Sunday, September 7, 2014

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

Here are two Forbes articles that use data to reach opposite conclusions about the performance of the economy:

Pro Obama

Anti Obama

It's amazing how the data makes two incompatible claims each seem perfectly objective and incontrovertible.

I think the first article is completely flawed, and I think the second one hits pretty close to the mark. But I admit I push harder on the claims in the first one and I more readily accept the claims in the second one because it confirms my priors.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Super Fly Defensive Driving

A couple years ago I got a speeding ticket and took an online defensive driving course. It got me thinking, and a couple of weeks ago my family and I launched SuperFlyDefensiveDriving.com. Pretty stoked to be in entrepreneurial high gear. :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Tweet 'n Blog Tuesday

I'm starting this new thing called Tweet 'n Blog Tuesday. I have several blogs I neglect for months, and if I would only set aside a little bit of time once in a while I could keep them relatively up-to-date. So the idea is to make the first Tuesday of the month Tweet 'n Blog Tuesday: a day to update blogs and social media.

So that's what I'm doing! I just knocked out four new Go Musicals entries that I will post throughout the month, as well as a couple new posts for the Epstein Blog.

I did my share of political ranting on Facebook today, so my post this month is going to merely be this introduction to my latest initiative.

Blog! Tweet! Today!

#TweetNBlogTuesday

Monday, June 16, 2014

#LiberalismDay

"Liberalism" as a philosophical tradition begins with the Scottish Enlightenment thinkers Locke, Hume, and particularly Smith, who is considered the first to use the term "liberal" in this context.

Just like how Darwin's observations aboard the HMS Beagle gave him insight into the origin of species, these Scotsmen were trying to make sense of the natural order they saw in flourishing English markets. How were these markets so well-coordinated without any direction from a central authority?

Liberalism was their attempt to work out the processes of natural order - processes that the next two hundred years of economics and political theory would continue to explicate and formalize. The central point of liberalism is that freedom works. Whether it works, how it works, and how well it works are all valid questions. But liberal theory is the theory of how freedom works. It is emphatically NOT a theory of how political majorities can pursue their collective ambitions.

Liberalism as it is used in modern English discourse is a total misnomer. Words change their meanings, fine. But if you don't understand that 18th and 19th century liberalism is virtually the opposite of 20th century liberalism, you will totally misread American history.

Liberals wrote the Constitution, freed the slaves, and invented the market economy on a theory of liberty - both economic and civil. We can pursue an entirely different theory if we want - one that thinks the most important thing to know about markets is their failure; one that imagines we can achieve anything through government if we just elect the right angels; one that thinks majoritarian democracy on every issue is more legitimate than individual choice - we can do that, but let's not call it liberalism, and let's not call its proponents liberals.

Happy #LiberalismDay!