Friday, October 31, 2003

Think about this, from L. Neil Smith

Science fiction writer extraordinaire:

The Mercury program came and went, the Gemini program came and went, the Apollo program came and went, followed by SkyLab, the Shuttle program, and the International so-called Space Station. What they all taught us (unless you actually care about fruitfly reproduction in microgravity) was that the only individuals who would ever be allowed to get into space were precisely the kind of government-approved jockstraps who were on the varsity football team when you were in high school — oh yes, and an occasional cheerleader — oops, make that public school teacher.

To all the rest of us, meaning those who are "encouraged" (at the point of a gun) to pay for these programs, the message was clear: "Get lost. Outer space, 99.99999999999999999999999999999999 percent of all there is, is government property, like the Lincoln Monument and Area 51."
Government property, eh? Let's privatize it.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Kantian philosopher Kelly Ross says,

“Whether it is called ‘permissiveness’ by the Right or ‘consumerism’ by the Left, the exuberance of popular culture, especially its vulgarity, garishness, frivolity, and eroticism, is a profound challenge to the anaesthetic moralism that characterizes the mentality of those who would like to be, or are accustomed to be, telling others what kinds of worthy things they ought to be doing.”

Moralism is a technical term meaning the extension of moral judgment into activities requiring only ethical, aesthetic or practical judgment. Morality is properly concerned with actions, intentions and consequences involving harm to others and oneself. Ethics are such things as manners and conventions, activities which improve or harm relationships and prosperity. Aesthetics is about beauty and quality. Practical judgment is simply about what works, into which any of the previous categories may fall.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Here's a verbatim copy of a post from

Human Liberty.

More On Zealots

I love when zealots say that they have some claim over my body because someday their tax money might pay for my health care, presumably through Medicare or Medicaid. I think it's unhealthy to not eat meat, so I demand that you eat chicken. Ben and Jerry's ice cream is fattening; Ben and Jerry are proof. I demand that no one eat it.

I want to opt-out henceforth from all taxpayer-funded health care. Where do I do that? Because I would rather die than give you a claim over my life.

Thanks. I feel better now.
Comment (0)
// posted by Brendan @ 9:03 PM

That's what I say.

And here's a person being truly honest.

Or honestly true.

Destroy all straw men!

This post says what I think.

I am a member of the Libertarian Party, but I see the need for The Free Country to defend itself against unfree countries.

Here's a new guy who's all right.

His current events commentary kicks butt on mine.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Here are some exerpts from Cato's Letters

sent to me by the folks:
Cato's Letters
By liberty, I understand the power which every man has over his own actions, and his right to enjoy the fruits of his labor, art and industry, as far as by it he hurts not the society, or any members of it, by taking from any member, or hindering him from enjoying what he himself enjoys. The fruits of a man's honest industry are the just rewards of it, ascertained to him by natural and eternal equity, as is his title to use them in the manner which he thinks fit: And thus, with the above limitations, every man is sole lord and arbiter of his own private actions and man living can divest him but by usurpation, or by his own consent.
True and impartial liberty is therefore the right of every man to pursue the natural, reasonable, and religious dictates of his own mind; to think what he will, to act as he thinks, provided he acts not to the prejudice of another; to spend his own money himself, and lay out the produce of his labor his own way; and to labor for his own pleasure and profits, and not for others who are idle, and would pillaging and oppressing him, and those that are like him...

Friday, October 24, 2003

The Witless Battle Over General Boykin

(Actually, the article is not there yet. Sign up for Reports from the Front. They'll email it out to you. Over on the right side there.)
By David Kelley

"The problem here is not intolerance, divisiveness, or extremism. It is rank
irrationality. The whole exchange is another tiresome example of a false
dichotomy: dogmatism vs. relativism. Conservatives are right that liberals are
afraid to assert the truth of their convictions. Liberals are right that
conservatives are claiming truth for sectarian religious dogmas—and rightly
alarmed that they invoke those dogmas to justify war.

"What both sides ignore is the alternative of reason and rational certainty. When
Islamic terrorists attack us out of hatred for our secular way of life, our
pursuit of happiness, our wealth and productive achievements, it is reason, not
Jesus, that tells us they are viciously wrong. And reason does tell us that they
are wrong, objectively wrong, and that we are objectively right in responding
with force."

