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Chris Jehn on Colin Powell on AVF versus Draft

Today I received an email from a friend, Christopher Jehn. We became friends at a party at Richard Thaler’s house in Rochester in the fall of 1977 when we learned that we were strong allies on the fight to keep the all-volunteer force (AVF) and avoid returning to the draft. We have kept in touch on these issues since. Our views on foreign policy are very different but our views on the draft are very similar. Chris was the assistant secretary of defense for force...

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The Abused Friend of My Enemy Is My Friend

When I play Sid Meier’s Civilization, as I have thousands of times, I have an eccentric strategy. When other civilizations demand tribute – or just attack me with without provocation – I give them what they want. I sue for peace. And then, I propose an alliance. The AI almost always accepts the offer – and the subsequent alliance is almost always fruitful.  It’s almost as if the programmers never imagined that anyone would try my self-abasing approach.  Sure, humans...

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Businesses cooperate, politicians compete

The FT points out that US businesses wish to cooperate with China while the politicians in both parties want to compete: America’s public and private elites are no longer as one on China, if they ever were. In Washington, vigilance to Beijing is the nearest thing there is to a bipartisan verity. Democrats, no less than Republicans, brood over Chinese gains in artificial intelligence and hypersonic missiles. Successive governments have tried to knit a web of Asian and...

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As Bitter As It Is Illuminating

Co: Why did they pick you? Because you like to fight? Rambo: I’m expendable. Co: What mean expendable? Rambo: It’s like someone invites you to a party and you don’t show up. It doesn’t really matter. —Rambo: First Blood, Part II “Leave no man behind.”  This slogan is the peak of military romanticism.  No matter how much you suffer for the cause, you are never alone.  You belong to an unbreakable brotherhood of blood. “I’m expendable.”  This admission is the peak...

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The FDA’s War Against the Truth on Ivermectin

It’s important to address two criticisms of our work. The first is that we exaggerated the FDA’s warning on ivermectin. The second is that Merck’s stance on ivermectin proved that even the company that developed ivermectin thought that it doesn’t work for Covid-19. First, we didn’t exaggerate the FDA’s warning on ivermectin. Instead, the agency changed its website after our article was published, probably to reflect the points we made. Second, Merck had two...

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The Card Consensus

My Ph.D. Micro teacher, David Card, won the Nobel Prize last week.  My best-known piece on Card examines the tension between his research on the minimum wage and his research on immigration.  My most extensive discussion of his work and intellectual influence, however, appears in Chapter 3 of The Case Against Education.  Here’s the excerpt.  Enjoy! Labor Economists Versus Ability Bias Labor economists aren’t merely attuned to the possibility of ability bias.  They’ve...

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The Gender Gap, Paid Leave Programs, and the Soviet Union

The Biden administration intends to nominate for Comptroller of the Currency a candidate who makes Senator Bernie Sanders looks like former Senator Barry Goldwater. The nominee’s name is Saule Omarova, a professor at the Cornell University Law School. Apart from wanting to regulate banks out of existence, Ms. Omarova tweets stuff like this: Until I came to the US, I couldn’t imagine that things like gender pay gap still existed in today’s world. Say what you will...

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Does Lloyd Austin understand the purpose of NATO?

This tweet made me shake my head in disbelief: NATO is arguably the most successful peacekeeping alliance in all of world history.  Because NATO as a whole has far more military power than the rest of the world combined, any country would be crazy to invade a NATO member.  It has kept its members safe for more than 70 years. Some people suggest that NATO has nothing to do with this success, that post-WWII era aggressors have no interest in attacking European...

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Hungarian Events

1. Tomorrow, October 19, I’m virtually visiting Hungary to debate immigration with Balázs Orbán and András Kováts.  Airing live at 11 AM ET, 5 PM Hungarian time.  Here’s Orbán’s (not that Orbán, but they do work together) take on Facebook: 2. October 28, I’m physically visiting the University Chicago to discuss education with Agnes Callard – who also turns out to be… Hungarian!  From this biographical interview: I was born in Budapest, Hungary and left there with my...

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The Simplicity of Our System of Government

An interesting essay in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal suggests, if we go farther than the author, that “the simplicity of our system of government,” although a worthy ideal, has become a mere historical memory if not a propaganda tool for the democratic Leviathan. The story is about Andrew Jackson who, before his death, refused to be buried in a marble sarcophagus believed to have once contained the remains of a Roman emperor. The idea had been advanced by U.S. Navy...

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