Showing posts from July, 2017


Daron Acemoglu of MIT and Pascual Restrepo of Boston U did a regression analysis attempting to isolate the effects of robots on wages and employment in a variety of work environments between 1990 and 2007.   The bottom line: " According to our estimates, one more robot per thousand workers reduces the employment to population ratio by about 0.18-0.34 percentage points and wages by 0.25-0.5 percent." That's ten years ago and you ain't seen nothin' yet. My guess is that we won't see huge effects until the next recession, and then I expect catastrophe. These phenomena suggest that Democrats may be barking up an inappropriate tree with plans to increase the minimum wage.  WB said that Warren Buffett prefers an increase in the earned income credit.  That and related ideas are probably preferable.

What an Idiot!

Me, I mean.  I just spent wasted an hour arguing with some other idiot - one of the right-wing nutjob variety - on facebook.  I ignored facebook for a couple of years because I was tired of the idiots, and now I am one. Oh well.


While the Secretary of State was off on vacation and the President was conducting a twitter war against his Attorney General and suggesting to the Boy Scouts that he deserved a place on Mount Rushmore, North Korea tested a missile which can reach the US West Coast and perhaps even the US Northeast. That's a very depressing thought, as is the thought that the Trump Clown Car is extremely unlikely to have any intelligent answers to that fact - if, in fact, it comes to its attention at all. Faced with this grim reality, I retreated to art, specifically, monumental sculpture, a fitting tribute to our Pres. The concept I have in mind would be a bit less grand than Mount Rushmore, to wit, on the scale of the kind of boulder some of my neighbors like to decorate their front yards with. Granite would be nice, but ceramic or plastic might do in a pinch. I am picturing a life scale sit down toilet, perhaps covered in goldish colored paint, containing a disembodied sculptured head of the

The Central Question

The central question in biology today is how life originated. It's not only the biggest unanswered question in biology, but it's also central to our understanding of the place of life in the universe. We now know that planets are extremely common in the universe, and it's at least plausible, that a lot of them have or had Earth like conditions. If we understood how life originated on Earth, we would be much more able to understand the probability of it existing elsewhere. Conversely, if we found life elsewhere, it would almost certainly provide potent clues to how life originated on Earth. The past decades have seen considerable progress in understanding some possibilities for early life, but we are far from concrete answers. Natalie Wolchover, writing in Quanta , has some news on one approach, dissipation driven organization. The idea is that some physical systems evolve to maximize their dissipation of energy and entropy increase. The biophysicist Jeremy England

Pushing the String

The Democrats have awakened to the fact that they lost the last two elections and want to do something about it by proposing a plan for the economy that would appeal to voters. From what I've heard so far I'm not terribly impressed. There are some good ideas (infrastructure spending), some not quite terrible ideas (raising the minimum wage), but I've yet to see any really good ideas. I think that the idea that workers should make at least $15/hr is not a bad one, but the minimum wage proposal also has a major disadvantage - it increases the cost of employment. That's unlikely to be a good deal in the age of robotics. Here is an alternative - have the government directly subsidize low wages. For example: If an employer pays $10/hr, the subsidy would be $5/hr. For 8$/hr, the subsidy only $3/hr, to discourage lowballing. Another idea. Replace employment taxes with a VAT or income tax. Not only do they increase the costs of hiring people but they are regressive


I live in a small city that is growing fairly fast. Like many sun belt cities, it attracts a lot of retirees as well as others fleeing winter or California. From time to time I like to cruise the new neighborhoods, just to see what's going on. I did this, a couple of weeks ago, on a long new street. For mile after mile it was lined with brand new gated communities. Gated communities piss me off. One very small component of this irritation is that occasionally I need to attend social events in one of them which involves hassle at the gate. Even though I have been given the gate code, I usually need to punch it in about five times to get the gate to open. Mostly, though, I hate the anti-communitarian ethos of it. There is also a racist element to it, since we are a predominantly Hispanic city and those behind the gates are mostly wealthy Anglos and Asians. If it were up to me I would install a toll gate at each exit and make the residents pay to enter, or, at least, to leav

Riding With AI

I've been looking for a new car, and my main criteria are legroom, headroom, and all the safety features. So I was test driving a Cadillac CT-6 yesterday, and decided to test the lane keeping and auto-brake features. I was not impressed. I deliberately let the car wander across the lane line (other cars were too far away to be endangered by these maneuvers, but probably close enough to conclude that I was drunk or an idiot). The lane keeping was supposed to keep me in my lane while vibrating the seat on the side where I wandered off. Well, it did sort of keep me in my lane, meaning that it wandered drunkenly from left lane mrker to right, but it never vibrated. The emergency auto-braking feature didn't work either, unless it planned to switch on after I got close enough to panic brake and scare the heck out of my wife. So far, not impressed with this implementation.