The next two paragraphs begin with these phrases: "Earth to General Boykin..." and
"Earth to Ellen Goodman...." Read the whole thing.

Johan Norberg, In Defense of Global Capitalism

Buy it here.

Chapter: Democratization.

Paragraph 1:

The accelerating spread of information and ideas throughout the world, coupled with rising education standards and growing prosperity, is prompting demands for genuine political rights. Critics of globalization maintain that a dynamic market and international capital are a threat to democracy, but what they really see threatened is the use that they would like to make of democracy. Never before in human history have democracy, universal suffrage, and the free formation of opinion been as widespread as they are today.

Emphasis Norberg's.

Steven den Beste today

"Is it immoral to be prepared to do evil things if through your willingness and preparation you avoid the need to do so and also prevent someone else from doing the same evil thing?"

"...Deterrence is a real moral problem. In some cases it's the only way to bring about the best possible case, but the only way you can have a deterrent is by being willing to commit tremendously evil acts."

Sorry, got interrupted.

I actually have a job and a life. No offense to those who don't.

The majority of individuals within the borders of a country have the power to do as they wish, limited only by what they believe is possible and the Laws of Nature (or, what really is possible). What I'm saying is that the government is not the only means available for society, or any subset thereof--majority or minority, to get its way.

Indeed, most people get their way most of the time by earning the means and doing it themselves.

Lew Rockwell has this to say today.

"In the war on terrorism, we’re dealing with the oldest political error: the belief that because everyone wants something (e.g. security and defense), government should or must provide it. If the error is pervasive, the result is the total state. If it is completely uprooted, the result is the purely free society."

Lew Rockwell is the mentor for those of us who desire to be Austrian economists. I always take his commentary seriously. I do wish I felt the same about his good friend Justin Raimondo, but Raimondo is the James Carville of the Peace Party. If he were elected Chairman of the Peace Party the world would be a better place, but Noam Chomsky or Ralph Nader would probably get that job first. Well, we don't need to build a metaphor into an allegory....

I would say that if Society wants something, "it" may use whatever means it has at its disposal to get it. Unfortunately, due to the constant conflation by pundits of society and government, people keep thinking that if the government doesn't do a thing nobody will. Frederic Bastiat and Tom Paine blew that crap out of the water 155 and 227 years ago respectively.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Of course, one must have the temerity to question the wisdom of the experts.

I was also thinking about humility.


I define it as the willingness to learn. Not the subjection of my will to another.
I would venture to say that no one ever learned anything without humbling himself. One must humble himself before the facts... before the laws of nature and nature's God as it were. And those whose knowledge may exceed ours.

Unfortunately, before we do our studies, we seldom know who the true masters are.

Holy Mackeral! A whole week!

I was just over here checking out the Angry Economist, while I was looking over a book about the FDA hearings back in '95, and I had the thought: the assumption of innocence may just be the primary reason for the prosperity of western societies. We just don't go around assuming that our neighbor got his stuff illegitimately. And attacking him to take it away. Much. Yet.

The more that goes on in a society, the poorer it is. How do I write the grant to check that theory out? Tom Sowell's probably done it already. Well, it can't be repeated enough. Of course, it's probably buried in Human Action. Mary Ruwart pretty much says it in Healing Our World, and I wouldn't be surprised to find it as the major theme in Johan Norberg's In Defense of Global Capitalism.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

What the hell's the html code for "new paragraph".

I just realized what I was doing wrong with that header up above. By the way, you can find that quote in the big article A New Name for an Old Whig over at the Center for Independent Studies, who work out of Australia as I recall. Hell, I've got the window open... There's a hint.

I just added to my links.

I figure some basic info wouldn't hurt.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

I've been working hard, researching, family manning and freeping.

And where's it got me? Right here. Check out Pejman Yousefzadeh (thank God for the right clicker) at TechCentralStation. His article The Nobel Freedom Prize is about the fact that the most deserving Nobel Peace Prize winners weren't fighting for Peace but Freedom.

