The problem with SCOTUS looking to whether a “right” is “deeply rooted in our history or traditions” is that our history and traditions are filled with genocide, slavery, brutality and misogyny. Why should we limit our “rights” to things that have only existed for those in power?
The point at issue is the first amendment clause Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.... But what does it mean? For the case in point, I don't much care about the "free exercise" portion, the interesting bit is "make no law respecting". The natural interpretation of this would be that no (federal, but by incorporation state) law can say anything about religion. And so banning use of public funds on religion is as prohibited as diverting funds specifically to religion, or any particular religion.
However, there's a "doctrine" of "separation of church and state", which can be reasonably read to say that the state shouldn't fund the church. The dissent (p24) leans heavily on that doctrine: On the other hand, the Establishment Clause “commands a separation of church and state.” But, just as with Separation of powers, which isn't in the constitution, neither is separation of church and state. It is only a handy guide to interpretation; it can't override the actual words.
However, the decision itself it largely based on the FE bit, contra my wise advice, on the grounds it protects indirect coercion or penalties on the free exercise of religion, not just outright prohibitions. This is plausible, but to me rather wifflier. So I guess I'm obliged to conclude that they got the right answer, but not for all the right reasons.
I was looking for someone being really really sad about this, and it looks like Noah Smith is a good example. I think he's talking about this case, and also the Gunz stuff. I'm doubtful his The Court is kind of going crazy right now, with a bunch of activist decisions that most people hate is true; but it is interesting that his solution is court packing; see-also Me on USAnian politics. Since I don't say so explicitly there, I'll say it here: I think packing is a bad idea, at least in part because I don't think the Supremes are crazy.
The New Yorker isn't happy either, but is predicatably long on complaint and short on ideas; it has none beyond the vague "It is long overdue to end the Court’s undemocratic role in U.S. society" which is not actionable.
Another example of having no idea what to do is Op-Ed: How to move forward after the destruction of Roe vs. Wade. Don't be fooled by the title. Yes, I've switch from C+S to RvW without even noticing... because in the matter of dislike-but-don't-engage, things seem analoguous. See-also A [sic] eulogy to Roe.
Uupdate: moah gunz
Gunz, gunz, gunz, gunz, everybody loves gunz. Anyway: New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen: A minor impact on gun laws but a potentially momentous shift in constitutional method is reasonably thoughtful. But notice towards the end, where he discusses the balance in the amount of regulation required. Is 16 hours of classroom instruction really needed? His answer is that some was valuable, about 2-3 hours was useful, but 16 was excessive. So I think this looks like over-regulation, and I think it is vulnerable, and in my roll-back-the-state mood, I'd welcome that. But I'd hope that, pre-emptively, DC would reconsider the amount it forces people to take.
* America’s Supreme Court requires Maine to include religious schools in a tuition programme: America’s Supreme Court is eroding the separation of church and state - Economist
* Reason: Alito's Leaked Abortion Opinion Misunderstands Unenumerated Rights: The Supreme Court justice is wrong when he says abortion rights aren't deeply rooted in American history.
* Who Sees Which Political Falsehoods as More Acceptable and Why: A New Look at In-Group Loyalty and Trustworthiness by Jeff Galak and Clayton R. Critcher via Twatter.
Governments have largely failed to seize their chance to rearrange their energy supplies away from fossil fuels?
Update: other dumb stuff
...we are “predictably irrational” in the pursuit of our interests. Paternalists from both the social sciences and philosophy use these findings to defend interfering with people's consumption choices for their own good. We should tax soda, ban cigarettes, and mandate retirement savings to make people healthier and wealthier than they’d be on their own. Our thesis is that the standard arguments offered in support of restricting people’s consumption choices for their own good also imply support for “epistocratic” restrictions on people’s voting choices for their own good...
Which is plausible. In the end, they come up with most of the correct arguement against: Last, there is a practical objection to paternalistic regulation of the vote: state agents might abuse their new powers. They end up dismissing this, but they are wrong to: corruption or incompetence in consumption choice regulation is undesireable, but limited, and fixable within the political process. Corruption of who-can-vote is, potentially, not fixable.
