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Friday Ephemera

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Via Simen, Daniel Greenfield talks us through the Victim Value Index:

Historical suffering transmuted into guilt is the gold standard of liberalism, but suffering is relative. In our wonderful multi-everything society, there are so many groups with so many claims to pain. Everyone agrees that the Heteronormative Caucasian Patriarchy of Doom is to blame for all of it, but that still leaves the question of dividing up the spoils of the system and all the privileges to be gained from denouncing privilege. A caste system doesn’t work without priority, and calculating the priority of privilege claims by the perpetually underprivileged is complicated. Without the Victim Value Index, understanding how these priorities work can be confusing, even for liberals. It’s particularly confusing for conservatives and libertarians who don’t understand the system and dismiss it as liberal insanity. It is insane, the way all cultural taboos are, but there is a method to the madness.

A. Barton Hinkle on Obama, pencils and who deserves what

A complex society is necessary for the creation of business, but it is not sufficient. Countless people made modern computing and the internet possible. But Elon Musk, not anybody else, made PayPal happen. And even if that were not so – even if Musk’s contribution to the creation of PayPal were no greater than the contribution from Phil, the goateed baristo at Starbucks with the Occupy Everything sticker on his car – Obama’s approach leaves a crucial question unanswered: Why should Phil, rather than Elon, enjoy the proceeds from PayPal’s success? Suppose you sell me a pencil. You didn’t make that. Still, I freely gave my dollar to you. How much right do you have to that dollar? That’s hard to say, but this is not: You have far more right to keep it than any third party has to take it away.

And Glenn Reynolds on two ways to pitch a campaign and Obama’s track record:   

The Obama administration sold its near trillion dollar “stimulus” plan by claiming that without it, unemployment would reach 9% while with it, unemployment would stay below 8%. Despite the bill, unemployment hit 10% and has, in fact, remained more than 8% for the past 42 months. The “stimulus” money, meanwhile, seems to have vanished into a welter of crony-capitalism deals of which the Solyndra debacle is only the most famous. And all that “hope and change” from the administration has turned to “attack and blame” as Obama and his surrogates launch one assault after another in an effort to turn the conversation to anything besides the economy. So much for the promised Bright New Day. With trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, and the exploding national debt (which Obama called unconscionable when it was about half as big as it has become under his stewardship), it seems time for a Back To Basics approach. And that’s clearly the direction favoured by Romney, the turnaround artist who specialised in taking mismanaged entities and making them work. His choice of Ryan simply takes it to a new level. As Internet humourist IowaHawk tweeted on Saturday: “Paul Ryan represents Obama’s most horrifying nightmare: Math.”

Yes, it’s often fun to watch bluster collide with maths

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