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Miscellaneous Rambling

Rough Sunday. My Wolverines couldn't win their third straight conference tournament championship. Terrible reffing down the stretch, but I can't say that because UM fans have a bad reputation for whining about the officiating. The turning point came when MSU's McQuaid got "fouled" and three shots when (i) he initiated the contact, and (ii) he clearly wasn't shooting. Oh well. I didn't expect much from UM this year, so I've been pleasantly surprised. Now, it's tournament time, which, for me, is the best time of the sporting year.

Ceiling. Trastevere

The new podcast episode has been released: Episode 26: Artificial Intelligence, Famine, Tyranny, Bill Burr, Cool Dudes. Click that link for show notes, which are pretty lame. I've just been too jammed with other things to spend much time on writing show notes. I've eliminated the page for the time being, instead opting just to have an "Episodes" page.

Ceiling. Trastevere

I have, however, started typing up my notes and outlines for the podcast itself. Instead of wholly shooting from the hip, I'm typing a bulk of the stuff up ahead of time. It seems to help me organize my thoughts, even if I scarcely reference it during the show itself. Sample:

One of the best tweets of the month came from John Zmirak.
Zmirak, btw, is great. Fiercely Catholic, but irreverent and brilliant. Yale grad. His prose is biting, often insulting, and rigorous. My limited correspondence with him left me with the opinion that he is something of an ass (he gratuitously insulted me . . . I probably had it coming, but he didn't need to be a dick about it), to be honest, but great men often are.
Bad Catholic series highly recommended.
Anyway, his tweet: The free market and free society don't pretend to solve all problems. They just prevent famine and tyranny.
I understand the sentiment, “But we can do better.” That's highly doubtful. (Sowell: constrained versus unconstrained visions . . . A Conflict of Visions). If you attempt it, and you're wrong, you throw your country toward famine and/or tyranny. Reckless brinkmanship. Or, more likely, you steer your country toward famine and/or tyranny, which is what we're doing today in the West, including the United States.
Let's break the notion down a bit, using prices since prices are what allows the free market to operate . . . it is the medium of communication and spreading knowledge. They play a crucial role in determining how much of each resource gets used where and how the resulting products get transferred to people. If you mess with prices, you get problems fast, so it's easy to illustrate Zmirak's position by referencing price examples.
Famine: Price gouging. Water after Hurricane Katrina.
No such thing as price gouging. All people see is the dude in the desert and an Aquifina salesman with a trunkful of full bottles. That's not what happens. Products are the conclusion of a series of rational events.
Tyranny: This is simple: Every government interference with the free market creates consequences that has to be stomped out by further governmental action, which then creates further consequences, which require further governmental action, and on and on.
Price control on final product. Then you have to control the inputs. Then you have to control the labor. And on and on, until you're controlling the entire economy.
Diocletion. Empire was falling apart. He socialized it. Tortured wives and children to find the wealth. Thousands actually migrated to barbarian lands (draw your own analogy to a Facebook founder and other millionaires renouncing their citizenship here). Diocletion bound workers to the land: giving us serfdom. But it didn't start with serfdom and torture. It just got there as people, acting in their own self-interest and acting in economic common sense, didn't do what Diocletion thought they would.
Ceiling. Trastevere

Love this stuff:

Belloc versus Tolkien: Two Views of Anglo-Saxon England (essay by Joseph Pearce)
— ImaginativeConservat (@imaginativecons) March 17, 2019
Picture the scene. An expectant audience, which includes the great Catholic writer, J.R.R. Tolkien, awaits the arrival of another great Catholic writer, Hilaire Belloc, the latter of whom has been invited by the University chaplain, Monsignor Ronald Knox, to give a talk to the Catholic chaplaincy at Oxford University. Seated just behind Tolkien as Belloc gives his talk is the celebrated Jesuit Fr. Martin D'Arcy, who records what subsequently transpired in his memoirs:
In his talk Belloc came out with one of his pet themes: that the Anglo-Saxons were utterly unimportant in the history of England. Now, there was present on this occasion a man who was probably the greatest authority in the world on Anglo-Saxon subjects and was the professor of Anglo-Saxon history [sic] at the time. He is presently professor of English Literature at Oxford. The man's name is Tolkien, and he was a very good Catholic ”¦. Well, Tolkien disagreed profoundly with Belloc on the question of the Anglo-Saxons. He was sitting just in front of me, and I saw him writhing as Belloc came out with some of his more extreme remarks. So during the interval, I said to him, 'Oh, Tolkien, now you've got your chance. You'd better tackle him.' He looked at me and said, 'Gracious me! Do you think I would tackle Belloc unless I had my whole case very carefully prepared?' He knew Belloc would always pull some fact out of his sleeve which would disconcert you! Now, that was a tremendous tribute from probably the greatest authority in the world at the time on that particular subject.