Human Freedom Index of the World

Dan Mitchell:

The 2018 version has just been published, and, as you can see, New Zealand is the world’s most-libertarian nation, followed by Switzerland and Hong Kong. The United States is tied with Sweden for #17.

. . .

And that also is apparent on this map (darker is better). So maybe “western civilization” isn’t so bad after all.

 

Advertisements

Trump: Experts All Say US Troops Need to Stay in Afghanistan

President Trump:

every expert that I have and speak to says if we don’t go there, they’re going to be fighting over here. And I’ve heard it over and over again.”

I suppose its the same with Iraq. Its gone so well. Of course, an “expert” will say the government needs to continue doing the same thing. Such insight is what makes them experts!

Macron caves in to French protesters – too late, they say

The French government caved in after Paris’ worst rioting in decades and delayed an increase in energy taxes Tuesday — but it was seen as “too little, too late” by many protesters whose anger seems increasingly focused on embattled President Emmanuel Macron.

The grievances widen:

The protests began Nov. 17 with motorists upset over the fuel tax increase, but have grown to encompass a range of complaints — the stagnant economy, social injustice and France’ tax system, one of the highest in Europe — and some now call for the government to resign. . . .

One unifying complaint among the leaderless protesters, who come from across the political and social spectrum, has been the anger at Macron and the perceived elitism of France’s aloof ruling class.

Me: taxes are the most visible expression of government control by greedy politicians and bureaucrats. But these same people are playing a con game. They convince the general population into thinking they are helping you by taxing and regulating some trumped up, anonymous, evil person or corporation. But, those same taxes and regulations come back to bite you because those regulations and taxes trickle down to you in the form of reduced choices and higher prices. This time, the French people caught on. But remember, regulations work the same way but are less visible, so don’t sign up for that. And, a tax on one is a tax on all.

Read it all.

 

Vice President Mike Pence Walks Out on His Home-state Indianapolis Colts

Fox News:

Vice President Mike Pence walked out on his home-state Indianapolis Colts Sunday when members of the opposing team kneeled for the national anthem, but a report that Colin Kaepernick, the player who started it all, will stand if given another shot in the NFL was quickly dialed back.

“I left today’s Colts game because @POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem,” Pence tweeted.

Mike, you didn’t dignify the event by being there. Why do citizens shows excessive deference to politicians? Come on people, they are not our daddy or mommy, and we don’t do royalty in the U.S.

“While everyone is entitled to their own opinions, I don’t think it’s too much to ask NFL players to respect the Flag and our National Anthem,” he continued.

So what is it that we must show respect for? The flag itself, the National Anthem, or what they represent? And what do they represent anyway? The omnipotence of government and superiority of the political class? Or the principles on which the country was founded? If the principles, remember all levels of government are bound by the Constitution, and government’s primary job is to ensure the security of private property and personal liberty, with each level of government being responsible for their assigned activity.

 

Bill Maher Lashes Out At Democrats For Over-Regulation: “It Makes People Hate Us, It Makes Me Hate Us”

Yes! HBO Real Time host Bill Maher arguing for freedom to make choices in our lives.

“Until then all this will accomplish is to feed into the Republican message that Democrats don’t want to help people they just want to micromanage their lives,” Maher said. “It makes people hate us. It makes me hate us. And it prompts kickback.”

You bet your a$$ it prompts kickback, at least from me.

“I don’t want to let the right-wing own freedom,” Maher said. “People want to drain the swamp, not ban Big Gulps. Yes, I understand, you have a thousand good ideas for how I should live my life, check my privilege and sort my recycling. I will get to that. But first we need to get some Democrats elected and that’s hard when the movement to childproof the world has made Republicans the party of freedom and Democrats the party of poopers.”

With you on this, Bill. Here. I’d love to see more competition between the political parties over more freedom.

Camille Paglia on Hugh Hefner

Q and A in the Hollywood Reporter. Very provocative and thoughtful. Intro:

With the death of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner on Sept. 27, cultural historian and contrarian feminist Camille Paglia spoke to The Hollywood Reporter in an exclusive interview on topics ranging from what Hef’s choice of the bunny costume revealed about him to the current “dreary” state of relationships between the sexes.

Was Hugh Hefner a misogynist?

Absolutely not! The central theme of my wing of pro-sex feminism is that all celebrations of the sexual human body are positive. Second-wave feminism went off the rails when it was totally unable to deal with erotic imagery, which has been a central feature of the entire history of Western art ever since Greek nudes.

And on:

Hefner reimagined the American male as a connoisseur in the continental manner, a man who enjoyed all the fine pleasures of life, including sex. Hefner brilliantly put sex into a continuum of appreciative response to jazz, to art, to ideas, to fine food.

Nevertheless, I have always taken the position that the men’s magazines — from the glossiest and most sophisticated to the rawest and raunchiest — represent the brute reality of sexuality. Pornography is not a distortion. It is not a sexist twisting of the facts of life but a kind of peephole into the roiling, primitive animal energies that are at the heart of sexual attraction and desire.

The connection with the 2016 election and Donald Trump:

Before the election, I kept pointing out that the mainstream media based in Manhattan, particularly The New York Times, was hopelessly off in the way it was simplistically viewing Trump as a classic troglodyte misogynist. I certainly saw in Trump the entire Playboy aesthetic, including the glitzy world of casinos and beauty pageants.

On the blending of sexes:

So we’re now in a period of sexual boredom and inertia, complaint and dissatisfaction, which is one of the main reasons young men have gone over to pornography. Porn has become a necessary escape by the sexual imagination from the banality of our everyday lives, where the sexes are now routinely mixed in the workplace.

Is there anything of lasting value in Hugh Hefner’s legacy?

We can see that what has completely vanished is what Hefner espoused and represented — the art of seduction, where a man, behaving in a courtly, polite and respectful manner, pursues a woman and gives her the time and the grace and the space to make a decision of consent or not. Hefner’s passing makes one remember an era when a man would ask a woman on a real date — inviting her to his apartment for some great music on a cutting-edge stereo system (Playboy was always talking about the best new electronics!) — and treating her to fine cocktails and a wonderful, relaxing time. Sex would emerge out of conversation and flirtation as a pleasurable mutual experience. So now when we look back at Hefner, we see a moment when there was a fleeting vision of a sophisticated sexuality that was integrated with all of our other aesthetic and sensory responses.

Do men need a kind of Hefner for today to give an example of how to interact with women in a sophisticated manner?

Yes. Women’s sexual responses are notoriously slower than men’s. Truly sophisticated seducers knew that women have to be courted and that women love an ambiance, setting a stage.

And much more! Whole thing here.

Aid to Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria

The problem is distribution.

Update: Mary Anastasia O’Grady with FEMA’s Foul-up:

Meanwhile, the Boricua are slowly recovering from what can only be described as a giant FEMA fubar. True, an island tyrannized by labor unions some 1,200 miles from Florida with an annual per capita income of $29,000—and a bankrupt state-owned electricity monopoly—presents special challenges.