* Education - Our World in Data
But that 0.47% is wrong, of course: RWE didn't emit 0.47%. More, why sue RWE? Because the Krauts might be a soft touch. El E adds Court documents suggest that the German judges may consider that climate impacts were foreseeable from 1958, when the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere began to be recorded each day which is really very stupid indeed and will only fly in a heavily politicised court, if even there. Also note that they aren't even suing for damages.
El E adds And in any case that project is well within the local government’s budget. The fact that it has sat around for six years has more to do with bureaucracy and corruption. Local beliefs complicate matters. When sophisticated flood-warning systems were installed in two neighbouring villages, threatened by different lakes, the locals destroyed them.
Mann's "question" is one of those "it's not really a question it's more of a statement" kind of questions. He begins You’ve said you don’t know the solution for the politics of climate inaction and also that we need a “miracle” to address the climate crisis. But the obstacles aren’t physical or technological at this point (my bold).
To understand the question you need to know that Mann is referring to Gates in 2016 - which is odd in itself; a lot has happened in six years - and that the word "miracle" doesn't have its conventional meaning of something requiring divine intervention; indeed, it has pretty well the oppostive meaning: of something that is quite likely to happen (another example of a miracle according to Gates is the polio vaccine). Mann continues "The only real obstacle is having the political will to invest adequately in those technologies and put in place market incentives that accelerate the needed clean energy transition".
Gates's answer It’s weird to have… I mean, how do you think we’re going to make steel? How do you think we’re going to make cement? Most of the emissions are from middle-income countries. And the ability of either asking them to bear the huge premium and cost of clean approaches, or asking rich countries to subsidise that, that collective action problem is not likely to be solved with current green premiums. So it’s almost like he doesn’t acknowledge all the different sources of emissions. That’s weird... I don’t understand why he’s acting like he’s anti-innovation also seems off point to me, although consistent with his previous opinion that we do need FutureTech. I think there are three position: A: we can and will solve GW with TodayTech; B: we could do that but actually we'll use FutureTech at least in part; and C: we need FutureTech. I think B is correct; Mann is too much on A, and Gates on C. And Hossenfelder has misread everyone (Mann isn't saying it is simple-cos-we-have-tech; and Gates isn't saying the problems are primarily political).
Which is uncannily a replay of Half of emissions cuts will come from future tech, says John Kerry. And Mann, there, was again saying "no, we'll use current tech". Mann's point, I think, is "lack of tech is not the problem, and waiting for FutureTech is a bad idea", which is true, but uninteresting at least to me, because everyone agrees... although Gates manages to give the impression that he doesn't: there isn't a huge premium to clean tech; solar is competitive in a great many places. Mann's assertion that the problem isn't "physical" is doubtful; part of the problem is indeed the vast amounts of existing physical infrastructure.
Gates, oddly, makes no reply on the "political will" part. Perhaps he just hates politics and doesn't want to talk about it - many tech folk do, for the obvious reasons - and is counting on tech to solve the problem. Which I think it will, if the pols don't fuck things up too badly.
Score: Mann loses points for a badly phrased question; and for failing to analyse Gates' reply, but Gates loses more for getting the wrong answer.
There's a line of pollarded willows along a tiny stream, also lovely.
Swinbrook itself is a tiny village mostly hidden behind walls, the marvel is the church, and the Fettiplace memorials.
A general view. Other pix here.
The older ones are weirder, the postures being so stiff and unnatural; the newer ones are more believable. Yet more proof that our ancestors were weirdos. There's a poem, I think to the one who commissioned the first monument:
See-also the table of benefactions, which shamelessly reveals that they lost Charles Fettiplace's £100 gift of 1713. Outside, some old tombs.
The curious "killer Dougal" effect isn't intentional: the bundle is apparently intended to represent a woolsack, the wealth of the region. And coming somewhat more up to date, the ill-fated Unity Valkyrie.
