Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Agh! It's Bastiat's Birthday, and I'm not ready!

I've taken up a Marketing course (that's one of the irons I've mentioned elsewhere having in the fire), so I forgot to get him anything.

FEE celebrates with these articles:

"The State" by Frédéric Bastiat
"Bastiat: Champion of Economic Liberty" by Richard M. Ebeling
"Frederic Bastiat: The Primacy of Property" by James A. Dorn

"Frederic Bastiat: An Annotated Bibliography" by Sheldon Richman.

Contemplating the decline of Europe,

Mark Steyn says:
A political entity hostile to the three principal building blocks of functioning societies - religion, family and wealth creation - was never a likely bet for the long term. Contemplating the deathbed demographics in the EU and wondering what can be done to reverse it, a correspondent of mine, Jim Ellinthorpe, suggests that President Bush give regular speeches mocking the virility of European males.

Some links as background for his article:
Frank Field
Russia's Population decline.
Or check out my Google search on that. Steyn's not making it up.

German sewer problems

I have an answer to Mark's question, "...[W]hich is more likely? That Blair will transform a Europe antipathetic to Anglo-Saxon ways? Or that Europe will drag its Anglo-Saxons down with it?"

With Euro-minded people in charge, the latter will happen. If the Brits run a good, nationalistic Classical Liberal to the top, and lead by example, Europe will have to follow.

Any cowboys over there?

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

ARI with another interesting take:

[I'd bet most people would profit from reading the last two paragraphs first.]
Dear Editor:

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs is debating whether the United States should formally apologize to Indians for a "long history of official depredations and ill-conceived policies." This proposal should be rejected.

Before Europeans arrived, the scattered tribes occupying North America lived in abject poverty, ignorance, and superstition--not due to any racial inferiority, but because that is how all mankind starts out (Europeans included). The transfer of Western civilization to this continent was one of the great cultural gifts in recorded history, affording Indians almost effortless access to centuries of European accomplishments in philosophy, science, technology, and government. As a result, today's Indians enjoy a capacity for generating health, wealth, and happiness that their Stone Age ancestors could never have conceived.

From a historical perspective, the proper response to such a gift is not resentment but gratitude. America's policies toward the Indians were generally benign, aimed at protecting them from undeserved harm while providing significant material support and encouragement to become civilized. When those policies erred, it was usually by treating Indians collectively, as "nations" entitled to permanent occupancy of semi-sovereign reservations. Instead, Indians should have been treated as individuals deserving full and equal American citizenship in exchange for embracing individual rights, including private ownership of land.

If the United States government were demanding that Indians apologize for the frontier terrorism of their ancestors, as if living members of a particular race could be guilty of their forebears' misdeeds, the demand would (properly) be rejected as racist. For the same reason, American Indians should refuse to be regarded as a race of helpless victims entitled to a collective apology from their fellow citizens.

Thomas A. Bowden

Ayn Rand Institute

2121 Alton Parkway #250
Irvine, CA 92660
(410) 727-4300

Copyright © 2005 Ayn Rand® Institute. All rights reserved.

I'm going to Rendezvous in Cloquet this weekend (but don't look for me Saturday afternoon, should you decide to take a roadtrip, I'll be visiting my sister at her inlaws' in Superior--actually Oakland Township, half a mile from where I grew up; maybe I'll go harass the inhabitants of our former homes, and visit the messes I made, building forts in the woods].

One of the things you learn reenacting, is that there were many pleasures in the old lifestyle. But you also learn that there were many grave dangers. Keeping your babies out of the fire is a serious concern. There were many diseases we no longer have to worry about - any cut could be a death sentence, but, for the most part, anti-biotics and innoculations have solved the worst of them - Smallpox, Polio and Tuberculosis were major killers. We still have flu pandemics, or so they say; we haven't had a really major one since the early sixties. Some say we're due--SARS is the greatest threat today. The AIDS crisis is horrendous in Africa.

But most middle-class Westerners feel pretty secure.

The pleasures of 18th century life were the omnipresence of the normal nighttime sounds of nature, the feeling of accomplishment when you create something useful with your bare hands, and the flavor of meat cooked over a wood fire. Your always solving problems with only your mind and rude hand-tools.

But you come back to the 21st century with a appreciation of the degree to which our modern tools, machinery and computers make our tasks easier. And our medicines make lives like mine possible.

Monday, June 27, 2005

This is the best pic I got tonight before the camera battery died.

Out the back porch door, about two minutes after sunset.

Free Image Hosting at

Oh, By The Way...

Here's how I feel about you SOBs and your advice to get more sun:

Free Image Hosting at

This was after a couple days of healing.

Hmm. That ceiling could stand some paint.

Thunderstorms here this evening.

I saw the trees shining gold out the window 20 minutes ago and there was a rainbow. Then a lightning bolt shot through it.

A moment for me alone.

Such moments used to make me happy. A lonely thrill would shoot through me.
Now I want to share them with my family, but there was no way.

Will they learn to look for beauty?

From me?

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Quoted in full from Atlas Shrugs:


Tim McD, enabler of my newsfeed and all things blog related..........sent me this and frankly I couldnt change a word

Have you noticed that most news stories, about the outrageous Supreme Court ruling expanding eminent domain, don't list the justices who voted to expand the power of government over the individual. Why are they afforded this blatant pass from the media. The following story just mentions the name of the justice who wrote the majority opinion, Justice John Paul Stevens. But it does list who voted against giving government this new power.

