Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Hamstermotor zaps me directly with a different book meme.

I look forward to question #5, let me tell you.

#1. Total number of books I've owned.

Pitifully, about 3500. I realize I've been including about 1500 from my mother's collection in mine, but I actually counted them up this time and a lot of books I thought I owned are in hers. (My wife has about another 750, does that count?)

#2. Last book I brought.

How about that! Another last book I'm proud to have bought: Climbing Mount Improbable, by Richard Dawkins. This book is so good, Rosie likes to have me read to her from it. What an awesome writer that guy is.

I think I'll have to try to get her to feel the beauty of Genesis now.

#3. Last book I read.

Okey-dokey, confession time now: I still haven't read a book all the way through since Blog, by Hugh Hewitt. [A cat bit me on the nose in an apartment on Hewitt Avenue in Superior, WI once. Anyone who can name the cat gets a prize.]

#4. Five books that mean a lot to me.

The Bible, obviously; We The Living, Anthem, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand (I'm going to call those one book because I'm a cheater); The Law, by Frederic Bastiat, which brilliantly ties together and summarizes the political/economics thoughts of the former, the latter and Our Founders [linked in link bar]; Human Action, by Ludwig von Mises; and, the book I mentioned to E.G. Ross (see links), Liberty and the Great Libertarians, by Charles Sprading (here's a good review).

#5. Five people whom I'll infect with this meme:

Ron, Mark, Joe Verica, Omni and LibertyBob.

If you feel this is not in keeping with the spirit of your Blog, feel free to leave it as a comment here. I will, however make it into a post.

My Brother's back online!!!

I'm surprised how glad I am to hear from him; we're so extremely different, yet I hardly write a sentence without thinking of him.


Welcome back to the blogosphere, bro!

Friday, May 27, 2005

I have another post in the works, but I'm not going to get it done.

Headin' out for the weekend. I'll be incommunicado at least until Monday night.

Probably persona non grata too.

Wow! There is a great history of "conservatism"

(that is, classical liberalism and neo-conservatism, neither of which is particulary conservative as the term is understood outside of America) at OpinionJournal, Investing in the Right Ideas:
How philanthropists helped make conservatism a governing philosophy.
, by James Piereson, who "taught political science at the University of Pennsylvania before joining the John M. Olin Foundation in 1981. From 1985 until this year, when it made its final grants, he served as the foundation's executive director."

He gives the two strains more respect than they give each other, and white-washes the main differences between them. Or, perhaps he gets to the root of those differences:
In contrast to Hayekian liberalism, neoconservatism never developed a full-blown theory of government, economics or society. (Instead of a movement, neoconservatism itself was more a "persuasion," as Mr. [Irving] Kristol called it, or a "tendency," as Mr. [Norman] Podhoretz described it.) Rejecting orthodoxies and abstract theories alike, the neoconservatives tended to operate in close proximity to ongoing events. Mr. Kristol, though sympathetic to Hayek, once wrote that "he too often gives the impression that he considers reality to be one immense deviation from true doctrine."

Then there's
Not that the neoconservatives were against a welfare state in principle, or necessarily embraced the unfettered market as an alternative. They criticized the welfare state because it demoralized the poor and made them dependent on government, but they hardly objected to well-crafted measures to aid the unemployed. A conservative welfare state, one that encouraged work, family and middle-class values, was something they could endorse. In foreign policy, they believed that the Cold War was a vital moral and political struggle, and rejected efforts to conciliate the Soviet Union as naive or worse. In another time, they might well have been called liberals; in the 1970s and beyond, they were most definitely conservatives.

The Libertarian position seems to be almost diametrically opposed to this summation. Though, of course, there are schisms within libertarianism, but all should read this not merely as a history of conservative philanthropy, but also as instruction for activism.

I'll be G** D***ed! (Gol Darned?)

Quizilla really does exist just to flatter me:

What Is Your Animal Personality?

brought to you by Quizilla

Yeah, no kidding.

Yet Another Useless Bureaucrat

In today's e-mail I got an announcement about a bill signing from one of my state delegates, the very liberal Democrat Joan Stern. With a great deal of pride she told me that, "This bill will create a new position in the Maryland State Department of Education specifically for a full-time physical education program director. This marks a significant stride forward in the fight against obesity and will help provide our children with the tools to learn healthy habits."

I sent her the following reply: Delegate Stern, How is another overpaid, paper shuffling, red tape creating bureaucrat going help to fight obesity? The money would be much better spent on basketballs. And, why is how much people weigh the government's business anyways? The purpose of government is to protect us from the force and fraud of others, not ourselves. You and your ilk are busily creating a society where every question is decided by the coercive force of the state and people have more no control over their own lives than slaves did in the Antebellum South. That is nothing to be proud of.

Keith Halderman

Thursday, May 26, 2005

"Government is not Reason; Government is not Eloquence;

Government is a Force. And force, like fire, is a dangerous servant, and a fearsome master."

The experts say that there is no evidence that George Washington is the originator of this saying, but that only diminishes George Washington. A different bunch of experts, working from much flimsier evidence, say he merely had an IQ of about 125. About that of the average lawyer, doctor or physicist (I'm guessing). Those experts make the same claim for Napoleon. Yet each of those men surpassed all others in their respective fields; Napoleon as a commander of armies and Washington as a statesman.

Whoever said it was a flaming genius.

