It was noted before that economists tend to look at things from the aspect of economy. The economic advisers to the White House during the Vietnam War looked at the war from the perspective of cost analysis to the North Vietcong. Their advice was based on the idea that if the war could be made non cost effective to the Vietcong, they would give up. It is hard to imagine worse advice.

If you would do that enough, all you will get is another Cambodia. Open Borders

Dr Caplan is the author of some really great essays. But it is true that on this  a few other issues he seems to be less that at his peak. This in fact is one of the reasons I stopped looking at that blog that he contributes to.
That author of the essay in "The Economist" writes
"Workers in rich countries earn more than those in poor countries partly because they are better educated but mostly because they live in societies that have, over many years, developed institutions that foster prosperity and peace. It is very hard to transfer Canadian institutions to Cambodia, but quite straightforward for a Cambodian family to fly to Canada. "

 If you would do that enough, all you will get is another Cambodia.


I was stolen from this morning as I went out to buy stuff for Shabat. Stealing is not uncommon in the Ukrainel.(It almost impossible to guard oneself from this.) But this event seems worse than usual, since it was my bank card along with money.
This probably means a lot of trouble for me to replace old documents. Mainly I consider things like this to be reminders to repent on my sins even though my repentance does not seem to ever last long.
The basic path of Torah is pretty well defined by the Litvak yeshiva [which concentrates on learning Torah] where mainly Gemara Rashi Tosphot are learned along with the idea of trust in God to provide. What some yeshivas added was the idea of learning in depth. That path was once unsure and not written down but nowadays it is pretty well contained in the חידושי הרמב''ם by Reb Chaim Soloveitchik and the Avi Ezri by Rav Shach.

The idea of Parnasah making a living is really well defined.It is to trust God for a living. And if after one is married, paranasa does not just how up, than it is permissible to go and find work. There is no allowance for using Torah to  make money. But the kollel system where the State of Israel gives money to the Rosh Yeshiva according to the number of people in his kollel; and he divides it up has been accepted for some time already by almost all Torah scholars. This has some support from the fact that that seems to be the way the yeshivas in Babylonia were run during the time of the geonim.

The geonim themselves were were supported by the community.


We already know the respect the Rambam had for Aristotle. [It shows up in the commentary on Avot but is mainly in the Guide.] That is no secret and it caused alarm and disgust in his contemporaries as much as it does today.
This comes from two directions One is his high respect for Physics and the Metaphysics of Aristotle and Plato and Plotinus and this learning being the fulfillment of the mitzvahs to love and fear God.

But also what dismayed people was the natural law concept of the Rambam which he in fact does not spell out but which hearkens back to Aristotle and Plato's discussion about justice and human good.
 If anything the Rambam had to be thinking of Aristotle's' political system of Aristocracy as natural law, not democracy nor Sparta's system.

HOWEVER-it is easy to confabulate and confuse this with the actual political systems of Athens and Sparta. In fact just the opposite. The Rambam places the Nomoi (laws) of the Greeks in the same category as the raving mad speculations of the Sabians.

As Sunwall puts it: "Although the ancient republics, on the whole, ended rather badly, as indeed modern studies of public choice would tend to predict, modern interpretation persists in seeing deliberative legislation as completely different from, and qualitatively superior to oracular law, judicial astrology, and the political use of divination.
It is precisely this distinction which Maimonides, in linking the "nomoi of the Greeks" with the "ravings of the Sabians" refuses to admit. Although as a rationalist, Maimonides makes a clear psychological distinction between reason and the imaginative faculty, he calls into question, by linking the Greeks and the Sabians, whether deliberative acts of legislation (nomoi) are entirely rational. For Maimonides an essential attribute of rationality is its transhuman quality. Unlike mathematics, but rather similar to poetry and other imaginative productions, legislation is clearly the result of the exercise of human will. Thus in a broad sense idolatry and legislation can both be seen as works of the human imagination. Therefore the Greeks and their nomoi can be grouped together with less obviously rationalistic cultures, not on the superficial basis that the Greeks used an elaborate iconography to represent the divine, but because their institutions like those of other pre-monotheistic cultures, were the result of arbitrary human innovation."

The Rambam does not respect any system of law that is anything other than straight Torah. He is not thinking of the Democracy of Athens or the Republic of Rome as being a fulfillment of natural law.

Appendix: The idea of the Rambam of the Physics and Metaphysics is in a few places  in the Guide and Mishe Torah but the most famous is the parable of the king. In this parable there are many levels of closeness with the king. The lowest level is people outside of his country. The next level is people in the country. Then people in the capital city. Then people near the palace. Then people in the palace. Then people in the inner parts of the palace. This is a parable concerning God. People outside the country are the barbarians. People in the country and in the capital city have natural law. People around the palace are people that keep and learn the Oral and Written Law. People inside the palace are the Physicists.    People in the inner corridors of the King are the prophets and Philosophers.
You can see how this parable would have bothered many people


Chafetz Chaim made known the problem of slander,

ואם לא יגיד ונשא עוונו if he does not tell then he will bear his sin. That is there is an obligation to give testimony that one saw whether he is asked to testify or not.
[I should mention a curious fact-that the Rambam says the obligation to testify is only if the plaintiff or defendant ask him to come to court when the issue is דיני ממונות- an issue of money. But when it is an issue of דיני נפשות human life, then he must testify whether he is asked to or not. That is what the Kesef Mishna says right there on the Rambam himself--that in issues of human life he has to testify whether asked to or not. The trouble with all this is ספר המצוות מצוות לא תעשה רצ''ז where the Rambam says even in issues of money one must testify  if he saw the events whether asked to testify of not because of the verse לא תעמוד על דם רעיך. This looks like  a problem since in Mishne Torah the Rambam says in הלכות עדות that one must testify only if asked to.

The Chafetz Chaim made known the problem of slander, but this is emphasized in the religious world mainly to give them a blank check to do their abuses and crime and then when an innocent baal teshuva speaks up he is accused of lashon hara,
People that know that teachers of Torah are fraudsters need to speak up because they know testimony that others need to hear.
The astonishing amount of damage the supposed teachers of Torah do is so out of proportion to the expected normal bell curve that I suspect that Reb Nachman was right that they are demons. [LM vol I ch 12: Torah scholars that are demons etc.] [According to the normal distribution, you would expect some to be good, some to be bad and the vast majority around average. But what you actually find Torah scholars do an astounding amount of evil and damage. The curve it tilted far by far towards evil. Perhaps it is because they are not Torah scholars at all but demons using the Torah to make money? That would seem to have been the Rambam's view.]
It does no good to do like Na Nach to just simply complain about them in general. People need to make known specific events of abuse and to shout it from the rooftops.
Because of this problem I simply avoid the religious world and stay away from them as far as possible.

Is there any correction for this problem? Not that I know of. The Litvak world which is by far the best is also infected. The supposed solutions I tend to believe actually aggravate the problem.
The best thing thus is to learn Torah and Musar  on your own and forget about the organizations that claim Torah. Something of the Dark Side has taken control of the religious world.
One thing that lends itself is the occult. Though the Ari and his system is very impressive, still it lends itself to empower these teachers  by their claims to secret knowledge. It is just a perfect trap for naive people that want a taste of the supernatural.