Saturday, April 30, 2005

I grew up under the security umbrella of the AFL-CIO MEBA

District 2.

That means US shipping in fresh water: basically the Great Lakes boats and Mississippi/Ohio/Missouri barges. (I would dearly love to hear from anyone who wants to differ with the latter categorization; I know nothing about them.)

The Union provided us with a wonderful living until the late '70s. I do, indeed, give them the credit. But then, it all went to He'll. As an interested party, I should do more research on the matter, but I've been more interested in conservative and libertarian politics since then.

Suffice to say that union economics look too damn much like classical communism to me. There's a place for collective bargaining, but unions need to fire their crypto-communist lawyers and accept the results of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, before I'll consider them respectable again.

This is a Heal of a long intro to a link to a Great Lakes sailing tale by Oldsmoblogger, but I just wanted to reiterate my credentials to talk about it. More on that in my comment on this post.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Tag! I'm it!

It's the dreaded book meme!

Liberty Dog tagged me, but Hamster Motor has the best explanation:
Most people seem to have forgotten what this means. In the end of the book, you find out that there exists a hidden society in which each person has preserved a book or several books in their memory. They literally become books. This society is the repository of human knowledge and thus they will be the ones to rebuild civilization after the nuclear attack. Accordingly, I must ask what is the most valuable thing to possess, what is the most important piece of information that can be passed down?

You're stuck in Fahrenheit 451. Which book do you want to be?

Okay, assuming they survive the fall of Civilization (the world of Fahrenheit 451 is something other than civilization), and their chosen books are preserved, I would choose the Anti-Federalist Papers.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

Dominique Francon gets me hot.

The last book you brought is:

Ho ho! You thought you'd catch me out! It was The Gulag Archipelago, by Solzhenitsyn.

What was the last book you read, and what are you currently reading?

All the way to the end, Blog, by Hugh Hewitt. Currently, I'm reading, in my usual scatter-brained way, The Gulag Archipelago, Economic Sophisms, by Frederic Bastiat, Aristotle I, from the Great Ideas Series [OK, that's not exacly what I'm reading, but it's about the series], and Guerrilla Capitalism (about a third of the way down), by Adam Cash. [Wow! Lot's of fun stuff at! But, oddly enough, this book isn't there now.]

What five books would you take with you on a desert island?

Hopefully, before the plane crashes, I'll be able to get ahold of whatever Lileks is coming out with. We'll need a laugh. Atlas Shrugged is always worth rereading. The Bible never fails to reveal something you didn't notice before. Blackstone's Commentaries on The Law, edited by Bernard Gavit (a legal Positivist, whose comments on Blackstone constitute a lesson on how the law shouldn't be understood). And, finally, Selected Essays, by Frederick Bastiat: Sophisms has "The Petition of the Candlemakers", but it doesn't have "The Law". Both are included in The Selected Essays, and much more besides. That choice is made tougher by the fact that Sophisms is very well organized conceptually, but I want to restart civilization, and "The Law" and "The Petition" are the flint and steel. The other books are the char cloth, tow, tinder and wood. (Ha ha! See if you can carry out an analogy any further!)

Who are you going to inflict with this meme?

Oo-ooh! You can see by the evil glint in my eye that I'm going to tag the Cheesehead brothers and their uncle. Steve, Mister Pterodactyl and Lance Burri.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

An exchange that doesn't deserve to Die The Death

customary to HaloScan comments. From this post (essential to read if you want to understand the conversation fully, but the links from there provide an even fuller understanding):
"To expect the government to prevent such fraud from ever occurring would be like wanting it to provide cushions for all the children who might fall. To assume it to be possible to prevent successfully, by regulation, all possible malpractices of this kind is to sacrifice to a chimerical perfection the whole progress of industry."

Turgot's commentary is perhaps even more poignant in light of the doctrine of strict liability, n'est ce pas?
Ken Hall | Homepage | 04.26.05 - 3:52 pm | #


I am only slightly aware of the works of Turgot. Looks like he is certainly someone that is deserving of more study.
Liberty Dog | Homepage | 04.26.05 - 4:08 pm | #


Agreement! Well done.
Todd | Homepage | 04.26.05 - 9:02 pm | #


It is possible, Turgot conceded, that, on the free market, there will sometimes be "a cheating merchant and a duped consumer." But then, the market will supply its own remedies: "the cheated consumer will learn by experience and will cease to frequent the cheating merchant, who will fall into discredit and thus will be punished for his fraudulence."

Yeah, right.

Tell that to all the people taken in and robbed by the Corporations and individuals who have gone unpunished. What was Enron if not fraud on a massive scale?

Tell that to all the people who were killed in Ford Explorers before the tyre problem was sorted and Chev Corvairs before they were discontinued. (If selling junk merchandise is not fraud then what is it?)

Tell that to the people who buy junk bonds on Wall St on a daily basis. OK, so they are stupid - should know better... Tell that to the millions who were fleeced by fraudulent share issues in the 1920s.

Tell that to the people taken in by the NZer who fleeced them of $5 million (at latest count and still going) with fraudulent hedge funds...

So, decriminalise fraud - caveat emptor applies.

Would I buy American? Not on your life would I. Would I buy Japanese? Not on your grandmother's grave would I.

Which Bank would you trust? Citibank? How much would be lost by how many before the "honest" banks were sorted?

No. Turgot (sure it was not Turbot? He makes as much sense as a poisson) is wrong.
probligo | Homepage | 04.26.05 - 11:16 pm | #

Nobody is talking about decriminalizing fraud. Nor about abolishing courts. You are arguing against anarchy, which I occasionally claim to support when I'm being silly, but English common law had solved all these problems 200 years before Turgot.

History didn't begin with Hegel, and our understanding of it wasn't much improved by his successors.
Old Whig | Homepage | 04.26.05 - 11:35 pm | #


"The Wealth of Nations" owes a lot to a book Turgot wrote, and Adam Smith knew him and counted him as an influence. Actually I had never heard of him either, but I saw a highly praised book advertised at THE Online Book List (see sidebar); fortunately for me, the public library had a copy.

The book's not perfect, but has a great list. I will try to post a book review soon, with the list.
invadesoda | Homepage | 04.27.05 - 12:32 pm | #


Oh, you mean MY sidebar. I was looking around over there to see what he had on Turgot on the site.

That Site is actually an advertisement for The Triumph of Liberty, but he has a lot of material right there, and links to more.
Old Whig | Homepage | 04.27.05 - 5:54 pm | #


"But then, the market will supply its own remedies: "the cheated consumer will learn by experience ..."

Well, you sure fooled me with your quotation.

I assumed that your quotation in fact was promoting the principle of market remedying wrongs rather than the enforcement of law.

"To expect the government to prevent such fraud from ever occurring would be like wanting it to provide cushions for all the children who might fall. To assume it to be possible to prevent successfully, by regulation, all possible malpractices of this kind is to sacrifice to a chimerical perfection the whole progress of industry."

