Not Guilty

I followed the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse very closely, particularly the closing arguments by the prosecutors and defense. It was riveting. I was convinced that Kyle acted in self-defense and hoped that the jury also came to the same conclusion. Just a couple of hours ago, the jury reached a verdict after four days of deliberations: Not guilty on all five counts. For a quick summary of the case, see Reason.com.

I am delighted and relieved. Continue reading

No Excuse

Tweet from Oct 12, 2021

In a tweet on Oct 12th, Prime Minister Modi boasted, “I feel proud that even at the peak of COVID-19, 80 crore Indians got access to free food grains.”

It takes an extraordinary amount of self-deluded arrogance for a prime minister to claim credit for something that any person of average morality and sensibility would be ashamed to admit. It is shameful that India is so desperately poor that 800 million (out of a total population of around 1,400 million) would starve under adverse conditions without government food assistance.

“If you feel driven to feed the poor, get your checkbook out and keep your tyrannical mouth shut about it.” – Lewis Goldberg

If it was Modi’s personal fortune that was the source of the largesse, he could have been justifiably proud for having helped the poor in distress. But it was not his money; he merely extracted the wealth from about 600 million at the point of a gun and transferred it to the 800 million. In doing so, he forcefully demonstrated that Indians can be conceptually partitioned between two mutually exclusive and exhaustive groups: those 800 million who are reduced to beggary, and the 600 million who are reduced to slavery. Continue reading

Inflation

Inflation is what the government does. By printing fiat money, the government imposes a vicious tax on people. Taxation is theft and inflation is the most damaging of theft. Yesterday I paid twice as much for gas as I did just a year and a half ago. In April 2020, I paid $1.69 a gallon (see the image above and note the date stamp; also note it says 1.69 for regular, and 1.89 for premium) and yesterday I paid $3.40 a gallon for regular at the same gas station.

May Biden rot in hell. Let’s go, Brandon.

Inequality – Part 2

Prabhudesai, in a comment to the recent post on inequality, wrote that envy motivates the concern for inequality; otherwise, to demonstrate their commitment to equality, people would give away that portion of their wealth that exceeds the average wealth of the society (or the world at large, if they are really sincere.) I agree. 

People who are exercised about what they consider to be an “unfair distribution” of wealth insist that the wealth of the super-rich should be confiscated and distributed “fairly” to all. Bezos, Musk and other multi-billionaires come in for special censure. Why, the cry goes out, should they have billions when there are starving millions? They have more than they could possibly consume while there are people who are starving. It’s immoral and sinful. The government must do something about that.

I disagree for various reasons. First, I present a consequentialist argument why the wealth of the super-rich should not be redistributed by government edict. As I am not a utilitarian, I reject this argument for a much stronger claim. Continue reading

Common Sense

Born in England in 1737, Thomas Paine emigrated to the British American colonies in 1774. He anonymously published a pamphlet titled Common Sense in 1776, which inspired the American patriots to declare independence from Great Britain in the same year.

The wiki says, “Virtually every rebel read (or listened to a reading of) his 47-page pamphlet Common Sense, proportionally the all-time best-selling American title, which catalysed the rebellious demand for independence from Great Britain.”

Common Sense opens with the following paragraph. Continue reading

How the World Works — Part Duh

After the success of the How the World Works – Part Uh, I have been pressured to offer Part Duh of the same. So if you, dear reader, were so unlucky as to have missed the first part, despair not — Part Duh is finally here. Even if you did catch parts of the first offering, you are sure to get a lot more in this new series. But there’s a catch!

This time around you have to pay. This part, unlike the first part, is not free. Why not? you may ask. Because there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Why not? Ah, you’d learn why not if you attend this part of “How the World Works.”

Seriously, you’ll get it. And when you get it, you’d be delighted. And if you’re not delighted, it’d be entirely your fault. Guaranteed or your money back. Promise. So here are the details.

Continue reading

Decline

Thanks to the wonders of socialism and communism, China was either at par with or poorer than India for most of the 20th century CE. However, in 1978 China’s luck changed when Deng Xiaoping took over. Deng was a pragmatist, had the capacity to learn and do what needed to be done — make China great again.

In May 2014, when Modi came to power, I was absolutely delighted. India’s moment has come. Modi will do what Deng Xiaoping did for China.

But in about two months by July 2014, I realized that Modi was not Deng. In the years that followed, Modi showed his true colors: a power-crazed autocrat who was a cross between Nehru and Mao. He combined Nehru’s narcissistic self-obsession and general lack of vision, with Mao’s ruthless authoritarianism and disdain for people.

Modi was the amalgam of the worst that India and China had produced — Nehru and Mao.

It did not matter how duped and betrayed I felt after being an ardent supporter of his; what mattered was that India had missed a golden opportunity to lift hundreds of millions of people who are trapped in extreme poverty.

Back in May of this year, I wrote a bunch of tweets which was provoked by comparing the number of airline passenger-trips in India, China and US. (Click on image above to read the tweets.) I am reproducing them here, for the record. Continue reading

Oh! Calcutta!

Billboard on Broadway in 1981

Here I am not referring to the off-Broadway theatrical review Oh! Calcutta! which debuted in 1970 and “ran in London for over 3,900 performances, and in New York … including a Broadway revival that ran for 5,959 performances, making the show the longest-running revue in Broadway history at the time,” (according to the Wikipedia.)

I am referring to a speech ostensibly made by one Adit Jain of IMA in June 2021. No doubt Jain in the title to his talk is cleverly referencing that play but that’s not material here. The fact is that Bengal has descended into disaster because … Wait, let me not get ahead of the story. Continue reading

The Boeing 720 in Nagpur

United Airlines B-720

Today I learned about a Boeing 720 (not the one pictured on the left) which was parked at the airport at Nagpur (my old home town where I was born) for 24 years. This is the first time I came across Nagpur mentioned in a tweet on my twitter feed.

It’s an interestingly crazy story. Here’s the introduction to a twitter thread that tells the backstory.

Kenneth Copeland ditched a B-720 he owned at the Brown Field Municipal airport around 1988. A couple of years later, Mick Croy, a mechanic at the airport, noticed a guy hanging out near the abandoned plane. It was Sam Veder Verma, an Indian tire magnate. Sam asked Mick if he could fix the 29-year old plane. Mick said yes and got on the job. Continue reading