Why do we have so many bullshit plans?

Screenshot_20240509-160613 Moans Sabine (5:25 in the video), in the context of GW. The answer of course is because that's what the system rewards; it's what the people demand. People want "to do something" about GW - or at least, that's what they'll answer in any survey you give them, because they know that's the right answer. But paying for it, in direct financial terms or by changing behaviour is a different matter. So "performative" politics - people saying nice things but postponing action into the indefinite future - is the default for any long-term problem1. Hence, targets - which are targets for the future, not now - are popular.

The other issue is that these targets are always in the context of a command economy, which we don't have and don't want. Trying to do it amounts to pushing jelly. Tellingly, at the end (5:45) our hostess wonders what she would do if she were in charge, and decides she would step down: she doesn't have any actual ideas.

This is the Carbon budgets and carbon taxes stuff come again. And the answer is the same.

Addendum: based on a pub conversation today, I realised I've missed off "so what will happen, given that the plans are bullshit?". My best guess is that rather than a superheated hellscape, we'll end up with solar and wind becoming cheaper and us switching to that, not as fast as possible but faster than the no-govt-action plans predict. See-also footnote 4 at my review of Climate Schlock.


1. See-also national debt, pensions, and so on.


* ATTP is A bit inactive… (yes, I trimmed his ellipsis. There are rules, you know).
* The 100th Anniversary of One of America's Worst Laws—the 1924 Immigration ActThe 100th Anniversary of One of America's Worst Laws—the 1924 Immigration Act.


Your right to lorenorder

PXL_20240510_061801824 Gangsters in El Salvador are terrified of strongman Nayib Bukele says the Economist, and after noting He protects citizens from crime it wonders But who will protect them from him? Before you accuse me of being interested in El Salvador, I defend myself by pointing out that this is merely a hook to hang a discussion of the balance between the govt's duty to provide Peace, vs the govt's duty to provide Due Process. Or, about the tension between Order and Law.

In the soft warm comfortable West we are so used to a generic background of lorenorder that we take it much for granted, and therefore prize due process without a great deal of thought. But perhaps this isn't true everywhere. Indeed TE notes that Leaders everywhere must decide, in tackling gangs, what is the right balance between respecting civil liberties and protecting the public. Completing the set of warring opinions, we may note that growing disillusion with democracy is fed by a sense that governments are not keeping the public safe, which can lead to growing populism, a desire for strongman leaders, and authoritarianism; but also that discarding due process in one place may legitimise said discard elsewhere, also tending to authoritarianism. 

Why does it seem that only strongmen be able to discard due process? Democracy should be able to as well, where necessary. And yet the inevitable softening and blurring of multiple opinions makes this hard; the regard that the West has taught all democrats for due process is so entrenched that it is hard for a democracy to show the necessary determination. Instead, TE offers the usual platitudes: leaders who care about civil liberties must do the hard, patient work of figuring out how to fight crime without trampling on them. Bryan Caplan, who will also supply you with some nice statistics if you want them, tries some kind of moral calculus to work out if all the imprisonment without trial is worth it, and concludes reluctantly that it is, at least in the short term. You may also like Blackstone's ratio It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer, though opinions seem to differ on what the ratio should be; Benjamin Franklin seems to prefer 100:1. I would though extend the thought: does 10:1 guilty-escapes to innocent-suffer being good imply that 100:1 is bad? The proverb is not just trying to tell you not to be too harsh; it is reminding you not to be too lenient.

Just as (per Hobbes) violent revolution is only permissible if it has a fair chance of success, discarding due process in favour of peace is only permissible if it is likely to work; TE (yes them again) argue that the experience in El Salvador may not be generalisable. However, I wanted to talk about when it does have a fair chance of success.

And my answer (per Hobbes, but also others) is that govt is constituted first to provide peace, and replace the private resolution of disputes by violence with common public law. The norms of due process that we in the West take for granted are desirable but secondary; we should not impose our values on them. The current war in Palestine also refers.

Note also that Peace, in the conventional model, is a matter of the govt ensuring that citizens are non-violent towards each other. Due Process is a matter of the govts relations to citizens.

Hobbes said it well: THE final cause, end, or design of men (who naturally love liberty, and dominion over others) in the introduction of that restraint upon themselves, in which we see them live in Commonwealths, is the foresight of their own preservation, and of a more contented life thereby; that is to say, of getting themselves out from that miserable condition of war which is necessarily consequent, as hath been shown, to the natural passions of men when there is no visible power to keep them in awe, and tie them by fear of punishment to the performance of their covenants.


* The main opposition candidate on how to fight organised crime in Mexico. New leadership and outside help are needed, says Xóchitl Gálvez.
Fiat iustitia, et pereat mundus - but Mises "Let justice be done, lest the world perish" is better.


Bad Beekeeping, spring 2024

PXL_20240512_142319088 At last a somewhat slow spring becomes warm, so it is time to head out to the olde country and check in on the girls. I had gone out a month earlier and the signs weren't good: few bees, all seemed rather quiet, though it wasn't desperately warm then.

But today things are better. Here's the "before" hive, only lightly overgrown; "after" is somewhat better.

Opened up, things seem quite believable: there are bees, rather well behaved ones in fact despite my somewhat rough treatment; lacking a car right now I am equipement light which means not much in the way of smoke; smoke being hard to transport by bicycle, you understand.

I don't even consider taking off any honey at this point, I'm just looking in. And traces of rape remain in the fields.


View from above onto the brood box. No, I didn't lift the queen excluder. Do you think I'm mad?


My friends back garden remains idyllic-looking in the sunshine.


Update 2024/06/02: Sunday was nice so I drove out to Coton prepared to take honey off, if needed. But when I came to look, it was all rather light: frames with some honey in, but the capped stuff wasn't freshly-so; so I decided to leave them be. Or bee. It has been a wet spring, but I wonder if they are a new swarm. Pic of hive herePic of hive here


* "Hive B" didn't survive the winter; but did provide a refuge for a shrew. Video.

Bad beekeeping, spring 2023.


End of the line for the photogenic ex-teens

FB_IMG_1714149201499 Ninth Circuit Puts An End to the Kids Climate Case says Volokh. For those not paying attention, in the dim and distant past of 2016, Photogenic teens sued the US government so they could stay cool while looking hot. It didn't go terribly well, see wiki for some of the long-drawn-out pain, but finally as Volokh put it, A unanimous panel orders dismissal of Juliana v. United States, bringing this zombie litigation to a close.

If I sound... gloating then I apologise. But as I said at the start, I think this was a bad strategy and poor use of the world's finite resources.