Existential Threat

David Z. Morris in Fortune: Appearing before a meeting of the National Governor’s Association on Saturday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk described artificial intelligence as “the greatest risk we face as a civilization” and called for swift and decisive government intervention to oversee the technology’s development. “On the artificial intelligence front, I have access to the very most cutting edge AI, and I think people should be really concerned about it,” an unusually subdued Musk said in a question and answer session with Nevada governor Brian Sandoval. Musk has long been vocal about the risks of AI. But his statements before the nation’s governors were notable both for their dire severity, and his forceful call for government intervention. “AI’s a rare case where we need to be proactive in regulation, instead of reactive. Because by the time we are reactive with AI regulation, it’s too late," he remarked. Musk then drew a contrast between AI and traditional targets for regulation,


I used to be able to juggle a little bit, by which I mean I could do a few simple tricks with three balls and with three clubs. I could also sort of keep four balls in the air for a little bit. Anyway, I recently took out some juggling balls and quickly proved that my nervous system has declined quite a lot. After a bit of practice, can sort of do three balls, but just barely. I can't quite do two balls in one hand yet and the clubs seem to present an insuperable air traffic control problem. That may be partly because practicing requires picking up the clubs, and my back doesn't like bending over much. Also, kick-ups are beyond me - too stiff and too clumsy.

Thank You for Your Service

A group of us were discussing a small town in Arizona and I happened to mention that I had been stationed near there when I was in the Army. Somebody I had just met said "Thank you for your service." I was a bit flabbergasted, but since it was the first and only time anyone had said that to me in the half century since I got out of the Army, I was OK with it, though I have to admit that it did remind me of the fact that my service was so much less heroic than that of all the men and women of the military going in serious harm's way, then and since, and of my childhood friend who died in Vietnam, and the other guys I went through basic with, almost all of them destined for Vietnam. Nobody was thanking guys in uniform for their service back in 1967, but I never got any grief about it either. Apparently some who serve now are finding our current fixation with it a nuisance. From a letter to Dear Prudence: I am a career senior military officer stationed in a U.S. city

Short People

This new paper in Nature looks at a study in Bangladesh funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. In the late 1960s, a team of researchers began doling out a nutritional supplement to families with young children in rural Guatemala. They were testing the assumption that providing enough protein in the first few years of life would reduce the incidence of stunted growth. It did. Children who got supplements grew 1 to 2 centimetres taller than those in a control group. But the benefits didn't stop there. The children who received added nutrition went on to score higher on reading and knowledge tests as adolescents, and when researchers returned in the early 2000s, women who had received the supplements in the first three years of life completed more years of schooling and men had higher incomes... A picture slowly emerged that being too short early in life is a sign of adverse conditions — such as poor diet and regular bouts of diarrhoeal disease — and a predictor for int

And Now For Something Completely Different

I decided to read another "important" novel. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. So far, I'm not impressed. Overblown prose, a tedious plot, and, most irritating to me, an implausible seeming post-apocalypse. It's early, and the novel is widely praised, so I figure I better give it another 50 pages or so, but back to the post-apocalypse. Some cataclysm has smoked the country, apparently killing off most plant and animal life, but leaving a number of humans - implausible. Worse, everything is covered with ash from the fires, and clouds of ash fill the atmosphere, five years post-A. Meanwhile it rains and snows frequently. This, I think, is complete BS. Ash from fires disintegrated rapidly. Ash from volcano doesn't, but it doesn't park in the atmosphere for years either. It's very hard to conjure up a cataclysm that would char the soil everywhere so deeply that buried seeds would perish yet a substantial human population be spared. Opinions by anyon

A Chip Off the Old Block

Larsen C just set off for an independent career as an iceberg. Its mass is estimated at a trillion tons. It was already floating, so it won't raise ocean levels, but how much would that much ice have raised the global oceans if it had been land based, or if it is replaced by ice now on land? The global ocean has an area of 362 trillions square meters, so Larsen C amounts to 1/362 tons per square meter, or a bit more than 2.5 mm of height increase (if it weren't already floating, but it was). Anyway, it's a bunch of ice.