Ok, so if you are not talking about prevention of fraud, about the application of justice to the crime of fraud, what does this para mean?

Oh, I get it.

The whole item is in American - where words mean different things to different people. Caught out again Bob.
probligo | Homepage | 04.27.05 - 9:39 pm | #


Actually, it's translated from French, where they're known to speak in flowery language.

We old whigs are fond of law being discovered in the course of living, not imposed by geniuses from above who are in reality no smarter than the rest of us. We like juries of peers and humble judges and we are suspicious of administrators, regulators and bureaucrats. Also policemen and prosecutors. And any other investigators who might bring the power of the government on the heads in innocent people.

I realize that there are people who believe that a government title embues a person with greater wisdom than the rest of us.

Those are the people I politely call "Liberals."

Just because I believe in politeness, you see.
Old Whig | Homepage | 04.27.05 - 11:44 pm | #

Anybody know where to get Turgot's book?

Or, while I'm talking about my wish list, Benjamin Franklin's book on how to succeed in business?

Update: I neglected to mention that force and fraud are both impossible to prevent without prior knowledge and the prior application of force.

Know anybody who's omniscient, Probligo?

Here's a brilliant Pro-Life argument from the libertarian perspective.

Although you might not think that's where he's headed at the beginning.

[Can I put links in my titles anymore? Oh, well, here.]

I agree with the argument on the moral plane, but I still want the police to reserve their efforts to combatting violent murderers, robbers, rapists, batterers and arsonists (and also the less violent property violators: burglars, vandals, shoplifters...). I hold abortion to be a greater moral wrong than prostitution and drug-dealing, but I consider all those, and gambling, to be too difficult to combat with the limited resources of the government.

Are any starlets offering "special services" for that political opinion?

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

That Mises: Such a Shrinking Violet!

From Lord Keynes and Say's Law
The unprecedented success of Keynesianism is due to the fact that it provides an apparent justification for the "deficit spending" policies of contemporary governments. It is the pseudo-philosophy of those who can think of nothing else than to dissipate the capital accumulated by previous generations.

Yet no effusions of authors however brilliant and sophisticated can alter the perennial economic laws. They are and work and take care of themselves. Notwithstanding all the passionate fulminations of the spokesmen of governments, the inevitable consequences of inflationism and expansionism as depicted by the "orthodox" economists are coming to pass. And then, very late indeed, even simple people will discover that Keynes did not teach us how to perform the "miracle ... of turning a stone into bread,"[3] but the not at all miraculous procedure of eating the seed corn.

Seed corn?

Great Frenchmen in History: Turgot

Link. H/T invade soda (via email).

It is possible, Turgot conceded, that, on the free market, there will sometimes be "a cheating merchant and a duped consumer." But then, the market will supply its own remedies: "the cheated consumer will learn by experience and will cease to frequent the cheating merchant, who will fall into discredit and thus will be punished for his fraudulence." Turgot, in fact, ridiculed attempts by government to insure against fraud or harm to consumers.

To expect the government to prevent such fraud from ever occurring would be like wanting it to provide cushions for all the children who might fall. To assume it to be possible to prevent successfully, by regulation, all possible malpractices of this kind is to sacrifice to a chimerical perfection the whole progress of industry.

Turgot added that all such regulations and inspections "always involve expenses, and that these expenses are always a tax on the merchandise, and as a result overcharge the domestic consumer and discourage the foreign buyer." Turgot concludes with a splendid flourish: "To suppose all consumers to be dupes, and all merchants and manufacturers to be cheats, has the effect of authorizing them to be so, and of degrading all the working members of the community."

There's more, RTWT.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Heck, I bet you can understand this.

Trying to find a Belgian report on the previous post, I ran across a bit of Belgian humor:

Volkswagen wil een gepantserde pausmobiel bouwen voor Benedictus XVI, en dat ter gelegenheid van de Wereldjongerendagen in Duitsland in augustus. Indien de nieuwe paus dat wenst, zullen we voor hem een gepantserde wagen bouwen, zei een woordvoerder van het bedrijf. Het zou gaan om een Touareg 4x4 of een Phaeton en niet om een Polo, gaf hij nog mee. Eerder bouwde een andere Duitse autoproducent, Mercedes, al een specialegepantserde wagen voor paus Johannes Paulus II. Haha... daarom wordt Ratzinger ook Panzerkardinal genoemd...

My Dutch is bad (the difference between Dutch and Flemish is minimal - I can't see it), but I got the joke. I highlighted the punchline.

Well, that's a fine how-do-you-do!

Spies lose licence to kill after drunken agent opens fire

Not ours. And since it's the Telegraph, you're thinking it's the British.

Nope, it's the Belgians.
The civilian agents of the Sûreté de l'Etat, the equivalent of Britain's MI5, are already among the most powerless intelligence operatives in the Western world, with no right even to tap telephones.

Now, they have had their handguns confiscated on the orders of their general administrator, Koen Dassen, a Belgian newspaper reported. A working group has been established to work out who is armed and why, after Mr Dassen realised that controls were "worse than approximate".

Tsk tsk.

They'll have to start thinking like MacGiver. Hopefully they've got a lot of magnesium lying around for those daring escapes they'll be doing so much more of.

Maybe I should send over my flint and steel.

Oh, why, you ask?
"For the moment, everybody has had to hand in their guns because we had this incident, in October or November last year, during which an agent shot at another."

Mrs Onkelinx was reportedly distressed that she only learnt of the incident, in which no one was hurt, from the press four months after it took place in Brussels.

The agent suspected of firing his gun in the general direction of his colleague's head was said by the media [? They knew this before his employers did? What is this? Euro-Affirmative Action?] to be an alcoholic with a dependency on anti-depressants.

I'm sure you'll be shocked to discover that I don't think this guy should have been employed in a gun carrying profession. I don't want people like this packin' anywhere.

I like their collectivist reaction: one nut goes off and they disarm all the sane trained, government agents. Actually, that's an idea!
Belgium's internal security arrangements have proved a source of frustration for their Western counterparts.

We had a Belgian in our school. He was a sorry excuse for a human. But, then, he's always said the same of me. I tried to like the guy, but I couldn't. I couldn't hate him even though he seemed to consider me his nemesis. He just seemed so cuddly.

[You realize that I hope he reads this.]

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Why I hate the f*%$in' government and the UN:

If God Was Process Oriented
by Joe Gandelman

[Grammarian's note: should be 'were,' not 'was.' It's a condition contrary to fact. Fortunately.]

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Do you remember that boy with cancer that I was praying for?

His father has a blog.

And his daughter has Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

Daniel's Neuroblastoma is pretty much incurable, but "they" have a good record with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

Two kids. Two cancers.