I had something brilliant to say

but Chase knocked it out of my head with this wonderfully concise take on the Social Security issue:
The two trillion dollar debt figure is similarly misrepresented. It ignores the fact that this is the cost of transition to the new system, and that not fundamentally altering Social Security will, when the payment in is less than the payment out, lead to a much higher amount of debt than what will at that time look like a measly two trillion dollars. This one or two trillion dollar debt comes from the fact that since the government does not actually use most Social Security money to fund actual Social Security (remember, it goes into bonds), then the government will have to find the funds for those programs elsewhere. To this, there is a simple solution, albeit one that those in power find it hard to implement: reduce government spending; reduce the size and power of the federal government. Using the extra burden of these mostly unconstitutional programs in order to argue against reducing another program is like saying that shutting down a drug lord's heroin operation will cause him to have to seek funds somewhere to continue his coke program. The drug lord shouldn't be dealing drugs, the federal government shouldn't be in the business of providing anything but dead terrorists and jailed interstate criminals for us.

I'd probably quit bitchin' if the government limited itself to Social Security and AFDC - you could even roll food stamps into that, as far as going beyond the clear intent of the Constitution. (You want more? Pass an amendment! America would probably go for a Welfare Amendment these days. ...They won't because that'd be admitting that the plain words of the Constitution exclude most of what they're up to these days.)

But, speaking federalistically (coin a new word every day, I always say), there is nothing forbidding the states from doing these things. They're supposed to experiment and find out what works.

I'd like to say more, but I'll practice refraint (coined by F.A. Hayek, though it never took off--so few people think we need any of that).

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Sir Edward Coke's defense of the Rectum

"De recto." Rectum is a proper and significant word for the right that any hath, and wrong or injury is in French aptly called tort; because injury and wrong is wrested or crooked, being contrary to that which is right and straight. ... And injuria is derived of in and jus, because it is contrary to right .... Section 158b, The First Part of the Institutes of the Laws of England.

I go to hell and gone for a dumb joke, don't I?

But, seriously, it seems to me that Rights (I didn't want to use "scare" quotes) are principles of social interaction which people have fought and won for themselves, which should not be thrown over if we don't want to fight those same battles again.

The Universe Hates You and Wants You Dead

That's what I told the boys anyway. Clarence Darrow agreed, apparently.

I don't think I'll be telling the girls that, not because they're girls and I want to protect them, but because I don't really believe it anymore.

Unless you manage to get yourself excluded from society; which was actually the point I was trying to get the boys to see.

That same website urges us not to forget pottle. I like his attitude, "Pottle was abolished, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Edition. It doesn't say who abolished it or when.... Abolished? Hogwash. Rebel."

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

I believe I'm allowed to share this link with my friends

from Teach12.com. The test will be, whether they work for you or not. Here are two audio lectures in celebration of this Centenial Year of Einsteins Theory of Special Relativity.

They take a half hour each. Check 'em out. See if you like 'em.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Dermatologists are starting the say that

a little sun is good for you.

15 Minutes, three or four times a week.

Winter's a problem.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

For all you smart-asses who thought I couldn't achieve the Lotus Position

Eat this!
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Of course, I neglected to instruct my daughter to photograph my pain as I got out of that position.

Hey! I forgot where I ran across this guy,

but he's a professional financial analyst giving it (some of it, anyway) away for free!

I miss Louis Rukuyser.

I got this at The Atlasphere

The Only Path to Tomorrow
by Ayn Rand
The greatest threat to mankind and civilization is the spread of the totalitarian philosophy. Its best ally is not the devotion of its followers but the confusion of its enemies. To fight it, we must understand it.

Totalitarianism is collectivism. Collectivism means the subjugation of the individual to a group - whether to a race, class or state does not matter. Collectivism holds that man must be chained to collective action and collective thought for the sake of what is called "the common good."

Throughout history no tyrant ever rose to power except on the claim of representing "the common good." Napoleon "served the common good" of France. Hitler is "serving the common good" of Germany. Horrors which no man would dare consider for his own selfish sake are perpetrated with a clear conscience by "altruists" who justify themselves by - the common good.

No tyrant has ever lasted long by force of arms alone. Men have been enslaved primarily by spiritual weapons. And the greatest of these is the collectivist doctrine that the supremacy of the state over the individual constitutes the common good. No dictator could rise if men held as a sacred faith the conviction that they have inalienable rights of which they cannot be deprived for any cause whatsoever, by any man whatsoever, neither by evildoer nor supposed benefactor.

This is the basic tenet of individualism, as opposed to collectivism. Individualism holds that man is an independent entity with an inalienable right to the pursuit of his own happiness in a society where men deal with one another as equals.

The American system is founded on individualism. If it is to survive, we must understand the principles of individualism and hold them as our standard in any public question, in every issue we face. We must have a positive credo, a clear, consistent faith.

We must learn to reject as total evil the conception that the common good is served by the abolition of individual rights. General happiness cannot be created out of general suffering and self-immolation. The only happy society is one of happy individuals. One cannot have a healthy forest made up of rotten trees.

The power of society must always be limited by the basic, inalienable rights of the individual.

The right of liberty means man's right to individual action, individual initiative and individual property. Without the right to private property no independent action is possible.

The right to the pursuit of happiness means man's right to live for himself, to choose what constitutes his own, private, personal happiness and to work for its achievement. Each individual is the sole and final judge in this choice. A man's happiness cannot be prescribed to him by another man or by any number of other men.

These rights are the unconditional, personal, private, individual possession of every man, granted to him by the fact of his birth and requiring no other sanction. Such was the conception of the founders of our country, who placed individual rights above any and all collective claims. Society can be only a traffic policeman in the intercourse of men with one another.

From the beginning of history, two antagonists have stood face to face, two opposite types of men: the Active and the Passive. The Active Man is the producer, the creator, the originator, the individualist. His basic need is independence - in order to think and work. He neither needs nor seeks power over other men - nor can he be made to work under any form of compulsion. Every type of good work - from laying bricks to writing a symphony - is done by the Active Man. Degrees of human ability vary, but the basic principle remains the same: the degree of a man's independence and initiative determines his talent as a worker and his worth as a man.

