Sep 30, 2019

Tom Woods on what it means to be a libertarian

Here's what libertarians think: you shouldn't commit acts of aggression against peaceful people.

That's it.

It has nothing to do with a hatred of rules, or even "wanting to be left alone," or individualism, or selfishness, or anything else. Some libertarians may indeed hate rules or be selfish, but these qualities do not follow from the central libertarian principle.

Which, again, is simply: no violence against the peaceful.

Now when you put it that way, libertarianism sounds at least intriguing, even attractive.  Which is why our critics never do put it this way.

Can society operate, and even flourish, without aggressive violence?

If we imbibe what we're told from grade school onward -- that we'd all be helpless boobs without the wise stewards who to our good fortune have agreed to rule over us -- then of course we already know the answer: why, of course not!  We need violence, and we need political leaders handing down orders, in order to enjoy civilized life.


I'm not so sure.

I think the opposite is true.

~ Tom Woods, September 30, 2019

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Sep 27, 2019

John Stuart Mill on knowing both sides of an argument

He who knows only his side of the case, knows little of that.

~ John Stuart Mill

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(Cited by Sheldon Richman.)

Sep 26, 2019

Popular Mechanics: "Bugatti is building a $33,000 car for kids"

Good news! Bugatti built a car that costs less than a Mustang GT.

Bad news! It's sized for kids, they're only making 500 of them, and they're all sold out.

~ Popular Mechanics, "Bugatti is Building a $33,000 Car for Kids," September 18, 2019


(Quote was cited in the September 25 edition of Almost Daily Grant's under "Sentiment Check.")

Sep 25, 2019

The Wall Street Journal on grandiose dreams of WeWork founder Adam Neumann

WeWork has attracted scrutiny over its unusual business model and governance structure, but the company’s strangeness seems to start at the top with CEO and co-founder Adam Neumann, according to a remarkable profile in The Wall Street Journal.

Neumann has expressed interest in becoming Israel’s prime minister and the president of the world, living forever, and becoming the world’s first trillionaire, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the situation. He is also said to have told employees that the company could one day end world hunger.

~ CNBC, "WeWork's Adam Neumann wants to live forever, be king of the world and the first trillionaire, says report," September 18, 2019

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Sep 24, 2019

Jim Grant: "Will central bankers continue to control events or will events start to control the central bankers?" (2019)

The question before the house is whether the central bankers can continue to control events or whether events will turn the tables and start to control the central bankers.  Our money's on events.

We reason that mighty interventions have unintended consequences.  Suppress the rate of interest, and you misdirect capital.  Cut short the corrective processes of a business-cycle downturn, and you store up trouble for the next recession.  Intervene over and over to save a bull market, and you must continue to intervene - you're in too far, you can't stop now, the downside is frightening.

Ultra-low interest rates, low volatility and stretched valuations soothe the spirit as the fatten the net worth.  Rising markers seed a belief that the world has arrived on a kind of permanently high plateau, not necessarily of price but of predictability.

~ Jim Grant, "The surprise factor," Grant's Interest Rate Observer, September 20, 2019

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Sep 22, 2019

Rob Arnott on investing

There's no such thing as a bargain in the absence of fear.

~ Rob Arnott, Research Affiliates, Grant's podcast, June 21, 2019

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Sep 20, 2019

Ludwig von Mises on war and trade

The market economy means peaceful cooperation and peaceful exchange of goods and services. It cannot persist when wholesale killing is the order of the day.

~ Ludwig von Mises, Interventionism: An Economic Analysis [1940]

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Sep 19, 2019

Quora post on progressivism and rights

My rights don't end where your feelings begin.

~ Andrew T. Post, "What don't most liberals realize?," Quora, July 4, 2018

William Goldman on the accuracy of Hollywood box-office forecasts

Nobody knows anything.

~ William Goldman, screenwriter

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(Quote was cited by Jim Grant in Time article, "The United States of Insolvency," April 14, 2016.)

