Luxury car taxes – Are huge in this country!

27 11 2009

The new Mercedes Benz SLS AMG:  See article here

The SLS officially went on sale in Germany this month with a pricetag of Euro 177,310 including sales tax. In straight conversion terms that’s around A$284,000. With local luxury car taxes, GST and the like, the pricetag is likely to be closer to $500,000 when it arrives sometime next year.

That’s some serious taxation.  Another example of how economic fallacies live on.  In this case, the idea that the poor benefit by harsh taxation of the rich – False.  In reality, everyone suffers.


LTE 25/11/09

24 11 2009

Sending this in today in response to the “ClimateGate” affair.

I am constantly amazed at how most people in our society are unwilling or unable to identify the fundamental aspects to current events and instead focus on trivialities.  The ongoing climate change debate is a classic example.  Unbeknownst to most, the climate science itself is actually of secondary relevance to most people.  The real issue is one of government control.  The ETS, and all other schemes presuppose that it is beneficial for a government to restrict, control or penalise the peaceful, voluntary, mutually beneficial business interactions between individuals and indeed whole industries.    However, an historical analysis clearly demonstrates that the more economic freedom in a country, the better the environment fares. eg/ Chernobyl vs 3-mile island.  Not only this, the more economic freedom in a country, the more technological innovation to solve actual or perceived problems such as climate change.  eg/ the IT industry is one of the least regulated and most innovative.  So why are so many, so willing to jump to the conclusion that force backed government intervention is necessary or beneficial? 
The reality is that everything we do to sustain our lives has an impact on nature. Every value we create to advance our well-being, every ounce of food we grow, every structure we build, every technological gadget, is produced by extracting raw materials and reshaping them to serve our needs. Despite what the masses believe, human survival depends on freedom and it is entirely natural for humans to alter the environment for their own benefit.  To suggest otherwise is to promote human death and nihilism.

Update: Published in Adealide Advertiser with some editing as I expected.  Actually I’m surprised such a large LTE got in.

Backlash against Ian Plimer – Author of Heaven and Earth

23 11 2009

I’m a scientician by trade and therefore inevitably I have met many scientists over the years, both professionally and socially.

I’m also a capitalist – not exactly a mainstream political position – but I think this is even rarer amongst scientists most of whom do not understand that a capitalist society would actually result in more scientific research rather than less (although almost certainly less research in some currently favoured areas). 

I think the government monopolization of science is sub-optimal and stifles free-thinking.  Keeping state force out of science seems like a pretty good idea to me but obviously not to most.  

I just finished reading this brief article  detailing some statements excerpted from emails apparently stolen from Britain’s Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia.  There certainly seem to be some damming stuff in there and it certainly doesn’t appear that the science is settled as we so often hear from power hungry politicians: 

In one e-mail, the center’s director, Phil Jones, writes Pennsylvania State University’s Michael E. Mann and questions whether the work of academics that question the link between human activities and global warming deserve to make it into the prestigious IPCC report, which represents the global consensus view on climate science.

“I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report,” Jones writes. “Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

In another, Jones and Mann discuss how they can pressure an academic journal not to accept the work of climate skeptics with whom they disagree. “Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal,” Mann writes.

This article reminded me of my own experiences that I encounter day to day as a scientist who is also a capitalist.  Basically every single scientist I know professionally or socially supports government interference with the economy for the sake of the environment.  While people I work with have no coherent answers to my objections (eg/ I may tell someone how harmful and pointless the ban on plastic bags in Sth Australia is) they clearly support government intervention and collectively focused anti-industry legislation.  They mumble that “we have to do something” or similar.  It’s quite depressing to witness this level of ignorance amongst smarter than average people. 

A good example of this phenomenon occurred to me a few weeks back.  A couple of my work colleagues were complaining about how the Adelaide based scientist and author Ian Plimer had “gone off the rails” and how dissapointing that was.  They once admired Plimer’s crusade against creationism during the 90s but couldn’t understand how he could now author a book sceptical of the AGW hypothesis.   I have not read this book and do not wish to comment on how good or bad it is but the point is that neither had my scientist colleagues.  Say one word sceptical of climate change and you’re considered a leper, in my experience anyway.  I know several scientists opposed to back burning to prevent potential bush fire damage, oil drilling, urban development etc

Oh well.  I hope the tide turns and that the ETS can be abandoned in Australia.  It’s a big hope but it appears my wish is possible.  Despite what the UN’s IPCC claims, the AGW debate is still raging and scepticism is growing. 

One thing’s for sure.  I will not vote for the Liberal party if they end up supporting or compromising on the ETS.  That will be the final nail in the coffin for a party that doesn’t give a stuff about liberty as their name attempts to imply.

Update 24/11/09.  Wow, the University of East Anglica scandal is big news today.  Andrew Bolt has an excellent summary at his blog.  I found this Glenn Beck video linked from the Catallaxy blog:

Quote of the day

17 11 2009

“….when altruism prevails, each individual must regard all other individuals as a source of loss and misery” – George Reisman replying to a commentor on his blog

The more altruistic a culture, the more people end up disliking and feeling threatened by each other.  The more egoistic and individualistic, the more benevolent people are towards each other.

Singer’s contradictions and advocacy of state initiated force

16 11 2009

According to Singer, meat should be taxed at 50% because this would apparently help the environment.  Singer is a vegetarian who falsely believes that meat is bad for your health (even though humans have clearly evolved to eat meat). 

This is what is called a “sin” tax.  Ultimately I think you can trace this style of tax back to common (often implicit) philosophical ideas of modern western culture.  ie: Most people from either religious ethics traditions or from modern philosophy’s building on Kantian ethics (or a mixture of the two) believe being morally good means self sacrifice or servitude to God/state/society/insert collective.  These collectives are considered to have a higher power over the individual therefore sacrifice is inevitable at some point.  Selfish pursuits are considered evil and therefore we need “sin” taxes.  In addition, the real world substance of these collectives is conceptual only, not actual.  Because there is no God and no “society” in the external world, there will inevitably be problems (ie: conflicts between individual and collective) when trying to base an ethical theory on non-empirical conceptual inventions. 

Original article at NY daily news

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Political correctness and cultural bias

11 11 2009

Jack Cashill has written a fascinating article detailing the 1977 Pultizer prize winning book “Roots” written by a fraudulent Haley.

“There is no better case study of a literary cover-up than that surrounding the publishing phenomenon known as Roots: The Saga of an American Family.”

I don’t want to draw any political conclusions from the article.  I just thought it was fascinating how little people (the public, the Pultizer commitee and the newspapers) cared that this book not only contained plagarism but was also faked.  When released, apparently the author Haley claimed the contents were true. 

This could be a good case study for Historians concerned about cultural bias. 

According to the author of this article, this fraudulent book is still a “staple in history classes across America”

“In 1993, a year after Haley’s death, writer Philip Nobile did his best to expose what he calls “one of the great literary hoaxes of modern times.” In February of that year, he published Uncovering Roots in the influential alternative publication, The Village Voice. The article brought to a larger public the story of the Courlander suit and the Mills’s genealogy work.  Nobile also revealed that Haley’s editor at Playboy magazine, the very white and Jewish Murray Fisher, did much of the book’s writing.”

Nobile blames Roots’s seeming immunity on his progressive colleagues. “They were all too scared, or dishonest,” he writes, “to admit to the public that the most famous black writer had lied about his ancestry.”

Mark Spitznagel’s opinion piece about Mises in the WSJ

11 11 2009

They should print this in the Australian.