January 4, 2013

“[W]hy Bleeding Heart Libertarians have their work cut out for them”

Filed under: Liberty, Media — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 14:02

Bryan Caplan thinks he can explain why there is a gender gap among libertarians (along with a few other gender gaps):

My study of personality psychology makes me one of the doubters. On the popular Myers-Briggs personality test, there is a huge Thinking-Feeling gap between men and women. For men, the breakdown is roughly 60% Thinking, 40% Feeling. For women, the breakdown is roughly 30% Thinking, 70% Feeling.

This Thinking/Feeling disparity explains a lot about gender gaps in college major and occupation. There’s every reason to think that this disparity can help explain gender gaps in political and social views.

To make a long story short: Thinking people tend to have “hard heads” and “hard hearts,” while Feeling people have “soft heads” and “soft hearts.” Unsurprisingly, then, Feeling people tend to hold more anti-market views. I’ve similarly found strong evidence that males “think more like economists.” This gender belief gap increases with education, consistent with a simple model where male and female students gradually learn more about whatever their personalities incline them to study.

The whole premise “Bleeding Heart Libertarianism,” of course, is that we should unbundle the hardness of our heads and the hardness of our hearts. Logically speaking, we can combine hard heads and soft hearts. Empirically, though, this combination is rare. And that’s why Bleeding Heart Libertarians have their work cut out for them. If you’re trying to sell libertarianism to Feeling people, “hard head, soft heart” ideas are more persuasive than “hard head, hard heart” ideas. But the libertarian remains at an inherent disadvantage against intellectual rivals pedaling “soft head, soft heart” ideas.

On politicians needing to kick their own asses

Filed under: Government, Media, Politics, USA — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 11:58

Nick Gillespie responds to a recent Bob Woodward column:

In sort-of documenting the dysfunction of a government that can’t even trim chump change from its petty cash drawer, much less write and pass a goddamned budget, Woodward manages to also illustrate why press solons are pretty useless in this whole process too. Sequestration cuts aren’t odious, except to congenital pants-wetters on both sides of the aisle (such as the neo-con defense hawks at the American Enterprise Institute and Leon Panetta, who can’t abide a single dollar ever being cut from any military budget, even after the Second Coming of Christ and the beating of swords into non-voting GM shares). We’ve been racking up trillion-dollar annual deficits for years now, and the idea of cutting $3 trillion from future deficits over a 10-year period causes things to explode? That shouldn’t be a reach under any circumstances, but especially under one in which both parties agree that we need to stop spending money we don’t have on things we don’t need. If the leadership of both parties couldn’t agree to $3 trillion in deficit trims over a decade in which they expect to spend between $40 trillion and $47 trillion, they weren’t going to agree to cuts of $1.2 trillion anyway. That’s the the real story, and it’s one that need to be retold every single day.

Woodward’s invocation of today’s “vulture politics” and his by-comparison invocation of the good old Reagan days is ridiculously ahistorical, especially coming from one of the guys who presided over the past 40-plus years of American history. Today’s political situation isn’t unique in its “demonization” of the opposition. Jesus Christ, George McGovern likened Nixon to Hitler and Reagan was attacked in similar terms. As was Clinton (by Jerry Falwell, who credited the Man from Hope with multiple murders in Arkansas). And then there was also the Bushitler stuff and novels and faux-documentaries about Dubya’s assassination. Somehow, both sides somehow managed to pass budgets (as awful as they were). The fact that Boehner takes a lot of man-tan heat and Obama is called a socialist is light fare by comparison. What is different is the inability of our top men to freaking complete the most basic tasks required of them: to hash out what they government is going to spend each year according to basic and simple-to-understand legislative rule.

In the end, that is not something mystical or overly complicated or tough because they belong to different parties. It’s the easiest thing in the world to get done and while of course “staffers” will do most of the grunt work, Boehner and Obama — and Harry Reid, the hugely incompetent Senate leader who is arguably the single-most responsible villain in the whole dramedy, need to be running the show.

And when it comes to kicking their own asses, our triumvirate of leaders — Obama, Boehner, and Reid — should get in line behind the rest of us. In the end, we pay their tab, so we should be at the front of the line.

This week in Guild Wars 2

Filed under: Gaming — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 11:22

My regular Guild Wars 2 community round-up at GuildMag is now online. With Wintersday coming to a close, ArenaNet brought down the banhammer on players using a crafting exploit with one of the new seasonal items. There’s also lots of discussion about the next few months’ announced content additions, plus the usual assortment of blog posts, videos, podcasts, and fan fiction from around the GW2 community.

North Korea adopts maskirovka to conceal rocket preparations

Filed under: Asia, Military, Pacific — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 10:09

Strategy Page on the most recent North Korean hoodwinking of western intelligence agencies:

Western intelligence agencies are a bit embarrassed that they were not able to predict the exact day that North Korea recently launched a long-range rocket. Even though North Korean announced the two week period during which the launch would take place last December, and several nations had photo satellites flying over the launch site regularly, the actual launch came as a surprise. The North Koreans apparently took advantage of the regular schedules of these spy satellites to move equipment around the launch site at the right time to conceal just how close the rocket was to takeoff. Many intel analysts had not seen this sort of thing at all (if they were young) and the older ones had not seen it done to this degree since the 1980s, when the Soviet Union was still around and using their maskirovka (“masking”) agency to carry out large scale deceptions of photo satellites. The Russians taught the North Koreans many things, and maskirovka was apparently part of the curriculum.

In addition to concealing weapons, their performance and movements, the Soviets also used satellite deception to mislead the west on how their troops would operate in the field. Several times a year, the Soviets would hold large scale maneuvers. Each of these exercises would involve many divisions, plus hundreds of aircraft and helicopters. Satellite photos of these maneuvers were thought to reveal tactics the Soviets were going to use in future wars. But the Soviets knew when American satellites were coming over and sometimes arranged displays of tactics they had no intention of using. Naturally, this made it more difficult for the Western intelligence analysts to figure out exactly what the Soviets were planning. This, of course, was the sort of confusion the Soviets wanted to create with these little deceptions.

HMCS Athabaskan damaged while under tow

Filed under: Cancon, Military — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 00:01

One of the Royal Canadian Navy’s destroyers was supposed to have finished a refitting back in November, but due to delays in the work had to be towed back to Halifax. On the way, further problems arose:

A navy destroyer moored in Cape Breton has been damaged and was set adrift while under tow after problems arose with repair work carried out at an Ontario dockyard, the military said Thursday.

HMCS Athabaskan drifted for several hours off Scatarie Island on Friday after the tow line broke, said Capt. Doug Kierstead of the Royal Canadian Navy in Halifax.

Kierstead said there is damage to the hull behind the ship’s identifying numbers, though he declined to say what the damage was and how it came about.

“At this point all I can say is that we are aware that there is damage visible,” Kierstead said in an interview.

He said the vessel was supposed to have undergone a routine refit by the end of November last year and was expected to be capable of sailing after that work was completed at Seaway Marine and Industrial Inc. in Welland, Ont.

HMCS Athabaskan 282
Photo from Wikimedia

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