The Justices on the right are spinning, rotating actually, in their graves...............

In case you're wondering the names of those who voted to take away property rights, they are listed below:

John Paul Stevens, Associate Justice, was born in Chicago, Illinois, April 20, 1920. President Ford nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and he took his seat December 19, 1975. He is 85.2 years old. He has been on Social Security for 20 years.

David Hackett Souter, Associate Justice, was born in Melrose, Massachusetts, September 17, 1939. President Bush nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and he took his seat October 9, 1990. He is 65.8 years old and is now eligible for Social Security.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice, was born in Brooklyn, New York, March 15, 1933. President Clinton nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and she took her seat August 10, 1993. She is 72.3 years old and has been on Social Security for almost 7.5 years.

Stephen G. Breyer, Associate Justice, was born in San Francisco, California, August 15, 1938. President Clinton nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and he took his seat August 3, 1994. He is 66.9 years old. He has been on Social Security for almost 2 years.

Anthony M. Kennedy, Associate Justice, was born in Sacramento, California, July 23, 1936. President Reagan nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and he took his seat February 18, 1988. He is 69 years old and has been on Social Security for 4 years.

I can't help but notice that if they were treated as normal government employees, they would all have been retired a while ago. Would it be too much to ask Supreme Court Justices to retire at age 70 and let someone else be on the bench?

They were also all born in states that voted Democrat in the 2004 elections.

But I'm sure glad that the Patriot Act was downsized. I feel so much safer knowing the government can't rifle through my library records. After the government seizes our homes we can at least enjoy anonymity at the library

Yup, those kids are running our country. Glad to hear it.

Miss Pamela might just draw me away from Janice Rogers Brown.

Have I used the expression, "Yowza!" lately?

Update: Another good round-up of the issue.

Zeitgeist vs Nomos is back!!

I was getting ready to dump him for abandoning his blog. The title of his blog by itself made me keep it longer than I normally would have.

Here's his conservative Christian take on my July 4th post. And his post about family "roots" should encourage you to - at least - have a chat with your older relatives and see about your connections with the rest of the world. (There's a joke about inbreeding in there somewhere, but somethings blocking it for me.)

The guy writes too well to be keeping it all to himself. But you can't deny the validity of his excuses. [Hint: "It's a GIRL!!!"]

He probably doesn't smoke cigars, but he deserves a good one.

Tracy has a good post on the Supreme takeover

of your property at the Anti-Strib. He calls it The Road to Serfdom.

Friday, June 24, 2005

I know a Philistine who has

an opinion about the SCOTUS decision gutting the Takings Clause.

He got a little emotional.

The Old Whig's take: those who think America is a Fascist country now have some serious ammunition for their battle.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

All right! ...I came here for a reason! ...What the Hell was it?

That's a warning that this is just a BS post.

Oh, yeah! I was corresponding with my sister, the Assemblies of God missionary to the former East Germany. She's having trouble mastering German, so I told her to memorize the Gospel of John in German (Das Evangelium nach Johannes, auf Deutsch). I'd bet John has been responsible for more conversions than anybody.

Not having done that myself, I felt the need to pull out the old Heilige Schrift and give it a go.
1 Im Anfang war das Wort, un das Wort war bei Gott, un Gott war das Wort.
2 Dasselbe war im Anfang bei Gott.
3 Alle Dinge sind durch dasselbe gemacht, un ohne dasselbe ist nichts gemacht, was gemacht ist.
4 In ihm war das Leben, und das Leben war das Licht der Menschen.
5 Und das Licht scheint in der Finsternis, und die Finsternis hat's nicht ergriffen.

No umlauts! That makes it easy to type! That passage has always given me shivers.

[I'd be interested to hear how that sounds in Swiss Dialect - Schweizer Deutsch.]

OK, this is turning into one of my scatterbrained posts, but wth.

When I pulled out my Lutherbibel, a napkin fell out. On it was the message, "Thank You for Sharing Our Joy - Nancy and Scott, March 23, 1985."

Sadly, Scott (whose last name translates to 'manure field') appears to be my best friend in the world. Good thing I have my wife. It's sad because I never manage to get back to the old hometown, and I don't call anybody there, because I'm not going to go see them.

I'm a guy, though. The sadness is only skin deep. If I popped into C's (a bar that my old friends frequent) tomorrow, I think we'd all have a great time together. Even though the lot of them seem to have become involved in youth soccer. (Shudder.)

And being libertarian, Objectivist, "Buddhist" Lutheran in Minnesota isn't conducive to gaining a cohort. Maybe if I were gay it'd work, but I'm not.

Maybe dressing like a late Eighteenth Century Frenchman while camping will correct my social balance. I plan to do that several times this summer. I should talk some of those guys into blogging, then we'd really have something in common.

Got a couple emails from DICKENHANCER today

I noticed them just as my finger was hitting the "delete" button. I felt just awful. What if the guy was selling something I desperately needed? That actually worked?

I mean, who doesn't know someone who'd like a couple more inches in some dimension or other?

I should've responded...

He's gonna go out of business because of me!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Ah, cripes! (...he substituted.)

I gotta spend some time on my blogroll. One of T.F. Stern's buddies contacted me and his stuff looks pretty good. The guy can structure a blogpost, whether you agree with him or not.

Before I move on to that, I've been reading a bit of Böhm-Bawerk today, thanks to this guy. And my knowledge that a lot of the books on that list are online at the Library of Economics and Liberty.

