty unlikely that people would willingly destroy the lives of others if they didn’t genuinely believe it was for “the greater good.” Sociopaths are by far the exception and not the norm.

I view this diagnostic failure as part of the good intentions fallacy. People generally think intentions are predictive of outcomes and therefore their policies and leaders are righteous and altruistic, while the other team’s are heartless and selfish. That’s a mistake.

Intentions are more or less the same across the political spectrum — everyone generally wants to help the unlucky and stop the bad guys. We impute bad intentions to people we disagree with because we have no other way to explain their disagreement (since how can people with the same intentions desire divergent policies if intentions are all that matter?!). We also create a robust market for outrage and character attacks to justify our inferences about the other team. Tell me whether the candidate is a baby killing Christ-hater / racist oppressor of women, so I know who to vote for.

What we don’t do is pay sufficient attention to incentives, which actually do vary a good deal and truly are predictive of outcomes. And when we focus exclusively on intentions and ignore incentives, we get fascists and their multicultural counterparts, i.e. communists. [For related reasons, I think there should be a Godwin’s Law for Godwin’s Law.]

If you want to call Trump a Nazi, go ahead, just make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons: i.e. he’s an advocate for a robust state apparatus to “reengineer” a more “just” nation. Y’know, just like the early progressives who, concurrently with the Nazis, empowered labor cartels (through commercial and immigration regulation) in order to “protect” the American “working class.” And just like the present-day progressives who want to do the same thing for the international proletariat “multicultural working class.”

When politics is reduced to national socialists fighting with the international socialists, bad stuff happens.

Valid Criticisms of Trump / Let’s Hope We’re Not a One-Party Country

The American Affairs Journal, the self-appointed ideological caretaker of Trump’s populism, has published a statement of policy . . . and it’s gawdawful. It might be summarized as “reclaiming populism from the Democratic Party” or “We Want Our Progressive Movement Back!” If you look closely, you can almost see Matt Yglesias’ fat bald head staring back at you. As the editors point out, Bernie Trump is their real hero:

Throughout 2016, the media presented both Trump and Sanders as essentially lunatics. The former was supposed to be seen as evil and the latter adorable, but neither was supposed to be taken seriously. Yet it was they who addressed the serious concerns of the electorate.

Anyways, some highlights:

On Trade:

Trade: Trade policy is a key area of focus for us and a broad topic that includes everything from tariffs to monetary policy and more . . . At bottom, however, rethinking trade means rethinking the theoretical foundations of economics and moving beyond the textbook abstractions that have justified decades of failed policy.

Um, I think the “textbook abstractions” are the ones where government officials tweak a rate there and a tariff here and *BEEP BOOP BOP* like an engine, THE Economy springs back to life. What’s not an abstraction is that it’s dumb to tax the entire country in order to subsidize a few special interests.

On Healthcare:

Health care: In general, we support universal health care administered by the government. This could involve an outright “single-payer” system—which we have no ideological objection to—or something like a “Swiss system” . . . The government should also take a much clearer role in controlling costs and setting prices for procedures and prescription drugs . . .

Conservatives’ insistence on “private” health care is at this point purely ideological and counterproductive. We have not had a “free market” health care system in this country for decades, and obscuring that fact only makes it more difficult to improve the system. Today’s small cartel of health insurers no longer offers any meaningful market in the choice of health insurance, which for most people is chosen by their employer anyway. In most circumstances, the choice of actual medical care is hardly governed by market principles.

Yeesh. “Setting prices” does not “control costs.” It never has and it never will because prices are not costs. Prices are dynamic signals: to entrepreneurs they whisper “supply here,” and to consumers “demand here.” If you mess with those signals, then you just confuse people and the result is shortages and surpluses, i.e. supply untethered from demand. Again, it’s like the lobsters and the herring (or starvation and disease in Venezuela) — these problems are way too complicated for any central decisionmaker to grasp, let alone solve. As Poppa Milton once said, if you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.

The editors are at least correct that “we have not had a ‘free market’ health care system in this country for decades.” However, their solution — total government ownership of the healthcare industry — is lunacy that betrays their own ignorance of the “theoretical foundations of economics” they claim to “rethink.”

