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Today's Links: April 10, 2012

OPINION

RICHARD EPSTEIN: "My Primer for Obama"
"In dealing with the proposed budget of Representative Paul Ryan, the president sought to discredit nineteenth-century laissez-faire economics by linking that movement to Social Darwinism: Ryan’s plan, the president said, 'is thinly veiled Social Darwinism. It is antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity and upward mobility for everybody who is willing to work for it.' The president’s well-crafted reference to the term ushered in a fierce political dispute between his supporters and detractors. In the midst of the din, no one has undertaken the essential task of sorting out the theoretical differences and similarities between Social Darwinism and laissez-faire."

BRIAN CAPLAN: "Do Labels and Good-Vs-Evil Stories Drain IQ?"
"I'm not as big on good-versus-evil stories as I am on self-labeling.  I strive to be friendly to everyone.  I see noble adversaries, embarrassing allies, and various shades of grey.  But there's a good-versus-evil story just below my surface, pitting reasonable, constructive, iconoclastic people who agree with me against the benighted masses and their emotional, whiny, conventional intellectual apologists.  If Tyler and Will are both right, I'm down a minimum of 25 IQ points."

ANDREW LEONARD: "In Praise of Crowdfunding"
"Securities regulations dating all the way back to the 1930s made it very difficult for anyone but the wealthiest Americans to invest in private companies and prevented online crowdfunding facilitators from offering any kind return on one’s investment — unless they jumped through an expensive series of regulatory hoops. Popular crowdfunding pioneers like Kiva and Kickstarter make do with donations, not investments.The JOBS Act loosened those regulations. [...] The goal is open a whole new channel of funding that avoids the heavy-handed mediation of the big banks. "

NEWS

REGULATION - U.S. Gov't to Impose New Mortgage Lending Rules
"The federal government plans to propose new rules on Tuesday that will give homeowners more ways to avoid foreclosure and get an accurate accounting of their monthly mortgage payments."

IRAN - Iran Plans to Cut Itself Off From the Internet Permanently
"Iran plans to disconnect itself from the Internet and replace popular services like Google, Yahoo, and Hotmail with homegrown, Iranian services, according to a report in the International Business Times today."

SECURITY - U.S Launches New Spy Satellite for Secret National-Security Mission
"Last week, a new U.S. spy satellite was launched into orbit as part of a secretive military program enabling the surveillance of Earth from space."