A good lesson for millenniels: Assume all politicians are narcissists

I got a chuckle out of this article on millennial news site Quartz (QZ.com): Donald Trump: Coping with narcissistic personality disorder in the White House

Why the chuckle? Because it’s written as if Donald Trump will be the first president with this disorder.

I remember a time when I thought ‘my guy’ was okay and the ‘other guy’ was bad, but that naive has long since past.

I learned at a rather young age to assume that all people seeking political office have some degree of narcissistic personality disorder — and those seeking the highest political position have the most. Also, just about any position that wields power in just about any organization or company, big and small. This affliction is also common among celebrities, sports stars, artists and presidents of homeowners associations.

If you don’t see it in ‘your candidate,’ you simply aren’t paying attention and you have been fooled by the polished, fake persona that tested well in focus groups.

I’ve found that assuming all politicians are narcissistic means I spend a lot less time defending people who I don’t know personally and I’m no longer disappointed when the person’s true self surfaces past the media glow.

Cheap Drugs!

David Henderson and co-author, Charles Hooper, has some advice to consider if you’d like cheaper drugs: more competition.

I liked their recommendations because they are practical and I think they would be effective. I especially like this one (from his longer WaPo article that he links to in the above linked blog post):

If we simply went back to pre-1962 law, the FDA could still require proof of safety, but would not be able to require evidence on efficacy. This one change would allow drugs to be developed a full 10 years faster. Market success would establish efficacy — or not. If the drugs didn’t work, usage would fall. Could there be ineffective drugs? Sure. But as doctors and patients learn, such drugs would disappear over time.


Their solution, simply print this on the label:


Those who wish to wait for FDA to tell them that its effective, can. Those who want to try and see if it works for them are free to do so, as well.

What’s the downside? That some people spend money on a cheap drug that doesn’t work? They spend money all the time on things that don’t work, so what’s the difference with drugs?

Safety? Henderson and Hooper do not recommend eliminating safety testing. Just allowing drugs to come to market before its effectiveness is tested.

Trump and Carrier

According to this NPR interview with Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen, Carrier executives may have decided to keep jobs in Indiana for fear of Carrier’s parent company losing government contracting business.


That’s better than granting tax goodies. Those aren’t fair to other businesses, come at the expense of other taxpayers and empower politicians to grant tax favors.

Politicians love this power, because it costs them nothing to be so generous with our money and it sure sounds good in a campaign speech. “I kept these jobs here!” Instead of: “I volunteered you to pay higher taxes to keep these jobs here.”

It also encourages companies to game the system to seek such favors.

But, government, like any person or business, has the privilege of choosing who to do business with.

Businesses and people commonly use the threat of taking their business elsewhere to get what they want from their trading partners.


Based on actual events

Yes. Cathy Young: ‘Fake news’ isn’t the problem — mainstream news with an agenda is

…most junk journalism does not take the form of outright “fake news” but of tendentious reporting that focuses on some facts while downplaying or omitting others. And here, the mainstream media are indeed often guilty of bias.


The news should open with the disclaimer: Based on actual events. It’d be good to remind everyone that any news outlet has creative license to frame a story how they would like you to see it.


The best success measure for schools

On Marginal Revolution, Tyler Cowen, has a good post about school vouchers. I particularly like this:

Frankly, I find a lot of the voucher advocates unconvincing, but let’s not forget the single most overwhelming (yet neglected) empirical fact about vouchers: they improve parent satisfaction.

I wrote something similar in this 2009 post on How to Save Education:

Ultimately, the true measure of the quality of a school isn’t the students’ scores on a standardized test, or the teachers’ level of certification.  Neither provide reliable information on quality of education.  A truer measure of the quality of a school is how many people are trying to get in relative to how many people are trying to get out.

Think about restaurants. If a thing such as standardized test scores existed for restaurants, how much would that influence your choice of where to eat dinner?

I’m guessing, not much. You would still have your preferences and be happy to have a selection to choose from.

Don’t let facts get in the way of a good story

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Roger Pielke Jr. writes about his Unhappy Life as a Climate Heretic.

This is another exhibit of the sorry state of discordant discussion and beliefs — especially among political matters — in today’s society and why many of us little people are skeptical of anything the experts say.

They act like big babies when someone disagrees with them or brings up facts that get in the way of their good story.

Pielke “believes climate change is real,” but his research led him to a politically unpopular conclusion that there is “scant evidence to indicate that hurricanes, floods, tornadoes or drought have become more frequent or intense in the U.S. or globally.”

In the article, he chronicles the witch hunt against him from everyone from his editors at the popular news analysis site FiveThirtyEight.com, a Congressman, reporters and even the White House.

He ends with:

But the lesson is that a lone academic is no match for billionaires, well-funded advocacy groups, the media, Congress and the White House. If academics—in any subject—are to play a meaningful role in public debate, the country will have to do a better job supporting good-faith researchers, even when their results are unwelcome. This goes for Republicans and Democrats alike, and to the administration of President-elect Trump.

Academics and the media in particular should support viewpoint diversity instead of serving as the handmaidens of political expediency by trying to exclude voices or damage reputations and careers. If academics and the media won’t support open debate, who will?

Here’s a guy that agrees with the general narrative — that climate change is real — but just doesn’t think there’s evidence to support a minor point of the narrative, that it’s causing more extreme weather.

So they paint him in broad strokes to discredit him. As Tomi Lahren pointed out on The Daily Show, isn’t that how hate groups behave?

I find it interesting that one of my go-to sites for a list of logical fallacies is a hosted on The Nizkor Project website, which is dedicated to Holocaust education and ensuring history doesn’t repeat itself.

I’m assuming the list of fallacies was included because fallacies are commonly employed by hate groups to further their cause.

Fallacy Watch: Trevor Noah uses Equivocation

I happened to channel surf past this much discussed discussion between Trevor Noah and Tomi Lahren a few nights ago.

I came in at the part where Noah used the logical fallacy of equivocation when Lahren asked, “What did the KKK do?”

He pretended Lahren asked because she didn’t know, so she must be ignorant.

Yet, her question came after listing several things that took place at Black Lives Matter events that mirrored actions KKK has been known for. Her question was meant to make that connection: that BLM acts like a hate group.

The fallacy got the response that fallacies like equivocation often gets from people on the 6th grade level discordant discussions — a rousing applause.

It also had another typical outcome. It put Lahren in a defensive mode and she had a tough time articulating her points after that, at least for the 20 seconds I continued to watch it before I continued my channel surfing, since I don’t find 6th grade level political discussions interesting.

When a logical fallacy is used, I find it more productive for the conversation to put the conversation on pause and point out the fallacy.

If I was Lahren it might have said something like this:

Hold on, Trevor. Let’s unpack what just happened.

You used an informal logical fallacy called equivocation to change the meaning of what I said.

You know, I know and all the people in the audience who just cheered you for using a fallacy that is common among 6th graders know that I’m not ignorant of what the KKK does.

Everyone knows that my point is BLM, in some cases, has acted like a hate group.  So, rather than making fun of a point I did not make, how about we stick to the point I did make?

Do you agree or disagree that BLM is stooping to that level?