The Passive Man is found on every level of society, in mansions and in slums, and his identification mark is his dread of independence. He is a parasite who expects to be taken care of by others, who wishes to be given directives, to obey, to submit, to be regulated, to be told. He welcomes collectivism, which eliminates any chance that he might have to think or act on his own initiative.

When a society is based on the needs of the Passive Man it destroys the Active; but when the Active is destroyed, the passive can no longer be cared for. When a society is based on the needs of the Active Man, he carries the Passive ones along on his energy and raises them as he rises, as the whole society rises. This has been the pattern of all human progress.

Some humanitarians demand a collective state because of their pity for the incompetent or Passive Man. For his sake they wish to harness the Active. But the Active Man cannot function in harness. And once he is destroyed, the destruction of the Passive Man follows automatically. So if pity is the humanitarians' first consideration, then in the name of pity, if nothing else, they should leave the Active Man free to function, in order to help the Passive. There is no other way to help him in the long run.

The history of mankind is the history of the struggle between the Active Man and the Passive, between the individual and the collective. The countries which have produced the happiest men, the highest standards of living and the greatest cultural advances have been the countries where the power of the collective - of the government, of the state - was limited and the individual was given freedom of independent action. As examples: The rise of Rome, with its conception of law based on a citizen's rights, over the collectivist barbarism of its time. The rise of England, with a system of government based on the Magna Carta, over collectivist, totalitarian Spain. The rise of the United States to a degree of achievement unequaled in history - by grace of the individual freedom and independence which our Constitution gave each citizen against the collective.

While men are still pondering upon the causes of the rise and fall of civilizations, every page of history cries to us that there is but one source of progress: Individual Man in independent action. Collectivism is the ancient principle of savagery. A savage's whole existence is ruled by the leaders of the tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.

We are now facing a choice: to go forward or to go back.

Collectivism is not the "New Order of Tomorrow." It is the order of a very dark yesterday. But there is a New Order of Tomorrow. It belongs to Individual Man - the only creator of any tomorrows humanity has ever been granted.

* * *
Interestingly, one of the pages of Rand's article contains a boxed insert with a statement by Wendell Willkie:

"In the process of winning this war the American people have accepted centralization of government, regimentation of activities and restriction of liberty to a greater extent than ever before in their history.

"Totalitarianism has an insidious, a sinister appeal. It appeals to those who prefer leadership to initiative, blueprints to enterprise. It appeals to those who find it difficult to bend democracy to serve their economic or political self-interest.

"At the end of the war the freedoms we have lost must be rewon and restored, not part, but all of them; not sooner or later, but sooner. If we fail to do that, then history will write it down that in this war - as in many others - the victors were the vanquished."

Whoops! I didn't read the update: I've been informed that Rand's article "The Only Path to Tomorrow," which was originally published in the Reader's Digest, had already been reprinted in The Ayn Rand Column, a book of Rand's weekly newspaper articles written for the Los Angeles Times. I didn't realize the article was in there, because I thought the book included only her newspaper articles, but it turns out that it also includes some of her other writings.

That means that ARI holds the copyright. If they ask me to cease and desist I certainly will, but I think this article is a wonderful intro to her works and purpose. And jibes very well with mine.

Friday, May 20, 2005

I think I'm in love

with Janice Rogers Brown after reading this post at The New American Revolutionist.

A coupla good posts on military base closings

besides mine: Liberty Dog has BRAC Attack, and CDR Salamander has Don’t BRAC me, don’t BRAC thee; BRAC that Congressional District behind yon tree.

If you're new to the discussion, the order in which I've put the three links is the easiest by which to gain an understanding of it. Don't forget the links at the various posts.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

I just found another guy I think I'll like:

Razorback Lawyer. Check him out.

In other news, my buddy Oldsmoblogger (I haven't talked about my love of Oldsmobiles yet, and haven't dredged far enough to learn about his) has a great post on why you should ignore Marxist economics: he calls it, Math is Fun:
The argument is this: The "middle fifth" as described above had a smaller share of the nation's wealth in 1997 than it did in 1989; therefore, it was worse off in 1997 than it was in 1989.

Was it?

That's the great thing about math, not to mention the Internet; we can find out. In what I'd characterize as barely more than a back-of-the-envelope analysis, I spent half an hour poking through tables at the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and another half hour with Microsoft Excel, and here's what I learned.

Ho ho! Read the whole thing, or RTWT as I like to say.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Proof that the Universe is indeed benevolent:

From Derby’s wild ride:
Christopher Hertzog knows how to lose things. Valuable things. Once, the 16-year veteran of the Phoenix Fire Department lost a $10,000 Rolex watch while fishing.

But that’s nothing compared to the winning Kentucky Derby superfecta ticket Hertzog "lost" on Saturday at Turf Paradise Race Course. The $1 ticket was worth $864,253.

But through a strange series of events, Hertzog was reunited 24 hours later with his ticket and collected his winnings, less $259,276 withheld for taxes.

Thanks to Omni's funnier article. [Yes, I was just catching up with you today, Omni. As always, it's all interesting and chuckle-worthy (I'm sure I got that term from Ayn Rand).]

Have you contacted that guy yet?

Say your local military base is closing,

Ft. Devens, MA shows the conservative solution:
What happened after the closure of Fort Devens is a model for how communities facing the loss of a major military installation can come together to create an opportunity for economic rebirth.

