Nonsequitur: Government Cobras

November 25, 2019

An instructive story of the power and effectiveness of government:

In colonial India, Delhi suffered a proliferation of cobras, which was a problem very clearly in need of a solution given the sorts of things that cobras bring, like death. To cut the number of cobras slithering through the city, the local government placed a bounty on them. This seemed like a perfectly reasonable solution. The bounty was generous enough that many people took up cobra hunting, which led exactly to the desired outcome: The cobra population decreased. And that’s where things get interesting.

As the cobra population fell and it became harder to find cobras in the wild, people became rather entrepreneurial. They started raising cobras in their homes, which they would then kill to collect the bounty as before. This led to a new problem: Local authorities realized that there were very few cobras evident in the city, but they nonetheless were still paying the bounty to the same degree as before.In the end, Delhi had a bigger cobra problem after the bounty ended than it had before it began.

 City officials did a reasonable thing: They canceled the bounty. In response, the people raising cobras in their homes also did a reasonable thing: They released all of their now-valueless cobras back into the streets. Who wants a house full of cobras? 

In the end, Delhi had a bigger cobra problem after the bounty ended than it had before it began. The unintended consequence of the cobra eradication plan was an increase in the number of cobras in the streets. This case has become the exemplar of when an attempt to solve a problem ends up exacerbating the very problem that rule-makers intended to fix.     Source:  The Cobra Effect: Lessons in Unintended Consequences

You can see contemporary results of the “Cobra Effect” in California and other places right now.  Progressive governing policies meant to alleviate the problems of homelessness, traffic congestion and climate change have not had the expected results, instead making things much, much worse.  This is mirrored in other progressive states and cities.  We need laws and governance.  But the sound approach is to use as little of each as necessary.  And prepare for unintended consequences.

The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.  –  Ronald Reagan




House Democrats aren’t just hiding their impeachment inquiry activities from the general public (you know, us).  They are also hiding their activities from Republican members of the House in clear violation of House rules.  House Republicans sent a letter to House Committee Chairs documenting these violations and asking the Chairs to release any secret rule changes that may have occurred.  Here is the letter with signatories.  (Click to enlarge.  Links fixed.)





Nowadays, people don’t care about the merits or the substance, they only care about who it helps.   – Attorney General William Barr

Please read the transcripts of the complete interview here:  It provides excellent background and details to the Mueller investigation.






Brett Kavanaugh is not white privilege.  He is not toxic masculinity.  He is not misogyny.  He is not uncontrolled rage.  He is a human being.  He deserves to be judged on what he has done as a person.  This includes, by all accounts, being a good judge, a good citizen, a good father, and a good husband.

Judge Kavanaugh should not be judged for something he did not do.  All of the accusations he has faced are unsubstantiated and most are ridiculous.  It was right that the Senate (and FBI) considered Professor Ford’s accusations.  But her testimony is uncorroborated (by her own witnesses) and inconsistent (by her own words).  Neither the Senate nor the FBI has found any evidence in support of her claim.

The time for investigation is over.  Now the Senate must do its Constitutional duty and vote.  No more delays.  No more fraudulent claims.  No more dirty tricks.  Vote.  And vote on the man, not the political symbol.