Monday, August 31, 2009
Indeed, though it's a very small sample, I would say that since Mankiw seems like an unusually nice guy, and Krugman seems like a complete pill, but they both seem very smart and both have high incomes, that smarts seems to be the big determinant of income. These leaves unexplained why my income is not much higher than it is, but this is, as I said, a very small sample. The explanation I prefer is Posner's taste for wealth idea (probably not original to him) that, for example, as much as I like wealth (a lot!) there are other things I like even more (such as the free time to do such things as write this post), so that when forced to choose, as inevitably I am by the fiercely competitive market, I opt for things other than great wealth. It is also very inexpensive to keep telling yourself that.
I think questions such as "do we live in a meritocracy," are actually rather meaningless. The only question worth asking is, compared to what? The Krugman logic leads (I would predict) thusly -- we are not a meritocracy, therefore we need to spend more money on public schools, to pay our teachers, who we should not be able to fire even if they are dumb as bricks and terrible teachers, so kids get poorly educated even if they are smart.
Markets are meritocratic, at least if you compare them to what, say, the State of California has cooked up. And I wonder if Krugman would support school choice for the poor African American kids trapped in the nightmare of DC public schools? I doubt it, fond as he is of unions. If Democrats wanted to help kids they could do it tomorrow by breaking the teachers' unions. We all know they will never do that. Kids don't vote and they don't make campaign contributions.
Here. At one level, this is not that complicated. Israel really cannot permit Iran to get nuclear weapons, because Iran is ruled by people who say they want to wipe Israel off the map and they don't appear to be kidding. Iran is working as fast as they can to get nuclear weapons. The US is the only power besides Israel that is at all likely to be able to stop Iran. We need to do something, and soon. A bunch of Obama happy talk will not do it. Time is running out on this one. I'm not too hopeful though because I think US foreign policy is now in the hands of people who actually believe what their professors told them in their Neo-Colonialism class in college. Witness Honduras.
I hope Israel can get their hands on some of these, though I don't know if they have planes that could deliver them. I wonder if parts of them are made here in San Diego.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
More Catholic stuff: canon law of a Catholic funeral for Teddy Kennedy. (Interesting canon law blog here.) As these guidelines for the San Diego diocese indicate, it's considered inappropriate to have a big eulogy at a Catholic funeral. Let alone three. In the Irish custom, that's what the wake is for. But I suppose an archbishop can make an exception if he wants to. Or maybe not. Doubtless that is a question for a canon lawyer.
For an interesting controversy over a case where a Catholic funeral was denied, to mafia chieftan John Gotti, see here.