Much of this was made possible by a $200 million state bond issue that sparked nearly $500 million in private investment by the dozens of small and large companies that sprang up on the 9,400 acres that once made up Fort Devens.

"We got lucky," said Kyle Keady, then a selectman and now town administrator in Shirley. "The economy was booming and we had a plan that included contributions from the local, state and federal governments."

It's a good thing the government(s) could spare the time to think about you. It can't, always. I wonder how much money was actually saved by closing that base. And what will happen when the governments have to turn their attention to other matters. If all the new businesses there work to become independent of taxpayer largesse, it'll be fine.
But overall, the GAO reported that almost 85 percent or 110,086 of the 129,649 Department of Defense civilian jobs lost on military bases because of past closures or realignments have been replaced as the properties have been redeveloped. This does not include other jobs created off the bases.

I credit conservatives because they've moved toward privatization. Both Democrat and Republicans would want this kind of solution. It'll work as long as the recipients work hard and are honest. But it's not the libertarian way. The trouble with subsidies is that they mislead people into thinking they don't have to think and work as hard as one has to in their absence. And corruption is rampant where cash is easy to come by. People like to avoid thinking and working hard.

Here's another problem:
The plan that was eventually adopted unanimously by town officials and accepted by the state called for the redevelopment to be administered by a quasi-public corporation called MassDevelopment.

"It was a long, drawn-out process to come to that agreement," said Meg Delorier, MassDevelopment's chief of staff. "There was a lot of concern about what type of development to allow, who would make decisions over a period of time and so forth."

Full recovery would have been a long, drawn-out process in any case, but how much recovering was going on while everybody sat around waiting for the government to do its thing?

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Well, in case that didn't do it for you,

it's been almost nine full months since I typed in the lotus position.

Continuing from where I left off in The Surangama Sutra:
The Lord Buddha interrupted:--Ananda, you are now sitting in the lecture hall, are you not? And when you are looking out to the Jetavana Grove, can you tell me where the hall and the grove are situated?

Certainly, my Lord. This quiet and splendid lecture hall and the Jetavana Grove are both situated in Anathapindika's beautiful park.

Now, Ananda, what do you see first, the people in this hall or the park outside?

I first see my Lord, then I see the noble audience, and other things in turn, and only afterward do I see the grove and the loverly park outside.

True, Ananda! Now tell me, while you are looking outside at the grove and park, what is it that enables you to distinguish the different views that your eyes see?

Noble Lord! It is because the windows and doors of the lecture hall are open wide. That is why I can see the distant views from inside the hall.

Then the Blessed Lord, in view of the great audience, reached ou his golden hand and softly stroked Ananda's head, at the same time speaking to both him and the great assembly, saying:--

There is a particular Samadhi called, The Highest Samadhi, which was the Lord Buddha's Crowning Experience, and by it he attained a perfect realization of all manifestations and transformations. It was a wonderful door that opened to the mysterious Path that all the Tathagatas of all the ten quarters of all the univeres have followed. It is of this Highest Samadhi that I am going to speak. Listen very carefully.

Then Ananda and the great audience bowed to the ground in deep adoration and then resumed their seats and waited humbly for the Master's solemn teaching.

The Lord Buddha then addressed Ananda and the great assembly, saying:--

Ananda, you have just said that from the inside of the lecture hall you can look out to the grove and the distant park because the windows and doors are open wide. It is possible that there are some within this very audience that only see these outside things and who are unable to see the Lord Tathagata within. [Here it is particularly clear that "Buddha" is not a particular god, but is that indefinable entity or state of perfect wisdom achieved by the godly.]

Ananda interruped:--But my Lord, how can it be that anyone in this hall who can see the grove and streams without can fail to see the Lord within?

It does seem absurd, Ananda, but it is just that way with you. You say that your mind exists within your body and that it is quite clear of all obstructions, but if this clear mind really exists within your body, then you ought to see the inside of your body first of all. But there are no sentient beings who can do this, that is, see both the inside and outside of their bodies. Though they may not see all the inside thing--such as the hear, stomach, liver, kidneys, etc.--but at least they ought to see the growth of the finger-nails, the lengtheing of the hair, the knotting of the sinew, the throbbing of the pulse. If the mind is within the body, why does it not see these things? But if the mind is within the body and can not see the things within, how can it see the things without the body? So you must see that what you have said about the perceiving mind, abiding within the body, is untrue.

With a respectful bow, Ananda said to the Lord:--Listening to the words of my lord, I begin to realize that my mind, after all, may be outside my body. It may be like a lamp. If the lamp is within the room, it will certainly illumine the room first and then shining through the open door and windows will illumine the yeard outside. If it was like that, why is it that one seeing only outside objects does not see the things within? It must be that the mind is like a lamp placed outside of a room, for then it would be dark within. If one can clearly understand what his mind is, he would no longer be puzzled, but would have the same intelligence and understanding that the Buddhas have. Would it not be so, my Lord?

I'd say the analogy is faulty.
The Lord replied:--Ananda, this morning all of the Bhikshus followed me to the city of Sravasti begging for food in regular order and afterwards all returned to this Grove. I was fasting at the time, but the others ate the food. What think you, Ananda? If only one of the Bhikshus ate the food, would the others be satisfied of their hunger?

Ananda replied:--No, my Lord, and why? Because, although all of these Bhikshus are Arahats, yet their physical bodies are individually separated. How could it be, that one Bhikshu eating, could satisfy the hunger of all?

The Lord Buddha replied:--Ananda if your perceiving, undertanding mind is really outside your body, then what the mind perceives could not be felt by the body, and what the body feels could not be perceived by the mind. Look at my hand, Ananda. When your eyes are looking at it, does your mind make any discriminations about it?

