Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Free markets in action (yes, another Barilla post)

The right-thinking people routinely tell me that free markets are powerless against bigotry and that only government can protect us. Yet The Washington Post, citing the Human Rights Campaign (and the latter is not exactly known for its libertarian bias), reports,
Not long ago, pasta-maker Barilla was just one more major company that had run afoul of the gay rights movement, a distinction it earned last year when its chairman said he would never feature a same-sex couple in an ad. If gays didn’t like it, he added, they could eat something else.

But in a sign of how toxic it has become for a company to be viewed as unfriendly toward gays, Barilla has made a dramatic turnaround in the space of one year, expanding health benefits for transgender workers and their families, contributing money to gay rights causes, and featuring a lesbian couple on a promotional Web site.

* * *

The remarks grabbed headlines around the world and prompted boycotts in the United States, where the firm has 30 percent of the pasta market with $430 million in sales in 2013, and elsewhere. Harvard University dumped Barilla from its cafeterias, gay rights groups promoted names of other brands of pasta, and Barilla’s competitors seized on the opportunity to present themselves as more forward-thinking, with Bertolli Germany posting a comment on its Facebook page promoting “pasta and love for all!”

So no law was needed to enforce goodthink. Instead, private parties, acting freely in the marketplace, convinced Barilla to change course.

Social conservatives have left some amusing comments. It seems that they are so outraged that Barilla has caved in to a boycott that they will punish it by boycotting it. Um, okay.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Washington, D.C., and cutting-edge art

In discussing Melissa Chiu's new role as director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, The New York Times stays true to form and characterizes Washington, D.C., as "staid"; "focused on the traditional, sometimes staid, vocabulary of civic monuments [and unwilling] to embrace a more risk-taking approach"; and "a tough place to introduce unconventional ideas," as opposed to New York, which it calls "a well of contemporary creativity worth tracking." Yet a city's aesthetic tastes are necessarily a macroscopic averaging of those of the people in it, and a city known chiefly as a seat of government tends to attract a different sort of person from one of the world's leading centers of commerce. This point seems lost on the government-worshipers at New York Times.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Someone actually said this (twofer): Gay libertarian gun nuts

Under the completely objective and not at all inflammatory headline "Meet the Gay Libertarian Gun Nuts," Cecilia D'Anastasio writes,
If you find the “gay libertarian gun enthusiast” identity perplexing, you’re not alone.
Gosh oh golly, yes, that is perplexing. What could individual liberty have to do with itself? The author then gives Shelby Chestnut of the Anti-Violence Project the last word:
"We need to look at the systemic inequalities that are causing people to be victims of violence,” she said. “The solution to that is definitely not creating violence to end violence."
Ms. Chestnut is welcome to ride her "systemic inequalities" unicorn, but some of us think that in the real world, intervening in violence to prevent violence from coming to fruition is enough of a solution.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

This week's eternal verity about majority rule

All right-thinking people know that since people are too stupid and lazy to run their own lives, a government elected by those same people should run our lives for us. Apparently, the voting booth is like the Great Teacher from Star Trek. Also, a progressive recently told me that while markets are not self-regulating, government is because of voting.

Now, however, the plot thickens:

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper says his state's voters were "reckless" for voting to become the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational use. The Democrat's statement came during a debate Monday with his Republican opponent, Bob Beauprez, just four weeks before voters head to the polls for the state's hotly contested gubernatorial election.

In 2012, more than 55 percent of voters in Colorado supported Amendment 64, which legalized marijuana for recreational use. The amendment aimed to regulate marijuana in roughly the same way alcohol is regulated.

Since the new law took effect in 2014, the state is on track to raise more than $40 million in new annual revenues for education and other priorities from marijuana-related taxes. There has been little evidence that crime rates or driving fatalities have increased since the law took effect. In fact, the opposite appears to be true: Violent crime rates in Denver were lower in the first half of 2014, and traffic fatalities in the state are near a record low.

So those brilliant voters are stupid after all, at least when they disagree with those politicians whom they had the sheer genius to elect. I guess we should just go back to the days of kings by Divine right. For one thing, rulers who enjoy the Mandate of Heaven never have conflicts of interest:
Hickenlooper said he is concerned that teenagers using the drug may experience long-term-memory loss. The governor, who made his fortune as a beer brewer, did not express similar criticisms or concerns about alcohol, which many scientists consider far more toxic than marijuana.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Someone actually wrote this: Republicans scaring up another war

To the people who still wonder whether the mainstream LGBT media shill for Team Blue: Both of you may want to look at this. The author, while lumping together stuff that he doesn't like, helpfully tells us who is responsible for the don't-call-it-a-war in West Asia:
The speed with which we are being goaded into war is not a sign of strength. It is easy to mock Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and his overcompensating sidekick Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) for their endless saber rattling, or Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) for his claim that ISIS members are sneaking across the Mexican border to cut our throats. But already our fears have been successfully exploited to justify yet another Mideast war effort.
Gosh, I wonder how Obama is handling all of this. Well, he does merit one mention in the column:
A better use of our military resources is the humanitarian mission announced by President Obama on Sept. 16, in which American forces will set up field hospitals and train local health workers in West Africa to help the fight against Ebola.
So I guess that's all he's up to.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Faux News: Democrats, Republicans offer competing plans to replace Statue of Liberty.

WASHINGTON, September 15, 2015 (Faux News) — As the nation mourns the destruction of the Statue of Liberty in the Great Blowback of 2015, Republican and Democratic U.S. senators have offered competing plans to replace the iconic statue with images that they say are more in keeping with contemporary American values.

Senator Brianna Fischer proposes rebuilding the Statue of Liberty as the Statue of Equality. Explains the Northeastern Democrat, "Liberty is an outmoded concept, and the word is just a code word for racism. Since we now understand that equality is what actually matters, our nation's iconography should reflect that."

Meanwhile, Senator Cody Brennan proposes building the Statue of Security on the site of the destroyed statue. Explains the Deep-South Republican, "Liberty was fine in the past, but the Great Blowback of 2015 changed everything. Those who would give up liberty for security are simply making the common-sense recognition that the Constitution isn't a suicide pact."

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

More on freedom for me, but not for thee

I came across the following in the Twitter feed of an acquaintance: That is fine as far as it goes, but by what neutral principle is it okay only in the situations specified? In general, people in the mainstream LGBT movement regard freedom of association as a scourge upon the earth. We also have those activists who sound like anarcho-capitalists when they talk about their own lives but like nanny-statists as soon as the topic turns to anyone else's. It's okay to want freedom for yourself; it's not okay to engage in special pleading to want freedom only for yourself.