Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Here's Wayne Dunn's website.

It's called the Rational View.

For those of you

who have been remiss in your duty to yourself to examine the truth, Capitalism Magazine has this definition:

Socialism is state ownership of the means of production. Capitalism is private ownership of the means of production.

The author, Wayne Dunn, says further:

To be civilized is to deal with others only through their consent, through persuasion rather than brute force. Civilized men understand that physical coercion is out of the question, that any relationship between individuals must be voluntary. An uncivilized man, by contrast, has no reservations whatsoever about applying a club to any perceived adversary's noggin. Force and intimidation characterize his actions....

This is the set up to answer the question "Do you think socialism was able to 'civilize' or 'tame' capitalism by 1914? Or do you think that capitalism did not need to be 'civilized' or 'tamed'."

Read The Whole Thing.

Monday, September 29, 2003

The Economist has a lovely example

of the Monetarist solution to economic woes.
What Japan needs is the separation of Commerce and State.
I am head of the Brooklyn Center Chapter of Bourgeois Shopkeepers Against Corporate Welfare (I wanted to add "Philistine" but it's not about art), and I say The People would be much better off if the Government (the guys with guns who can legally wave them around) would leave nonviolent, nonfraudulent businessmen alone. And ignore the pleas and bribes of the skanks who beg for intervention against more successful business foes.

This one ties in my threads.

Link thanks to Steven Kinsella.

I think Rand wanted him to show up on her doorstep with a bottle of wine and flowers.
I know that's sacrilege, so to speak, but I couldn't shake that feeling while reading Human Action.

If you know Rand's philosophy of Romantic Love, Mises was her guy.

More from Lew Rockwell at www.mises.org:

The irony is that the WTO bears much of the blame, though there is plenty to go around. Somehow world trade proceeded apace for the entire history of civilization without this outfit serving as a sounding board for fanatics, protectionists, and would-be global regulators. When so many free traders supported the WTO's creation, were they being naïve or were they being paid off? Regardless, the WTO is no friend of free trade.

Don't Politicize! Privatize!

Lew's right:

Many believe that world trade, because it is a good thing, ought to be sanctioned, managed, and otherwise regulated by the government or a coalition of governments. Thus was the intellectual error behind the creation of the World Trade Organization, an international bureaucracy that was supposed to open up trade but has ended up politicizing it and creating international conflict where none need exist.

Saturday, September 27, 2003

A little John Galt for ya

"We, who live by values, not by loot, are traders, both in matter and in spirit. A trader is a man who earns what he gets and does not give or take the unearned."
--From Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.

Comment of Tibor Machan from his book Ayn Rand:

"A close look should make clear that this conception of trade has nothing to do with the homo economicus conceptions of human relationships. There is nothing purely materialistic in the trader image of man in Rand's viewpoint. For Rand, emphasis is on the terms of human relationships, not on their motivation or the alleged economic impetus for all human conduct. A Rational egoist is not a utility maximizer, a calculating hedonist, but an individual who acts on principle, by reference to a code of values that is not reducible to, but merely subsumes (within a certain social domain), market values."

Friday, September 26, 2003

Let's sing a song!

Oh, if you try a little foolishness
You can overlook the toolishness
Of those rotten, bastard scumbags
and their sleazy, greasy ways.

It's your fault, Farmer.

Hey, Joe! Are you related to the french singer Mylene [same last name as yours].

Erkkila's Koan: The purpose of drunkenness is to justify public nudity.

Dude! Did you have a satori experience there?

Of course, that brings up the distinctions between legality and justice.

Think about it.

What are you doing with that breathalyzer?

Thich Nhat Hanh - Buddhists take over Wisconsin.

I'm exaggerating. I'm with this guy

"This is not meant to be a religious event," says Maples. "You don't see any statues of the Buddha. You don't see any chanting or incense. [But] whatever helps people be ethical and moral and do the next right thing in front of them, I'm all for it, as long as it's inclusive and not exclusive."

And, as Hanh says

"It is not necessary to become a Buddhist to profit from the teachings of the Buddha. You don't have to be Chinese to enjoy Chinese food."

