guest authors at

A friend asked to do some guest blogging here and that sounded like a good idea.  She will sign any posts she creates with her user name.   This is really a first for this blog as everything heretofore has been from me, and most people know who I am.  This version of WordPress doesn’t appear to provide user name tags under blog posts so we’ll have to put that information in the body of each post going forward.

Non-anonymity of posters should keep things reasonable and presentable. [Read more...]

A Warning to America

A Warning to America
Geert Wilders speech, Cornerstone Church, Nashville, 12 May 2011

Dear friends from Tennessee. I am very happy to be in your midst today. I am happy and proud to be in this impressive church.

My friends, I am here to speak words of truth and freedom. [Read more...]

The Fragile Community

WikiLeaks and a fragile community – David Brooks NYT Opinion

Consider the effect computers have had on the insurance industry, and consequentially, on all of the risks (health, life, fire, accident, loss) funded by the insurance industry.  Prior to computers, the historical price for an insurance provider to cover a beneficiary was the product of static market conditions.  Insurance is a financial service product based on knowledge of risk, and the knowledge of various risks to beneficiaries had been stable for many years.  With the advent of computerization, beneficiaries and risk could be correlated in the machine so that insurers could now choose which beneficiaries were least likely to cost them benefits.  Computer correlation of beneficiary data fundamentally shifted the bargaining power between insurers and beneficiaries, and as we can see with health insurance, the consequences to this radical shift are still playing out in a myriad of market and government reactions. [Read more...]

WikiLeaks and Cablegate

It is passing strange, to use one of George Will’s expressions, that so many voices trumpet the rule of law with espionage charges against WikiLeaks, while remaining silent on the constitutional 1st Am. protection of the free press to publish in America.  Their silence on the fundamental constitutional question speaks more loudly than their proposed enforcement of the rule of law over the very narrow espionage charge.

The taboo lies in the unsubstantiated conclusion that America’s interests have been harmed by these leaks. This is not a proven conclusion. It is unsubstantiated fear mongering. Sure, diplomats feelings have been hurt. America’s true interest lies with informed citizens who now have an opportunity to see the world their unfettered executive branch diplomats have been screwing around with overseas. Diplomats are embarrassed by this disclosure and they should be. The solution is not to censor the internet, as the executive branch has now begun doing. It is not to fortify and further enable a secret domain where unelected functionaries pursue their personal prescriptions for America’s interests, as this Post article calls for. The solution is to raise the bar – the standard against which diplomacy is measured, and hold the executive branch to that higher standard in all diplomatic matters.

Mont Pelerin Society 2010 papers

Mont Peleron Society 2010 General Meeting banner

Ideas of the Enlightenment: Their Contemporary Relevance

The French Enlightenment & its Implications for Liberty – Professor Alan Charles Kors

Jurisprudential Legacy of the Enlightenment – Professor Suri Ratnapala

Lessons from the Scottish Enlightenment – Professor James R Otteson

Towards a New Enlightenment: Understanding Human Nature

After Freud: What do neuroscience advances tell us about human nature? – Provessor Peter Whybrow

Building Political Structures with the Crooked Timber of Humanity – Professor Denis Dutton

The Modular Account of Open and Closed Societies – Dr Laurence Fiddick

Reconciling The Traditional with the Modern in a Liberal Society

Reconciling Modernity with Tradition in a Liberal Society – Professor Chandran Kukathas

Reconciling the Traditional with the Modern – Dr Lindsey Te Ata o Tu MacDonald

Externalities: Beyond Coase, Williamson and Ostrom

The Problem of Social Cost: What Problem – Professor Harold Demsetz

Coase Rules OK – Professor Jeff Bennett

If Hayek and Coase were Environmentalists – Professor Terry Anderson

GFC: What have we learnt from the 2008-09 event? A Stocktake

Been There Done That – Professor Peter Boettke

After the Fall – Professor Deepak Lal

The Global Financial Crisis and the Efficient Market Hypothesis – Professor Ray Ball

Australia – A Generation of Economic Reform

A Generation of Reform – Professor Wolfgang Kasper

A Generation of Reform – Paul Kelly

New Threats to Liberty and the Private Sphere – Nannies and Busybodies,Tax Harmonisation and the Surveillance State

Surveillance State – John Kampfner

Tax Harmonisation: A Threat to Liberty – Professor Sinclair Davidson

Nannies and Busy Bodies – Dr Eric Crampton

New Developments in Economics: A Sceptical View

The Use of Happiness in Society – Dr Jason Potts

The Economist as Guru – Professor Geoffrey Brennan

Behavioral Economics, Law, and Liberty: The Never-ending Quest for the Third Way – Judge Douglas Ginsburg

Science, Scepticism and the Future 

Constructive Dissent – Professor Steven Schwartz

What Does Climategate Say About Science? – Professor Terence Kealey

Freedom vs Authority – What Path to Development? The Story of India and China

Paths Towards Development – Dr John Lee

The New World Order: Importance of China and India – Surjit S Bhalla

Washington Concensus – Professor Xiannon Xu

History, Culture and the Language of Liberty

The Language of Liberty – Professor James Allan

Individualism and its Contemporary Fate – Professor Kenneth Minogue

Calvin Coolidge and the Language of LIberalism – Amity Shlaes

by Robert A. Hall

“I’m 63 and I’m Tired”

I’m 63.  Except for one semester in college when jobs were scarce and a six-month period when I was between jobs, but job-hunting every day, I’ve worked, hard, since I was 18. Despite some health challenges, I still put in 50-hour weeks, and haven’t called in sick in seven or eight years. I make a good salary, but I didn’t inherit my job or my income, and I worked to get where I am. Given the economy, there’s no retirement in sight, and I’m tired. Very tired. [Read more...]

drum beats


On May 1, 2010, when news of the Times Square terrorist attack first broke, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, on national television, as to who might have done it, “If I had to guess 25 cents, this would be exactly that, somebody who’s homegrown, maybe a mentally deranged person or someone with a political agenda that doesn’t like the health care bill or something . . . .”  Bloomberg was not alone.  U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano declared that there was no evidence that the attack was “anything other than a one-off,” a British expression for “one of a kind.”  At least the country was spared President Obama telling Americans that they should not “jump to conclusions,” as he did after the Fort Hood Massacre when the media reported that “Major Hasan . . . killed 13 and left 31 injured after he jumped on to a desk screaming ‘Allahu Akbar’ – God is Great – and fired on defenseless colleagues.” [Read more...]