Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Read Stuff, You Should

Happy Birthday to Mark Leonard, 48. Who knows? Maybe it would never have happened. Lifetime minor league OBP, though, was .411. He wound up getting 374 major league PAs...that's not much more than half a season, spread out over bits and pieces of six seasons. He didn't hit. But, you know, a lot of guys have had a lousy 400 PAs, even in really good conditions. I don't think there's any chance he would have been a star...the upper limit is probably Matt Stairs, something like that. But then again, the guys who played ahead of him in 1992, when he did hit some, were Chris James, Cory Snyder, Mike Felder, Kevin Bass, plus some for Ted Wood and Steve Hosey...it's not as if those guys had any future. No, I'm not still upset about it. Too much.

Ah, need to get to the good stuff:

1. Nate Silver has a much more comprehensive look at the early numbers on Paul Ryan than I had yesterday, but came to the same (equally tentative) first conclusion: mediocre. Just one thing...be careful about these initial polls. I'm pretty sure that some of them were taken after the convention speech (that is, for the running mates chosen right before the convention); some, as with Ryan, were not. Ryan's rollout must have been one of the quietest ever, given that it was early on the last Saturday of the Olympics. I have no idea how that will affect things down the line, but all things equal one would have to assume that the very first reactions would be off a bit.

2. Conor Friedersdorf makes an excellent point about Ryan: if he was an Ayn Rand character, "he'd be a villain."

3. And for academics: Salma Patel has some advice about going public on the intertubes.

9 comments:

  1. Friersdorf's column put me in mind of what seems like a huge insight: the reason libertarianism doesn't do better in a world of runaway spending and untrustworthy politicians is because you simply can't trust a huge percentage of the folks in that tent. For a political view exceptionally steeped in ideology, libertarianism forces its adherents to make wa-a-a-a-ay too many compromises.

    To illustrate: there's definitely a high-minded interpretation of Atlas Shrugged, namely, being watchful about the encroachments of petty low bureaucrats who imperil our freedoms via the impositions of government. There's also a low-minded version; namely, I think I'm the real John Galt, and you losers should leave me alone.

    Based on what we see back here, it does seem that one such as our Couves is a libertarian interested in limiting the impositions of government. What about Paul Ryan? Department of Homeland Security, Med-D, TARP, Bush-spending, what is it about Paul Ryan that makes us think that, like Couves, he's interested in limiting the impositions of government? Oh, sure, he's got lots of excuses...all the faux libertarians do!

    Indeed, even Ryan's signature accomplishment, his proposed Medicare overhaul, assuming it works as advertised, will put the shiv in the back of those who both a) looked after their physical health in their youth and middle age, and b) looked after their financial health. John Galts, beware: Paul Ryan's Medicare overhaul is coming after you.

    The sad irony of objectivism is this: those petty, pathetic bureaucrats, who impose the excessive rules of the state on the ambitions of those with legitimate Galt aspirations...those bureaucrats regard themselves as misunderstood Galts too. That's what motivates those bureaucrats!

    Which makes libertarianism such an odd ideology: a significant percentage of the adherents in the tent, singing hosannas the loudest, are by virtue of their delusional passions the movement's greatest enemies.

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    1. Don't worry CSH, folks are catching on to the phony libertarians out there.

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  2. Can you check your link on good stuff #3? It gives me the blogger home page and the option to start my own blog.

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  3. Link #3 just goes to www.blogger.com, not to Salma Patel's piece.

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    1. Thanks; fixed.

      There is a joke in there some place, isn't there?

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  4. Friersdorf does make a great point, but Rand wasn't that good of a adherent to her absolutist ideology either. As pointed out in Adam Curtis's documentary series "All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace", about how computers have shaped the way we think about our world, she had an affair with a younger one of her "students" who then left her for another woman. In response, Rand didn't act like an objectivist, she acted like a person and went and confronted him at a party filled with her book club/Utopian group "the Collective." She essentially caused a huge scene and screamed at him for being so awful, that is leaving her to date someone his own age. This caused "The Collective" to break up and Rand moved to a lonely New York apartment to take up stamp collecting, but Allan Greenspan kept visiting her. I find this story fascinating because even the inventor of the Galtian ideal couldn't live up to it when dealing with something that might be upsetting at the time but is rather a minor affair in life, a messy break up. Here in Minnesota the Republican candidate for Senate has styled himself a Libertarian, and guess what his job is: he's a suburban high school teacher. That's right, this Gaultian hero lives of government paychecks funded by property taxes in a community that owes its creation and wealth in large part to the historic policy of federal government subsidies for large interstate highways and low cost government backed mortgages for middle class suburbanites.

    That said if Libertarians really were concerned with the horror of government intervention into our choices shouldn't they push to end "no turn on red" signs? Or laws about which side of the street you can drive on, or how big brother can tow your car if you park it on the even side of the street on the second day of a snow emergency? Isn't that tyrannical oppression that can only be solved by blowing up a large building that you don't like the architecture of?

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    1. Most libertarians aren't anarchists. (Anarchistic libertarians call their belief system "anarcho-capitalism" or "voluntarism.")

      Visit freekeene.com to see some of them in action. They're totally nonviolent but very confrontational and are constantly getting themselves thrown in jail just to prove a point. They're considered fringe even by most libertarians.

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  5. Eh. I mean, who out there, who is likely to be in politics and quote Ayn Rand, resembles John Galt? It's a pretty shallow criticism. Nobody is like an Ayn Rand hero, that's one of the reasons her world-view is stupid. It's a little bit like criticizing A Tolkien fan for not being like Aragorn -- who cares? It's not hypocrisy or some vulgar missing the point.

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    1. Yeah...plus you can't simultaneously criticize Ryan as a "conservative in name only" and as a radical government-shrinker. Or you can, but they're not going to be equally relevant looking forward.

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