News Flash: The Republicans Do Not Believe in A Free Market

Scarcity can be a product of reality or a product of market conditions. One of the things that eliminates scarcity better than anything else is the profit motive. This drives more players into a market.

Now a person who thinks of systems as fundamentally static sees the high prices as a fixed given but once scarcity is gone, the prices start to shift. A more crowded market can see benefits from innovation (more value for the same price or less cost) and competition (similar values for less cost). 

The chief thing that prevents scarcity from being addressed is government licensing and regulation. I will argue, without supporting it thoroughly here, that no market monopoly has ever been maintained without a shift in regulation/licensing to prevent new competition on the part of governments.

What existed before the ACA was not a free market and what the Republicans propose isn't one either. For historical perspective see the podcast I have linked in A History of Strangled Health Care in the United States.

Argue that the Republicans are wrong all you want but they are not now and have never (during my lifetime) been for a free market in medicine (or just about anything else). They are consistently about cutting taxes, increasing government spending, and pandering to the Christians.

A History of Strangled Health Care in the United States

Take this in for a moment and see how you feel about it:

A free market in medical care has not existed in America for about a century.

Isn't the problem more recent than that? One struggles to imagine it. But one doesn't have to. A recent EconTalk guest, Christy Ford Chapin, lays it out in a discussion rich with historical perspective. In discussion with the host, Russ Roberts, she lays out a historical narrative of an American Medical Association that uses its licensing power to destroy the market in medicine except for individual practictioners doing fee for service care without insurance.

The story evolves as the AMA, fearing government socialization in the aftermath of the Great Depression and WWII, seek to expand coverage to prevent the socialization of their trade. They enter into a faustian bargain with insurance companies and you land where we are today.

For those who have been frustrated with the state of medicine and the fragmentation among specialists of the medical trade, you will find an interesting and informative discussion.


Historian Christy Ford Chapin of University of Maryland Baltimore County and Johns Hopkins and author of Ensuring America's Health talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her book--a history of how America's health care system came to be dominated by insurance companies or government agencies paying doctors per procedure. Chapin explains how this system emerged from efforts by the American Medical Association to stop various reform efforts over the decades. Chapin argues that different models might have emerged that would lead to a more effective health care system.

Christy Ford Chapin on the Evolution of the American Health Care System | EconTalk | Library of Economics and Liberty

Peak Bullshit: Turns Out The Dalai Lama is a Hateful Figure

Apparently, even privileged fucks from China can exploit inclusivity and diversity to shut people down. You know... hateful people like the Dalai fucking Lama.

Now I don't agree with the Lama or his ethos, but come on... he mostly talks about dealing with your own garbage and tending to yourself.

If you needed any more evidence that Social Justice is morally bankrupt exploitation of feeling over fact (and feeling over the exercise of individual judgment), there you have it. Calls for diversity and inclusivity, with rare exception, imply an abandonment of reason, which is the only bullshit detector you have.

Our relationship with our own faculties of reason come down to practice. It's use it or lose it. Either we call things as we see them or we're the next mark for whomever figures out how to push our buttons.

But, if our commitment to the truth is strong enough and we form convictions based on our long-term practice of clear thinking, we can be like the immovable stone in the river... the manipulations will flow around us like so much water.

We don't need to fix the world or anyone else's flawed notions. But we do need to look upon the world call bullshit when we see a steaming pile of it.  We are at peak bullshit right now (or hopefully heading toward it).  You've never needed your reason more.

There Are Four Lights!

Joe Rogan Experience #877 - Jordan Peterson

I've only checked out the episodes of Rogan that friends have said I have to listen to except for this one, which I have listened to with no recommendation.

Rogan has proven himself to be a really smart and knowledgable host who can hang with nearly anyone, at their level. This one has an amalgam of philsophy, psychology, and mythology and it's pretty dense at times but it's a great discussion about the cancerous effects of Postmodernist philosophy and its war against clear thinking and elevation of feeling over fact.

Peterson has decided to take a vocal stand against recent legislation in Toronto in regards to gender pronouns and I first became aware of him from Sam Harris's podcast but this conversation flows a lot better than the ones between Harris and Peterson.

This is a 3-hour chat. It is profound and worth your time.

Venezuela, Trump, and Sanders

In response to a long-time work friend on the Bookface:

Venezuela is an interesting Ghost of Christmas Future for societies which do not make banishment of force against any individual (tautologically, the smallest minority you can create) its highest priority.

When, instead of protecting rights, government acts as the violator in the name of "equitable distribution of revenues", the government violations of individual rights will not likely stop at force against the rich and wealthy.

You are correct about the current president. He is a danger to us all. However, this may also have proven true of a President Bernie Sanders as well. That is the important idea to consider.