Help me pray for them.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Ah, here we go:

Anti-Human Earth Day
By Edward Hudgins

Executive Director
The Objectivist Center

Today is a religious holiday that should make us all into atheists. April 22, 2005, marks the 35th anniversary of Earth Day. For many people it's simply a day to think warm and fuzzy thoughts about clean air, crystal lakes, verdant forests and soaring eagles. Until the 1990s May Day marked the worship by the communists of an abstraction called the "workers" at the expense of real flesh-and-blood workers and every other human being on the planet. The result was human carnage. Now Earth Day marks the worship by eco-extremists of the planet itself at the expense of all we [ed. note: this is the object of the preposition 'of' and should be 'us'] humans who inhabitant it. If the cult continues to grow, the results will be the same as that wrought by the Reds.

There is nothing wrong with individuals wanting to keep woods, flowers, ponds and the like on their own private property for their own enjoyment, nor with wanting to reduce the real, measurable damage caused to humans, for example, by air and water pollution. In any case, the worst pollution problems have pretty much been dealt with in past decades.

But today the eco-extremists have converted legitimate concerns into a cult. Tell someone you don't recycle, for example, and they treat you like someone might have a century ago if you made fun of Jesus. When recycling makes economic and environmental sense, a market develops for the recycled items and there is no need for government involvement. (As a kid I collected newspapers to sell to recycling centers to earn spending money.) But often recycling imposes millions of dollars in net costs and harms the environment. What with fleets of trucks to collect your bottles, which you're first supposed to waste water washing out, and those energy-gulping facilities that grind up or melt down the glass, it is often better just to bury the stuff.

Much has been written about the inability of environmentalists to show how many alleged problems actually harm humans. Does reducing the amount of some substance in the water from two parts per billion to one part really make any difference?

Much has been written about the bad science behind many environmental programs and serious problems those programs create for humans while delivering microscopic benefits. DDT is not the danger some made it out to be, but failure to use it to eradicate disease-carrying insects has resulted in thousands of deaths.

What requires more attention is the fundamental values problem with environmental extremism. The ultimate source and standard of all values is human life. Rocks and mud, oceans and mountains, fish and fowl are of no intrinsic worth in and of themselves. They're neither good nor evil. They just are. It is in relation to we [object of the preposition again: should be 'us' - Leonard Peikoff would not make this mistake] human beings that things are of value.

We must use our reasoning minds as individuals to discover the means of our survival and flourishing. An animal is of value because we can use it for food or admire its beauty. Water is of value because we can drink it or swim in it. Rocks and trees are of value because we can build houses with them for our shelter or climb them for our enjoyment. Swamps might not be of value because they are at just the spot on which we want to build a house.

[Or, if we enjoy just looking at them enough, we might spend our own money to buy them an preserve them as is, or form an alliance with others to do the same.]

And, of course, "we" does not mean some abstract collective. It means each of us as individuals. That's the point of private property. We each should be free to own and use assets for our own good as individuals.

Eco-extremists take human individuals out of the picture. They speak of the value of eco-systems, habitats and wetlands without reference to humans in general or to specific individuals who might own and make use of material assets. In effect, the eco-extremists create an Earth cult that puts humans second. Many eco-extremists now say as much openly, for example, labeling people as pollution on the planet. There's even a Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. Its creed: "Phasing out the human race by voluntarily ceasing to breed will allow Earth's biosphere to return to good health."

[Please do. I'm all for voluntarism.]

Most individuals who celebrate Earth Day by cleaning up trash beside the road no doubt mean well. But they and all of us must recognize that the philosophical premises on which one acts will lead inevitably to certain consequences over time whether one intends them to or not. The premises behind the eco-extremists are anti-human and, if acted on consistently, would lead to worse carnage than that wrought by communists. On Earth Day we should reflect not on the planet but on the inhabitants who can make it of value.

Emphasis added.

I didn't know Camus was one of us.

Pedro Blas Gonzalez says he was, in this review of Camus' last, unfinished work: The First Man (Le Premier Homme).

One question: does anyone know what trevialations are? An attempt to anglicize a Spanish word maybe? Trivializations?

Oh, well, it's not important. I just wanted a WOD.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Not sufficiently utopian

A phrase used in this post at Anti-Strib.

Everybody who reads this needs to consider this phrase and write a blogpost about it. Or email a letter to your favorite blogger about it.

Why is this an insufficient reason to embrace Socialism or Communism or anybody's idea of a "Third Way"?

For research, I recommend Ludwig von Mises' Liberalism, Socialism and Bureaucracy.

Or use your own favorite sources.

Post results on May Day.

The future of Conservatism may depend on it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Speak of the Devil! No sooner do I mention Ralph Raico

but he pens another good article for Authentic German Liberalism of the 19th Century. After some interesting, introductory comments about Liberal thought in other nations, he introduces us to the German tradition:
A master-concept used by many historians in recent decades has been of the Germany's Sonderweg—its special or peculiar path of historical development. Whatever heuristic value this concept may have had, there is little doubt that it has been very much over-applied. Germany after all is not Russia. The German experience included: the free towns of the Middle Ages; scholasticism and the doctrine of natural law taught in the universities; the Renaissance and the Reformation; the rise of modern science; and an outstanding role in the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century.

The twelve-year experience of National Socialism, with all its atrocities, was terrible. But it should not lead us to forget that for a thousand years before Hitler, Germany was an integral part of western civilization.

Dietheim Klippel is a leading scholar of German liberalism in the later eighteenth century.[10] He has suggested some of the political factors that have at different periods conditioned the acceptance of either a negatively—or sometimes a positively—charged concept of the German Sonderweg, or special path of historical evolution. In particular, Klippel has effectively criticized the view of Leonard Krieger, author of an influential work on German ideas of freedom.[11] This book, Klippel complains, pitted "a peculiar German attitude towards liberty" against an (undefined) "western" conception. But the fact is, that, besides the publicists and scholars influenced by the French Physiocrats, there existed in Germany in the eighteenth century "a wide stream of democratic and liberal ideas in all possible shadings."

Klippel has paid particular attention to the younger German school of natural law, which succeeded the older, absolutist-oriented natural-law doctrine of the school of Christian Wolff. Methodologically under the influence of Kant and contentatively inspired by John Locke, this school provided a theory of the priority of civil society as against the State; of private property, private enterprise, and competition as the essence of the self-regulating society; and of the need to protect social life against state usurpation.

It's getting late, and my brain is frying, but let me throw in this section, and perhaps I'll think of good editorial comments to throw in tomorrow.
Given this flowering of liberal ideas in eighteenth century Germany, what happened to change things? Why did such a reversal of opinion occur in German political culture?

There is no doubt that a major—perhaps the major—reason for the change lies in the political and military history of the period: basically, the attempt of revolutionary France to conquer and rule all of Europe.