Side note: people often say, as the Graun does above, that repealling RvW would destroy "a woman’s right to control her own body". But the RvW judgement explicitly states that "For the stage subsequent to approximately the end of the first trimester, the State, in promoting its interest in the health of the mother, may, if it chooses, regulate the abortion procedure in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health". So RvW does the very thing that people rage about. FWIW, I find this part spurious: it is, or should be, clear that the mother's interest in her own health is higher than that of the state, and therefore the state cannot have any right to legislate, on health grounds, over her interests. But I rather suspect that few would be prepared to accept this obvious point as a general principle. Rather, the only plausible balance to be considered is between rights of the individual and the unborn-right-to-life. No, I am not going to say what I think that balance should be, because why would you care?
Reading Roe v. Wade Is a Bad Decision That Ought to Stand I find "Legal authorities broadly agree on Roe’s constitutional defects... Roe can’t be repaired, much less thrown out, without doing more constitutional harm. For the sake of good governance, the court’s conservatives should rediscover deference to long-established precedent, and leave this rash and wrongly decided law alone". I am sympathetic to this and almost agree, but I also find the argument that it was wrongly decided persuasive. More importantly, I think that it should be decided by politics... perferrably by a generic constitutional item along the lines of "the state shouldn't do things it has no need to do". Again, this unobjectionable point is a principle that few would sign up to when made general.
Alito's leaked draft1 refers to the history of abortion law; and people have disgreed with his interpretation. If you're sufficiently originalist this might matter, but I'm not, so I think I can simply not care about that aspect unduly.
I return to the point of the democratic system: to provide a means for resolving these conflicts, where we've agreed they are irreconcilable. One amelioration, per Sumpers, is people will accept decisions they disagree with as long as they accept the legitimacy of the decision-making process. Which is of course why so much political speech is devoted to making you think the process is unfair. So we learn that leaving these decisions with the Supremes will lead to what we observe: people doing their best to delegitimise the court, which is bad. It would I think be more acceptable if done by state governments: then at least you can say: if you don't like it, vote against it, or move.
Another advantage of deciding at state level is that we have a natural experiment: what happens if <thing X> is banned in some places and permitted in others? We know we are not all-wise; it is good to allow experiment, in moderation.
Another, partisan, advantage, if you're a Dem, is that this would surely lead to more votes for Dems in upcoming elections. That's a fairly important point, and one that in the heat and dust I don't see emphasised as much as it should be.
Finally, I see this - and similar - as symptoms of our water-fatness. We really are so rich, considered as a society as a whole, that we can afford to waste vast quantities of highly paid people's time on this stuff. This makes idiots like Putin think the Cold West is decadent so he can invade Ukraine; but what he missed was the bit about us being so rich.
As so often, a chance by-way provides a far more insightful comment than all the fluff: from Volokh, a review, making the point that there is a deficiency of the conservative legal movement: namely, its exclusive focus on the law "as it is" at the expense of the underlying abstract normative principles that justify the positive law of our written Constitution. This reminds us that even if you "believe" in the constitution, you should not treat it as holy writ, but grounded in "underlying abstract normative principles". But note that doesn't give you leave to simply write what you like into it, or ignore any bits you don't like. Interestingly, the underlying article refs Bostock.
1. 2022/06/24: the final decision is now released. Obama doesn't like it, but underneath the flowery words look for the contradictions. the freedom enshrined in the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution requires all of us to enjoy a sphere of our lives that isn’t subject to meddling from the state — a sphere that includes personal decisions involving who we sleep with, who we marry, whether or not to use contraception, and whether or not to bear children sounds great, but then our freedoms are not unlimited — society has a compelling interest in other circumstances, for example, in protecting children from abuse or people from self-harm. Asserting that we aren't free to self-harm sounds arbitrary to me; Obama is happy for the state to intervene whenever he wants to, but not when he doesn't. There's no principle; it's just case-by-case whatever he feels like.
* Via JM on Twatter, a paper The New Abortion Battleground that goes on endlessly about possible legal complications of inter-state juristictional fights. Not very useful, because it comes to no conclusions, other than to show that many things are possible.
* America’s Supreme Court faces a crisis of legitimacy says the Economist, worrying that "Nine berobed judges striking down laws approved by elected politicians poses a “countermajoritarian difficulty”" - ah, so they are in favour of striking down RvW, one assume?
