Wednesday, August 30, 2006

LSS in the WS

For any of you non-Western Standard subscribers, here's the quick writeup with photos from this years' Liberty Summer Seminar by Ezra Levant, with some photos both by and of yours truly.

Click to enbiggen.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Tragedy of the... TTC?

A little over a week ago I was riding on the TTC and looked up, and, to my amusement, saw this ad:



and snapped a photo.

If you're sitting there wondering to yourself "Why do people litter on the TTC?" think of this: People don't litter at home because, since they own their homes, they have an interest in keeping their home clean and generally in good shape - the benefit and the responsibility for the home fall on a specific person or group of people. Since everybody "owns" and uses the TTC, there isn't one person or group of people who have an interest in keeping it clean and so, since the responsibility falls on everyone, it effectively goes to no one.

If you're still confused, then I suggest you educate yourself on the tragedy of the commons, which is the name for this phenomenon. Here's the gist of it:

The parable demonstrates how unrestricted access to a resource such as a pasture ultimately dooms the resource because of over-exploitation. This occurs because the benefits of exploitation accrue to individuals, while the costs of exploitation are distributed between all those exploiting the resource. (from Wiki)

If you have a few spare minutes, you should also play the Bunny Game.
(From The IHS' Liberty Arcade.)

While I don't think that privatization would necessarily have that great an impact on the litter levels on the TTC (a private owner who would be able to set the fares may be more inclined to hire people to clean it up than a forever rationing government administration... but then again they may not), I do find it simultaneously amusing and sad that people are so ignorant about a fairly basic economic concept that explains why so many well-meaning plans go afoul.

(And, for the record, though I don't think litter levels would necessarily be changed, I do think that the overall service levels and quality of the TTC would be improved by privatization... just so there aren't any crazy misunderstandings.)

Peter Jaworksi offers his thoughts on my photo here.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Lindy at the LSS

Lindy at the 2006 Liberty Summer Seminar.


For more video from the LSS, check out Peter's post of another Lindy video from YouTube, which won't let me blog their videos right now, and all the Google Video of speakers at the seminar - courtesy of Stephen Taylor for the most part, I think.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

weekend of liberty!

So this past weekend was the sixth annual Liberty Summer Seminar, and it was amazing, for those of you who were silly enough to not attend.
(For a taste of the action, check out some photos I took that Peter was kind enough to upload for easy viewing... but check soon, before it's not just my photos, and then check back to see more.)

As for appearances, there were old favourites aplenty - between Jan Narveson and Ezra Levant of the Western Standard's annual appearances, Pierre Desrochers gave his talk on the invisible hand and its green thumb, though it was a bit more relaxed at LSS than I've seen it in the past. And how could we forget MARV?

Jan's talk this LSS was on property rights, rather than just principles of liberty (which is the talk I've seen him give in the past.) Ezra, while he's more of a conservative than a libertarian, is so damn entertaining that I don't think anyone really cares.

There were plenty of new appearances this weekend, too - my personal favourites were Danielle Smith of the Alberta Property Rights Initiative and, of course, Mike Walker of the Fraser Institute. Maybe it was the fact that they both used anecdotal evidence to back up their points, or maybe it was the fact that they both just kicked so much ass, but I still get enthused thinking about their presence at this year's LSS. I got to sit and talk with Danielle Smith during a torrential downpour (no worries, there was a tent) and stand and talk with Mike Walker after singing and dancing with him to Brown Eyed Girl at around 2am. (What the hell? I know. It was awesome.)

Another highlight was Scott Reid (the good one, not beer-and-popcorn Scott Reid). Not only did he stay for the entire seminar, rather than showing up just for his talk (something I wasn't expecting of an MP) but he seemed genuinely concerned about the freedom of Canadians. When he mentioned breaking the party line to vote to help protect Canadian privacy I had no qualms about backing up Peter Jaworski's applause.

The announcement of creation of The Institute for Liberal Studies - an organization to educate about and encourage the spread of liberty in Canada - was also exciting for me, as it's a project that we've been working on for a little while now, and it was great to see the reception it got from the crowd this weekend.

(For anyone upset about the name, click on the link. "Liberalism is an ideology, philosophical view, and political tradition which holds that liberty is the primary political value." (Wiki) It's not just a political party, you know.)

Lindy also gave an amazing performance on Saturday night. Great original songs and covers, plus he kept us all laughing. I haven't been that entertained in a long time - we'll definitely make the trek out to see him next time we can and he's in Windsor.

I suppose I could go on and on about how great the other speakers, company, hosts, food, etc. were, but I'll cut it off here. Stay tuned for LSS video so you can catch up on all the awesomeness you missed out on this past weekend.

Can't wait for next year.