On Financial Regulation:

Financial regulation: Financial regulation is by nature complex and difficult to summarize, though we support measures such as the elusive “Glass-Steagall for the 21st Century” and the closing of the “carried-interest loophole.” The deregulation that occurred during the Clinton and Bush administrations has rightly been blamed for contributing to the financial crisis, but trade and other imbalances contributed to the expansion of the financial industry and its bubbles as well.

Durrr, it sure is complicated but one thing we know for certain is that regulations (that we can’t explain) definitely, 100% would have stopped a financial crisis (that we also can’t explain). ‘Nuff said. Bernie Trump! Goldman Sachs, rawwwr!

On Immigration:

Immigration: Although it has become something of a cliché, we favor a “Canadian” approach to immigration. Streamlining high-skill immigration while limiting low-skill—and eliminating illegal—immigration offers one means to support wage growth.

It’s only partly terrible, and again, the rationale is stupid. “Wage growth” in isolation is just cost growth and making things more expensive will cannibalize any perceived increases to income. Imagine if New York City made it illegal for non-native New Yorkers to work in New York City — now, consider how much more expensive financial services would be at that point (before the whole industry finally moved to a different part of the country leaving hollowed out factories sky scrapers behind). You don’t have to think hard — financial services are already incredibly expensive given the currently regulatory barriers to entry. Productivity is what you’re shooting for, i.e. making the pie bigger, and not scarfing a larger slice of the pie. When the salt of the earth complains that healthcare costs too much they can blame the healthcare labor cartels who only wanted their turn at “wage growth.”

As for the stuff I skipped, there are bits on taxes (make them simpler and more protectionist), infrastructure (build it), tech (army gizmos) and foreign policy (America First). Only the last (and sorta the first/second) is a coherent view, but query whether it’s a prudent one.

The editors conclude with a somewhat muddled love/hate rant about technocracy, but if I were to summarize, it’s: “Let’s geographically reorient progressive statism around the Unite States — the folks right here — rather than the United City-States of New York, Paris, London, San Francisco, Berlin and Brussels.”

The wonk’s conceit is that “politics” is simply a matter of tinkering with administrative arcana, a pastime best reserved for former or aspiring bureaucrats and lobbyists. The “policy innovation” preferred by the wonk mistakes complexity for seriousness and masks a fundamental affirmation of the status quo. Proposals for tweaking interstate barber licensing requirements or altering the opt-in clauses of health savings accounts, for instance, are ultimately as inconsequential as they are soporific. They are excuses to justify think-tank donations more than anything else . . .

The new “populism” has identifiable legislative commitments, yet its radicalism resides not in implausible policy demands but in a new intellectual outlook. It is about recognizing that the ideological categories of Right and Left are no longer relevant to the essential questions of the present. It is about recognizing that today’s economy has little in common with Adam Smith’s capitalism and that there is no longer a straightforward policy choice between the “free market” and “government intervention.”

It is about recognizing that leaving the people out of decision making results in a more fragile and dangerous politics. The choice is not between the apolitical individualism of universal consumerism and the ever-shifting narratives of identity politics. These are merely different sides of the same globalist, neoliberal coin. The true alternative is the reconstitution of a common American citizenship that stands in contrast to both. The essential task is the redefinition of the American people’s distinctive interests in the present, and their unique hopes for the future.

Donald Trump is and always has been a Democrat, i.e. a statist. He terrifies the Democratic party because (among other things) he’s reclaiming their brutish playbook for its original constituency and geographic locale. Democrats can’t really argue with any of these policies, so to oppose Trump, they’re forced to admit that they really, really don’t like his constituency. “The policies work, they’re just not for you, you ugly, no good nationalist patriots. Borders are so last century. Global cantons are where it’s at and we’ll never let you in our cities anyway!”

When both coalitions are essentially Leftist/statist in their outlook, that’s bad news bears for liberals.

Just some links and thoughts . . .