Sep 14, 2019

Jordan Peterson on the dangers of infringing on corporate speech

These corporations who should know far better, let these fifth columns into their organizations.  They think they're not going to pay for that.  They think they're going to stop with demands for the reconstruction of language - not like the demands for reconstruction of language by the way are trivial.  There may be the most important thing you can possibly demand.  "I want to reshape the way you speak.  I want to reshape the way you think."  It's like, "that's ok, as long as it doesn't interfere with the bottom line."  It'll interfere with the bottom line.  You let that fifth column in, it's a warning to corporate people.  You let that fifth column in, man, you're going to regret it. 

Jordan Peterson, "History Describes You!," (9:56-10:30), YouTube, April 9, 2018

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Jordan Peterson on how Hitler played to the German mob

Hitler came to embody the desire of the German people for order and revenge.  He embodied that fully.  What happened was a collaboration between him and the people.  It wasn't Hitler turned everyone into Nazis.  No, that's not how it worked.

~ Jordan Peterson, "Jordan Peterson Shares His Thoughts on Hitler," (4:42-5:00), YouTube,  November 26, 2017

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Sep 13, 2019

Almost Daily Grant's weighs in on the upcoming WeWork IPO and melting valuation

It’s full speed ahead for WeWork Cos., Inc. parent The We Company.  In an updated S-1 filing today, We Co. announced a handful of governance changes to placate investors, including trimming the super-voting rights in the Class-C shares and removing family members of CEO Adam Neumann from the board of directors.

Nevertheless, things are trending in the wrong direction, as Reuters reports today that We’s updated projected valuation has fallen to as low as $10 billion. That’s down from a $47 billion valuation in a private funding round in January and a the $20 billion to $30 billion range reported just last week by Bloomberg. With $14.2 billion in total capital raised, We Co.’s private investors are, on balance, now well underwater.

The largest outside investor is facing particularly acute pain.  At that reported $10 billion valuation, SoftBank’s Vision Fund, which has itself invested $10.7 billion for a 29% stake, would be sitting on mark-to-market losses of approximately $7.8 billion.  Yet, SoftBank CEO Masa Son is apparently undaunted, as The Journal reports this afternoon that SoftBank will buy “at least $750 worth” of We Co. shares in the IPO.

Perhaps Masa might be fit for a cameo in the upcoming Joker movie? 

~ Almost Daily Grant's, September 13, 2019

Sep 12, 2019

David Kostin on IPO performance over the past 25 years

Most IPOs underperform, but some new offerings outperform dramatically.  [A]n investor that purchased $100 of every US IPO completed during the past 25 years would have generated a 0.6 percentage point annualized excess return versus the Russell 3000 index. In contrast, the typical IPO completed during the same period has lagged the market during the first 12, 24, and 36 months as a public company.

~ David Kostin, Goldman Sachs analyst, "Investors beware: The typical IPO stock is a dud, says Goldman Sachs", September 5, 2019

Sep 6, 2019

Milo Yiannopoulos defines hate speech

Hate speech seems to mean anything that a liberal doesn't like, or a fact that a liberal can't rebut, or an opinion or a joke that a liberal finds offensive, but can't fight on the merits.

~ Milo Yiannopoulos, "'Dangerous' Milo Yiannopoulos tells all," (8:20-8:31 mark), YouTube, July 12, 2017

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Milo Yiannopoulos on restrictive speech in America

As a Brit, I came to America thinking this was going to be the land of freedom - free expression.  It's the land of the 1st amendment after all.  And I discovered actually the social pressures on speech - what you can and cannot say in society, if you're in dating, in the workplace - are some of the most restrictive speech codes I've encountered anywhere in the world.  I don't have any particular love for the Republican party - I happen to be a conservative on most social issues - but it's very clear that the trajectory of speech codes and language policing and the oppression of different points of view is working very obviously in one direction.  And that is the progressive left, which has a stranglehold on the media, on the academy and on Hollywood, constantly characterizing conservative points of view as hateful and bigoted, sexist, racist and all the rest of it.  And constricting not just the language that conservatives can use, but the ideas they're allowed to express, and the subjects they're allowed to bring up...  It's a really weird set of affairs for America, of all places, to be a country where speech is so heavily restricted, and it's normally the speech of conservatives.

~ Milo Yiannopoulos, "'Dangerous' Milo Yiannopoulos tells all," (5:53-7:09 mark), YouTube, July 12, 2017

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