Monday, October 30, 2006

On the subject of immigration,

here's what Lew Rockwell has to say today:
[A]ll the problems we associate with immigration stem not from the presence of people but from the institutional arrangements in which people interact. Immigration of some types forces on the domestic population new requirements for public infrastructure. Schools must be built and funded, and new public-sector employees hired. The demands on the public purse grow.

New immigrants can receive public assistance. They coalesce based on language and ethnicity and gain control of local governments, through which they then coerce others. They have national voting interests, and their votes are up for grabs by parties representing special interests, which means both parties.

Whereas people will suffer through incredible abuses when imposed by people who share their nationality, they will not tolerate the same from those whom they regard as alien.

The result is social and political upheaval. And what is the source? Not capitalism. Not immigration as such. Rather the core problem is the state, which enables some people to rob others on their own behalf. All other concerns are a distraction from the key issue. The best immigration reform is one that would provide neither impediments toward work for anyone nor subsidies of any sort.

Eliminating the subsidies alone would also help alleviate the resentment that comes with immigration. It would also stop the subsidies that cause people to immigrate for the wrong reasons. In any case, it is pointless and dangerous to pursue the method of using government power to round up illegals and throw them out — a power that is used to the detriment of commercial freedom — when the law still encourages demographic upheaval through subsidies and special rights.


There's a lot more in that article [have another link], he starts out talking about overpopulation and dovetails into immigration and other issues.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

I see Big Business is feeding the crocodiles again.

Not that they weren't when they were supporting Republicans, really.

Lobbyists and PACs thereof [Packs of lobbyists. Get it?]-not to mention NGOs-only exist where governments have more power than they ought.

The NY Times has an article today about how the courtiers are scampering to the Democrats.

Unseemly. Read the Sheldon Richman article I cited in the previous post. Reading the NYT article after this one is like drinking milk after eating an orange. Yuck.

I suppose I gotta quote the SOB so this post will make sense when the link goes dead:
Democrats Get Late Donations From Business

Published: October 28, 2006

WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 — Corporate America is already thinking beyond Election Day, increasing its share of last-minute donations to Democratic candidates and quietly devising strategies for how to work with Democrats if they win control of Congress.

The shift in political giving, for the first 18 days of October, has not been this pronounced in the final stages of a campaign since 1994, when Republicans swept control of the House for the first time in four decades.

Though Democratic control of either chamber of Congress is far from certain, the prospect of a power shift is leading interest groups to begin rethinking well-established relationships, with business lobbyists going as far as finding potential Democratic allies in the freshman class — even if they are still trying to defeat them on the campaign trail — and preparing to extend an olive branch the morning after the election.

Is that what you call it? They're taking great glee in the commingling of commercial interests with government interests, seems to me.

The Nobel Peace Prize committee redeems itself

I just read, thanks to FFF and FEE, that this years Nobel Peace Prize is going to someone who actually deserves it (rather than some fascist dictator or some guy who cowtows to fascist dictators).

Muhammad Yunus has spent many years getting money, in the form of microloans, to the poor people of Bangladesh and other countries via his Grameen Bank--which he founded by performing the action and later organizing. Now that's how to do "direct action."
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2006, divided into two equal parts, to Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank for their efforts to create economic and social development from below. Lasting peace can not be achieved unless large population groups find ways in which to break out of poverty. Micro-credit is one such means. Development from below also serves to advance democracy and human rights.

What brings such glee to libertarian hearts is that fact that Yunus is the author of these words:
I believe in the power of the free market and the power of credit in the marketplace. I also believe that providing unemployment benefits is not the best way to address poverty. The able-bodied don't want or need charity. The dole only increases their misery, robs them of incentive and, more importantly, of self respect. . . . [T]axes only pay for a government bureaucracy that collects the tax and provides little or nothing to the poor. And since most government bureaucracies are not profit motivated, they have little incentive to increase their efficiency. In fact, they have a disincentive: governments often cannot cut social services without a public outcry, so the behemoth continues, blind and inefficient, year after year. . . .

I believe that all human beings are potential entrepreneurs. Some of us get the opportunity to express this talent, but many of us never get the chance because we were made to imagine that an entrepreneur is someone enormously gifted and different from ourselves.