[Paraphrasing: "Yup." ...]

Why do I feel tired all of a sudden?

How about a good dose of Fred to clear your palate

On Pitying the Poor [in America] [It's column no. 274 - I can't figure out how to link it directly.]:
When the victim is to blame, blame him. If I get drunk and suffer a hangover, is it your fault? Jim Beam’s fault? Why?

Some will object that the (slight) poverty of the American poor somehow forces them to make bad decisions, which they know to be bad decisions. Well, if the poor have no free will, and haplessly do what their environment ordains, can not the management of McDonald's plead the same?

If the poor of America were truly penurious, and forcibly kept so, I would see things differently. The sweated children of New York, the slaves of the South, the virtual slaves of the Industrial Revolution in England-these had a cause for complaint. They suffered greatly, and had no way out.

Neither did they have the subsidized housing of today, the welfare, and the leisure consequent to these, nor free medical care, nor public schools which by law they had to attend, nor free libraries, nor the array of special and unearned privilege called "affirmative action." Today's poor do have them. They also live in a society that has begged them, prodded them, enticed them to do something with and for themselves. They haven't. They aren't interested. And neither, any longer, am I.

There are more attractive options, in this country, for bored, idle minds (and hands).

Wait, this link ought to work. It does, but it eliminates the sidebar, with all the navigation stuff.

Monday, May 16, 2005

The Teflon Man has two posts everyone should read.

One that I won't try to describe - better you read it in his own words - and Two: an exerpt of Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet: on Giving.

Let us try to rise with him on the wings of these gifts.

It would behoove me to write an essay on each side

--or, rather, all (or, at least, many) sides, as I insist that there are more than two sides to every issue--of the points raised in Russell Madden's Freedom Quiz. There are fifty questions, which would amount to about 200-300 essays. ...Take me about a year.

The first question alone, "1. Our taxes may be too high, but I enjoy roads, mail service, public schools, and other benefits the government provides. Taxes are simply the price we pay for civilization. Yes No," could be broken down into five or six parts, each with an 'always, sometimes or never' answer, and 'sometimes' can be broken down into seldom, who cares?/why not?, and usually.

All I've gotta do is split my personality half a dozen ways and express each one. When it's all said and done, I should know the hell out of myself.

Friday, May 13, 2005

WCCO TV news made this story an issue about licensing to carry a firearm

This story, I mean. I see the issue isn't raised in this article.

Earlier in the week Channel 9's "FOX 9 Investigors" presented this bit of news:
In the interest of public safety, you don't want a mentally unstable person getting a gun, much less a permit to go and buy one.

It’s already happened at least once, with deadly consequences.

The question is will a flaw we found in the system allow it to happen again?

Both pieces failed to ask crucial questions.

First: as I understand it, you don't need a permit in Minnesota to buy a handgun. You need a permit to carry a concealed handgun. You can't carry one openly unless you're a cop. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong. Maybe rent-a-cops can get a license to carry openly on the job.

Second: the reformed "Shall Issue" law has been struck down by the State Supreme Court since February. That law said that if you weren't mentally ill, nor a convicted felon, you shall be issued a license to carry a concealed weapon if you asked for one. It was struck down because a few liberal churches contested some fine points in the restrictions. And a goofy grammar flaw that the politicians and lawyers didn't catch. [And you wonder why I hate them. Blatantly frickin' obvious to anyone with two weeks of logic instruction under his or her belt!]

Permits were issued under that law for about 6 months [correction: it was 15 months] before a court struck it down. [Apparently, even its opponents were logical morons.] I believe those permits are still in effect, but I notice that neither of these articles ask the question, "under which regime were these permits issued?" The old (and current) regime allows police chiefs and county sheriffs to issue permits to carry concealed firearms (I reiterate: permits to buy any kind of gun are not required, though registration is) at their own discretion. Some of them licensed nearly anyone who asked (I know of some real doozies in St. Louis County), and, particularly in the Twin Cities Metro area, some would license very few, close comrades.

I'd bet that neither of these people should have been issued concealed carry permits under either regime, but the MSM didn't ask.

I grew up in a place where there were few directions (which were made very clear to me by both of my parents - as I understood it, on pain of death, at either of their hands) in which I could not unload my semi-automatic .22 safely. Or, for that matter, fire off any kind of firework I wanted, although all fireworks beyond sparklers were illegal. (We lived in the Wild West of Douglas County, Wisconsin.)

I'm sayin': I learned from a very early age, that you don't go shootin' a firearm where an innocent person might get hurt. It would be a tragedy beyond words if an innocent person were killed. I understood.

Guilty people were another matter: if you catch somebody red-handed trying to hurt someone, they're fair game.

Oh! I forgot to mention that the Minnesota Personal Protection Act has been amended and is up for debate this week. My buddy (whom I haven't met as yet) Mitch is on the case.

[And another correction: the MPPA creates a 'shall issue' permit to carry. There is nothing about concealment in the law. It passed the MN Senate with flying colors. It'll pass the Republican-dominated House even easier, and Gov. Pawlenty will sign it.]

Ach! It's been a tough day for gettin' at my blog(s).

I kinda got pounded at work - not so much that I doubted my abilities, but timewise...

In the breaks, I managed to do a little surfing... cleaned up my email inbox... researched some interesting stuff that'll bear fruit later (or might--I never write anything down, though it's amazing how old studies come back to me sometimes when I sit down to write).

But sitting down to compose anything was just impossible, and that followed through to the evening, as well.

But, I've had some thoughts. Give me a minute or thirty. The TV news has pissed me off twice this week. I'm gonna see if I can make something of it.