The fact that peace can exist both under conditions of freedom or of oppression indicates that peace is not the primary goal to aim for.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

How come nobody mentioned this?

I guess I heard about it, but nobody pumped it enthusiastically. Not conservatives, not libertarians, not Republicans....

I guess I don't listen to Hugh Hewitt enough.

KSTP let me down.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Den Beste's got an interesting point.

The Europeans want the US to participate in "fruitful dialogue" on abolition of the death penalty. What's there to talk about? They don't use capital punishment, we do. They don't like it, and we don't care what they think. They want us to stop using capital punishment, and when they say fruitful dialogue they mean that we accept their point of view and stop executing people.

CapMag's blog Dollars and Crosses reminded me of Amity Schlaes.

I phrased that wrong somehow, but here's what she said on the 30th:

If Iraq is to become another Germany and not a Libya, it needs to write laws and establish institutions that make it an inviting place for capital. That at least is what happened in Germany, where an unknown - the economist Ludwig Erhard - worked with the Allies to create a classically liberal programme after the second world war. Erhard then promoted the plan like crazy over the radio. At times, there were tensions between occupied and occupier; but in the end the result was strong: wage and price controls and high taxes were all swept away. In the long run, Erhard's liberal vision and his laws mattered more than Washington's cash; gross domestic product trebled in a decade.

When she says liberal, she means it in the true sense--having to do with freedom, not the American sense where it is a euphemism for socialist.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

A sample of stuff from The Mises Institute.

Introduction by Ludwig von Mises

1. Methodological Dualism

MORTAL MAN does not know how the universe and all that it contains may appear to a superhuman intelligence. Perhaps such an exalted mind is in a position to elaborate a coherent and comprehensive monistic interpretation of all phenomena. Man--up to now, at least--has always gone lamentably amiss in his attempts to bridge the gulf that he sees yawning between mind and matter, between the rider and the horse, between the mason and the stone. It would be preposterous to view this failure as a sufficient demonstration of the soundness of a. dualistic philosophy. All that we can infer from it is that science-at least for the time being-must adopt a dualistic approach, less as a philosophical explanation than as a methodological device.

Methodological dualism refrains from any proposition concerning essences and metaphysical constructs. It merely takes into account the fact that we do not know how external events -- physical, chemical, and physiological -- affect human thoughts, ideas, and judgments of value. This ignorance splits the realm of knowledge into two separate fields, the realm of external events, commonly called nature, and the realm of human thought and action.

Older ages looked upon the issue from a moral or religious point of view. Materialist monism was rejected as incompatible with the Christian dualism of the Creator and the creation, and of the immortal soul and the mortal body. Determinism was rejected as incompatible with the fundamental principles of morality as well as with the penal code. Most of what was advanced in these controversies to support the respective dogmas was unessential and is irrelevant from the methodological point of view of our day. The determinists did little more than repeat their thesis again and again, without trying to substantiate it. The indeterminists denied their adversaries' statements but were unable to strike at their weak points. The long debates were not very helpful.

All right, maybe the bourgeoisie can go too far.

Good Lord.

The Elder writes like Tom Paine.

More genius from somebody else.

The Elder from FratersLibertas says:

Nearly everyone acknowledges that there is a role for government. It's the size and cost of the role that is the matter of debate. The point is not whether we do it all on our own but that we all should have to do at least SOME of it on our own and not rely on the government to do it for you. The government need not be the villain, but it usually isn't the hero either.

Powerline on The Liberty Bell

"The Liberty Bell was little known until it was shown to a group of abolitionists in the 1830's. They were struck by the universality of its Biblical message and it was they who named it the Liberty Bell. The bell became famous because a prominent abolitionist newspaper put the bell and its inscription on the paper's masthead.

"The Liberty Bell is an inspiring symbol. But there are those in America who do not want Americans to be inspired, and they control most of our institutions. Given the chance, they will devalue every one of our national symbols."

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Fair Housing Laws must be destroyed.

How would Cato the Elder have said that?

Ayn Rand was right. The only thing wrong with the U.S. Constitution is that there is no article clearly stating that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of Commerce, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, nor shall Congress openly tacitly delegate any power to legislate not granted to it by the Constitution in plain, clear language to the administrative branch, nor usurped by the courts. The courts' decisions need more oversight by Congress.