Richman ends his article, "Intended or not, the Nobel committee has lent a hand in reconnecting the causes of peace and commerce." Said article proves the indivisible two-way connection that classical liberals saw between free trade and peace.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Definition of filiopietism

The best one I could find anyway, without making it my life's work.*
An appeal to tradition is also a form of an appeal to authority, because tradition is treated as being "authoritative" in some matter. As in the above example, it is not uncommon for an appeal to tradition to also be explicitly linked to an appeal to numbers, although every appeal to tradition does this at least implicitly.

Also Known As: filiopietism

My emphasis.


*I found the word in a review of The Church and the Market : A Catholic Defense of the Free Economy, by Thomas E. Woods Jr. [The Mises Store is having a sale this weekend for those of us who have bought from them before. (There's a special code to enter to get the discount). This isn't one of the ones on sale, but I had to check out the title and I've written about Woods before. No, come to think of it, that was Chafuen's book.]

It was a bit of a challenge to find a definition of the word. My massive Webster's Unabridged didn't have it, nor did a Google search turn it up quickly, yet there were hundreds of uses of it on the web. I titled this post as I did to make it easier for the next guy to find it.

Notice that even this definition is inverted: the term is an afterthought. Odd that I should find it in's section on "Agnosticism/Atheism". I suppose, if you break it down the parts mean something like "the devotion of a son for his father." I'd like to know who coined it.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Wow! Time to say something new, eh?

Where the heck have I been since last Wednesday?!

Let's see...Meeting, work, meeting, older girl's birthday party, overnight guest, babysitting, yardwork, TV, Church, yardwork, work, meeting and catching up with emails filling up all the interstices. I'm handling spam manually these days. The anti-spam program clogged up like my kitchen sink.

Oh, yeah. That too. I need to get a longer snake.

And reading stories. And tending to the wife as much as one human can.

It's tough without beer. It didn't get done at all with beer, but I didn't care.

I took an official Myer-Briggs Personality Test the other day. Got the results back: INTF.

Those stand for Introverted, iNtuitive, Thinking, Feeling.

What the hell?!

That seems like a completely untenable combination. I can't wait the hear what the expert has to say about that. Probably that I've spent my whole life trying to be something other than what I am.

Well, I gotta run in the morning.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Ed Hudgins takes on Nobel winner Ed Phelps

A veritable battle of the Eds. Haha.

Link to Hudgins' article.

Anyway, between these two posts one, two, and the discussions attached thereto I think we - you all and I - did it better.

Monday, October 16, 2006

A guy I liked and admired died last week.

A guy in a position to look down his nose at me had he wanted to do so, yet he never did. He greeted me warmly, by name with a smile, every time I saw him. I wanted to do more for him.

Now I wish I had found a way.

He wasn't old - two years younger than I, in fact - he died in a boating accident. You don't want to end up in the water in Minnesota at this time of year. His youngest son was with him. The boy didn't make it either.

Yes, they were both wearing life-jackets. He was teaching his son safe boating practices.

I had a whole speech made out for this post, but now that I sit down to type it out it seems artificial, ...and I'm inhibited by the fact that I don't talk about my job on my blog - or allow myself to be pinpointed directly through it (though it's pretty easy to trace me to it, really)...

To heck with it! At least one blogger has to say that Earle Kyle was an admirable man and a kind man and the world is poorer for his loss.

Whatever happened to invadesoda?

I kinda miss the guy, don't you?

You're not afraid of contradicting me, or getting into an argument, or something are you buddy?

We're all writers here, aren't we?

Even those of us who suck?

Here's a good article on telling a story from a freelance journalist named Nettie Hartstock.

I'm not writing a white paper, but let's see if I can incorporate some of her suggestions into the tale of a little vignette that occurred on my lunch hour.

I bought a sandwich at a local shop on the way back from an errand today, and while I was paying for my purchase a tall, rather bedraggled man, who had obviously walked to the store in the rain, came in and slapped four sodden one-dollar bills on the counter. Since he came in with the manager, who was outside smoking when I entered, I didn't catch the beginning of their conversation, but I gathered he wanted a pack of cigarettes.

