Why Trump should lay off GM

Most dangerous in this regard is the endless call for good jobs for all American workers, which from the progressive left could translate guaranteed employment, high minimum wages, compulsory unionization, early retirement, and much more. Such calls from any quarter are always misconceived. The ideal social objective should never be to create jobs as such. It should be to let businesses create jobs that produce more in social value than the cost of the labor that goes into the job. As the old adage in the garment industry had it, “you don’t make up in volume what you lose on each piece.” Putting government subsidies into the political hopper reduces the likelihood of achieving that objective. Make-work and featherbedding are dangerous first steps down the wrong path. But if one president is allowed to disrupt markets in the international sphere, why can’t the next president do so domestically as well? Sadly, the harmful effects of subsidies and restraints on trade only compound one other. To keep the economy humming, remember that these are the twin evils in labor markets, no matter which president is at the helm.

© 2018 by the Board of Trustees of Leland Stanford Junior University

--Richard Epstein

Catholic and Muslim Misery in London

Catholics in England in the time of Titus Oates were much worse off than are Muslims in England today. One big difference is that the courts were useless.  Judicial murders slaughtered in large numbers. Wild accusations were enough to hang someone.

Sydney Smith Explains Monarchy


THE prize of supreme power is too tempting to admit
of fair play in the game of ambition; and it is wise to
lessen its value by dividing it : at least it is wise to do
so, under a form of government that cannot admit the
better expedient of rendering the executive hereditary;
an expedient (gross and absurd as it seems to be) the
best calculated, perhaps, to obviate the effects of ambition
upon the stability of governments, by narrowing the
field on which it acts, and the object for which it con
tends.— [Edinburgh Review. 1803.]

Sudden Freedom

Iraq and so many countries minted in the twentieth century can attest to the wisdom of Sidney Smith in 1803. Why is this so hard to get?

A NATION grown free in a single day is a child born
with the limbs and the vigour of a man, who would
take a drawn sword for his rattle, and set the house in a
blaze, that he might chuckle over the splendour.—[1803.]

Camus on Totalitarian Impulses

Nicola Chiaromonte's paraphrase of a talk Albert Camus gave at Columbia a half century ago and more ends this way:

Now that Hitler has gone, we know a certain number of things. The first is that the poison which impregnated Hitlerism has not been eliminated; it is present in each of us. Whoever today speaks of human existence in terms of power, efficiency and "historical tasks" spreads it. He is an actual or potential assassin. For if the problem of man is reduced to any kind of "historical task," he is nothing but the raw material of history, and one can do anything one pleases with him. Another thing we have learned is that we cannot accept any optimistic conception of existence, any happy ending whatsoever. But if we believe that optimism is silly, we also know that pessimism about the action of man among his fellows is cowardly.

We opposed terror because it forces us to choose between murdering and being murdered; and it makes communication impossible. This is why we reject any ideology that claims control over all of human life.

Hoffer Spots a Trend

From Eric Hoffer, longshoreman and observer:

In all contemporary mass movements schoolmasters played a vital and often leading role. I am willing to bet that more than half of the leaders in Africa are ex-schoolmasters. In the Nazi movement grammar-school teachers played a prominent and fateful role. Now and then I am inclined to think that the passion to teach, which is far more powerful and primitive than the passion to learn, is a factor in the rise of mass movements. For what do we see in the Communist world? Half of the globe has been turned into a vast schoolroom with a thousand million pupils at the mercy of a band of maniacal schoolmasters.

Hoffer, Eric. Working and Thinking on the Waterfront, 1968