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Nine stories up

Now I can see the light of day The Verrazano Bridge so far awayIn the yard the machines playAnd I think I’m falling down
Looking over that old canalLooking for just one true palAin’t nothing to see unusualNine stories up but I’m gonna drown

Not All Rules Can Be Made Explicit

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Sometimes libertarians, such as Walter Block, suggest that if something isn't explicitly forbidden in a law (or contract), it is permitted. Why this can't work:


The point is rather obvious, isn’t it?

Non-historical McWhorter

John McWhorter is an interesting writer and thinker. I have taken three of his audio courses, read a couple of his books, as well as a number of articles he has written.
But, like many scientists who have never been trained to think historically, he’s dangerous when he gets on the subject of history. Such stinkers tend to think only in terms of scientific, general laws of causation. Whatever cannot be explained by such a law is mere “accident” or “chance.”
History is the attempt to make sense of some past state of affairs in terms of the earlier past states of affairs that brought the latter one about. “Accident” and “chance” play no part in such an understanding, except, perhaps, in a trivial sense like “The Duke had a car accident after playing a game of chance.”
A similar error occurs on page 39 of What Language Is, where McWhorter talks about languages suffering “an interruption in their histories.” (He is talking about scenarios such as Persian becoming highly simplified due to the …

Being "out of touch"

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of rob's criticism of my post of a month ago for being "out of touch" is what it says about rob's intellectual standards: I wasn't mistaken, or vindictive: my problem was that I wasn't mindlessly buying into whatever are the latest PC standards being announced by the NY Times or Google. I would be every dollar I own that a decade ago it had never crossed rob's mind that being "welcoming to the non-binary" was an important feature of a company, or even that a category of humans called "the non-binary" existed. But once our cultural masters declares that to be a "good" person is to firmly believe that for all of human history there has been a hidden, significant minority "the non-binary", rob immediately declared he firmly believed it! If tomorrow they declare that "bigotry" towards pedophiles (who will be called "the children affectionate") is the sign of the de…

More college diversity and tolerance

From Amherst College, as noted by the left-leaning journal Commonweal:

‘Despite the sentiment expressed in its introduction, such a document will not serve to encourage discussion, but to stifle it; the goal is not intellectual diversity, but conformity. A professor friend of mine at another college notes ruefully that colleagues who oppose the ideas and language put forth in the Amherst document don’t dare say so publicly. “They’d be ostracized and shamed,” he told me. “You just can’t disagree with this kind of thing.”’

My review of Kirzner,

Competition, Economic Planning, and the Knowledge Problem, has been published at Review of Political Economy, and is available here, for a limited time.