The manager didn't want to take the man's ratty looking money, "It's wet! Nobody's gonna want to take that!"

"It'll dry," answered the customer reasonably.

"What? You think I got all day to sit here watching your bills dry?! That one's all torn up! I can't take that!"

"C'mon! This is money! It'll work!"

"It's dirty!"

I was more interested in escaping this heated scene than in eavesdropping, and, really, the bills weren't that bad. What's up with this manager anyway? The bank would take them if nobody else wanted them. They'd probably route the torn up one back to the treasury to be burned, but until then, it's still legal tender.

My sympathies were firmly with the other customer (though, remember, I hadn't heard how all this started), until, as I turned to hightail it out of there, the guy said, in answer to the last accusation:

"All money's dirty!"

I moaned.

Apparently, feeling he'd made a great and telling point, he repeated, with a laugh, "All money's dirty!"

Continuing to the door, I muttered, "No, it's not!"

Outside, I thought, "Man, that's the kind of thinking that keeps you, and everybody you know, poor! What? Did ya take a vow of poverty?"

I was wishing, as I drove, that I had asked the guy who told him that. And how big a contribution of his "dirty money" they wanted for their services.

And another thing: how much do you want to bet that that's the only "Christian" notion he and his ilk pay any attention to? I put the word Christian in quotes, because I think it's a pretty crude, though unfortunately very common, misunderstanding of New Testament teaching about money.

I'll let my friend Steve handle the theology on the matter, but I find it impossible to believe that God has a problem with media of exchange.


Completely off the point [come to think of it, it's not completely off the point]: I've mentioned Michael Masterson a few times. I had no idea that he has a blog!

Back to the subject of writing itself, Tibor Machan has a rant on The Atlasphere that could do with some editing. I agree with his point whole-heartedly (I think), but he's writing like his undies are in a bunch. When you're railing against collectivism, Dr. Machan, you need to be careful about overusing collective pronouns.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Larry Elder, at today

The unemployment rate just dropped from 4.7 percent to 4.6 percent. The Washington Post, not exactly a Bush administration cheerleader, recently wrote "that just about every worker with the skills and desire to work can find a job." Yet the same article cited its own poll that shows only 39 percent of Americans approve of Bush's handling of the economy, with 59 percent disapproving.

The tax cuts, as tax-cutting former President John F. Kennedy predicted, sparked the economy. Kennedy once said that it may sound "paradoxical," but in order to increase tax revenues, we must decrease tax rates. Under Bush, "tax collections have increased by $521 billion in the last two fiscal years," reports The Wall Street Journal, "the largest two-year revenue increase -- even after adjusting for inflation -- in American history." Even with the irresponsible spending, this puts the deficit at 2 percent of GDP, well below the recent 40-year average of 2.7 percent. Inflation and interest rates remain low. And labor analysts just revised upward the figures on job creation, adding an additional 810,000 jobs!

So how have we been hurt by tax cuts?

Bush didn't cut 'em enough. Those were pretty frickin' wussy tax cuts from Mr. Compassionate Conservative.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

For my Brazilian (and otherwise Portuguese-speaking) visitors

I'd be interested to know how badly Google has done in translating the first three paragraphs of our Declaration of Independence:
Quando, no curso de eventos humanos, se tornar necessário que um pessoa dissolva as faixas políticas que as conectaram com o outro, e para supor, entre os poders da terra, a estação separada e igual a que as leis da natureza e do deus da natureza a intitulam, um respeito decent às opiniões da humanidade requer que deve declarar as causas que impel as à separação.

Nós prendemos estas verdades para ser self-evident: que todos os homens são semelhante criado, que estão dotados, por seu criador, com determinadas direitas unalienable, que entre estes são vida, liberdade, e a perseguição da felicidade. Que para fixar estas direitas, os governos estão instituídos entre os homens, derivando seus poders justos do consentimento do governado, que sempre que todo o formulário do governo se torna destrutivo destas extremidades, ele é a direita dos povos alterá-lo ou abolish, e instituir o governo novo, colocando sua fundação em tais princípios, e organizando seus poders em tal formulário, a respeito deles parecerá muito provável efetuar suas segurança e felicidade.