"Lo-o-o-ove I-it!!!" as Wheezy from Dragon Tales would scream, in her most vocal-chord-destroying tone. (I knew watching PBS's kids' shows would infect my brain eventually. Don't get me started on Teletubbies! Just thank God they don't have any dialogue to quote - the narrator doesn't count.)

As an aside, those who love F.A. Hayek are aware that the name of the Catallarchy blog means 'rule of exchange, or The Market.' Hayek wanted Economics to be renamed Catallactics - the study of exchange behavior.

And I share Tom's hots for Janice Rogers Brown.

Nothing Persuades Like an Easton!

I deeply believe in getting to the roots of issues, so let's make something perfectly clear. And I mean clear enough to turn a challenge to a fight at a biker bar into a discussion of philosophy! This is a level on which I speak from experience; I've done it more than a few times.

A Right is a restraint placed on the actions of others. It is enforced by you - by your own powers of force and persuasion.

Humans are naturally given to social behavior, so persuasion is very powerful among us.

We are also the most effective appliers of physical force on earth.

Our social nature makes us desire to deal with one another through persuasion; our violent abilities make it necessary to deal with one another through persuasion.

Successful societies do this well, unsuccessful ones don't. Societies whose members deal with one another through persuasion must defend themselves against societies whose members deal with one another through force.

The good news is, that God has ordained (and I, personally, have no proplem with you taking that expression figuratively - replace God with 'nature,' 'reality,' or 'evolution' if you prefer; we are what we are) that persuasion is a more productive/constructive force - cooperation - LOVE! In every sense of the word! - provides Persuasion more tools for its defense than Force (i. e. the physical manifestation of Fear or Hate) can muster.

As long as the practitioners of Love remember that they can't afford to forget that there are practitioners of Force who won't accept Love for an answer.

BTW Fear and Hate are not the same thing, and there can be good reasons for either. The initiation of the use of force against innocents is the key to understanding: the initiation of force must be stopped. With force if necessary.

Oh! What's an Easton? One of these.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Well, we didn't see any Muskies, and I didn't buy a fishing license.

Saturday was our 17th Anniversary, so I didn't think it'd be that good an idea to spend the day fishing. So I spent it helping my father-in-law get the boat out (an 18 foot Bayliner, 4.3 liter Mercury inboard/outboard, if anyone cares). The we took a ride around Pine Island. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness touches the lake on the back side of the island, so it's pretty wild back in there. Sunny, breezy, the waves a little too rough for a perfect ride, but pretty nice anyway.

Then the winch died when we got back. My theory is that the ballast went, they're supposed to go to protect everything else, like a breaker, but what do I know.

Anyway, we spent the next couple hours with a chain-hoist pulling the boat back into the boathouse. It's way too heavy to just push it in, and somehow setting up a backup has been overlooked. I've been hanging around the place for 17 years now, and stand to inherit it someday (hopefully, not soon), I need to stop expecting him to do all the thinking around there.

Anyway, Rosie and I jumped in the lake for a sunset swim after all that. I reveled in the fact that sunset was at about 9:10, though you had to go up to the second story and look out a north facing window to see it.

We celebrated Father's Day with a cake today, and the daughters made the fathers gifts. Laurie bought me The Incredibles DVD. I won't tell you what I bought her because... um...well...uh, it hasn't come in yet. [Insert John Lovitz line here.]

I guess I'd better go see what the wife wants. That'll be my motto for a while.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Ah, what's going on out there?

Kinda been stuck in my little world this week.

Hey, I stepped on a packet of Taco Bell hot sauce today and got it all over my pants! That was great. I probably would have run home to change them, but things conspired to keep me from doing that.

Looks like I'll be out of town again this weekend. Might actually get to swim on purpose this time. Although, the two monster muskies we saw in the lake last time make me feel a little nervous about that.

Maybe I should get a license and haul 'em out first. Then I could post one of those great pictures of a disheveled guy (me, in this fanciful case) holding up a couple big fish.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

I've been intending to post this image

from Liberty Dog:
Free Image Hosting at

There's a pretty important article linked there as well that you should read.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Ah, wonderful! Somebody said something

that makes getting a post out tonight an easy thing:
I don't think it needs to be said how despicable I find flag-burning. I think it is the highest form of disrespect to our nation and the ideals we espouse. But it is the very fact that flag-burning is not illegal that makes this country what it is. The fact that someone can burn a flag here without facing penalty is exactly what makes it unnecessary to use flag-burning as protest. It is its very legality that sets our country apart.

I understand why people are trying to change that. For those who have dedicated their lives to public service, especially those who have come from military backgrounds, fighting for that flag, it has to be appalling to see people desecrate it. But the flag is simply a symbol of deeper things. Nobody fights for a flag, they fight for ideals. One of the chief ideals is the continuing freedom of people in the US and around the world. And the fact that flag desecration is legal means that desecration of the flag is an exercise in futility. Protecting and furthering freedom includes the freedom to be unpopular.

Can you summarize that better? Nail that to the church door! I'm ready to defend that thesis now, thanks to The Unrepentant Individual's perspicacity.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

More from Uncle Al

Yeah, I wish I could claim a close kinship with Dr. Einstein.

