American Elephants


The Miracle of Compound Interest! by The Elephant's Child

deirdre-mccloskey-university-of-illinois-at-chicagoFrom Economist Dierdre McCloskey:

In the countries that most enthusiastically embraced capitalism, some two hundred years ago, real per-capita economic growth has increased by 1.5 percent annually. Owing to the miracle of compound interest, this increase has meant a 19-fold  increase in living standards over the past two centuries, which, she contends, is a “change in the human condition” that “ranks with the first domestication of plants and animals and the building of the first towns”…this enormous economic result had a cause that was cultural rather than economic. Humans did not suddenly become more acquisitive or creative. Rather, “when people treat the  marketers and inventors as having some dignity and liberty, innovation takes hold.”

The new respectability of bourgeois life, the belief that the creativity of capitalism’s creative destruction more than offsets its destruction, was the decisive attitudinal change that rendered human life in the past two centuries decisively different from what it had been throughout the preceding millennia.



Why World War II Matters — Victor Davis Hanson by The Elephant's Child


Here’s a fascinating lecture by Victor Davis Hanson on why World War II matters. It ended 71 years ago, ancient history. The very last of those who served in the war are nearly all gone, and even those who really remember are passing on. How do we make those to whom it is ancient history, who may not even know who was fighting or why they were fighting or why it matters understand?

Dr. Hanson, Central Valley farmer, college professor, military historian, columnist, author and fellow at the Hoover Institution is presented here by the Hillsdale College History Department. Enjoy. It’s well worth your time.



Mark Steyn is in Australia Trying to Explain Free Speech to the Aussies. by The Elephant's Child

Mark Steyn was in Australia this week, trying to explain free speech to the Aussies. It’s an interesting panel discussion because it clearly explains the problem that always arises in any discussion of free speech. Everybody is absolutely for free speech, except no one should be allowed to make cruel, unpleasant, wrong, nasty, morally objectionable remarks or other things that might offend.

Shouldn’t there be standards? And there’s the rub.  People are still expected to have manners, be thoughtful, not advocate those things which society says are beyond the pale, and you can object, condemn them for what they said, smack them down or refuse to associate with them, but you cannot make a law against speech that you don’t like. Government has no role in abridging the right of free speech. None.

You can walk away, turn your back, or argue vociferously. If you punch them in the nose, you may get in trouble with the law for battery. But you may not silence them by force of law. Why? The minute you try to protect against one kind of offensive speech, there is no end to the speech your opponents will find unacceptable. It’s a very hard argument for even the Aussies and many Americans to grasp in full.



Parenting Isn’t Always a Picnic! Happy Mother’s Day! by The Elephant's Child

 

Baby fox
Bear urinal
Lions3
Horses
Hippos 2

Keep going, there’s more after the fold
Continue reading



RIP: Australian Marine Geologist Dr. Robert Carter by The Elephant's Child

Climate-change-denier-Pro-005
Dr. Bob Carter died of a massive heart attack at age 74. He was an environmental scientist and emeritus professor from James Cook University. He was the author of more than 100 scientific papers, and served as the Chair of the Earth Sciences Discipline Panel of the Australian Research Council.

When the Greens were panicking over the oceans turning acid, he laughed and remarked that as long as there are rocks in the ocean, that won’t happen.

From Anthony Watts:

I traveled with Bob in Australia during my tour in 2010. To say that he was a man of good cheer and resilience would be an understatement. He not only bore the slings and arrows thrown his way by some of the ugliest people in the climate debate, he reciprocated with professionalism and honor, refusing to let them drag him into the quagmire of climate ugliness we have seen from so many climate activists.
His duty, first and foremost was to truth. I’m reminded of this quote:
“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” ― Isaac Asimov
Bob worked hard to dispel scientific ignorance, and to do it with respect and good cheer. We’ve all lost a great friend and a champion of truth.


A Little Rousing Joy by The Elephant's Child
December 20, 2015, 6:20 am
Filed under: Australia, Entertainment, Freedom, Heartwarming, Music | Tags: , ,

David Hobson “Carols by Candlelight”
Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne Australia
Monday, 24th December 2012

(Go ahead, enlarge this one to full screen.)

And once again the scene was changed,
New earth there seemed to be.
I saw the Holy City
Beside the tideless sea.
The light of God was on its streets,
The gates were open wide,
And all who would might enter,
And no one was denied.
No need of moon or stars by night,
Or sun to shine by day;
It was the new Jerusalem
That would not pass away,
It was the new Jerusalem
That would not pass away.

I post this every year—because I like it!



Australia Changes Prime Ministers by The Elephant's Child

150914-turnbullAustralia’s Liberal party has given the Prime Minister’s job to Malcolm Turnbull today, a mere two years after Prime Minister Tony Abbott won a strong election mandate. Their Liberal Party is the conservative one in Australia, opposed by the Labor  Party.

Mr. Turnbull, who won the vote among Liberal MPs 54-44, was also exacting some political revenge. The 60-year-old former barrister and venture capitalist had been the Liberal leader in opposition until late 2009, when Mr. Abbott challenged him and won by one vote. Mr. Turnbull had made the mistake of endorsing the expensive and unpopular carbon tax pushed by the Labor Party government.

Mr. Abbott’s opposition to the carbon tax helped bring the center-right Liberals back to power, and Mr. Turnbull now says he’ll keep the Abbott government’s climate policy. But his earlier support for faddish climate-change regulation illustrates the doubts about his convictions among the Liberal rank and file. He is more socially liberal than Mr. Abbott, which will help among young people on same-sex marriage, but he is also seen as someone without firm convictions.

Mr. Turnbull is closer to the business community than is Mr. Abbott, and he’ll need its help because his main challenge is reviving economic growth. Australia hasn’t had a recession in 24 years as it rode the global commodity boom, but growth slowed to 0.2% in the second quarter thanks to falling Chinese demand and the world-wide commodity bust.

When the world is in turmoil, the people get restless. Australia has been very dependent on commodities and more competitive in a range of global goods and services. Mr. Abbott made policy on the fly, and made decisions to cut spending on areas that he had promised to protect and to raise taxes without preparing the public.

Mr. Turnbull will have to make the case that Australia needs to become less dependent on commodities and more competitive across a whole range of global goods and services. He is a little more left than his predecessor. He says he will keep the Abbott government’s climate policy, though he’s earlier supported climate change regulation. The Aussie’s distaste for a carbon tax is what won the election for Mr. Abbott.

Australia’s ruling party has given the job of Prime Minister to Malcolm Turnbull turning out Tony Abbott a mere two years after Mr. Abbott won the job with a strong election mandate.

Mr. Turnbull, who won the vote among Liberal MPs 54-44, was also exacting some political revenge. The 60-year-old former barrister and venture capitalist had been the Liberal leader in opposition until late 2009, when Mr. Abbott challenged him and won by one vote. Mr. Turnbull had made the mistake of endorsing the expensive and unpopular carbon tax pushed by the Labor Party government.

Mr. Abbott’s opposition to the carbon tax helped bring the center-right Liberals back to power, and Mr. Turnbull now says he’ll keep the Abbott government’s climate policy. But his earlier support for faddish climate-change regulation illustrates the doubts about his convictions among the Liberal rank and file. He is more socially liberal than Mr. Abbott, which will help among young people on same-sex marriage, but he is also seen as someone without firm convictions.




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