I take wisdom where it can be found. Do I think Buddhism might take people the wrong way on some matters? Absolutely, but this is no crisis.

Jim Powell rules

Here's an annoying twerp. Check out the guy who gets the last word.

I am a Libertarian after the mold of Jim Powell, who wrote The Triumph of Liberty.

I am also a great fan of the book Liberty and the Great Libertarians, by Charles Sprading, which shows, along with Triumph, just what a diverse bunch libertarians are and how complicated the issue is.

The New Colossus, by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

If you don't do it yourself, you won't like the results.

Quick take: capital takes time to accumulate. When government tries to rush things, they get @#$&ed up.
In the Second Renaissance Books (now the Ayn Rand Bookstore) catalog I used to get, they quoted a line spoken by some Canadian politician to the effect that government, or the Welfare State, is "the institutionalisation of love". Hiulkhkhk! Hack! Cough! Sorry.

Government is the institutionalisation of impatience.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

These guys have something to say about Cuba.

Vaclav Havel, Former President of the Czech Republic, Arpad Göncz, Former President of Hungary, Lech Walesa, Former President of Poland:

Europe ought to make it unambiguously clear that Castro is a dictator, and that for democratic countries a dictatorship cannot become a partner until it commences a process of political liberalisation.

I was looking for something about God, Purpose and Morality at Capitalism Magazine, an Objectivist site.

Purpose, God, Morality

Tom Sowell has a great article about how our schools are failing our kids. (It's a two parter. Here's the second part.) The Cold Spring incident comes out of that if you ask me.

Dave Thompson on AM1500

I'm listening to the post-Jason Lewis 5-8 PM show on KSTP. A couple of Freepers were making fun of the "always available" Dave (not maliciously), but I really enjoy Dave's take on things.
I emailed him the other day to tell him that Murray Rothbard's For a New Liberty is available online. He doesn't seem to have become an Austrian yet.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

What drives spending?

Government spending is driven by special interest groups. What drives them? The lure of power (or easy, unearned money), and/or the fear of the abuse of power wielded against them. Usually both, one leads to the other.
Power must be limited and broken up--individualized as much as possible. The responsibility for any action must be undertaken by the smallest group necessary.

Austrians in Brooklyn Center=2

Near as I can tell, the internet has more entries under my name than Mark's. Alan Erkkila is mine. The last name is Finnish. Hyva Paivaa. The "a"s are supposed to have umlauts. It means good day. I grew up close enough to Canada that I break out in hives under the effort to keep from following that up with "eh".
Of course, in order to find anything about Mark, I have to include Brooklyn Center which nets me 20 million entries about NYC.
But, then, Libertarian Austrian, narrows that down considerably. He pops right to the top. But there's only one.

I'm working on my austrianism, but I need someone to discuss it with.
I heard you, Mark, on Bob Davis's show trying to convince him that fiat money is evil. He said the issue is too complicated for talk radio. I was kind of hoping that what I was shouting at the radio at that time would come back to me by this point... Oh! It's evil because it allows infinite inflation!

Of course, the monetarists say, "well, we'll just keep control of it, then. We learned our lesson with the German hyperinflation of the '20s. Hell, even the Nazis learned that lesson!" No, they just replaced inflation with the death penalty for disobedience. A poor replacement for money...or trade goods, or return service. Their government still grew out of control. It is, as Jason Lewis would say, "the spending, stupid!"

Here, I'm gonna post this now.

On Jason Lewis the other night...

When he announced that he is leaving KSTP for Charlotte, NC, a guy I've heard call in a few times, named Mark from Brooklyn Center said that if we could just convert another Minnesotan to Austrianism, the Minnesota population of Austrian economists would double.
Well, Mark, it's gonna be a little bit harder than that to double our population. Even in Brooklyn Center.

My Prayer

Grant Victory to the wise
Defeat to the foolish
Mercy and instruction to the well-intentioned
And Destruction to the ill-intentioned.

Been busy. Sorry.

Well, I went to a Rendevous the other day. That's a meeting of Voyageur era reenactors, not a clandestine tryst between secret lovers. At least in this case. It was my first and I won a powderhorn for taking first in the stone throwing contest.