O Prudence certamente, ditará, que os governos long estabelecido, não devem ser mudados para causas da luz e do transeunte; e conformemente todo o shewn do hath da experiência, essa humanidade é mais disposto sofrer, quando os Evils forem sufferable, do que à direita ela mesma abolishing os formulários a que são accustomed. Mas quando um trem longo dos abusos e do Usurpations, perseguindo invariàvel o mesmo objeto, evinces um projeto para os reduzir sob Despotism absoluto, é sua direita, ele é seu dever, jogar fora de tal governo, e fornecer protetores novos para sua segurança futura.

Tom Sowell

Read him today.
Those who discuss the current war in terms of frivolous talking points make a big deal out of the fact we have been in this war longer than in World War II. But, if we are serious, we would know that it is not the duration of a war that is crucial. It is how many lives it costs.

More than twice as many Marines were killed taking one island in the Pacific during World War II than all the Americans killed in the four years of the Iraq war. More Americans were killed in one day during the Civil War.

If we are going to discuss war, the least we can do is be serious.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

This Edmund S. Phelps guy,

who won the Nobel Prize for Economics yesterday, seems to have a lot of great things to say. His article today in the WSJ, "Dynamic Capitalism: Entrepreneurship is lucrative--and just" is well worth a read.

I notice the Mises guys are agin 'im, in "Did Phelps Really Explain Stagflation?" by Frank Shostak.

I don't know. He may actually be an improvement on Friedman, though I didn't care for this line, "We all feel good to see people freed to pursue their dreams. Yet Hayek and Ayn Rand went too far in taking such freedom to be an absolute, the consequences be damned."

Tsk, tsk, tsk. Ya might wanna show some of those consequences if yer gonna make that kind of accusation, buddy. Well, maybe I should read some more of your work before I fly off the handle. The fact is that huge chunks of his readership assume that such consequences exist and are major.

Here's a good bit from his piece today:
The same capitalist dynamism that adds to the desirability of jobs also adds to their precariousness. The strong possibility of a general slump can cause anxiety. But we need some perspective. Even a market socialist economy might be unpredictable: In truth, the Continental economies are also susceptible to wide swings. In fact, it is the corporatist economies that have suffered the widest swings in recent decades. In the U.S. and the U.K., unemployment rates have been remarkably steady for 20 years. It may be that when the Continental economies are down, the paucity of their dynamism makes it harder for them to find something new on which to base a comeback.

The U.S. economy might be said to suffer from incomplete inclusion of the disadvantaged. But that is less a fault of capitalism than of electoral politics. The U.S. economy is not unambiguously worse than the Continental ones in this regard: Low-wage workers at least have access to jobs, which is of huge value to them in their efforts to be role models in their family and community. In any case, we can fix the problem.

Why, then, if the "downside" is so exaggerated, is capitalism so reviled in Western Continental Europe? It may be that elements of capitalism are seen by some in Europe as morally wrong in the same way that birth control or nuclear power or sweatshops are seen by some as simply wrong in spite of the consequences of barring them. And it appears that the recent street protesters associate business with established wealth; in their minds, giving greater latitude to businesses would increase the privileges of old wealth. By an "entrepreneur" they appear to mean a rich owner of a bank or factory, while for Schumpeter and Knight it meant a newcomer, a parvenu who is an outsider. A tremendous confusion is created by associating "capitalism" with entrenched wealth and power. The textbook capitalism of Schumpeter and Hayek means opening up the economy to new industries, opening industries to start-up companies, and opening existing companies to new owners and new managers. It is inseparable from an adequate degree of competition. Monopolies like Microsoft are a deviation from the model.

Yes, Microsoft will be reigned in eventually by superior competitors and/or new developments. It's bigness does not constitute a crisis.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Sorry, we had to run down to the Big Island Rendezvous.

In Albert Lea (MN). Watch people shoot cannons & such. They had a lot more shops there than at any of the other Rendezvous. I bought a hand made wool over coat, though I didn't need it there.

The do a lot of different eras there, ranging from the 1600s through the whole fur trade era, the Civil War and the early logging days. But you've got to pick your era and stick to it.