* The Case for Ending the Supreme Court as We Know It by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor in the New Yorker. A long whinge, I include it for the brevity and fatuousness of it's attempts to think of what else you might do.
* Someone else (Paul Kahn as it happens) tries to discuss whether the constitution or reading thereof should get priority over precedent. But the discussion is unilluminating, since it has clearly been written to support the predetermined answer. Precedent can be overruled, it decides (anyone who dislikes Dredd Scott has no alternative answer) but the reasoning doesn't really help: The case law is working out the meaning of the principles by which we live. As those principles develop, some past decisions will look like missteps. But it does at least note the conflict between common law and constitution.
* Bryan Caplan: The Putin and the Pea.
* More of me on RvW and RBG: http://wmconnolley.blogspot.com/2020/09/ruth-bader-ginsburg-died-on-september.html
* Misinformation About Misinformation - Bryan Caplan. Makes some of the same points I have. "Blaming listeners for their epistemic vices sounds bad. It makes the accuser sound elitist, if not arrogant. Blaming a few high-status liars for the world’s problems is a lot more compatible with Social Desirability Bias than blaming billions of low-status fools who fail to choose to exercise their common sense". Volokh comments and points to demand-side problems.
* Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion overruling Roe v Wade insists that it endangers no rights other than abortion, but this disclaimer follows pages of reasoning that suggest the opposite - the Economist.
Opinions alter, manners change, creeds rise and fall, but the moral law is written on the tablets of eternity
What is Putin afraid of?
1. Yes, I know: safely in England well away from any fighting.
2. I think that a country run without checks-and-balances by even one good man would be badly run, but Putin is without doubt not good, indeed he is bad.
3. Most of the Gulf States are hardly paragons of democracy and we prop them up, so I can't say the West is blameless in such matters either.
4. But see-also Bryan Caplan on sanctions. I'd like to think we could manage more imaginative policies like Make Desertion Fast but our leadership can't think fast in unexpected ways. Or perhaps even slowly.
5. My image is a reminder that hope - or at least rhubarb - springs eternal.
6. Hurrah! Nonetheless we must remember that it isn't the individual Russkies who are evil - mostly - it is the system they are trapped in. Although, if they could stop believing in dumb myths about pan-Russianism or whatever, that would help.
7. Except (2022/06) Ted Nordhaus: Russia’s War Is the End of Climate Policy as We Know It: Ironically, geopolitical strife and energy scarcity will do more for the climate than decades of ardent policies.
The nub of AD's analysis is "The U.N.’s latest climate report shows that we don’t know how expensive the climate crisis will be, which means cost-benefit analyses weighing how to combat it are pointless". The new report is really quite long though, and AD doesn't provide any quote from it demonstrating that his assertion is true, so I think that very basic step can be regarded as Unproven (do feel free to provide a suitable quote in the comments). Furthermore, if we genuinely had no idea how expensive it would be, we would have no basis for action at all (a quote below shows this isn't true). However, let's assume that the IPCC (why has AD switched from "IPCC" to "UN"? Odd; perhaps he is trying to put off the right wing nutters) does indeed say that; why would it demonstrate that economic thinking, including CBA, is pointless? His end point is revealing in this regard: As the latest IPCC report says, “The cumulative scientific evidence is unequivocal: Climate change is a threat to human well-being and planetary health. Any further delay in concerted anticipatory global action on adaptation and mitigation will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all.” Do we really need a cost-benefit analysis to convince ourselves to address this threat? Taken all that at face value, no, we don't need a CBA to decide to do something. But we do need a CBA to decide what to do. Because a large number of solutions from different people are proffered, and we cannot do them all; and many of them, whilst appearing brilliant and obvious to their proponents, appear stupid to others. How shall we decide what to do? Shall we just accept arbitrary diktak? Or should we do... that which involves least use of resources?
I have said this before - but cannot now find it, so will have to repeat myself - that avoiding economic thought is often a way of saying "do what I want". Which is generally bad.