1.  Freedom-Fighting Isn’t Free

For those who believe that the only just path forward for Palestinian Arabs is turning Judea into a third independent Palestinian Arab state, here is another reminder that not all “peoples” realize their dreams of self-determination.

But, you reply, at least the Biafrans get to be minority citizens in a majoritarian/authoritarian regime, with the privilege of being dominated by a majority that loathes them! Palestinian Arabs, by contrast, are citizens of no country (ever since Jordan rescinded their citizenship) and that’s just the pits! Well sure, Jordan should give them their citizenship back. But more broadly, I think most people would choose disenfranchisement in a country like Israel over the franchise in many parts of the world . . . and lots of Africans, Central Asians and Latin Americans agree with me. That doesn’t mean it’s all roses, but the lack of citizenship/self-determination is hardly the humanitarian crisis it’s made out to be — particularly for Palestinian Arabs, who have no shortage of places to enjoy majority status.

So why all the fighting? Well, here’s another reminder that conflict will persist for as long as conflict pays — and at the end of Obama’s Long Arch of Justice, conflict currently pays handsomely. “The Occupation” is just the tail that (most recently) wags the dog:

The money that the Palestinian Authority pays to reward terrorists now amounts to seven percent of the PA’s approximately annual $4 billion dollar budget. Over 20 percent of the annual foreign financial aid that the PA receives is now dedicated to the salaries of imprisoned terrorists as well as to the salaries of prisoners who are released from prison. Released Palestinian terrorists continue to receive salaries for terrorism, as do the families of those who died in their “struggle against Zionism.” The total payment was roughly 1.5 billion shekels for fiscal year of 2016.

Money is fungible, folks. The international technocracy has blood on its hands. At least private companies get something tangible in return when they deal with terrorists, like oil or minerals. What does the UN get? The satisfaction of a life well led?

My definition of evil is the spread between perceived goodness and actual goodness. International technocrats are pure evil.

2. A Lobster is a lobster is a lobster

Bloomberg published a truly action-packed piece on the surplus of lobsters in Maine. It rings a bunch of my favorite bells:

(a) Unwitting progressive bias: The tragedy of the commons is misconstrued as an argument against freer markets, but it’s precisely the opposite: the commons are over-fished because there is too little private ownership, i.e. rights to excludeIn those conditions, conservation faces the same freeloading problem that plagues all “shared” ownership regimes.

(b) Regulation as cartelization: If independent lobstermen colluded to set shared rules for their catches, they would run afoul of antitrust laws. That collusion doesn’t go away just because those shared rules gain regulatory imprimatur — and yes it’s the industry (not the technocrats) that came up with the rules. It’s just that sometimes there are exceptions to the rule that anticompetitive behavior is more bad than good. Finding those rare exceptions is the correct way to think about regulation, with the burden of proof properly borne by the regulator-proponent of the exception.

(c) Complexity and unpredictability of Patterns of Sustainable Specialization and Trade (and here): The unintended consequences of a lobster boon has been a spike in Herring demand (and Herring prices). Not only has that hurt the lobster bottom line, it has effected markets outside the lobster community, up and down the Atlantic coast. It has also set in motion processes far away from the locus of lobster-fishing to drive down the cost of herring and/or increase the supply. In other words, the would-be Minister of Lobster Fishing, with her Harvard PhD in Technocracy, wouldn’t stand a chance against the decentralized processes that actually “manage” THE economy.

3. Emboldened by Obama

While the Lefty coalition continues to grapple with its increasingly violent and intimidating rank and file, there is finally (and tragically) some evidence that white ethnocentrists are becoming violent, as well. This white nationalist, however, was a Bernie supporter. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

4. Schrodinger’s Cat Is Alive! I Just Know It!

Self-parody and the climate culture wars. Complexity is a fact of life. You can oversimplify for a bit, but eventually you will lose all credibility with people who are not already primed to agree with you. The best way to create a united front against climate change would be to concede that the issue is quite complicated, but that the risks of ignoring the least charitable interpretations of the evidence are very high. That strategy, however, is inconsistent with the broader needs of political coalitions to remain ideologically steadfast and concede nothing.