pop·u·lism
n.
  1. The most popular specious thinking of a given era.
  2. Any collection of beliefs driven directly by emotion and without intellectual coherence.

My basic principle is that the world should be constructed, so nearly as can be efficiently done, such that the costs and benefits of decisions accrue to the people making them, and that, within that framework, people are free to make their own decisions. Liberty and rule of law are more important than democracy; indeed, the primary virtue of the latter is its ability to protect the former.

Decisions made by others should, thus, not be too wantonly inflicted on others; I intend to finish my screed against democracy at some point. It should probably include some quotes from Lincoln's debates with Douglas.

This my first update to this page since at least 2005, and I don't intend to be back here much in the future, but feel like I should address the Tea Party. I have a fair amount of sympathy for a lot of the Tea Party program, but it very much seems to be a populist movement. It has been the case for a long time that small government polls better in the abstract than do cuts of any particular programs, and a lot of my (admittedly limited, much of it intermediated by media of various forms) exposure to opinions of Tea Partiers gives me the sense that many of them want a budget that violates the laws of arithmetic. When Paul Ryan opposes Michele Bachmann, I generally support Paul Ryan. (When water is wet, I generally support Paul Ryan, too.)

Fat people have a right to be fat -- and take any consequences that go with it.

Put people before dumb slogans.

Better safe than sorry, but better neither than both.

Things Everyone Should Know

Scalia's PGA v. Martin dissent

Class size research. Limited benefit to student achievement at a high cost; this is the sort of thing government does best. I think we should double class size so we can pay teachers twice as much, then fire any that don't produce educated kids.

A great short lesson in thinking properly about just that sort of thing. From Thomas Sowell, unsurprisingly.

"We have certain standards of life that we believe are best for us. We do not ask other nations to discard theirs but we do wish to preserve ours...We reflect on no one in wanting immigrants who will be assimilated into our ways of thinking and living." -- Calvin Coolidge, newspaper column, Dec. 13, 1930