The Jacobins who rose to power during the Revolution undertook to force their ideas onto Europe at the point of French bayonets. The rights of man, popular sovereignty, the French Enlightenment with its hatred of the age-old traditions and religious beliefs of the European peoples would be imposed by military might. To this end, the victorious, irresistible French armies invaded, conquered, and occupied much of Europe.

In the nature of things, these invading armies, bringing with them an alien ideology, produced hostility and resistance against that ideology, a militant nationalist reaction. That is what happened in Russia and in Spain. Most of all, that is what happened in Germany. Individualism, natural rights, the universalist ideals of the Enlightenment—these became identified with the hated invaders, who subjugated and humiliated the German people. This identification was a burden that liberalism in Germany had to carry from that time on.

The lesson that one could reasonably draw from that experience is this: if you wish to spread liberal ideas to foreign peoples, in the long run example and persuasion are much more effective than guns and bombs.

Like most of Raico's articles, it's a wonderful bibliographical essay.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

I missed commemorating a great day in American history!

Oldsmoblogger has posted the entire Longfellow poem The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.

I found him while checking the BS (BlogoSphere, I mean) for comment on Joseph Ratzinger's ascension to Pope. I always look to Ayn Clouter to stretch my intellect when I'm in that mode, and, though she has nothing on her own site yet, there were more commenters on the last post I linked.

As an aside, I added a second comment to Ayn's post:
I'm beginning to believe you're serious. Although your apparent repudiation of Lincoln belies that somewhat; he and the American Whigs, whom I repudiate, pretty much founded American corporatism and, hence, Progressivism. (Read historian Gabriel Kolko.)

['s Ralph Raico does a better expose on that than I ever have. So read him, not me.]

I agree with what you say in that our corporations, in their current state, aren't actually enslaving people and that they now spend a great deal of money trying not to discriminate or pollute, and they try way too hard to cater to anyone who claims they aren't doing enough on those scores.

But...they're still too entwined with the Guys with Guns (I mean the government - yeah, I'm a nut) for my taste. Subsidies, tariffs, taxes and regulations - that exclude the little guy from entry into their field, and thus solidify the current class structure - are their tools.

And Oldsmoblogger has a great post on "the nature of evil: more precisely, the difference between the Boethian (from Boethius, author of The Consolations of Philosophy) and the Manichean (or dualist) views." It's a summary of a book, if not quite a review, but worth a look.

Congratulations to Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI

and the Catholic Church.

I know there are many disappointed people who wish the Pope weren't Catholic. Better luck next time.

"We're sorry for the inconvenience."

Update: Look to the round-up of round-ups at The Moderate Voice. (Oops, forgot the link. Now fixed.)

How do I feel? I'm happy the Catholic Church has decided to remain Catholic. If you want to disobey Catholic teachings, you should leave.

Look, the future belongs to the people who reproduce at at least replacement level. "Liberals" are taking themselves out via the "Roe Effect," and conservative religionists will take their place. Let me speak plainly: conservative sex is the only safe sex for the future of YOUR kind (whatever your kind is). That is, sex must be restricted to very carefully and thoughtfully chosen partners. If you don't do so, you end up having to use birth and STD (sexually transmitted disease) control and abortion to control the consequences. Failure of the method of birth and STD control, or failure to practice any method, leads to the abolition by Nature [and Nature's God] of your genetic strain. Either through disease or the stupidity of your offspring, who will most likely eliminate the strain via either disease or the embrace of violence.

Update: sorry, I got tired.

So there's no point in a 2000-year-old institution catering to your blip of an aberration in human thought.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Liberty Dog's 25 for Freedom icon

is an online quiz all it's own.

Let's see how many I can name (avert your eyes, if you want to take this test yourself):

Murray Rothbard, Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson, Ayn Rand, Frederic Bastiat, that James Buchanen? ... , Aristotle, Ludwig von Mises, and I don't know who that chick is.

A little pre-packaged Blogger Helper.*

Personality Disorder Test Results
Paranoid |||||||||| 34%
Schizoid |||||||||||||||| 62%
Schizotypal |||||||||| 34%
Antisocial |||||| 26%
Borderline |||||||||||| 42%
Histrionic |||||||||| 38%
Narcissistic |||||||||| 38%
Avoidant |||||||||| 38%
Dependent |||||||||| 34%
Obsessive-Compulsive |||||||||||||| 58%
Take Free Personality Disorder Test
personality tests by

Wow! That's a lot of code!

Sorry to say, except for a mild tendency toward Schizoid and Obsessive-Compulsive behavior, I'm sub-par. I tend to agree with this diagnosis, but they recommend that you take it several times. I can imagine answering some of the questions differently at different times of the day.

*And you thought I wasn't learning anything from you, LibertyBob.

Oh! I forgot to credit The Teflon Man for this find. The guy who convinced me that I should stop padding my blog with online quizzes.

And hey, Singapore's getting two casinos! The shopping and the food weren't enough, eh? Now they gotta import stupidity.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

So I decide to check the links over at Bourgeois Philistine...

And I'm nonplussed by what I find at Falafel Sex.

Seriously, what did I expect, after all.

What's a "round onion?"

Saturday, April 16, 2005

It rained most of the day.

Free Image Hosting at
Reminded me of home. Superior, Wi has weather very similar to Seattle. Maybe worse. We got much, much worse winters.

Although, there's something to be said for those sunny, below zero days in February, when the snow on the swamp is hard enough for a big guy like me to walk on like pavement. You get to look at things that the muck and the mosquitoes usually drive you away from. Unfortunately, those days all look gray and white in all the pictures I've tried to take. I'm afraid the pleasure I've taken in them cannot be shared vicariously.

Well, let me try.

The air is clear, clean, still and cold. You're dressed warm - in long-johns, undershirt, jeans, t-shirt, flannel shirt, a snow-mobile suit and gloves, thermal socks, boots, hunting hat.

The cold isn't a problem beyond your nose, lips and cheeks. When it starts to settle in somewhere, you walk a little faster. Sometimes you need to close your eyes and face the sun directly. It's always amazing how much that helps.

There are no natural barriers to any part of the property, so you examine every square foot of the swamp, the deepest woods. It's not deer season, so you wander onto the neighbors' land. None of them mind hikers. Or, if they do, they'll let you know.

I'm trying to express a feeling of freedom, I guess. Freedom from the usual natural constraints. On those days, you were allowed several square miles of free roaming. Of course, the list of winter-wear needed comprises another sort of natural constraint, but this comprises my notion of freedom.

The spring brings another kind of freedom. The Little Amnicon River always overflowed in the spring. It washed out the road about every other year. Unfortunately, we lived on the school side of the river, so we never got a day off because of it. Nor did anyone else, due to the course it meandered.

The beavers were always blocking it up on our property as I was growing up, hence the swamp. They moved across the road when we sold the house to my uncle Dave (an Oklahoman, who got into 'sailing' because of my Dad). There's only a chronological relationship there, not a causal one. Beavers are what they are. We didn't feel any need to change them, though the DNR did, once or twice.

