April 2011

28 April 2011
Bad Friday

A packing crate containing an LCD monitor fell from the second floor and landed on my head.  Estimated impact: 470 Joules. 

It hurt.

Went to hospital.  No brain injury.  No broken bones.  Black eye (no idea how that was caused).  Mildest of headaches.  Very sleepy.

Suspect it would have been a lot worse if it had been a CRT monitor.

Some thoughts on libertarian attitudes to politicians and elections

Inspired by Brian’s thoughts here:

Some say to be involved in elections at all - even by voting - is to accept the result and the inevitable state violence.  I don’t know how I feel about this.

One of my theories is that if you do accept that voting is allowable then you can only endorse candidates that make a clear commitment to reducing the size and scope of the state.

Related theory: freedom never comes about in one go.  It comes about slowly, in fits and starts, two steps forward one step back all the way.

Related (and slightly contradictory) theory: you get reeled in.  I sometimes imagine what it would be like if I were in charge and trying to move in the right direction but not completely in the right direction.  That would mean having to take responsibility for and having to justify a lot of violence.  “Violence is wrong, but I’m doing all this violence because I don’t think I’d win an election if I didn’t.”  Not sure that’s a winner.

Getting back to clear commitments to freedom: what does this say about Brown and Cameron?  I agree with Brian that Brown was appalling but Cameron is little better.  And his littebetterness will end up doing all sorts of damage to the Conservative brand.

Could there be an argument that a politician who goes in the same wrong direction but more slowly is better than one that rushes? 

The Republicans are clearly having dreadful problems coming up with a credible candidate.  Could this in some bizarre way be a strength?  In that (some) people stop looking for messiahs.  This is very much a half-formed thought.

17 April 2011

I’m watching Blithe Spirit on the telly.  Seances, trances and ouija boards in the 1940s.  It’s amazing how big a thing that sort of thing was back in those days.  It crops up in Brighton Rock and Agatha Christie.  Probably a few other things too.  Arthur Conan Doyle was a firm believer.  So was Dowding.  It was one of the things they used to get rid of the guy.  I guess the death toll in the First World War was a big factor in its popularity.

16 April 2011
“A true bubble is when something is overvalued and intensely believed,”

From an article entitled: Conventional Education Will Go the Way of Farming.  Heh.

Musings on IPL team names

First, from the get-go they’ve had nicknames.  This is obviously the way of the future.  You have been warned English Premier League teams with vapid or silly or non-existent nicknames.  I’m thinking of you Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool.  We’ll be OK in Watford where we not only have a nickname but a nickname for the nickname.

But the (Indian) nicknames seem to have certain stock themes.  They’re either royal:

Chennai Super Kings
Royal Challengers (do royals challenge?) Bangalore
King’s XI Punjab
Rajasthan Royals

or military:

Deccan Chargers
Kolkata Knight Riders
Pune Warriors

Rather remarkable for a republic that tends to avoid wars.

The only exception to this seems to be the Kochi Tuskers Kerala although this could be a reference to war elephants.  Oh, and the Delhi Daredevils.

I do feel that a chance has been missed to incorporate some local/specific flavour. Why not the Mumbai Moneybags or the Bangalore Hackers?  I suspect the Delhi Bellies might not go down well.

13 April 2011
One reason taxes may have been lower in the past

Because if the state taxed the people any more they would starve.  And when people are in danger of starving they get rebellious.

I read somewhere (and it could be true) that as recently as 1900 50% of household incomes went on food.

01 April 2011
German guilt trips

Excellent Cobden Centre interview with Philipp Bagus.  Apart from the excellent economics two facts I wasn’t previously aware of.  One, Bagus is German (I’d had him down as a Spaniard).  Two, the Germans still feel guilty about the war.  I always thought that was a myth and an increasingly mythical myth at that.  Apparently not.