I want Conservatives to meditate on this (because they won't find it entirely foreign, and yet it leads further than their thought usually does):
An autocratic system of coercion, in my opinion, soon degenerates. For force always attracts men of low morality, and I believe it to be an invariable rule that tyrants of genius are succeeded by scoundrels. For this reason I have always been passionately opposed to systems such as we see in Italy and Russia to-day.
Variant translation: In my opinion, an autocratic system of coercion soon degenerates; force attracts men of low morality...

Do our modern Liberals find those ideas antithetical to their own? They shouldn't. Here's what I'd like them to consider:
The really valuable thing in the pageant of human life seems to me not the State but the creative, sentient individual, the personality; it alone creates the noble and the sublime, while the herd as such remains dull in thought and dull in feeling.

Perhaps The Left prefers this:
This topic brings me to that worst outcrop of the herd nature, the military system, which I abhor. That a man can take pleasure in marching in formation to the strains of a band is enough to make me despise him. He has only been given his big brain by mistake; a backbone was all he needed. This plague-spot of civilization ought to be abolished with all possible speed. Heroism by order, senseless violence, and all the pestilent nonsense that does by the name of patriotism—how I hate them! War seems to me a mean, contemptible thing: I would rather be hacked in pieces than take part in such an abominable business.

I am partial to a spirit of humble reverence in the face of the yet-unknown. Einstein's aphorisms to that effect are wonderful, for the purpose of meditation, but his faith in existing and previously existing theories (particularly unproven ones) of economic and political organization of collective action, strike me as naive at best. The man didn't know how to comb his hair or tie his shoes! Was he the man we'd trust to direct our economy?

The economy isn't an abstraction - it's about the guys living under a bridge; guys like me, living in old houses that need work; rich people in Condos and Mansions - what we eat, drink and entertain ourselves with, inside and outside our homes.

Einstein provided many, many insights in to Life worthy of his genius, but it was extraordinarily inconsistent with his genius, and many of his aphorisms, to promote Statism: the "Only Our Way" solution to social problems.

The Libertarian Way allows experiments like those of Robert Owen, the Phalansteries and the Amana Colonies without fear. We will adopt your socialist ways if they prove to be more effective than our own.

Thus far the evidence for Socialism over Freedom isn't all that strong, but, hey! We're willing to allow you all to keep experimenting.

As long as your vic... I mean subjects... er, participants are volunteers.

100% pure volunteers.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Somehow I'm back into the Large Mammal realm.

Let me just say a thing or two about each of the people ahead of me who've helped me get up there.

But before I forget, I can't ignore a guy who calls himself The Unrepentant Individual! See if you like anything there.

Ach! TTLB is tied up!

I know The Moderate Voice is there, as is Hot Abercrombie Chick, Omni and Liberty Dog. As soon as I can get the full list, I'll link them and make my comments. Until then, I'll just enjoy surfing and indulging my off-line pursuits.

Hey, Omni!

Do you have a link to what Einstein said in German? I'd like to give it my best shot.

Maybe I could get Mitch Berg involved; he's a better German-speaker than I am.

More Wild Storms; Jacko Gets Off; New Link

Some EG Ross-style headlines for you. (Sadly, my archive-search of the word "question" doesn't seem to be linkable. The page is well worth studying - I'm sure you could find it.)

Nasty weather around here this evening. I gotta check the rain-gauge as soon as I feel like going out back. (It won't be tonight.) Looks like I need to check the gutters, though maybe it was just the heavy rains.
I know it marks me as a musical sicko, but I've always like Michael Jackson's music. I was pessimistic about his chances today, and I'm afraid his aquittal doesn't make feel better. I guess I'm stricken by the "where there's smoke, there's fire" syndrome. More Michael Jackson music isn't sufficient compensation for more pederasty victims. Or maybe I should say, victims of pedophilia.

Which Saint should we ask to pray for us here?

[BTW, I'm something of a bastard: all puns intended.]
I used to have a link to Michael Miller's Quack I let it die with the redesign of the site, but I still feel that he has some insights to offer, so I'm bringing him back.

In a comment, I mentioned this essay in particular, "The Philosopher's Stone."

Let me quote a few paras as a taste:
Alchemy hovered between worlds. It emerged in a time-between-times, after a Dark Age had brightened but before a Renaissance had dawned. It came from Arab and Greek sources, but it flourished in theWest. It lay between faith and philosophy; it still dreamed of heaven, but it focused on the Earth. Alchemy sought abundance in this world for the sake of living men.

Alchemists aimed to transmute base metals into gold. Why gold? Evidently because observation declares that gold is the principle of wealth. A man who has drink may not have food, or he may have these but lack fine clothing, or horses, or mansions, or lands. But a man who has gold may have all these and more. Gold is special; it is not just one kind of wealth among many: it is a means to the rest. Gold is the means to everything that can be bought.

But what is the means to the means? What is the means to gold? Alchemists proposed to use the philosopher's stone, a mysterious, unknown substance which they believed to have the power to transmute base metals into gold. If they could find the philosopher's stone, gold would become plentiful and (so they thought) wealth would be abundant. Thus, for centuries, alchemists sought the philosopher's stone.

[Emphases are his.]

It's a simple answer, but not an easy one. (I'm assuming you read the rest.) There is no assumption that you're goal in life is to aquire money nor material goods, nor that it should be.

All right, so you're not going to let me off that easily: you're goal should be to aquire the time you need to create your ideal...whatever. And, as I imply by being the proprietor of a blog named Bourgeois Philistines of Minnesota, you're not allowed to denigrate the constructive efforts of others. (Or, at least, you're not allowed to destroy them physically. Social, emotional and psychological destruction - via persuasion - are allowed. But history may find your judgment wanting.)