I pretty much spent the day chasing the older girl and her best friend as they ran around the island (Big Island) exploring. Their favorite thing was a big old willow that hung out over the water. They climbed all over that. They were delighted when they found out that the water was only about a foot and a half deep so they could wade from one big branch to the next.

Their mothers would never let them do that. Come to think of it, I forgot to suggest that maybe they should exercise some discretion on that score. I did mention the possible presence of leeches, but they didn't find any.

Rosie seems to be overly sensitive to smoke. Along with a diet of little but sweets. She threw up as we were making our way back to the truck. I found out later that she hadn't eaten anything but and Icee and a big piece of candy since noon. Ya gotta wonder how she had anything to chuck up.

We all had fun for the most part, though, even if it was pretty much just a weekend thing.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Nicholas Curott penned a piece

for the Mises Blog reviewing Jonathan Swift's victory over debased coinage in Ireland, Government Money Deserves a "Swift" Abolition, comparing that to our current situation:
But alas! Alas! It all has come to pass, just as Swift had forewarned. Today we no longer have the comfort of laws preventing the government from forcing us to take whatever money it pleases. All the gold was stolen from the people against their will and piled up in Fort Knox, and unbacked paper trash was given in its place.

Governments in the 20th century were no longer restrained in how much money they could print, and the age of inflation was ushered in. The damage caused by this inflation is incalculable.[2] Even in America the damage is great.[3] By entering into the economy through the credit market, inflation is responsible for economy-wide business cycles. And by using seigniorage to mask the cost of deficit spending, governments are able to fund a vast array of bloated welfare-warfare schemes.

Word of the Day: seigniorage [Hmm... Each of these definitions adds something interesting, so have 'em all.]:
Definitions of Seigniorage on the Web:

The profit that results from the difference in the cost of printing money and the face value of that money.

The difference between what money can buy and its cost of production. Therefore, seigniorage is the benefit that a government or other monetary authority derives from the ability to create money. In international exchange, if one country's money is willingly held by another, the first country derives these seigniorage benefits. This is the case of a reserve currency.

The difference, which may be positive or negative, between the face value of specie (coin), silver or gold certificates, or fiat money and its commodity value in a free market.

The difference between the cost of the bullion plus minting expenses and the value as money of the pieces coined.

The profit made by a goverment from issuing cons, ie the difference between their face value and the cost of manufacture and distirbution.

Seigniorage is the profit which accrues to the "seigneur" when he exercises his "royal right" to coin money without the obligation to supply anything in return for the means of payment which he puts into circulation. The Central Bank, acting on behalf of the State, is the best example of modern-day enjoyment of seigniorage. To a much smaller extent, the banks also enjoy seigniorage when they create bank money through credit. ...

charged by a government for coining bullion

Seigniorage, also spelled seignorage, is the net revenue derived from the issuing of currency. It arises from the difference between the face value of a coin or bank note and the cost of producing and distributing it. Seigniorage is an important source of revenue for some national governments.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A couple pix.

Free Image Hosting at

I call it "Fledgling Marathoner."

The cheap digital camera refuses to focus on the medal, but here's the shirt:

Free Image Hosting at

I got one where the medal glows gold. It's an omen, I tell ya!

Free Image Hosting at

I don't know what to say about the Amish schoolgirls

being shot. A fifth has died now.

Little girls...


My objectivist side wants to blame irrationalism, and fundamentally that's it, but it's not at all satisfying, and I don't want to work up a sermon on the subject now. Now I can only be shocked and grieve.

Twisted bastards whom nobody taught self-control are attacking the defenseless.

I finally got hold of a newspaper.

I see we (those of us who support running marathons) managed to kill a guy. An experienced runner had a heart attack at mile 6. I'm surprised I didn't see anything, he had to have gone down shortly before I got there. Of course, I was running faster at that point than I should have been, so maybe he was behind me.

Matt Furey seems to believe that distance running is about as healthy an activity as smoking cigarettes... Sprints are okay, just make sure you catch your breath between them and get your heart-rate down under 100 before you do your next one. The point is to get your heart and lungs used to sudden, maximal effort and recovery to build reserve capacity.