But those are the natural restrictions. The natural freedoms are mostly related to the clothing. I still take advantage of that first opportunity to run around the yard barefoot and to work or play for hours outdoors in shorts. As I get older, I find I have to push harder to pretend to be working, but work and play sort of run together now. They're both outdoor activities. But of course I have the little girls now, so I also have an excuse to play.

"Look at that old, grey-bearded Grandpa out playing with the kids!"

That's my advice on how to enjoy life.

Ayn Clouter alerted me

to this book review by Barbara Ehrenreich [sorry, the link was too long for the title] in the New York Times. She takes the gloves off her usual level of satire in her post. Or maybe not. You have to read both and decide.

As a Second Amendment advocate - as well as all the other nine in the Bill of Rights - I find both her attack on direct action and John Brown's actions overblown. I should emphasize that I think John Brown's actions in Pottawatomie, Kansas were, in fact, terrorism. I doubt that about his other actions. In those cases they were simply acts of war, politically besmirched by his terrorism at Pottawatomie.
On the other hand, there are points where Reynolds might have been stronger in Brown's defense. After the Fugitive Slave Act (1850) and the Dred Scott decision (1857), white people of conscience could no longer content themselves with supporting the Underground Railroad. A slave was a slave anywhere, the law declared, and for all time. Violence was beginning to look like the answer, not just to Brown, but eventually to Lincoln too.

But, Ms. Clouter says this argument also justifies the actions of Earth First. I say there's an obvious difference between the actions and arguments of the abolitionists - they were fighting a clear violation of human rights - and those of the enviro-wackos: the latter are not obviously right.

I was inculcated in environmentalism in school in the 1970s. I was raised in the country that was supposedly under assault. I've seen nothing but improvement since then. Saner heads have prevailed without violence.

Liberty Dog had a project for libertarians

that I want in on.

He explains it best himself.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Hey, look!

The Acting Person, by Karol Wojtyla!

I got the link from Two Men From Galicia, by Christopher Westley on the Mises Blog, in which he discusses the similarities to be found in the late Pope's and Mises' writings.
Both Mises's and John Paul's philosophies center on the human person, as suggested by the titles of each man's important treatises—Mises's Human Action and John Paul's The Acting Person. In both of their writings, there is a strong emphasis on the sanctity and centrality of the individual. The key difference, however, is that John Paul offers a broader philosophical foundation for how persons act (and how those acts affect our understanding as individuals of what it means to be human). In contrast, Mises's objective is narrower, and some might say somewhat easier, in that he only wants to explain human action. Nonetheless, their efforts complement each other and reflect a similar approach to social science.

Now, that's just gross!

Thanks to Tiny Voices in My Head, I found this article.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Invade Soda drew my attention to a Sharon Harris article,

The Invisible Hand is a Gentle Hand, that I missed.

It shouldn't be missed.

I don't want to bury the Carl Fish post

I want the guy to find me.

And I'm surprised one of you jokers didn't demand your Carl Fish back after a long contemplation of that clean rectangle above your fireplace, but...

Vinod Vallipoli has an excellent post with parallel examples of the reporting on the same data by USA Today and The Strategy Page. (I'm only linking Vinod, he has links to the others.)

I notice Vinod links SDB (under "...more...")...

God! I miss that guy!

Do you heal anyone anymore, Lord? Please heal Stephen den Beste.

"The tree of Liberty must be watered from time to time with the Blood of Patriots."
- Thomas Jefferson.

I'm quite certain that Jefferson was no more happy about that than I am, but necessity doesn't go away no matter what my wishes might be.

Carl Fish!

I have something of yours.

Tell me what it is and we can make arrangements to get it to you.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, I mean a different Carl Fish.

St. Augustine

Strive to acquire the virtues you think your brothers lack, and then you will no longer see their defects, because you yourselves will not have them.

acquired from Catholic Packer Fan.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

A pacifist post and my comment:

The Lone Codeman's post

and my comment:
[Äh! Needs editing.]
I don't buy pacifism as a primary principle, but I buy self-defense and self interest, and persuasion as the means of aquiring assistance in those matters. Government is a short-cut in persuading others, but it's not [a] primary [principle either].

I'm afraid that none of that convinces me Bush was absolutely wrong to do what he did, but I'm never surprised to find people who disagree.

Good thing we have a voluntary Military.

But will their [the volunteers] joining in with the Collective solve our problems [in Iraq and with terrorism around the world] or make them worse?

I'm afraid that the way the world is now (and the way America has been since Theodore Roosevelt), Bush's way is as good as it gets.

I want to get back to Grover Cleveland's vision, but there'll be a great deal of hard work to get there, and it won't be simple or bloodless.

Cleveland was a Democrat.

Catching up on my emails

I find that Edward Hudgins, of The Objectivist Center, has a commentary piece, Tax Wars, in the Wash Times.

Here's his conclusion:
The tax code is a monstrous mess that sets individuals against each another. Those hated 1040 forms are instruments of social conflict. Abolition of the current tax code and its replacement with a flat tax or national sales tax would be a small but significant step in the right direction.
Ultimately we must reject the immoral premise behind that code. Only then can social discord be replaced by social concord and civility, and the harmony of interest produce the beautiful music of freedom.

Edward Hudgins is executive director of the Objectivist Center.


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

And now, a peeve.


Flaunt and flout are not interchangeable. They're not synonyms, they're nearly opposites.

To flaunt means that you "show off" certain aspects of yourself. This can be done in order to make people like your more or think that you are better than you were before you flaunted.

Hm. No flout in The Free Dictionary.

But they do have this in their Frequently Misused Words section:
One flouts a rule or law by flagrantly ignoring it. One flaunts something by showing it off.
Standard: If you've got it, flaunt it.
Standard: He continually flouted the speed limit.
Non-standard: If you've got it, flout it.
Non-standard: He continually flaunted the speed limit.

So there!

Oh, look, another quiz.

Yankee or Dixie?

My score? 43% (Yankee). Barely into the Yankee category.

Not surprising. Mom's from Oklahoma, but I was raised in Northern Wisconsin. Not to mention, I've lived in Minnesota more than half my life now and my wife's a native. (Although, the Iron Range ought to be a separate place. I guess it's interesting to discover that so many of my answers peg me as being from the Western Great Lakes region. I thought my accent was more generic than that, and more influenced by Mom's Okie.

Lance led me to Laurie who led me to it.

The 200th Anniversary of the Death of Friedrich Schiller

will be celebrated in Weimar, Germany on May 9th. I mention it now to remind myself.

I don't have the money to go.

Boo hoo.

Or "büü hüü" as they say in Germany.

Oh, there's a Schiller blog, consisting mostly of daily quotes from his works. It's like he's blogging himself. There's also news on the progress of the Schiller Year.