Saturday, June 11, 2005

I think, therefore I resist

at The Atlasphere.

Nice short essay.

Sorry, didn't mean to drop off the face of the earth there.

Finding time to post has been a real challenge this week. All this rain we've been getting has all the grass and the hedge shooting up like rockets.

I finally got a decent picture of my new rose bush though. For some reason my digital camera refuses to focus on the flower.

Free Image Hosting at

Notice the clover and grass seeds. I just mowed and trimmed those on Tuesday.

Plus, the baby's getting bigger and more active and Rosie's spending a lot of time on the computer playing The Sims. The Makin' Magic pack has a cool cajun song that I like to listen to. I don't know if the lyrics are in Cajun or if it's the usual Sims gibberish.

Work's been busy, too.

Oh, I owe a guy an email.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Cousin Kyle has an absolutely brilliant post

linking the theory of thinking (epistemology) and economic freedom (AKA Capitalism). I think his post, and previous posts of mine (okay, his post enhances the understanding of mine, let alone his own and any other pro-capitalist posts or articles), may help clear up some of the misunderstandings people have when dealing with those of us who promote Capitalism or Free Enterprise. [Later addition] After building from epistemology through morality he comes to this:
Voluntary trade and the wealth that is produced by it is the essense of capitalism. All the other ideas about corporations and high finance and industrial production and small shopkeepers are just extension of that one basic idea. They're additional bags of sand piled on top of the one idea that provides the foundation for all of it. The next time somebody argues about capitalism, keep this one basic idea in mind. If you want to argue against capitalism, then argue against the real substance of it, the one basic idea upon which capitalism's truth or falsity rests.

Yes! We believe in Glasnost and Perestroika! Those who breach the concepts of Openess and Transparency in their business dealings are breaching the ideals of the society we aim to achieve! But no one and no committee are granted Omniscience. Not by God, not by election and not by official proclamation.

THAT is why freedom is our highest POLITICAL value (That which one acts to gain and/or keep via political means), rather than equality of economic condition or... Well, I suppose equality of political power is, in fact, a very high value; but only as a very strong support for equality of Liberty.

Political power is, after all, the power to decide who gets punished.

I'm sure the blogs are abuzz over this

interesting article at Opinion David Asman recently had the opportunity to compare the British and American health care systems when his wife had a stroke during their vacation in London.

Both had strengths and weaknesses. Here's my interpretation of his comparisons:

Both had highly competent, energetic, dedicated staffs.

British strengths: exceptionally friendly, solicitous staffs. No fear of lawsuits in evidence, nor evidence of oppressive bureaucracy. He found it easy to take his wife out for a stroll or for a restaurant meal.

British weaknesses: they're overworked, undersupplied and underpaid (in light of which their dedication and friendliness, as Mr. Asman describes it, is a marvel).

Unfortunately, lack of sufficient staffing leads to a lack of cleanliness.

Medical equipment is old.

American strengths: More treatment options offered and hospitals are very clean; equipment is new and there's lots of it.

American weaknesses: fear of lawsuits leads to excessive red tape in order to escape the hospital at all for a little while (our hospitals may be nice, but they're still not someplace you go to hang out if you don't have to), or otherwise deviate from the positive directives of your physician.

The bills are astronomical:
But what of the bottom line? When I received the bill for my wife's one-month stay at Queen's Square, I thought there was a mistake. The bill included all doctors' costs, two MRI scans, more than a dozen physical therapy sessions, numerous blood and pathology tests, and of course room and board in the hospital for a month. And perhaps most important, it included the loving care of the finest nurses we'd encountered anywhere. The total cost: $25,752. That ain't chump change. But to put this in context, the cost of just 10 physical therapy sessions at New York's Cornell University Hospital came to $27,000--greater than the entire bill from British Health Service!

Something is clearly wrong with medical pricing over here. Ten therapy sessions aren't worth $27,000, no matter how shiny the floors are.

Though, the fact is that almost nobody in America pays his own medical bills directly, we do indeed have state and federally funded systems for the poor, insurance for nearly everyone with a job and people who fall through the cracks can set up payment plans with the hospital (including reductions in the prices). Those are the options for the honest people. Some people just skip out. I've never heard of anybody going to prison for failure to pay a medical bill. Yet, anyway.

Asman says:
As for the quality of British health care, advocates of socialized medicine point out that while the British system may not be as rich as U.S. heath care, no patient is turned away. To which I would respond that my wife's one roommate at Cornell University Hospital in New York was an uninsured homeless woman, who shared the same spectacular view of the East River and was receiving about the same quality of health care as my wife. Uninsured Americans are not left on the street to die.

So we need a convergence, somehow. We need that friendly dedication to patient service he saw in the British hospital combined with the state-of-the-art equipment and medications you find in American hospitals. Asman mentions "loser pays" lawsuit reform for our guys, and some kind of incentive pay system for the British, more related to the aquisition of stuff than personnel; the people are wonderful, it's the places and equipment that stink.

Madison seems to have had a different theory of American government than Lincoln.

