Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Hanlon’s Razor

The 16 Types of Politicians

A couple years ago I did a post dividing voters into 8 political types. I would now like to do something similar with politicians.

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Does the Republican Establishment Want Clinton to Win?

Last week Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) appeared on Trevor Noah’s Daily Show to explain his endorsement of Ted Cruz, a man for whom Graham has repeatedly expressed contempt:

Graham compared the choice between Trump and Cruz to being shot in the head or poisoned, but hinted that there might be an antidote:

Donald is like being shot in the head. You might find an antidote to poisoning, I don’t know, but maybe there’s time.

This got me thinking–what could the antidote be? I have a theory that it might be Hillary Clinton. Far-fetched? Perhaps, but hear me out.

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American Voters are Completely Out of Touch With Economic Experts

I recently ran across a remarkable survey of prominent US economists on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the stimulus package Obama passed at the beginning of his presidency. The results are striking for two reasons–they show a clear consensus among economists that the stimulus was a success, and they completely contradict popular opinion.

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Thoughts on Russell Brand

Over the last several days, the interview Russell Brand had with Jeremy Paxman has been travelling around the internet. My Facebook feed has been chock-full of links to the Brand interview from excited left-leaning friends, vigorously exclaiming their support and excitement that someone with as high a profile as Brand is openly criticizing the political system on a program readily  viewable by millions. As a critic of our political system myself, I am indeed pleased to see elements of the critique echoed in the media. That said, Brand’s emotional passion for change nonetheless requires rigorous analysis to parse out which elements of his critique are valuable and which are incomplete or otherwise defective. That’s what I’m on about today.

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A Critique of Conspiracy Theories

Increasingly just about any time anything tragic happens there will be some number of people who will immediately jump to the conclusion that the government did it. 9/11? An inside job. Newtown school shooting? A government plot to take our guns. Boston Bombing? A false flag operation. The most recent one that spurred this post is the killing of Ibragim Todashev, a Chechen immigrant whom the FBI chose to question as part of its investigation of the Boston Bombing. He was questioned by an FBI agent and two state troopers. The FBI says that Todashev attacked their agent, presenting an imminent threat to that agent’s life, and as a result the agent chose to shoot him. Corroborating the FBI’s account, the agent was hospitalised with injuries. Regardless, the FBI is investigating the incident.Yet, despite this, some people think that the FBI just went into Todashev’s home and killed him for some reason, or no reason, and that this incident suggests that our government is totalitarian and just goes around shooting people all the time. Why do people believe these conspiracy theories?

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