= "Social Analysis and Programming"

Against conscience / for utility

Published by Skeptikos on Jul 21, 2014

Bryan Caplan argues that even dedicated utilitarians are poor utilitarians, and this supposedly shows that, on some level, they aren’t actually utilitarians – their consciences oppose their utilitarian beliefs.

Not long ago he wrote that consequentialism is inherently authoritarian, and presumably that explains this post. Basically, if Bryan Caplan accepts utilitarianism (a form of consequentialism), he’ll be under more pressure to abandon free market anarchism. So the utilitarianism has to go.

The argument ... Read more

Tags: Libertarianism

What good are left-libertarians?

Published by Skeptikos on Jun 18, 2014

My friend Alex Strekal, a former libertarian, wrote a dismissive piece about left-libertarianism at his “Anti-Libertarian Criticism” blog. At C4SS, a left-libertarian website, Natasha Petrova kindly responded. I have my own thoughts, but first, a quick review for non-libertarians:

Left-libertarians typically start as anarcho-capitalists, then modify their views with criticisms from leftist groups – anarchist communists, Marxists, feminists, the Wobblies, and so on. Instead of ditching libertarianism, however, ... Read more

Tags: Left-libertarianism Libertarianism

Some notes on the new website

Published by Skeptikos on Jun 12, 2014

I replaced the old NOMINATE data with Boris Schor's NPAT data. (Read about the differences here.) All 50 states now have interactive graphs. The state pages default to the most recent year of data available, but you can also see older years by clicking on the legislator links.

I intend to put the old NOMINATE data back up, along with more visualizations, but I won't predict how long that will take. A few other projects may take precedence.

Since I know some people were fans of a few of the older blog posts, I'll try to ... Read more

Ted Cruz ACA poll results:

Published by Skeptikos on Apr 3, 2014

Ted Cruz took a poll on facebook:

It didn't seem to go as planned. One article says it “blew up in his face”. I wrote a program to gather the results for him.

Yes: 1621 - 39%
No: 2515 - 61%

The earlier comments, which are easily visible on facebook, are heavily biased in favor of "yes". Thus the media response. But overall the "noes" get the majority, as you'd expect on a conservative facebook page.

Many people didn't follow instructions, so the numbers aren't perfect. (For example, one ... Read more

Tags: Ruby Mechanize

Chris Cantwell demonstrates the inherent contradiction of the FSP

Published by Skeptikos on Sep 12, 2013

In a rare spectacle, Chris Cantwell got himself kicked out of the FSP. Now he's a 'porcupine non grata'.

It's not hard to see why. In an incendiary blog post, he wrote, “the answer, at some point, is to kill government agents,” among other things, while the FSP guidelines clearly say “Participants may be removed for promoting violence, racial hatred, or bigotry.” And this, right after the Concord PD implied the FSP was a 'terrorist' group in a ... Read more

Tags: Libertarianism Free State Project

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