"Each State, in ratifying the Constitution, is considered as
a sovereign body, independent of all others, and only to be
bound by its own voluntary act. In this relation, then, the
new Constitution will, if established, be a FEDERAL, and not a
NATIONAL constitution." --James Madison, Federalist No. 39

Now, I agree with Ayn Rand that a nation that breaches the rights of its citizens- or denizens, in the case of slaves and any other humans classified as less than citizens, restrained within its borders-has no basis on which to claim sovereignty, or immunity from invasion. But then, no nation has a duty to invade them on that basis alone. It would be well if people - politicians particularly - could remember that invasions are costly things for the invading country as a whole. Lives are lost, obviously (and tragically), and the time and labor spent rebuilding any assets seized would have been better spent in trading and building new things.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

David Holcberg saves me from a completely postless day.

I agree with him, btw. I missed Bill Bennett's discussion of this on his radio show, but it's just as well. I'd probably have blown my stack.
This week the Supreme Court dealt a blow to individual freedom by ruling that federal agents may arrest and prosecute people who grow or use marijuana for medical purposes.

The fundamental issue at stake is not federal law versus state law, but personal freedom versus government coercion. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights exist to protect every individual's right to life and liberty. An individual who grows or consumes marijuana violates no one's rights while legitimately exercising his own. Just as government has no right to determine what food we eat or what books we read, it should have no right to determine what drugs we take. As long as we don't violate the rights of others, we should have the right to do with our lives--and our bodies--whatever we think is best.

David Holcberg, Ayn Rand Institute

2121 Alton Parkway #250, Irvine CA 92606

(949) 222-6550 ext.226

Monday, June 06, 2005

The important thing today is to do your own remembering,

so I'll do what I can off the top of my head.

This is the sixty-first anniversary of the greatest amphibious invasion in the history of the world.

The Allies had already pretty-much conquered Italy and had landed in Southern France. I think Audie Murphy had already performed the actions that won him his Medal of Honor. (He's not that clear on which awards he earned for what in his book, the way he tells it, in the hot periods he just ran - or crawled - a lot and shot whatever weapons he came across. Maybe this link would be better.)

I am mistaken, Murphy won the CMOH for his actions near Holtzwihr France, 26 January 1945.

[If you want to read a lot of stories that will bring tears to a grown man's eyes, check out the Congressional Medal of Honor Citations at this site.]

Many wonderful, brave men faced their worst fears in the invasion of Normandy on D-Day, 1944. They faced bombs and bullets and seasickness. Many tens of thousands died before they had to opportunity to return fire. But so many survived to fight and turn back the evil of Nazism that had conquered the European continent.

The CMOH site tells a few of those stories, but there are many more who performed equal tasks and won lesser awards, and many more heroes than that who remain unsung.

How many of them refuse to speak because they consider that their actions would be tainted in the eyes of civilized people in peaceful times?

Should they speak? To those of us who will never see the same situations? Probably not. It's better that we that we master our own specialties. But we must understand, as well as we can... We must learn about the hell of war.

And we must be prepared to fight it ourselves, should it come to us. To fight war and to fight in war.

To that end, you have to read War Is A Racket, by Smedley Butler.

The Smedly Butler Society. (I just now discovered them through a Google search, so I can't vouch for them.

Hmm. A very interesting bit of history from Clayton Cramer.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Slithering Reptile, my @$$!

The depth and clarity of thought you find over at Robertopia rates a link from here at the very least!

In a comment, he points out a Nick Gillespie post on Reason's Hit and Run Blog about Chris Cox. Read that article Gillespie links.

And while I'm thinking about adding links, I might want to keep an eye on this guy. I hate to blow out my advertisers again, but I think this is good:
I have nothing against gun owners who intend to go hunting for sport or target practice only; don't confuse them with gun owners who keep a loaded pistol handy to take out a bad guy. That bad guy could be some kid all junked out on drugs looking for something in my house to take to the pawn shop or it could be some jerk from a Federal agency that just started up after Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi took control of the government. When I bought some ammo at the local K-Mart once a long time back the clerk asked what I planned to use it for. "People". I kept my answer short and smiled back at the young man as he made sure I signed the Federal form.

I wanted to puke when presidential candidate John Kerry put out his down home country boy accent to play up to the sportsmen hunter gun owners. I actually think that the hunter mentality gun owner is more dangerous to gun owner rights because there is some kind of mantra that proceeds out of their mouths, "We are not a threat to you civilized folks. We only shoot deer, ducks and targets", rather than my own mantra, "Stay the hell out of my way and I may let you live". The government could easily make a case for the removal of all guns from the sports guy; just make sure he has a fresh piece of meat in his freezer and he has no need for the gun. On the other hand, the government had better have a damn good reason to knock on my door, try to take away something that belongs to me, intimidate me or my family in any way because they have no idea how I might react. I am a retired cop with a long history of insubordination. It is wise to be a little wild, unable to figure out and hold the government at arms length. They have no idea what handguns I have on me, in my truck, what other weapons I may have; only the one I qualified with to obtain my permit to carry here in the great state of Texas. I don’t consider myself a threat to anyone who minds their own business; all others, watch your butt. One last comment; I have learned how to compensate for these no line trifocal glasses. Instead of shooting for the belly button like I was taught in the academy, I now shoot for the center of the chest and my grouping is not too bad for an old retired cop.

A judiciously applied hard-ass attitude can be valuable self-defense asset. It's even better if you can back it up. Study the picture, and don't pick on guys that look like that.

Mr. Stern has a link to a guy calling himself Pragmatic Libertarian who deserves a look. I see he has his own post on Chris Cox.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Oh, I gotta get involved in this battle!