I've become addicted to our national soap opera. The first thing I check every morning is the latest edition of the Trump Family Follies. A day without some Trumpian disaster is a disappointment.

Reviewing Homo Deus

I've been thinking about writing a review of Yuval Noah Harari's new book, Homo Deus, but maybe I will just link to some by the professionals: Jennifer Senior, in the NYT: I do not mean to knock the handiwork of a gifted thinker and a precocious mind. But I do mean to caution against the easy charms of potted history. Harari, a historian at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has a gift for synthesizing material from a wide range of disciplines in inspired, exhilarating ways. But an argument can look seamless and still contain lots of dropped stitches. In a nub: “Homo Deus” makes the case that we are now at a unique juncture in the story of our species. “For the first time in history,” Harari writes, “more people die today from eating too much than from eating too little; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, terrorists, and criminals combined.” Having subdued (though by no means vanquished)

Get Ready for President Pence

Now that we know that the Trump Campaign did collude with the Russian government to steal the election, can Trump's impeachment be far away? At some point, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan have to do the math on whether they want to continue with the Trump albatross around their necks or move on to Pence. Unless, of course, Pence himself is implicated, which I will guess is unlikely. My guess is that Trump would try to keep that in the family. I should think that the main obstacle is the anticipated fury of the hard core of 36% or so of Trump true believers, who don't believe or don't care if he is selling the country out to Putin. Of course it's also not good to have to admit that the election was stolen, but Pence is almost certain to be a better president for the Republican agenda (tax cuts for rich donors, immiseration of the poor and middle class) than Trump. If Hannity and Fox and Friends turn on Trump, it's over. Otherwise, it could be long and bloody. I

Harari Again

Never in history did a government know so much about what’s going on in the world – yet few empires have botched things up as clumsily as the contemporary United States. It’s like a poker player who knows what cards his opponents hold, yet somehow still manages to lose round after round. Harari, Yuval Noah. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (p. 374). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition. You're harshin' on us man. I can think of some previous empires that probably did a lot worse.

Assault on Liberal Humanism Continues

Harari: Indeed, even Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker and the other champions of the new scientific world view refuse to abandon liberalism. After dedicating hundreds of erudite pages to deconstructing the self and the freedom of will, they perform breathtaking intellectual somersaults that miraculously land them back in the eighteenth century, as if all the amazing discoveries of evolutionary biology and brain science have absolutely no bearing on the ethical and political ideas of Locke, Rousseau and Jefferson. Harari, Yuval Noah. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (p. 305). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Eroding Humanism

Harari thinks science has begun eroding some of the foundations of liberal humanism: Over the last century, as scientists opened up the Sapiens black box, they discovered there neither soul, nor free will, nor ‘self’ – but only genes, hormones and neurons that obey the same physical and chemical laws governing the rest of reality. Today when scholars ask why a man drew a knife and stabbed someone to death, answering ‘Because he chose to’ doesn’t cut the mustard. Instead, geneticists and brain scientists provide a much more detailed answer: ‘He did it due to such-and-such electrochemical processes in the brain that were shaped by a particular genetic make-up, which in turn reflect ancient evolutionary pressures coupled with chance mutations.’ Harari, Yuval Noah. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (p. 282). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition. Deliberately provocative? Well duh.

Those Old Time Religions

Give me that old time religion Give me that old time religion Give me that old time religion It's good enough for me ... It was good for Hebrew children It was good for Hebrew children It was good for Hebrew children And it's good enough for me Read more: David Houston - Old Time Religion Lyrics | MetroLyrics Harari is skeptical True, hundreds of millions may nevertheless go on believing in Islam, Christianity or Hinduism. But numbers alone don’t count for much in history. History is often shaped by small groups of forward-looking innovators rather than by the backward-looking masses. Harari, Yuval Noah. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (p. 269). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Humanist Religions