AD's prime example of why CBA is bad is During the Obama administration, the social cost of carbon... was estimated to be $35. The Trump administration altered some of the assumptions that led to his estimate, particularly how much they valued future generations versus ours, and how much they valued people outside the U.S. versus those who live in America. They estimated the social cost of carbon to be as low as $1. But this was politics, not economics. Calling CBA bad because of Trump is just dumb.
Is there any virtue to AD's piece at all? If there is, it isn't the quoting Franta bit. His discussion of "Obama’s climate bill" isn't great either: although, as he notes, some made hyperbolic claims about the costs, he is firstly wrong to attribute those claims to economists: they were made by pols. Secondly, he is wrong to assert that reality disproved those claims: since the bill didn't come into action, we'll never know what costs it would have had. Thirdly, as he mentions but doesn't think about, even without the bill the aims of the bill were achieved. So all those making hyperbolic claims about how necessary the bill were, have been proved wrong by reality. My guess is that AD would have been one of those people, but I can't be bothered to find out.
* Make Desertion Fast by Bryan Caplan
* A Populist Attack on Big Tech by David Henderson
* What Should Economists Do Now? by Mikayla Novak
* The Age of the Judicial Thoroughbred aka Benjamin Barton’s The Credentialed Court.
* The Actual Food Problem - via Timmy. Not sure it is, but "fertiliser used to be 55 per cent of the cost of his business, but will now be near to 80 per cent..." is interesting.
Meeting the objectives of climate resilient development requires society and ecosystems to move over (transition) to a more resilient state?
It is kinda funny watching the IPCC folk saying "don't watch that war over there, watch our report on the long term future on the planet". If I were them I'd have delayed releasing it, but bureaucracy doesn't work like that.
* I took the fundamental bit to be "reducing supply too fast will lead to bad price spikes", and I think that's correct; and I see a lot of env folk not understanding it. The rest, meh.
* when a governmental institution is given a categorical mandate – whether to deal with pollutants, discrimination, crime, homelessness or other problems – the incentives are not the same as when private individuals or private organizations face an incremental problem requiring an expenditure of their own money, as distinguished from spending taxpayers’s money... CH.
McK provide a large number of words and lots of numbers that I have no intention of reading unless someone forces me; I'm more interested in the broad-brush question of whether this is all plausible. Current world GDP is about $81T, so on their numbers they are asking for more than 10% of GDP investing in green transition (there may be some GDP-keeps-growing stuff in there, though, because their own calculation is more like 7.5%)1.
Anyway, I don't want to pretend to analyse this stuff in detail, just draw attention to it; because these numbers seem a little on the high side to be practical, to me.
On a more cheerful note, Auke Hoekstra has revised his PV-actually-built-vs-projections graph, and once again the actually-built way exceeds projections. This is my hope.
1. If you think their numbers are larger than some others, you are probably right. They explain: Other research to date has largely focused on estimating required energy investment. Here we expand this to include additional spending categories such as assets that use energy (for example, the full cost of passenger cars and heat pumps), capital expenditures in agriculture and forestry, and some continued spend in high-emissions physical assets like fossil fuel–based vehicles and power assets. As a result, our estimates exceed to a meaningful degree the $3 trillion to $4.5 trillion of annual spending for the net-zero transition that others have estimated.
* Nuclear power and renewable energy are both associated with national decarbonization - bit weird this needs saying, but you know some people. This is a response to Sovacool, who appears to have form.
* Hanania Highlights by Bryan Caplan: Public Choice Theory and the Illusion of Grand Strategy and Sanctions and Asylum.
* If writing down your ideas always makes them more precise and more complete, then no one who hasn't written about a topic has fully formed ideas about it. And someone who never writes has no fully formed ideas about anything nontrivial - Paul Graham.
* Ford and GM: Bearers of Socialist Culture? by Pierre Lemieux.
* Marmalade Training Camp - JEB
* Overestimating the Human Influence on the Economic Costs of Extreme Weather Events - Patrick T. Brown critiquing the "Fraction of Attributable Risk" of Myles Allen (2003) used in Frame (2020) for Harvey; via Twatter.
* Link blog: docker, container - Paul Wright
* Should We Expect More from Our Elected Officials? - Volokh, 2018.