A hand-made powderhorn. By an expert, professional artisan. The redundancy is for emphasis. It's beautiful.

The table of prizes to choose from was astounding. The items were donated by the artisans selling their wares to the public at the event. There was a beautiful, hand-sewn dress (I thought about getting it for my wife, but I was afraid the size might be wrong, and she was encouraging me to get what I wanted), two different writing sets--fountain pen, ink well, and wooden case (etui?) with glass and scrollwork doors, some drawings of voyageurs on the river (just assume I said "beautiful" from here on).

Nah. Those were the things I wanted. There were some other, period (late 18th-early 19th century) appropriate, clothes, hats, jewelry, knives, tools.

Hell, I was happy with the title. If you think you can whup me next year, check out What Voyageurs Wore and meet me in Pine City, Mn early next September. These guys'll update ya.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Went to a meeting tonight.

My fourth. The first was 16 hours after my last drink.
They are very friendly, kind people. All with the same basic problem I have, and a solution that works. Thinking of them throughout the week helps keep me from taking that first drink.
Tonight, we read from a book called, I believe, Living Sober, about avoiding emotional entanglements and/or making major life/relationship changes until you've been sober long enough to handle any shocks other people might deal you. Like don't fall in love with your counselor or sponsor, and don't peg your sobriety to anything they might do. Your sobriety is between you and your higher power. And you might want to avoid that urge to divorce your spouse until you're really sure it's not just the emotion brought on by the denial of alcohol.

Here's something I agree with.

Dear Editor:

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is a private business, even if
heavily regulated; and what the owners pay their chairman, Richard
Grasso, is no one's business but theirs.

Motivating the complaints about Grasso's compensation is the Marxist
notion that all property is collectively owned--as if those who own
not a red cent of NYSE stock somehow have a right to tell the owners
what to do with their private property.

"Private" means: 1. "of, belonging to, or concerning a particular
person or group; 2. not open to, intended for, or controlled by the

Another mistaken Marxist notion is that property is a zero-sum
commodity, i.e., if Grasso gets $188 million it comes out of
everybody's pocket. But those millions come out of the private pockets
of the NYSE owners, not anybody else's.

The most disturbing aspect of this public lynching of private property
is that Grasso, like Jack Welch a year ago, has now caved in to the
mob and agreed to forgo millions "to quell the controversy." The
reprehensible thing about this whole issue is not the amount of money
Grasso will get, but the lack of moral courage exhibited by people
like Grasso and Welch. Such cowardice hastens the day when we will all
be forced to live by the Marxist mantra: "all property is theft."


Larry Benson
Ayn Rand Institute

2121 Alton Parkway, #250
Irvine, CA 92606
United States
(949) 222-6550 ext. 213

Monday, September 08, 2003

I should have linked Dave Thompson for you the other day.

He's got some good links and book recommendations of his own.

Murray Rothbard, in For a New Liberty, said:

Moreover, principle and strategy merged in the decay of eighteenth-centure and early nineteenth-century liberal devotion to "abolitionism"-to the view that, whether the institution be slavery or any other aspect of statism, it should be abolished as quickly as possible, since the immediate abolition of statism, while unlikely in practice, was to be sought after as the only possible moral position. For to prefer a gradual whittling away to immediate abolition of an evil and coercive institution is to ratify and sanction such evil, and therefore to violate libertarian principles. As the great abolitionist of slavery and libertarian William Lloyd Garrison explained: 'Urge immediate abolition as earnestly as we may, it will, alas! be gradual abolition in the end. We have never said that slavery would be overthrown by a single blow; that it ought to be, we shall always contend.'[4]"
[4]Quoted in William H. Pease and Jane H. Pease, eds., The Antislavery Argument (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1965), p. xxxv.

Emphasis Rothbard's.
Powerful argument.

Sunday, September 07, 2003

Back to the Rigveda.

This is the first thing out of The Wisdom of China and India, edited by Lin Yutang.

The speaker is Indra in this Hymn to Indra. The footnote reads, "The favorite national deity of the Vedic age. He hurls thunderbolts."