The body adapts to long, slow distance (LSD training) by diminishing reserve capacity in the name of efficiency.

But, then, the TCM has only seen two deaths in 25 years...out of how many thousands of runners? Of course there are 364 other days in a normal year in which something could happen to you.

I can say that, although I was running too fast during the first 2/3 of the race, I was never unable to talk to anybody, and there wasn't much (apparent) strain on my lungs or heart.

I think it was in the book The Marathon where I read the author's doctor's opinion that "Marathoners are the healthiest bunch of sick and injured people in the world."

OK, I see I have to go find that on my own shelf. Amazon and Google don't know what I'm talking about. Funny it never occurred to me to dig that out and reread it before venturing one myself. I wonder if I donated it to the church rummage sale.

So, anyway, I think I'll follow Matt Furey's advice about training for a while. Sprints, intervals, cross training, bodyweight exercises... That sort of thing.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Well, I've finished a Marathon.

As often as I'm asked, I'll tell you right now that that's a 26.2 mile (or somewhere around 42km) run. Supposedly the distance from Athens to Marathon (Google Pheidippides for the story).

I'll try not to write as if I were the Grand Old Man of Marathoning now.

Let's see, how many options did I give yesterday as possible outcomes of the race? Ah! Well, here are the answers: yes, no, no, no and no. The clock, as I crossed the finish line, said 5:02-something. [Update: unofficial results from the official website. Scroll to the bottom.] My chip time will be over eight minutes less, because that's how long it took to get to the starting line after the horn.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day: blue sky, trees shading from green to red, orange and gold, cool enough at the start to make me wish I'd brought gloves.

I was aiming for a 4 hour, 15 minute finish, and I held a pace rather faster than that for about 16 miles--I even made up the difference between the clock time and the chip time. Even with the fact that I had to stop at the turn to Lake Nokomis for five minutes to use the Port-A-Potty.

Then Zeus turned my legs to lead and I had to slow way down and finally walk for a while. I pretty much ran-walked the rest of the way. For the next four miles I kept trying to get running again and keep running, but I kept have to stop and walk. Finally, I decided that, since that was the way it was going to be, I systematize the process and only rest for one minute at a time, running as long and as hard as I felt like. I made better time that way.

That got me through the next six until I saw the Capitol building and the finish line from the top of Cathedral Hill. I let gravity pull me down the hill fast, till I came to a little hump, then I just held on to the finish line, only letting one guy pass me.

I think they could do away with the 26 Mile sign though. It's a little disheartening to get to that and realize that the Finish is still far enough away that you can't quite make out what's going on up there.

I think hitting The Wall resulted from a convergence of factors. First, obviously, I'd run 16 miles. That's longer than any training run I've done this year. Second, I don't know about other Marathons, but this one is a 26.2 mile-long carb buffet. I ate and drank anything anybody handed to me. I was stuffed by the end of it. And, along about Mile 16, some joker handed me a beer (in a cup-it wasn't obvious... other than the fact that they were shouting, "ICE COLD BEER!!"

I thought they were joking. They weren't. After the first sip, I said, "I guess they weren't kidding!" So I took a second sip and tossed the rest.

And, I suppose I should mention that the temp rose quite a bit around that time, and I found myself looking for every little bit of shade.

At about Mile 20 I notice a circle of blood on my chest, so I looked in my shirt and
found that I'd lost my band-aid on my right nipple. I believe I may have let a few nasty words slip. I went on with that for a while, until it occurred to me that there was no good reason to keep the shirt on, so I tied it to the back of my gel pack belt, and, everything went better after that. I was a lot cooler, for one thing.

But, I'm pretty happy with the experience. I took every piece of advice I got, band-aided up everything that chafed severely-including the afformentioned and my toes-and Body Glided everything that chafed a little...made sure I was wearing shorts that had never made a mark on me in training.

I made some new friends that I'll have to try to track down again.

But, I'm still beat now. I did soak my lower legs in the pool. I wanted to sit down in that cold water, but... Ew! I mentioned that it needed cleaning. I've mostly drained it now. I still need to mop it up a bit and then fold it up and box it for the winter.

So, anyway, nighty-night.