Just a few more blocks and the Tower will be complete.

Heave ho! Immortality is just around the corner.

Oh, don't worry, the multiculturalists will stop us.

Oh, I see what I did. I missed the mark with the link. Here it is.

I'm like, "What the...!"

Monday, April 11, 2005

I love spinach and I love Virginia Postrel

so it shouldn't be surprising that I find her post on spinach to be especially pleasing. (Is it too obvious how I found it?)
Even as a spinach-loathing child I liked the stuff as salad greens, but back then the only way to get fresh spinach was to grow it yourself, pick it early before it got bitter, and spend a lot of time washing the dirt out of the leaves' many wrinkles. The process was all very bioregionally correct but not exactly a recipe for year-round consumption.

In the late sixties and early seventies I was convinced by Popeye cartoons that spinach was the secret to great physical strength, so I choked the s41+ down as best I could. At first it was canned, reheated and eaten with yellow banana peppers. Then we started a garden and had it fresh in salads. Since then there have been myriad recipes including spinach as a main ingredient, that have truly made it palatable.

Grab some at the local salad bar with your lettuce. You won't regret it.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

There's a strain of good thought coming out of France

and it can all be traced back to Frederic Bastiat. He wasn't the only brilliant Frenchman - Say, Voltaire and Montesquieu come to mind (Rousseau was a fabulist); Bastiat was their immediate heir - but, well judge for yourself.

The second Chapter of his Economic Sophisms is available online. It's short and to the point:
Obstacle and Cause

To regard the obstacle as the cause-to mistake scarcity for abundance-is to be guilty of the same sophism in another guise. It deserves to be studied in all its forms.

Man in the primitive state is destitute of everything.

Between his destitution and the satisfaction of his wants there is a multitude of obstacles, which it is the goal of labor to surmount. It is curious to inquire how and why these very obstacles to his well-being have come to be mistaken for its cause.

Suppose I need to travel to a point a hundred leagues away. But between the point of departure and my destination are mountains, rivers, swamps, impenetrable forests, and highwaymen-in short, obstacles; and, to surmount these obstacles, I must exert myself vigorously, or-what comes to the same thing—others must exert themselves on my behalf and charge the for doing so. Is it not clear that under these circumstances I should have been better off if these obstacles did not exist in the first place?

To go through the long journey of life from the cradle to the grave, man must ingest a vast quantity of food, protect himself from the inclemency of the weather, and guard against or cure himself of a host of diseases. Hunger, thirst, sickness, heat, and cold are just so many obstacles strewn along his part. In a state of isolation he would have to overcome all of them by hunting, fishing, farming, spinning, weaving, and building; and it is clear that it would be better for him if these obstacles were fewer in number, and better still if they did not exist at all. In society, he does not personally attack each of these obstacles, but others do so for him; and he in turn removes one of the obstacles confronting his fellow men.

It is also clear that, all things considered, it would be better for all mankind, or for society, if obstacles were as easy to overcome and as infrequent as possible.

But if one scrutinizes social phenomena in detail and the attitudes of men as they have been modified by exchange, one soon sees how men have come to confuse wants with wealth and obstacle with cause.

The division of labor, which results from the opportunity to engage in exchange, makes it possible for each man, instead of struggling on his own behalf to overcome all the obstacles that stand in his way, to struggle against only one, not solely on his own account, but for the benefit of his fellow men, who in turn perform the same service for him.

Now, the result is that each man sees the immediate cause of his prosperity in the obstacle that he makes it his business to struggle against for the benefit of others. The larger the obstacle, the more important and more intensely felt it is, then the more his fellow men are disposed to pay him for having overcome it, that is, the readier they are to remove on his behalf the obstacles that stand in his way.

A physician, for instance, does not occupy himself with baking his own bread, making ins own instruments, or weaving or tailoring his own clothes. Others do these things for him, and, in return, he treats the diseases that afflict his patients. The more frequent, severe, and numerous these diseases are, the more willing people are - indeed, the more they are obliged-to work for his personal benefit. From his point of view, illness - which is a general obstacle to human well-being - is a cause of his individual well-being. All producers, with respect to their particular field of operation, reason in the same manner. The shipowner derives his profits from the obstacle called distance; the farmer, from that called hunger; the textile manufacturer, from that called cold; the teacher lives on ignorance; the jeweler, on vanity; the lawyer, on greed; the notary, on possible bad faith, just as the physician lives on the illnesses of mankind. It is therefore quite true that each profession has an immediate interest in the continuation, even the extension, of the particular obstacle that is the object of its efforts.

Seeing this, theorists attempt to found a system on the basis of these attitudes on the part of individuals and declare that need is wealth, that labor is wealth, and that the obstacle to well-being is well-being itself. To multiply obstacles is, in their eyes, to encourage industry.

Then the statesmen take over. They hold the power of the government in their hands; and what is more natural than to put it to use in increasing and spreading obstacles, since this is the same as increasing and spreading wealth? They say, for example: "If we prevent iron from coming from the places where it is abundant, we create in our own country an obstacle to obtaining it. This obstacle, when it is felt acutely, will induce people to pay in order to get rid of it. A certain number of our fellow citizens will devote themselves to struggling against it, and this obstacle will make their fortune. The greater it is, that is, the scarcer, the more inaccessible, the more difficult to transport, the more remote from the blast furnaces the ore is, the more manpower all the branches of this industry will employ. Hence, let us bar foreign iron ore; let us create the obstacle, so as to create the need for labor to struggle against it."

The same reasoning leads to the proscription of machinery.

Here, let us say, are some men who need to store their wine. This is an obstacle; and here are some other men whose job it is to remove the obstacle by making tuns. It is fortunate, then, that the obstacle exists, since it provides employment for a part of the domestic labor force and enriches a certain number of our fellow citizens. But then an ingenious machine is invented that fells the oak, squares it, divides it into staves, assembles them, and transforms them into wine-barrels. The obstacle is greatly diminished, and with it the affluence of coopers. Let us pass a law that will preserve both of them. Let us outlaw the machine.

To get at the root of this sophism, one need only remind oneself that human labor is not an end, but a means. It never remains unemployed. If it removes one obstacle, it turns to another; and mankind is rid of two obstacles by the same amount of labor that used to be needed to remove only one. If the labor of coopers ever becomes useless, it will turn in another direction. But with what, people ask, would it be paid? With exactly what pays for it today; for when a certain amount of labor becomes available as a result of the removal of an obstacle, a corresponding quantity of goods also becomes available for the remuneration of labor. To maintain that the time will ever come when human labor will lack employment, it would he necessary to prove that mankind will cease to encounter obstacles. But in that case labor would not be simply impossible; it would be superfluous. We should no longer have anything to do, far we should be omnipotent; and we should only have to pronounce a fiat to have all our needs and all our desires satisfied.17*

There are thirty nine chapters. Enjoy.