More fun with online dictionaries:

From the LookWAYup online Dutch English dictionary:
6. verkeer [n] (sexual_intercourse, intercourse, sex_act, copulation, coitus, coition, sexual_congress, congress, sexual_relation, relation, carnal_knowledge) the act of sexual procreation between a man and a woman; the man's penis is inserted into the woman's vagina and excited until orgasm and ejaculation occur. More...

I'm still unclear on that. How do you get started?

Thursday, May 12, 2005

While wandering whiggishly around the Web,

searching for a reminder of what the Assize of Clarendon was about, I made a surprising discover. The ass sizes of the inhabitants of any or all of the (at least) four US cities by that name, are much larger (close as I could get, sorry) than those of the original Clarendon.

I thought that maybe if I insulted them just right, they'd by me a ticket over there to prove me wrong. Or at least send pictures of fit butts.

I'd also like to see the birthplace of the Jury Trial.

But, if I want to go, I'll have to pay my own way. It's uninhabited.

That guy there mentions the Constitutions of Clarendon.

There's a Great Discussion of the PATRIOT Act

at The Balance Of Power; two Conservatives, two Liberals and one Libertarian all agree that the Act overreaches and allows for breaches of human rights, though there has been little news of any as yet.

What will the next Administration bring us. I was pretty pissed about Waco and Ruby Ridge. Do the lefties have any equally egregious examples? (I know; Mumia says he's innocent...)

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

I've been remiss, as usual lately...

My speed-reading efforts have thus far come to naught.

I have only now been able to respond to a missive from Ayn Clouter. I really have to be more sensitive to her urges.

She's written a wonderful piece mingling art-criticism, suspence and (presumably) satire, that, among other things, skewers the former First Lady.

I caught a glimpse of an article about democratization efforts in Bahrain

in todays Wall Street Journal. Looks like they're having a conservative (in the most literal sense - the tyranny is striking back) backlash. Their liberals need to consider this timeline and have patience; their conservatives need to consider this, this (my favorite), this and this.*

And how about these moderates?

And we should all remember how things went for the Weimar Republic.


Timeline for the Period of the Revolution

1765. Stamp
Act. Colonial Congress in New York.
1770. "Boston Massacre."
Destruction of tea in Boston Harbor.
1774. September 5. Continental Congress
meets in Philadelphia. Boston Port Bill.
1775. April 19. Fight at Lexington
and Concord.
May 10. Capture of Ticonderoga. Meeting of Second Continental
Congress at Philadelphia.
1775. June 17. Battle of Bunker Hill.
December. Daniel Boone settles in Kentucky.
1776. July 4. Declaration of
August 27. Battle of Long Island.
December 26. Washington
captures Hessians at Trenton.
1777. June 14. Flag of stars and stripes
adopted by Congress.
September 11. Battle of Brandywine.
October 17.
Surrender of Burgoyne.
Washington encamps at Valley Forge and Howe occupies
1778. French-American alliance.
June 28. Battle of
December 29. British take Savannah.
1779. September 23. Naval
victory of John Paul Jones.
1780. May 12. Charleston taken by British.
August 16. Battle of Camden.
October 7. Battle of King's Mountain.
1781. Adoption of the Articles of Confederation.
October 19. Surrender
of Cornwallis at Yorktown.
1782. November 30. Preliminary treaty of peace.
1783. September 3. Final treaty of peace signed.
November 25. British
army evacuates New York.
December 4. Washington's farewell to his officers.
1786. Shays's rebellion in Massachusetts.

Other links on that page:

Timeline for American Colonization (1000-1764)
Timeline for the Making of the Constitution (1787-1860)
Timeline for the Civil War and Modern Times (1861-1904)
See also: World War II Timeline (1939-1945)

*The Puritan Revolution (The English Civil War), The Glorious Revolution 0f 1688, The French Revolution and The Russian Revolution.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

I felt the need to go back and check out my old buddy Justin Raimondo

No, I don't know him. I'm the stereotypical basement blogger (except for the whole house and family thing). I don't get out much.

Speaking of that, congrats to Jackie on her decision not to 'step out' much!

Where was I?

Oh, yeah. I rather enjoy a lot of the Anti-War.com historical revisionism, which is mostly a revival of the thoughts of writers who were not treated kindly during the Twentieth Century as it turned to collectivism and 'scientific management' of society with such horrific results. In case you don't get past the first three sentences, here's an exerpt:

[President Bush] took out after the Russians and the postwar Soviet occupation of Europe: "For much of Eastern and Central Europe," he averred in a speech in the Old City's Small Guild House, "victory brought the iron rule of another empire." Well, yes, thanks to the U.S.-Soviet alliance and Franklin Delano Roosevelt's enthusiastic cooperation, but to the astonishment of many, the president not only acknowledged that - he also tried to atone for it:

"This attempt to sacrifice freedom for the sake of stability left a continent divided and unstable. We will not repeat the mistakes of other generations - appeasing or excusing tyranny, and sacrificing freedom in the vain pursuit of stability."

This act of presidential contrition, while certainly welcome, does not go nearly far enough. By entering the war at all, and opening up a "second front" in the West - at the urging of American leftists and other friends of the Soviet Union - the U.S. saved the Bolsheviks from probable extinction at Hitler's hands. Without American support via the Lend-Lease Act, the Soviet regime might not have survived the war - which was precisely the hope of those conservative opponents of U.S. intervention, supporters of the America First Committee such as Colonel Robert R. McCormick, the publisher of the staunchly anti-interventionist Chicago Tribune. When Hitler turned against Stalin, his ally and ideological soul-mate, and German panzer divisions drove toward Moscow, McCormick presciently warned in an editorial that while "our war birds" would "welcome" the dissolution of the Nazi-Soviet alliance "as reason for getting into the war," the people still didn't want it:

"To other Americans, the majority of them, it presents the final reason for remaining out.... Should we aid Stalin to extend his brutalities to all of Finland, to maintain his grip on the Baltic states, or to keep what he has of Poland and Rumania? Should we enter the war to extend his rule over more of Europe or, having helped him to win, should we then have to rescue the continent from him?"

