Author Archive: Iain Murray

TANSTAAFL: The UK’s “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme where the government paid half of restaurant-goers meal tickets has been a success by its own lights, coaxing people to go out to eat again and even – mirabile dictu – being the rare example of a temporary government program that actually ended and came in under budget. However, the bill now has to be paid and the government is contemplating doubling corporation tax. Matt Kilcoyne explains why the program worked and how There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

AN AMERICA LAST POLICY: In a new video, my friend and colleague Mario Loyola lays out just how the Jones Act damages American industry and shipping, protects foreign competitors, and needs to be repealed to help in the economic recovery from the pandemic. More detail in Mario’s study on the topic here.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT SOCIALISM: In my interviews about The Socialist Temptation I am frequently asked whether Scandinavian countries are socialist. I cover this in the book, but I have added a few points about AOC’s assertions on the subject here at OpenMarket.

THERE’S A REASON WE CALL IT ALARMISM: In December, The Harris Poll found the thing that worried people the most was climate change. In its new poll it barely registers. The pollster is upset.

NEW FRONTS IN THE CULTURE WAR: If you’ve read The Socialist Temptation and enjoyed it (or are alarmed by it and want to know more about the threats), you might be interested in a new book by rising British star of the right, Marc Sidwell.

In The Long March: How the left won the culture war and what to do about it, Marc looks at the tangled history of the left’s long march through the institutions (see Chapter 38 of The Socialist Temptation,) in which active subversion runs alongside unintended consequences and missed opportunities, to uncover new possibilities for fighting back. Here’s Marc reading the first chapter on the New Culture Forum’s Youtube channel.

LEARNING FROM SWEDEN: But not in the way Bernie seems to believe – Allister Heath compares Sweden’s refusal to lock down compared with Britain’s rush to do so. Registration may be required to read.

THE POLITICS OF ENVY: Dan Mitchell asks what would happen if America introduced a wealth tax. I suspect you know the answer, but Dan has the analysis.

DO YOU PRONOUNCE IT KEYNES OR KEYNES?: Sam Gregg has an excellent review of a new book about John Maynard Keynes and his awful legacy. Key point at the end:

[W]hile good economics and good economic policy are important, they are not enough. The vision-thing matters. Keynes understood the importance of this and, I would argue, comprehensively outmatched his free market opponents in this area. As progressives understand better than most people, if you win the vision game, you likely win everything else. This is the lesson that Keynes offers to market liberals in our time. The bigger question is how many are willing to learn.

This echoes one of the main themes of The Socialist Temptation. RTWT.

THE “S” WORD: As I’ve mentioned before (once or twice), I have a new book out called The Socialist Temptation. Here’s an interview with me about it in The Epoch Times, an excerpt at National Review’s new Capital Matters site, and a webinar on the book with Kevin Williamson.

CANCEL CULTURE IS COMING FOR YOUR PICK-UP: Wall Street Journal news reporter has a close call with a pick-up truck in a parking lot, while another decides they are “deliberately designed to intimidate and kill pedestrians,” and demands (of course) European-style regulations. [Post edited for clarity]

I REJECT YOUR REALITY AND SUBSTITUTE MY OWN: There’s a petition at Chapman University to remove the busts of free-market heroes like Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Milton Friedman. The only reason given for removing Friedman is that he “inferred [sic] that Free Market Conservatism would solve racism.” Who would they put in their place? “Angela Davis, Malcolm X, Harvey Milk, Nelson Mandela, Princess Diana, John Lewis, Cesar Chavez, James Baldwin and Dolores Huerta.”

ALWAYS THE WAY AT THE EPA: Years ago, the EPA, true to form screwed up a study that found dairy farms responsible for pollution in the Yakima Valley region of Washington state but still used it to force consent decrees and that shut down many farms. It covered up the fact that the science in the study was awful for close to a decade.
The “smoking gun” emails have finally come to light after years of fighting. The EPA is claiming statute of limitations. If they get away with that, it will set the precedent that they can cover stuff up and wait it out. Letting things slide will also allow activist¬†groups to continue to press claims in court against farmers based on the flawed study.
Gerald Baron of Save Family Farming has more (the story gets worse the more you learn) at the Washington Times. Or you can read more at SFF’s site here.