An amusing point is that I have a fascination with barrels and barrel making. It's a very exacting and challenging form or woodworking, and the product is useful. Though, in practical terms, cardboard boxes, metal barrels and tin cans have rendered the skill superfluous, barrels are still of value aesthetically. I find them beautiful, and I would like to engage in the art of making them.

The Substance of Style. There's good news for those of us who feel as I do, that artisanship has a value...but only in affluent societies. Actually, I should say 'artistry'. Artisanship almost assumes the usefulness of the article produced.

My favorite Milblogger,

CDR Salamander, links to some great advice on bikini waxing for men.

Summers coming up fast, guys!

OK, it's plain stupid to pretend that that's all the guy was talking about. There's a lot there about the First Amendment and blogging as well. RTWT.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Hey! FFF's latest Freedom Bio is on

Jeremy Bentham; founder of Utilitarianism! [That page hasn't been updated yet.]

Jeremy Bentham, 1748-1832
History of Economic Thought

Jeremy Bentham Short Bio
Bentham Project

by John Stuart Mill McMaster University

Principles of International Law
by Jeremy Bentham
University of Texas

The Rationale of Reward
by Jeremy Bentham
University of Texas

I'm probably unique in my tendency to move historical figures up a notch in my estimation by the mere fact that FFF has found them worthy of consideration as great contributors to human freedom, but I have that quirk--I like to see who FFF, the LP, the Mises Institute and The Advocates for Self-Government single out for praise.

I think their positive statements out-weigh their negative ones by far.

I'm with everyone who believes that you shouldn't waste time on Bullshit.

The question is, what's Bullshit?

The answer to that question is a contextual one: What is the product or service you're offering?

I wish I had a magic answer for everyone for all time, but the fact is that you have to ask yourself that question every time you present your customer with your product.

Will they be happy with it? Will they come back to you and pay you again for your services?

Will they pay you enough to make it worth your while?
I find my own answers. And I find it helpful to continuously consider three passages in the Bible:

1. The Tenth Commandment (a link to everything an honest person needs to know, at minimum, from the Bible):
"You shall not covet your neighbor's wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbor's house or land, his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."

2. The Beatitudes, which I believe are Jesus' stock sermon - the one that he told to people himself, which it was fully possible they would die without hearing anything more of Christian teaching. From Matthew, chapter 5:
3"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

And, finally, The Fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22, 23:
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and selfcontrol. Against such things there is no law.

And often one must think of that great passage, taught to every soldier going to combat, the twenty third Psalm.

Meditate on these things and you will be a great soul.

Update: I fixed my typo: "shouldn't" not "should". It makes a difference.

If you haven't given Jackie your love,

it looks like she needs it now.

I'd like to celebrate her beautiful new template, but it seems I have to mourn her current job situation.

We love you, Jackie! May you soon meet with an employment situation as pleasant as mine.

Of course, my situation requires a high standard of perfectionism - directed at me by me - but I have the good fortune of being employed by people who appreciate me.

What a beautiful day!!

Sunny and 74°. Have you ever seen a more beautiful weather report?

The rhubarb just exploded when I dumped a bucket of water on it. They were buds (big ones, sure), now they're big leaves. Nature is so cool!

I called my mom to wish her a belated Happy Birthday. She was in the middle of watching CSI-whatever, so she was only marginally interested. You know what? That makes me happy. Her life is full enough that she's not pining away for my attention.

Praise the Lord!

Of course, she's always been one of the most independent human beings on the planet. It makes me proud to be her son.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Emanations and Penumbras


Image Hosted by

Partial eclipse: The Moon covers only part of the Sun.

Total eclipse: The Moon covers the entire disk of the Sun along a narrow path across the Earth.

Annular eclipse: The Moon is too far from Earth to completely cover the Sun. A thin ring of the Sun's disk surrounds the Moon.

I like that "not to scale" caveat.

Two things I learned from the article: 1. The moon's shadow gets wider and then narrower as it travels across the earth's surface. That never occurred to me and I don't remember anyone saying that. And 2. Eclipses happen about once every year and a half.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Righty tighty, lefty loose-y

should be somebody's campaign slogan, don't you think?

Any suggestions?

Monday, April 04, 2005

Google translations are truly ludicrous.

"A second important task for verhuetungsmittel is the vorbeugung of sex diseases such as AIDS and other sexually transferable diseases."

They seem to be particularly sharp on this subject.

"Where a diseased or at least misdirected sexualitaet can lead, exemplary in the almost fanatischen searches for many years of the Sonderermittlers K. Starr against president Clinton showed itself. This man explained for example that he before his marriage never with his current wife danced would have, since that would have been sin."

Entertaining stuff, no? I learned something there: an Ermittler is a prosecutor apparently. I've been thinking of going into law. Maybe I should study in Germany (or, better, Austria).

I was having a little trouble understanding what Herr Paul was saying in this post on the death of Pope John Paul II, so I thought I'd enlist Google's Language Tools. They made me feel smart.

You have the link to the post, so here's what Google did to the Die Zeit quote:
The person of the Krakauer of archbishop alone could not have managed these changes without the institution, in whose point it. (certainly also this applies: Even this institution would have many less been able, if not straight this man at their point had confessed.) Men make history - if they get power lent. Without power also the largest man goes down regarding history. Yes, the size of a shape shows up in handling power. And the faint of power!

Ya got that?

Oh, the title of the post? In German, "Kirche: Wer schreibt Geschichte? Und was macht Personen zu Gestalten?"

Google: "Church: Who writes history? And which makes persons shapes?"

You get the idea that I think I can do better, even if some meanings are ambiguous to me.

Those who know me should know what's coming. I'm going to translate this entire post. As best I can. And I invite knowledgeable criticism. I know I'm a piker.

[Working... I will update as I complete significant portions.]

Oh, I should give my best understanding of the title, eh? [He said, in his best Cheesehead/Canuckian. (Though "I been ta college!")]

The Church: Who Writes History? And what makes Individuals into Forms? (Get the Platonic reference there?)

Time [Die Zeit]

The person of the Archbishop of Krakau alone could not have managed these changes without the institution of which he was the head. (Certainly it must be said: even this institution would have been much less able if this particular man had not been at its head.) [Google was actually quite helpful here, though probably not if you didn't know any German. Their direct translation was succinct, if not very accurate. Though it is so uncolloquial, if that's a word, as to be nearly gibberish. This is true throughout, and no further comment is required on that.] Men make history - in as much as they are granted power. Without power, even the greatest man in history will go under. Yes, the greatness of a Form [role-model?] is shown in its relationship to power. And the weakness [of the Form] in the face of power!