I'll add editorial comments tomorrow. Though making such a promise is a sure way to inspire me to think of many other things to write about.

['Nee-na' as she calls herself (long in bed, I saved this for you), would like to say "Eye-dowich bidowy!" (Standard American pronunciation rules - long 'y') to you all. She speaks some kind of language. We just don't know what it is. Kinda sounds like Ojibwe.]

Monday, May 09, 2005

I spoke of 'seed corn' a while back

Here, in fact. And also here (in the updated part).

Mandel's got a little piece on the subject today. Reason for optimism.

The Politics of Trade Deficits

Ashish's Niti links to an interesting point about the trade deficit from Business Week, By Michael Mandel:
The Trade Deficit vs. Human Capital

Sure, U.S. imports far exceed exports, but those figures don't tell the whole story, especially the value immigrants bring to the country.

I'm getting tired of people whining about the size of the trade deficit. Yes, the U.S imported $617 billion more in goods and services in 2004 than it exported. And, yes, $617 billion is an awfully large number, even for a country as big as the U.S.

I wonder if the Balance of Trade is still calculated the as it was when Bastiat ridiculed it.

In that chapter, he tells of examining the books of an exporter friend of his who sent a shipment of goods to the US, valued at £ 200,000. The shipment sold for £ 320,000, minus a US tariff of 20%, leaving a profit of £ 40,000. The cash was converted to cotton, and with additional shipping expenses was entered at the Le Havre customs house as valued at £ 352,000, which was then sold in France for £ 422,400.

According to the French Government, France had lost £ 152,000 on the deal, whereas, the fact is that the French businessman's bottomline was actually increased by £ 70,400.

Another such shipment left LeHavre and sank, but was entered in the customs books as £ 200,000 pure profit for France. That's where the ridicule comes in. Read the last couple paragraphs of the linked chapter for the punchline.

Ha! I said something more succinctly than Bastiat!

I imagine government economists are more sophisticated in their sophistry these days, though watching the perfidy produced in the Senate debates lately does not build confidence in our political classes.

But, that's a bit of a digression. Mandel's point is this:
The benefit of such human capital is crystal clear in the case of, say, the foreign engineer who helps start a Silicon Valley tech company. And the U.S. also gets something from a hard-working landscaper or construction worker who recently came from another country. It's even true for the foreign college graduate who comes to the U.S. to get advanced training, and stays. In each case the U.S. has gained someone who can contribute productively to the economy, without most of the earlier costs of raising or educating that person.

Human minds and bodies are valuable assets, and more so in an economically free society, is the point I take from Mandel. RTWT.

What I want to know is, why can't I find a Minnesota

political blogger who writes like this. I know a lot more about Wisconsin politics than Minnesota's because of this guy. (And I learned WI history in school there. LaFollette was more interesting than anybody I've found in MN history, since statehood anyway.)

Don't make me have to do it!

Friday, May 06, 2005

Oh! I meant to mention!

Oldsmoblogger's put up a great business ed post that libertarians should consider.

Looks like he's qualified for 25 For Freedom, if he wants in. (Michael has background options on the left side (under "skin me"), if you don't like the one you're looking at.)

What motivates these online quizmeisters

They keep coming up with quizzes I actually want to take. This one's Stan's and Trevor's fault (Dante doesn't seem to have noticed that sin--dodging responsibility--and spouting off before you think):

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Second Level of Hell!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Moderate
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Very Low
Level 2 (Lustful)Very High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)High
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)High
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Moderate
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very Low
Level 7 (Violent)High
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)High
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Moderate

Take the Dante's Inferno Test

It's been too long since I posted a song.

The equal of anything at LibertyBob, Oldsmoblogger or tif (I feel like I'm missing somebody):
Dumping the water
Dumping the water
Dumping the water on the baby's head

And she'll scream
And she'll cry
And she'll say it's all a bunch of crap

Dumping the water on the baby's head.

Guess the tune, the context and, what the heck, the author.

For Continuing Education, these guys are a pretty good deal.

I wonder if this link will work for general use, it's a transcript of an introductory lecture on DesCartes...part of it, anyway.

These guys sell audio and video courses from eminent university professors.

I want this one, Joy of Thinking: The Beauty and Power of Classical Mathematical Ideas.

I bought
Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning(24 lectures, 30 minutes/lecture)
Course No. 499

Taught by David Zarefsky
Northwestern University
Ph.D., Northwestern University

I've listened to 6 lectures so far. Pretty good stuff. Lost track of the study guide. I think it fell behind the coffee table.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Robert Capozzi said,

"Libertarians agree with Thomas Jefferson who said 'Government which governs least governs best.' We are in the center of American politics. When Libertarians are elected, we take the oath of office and the US Constitution seriously. We invite all Americans to join with us to take our country back from the politicians and the special interests."

That quote might make it into my header.

I'm afraid I've failed the master, heretofore,

like the proverbial spoon with a pig up it's butt.

A whole day spent without thought of his wisdom is a day shot to Heel.

And more.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

A-ah! Damn!

What he said.
The closest thing to a utopia our earth has ever seen, the United States, was specifically designed to not be a utopia, by men who repeatedly predicted its imminent collapse. The United States was designed to prove the maxim, "Freedom is not utopia. It is only infinitely better than all other alternatives ever attempted."

