The Libertarian Podcast: Richard Epstein Responds to the State of the Union

 

Last night, I chatted with Richard Epstein about this year’s State of the Union address. We covered President Obama’s deficient understanding of economics, proposals for a minimum wage increase, what role technology has played in changing the labor market, and the weaknesses of the president’s foreign policy posture. Be forewarned—Professor Epstein was en fuego:

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I wasn’t born in Texas, but I got here as soon as I could (I’m stealing from a bumper sticker).   John Cornyn is up for reelection in the US Senate, and has several challengers in the primary.  The tea party is apparently very angry with him.  One prominent representative of this view is Michael […]

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Whitewashing Pete Seeger in the Wall Street Journal

 

Like Andrew, I thought that Peter Robinson was excessively charitable in his discussion of the late Pete Seeger. After all, the old apparatchik waited until 1995 to break with Joe Stalin, and his instinct for thuggery stayed with him to the very end. Witness his support for Occupy Wall Street.

Moreover, when invited to sing at the first inauguration of Barack Obama, Seeger resurrected some telling verses ordinarily snipped these days from his old comrade Woody Guthrie’s This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land, which was written in 1940 as the Popular Front’s answer to Irving Berlin’s God Bless America:

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Every once in a while my pessimism for the future of our civilization is punctured, briefly, by a reminder that the potshots of the loony left can occasionally become friendly fire: Katherine Cross, a Puerto Rican trans woman working on a PhD at the CUNY Graduate Center, wrote about how often she hesitates to publish […]

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The State of Speechmaking about the State of the Union

 

Last night’s State of the Union address was replete with platitudes, buzzwords, lame rhetorical tricks, and the same old same old. There was nothing, new, path-breaking or consequential that came out of it. Given former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’s admission that President Obama “stopped trying to change Washington years ago,” I suppose that none of this should come as any surprise, although we are left to wonder why we should have elected and re-elected a president who promised us Change We Can Believe In if he “long ago” decided to give up on delivering that change to the rest of us.

My reply to the State of the Union will not involve any kind of paragraph-by-paragraph fisking; life is too short and the State of the Union was far too tedious for that sort of treatment. But there were some sections of the speech that ought to be singled out for particular attention and discussion.

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Will a moderate be our next nominee? Ramesh Ponnuru says probably: http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-27/chris-christie-still-alive-for-2016.html And what does the nominee need to do? Conservative WSJ columnist Kimberly Strassel, Michael Medved, and Ramesh Ponnuru have pointed out that it simply isn’t true that Romney lost because he wasn’t conservative enough to stir up the base. McCain and Romney both […]

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Futuristic Bra Only Opens For ‘True Love’ I never was much of a breast man but some are obsessed with them and that apparently includes the Japanese.   “Tokyo, this is Reno, come in Tokyo”, (envision a shortwave radio). Anyway, some in our hookup culture are attempting to keep the mammalian protuberances hooked unless true love, or cardiac dysrhythmia, is […]

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Everyone has them, though not always articulated. They are the little rules of life one follows as a guideline to, if not be happy, then at least remain reasonably content and sometimes reasonably yet justifiably a bit smug. Maybe they aren’t so much as rules as they are guidelines. Like the pirate code only with less […]

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I just got an email from a Seattle attorney; it was a follow-up on our conversation from a few days ago. She thanked me for being so helpful and friendly, for my willingness to speak with her, and for the promptness with which I returned her initial phone call. She doesn’t know me, of course.  […]

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This week, my husband and I are going to achieve a small, personal milestone — pooling all the Christmas gift money, bonus money, and overtime money, we are going to pay off our 2008 federal tax bill. What makes this particularly noteworthy is that to hear many Republicans talk, we apparently couldn’t have owed a […]

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I like to discover those who should be friends; sometimes because their personalities are like opposites in a mirror, or because they reflect the same image.  Opposites attract, and birds of a feather flock together, but regardless, it’s a beautiful thing to witness.  Saturday night on the weekend of the great 200th podcast celebration in […]

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Uncle David was 17 when he and the family left the Soviet Union.  He became a member of the Communist Party-USA.  As a kid I thought he was the only sophisticated guy in the family.  He smoked a pipe and read the New Yorker. My Dad told me that when Hitler and Stalin agreed to […]

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I’m young, but old enough that when I was a kid watching the nightly news used to be a thing. The network of choice in our house was CBS, so we used to gather around and watch Dan Rather.  Local evening news, then national news, and maybe the 11:00 news to finish things off. Of […]

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My wife made a confession today. She was looking at pistols and revolvers because her favorite dog walking trails no longer feel safe to her. She has some experience with firearms, but her experience is 15 years old. She has no idea what would work best for her, and neither do I. I have a […]

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