Harari argues that the last 100 plus years has been dominated by what he calls the humanist religions. The Twentieth Century, in his analysis, was dominated by an epic struggle between three versions of humanism: liberalism, evolutionary humanism (culminating in Naziism), and socialist humanism, with Marxist-Leninism. He summarizes the various critiques that the warring branches leveled against each other. Here is his version of the socialist critiques of classical liberalism. What good is the liberty to live where you want when you cannot pay the rent; to study what interests you when you cannot afford the tuition fees; and to travel where you fancy when you cannot buy a car? Under liberalism, went a famous quip, everyone is free to starve. Even worse, by encouraging people to view themselves as isolated individuals, liberalism separates them from their fellow class members and prevents them from uniting against the system that oppresses them. Liberalism thereby perpetuates inequa

Venus if You Won't

Stephen Hawking recently suggested that Trump's policies could produce a Venusian style runaway greenhouse on Earth. This produced scathing critiques from the wise and the less wise, including the Stoat and the Lumonator . Just how confident can we be that Hawking is wrong? I'm pretty confident, but not quite so confident as the w and the lw, mentioned above. Let's review some pertinent facts: First, because Venus is closer to the Sun than Earth, it receives about 1.88 times as much solar radiation as Earth does, but the story doesn't stop there. Venus is also much shinier than Earth, with an albedo of 0.76, more than twice that of Earth (0.37) and consequently absorbs less solar radiation than Earth does (about 91% of what we do). Also, recall that the Venusian greenhouse started when the Sun was a lot cooler than it is now, quite possibly when Venus received less solar radiation than Earth does today. Of course the chemistry of the Venusian atmosphere is muc

On Jewish History

The clash between this new literate elite and the old priestly families was inevitable. Fortunately for the rabbis, the Romans torched Jerusalem and its temple in 70 AD while suppressing the Great Jewish Revolt. With the temple in ruins, the priestly families lost their religious authority, their economic power base and their very raison d’être. Traditional Judaism – a Judaism of temples, priests and head-splitting warriors – disappeared. In its place emerged a new Judaism of books, rabbis and hair-splitting scholars. Harari, Yuval Noah. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (p. 194). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Comparison Shopping

Antibiotics, unlike God, help even those who don’t help themselves. They cure infections whether you believe in them or not. Harari, Yuval Noah. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (p. 179). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition. I say the guy knows how to turn a phrase.

Nice Guy e

In my basketball days, I was known as a kind of sharp elbows guy. Has that carried over into my blog posting? I hope not, but when someone punches me I do try to punch back approximately 2.71828 times harder.


Monotheists get bashed pretty convincingly by Harari: That’s why divorce is so traumatic for children. A five-year-old cannot understand that something important is happening for reasons unrelated to him. No matter how many times mommy and daddy tell him that they are independent people with their own problems and wishes, and that they didn’t divorce because of him – the child cannot absorb it. He is convinced that everything happens because of him. Most people grow out of this infantile delusion. Monotheists hold on to it till the day they die. Harari, Yuval Noah. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (p. 173). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition. Animism and polytheism gets slightly better reviews: Animist and polytheist religions depicted the world as the playground of numerous different powers rather than a single god. It was consequently easy for animists and polytheists to accept that many events are unrelated to me or to my favourite deity, and they are neither punishments for

Once More Into the Breach - Libertarianism

Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose - Janis Joplin, h/t David Kurtz. Libertarians, so far as I can tell, believe that the greatest threats to individual freedom are government regulation and labor unions. At least that's what they have worked so hard and successfully at destroying the past 50 years. That belief is probably correct if you happen to be a great baron (in the days of the Magna Carta) or big capitalist rentier today. I doubt that that's true for many others. For average workers, the greatest threat to freedom and well-being comes from the concentrated power of big capital. An interesting example is the way independent and other truckers have been driven into poverty by the concentrated power of WalMart and other giant retailers. For big capital, economic policies that keep rents high and employment a bit low are ideal, which is why it consistently opposes Keynesian policies - except when greed has gotten their personal asses in a crack, as in

Holy Writ

The power of written records reached its apogee with the appearance of holy scriptures. Priests and scribes in ancient civilisations became accustomed to seeing documents as guidebooks for reality. At first, the texts told them about the reality of taxes, fields and granaries. But as the bureaucracy gained power, so the texts gained authority. Priests recorded not only lists of the god’s property, but also the god’s deeds, commandments and secrets. The resulting scriptures purported to describe reality in its entirety, and generations of scholars became accustomed to looking for all the answers in the pages of the Bible, the Qur’an or the Vedas. Harari, Yuval Noah. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (p. 170). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.