Most of our poverty is caused by local, state and federal prohibitions on free commerce for poor people. Usually emplaced to competition with Big Business, Big Labor and Big Government. Welfare is a bribe to those who are hurt to shut up and go away.

Oh, hey!

I meant to link this article at World Net Daily. And share this bit of genius with you:

"And note that it's covetousness, not drug use, that wraps up the Ten Commandments. Jealousy and envy are far more dangerous to society than funny cigarettes or little blue pills. So if it makes sense to go after drugs in the effort to save society, then it's equally sensible to send cops to round up all the envy-pushers on Madison Ave. and in the halls of Congress."

Now, as a Bourgeois Philistine (I just spell checked this, and the only problem spell checker found was "and" after "Ave.". You think the machine knows how to spell Bourgeois?) I take exception to the equation of Ad-men and politicians. If you think something's crap, don't buy it. There's no force involved here. You are responsible to yourself, your loved ones and your God for how you steward your resources. You are not a victim! Politicians, however, have the force of law and the guns of government to make you obey their whims.

Miller's fully aware of the latter point. Read, as they say, the whole thing. RTWT.

There's another wonderful article at WND today, by Jim Babka.

Hah! The wife's out of town with the kid!

So what's the first thing I do? I head to the liquor store!

I bought a twelve pack of O'Doul's. Hey! I like the stuff. Listen, I gained 50 lbs. drinkin' the real stuff over the past several years. In the last two months, I'm drinkin' almost a six pack a day of O'Doul's and I've lost 20. Or 25 if hitting 270 wasn't just a fluky reading one day.
That right there is a huge motivator to me to stay sober.

And O'Doul's is like sour pop. I like it better than any sweet stuff. I tried LaBatt's Nordic the other day. It's good, but not enough...I don't think it's better. Certainly not for the price. Doesn't anybody sell this stuff by the case though?

Just to wallow in sin while the wife is out I stopped at the video store looking for dirty movies. There weren't any. What's this world coming too? They had a buy-two-get-one-free deal on used video tapes, so I grabbed Gods and Generals for $9.99, Blood Work for $7.99 and the freebie, worth every penny, was Buying the Cow. It promised an R rating for nudity, language and sexual situations. Man, what they can get away with claiming. This guy's supposed to be living it up for two months while his girlfriend, who has given him The Ultimatum, takes a job assignment to New York City so he can think about whether he wants to live without her. They go to a so-called strip club... I've seen more nudity at Lake Calhoun. The only one who gets naked is this knucklehead who gets tricked into thinking he spent the night with a gay guy.
Basically, the movie is a masculinized chick flick. But it is funny. It's kind of understated. Like a long, but pretty good sit-com. I didn't think there was anything wrong with the acting or anything.

But I still wanted to practice vice. So I went to the tobacco store and bought a can o' snoose. I had a pretty good idea how that would work out for me. I've actually bought four cans now since I quit 6 years ago. I nearly threw up twice and actually threw up the other two times. How the hell did I ever get that monkey on my back in the first place? Let me release a secret to the world: tobacco--chewed anyway--is a strong laxative. Not to mention an emetic. Shit cleans you out!

Oh, I didn't throw up this time. I took a pretty small dip. Got the buzz I wanted though, and cleaned out the desire for anything more serious. Except bloggers' high.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Don't tell my wife

I skipped the meeting last night and ran around taking fall color pictures. Not that I don't think the meeting is important, but the window for good leaf pictures is extremely narrow.
I suppose it's supremely arrogant of me to think I can afford to skip meetings, but I've been sober for more than a month, since August 22, and it seems that the same methods that served me so well in quitting chewing tobacco work here too. One new method is thinking about all those nice people at the meeting and how I don't want to disappoint them.
Another thing I do is, when I started thinking I might have a problem, I started coming up with reasons to quit. Whenever I have a craving I bring one of them to mind. The biggest one is remembering how I pissed away $400 that last night.

It's Jon Johnson from Wisconsin's birthday!