This, even this was my resolve, to win a cow, to win a steed:
Have I not drunk of soma-juice?

Like violent gusts of wind the draughts that I have drunk have lifted me:
Have I not drunk of soma-juice?

The draughts I drank have borne me up, as fleet-foot horses draw a car:
Have I not drunk of soma-juice?

The hymn hath reached me, like a cow who lows to meet her darling calf:
Have I not drunk of soma-juice?

As a wright bends a chariot-seat, so round my heart I bend the hymn:
Have I not drunk of soma-juice?

Not as a mote within the eye count the five tribes of men with me:
Have I not drunk of soma-juice?

The heavens and earth themselves have not grown equal to one half of me:
Have I not drunk of soma-juice?

I in myh grandeur have surpassed the heavens and all this spacious earth:
Have I not drunk of soma-juice?

Aha! this spacious earth will I deposit either here or there:
Have I not drunk of soma-juice?

In one short moment will I smite the earth in fury here or there:
Have I not drunk of soma-juice?

One of my flanks is in the sky; I let the other trail below:
Have I not drunk of soma-juice?

I, greatest of the mighty ones, am lifted to the firmament:
Have I not drunk of soma-juice?

I seek the worshipper's abode; oblation-bearer to the gods"
Have I not drunk of soma-juice?
Yutang, or Lin, or whatever's proper, says Indians are a god intoxicated people. Hmm.

My cussedness made me do it.

Hymns from the Rigveda
Translated by Ralph J. H. Griffith, in ...

Wow! I just sent a letter to Dave Thompson and he read it on the air before I could run to the fridge for a Fakebeer.

Back before government took over everything people used to form mutual aid societies and societies for this and that activity that required collective action. These societies used persuasion, not force, to achieve their objectives. Roads would be built by them, as well as by for profit companies.

I got this from Tibor Machan

From Ayn Rand (paperback) p. 43:

"Axiomatic concepts can be transformed only into repetitive or "tautologous" axioms, such as "Existence exists--Consciousness is conscious--A is A"....
"To dismiss these axioms with the claim that they are repetitive, banal, or obvious is simply to miss the point. Of course they are obvious. If they weren't they wouldn't be identifying basic facts. Rand takes philosophy with the utmost seriousness. Its purpose is not to titillate with noverly but to contemplate and appreciate eternal verity. Given this conception of philosphy, repetition is not an impoverished mode of speech, but the highest and deepest. Repetition, moreover, is especially necessary in the current intellectual climate. Rand, like Orwell, thinks that our culture has sunk to such a level of skeptical decadence that it is necessary to identify, repeat, and defend the obvious." (p. 43)

Letter to the Editor from the Ayn Rand Institute

Regarding the Michael Epstein documentary: "Arthur Miller, Elia Kazan and the Blacklist:
None Without Sin," (PBS, 9/3/03): the real "sin" was clearly that of the blacklisted
writers and actors. This documentary is yet another attempt by the American left to keep
alive the big lie that the blacklisted were innocent victims and unjustly persecuted.
They were neither.

American citizens have the right to hold and express unpopular views, including
communist views. However, such freedom does not include the right to forcibly overthrow
the United States government. The American Communist Party was a secret organization not
a political party. And as the KGB archives prove, it was financed and directed by the
Soviet Union, which made it an extension of Soviet foreign policy, and thus a proper
subject for congressional inquiry. Those who refused to "name names" had plenty to hide.

The Hollywood blacklist was an economic boycott--a proper response to those with whom
one does not want to deal. There is no right to a job. And the ruined careers of dozens
of American writers and actors is a just consequence of having aided and abetted the
Soviet Union, which murdered thousands of Russian writers and millions of its own

Jeff Britting
Ayn Rand Institute

Friday, September 05, 2003

Libertarians must read this!

It's from Mises.org. Don't let the title put you off, there's a lot of great philosophy in there.

...But wait! There's MORE!