I don't know if the NYT is providing enough information here, but Chris Cox is sounding pretty damn good to me:
Mr. Cox - a devoted student of Ayn Rand, the high priestess of unfettered capitalism - has a long record in the House of promoting the agenda of business interests that are a cornerstone of the Republican Party's political and financial support.

Well, I'm always skeptical of MSM interpretations - FEE links this article to this one, Business-Government Collusion
Published in The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty - February 1995
by Eric-Charles Banfield.

You can take this to the bank if he's a true student of Ayn Rand,
"As a champion of the free-enterprise system in Congress, Chris Cox knows that a free economy is built on trust," the president said in the Roosevelt Room, as he introduced the third man in his tenure to lead the commission.

Ms. Rand didn't cut corner-cutters or subsidy seekers any slack. They're part and parcel of what's screwing up our country. I'm quite sure that she would have been quite sanguine with Lew Rockwell's saying, "Through it all, the Libertarian theme has remained the same: Liberty for everyone, state privileges for no one." [Except that it was Lew Rockwell saying it about Libertarians, I mean; Objectivists would be perfectly happy to say that about themselves.]

Banfield's caveat, mentioned above, is this:
...[O]ver the years, I found myself forced to refine my views regarding business firms. Three lessons stand out. First, being "pro-business" is not the same as being "free-market." Second, regulation, which presumably works "against" business, goes hand-in-hand with special privileges and artificial protections "for" business. Third, the phenomenon of active and routine collusion between business and government made the business world seem less than the pure and benevolent social agent I once perceived. In short, I began to recognize that the concept of "the corporate welfare state" goes a long way to describe some of the problems we observe in the complex nexus between the market sector and the government sector. All too often, businesses lobby government for special privileges they would not have in a true, free market.

Emphasis added. That's what Government Affairs departments are for, though for-profits aren't the only organizations that have them. Non-profits have them too, so they can reduce their workloads by having the government take over some of their tasks (while continuing to reap the same level of donations, grants, etc. - not realizing that they're likely to get more "I gave at the office" answers as a result).

"Eternal viligilence is the price of freedom." I want to try this guy out. If he does prove to be a bad bet for Freedom, we need to be ready to go apes**t.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

I'm beside myself with joy!

Hi, Self!

Why, hello yourself, Al!

I've finally found someone who's doing the work I wish I had time for. My life is dedicated to my loved ones ("Love is exception-making," Miss Rand said), and I refuse to give up the commitments I've made out of love, so I am not able to dedicate the time I would need to do this kind of thinking, but thank God somebody can:
Judgement is evaluation, not condemnation. You judge only as a guide to future actions. It is irrational to expect your judgement to have any effect on anyone else - it is for you alone to use. But you don't get out of the work of thinking and integrating anymore than the subject of your judgement does. Your knowledge is as incomplete as everyone else's; you're evaluation is as subject to error as anyone elses. For that reason, your judgement of other people and their actions can never be absolute. Your judgement of these must always carry with it and additional judgement of how complete your knowledge is - what your chance for error is - that tempers the judgement with some level of uncertainty, even if it is infinitesimal.

The debate in the comments is worth whatever you invest in it. Time is money, as they say (though, really, money is banked time).

This line is particularly important to understanding the post, "the purpose of judgement is not that of influencing those you judge, but influencing your own actions."

I have one tiny little quibble with Kyle's style: "judgment" has only one "e." Strange, but true. Otherwise, the man has advanced my understanding dramatically and deserves a prominent place in my link bar.

Jim Powell has an article at FoxNews

on why we need to watch our a$$es when considering foreign interventions:

U.S. Has Long History of Waging Wrong Wars
George W. Bush, according to author and columnist Max Boot, is a "hard Wilsonian" — a president who "successfully wields power in the service of a higher purpose."

This label means using our armed forces not just to defend the United States but to solve the problems of the world.

How did Woodrow Wilson (search) become an inspiration for U.S. foreign policy? In 1913, Wilson proclaimed, "I am going to teach the Latin American republics to elect good men," and he dispatched soldiers to Mexico, where one president had been overthrown and another assassinated. Wilson failed to install a good government, he failed to catch the bandit Pancho Villa (search) who had raided U.S. border towns, and he made enemies throughout the hemisphere.

If, in the name of fighting terrorism and reforming the world, the U.S. embarks on a policy of perpetual war, its ability to fight as effectively as possible when it really counts will be undermined. Already, the armed forces have had difficulty conducting operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq. There's much concern about enlistment rates for a volunteer army because of the Pentagon's "stop loss" orders forcing tens of thousands of soldiers to remain on active duty perhaps a year longer than they had bargained for.

In addition, the U.S. invasion of nuke-free Iraq and its restraint with nuke-armed North Korea send a signal that other nations should secretly accelerate efforts to acquire nuclear weapons since they deter U.S. intervention. U.S. actions encourage the nuclear proliferation it is intended to prevent.

Woodrow Wilson left a legacy of trouble.

The Princeton Prof... Rule by pointy-heads (and their precedents) is always so helpful.

Want a list?

Adams: how about those Alien and Sedition Acts? Damn near got us into a war with France.
Jefferson: set the stage for the War of 1812.
Madison: fought it reluctantly and poorly.
Wilson you just read about.
Hoover: led us into the Great Depression.
Carter: almost led us into another Great Depression, and would have if we'd let him.

Those were the sharpest minds that the American People have elected President. Did I miss anybody?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

I forgot to show you where I spent the weekend!

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You know how I enjoy primitive living conditions.

Check out this view, eh?