Happy Birthday Jon, Heather and, if I remember right, my cousin Denise.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

While I was goofing off

Actually, I was cleaning the garage, helping my pregnant wife with the house work, busier'n hell at work, buying a new truck, changing my sexual preference... Just kidding on that last one.

Anyway ARI sent me this: Baby Kim's Secret Weapon, by John Dawson. An Exerpt:

But despite their explicit premise that there is no universal standard of morality, the
moral relativists implicitly take one moral precept for granted, as if it were
unquestionable: altruism. According to altruism, the ethics of self-sacrifice, the rich
and powerful are guilty by the mere fact of their success and are duty-bound to
sacrifice their wealth to those who have less. Thus, rich and powerful America must
assume moral responsibility for the impoverished North Koreans.

I just added a link to Capitalism Magazine.

They don't tell you how to get rich, they tell you why to get rich.
They don't hold much truck with the belief that poverty is a virtue.
Frankly, if you think you have too much wealth, just lie down for a while and it'll go away. You have to take positive action to acquire and keep wealth. You either have to work hard or arrange a system or invent a machine that will work hard for you.

You may be interested in taking the Capitalism Tour.

Blogger showed me this guy

who promises to be a good introduction into the study of legal matters.

He's talking about what a weany George Will is today.
Here's a taste:

"Speaking of bad smells, Will's screed just reeks with contempt for voters, for democracy and for everybody who isn't the kind of conservative who carried a briefcase in junior high. Well, he's full of it. I have never been as proud to live in a democracy as when I was waiting in the orderly line to cast my vote last Tuesday. No anger, not even any talking. It was quiet, like people were in church. These were ordinary people, and a lot of them, who took their duties seriously, who were taking time off from working for a living (and not by telling other people how to govern themselves) to be citizens. Will needs a little more Ron and a lot less Nancy Reagan in his conservatism. Maybe somebody should buy him a horse (but, please, with a Western saddle!)."

American common sense, what Ayn Rand called our Sense of Life, is reasserting itself upon discovering from experience what a failure Socialism is.

Well! That should be an improvement.

I finally went wandering around the controls for this blog and did a bunch of things that needed doing. My reader will notice the changes no doubt.

What happens to posts when I decide to do something else before I publish them?

Friday, October 03, 2003

Blogger knocked me off my train of thought with a survey.

Aw, they wouldn't let me link you to it. They know their bloggers. We're all a bunch of anarchistic smart-asses.

Here's a riddle in Fannee Doollee format:

Al likes anarchy, but he doesn't like chaos! What's up with that?

I occasionally donate to The Advocates for Self-Government (let's see, where's that link.... Aw, crap! I gotta open another window.... Do any of you guys know what this file named with a tilde symbol is, that I keep having appear in various places in my computer? A virus, I'd guess, but it doesn't seem to harm anything. Yet.)
Ah, here it is.
Anyway, here's the secret. I run my own life. Well or shittily it's up to me. I get help when I need it, but it is I who goes and gets the help. I learned a long time ago, that whenever I depend on anyone else for my satisfaction, I end up waiting a hell of a long time.
Ludwig von Mises says that nobody does anything except to relieve a felt discomfort.
Whoops! Lileks got me to searching for Jessica Hahn.
Aah! A little girl wants me to read her a bedtime story. Ahem.
Good thing I had the blog over the other window.
Enough of this foolishness! You've Dad business to attend to.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Have trouble understanding economics?

Here it is in a nutshell:

"Since the term "marginal utility" expresses "by a single phrase the idea both of demand and supply," prices "are built up on subjective valuations" alone and "correspond closely with the subjective estimates" of the marginal buyer and seller, i.e., "the least eager buyer and the least eager seller.""

Jeffrey Herbener and Frank Fetter. has now put Frank Fetter on the web.

An important point from his bio, A Forgotten Giant
by Jeffrey Herbener:

"Fetter began with the "simple" and "almost self-evident" proposition that "the motive force in economics is found in the feelings of men." It is man's wants that urge him to action, first in primitive pursuits, but eventually "wants develop and transform the world" by propelling man to accumulate wealth, and upon wealth, to build civilization. Moreover, wants are not limited to the narrow "self-interest" of man or of merely "material" attainments, but span the full range of man's "social and spiritual" desires."