Almost all legislative effort to prevent vice is really protective of vice, because all such legislation saves the vicious man from the penalty of his vice. Nature's remedies against vice are terrible. She removes the victims without pity. A drunkard in the gutter is just where he ought to be, according, to the fitness and tendency of things. Nature has set up on him the process of decline and dissolution by which she removes things which have survived their usefulness. Gambling and other less mentionable vices carry their own penalties with them.

A little William Graham Sumner for ya.

link courtesy of Mises.org:

Society, therefore, does not need any care or supervision. If we can acquire a science of society, based on observation of phenomena and study of forces, we may hope to gain some ground slowly toward the elimination of old errors and the re-establishment of a sound and natural social order. Whatever we gain that way will be by growth, never in the world by any reconstruction of society on the plan of some enthusiastic social architect. The latter is only repeating the old error over again, and postponing all our chances of real improvement. Society needs first of all to be freed from these meddlers-that is, to be let alone. Here we are, then, once more back at the old doctrine-laissez faire. Let us translate it into blunt English, and it will read, Mind your own business. It is nothing but the doctrine of liberty....

The Canadians are ashamed of the French

Glenn Reynolds directed me to this one.

Lileks on the defensive

Well, the fact is I agree with him.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Objectivists object to Ten Commandments.

Harry Binswanger comments on the flap in Alabama:

"...[T]he first set of commandments order you to bow, fawn, grovel and obey. This is impossible to reconcile with the American concept of a self-reliant, self-owning individual."
"The second set of commandments are unobjectionable but are common to virtually every organized society--the commandments against murder, theft, perjury and the like. But what *is* objectionable is the notion that there is no rational, earthly basis for refraining from criminal behavior, that it is only the not-to-be-questioned decree of a supernatural Punisher that makes acts like theft and murder wrong."

I agree with these points and this

"This primitive conception of law and morality flatly contradicts American values. Inherited guilt is an impossible and degrading concept. How can you be guilty for something you didn't do? In philosophic terms, it represents the doctrine of determinism, the idea that your choices count for nothing, that factors beyond your control govern your "destiny." This is the denial of free will and therefore of self- responsibility.

"The nation of the self-made man cannot be squared with the ugly notion that you are to be punished for the "sin" of your great-grandfather."

Read the whole thing.


Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Whoever wants to be a Christian should tear the eyes out of his Reason. --Martin Luther

That's what Freedom's Nest sent me today.

A classmate from high school apparently googled "Superior, WI" and saw my blog here. My anonymity is blown. Oh, well....
He says Souptown is too cold for its swamps to be fetid. He's right of course. Joe spent some time in a Puerto Rican swamp. All right, you got me; it doesn't compare. Except that rural Douglas County, Wisconsin is pretty much 2500 square miles of swamp. There were no houses southwest of our house in Oakland Township all the way to the Minnesota border.
Joe suggested "expansive" rather than "fetid".
He also wanted me to include The Volokh Conspiracy and IMAO.us on my list of links.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Bourgeois Philistine Shopkeeper

I'll make the T-shirts as soon as I get an order.

I failed to get to the Fair this year.

For the last two years I helped out at the Minnesota Libertarian Party booth, but this year I was too depressed about having to quit drinking. Still dry, by the way.

Actually, I just had too many home repairs to do.

My father-in-law was down helping me this weekend, and we endured silence because we can't abide one another's taste in radio stations. He likes to listen to MPR talk and I prefer Right Wing talk. At least until our right wingers morph into Big Government Imperialists.

Actually, the latest Weekly Standard is pretty good. They're riding the edge between traditional conservatism and neo-conservatism. There's a nexus between imperialism and national defense that a good strategic thinker would oscillate into now and then. I won't criticize a conservative president for stepping into that nexus and I don't see Kristol stepping out the wrong side of it this week. If I find the article where he did, I'll link it. Otherwise, The Light of Reason and Anti-war.com will help you find it. Oops, I said Irving Kristol, I meant William.

One comment about the economy. I understood employment was--and has always been--a lagging indicator. The Keynesians say that demand rises, then production, then employment. It sounds to me like the first two are coming along, now it's time for employment to rise. But hey! The doom and gloomers need to make hay while the sun shines, eh?

Check out this chart folks.