Sadly, we've gotten away from that since then. Sweden was probably a freer country that the US between 1974 and 1984.

Dude, I'm waiting for the starting gun, but if you get Bastiat first, I will concede to the faster runner. But I'd say that you are vastly better qualified to handle either Rand or Mises than I am.

I've said that my goal is to combine Objectivism, Libertarianism, Austrianism and Lutheranism into a coherent philophy. The above link is to a post that goes a long way toward that coal by combining the teachings of Ayn Rand, Bastiat and Ludwig von Mises in a debate against a couple of strong-minded religious conservatives, pressing a point I'm trying to make myself: that Nature and God aren't enemies. The problem only arises because of, what I like to call Erkkila's dictum: Wise people die and ignorant people are born. Or, as Tom Sowell put it, "Every generation is an invasion of little barbarians, who must be civilized, before it's too late."

Another quote from Tom's dispute with Someguy:
There are two modes of action: vertrational and zweckrational. [I don't know if it helps, but I'd quick-translate the former as "value-rational", and the latter as "goal-rational".] The former is action toward a goal which is rationally derived. The latter is action toward a goal which is not rationally derived, yet the action chosen is. The Holocaust is an example of zweckrational behavior: there is no rational justification for the slaughter of an entire race- yet, the means by which the national socialists persued this goal was the most rational method of action. They desired to kill millions, and the most rational method was industrialized murder- they did not decide to start singing drinking songs. It is this rational approach to an irrational goal which has produced most of the modern criticisms of the national socialists as led by reason- and it is such neglect of the origins of their goals that lead to false discord among people who would otherwise stand on common ground. Look to the tiers of goals they chose: they sought prosperity by extermination, everlasting peace in murder. They chose cattle trains and death camps as the means to extermination as the means to prosperity and peace. The chain itself is irrational, yet the portion that is frequently observed- the adoption of the most rational means toward their irrational and hateful subservient goal of annihilation, is assumed to have been also behind their ulterior goal.

On my way to bed, I happened to notice that I have finally achieved 10,000 visitors!

Since I got my SiteMeter anyway.

Visitor No. 10,000 came in search of an image of Sabrina Ferilli, which I sadly excised in fear of legal reprisals. I haven't excised all my scantily clad women from my archives, but it would require considerable effort exhume them.

The image, for which I am apparently so unjustly famous - which has accounted for quite a number of my hits, may be found here.

As I say, it may no longer be found here.

Monday, May 02, 2005

I can't help it; I identify with Christians

whether fundamentalist or moderate. (I don't get the left-wingers though. They seem to have forsaken Jesus for Marx.)

You may have noticed that I was busy all weekend. I was studying Bastiat for a blog assignment and babysitting* the kids.

*A most inaccurate term for playing with, supervising, protecting, instructing, feeding, bathing, dressing, taking to church, shopping, etc. On the weekends, I try not to make any of these things seem to be a chore, and I avoid rushing (and football analogies).
Some preliminary notes:

It's amazing what you miss in a first reading. I'm trying to think of something to write about him that introduces the subject, adequately explains his heroism and doesn't rely too heavily on quotes. The problem with Bastiat is, what do you not quote. Every paragraph is brilliant, and builds on the previous ones.

He has one weakness. His theory of value is too much based on Turgot, Smith and Say, and thus remains little more than an elaboration of the Labor Theory of Value. An improvement on Ricardo, Malthus and Marx, but not a breakthrough which could explain, say, the diamond/water paradox [Why are diamonds, which are almost useless, more vastly more expensive than water, which is almost infinitely useful?].

Anyway, in his introduction/dedication to Economic Harmonies, To The Youth of France, he says,
If the laws of Providence are harmonious, they can be so only when they operate under conditions of freedom, for otherwise harmony is lacking. Therefore, when we perceive something inharmonious in the world, it cannot fail to correspond to some lack of freedom or justice. Oppressors, plunderers, you who hold justice in contempt, you cannot take your place in the universal harmony, for you are the ones who disrupt it.

Does this mean that the effect of this book would be to weaken the power of government, endanger its stability, lessen its authority? The goal I have in view is precisely the opposite. But let us understand one another.

The function of political science is to determine what should and what should not fall under government control; and in making this important distinction, we must not lose sight of the fact that the state always acts through the instrumentality of force. Both the services it renders us and those it makes us render in return are imposed upon us in the form of taxes.

The question then amounts to this: What are the things that men have the right to impose upon one another by force? Now, I know of only one, and that is justice. I have no right to force anyone to be religious, charitable, well educated, or industrious; but I have the right to force him to be just: this is a case of legitimate self-defense.

Now, there cannot exist for a group of individuals any new rights over and above those that they already possessed as individuals. If, therefore, the use of force by the individual is justified solely on grounds of legitimate self-defense, we need only recognize that government action always takes the form of force to conclude that by its very nature it can be exerted solely for the maintenance of order, security, and justice.

All government action beyond this limit is an encroachment upon the individual's conscience, intelligence, and industry—in a word, upon human liberty.

I force myself, with difficulty, to cut off the quote.

Some of you may have noticed that I have difficulty excerpting. To a large degree, it's because I have an aversion to it. RTWT [Read The Whole Thing] is almost a religious tenet to me. When I exerpt, I'm trying to sell you on reading the rest.

My goal, in the end, is to give you a basic feel for the audience he faced and the courage of the man who faced them. [Those who know the story are chuckling, in a rueful way; but not to the extent they might if we were discussing Thomas More or John Lilburne.] And to hint at the convictions that gave him such courage and that there is good reasoning behind them.

And why you should read them yourself.