Readers of Sapiens will recognize many familiar themes in Harari's new book, Homo Deus , above all the centrality of what he calls intersubjective realities - things that exist and have meaning only because lots of people believe in them, including God, money, nations, corporations and religions. The second part of his new book is devoted to a discussion and critique of what he calls the dominant modern religion, Humanism. He begins, though, with the transformative power of the twin inventions in ancient Sumer of money and writing, and the consequent multiplication of the importance of bureaucratic classes. Harari is a witty and engaging writer, and he deploys a powerful erudition in illustrating his points.

Soul Terror

Why does Darwin strike such terror into Muslims and Christians? The idea of the individual and uniquely human soul, Harari claims, can't survive what Daniel Dennett called "Darwin's universal acid": This is no kindergarten fairy tale, but an extremely powerful myth that continues to shape the lives of billions of humans and animals in the early twenty-first century. The belief that humans have eternal souls whereas animals are just evanescent bodies is a central pillar of our legal, political and economic system. It explains why, for example, it is perfectly okay for humans to kill animals for food, or even just for the fun of it. However, our latest scientific discoveries flatly contradict this monotheist myth. True, laboratory experiments confirm the accuracy of one part of the myth: just as monotheist religions say, animals have no souls. All the careful studies and painstaking examinations have failed to discover any trace of a soul in pigs, rats or rhesus mon

Talk to the Animals

Harari posits that it is likely that our ancestors, like hunter-gatherers who survived to nearly modern times, were animists. Sentience was attributed to animals, trees, and even rocks and rivers. The rise of agriculture and its theist religions (Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity and countless others, now mostly lost), led to a devaluing of animals and also "lower" humans (slaves, serfs and commoners). Harari is a strong critic of industrial animal husbandry and the way it treats animals. He adds: In recent years, as people began to rethink human–animal relations, such practices have come under increasing criticism. We are suddenly showing unprecedented interest in the fate of so-called lower life forms, perhaps because we are about to become one. If and when computer programs attain superhuman intelligence and unprecedented power, should we begin valuing these programs more than we value humans? Harari, Yuval Noah. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (p. 99). HarperCo

A Lawn Story

Harari has a few pages on the history of Lawns: Stone Age hunter-gatherers did not cultivate grass at the entrance to their caves. No green meadow welcomed the visitors to the Athenian Acropolis, the Roman Capitol, the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem or the Forbidden City in Beijing. The idea of nurturing a lawn at the entrance to private residences and public buildings was born in the castles of French and English aristocrats in the late Middle Ages. In the early modern age this habit struck deep roots, and became the trademark of nobility. Well-kept lawns demanded land and a lot of work, particularly in the days before lawnmowers and automatic water sprinklers. In exchange, they produce nothing of value. You can’t even graze animals on them, because they would eat and trample the grass. Poor peasants could not afford wasting precious land or time on lawns. The neat turf at the entrance to chateaux was accordingly a status symbol nobody could fake. It boldly proclaimed to every passerby


There is a good chance that North Korea will acquire the ability to destroy many US cities sometime in the next few years. It can certainly destroy Seoul right now, and probably nuke a number of Japanese cities as well. Aside from making itself far more dangerous, it is bound to be an inspiration to a number of dangerous regimes around the world. If there were ever any good options for avoiding this, they are long gone. The NYT presents the essentially hopeless case. When then-President-elect Trump said on Twitter in early January that a North Korean test of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States “won’t happen!” there were two things that he still did not fully appreciate: how close Kim Jong-un, the North’s leader, was to reaching that goal, and how limited any president’s options were to stop him. The ensuing six months have been a brutal education for Mr. Trump. With North Korea’s Tuesday launch, the country has new reach. Experts believe i

A Whiff of Mordor

From the NYT: J R R Tolkien's estate recently settled a lawsuit against known servants of Mordor, AKA Warner Brothers. In particular, the lawsuit pointed to an online gambling game, “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: Online Slot Game,” the existence of which the author’s estate said it learned of through a spam email. “Fans have publicly expressed confusion and consternation at seeing ‘The Lord of the Rings’ associated with the morally questionable (and decidedly nonliterary) world of online and casino gambling,” the lawsuit said.