MAO-MAO’ED: I have a column up at Townhall on socialism and the current cultural revolution. It echoes many of the points I make in my new book, The Socialist Temptation. I’ll also be appearing on a CEI webinar at noon Eastern tomorrow talking about the book with Kevin Williamson. You can sign up for that here if you’d like.

LIEUTENANT KIJE, CALL YOUR OFFICE: Woke academia was heartbroken recently when the ASU LGBTQ Native American Anthropology professor who posted on Twitter as @sciencing_bi supposedly died of COVID, after being forced by her university to teach in person. ASU, however, has been unable to identify any such professor. Questions abound.

CANCELED: Loyola University has removed the name of Flannery O’Connor, the disabled Catholic woman writer of Southern Gothic stories, from a hall named after her because of a petition complaining about “recent letters and postcards” written by her that employed racist language.

Flannery O’Connor died in 1964.

INFLAMMATORY NORWEGIAN VEXILLOLOGY: The owners of a Michigan bed-and-breakfast have removed a flag after receiving hate mail that they were Confederate sympathizers. It was the Norwegian flag.

THE WOKE WAR ON RELIGION: Sam Gregg of the Acton Institute details the actual attacks on places of worship and symbols of Christian and Jewish faith in the Spectator US. This parallels what I say about socialism and religion in The Socialist Temptation.

SOCIALISM AND FAITH – THEY DON’T GET ON: As I mentioned earlier my new book The Socialist Temptation is out today. If you’d like to try before you buy, The Christian Post was kind enough to excerpt a section from the chapter on socialism and the divine. Spoiler alert: socialism doesn’t like religious faith.

WHY NOT SOCIALISM? HERE’S WHY: If you were wondering where I’ve been, I’ve been writing a book. The Socialist Temptation is out today. It attempts to answer the question why so many Americans these days are tempted by the idea of socialism. Glenn was kind enough to provide a blurb for the back cover. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

TRAINS TO NOWHERE: Predictably, the House Democrats have dusted off their long-standing plans for building more transit and are pushing it as essential for the inevitable Phase IV stimulus bill. Here’s my colleague Marc Scribner on why that’s a terrible idea.

DEATH BY REGULATION: Your periodic reminder that CAFE standards make cars death-traps comes from Debby Witt, the Corner’s “odd links” gal. Her 1996 Explorer got rear-ended by a modern compact. The photographic evidence is pretty telling.

#NEVERNEEDED: The number of regulations being undone or suspended by the federal or state governments is growing day by day. In most cases, people are realizing that these rules were never needed in the first place. There’s still plenty of regulations that need to be done away with. For more see here for CEI’s ideas and here for the R Street Institute’s.

But that’s just a start. Let’s crowdsource this. If you see a regulation that isn’t needed and is getting in the way of effective response and you’re on Twitter, post it with the hashtag #neverneeded so we can add it to our list. And if your governor or local assembly sees reason and gets rid of a rule, let us know too.

BILL BARR – MAINSTREAM CONSERVATIVE: Mario Loyola points out in The Atlantic that the President and Bill Barr both echo the mainstream conservative position on executive power. It was Obama and co that were abusing that power. I’ll just add that it’s astonishing this has to be said.

IT’S MORNING AGAIN IN AMERICA: The Economic Report of the President is out today (link is to PDF). Two really important findings: the booming economy isn’t simply a straight-line continuation of the Obama economy and the boom is also benefiting groups that have historically been excluded from economic benefit.

Another personally-gratifying finding is that deregulation will save American households $3,100 per household per annum over 5-10 years. As many of these deregulatory reforms are ones we’ve been campaigning for over the past decade or so at CEI, it’s wonderful to see the benefits being realized.