Neither the Democrats or the Republicans are principled about using force to protect rights rather than to violate them. Nor do they have clear principles about what is or is not a right. The will of the majority does not create natural laws.

Going back to your original thought... I will try to appreciate this day. It is easy for me to get there mentally because my parents left behind everything they owned to escape the Viet Cong and come here. And today I celebrate the life of my paternal grandfather. Much love.

Don't Let Anyone Smuggle In The Bathwater With The Baby

You've done the hard work of making sure you don't throw the baby out with the bathwater: discarding sensible things associated with negative ones. Good!

Gotta also make sure you don't accept nonsense because it's hanging out with something sensible.

For example: kindness is a good state in which to be. But I've heard recently that political correctness is just another word for kindness/consideration from a person who was being rather unkind about it.

Well, with all due respect to reality, if it were merely kindness or consideration with no differentiating features, there wouldn't be a need for a separate term for it. You heard it here first, folks: Every new term entails some new differentiae from the genus. And if you don't think so, stop arguing for Gay Marriage and just accept "Civil Unions".

Different word? Different Concept.

Political correctness is an exploitation of an implicit moral gradient... one direction is uphill and the other benefits from gravity because we have, perhaps unknowingly, accepted some premise. It is usually meant to compel or prohibit certain behavior but the overarching goal is to make you doubt your own mind.

Self-doubt? Fuck that noise. We ain't got time for that.

I'm not saying we should go out of our way to be offensive. We're not Trampeteers or Alt-Right Supremacists. But we need to understand Political Correctness as what it is: Guerilla Warfare against the way your mind sees reality.

Well... Your mind is all that you have. And the extent to which you trust your mind is the extent to which you have self-esteem.

Don't smuggle in the bathwater with the baby. And don't let anyone else do that for you either.

How the World Becomes a Better Place According to the Bookface


  • Step 1: person posts rage-driven engagement-inducing meme.
  • Step 2: even more see that shit and feel either rage or self-righteousness
  • Step 3: profit

Blog posts written by your own hand

  • Step 1: Write something on your blog that can actually engage people in discussion without triggering them
  • Step 2: Two people see it

Prince on Arsenio in 2014

Apparently Prince was the very first guest on Arsenio Hall when he came back to Late Night in 2014.

An amazing interview. People are rapt... listening so closely you could hear a pin drop in the gaps while Prince is speaking.

He talks about technology being a double edged sword and that artists don't always get paid.  That is a malady of our age and people who love art and artists need to find it within themselves to make sure that they do not deprive artists of pay by their short sighted choices.

Justice, of the Social Sort

Social justice only happens when we treat people as individuals in accordance with their conduct.

However, most of what writers try to float as "social justice" is some variant of robbing people like Paul to pay people like Petra. The Pauls are given less than their conduct deserves out of some warped notion of tribal guilt.

That is not justice of any kind.

To Rent or To Own... To Be Employed or To Own

How many people have said to me that they think renting is throwing money away but owning goes toward somethiing. Many.

How many of these people consider whether working for someone else vs. starting and owning your own business is the same question. Very few.

What Social Justice People Want From You

People who make a lot of noise about social justice aren't very clear about what the end game is for all of their noisemaking.

They can't name it explicitly because, deep down, whether they know it or not, their end game is your guilt. And your guilt is their power.

They can win this only with your assent.


Live your life the best you can playing the hand you were dealt. Live like your long-term happiness and well-being are your primary goal.

Sure... help others from time to time, but for your own reasons. Share your truth for your love of the truth. Share your knowledge for the love of knowledge. Share with people whom you enjoy because of their love of their own lives.

Never let sacrifice or guilt become your motive power. Never apologize for your priority of fact over feeling.

Wax On, Wax Off: The Arpeggio Meditation by Daniel Ward

Ukulele Magazine recently featured an article written by Daniel Ward on practicing arpeggios slowly and another article expanding on it.  I've incorporated meditative fingerpicking into my daily practice first thing to get focused on breathing and listening. 

I have also adapted the practice for the key of G Major:


Fingerpicking practice, breathing, and listening. Arranged by Francis Luong (Franco)

G                                 Gmaj7
    Gtr I

  Em7                                 Em6

  Cmaj7                               D7sus4            D7

  G                                   Cm

The Good, the Bad, and PowerTab

I decided to try assembling a tab using powertab which is pretty old these days and hasn't been maintained.  I don't suspect I'll continue using it.  Print output has severe issues with title alignment on Windows 10.

My inelegant workaround is ASCII output, which permits me to adjust the text.  I just don't think I have the patience to PDF, screenshot, and crop after using that dreadful interface.  

screenshot and crop from PDF

screenshot and crop from PDF