And the Power in the face of weakness! [Maybe I should go closer to Google here: "And the weakness of power!" "And the power of weakness!"] It is exactly because the Catholic Church is no longer in the position of having to convert its ideas into the practice of "real power" that it has a so much greater "virtual power." It is when ideologies, coming to the point of needing release, aquire real power that we end up with the ascension of a [Völkervater? Anyone? Is there a good Russian word?] Joseph Stalin. The kind of icon one can become, however, if one is prevented in time from practicing real power (for instance, by a timely assassination), can be well observed by that ersatz-Jesus of the political left, Che Guevara. Which of the two has greater virtual power today, might be out of the question. It's not Stalin, anyway.

The Pope knew thoroughly how to use his virtual power, and did it straight in the face of his critics (of whom many, upon his death, praise him to the skies), and not always to the disadvantage of humanity. If I had to name three people who prepared the way for the well-deserved end of Communism, then, after Reagan and Gorbachev would certainly come Karol Wojtyla.

You may have noticed that I named five people, and didn't include Gorbachev. His efforts should be included. Though, if you're not aware that ending Communism wasn't among Gorbachev's intentions, you are woefully misinformed.
You've all been waiting for more of this, I'm sure. I'm finding it a good mental exercise. The paragraph continues:
That is his lasting legacy, as much as his efforts in the long overdue reconciliation with the Jewish people, to whom he referred in almost revolutionary, considering the conditions of the Church, terms as "our older brothers," and asked for forgiveness for the crimes committed in the name of Christianity.

Thus, one can gladly forgive the often unworldly opinions on themes such as celebacy, birthcontrol, abortion, and homosexuality. Ultimately it is not the role of the leader of a religious community to run around after the Zeitgeist, whether it is right or wrong.

[ed. note: on that, see Mark Steyn, "Why progressive Westerners never understood John Paul II"]
Quite the contrary! If something belongs to the fundamental principles of a faith community, it would be a betrayal of the believers to sacrifice it to values determined by pollsters. Whom that doesn't fit may leave the Church at anytime. This persistent cleaving to longstanding traditions in the midst of an ever more rapidly modernizing world surely contributed substantially to John Paul's II popularity.

Significant point to stop and post.

Alert: The Strib's got an Editorial by Norm Coleman

Norm Coleman: Why I'm standing by my call for Annan to resign

I'm just going to read it now while I walk, but he says,
The Volcker report did not "exonerate" Annan, as many have claimed; to the contrary, it pointed the finger directly at him. Indeed, one member of Volcker's committee, Mark Pieth, made that point loud and clear: "We did not exonerate Kofi Annan."

With that in mind, I reiterate my call for Annan's resignation.

Interesting report from an emailer:

GERMANY: In the last month there have been two large Nazi demonstrations. One was on February 14th the anniversary of the bombing of Dresden, 1945. For those of you who don't know about that the British flew over Dresden beginning at 10pm February 13th, the night was perfect and everything was visible, there was little protection of the city because of the belief that Dresden would not be a target, and bombed it heavily in two phases which very successfully destroyed the center of the city. We, the Americans, followed this by bombing the next day taking out any military targets that were left. 25 -40,000 people died. Some of you may feel sad about that, and I did too, and do, but if you read all that happened before that to the Jews and anyone who opposed the regime, you would not be so sorry. the morning of the bombing a Jewish man was given the job of telling the other Jews left that they were to report two days later to be sent to "work." "Work" meant, death. They had escaped up to this time because they were married to Arians. Earlier that day he had said, "Someone should destroy this city."

During the communist years the communists lied to the Dresdners telling them that it was the Americans that destroyed Dresden. We were vilified and lied about. Dresdners, because they were situated in a valley couldn't get outside radio or television like other parts of Germany could. Few people here heard the truth.

Thousands of polizei came from other parts of Germany to protect against violence. There was fear for Americans, Jews, Brits and other foreigners. Nevertheless, during the Nazi demonstration a large group of people gathered on the steps of the Bruehlterrasse to do a counter demonstration. They unrolled a huge Israeli, an American, and a British flag with a sign saying, "Thank you for liberation."

Here's a WaPo article on it. My eyes glaze over when I see this stuff in the paper, but in a letter from someone I care about, it comes to life.

I told this person they ought to be blogging - and how and why.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Pretty good answer, Steve.

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:2-5, ESV)

Not the whole of what you were talking about, but it deserves thought.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

The selection, in 1978, of Karol Wojtyla as Pope by the College of Cardinals

is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

Mitch Berg just said on the radio

that Pope John Paul II has been traded to Heaven for a player to be named later.

He and I aren't Catholics, (we're both Lutherans) so that probably doesn't strike us as insensitive to the degree that it strikes others. But I'm a bastard in that I'm perfectly willing to forward other peoples' insensitivity to the world.

That fails as an apology. I'm sorry.

Nobody needs to come here to find out that Pope John Paul II was one of the great... To heck with that, he was the greatest figure of the 20th century.
Two Polacks walk up to the Pearly Gates

Lech Walensa and Karol Wojtyla.

Before St. Peter can say anything, a blinding light extends a hand through the gates saying, "Well done! My good and faithful servants!"

He, Walensa, Reagan, Thatcher and Vaclav Havel were the main characters who brought down the Soviet Union. Alexander Solzhenitsyn should be in that crowd too.

I say the Pope was the greatest of these people because of the length of his tenure at the very least, but also because I tend to agree with his social agenda (and that the proper forum for it is the realm of religion--I'm offended that his opponents try to politicize the Church, but I'm happy to accept great religious thinkers' opinions in political debate - legislative debate is all about which morals should be legislated).

I want to say God Bless him, as the strongest kind thing I can say, but he can't be more blessed than he is now being greated by our Father in Heaven.

God bless the works he's left us here.

Friday, April 01, 2005

I just added John Wayne's Holster to my blogroll.

His latest post, Corporations are Destroying America!, would be enough to get me to do that, but I happened to notice a familiar name lurking in his links.

Here's his quick summary of what ails freedom and the free market in America:
1. Agricultural subsidies. These subsidies were designed to help the farmer, but in fact, about 90% of the money goes to the biggest agricultural corporations. Under this system, small farmers can not compete. In effect, they are being forced to surrender their tax dollars to fund a system whose end goal is to put them out of business.

2. Corporate bailouts. When large corporations are in danger of failure, due to mismangement , market saturation or whatever, the government steps in, with our tax dollars, to bail them out. The Chysler bailout, the S&L bailouts and the recent bailout of the airlines are examples.

3. Federal Reserve System. This is the grand daddy of them all. Contrary to popular belief, the Fed is not a government agency, but rather a partnership between the government and a cartel of private banks. Member banks are required to hold shares of stock in the Fed. Like all business ventures, the Fed answers to its stockholders, not the public. The Fed issues money (from nothing) and sets the rate of interest. The Fed then loans the money to the government. The government pays the interest on the loans with tax dollars collected from the public. The banks make billions and the government gets deeper and deeper in debt.

I think he's right.