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All right, I'm kidding. I didn't spend more than 3/4 of an hour there. (My innards still work better than that, even though many of my readers consider me a geezer.)

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Truthfully, here's where I was:

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And here's the view:

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I could show you the work we did, but that's about enough photoblogging for now. I'll just list the accomplishments:

1. Sid put in the main dock alone, before I got there. A source of shame for me.
2. Sid dropped the rails for the boat before I got there. Later, he attached the connections while I was there, but I was spelling Laurie at babysitting.
3. We put in the second dock. I fall in the lake, discovering what "shock" really means.
4. We hooked up the water supply to the sauna (pronounced SOW-na!! It's a Finnish word. We expect you to respect that. Though it would be possible to negotiate a swap of personal services for the right to abuse that pronunciation.).

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5. And we dropped the boat-lift for the fishing boat. And put the fishing boat on it. That latter task only took 45 minutes.

Ya know, the way to stretch out a weekend is to accomplish a number of different tasks. Remember how high school seemed so interminable? Break up your day with varied and difficult activities. your life will be fuller and your vacations more satisfying.

How'd ya like to have this for a CV?

Throughout his career, Rosing has held management positions at some of the biggest names in the computer industry, including Sun Microsystems, Apple and Google. Despite it all, however, Rosing never outgrew his interest in astronomy. During a break in the mid-1990s, Rosing took a two-year hiatus and traveled to Chile, where he helped build a robotic telescope that mapped the matter and energy filling the space between the stars. Rosing also founded the Las Cumbres Observatory near his home in Santa Barbara, California.

Now there's a man!

What's he up to now?
I[n] May of this year, Rosing was named the first senior fellow in mathematical and physical sciences at the University of California, Davis. As part of the position, Rosing will work with Anthony Tyson, a physics professor at UC Davis, on the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST). The LSST will be a ground-based telescope that combines a wide field of view and an extremely sensitive digital camera—capable of producing 3,000 megapixel images-to provide scientists with a new way of looking at the universe. The LSST is expected to be ready for first light by 2012. While Rosing's exact duties are still being determined, Tyson said Rosing's background will be very useful for extracting knowledge and understanding from the deluge of information expected to pour in from the telescope each night.

Yup! I can see how he'd be helpful.
[T]he 8.4-meter Large Synoptic Scale Telescope, or LSST. The telescope should be able to make complete maps of the night sky every four days, and help scientists learn more about dark matter and dark energy.

This s***'s just too cool!

Well, the Dutch dumped d'Estaing's

micromanaging, special-interest-loving EU Constitution. Makes me proud to be a student of their language.

Oh, yeah. I'm part Dutch, too. [In descending order, I'm Finnish, Irish, Dutch, Swedish, Creek and Cherokee.]
The Netherlands dealt an apparent death blow to the European Union constitution last night, with 63 per cent of the electorate rejecting the treaty, computer projections predicted.
Coming only three days after French voters rejected the constitution, the Dutch No vote was so decisive that the treaty seems to have no future in its current form.

I'm not the kind of American Nationalist who hates the idea of Europe being an effective competitor in the world markets. I want them to compete strongly with us, competition is the greatest force for human development. Peaceful competition, that is, though it wouldn't bother me terribly if they competed more effectively with us in war-making power. America probably could use some humbling in that regard. Standing on the sidelines and shouting insults sure isn't working. You want respect, field a team.

This Constitution won't do it for them.

Look, we need that competition to burn out the dross in our own governance. If they take themselves out of the game with strangling, continent-wide regulations, they're just going to encourage the development of that same mental laziness in our legislators.

Update: Read The Foundation for Economic Education's take.

I should come clean

This is that post I was working on that needed it. I had no new ideas today, so I thought I'd go ahead and post it to see if my shame at it's unfinished and inadequate state would inspire anything.

Nope. Not yet.

And the comment about The Probligo, especially, is failing to express what I mean, though I do like him as much as Kolko, which is quite a bit. You see the workings of an honest mind and that is highly praiseworthy.

I usually find it better to just move on and see if I can do a better job of it later. Apologies all around.

I've only read half of Human Action (3rd edition and very little of the Scholar's Edition, which I also own).

I've read very little of Man, Economy and State (because I haven't read all of Human Action). I have read a lot of his essays, however.

I've read only half of Economic Harmonies (though I've read everything I've found that Bastiat himself had published - I bogged down after his erroneous Theory of Value {a version of the Labor Theory, which was, nonetheless and advance on that of his predecessors and contemporaries, including Marx).

I can't read Marx, though I find that I can read some of his latest intellectual descendants. Kolko is particularly engaging, because of his writing style and the fact that his critique of (so-called) capitalist societies is spot on. (As I say, his prescriptions are off because of his prejudices - he can't bring himself to the idea that government should restrict itself to enforcing laws against Force and Fraud, rather than taking over complete management of every aspect of life--as if there were some human or committee of humans capable of perfect control of the rest of us humans.)

I like and dislike The Probligo's posts for the same reasons. The critique is of the Mixed Economy - the Third Way that has dominated the world's political cultures since Keynes.... Well, really, since about the latter part of the 19th century. Say 1870. World leaders still don't understand the import of Marginal Utility Theory which arose about then. Their vision has been obscured by Bismarckian Realpolitik and, in America, the earlier Lincolnian version of it.

I have recently said that I don't take the minutia of politics too seriously, as long as the politicians and their minions leave me alone. Which they've done.