Me vs. Liber Tee

It has been noted, by me included, that my dislike for Libertarianism has a passionate, even fanatical aspect. Why the fury? It's certainly not based on a deep philosophical study and rejection of the foundations, although I do reject the foundations. Nor is it purely a personal bent, though I do find it simplistic and annoying. No, I actually go back to a more Biblical analysis: "Ye shall know them by their fruits," Matthew, 7:16 (KJV). Libertarian politics, think tanks, and a vast enterprise of disinformation are funded by a few billionaires led by the Koch brothers. They have used their resultant political power to escape prosecution for crimes, persecute their critics, and above all to protect their freedom to pollute. Of course they also don't want to pay taxes. So far as I can tell, Libertarian politics is mostly a smokescreen to hide anti-social and sometimes criminal activity.


Prediction is notoriously difficult, especially when it involves something as complex as society. In his new book, Israeli historian Harari makes a number of predictions for the Twenty first century, in particular, that the quest for immortality, bliss, and godlike powers will be a major focus. Of course, the immortality quest has been a human preoccupation at least since Gilgamesh, but now we have tools that could be a lot more potent than pyramids. It's also true that some of our powers, in particular for destruction, already make the old gods look like pikers. So why predict, if it's such an unreliable guide? Fourthly, and most importantly, this prediction is less of a prophecy and more a way of discussing our present choices. If the discussion makes us choose differently, so that the prediction is proven wrong, all the better. What’s the point of making predictions if they cannot change anything? Some complex systems, such as the weather, are oblivious to our predict

The Undiscovered Country

Harari on the search for immortality: If you think that religious fanatics with burning eyes and flowing beards are ruthless, just wait and see what elderly retail moguls and ageing Hollywood starlets will do when they think the elixir of life is within reach. If and when science makes significant progress in the war against death, the real battle will shift from the laboratories to the parliaments, courthouses and streets. Once the scientific efforts are crowned with success, they will trigger bitter political conflicts. All the wars and conflicts of history might turn out to be but a pale prelude for the real struggle ahead of us: the struggle for eternal youth. Harari, Yuval Noah. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (p. 29). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.


Capitalism, and in particular, corporate capitalism, is a system devoted to transferring the wealth created by workers to the owners of what is defined to be property (capital). It is, quite literally, the name of the game. As an economic system, it has a number of potent advantages, both by promoting investment and by efficiently clearing markets. It also has a major disadvantage, because it promotes oligarchy. Most of the advantages of capitalism come from competition, but as Adam Smith pointed out, there is nothing a capitalist hates like competition. Consequently, as soon as capitalists begin to capture oligarchical power, they use that power to suppress competition and increase profits. One way to do that is by expanding the definition of property and locking down the rights to it. This tends to culminate in the workers themselves becoming property. Because of capitalism's efficiency at redistributing wealth from the many to the few, some, like myself, advocate using

Understanding Libertarianism

There are lots of things I don't understand, for example, Algebraic Geometry. Of course I never bash Algebraic Geometry, unlike my relation with Libertarianism. The Stoat has frequently accused me of not understanding Libertarianism, and to be honest, I have devoted less effort to that than Algebraic Geometry. I have however, read the political platform of the American Libertarian Party, the Cato Institute's summary of Libertarian principles, Hayek on how labor unions were responsible for Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin, and portions of the Wikipedia article on Libertarianism, from which I will quote: Some libertarians advocate laissez-faire capitalism and strong private property rights,[7] such as in land, infrastructure, and natural resources. Others, notably libertarian socialists,[8] seek to abolish capitalism and private ownership of the means of production in favor of their common or cooperative ownership and management, viewing private property as a barrier to freedom

American Libertarianism: A History

The American Libertarian Party regularly runs candidates, who almost never get get elected to anything for the very good reason that the electorate quite sensibly hates their ideas. This might persuade some that libertarian influence in the US is slight - but they would be very wrong. After the failure of the Koch brothers first big push into Libertarian politics, with David Koch as Vice Presidential candidate, they decided that covert action and subversion was a more promising tactic. The result was the creation of a vast network of "academic" centers and "think" tanks devoted to libertarian propaganda, plus a highly successful effort to take over the Republican Party. has written a history of the American libertarian movement and its record. Here is a sample, concerning economist James McGill Buchanan's strategic plan for fighting desegregation in the South. MacLean, Nancy. Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan