Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I think I'm afraid to make more money.

Why? To paraphrase PJ O'Rourke, handing money and power to Al is like handing whiskey and car keys to Al. I have to earn my own respect before I can trust myself to move up financially. Not to mention socially.

Back on the character type thing... I took the Keirsey Sorter II today and it said I'm a damn SJ. The free part only gives you your Temperament: it called me a Guardian.


I've got Keirsey's book right here. I read the ISTJ and ISFJ profiles, and, while I admire a lot about them, if I weren't a family man INTP looking to get along with an ISTJ wife, I wouldn't cross the street to do any of that crap for myself.

And I hate that whiny title, too, Keirsey.

I'm too damn curious and cantankerous to be a guardian. Those are words that I'd bet no SJ would don proudly as their mantle. My favorite part about the INTP type is their lack of respect for authority.

I wonder if Keirsey is trying to usher people away from the anarchistic mindset. I bet that's a thought no SJ would ever have as well.

Actually, the traits are just tendencies. If you dial 'em all up to the nth degree they turn into neuroses if not psychoses.

And I probably shouldn't have taken the thing right after looking over my wife's answers from the test in the book.

Seriously, he's got a heckuva good website. You could probably peg yourself pretty well just by reading profiles until you have a satori experience.

Completely off topic: did you hear that Greg Page is quitting the Wiggles? He apparently has some unspecified illness.

He's probably having creative differences with that darn Anthony!

Just kidding. Though there's some speculation in that regard here.

Also, here's kind of an amusing interview of him at

We'll pray for you, Greg. And we'll miss that wonderful voice.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Amen, Mihai!

This is what I'm trying to say:
Misplaced resentments towards foreign governments will not help us at all. We should be resentful towards our own governments and political elites with their social and protectionist agendas, which impede the market process and the creation of jobs within our borders.

--Mihai Sorbu, Fears of a "Brain Drain".

Friday, November 24, 2006

Right now I'm reading Rothbard's history of America

Conceived in Liberty. It's a 527 page PDF you can download from free from that page I've linked.

Here's what I'm enjoying right now on pp. 26-27 (as the file is numbered):
The right to conquer, coercively convert, govern, and enslave the natives of the New World was subjected to intense criticism in a series of lectures in 1539 at the University of Salamanca by the great Dominican scholastic philosopher Francisco de Vitoria. In international law based upon the natural law, insisted Vitoria, the native peoples as well as European peoples have full equality of rights. No right of conquest by Europeans could result from crimes or errors of the natives, whether they be tyranny, murder, religious differences, or rejection of Christianity. Having grave doubts of the right of the Spaniards to any government of the natives, Vitoria advocated peaceful trade, in justice and in practice, as against conquest, enslavement, and political power, whether or not the last mentioned were aimed at individual profit, tax revenue, or conversion to Christianity. Although the Spanish government prohibited further discussion of these questions, the Vitoria lectures influenced the New Laws of 1542, which gave greater legal protection to the natives in America.

Nevertheless, there were defenders of imperialism in Spain who rejected internation law and scholastic individualism and returned to the slave theories of the classical authors. Based on the theory of natural servitude--that the majority of mankind is inferior and must be subdued to government by the ruling class, of course in the interest of that majority--these imperial apologists proposed that the natives be taught better morals, be converted, and be introduced to the blessings of economic development by being divided among the conquistadores, for whom they must labor.

The serfdom of the Indians was most strongly and zealously opposed by the Dominican missionary Bishop Bartolome de Las Casas. Tireless in working to influence European public opinion against the practices of Spanish officials in America, Las Casas argued that all men must have freedom so that reason, which naturally inclines men to live together in peace, justice, and cooperation, can remain free and unhampered. Therefore, concluded Las Casas, even pursuit of the great objective of conversion to Christianity cannot be used to violate these rights. Not only was all slavery evil, but the natives had a right to live independently of European government. The papacy, in 1537, condemned as heretical the concept that natives were not rational men or were naturally inferior persons. These progressive views were also reflected in the abolition of conquistador feudalism in the New Laws of 1542; however, this abolition was revoked by the Spanish Crown three years later.

I've gotta quit now. I'll edit the errors tomorrow.

11/26: editing done. Sorry, I was busier than I expected to be.

Here is a corroborating essay by Lewis Hanke. Here are a couple of 'graphs:
Disputes over baptism increased in number and intensity as the conquest proceeded. Las Casas opposed easy baptism [that is, baptism without instruction in the catechism] so strenuously that the quarrel was taken from Mexico across the ocean to Spain for resolution. Charles V decided to refer the issue to the Dominican Francisco de Vitoria and a group of other notable theologians at the University of Salamanca, who in 1541 supported unanimously the view that Indians should indeed be instructed before baptism. Vitoria, in his famous lectures at Salamanca which showed him to be one of the soaring thinkers of the century, also defended the Indians from the charge of irrationality.

There must have been a number who applied Aristotle's doctrine of natural slavery to the Indians, for Vitoria in De Indis analyzed and refuted it long before SepĂșlveda espoused it. "The Indian aborigines . . are not of unsound mind." asserted Vitoria, "but have, according to their kind, the use of reason. This is clear, because there is a certain method in their affairs; they have polities which are carefully arranged and they have definite marriages and magistrates, overlords, laws, and workshops, and a system of exchange, all of which call for the use of reason; they also have a kind of religion."

I'll find more. I haven't even looked at Rothbard's endnotes yet. [Sorry I left them out of my quote.]

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Eugene Tan brought up something that inspired a long comment from me

Annabel Chong. [Her story's rather disturbing, buddy. You sure you want to...? We need to talk.]

No, that wasn't it. It was that "The world will be a better place if everyone spoke the same language."
It seems logical to me for the US to declare English our official language, but we've lived without such a declaration for so long already, who cares?

Most of the arguments I hear from the people who care seem are either so provincial as to be racist or so "multiculturalist" as to be balkanizing.

I want to scream, "Learn another language! Moron!" at one group and "My culture deserves respect, too!" at the other.

Humans are born with opposing tendencies to be both xenophobic and hospitable--loving our neighbors and enjoying the novelty of visitors from strange places. We need to understand and nurture the wisdom in both tendencies and apply that wisdom ... wisely.

That's one place where I'm a damn moderate. Somebody needs to articulate our position effectively.

Does it have to be me?

Friday, November 17, 2006

I'm trying to clear something up with my partner here.

His absence is only temporary, we hope.

Don't Blame Me!

Omni brought it up! (If you'll excuse the pun.)

Back in college, my buddies used to like to go to UW-Superior hockey games and make up cheers that made the people sitting next to us say, "What the Hell...?!"

The best was one that departed from a rather silly and trite cheer the cheerleaders did with the lines:
We party
So hearty!
But we don't party with you! You! You! You!

That's all I remember of it. But, based on a true-life occurrence we change it to:
We party
So hearty
We puke through our nose!

Good grammar is often antithetical to good cheering. We didn't share a single nose. Although we were, in fact, taking collective credit for a skill one of our members had developed to a high degree. He considered it useful during a binge for concealing his condition.

I think we all considered applying ourselves to developing that ability, but I doubt if anyone else actually did. I know I didn't. When I got that far, I always headed for the most secluded head I could find.

I wonder how that guy's doing these days.

Oh, man! Good thing I'm not a collectivist!

So I don't have to take responsibility for this fruitcake.

I had nothing to do with it! I haven't spent as much as a week in Superior since before that kid was born!

By the way, Taranto calls him a Minnesota man... Keep him on that side of the border, eh? I'm on this side.

I got some lyrics for a Crunk or Cookie Monster song

Or whatever they call that.

As you may imagine, they're not family friendly.



F*****' G** D*** FASCISTS!


I don't know. I think it needs a couple more verses. Any ideas?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I just got the word that Milton Friedman has died!

I don't know any more than what Taranto wrote on Best of the Web yet. I'm too busy to deal with it now.

Later accretion: Friedman fought for Freedom all his life. Ed Hudgins has the best eulogy I've seen yet.

I'm trying not to bring up the fact that his lasting legacies are the Earned Income Tax Credit and Income Tax Withholding. And failing.

Walter Block has a good eulogy, and there's a great one at NRO.

His greatest legacy is the privatization of Chile's pension system.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

L. Neil Smith, who thinks disseminating Libertarianism

and making friends are mutually exclusive endeavors, has this [quite good, actually] advice for us:
First, we are not the cops of the world. Every time we try to be, young Americans die by the thousands, instead of living to discover a cure for cancer or a matter-antimatter drive—or simply getting married and raising children and grandchildren in peace, freedom, and prosperity.

Second, September 11, 2001 happened, not because somebody hates our freedom, but because this miserable government failed to respect theirs.

Third, "Enemies, foreign and domestic" includes idiots, lunatics, and villains who plunge this country into one pointless war after another.

Fourth, those you bomb and torture today will bomb and torture you tomorrow.

Fifth, don't waste everybody's time and energy trying to keep immigrants out, legal or not. No matter what you do, they'll find a way in, wouldn't you? Instead, make them into Americans once they get here.

Sixth, small business, not big, is the foundation and future of America.

Seventh, remember the Bill of Rights and keep it wholly. It's not a set of arbitrary rules to be gotten around, it's the highest law of the land, to be stringently enforced with all your heart and all your might.

Eighth, the rule of law is not a luxury in an emergency but a dire necessity.

Ninth, the War on Drugs is over; drugs won.

Above all, keep your religion in your pants. Like whatever else you have down there, nobody cares about it but you. If you don't like to drink and smoke, then don't drink and smoke—and don't bother those who do. The same goes for drugs. If you don't care for same-sex marriage, then don't marry someone of the same sex. If you don't like abortion, then don't have one. If you don't like evolution, then don't evolve.

He's an INTJ, for sure. I cut out the most judgmental things he had to say. Not that I disagree, necessarily... But, like a true INTP, I reserve judgment. I'll think about it.

BTW, I think John Kerry's an INT-something.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Some whiggery for you

or, Balance of Trade B.S..

Actually, I hacked off the summary of the opposing view, the B.S. Here's how it really works:
Consider an American trading with a Japanese citizen (we could just as well take a New Yorker trading with a Californian). Suppose that the American values a Japanese television set more than a particular piece of machinery which he has produced, and at the same time, the Japanese values the piece of machinery more than the television. If such is the case, they will exchange. This, of course, is simple barter—goods are exchanged directly for goods—and there is no monetary intermediary. But notice that no one has a “deficit” in this transaction—both parties are satisfied that they have gained more than they have given up.

Of course, very few barter exchanges actually take place. It would be difficult for the person desiring the TV set to find a person in need of the particular machine tool which he had to offer in exchange. Rather, the exchange is facilitated by the use of money, which allows the machine tool manufacturer to sell his product to anyone who wants it and then use the money to purchase the specific good (in this case a TV) from the Japanese producer. The Japanese producer can convert these dollars into the American product (in this case a machine tool) which he desires.

Although these individuals do not exchange directly, but through several intermediary buyers and sellers, the exchange is in principle the same as if they did. Ultimately the good produced by the American “pays” for the good received from the Japanese, and the Japanese good “pays” for the good received from the American. In other words, exports pay for imports.

But how then is a trade deficit possible? If in each exchange both parties are paying via goods and services, how can there ever be a national imbalance of trade? Why would foreigners agree to give up their products to us if they are not receiving American goods and services in exchange?

The answer is that they do not. Since each party trades only to gain, the difference between the value of the tangible or real goods which are given up by the “surplus” country and the value of the real goods which are received must be made up of other types of valuable goods. Each trade must balance; the deficit of real goods must be countervailed by a surplus of another type of exports.

And it is. The difference is made up of a net transfer of dollar claims from American individuals to foreign individuals. The trade deficit, which is more accurately called the merchandise trade deficit because it includes only the real goods traded, is possible only because on a net basis foreigners are willing to accept dollars in exchange for their goods and services, and temporarily hold these dollars. In other words, the U.S. currently is running a “surplus” of dollar exports with the rest of the world.

Why would they do that? Well, with some further ado:
The other major factor enabling America’s consumption to exceed its production is the Federal Reserve’s policy of monetary inflation. In any inflation, the individuals who initially possess the newly created money gain the maximum benefit. This has been the case in the international arena where, because of dollar inflation, individual Americans have found themselves the initial recipients of new money.*

Having increased nominal incomes, but not wishing to increase their individual “cash balances,” Americans have spent this new money for real goods, either domestic or foreign. New dollars spent on domestic goods tend to bid up domestic prices, and foreign goods (which have not yet been bid up) become more attractive to American consumers. Eventually dollars pour abroad in exchange for foreign goods. Inflation of this “world currency” has allowed Americans to bid goods and services away from other international buyers.

On net, Americans have been trading dollars for real goods because, for a number of reasons, they value the foreign goods more highly than their dollars. At the same time, on a net basis, foreigners are valuing the dollars they receive more highly than the real goods they are giving up. Can we say which party is getting the better deal? To do so would suggest that one is either irrational in its dealings or does not know its own best interests.

*And the money distributed by Fed policies doesn't hit all recipients simultaneously, contrary to what my beloved Dave Thompson stated the other night. The Fed doesn't have magical powers. The first recipients of the money go out and buy stuff with it, bidding up the prices of said stuff. The last recipients of the new money are the poor who get poorer. [Though, if you're getting a welfare check, you've actually been put at the front of the line. You're a government favored consumer - except for the fact that the amount of money you get is completely dependent on the whims of the politicians.]

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Kyle Bennett has a message for his elected "representatives"

This isn't all of it. Read the whole thing at his Human Advancement blog.
You do not represent me. Your values are overtly hostile to mine, and you will work almost entirely in direct opposition to all that I value. The few cases in which that is not true will be mere coincidence. But I will continue to pursue my values in the hopes that I can accumulate them more rapidly than you can destroy them - even as you turn a portion of what I create against me.

I'm confident that I will be able to do so, and today I am free - more free than I have been in as long as I can remember. My peace of mind, my hopes for the future, and my vision of the values I wish to create are no longer influenced by the results of your election processes. I have today, in my abstinence from any voluntary involvement with you, in my refusal to grant you any sanction whatsoever, acheived a moral clarity that is more valuable than any effect that could have been acheived by a misplaced and futile attempt to use the ballot as a means of self-defense.

I've realized today, not just abstractly as I have for some time now, but as a concrete fact directly perceivable, that I don't need you; yet you need me. You may claim to represent me, you may claim to rule with my consent and through a delegation of powers, but your claims cannot make it true. These are things that cannot be taken, they can only be offered voluntarily. Neither wishing, pleading, cajoling, nor threatening can change this simple fact. And though you think you can pretend otherwise, the truth is that they are vital to your purpose.

I mentioned that The Mises Institute was having a book sale a couple weeks ago. I bought Rothbard's For a New Liberty, even though it's available online. Theirs is a work I wish to support. Let me quote a paragraph or two:
In the United States, the classical liberal party had long been the Democratic party, known in the latter nineteenth century as "the party of personal liberty." Basically, it had been the party not only of personal but also of economic liberty; the stalwart opponent of Prohibition, of Sunday blue laws, and of compulsory education; the devoted champion of free trade, hard money (absence of governmental inflation), separation of banking from the State, and the absolute minimum of government. It construed state power to be negligible and federal power to be virtually nonexistent. On foreign policy, the Democratic party, though less rigor­ously, tended to be the party of peace, antimilitarism, and anti-imperial­ism. But personal and economic libertarianism were both abandoned with the capture of the Democratic party by the Bryan forces in 1896, and the foreign policy of nonintervention was then rudely abandoned by Woodrow Wilson two decades later. It was an intervention and a war that were to usher in a century of death and devastation, of wars and new despotisms, and also a century in all warring countries of the new corporatist statism—of a welfare-warfare State run by an alli­ance of Big Government, big business, unions, and intellectuals—that we have mentioned above.

The last gasp, indeed, of the old laissez-faire liberalism in America was the doughty and aging libertarians who banded together to form the Anti-Imperialist League at the turn of the century, to combat the American war against Spain and the subsequent imperialist American war to crush the Filipinos who were striving for national independence from both Spain and the United States. To current eyes, the idea of an anti-imperialist who is not a Marxist may seem strange, but opposition to imperialism began with laissez-faire liberals such as Cobden and Bright in England, and Eugen Richter in Prussia. In fact, the Anti-­Imperialist League, headed by Boston industrialist and economist Edward Atkinson (and including [William Graham] Sumner) consisted largely of laissez-faire radi­cals who had fought the good fight for the abolition of slavery, and had then championed free trade, hard money, and minimal government. To them, their final battle against the new American imperialism was simply part and parcel of their lifelong battle against coercion, statism and injustice—against Big Government in every area of life, both domes­tic and foreign.

Sorry that took so long. It's difficult to stop reading Rothbard once you start. This passage doesn't necessarily back up Kyle, I guess, though I bet there's something in the book that would.

As far as Kyle's recommendation not to vote - I believe the argument is that voting makes the statists think you're legitimizing them - I'm afraid I still don't get that. I think you've got to throw everything you can at them. Voting's just one weapon.

Make sure you stop and "ooh!" at Kyle's Falling Waters pic. I always do.

Oh, and it looks like I've got to take back the nice things I said about the Grameen Bank and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Muhammed Yunus.

Medved has the clearest set of lessons

To draw from this election that I've seen so far in his Townhall article (unlike the other pundits, he seems to have gotten some sleep):
3. Forget the conventional wisdom about the big gap between red states and blue states. The media emphasis on regional differences always distorted reality but this election should force the permanent abandonment of the meaningless red/blue distinction. Montana, supposedly the reddest-of-red states, may well end up with a Democratic governor and two Democratic Senators. California, theoretically the bluest-of-blue states, not only re-elected its Republican governor in a landslide, but also appears poised to elevate GOP candidates (including some outspoken and cantankerous conservatives) to three or four other statewide offices. In Kansas, which gave Bush 64% in 2004, Democrats enjoyed sweeping victories, and so on. The definitive designation of an entire state as either “red” or “blue,” Republican or Democrat, ignores the impact of circumstances, personalities, and issues.

My emphasis.

I want to read some other people before I put this election to rest.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I voted today.

Straight Republican.


No, I didn't vote for candidates who go commando. I went commando to vote.

No, not because it makes me feel sexy. I was in a hurry. It's quicker. Ask anybody.

I wanted to get there and get it done, and I couldn't find the basket with the clean drawers in it in time.

Since corrected, btw.

Of course I think it's funny. You'll find that a lot of my jokes are performance art. That's why I'm careful about what I joke about. Put a picture in my head, I'm libel to act it out.

It's that INTP thing again. Kind of a strong division between my rational mind and the intuition that I actually act on. Compared to you normal folks, anyway. I have to make constructive actions into habits or I can't rely on doing anything right. It sucks, but I've lived 43 mostly enjoyable years with it so far, with only the occasional, "What the Hell possessed you!"

Even quitting drinking won't change that. But it will make it easier to avoid killing anyone with my stupidity. Gotta weigh the plusses and minuses.

What makes friendly relations between human beings possible

is the higher productivity of the division of labor. It removes the natural conflict of interests. For where there is a division of labor, there is no longer question of the distribution of a supply not capable of enlargement…. A preeminent common interest, the preservation and further intensification of social cooperation, becomes paramount and obliterates all essential collisions…. It makes for harmony of the interests of all members of society.

What is necessary for society to develop in this case is that people have the capacity to resist the temptation to commit aggression or to suppress those who succumb to such temptation in order to gain the higher productivity of the division of labor. Why the suppression of criminals would have to be monopolized in the state is not clear.

The first paragraph is Lu Mises, the second is Jeffrey Herbener of Grove City College.

The Mises People have been messing around with their web site. To quote a MASH character, "I don' like it! No, sir! I don' like it at all!!" Their footnote links take you to a login page when the footnotes are located at the bottom of the article! And the bleepin' Blog no longer shows the whole article, nor does it link to it!

Piss me off?! [Ed note: I'm not sure if that's supposed to be a question or not - it's not pronounced like one - but I certainly didn't want my readers to consider it a command.]

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Well, I'll be jiggered!

You are 55.6% Good.
You are 5.1% Chaotic.

Alignment: Neutral Good

You do the best good that a person could be expected to do. You are devoted to helping others. You are willing to work with authority figures, but you do not feel any particular allegiance to them.
You are the stereotypical "Benefactor." You believe in doing good without any particular bias for or against order.
Examples of charactersand people who fit into the same alignment as you include Mother Theresa, Ghandi, Gandalf, Indiana Jones, O-Bi-Wan Kenobi, Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, Frodo Baggins, and the Dalai Lama.

The Alignment Test

That over states it a bit. I sincerely doubt that I belong in a class with Mother Theresa, Ghandi and the Dalai Lama. I'm not willing to deal with some stranger's personal problems, nor will I face down the Mob. I said as much on the test. Also, I almost never do good for altruistic reasons-I believe that doing good is beneficial to me. Though admiration, respect and/or gratitude are usually plenty of recompense.

Just don't gush.

I wonder if my answer to the first question is what put me over the top:
1. An old lady asks you to help her get her cat down from a tree. The cat looks mean and you haven't climbed a tree in years. What do you do?

My answer:
Climb the tree, suffer some nasty scratches, retrieve the cat, and promptly return it to its owner.

But I don't do it out of altruism. I love old ladies, climbing trees and mean cats, I'm quite good with all of them and happy to show it.

I should retake this test - marking the answers that cracked me up.

As for the fictional characters: sure, why not? Indiana Jones, Frodo and Harry Potter, maybe. Anybody who became a hero without meaning to. Of course there are no stories about those of us who achieve our ambitions in that regard - not becoming a hero, I mean.

Could anybody write a book that would sell about somebody who's a master at staying out of trouble [by not looking for it, Bob] and succeeds at that. And that alone.

My own life story would be a lot more interesting, I'm afraid. But the masses wouldn't like it either.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Midterms this weekend! And I forgot to study!!

Thank God I actually went to class!

And I already know I've passed the first one.

[What?! What classes are you taking, Al? You'd think you'd have mentioned something before now.]

Sobriety 101.

Liquor stores close at 10:00 in Minnesota. It's 10:17 as I type this sentence. The gas stations are still selling weak s&%t til midnight, but that's not what I really like. Camo 18 or nothing, baby! Strong, smooth and cheap. And since I can't get any right now, I feel like I can wallow in the memory of it. Sort of. My emotions are far disconnected from my intellect I discovered, studying what it means to be an INTP, so putting things into words intellectualizes it and removes it from my pleasure centers. Sort of.

I know I never made verbal plans to get beer, I just visualized it and did it. Come to think of it, I never do anything involving verbal plans. I have to create a very strong picture in order to actually do something. Repetition and habit account for 99% of what I accomplish.

What makes this weekend worse than most? My wife took our older girl on a Girl Scout camping ("camping" I should say) trip. I have no supervision. The baby doesn't pay much attention to things like that. The pictures were taking shape as I waited for them to leave.

How did I make it through this first test?

Why I cheated, of course! Well, partly, I concentrated on Aliina's needs, but she wasn't much help. She wanted to watch the Wiggles, which, however much I may like them, don't demand much in the way of sobriety from me. But I fed her and made sure she went potty. Picked up all the dirty dishes and put them in the washer.

I listened to Dave Thompson try to defend capitalism from his precarious Main Stream (read Monetarist/Keynesian hybrid) position. I appreciate that he defends capitalism, but he keeps mentioning Market Failures and how we fall short of the perfect equilibrium model.


Fortunately, his experiences as a lawyer and a businessman overwhelm the failures of his economics education. I should get him the new Samuelson book. It's a little less wrong than the older ones, I hear.

After putting the Bun to bed, I sat down and tried to set a new record in Minesweeper. That's the cheating part, using a less harmful addiction to fight a more harmful one. Now that Dave's done, I'm faking my way through the Bone-Head Sobriety exam (the time from now to midnight) by blogging. I like to think I'm overqualified for this one, but "Pride goeth before a fall," as the Good Book says.

44 days since my last drink. I'm even taking the grape juice at church. (50 points to anyone who remembers how I'm not being perfectly truthful.)

Things that have helped: the Marathon, treatment, AA, prayers, being scrupulously honest, the shed, autumn cleanup and other winterizing chores. Tomorrow, I need to finish up the trailer I started to build, I've got some plumbing to do... Might run. There's a 10:30AM and a 6:00PM meeting at the Alano, but no daycare. Maybe I'll just wander down with the girl and hang out in the coffee room for a little bit.

That's what One Day at a Time means.

Lance Burri reminded me that I need to keep up with my Lileks

If I don't want to completely lose touch, anyway.

Lance link (and here too).

Lileks said:
When Gnat came home from school we practiced her piece again, ten times; we’d done ten times a day for the last week, and sometimes I think that just makes the unalterable errors set in stone. Some things the fingers just will not do. But she had been terrified of the piece two weeks ago, and now had it down nicely, and with a certain amount of music feeling. I’d rather she made mistakes while playing music than banged it out like a 19th century clockwork automaton.

I forget who said it, but it's not practice per se that makes perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. Robert Ringer, quite a while back-I quoted him then, quoted BB King [I think it was] saying, "Never practice a mistake." Go as slow as you have to to get it right.

I doubt that you can accuse BB King of playing without feeling.

Although, I went to see Freddy Cox in Superior, play jazz trumpet while examining the crowd. He played brilliantly and looked bored. Both points may just have been that he was playing the same tunes he'd been playing since the '20s.

Doesn't negate my point, though, really.

Uh-oh. There's no info on Freddy Cox on the web. As of 1985, when I saw him, he held the world record for the longest music gig in one place.

In a waterfront bar. In one of the major ports of the world. Where law enforcement was lax and you didn't want to be caught walking at night.

And if it's not 55° and drizzly, it's 35° and drizzly.

The man had an ambition problem.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Libertarian History

I just got Murray Rothbard's For a New Liberty (that's the online text - my gift to you, via the Mises Inst). Looking forward to reading it.

There's a quickie essay (that could stand a rewrite really, but look who's talking) on libertarian history at the Institute for Liberal Values, out of New Zealand:
The liberal/libertarian movement was revolutionary to the core. It challenged the church/state alliance, it opposed the mercantilist state domination of the market, it supported the extension of economic and social rights to all classes of people. It challenged virtually every aspect of the then dominant social order in Europe. That order was one that was conservative to the core. So classical liberals or libertarians were the open opponents of the feudalistic social structure embraced by conservatives. There was no confusion at the time. Liberals and conservatives were polar opposites.

Socialism then arose as a reactionary movement. It embraced goals but sought to achieve them by conservative means. And what were those means? Conservative means were based on power, particularly state power. It wanted to use state power to cement the church in place. It used power to enforce traditional values. It used power to preserve the social order. Conservatism was a philosophy of power.

Liberals wanted to abolish power and free the individual to seek his own good as he saw fit, according to his own values, provided he did not infringe on the equal liberty of others. Liberals envisioned one where people had equal rights before the law, where people were free to speak their mind, and where no spiritual body had authority imposed by law. It advocated the extension of property rights to all. It argued that in society of elected officials event the poor should have the right to vote. It said that in a free society all people should be able to accumulate wealth and not just the social hierarchy.

Socialists saw the liberal vision of the future and they embraced it. What they didn't embrace was the means employed by liberals. Instead the socialist was a hybrid. He wanted liberal goals but he wanted to use conservative means. The socialist advocate control, central power and government force. They felt that the coercive mechanisms of the state could be used to achieve the liberal vision. And they embrace conservative means fully.

Many of the Reaganesque Republicans are confused or upset with George Bush's agenda. They even want to argue he betrayed conservative values. On the contrary, Bush has embraced conservative values in a very traditional way. He worships state power. Yes, he is big government. Conservatives were historically advocates of big government.

Their more recent opposition to expansive state power was not inspired so much by a love of liberty as opposition to the goals that were being sought. Once the conservatives had a firm hand on the levers of government in the United States they immediately turned to back to their historical tradition.

Bush expanded state power which itself is not unconservative. He did so to expand "traditional values" and to try and reattach religion to the secular, liberal system of the Founding Fathers. He went on a world wide crusade to use raw military force in an attempt to make over the Middle East in particular. And conservatives, on the whole, loved it. He used state funding to bolster "faith-based" initiatives. He was eager to use the power of the state to smash what advances gays made toward equal status before the law. George Bush did not betray conservatism. He embraced it in a manner that the Right has neglected for decades. Those on the Right who are shocked shouldn't be. Bush is the quintessential conservative.

Anyway, those are the graphs I liked most. Then comes this:
With the resurgence of big government conservatism the time has come for libertarians to shift their tactical alliance again. We must always throw our weight, what little of it there is, behind the opponents of the dominant authoritarian ideology. We know the Left and the Right share authoritarian means while differing on the goals. When the Left was the main threat to freedom we were forced into an alliance with the Right. But those days are gone. Now the Right is the dominant foe. And we ought to abandon the old alliance and look to forge a new one.

Screw alliances. Just be yourself.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Hey! I see the Sovereign Society advertising here!

I like them. If I had any money, I'd do everything they tell me to do in their A-Letter.

If they pop up when you're looking, check 'em out.

(I should mention that they're all about hiding your money from the tax man. Legally. Their not pulling any shenanigans. If you do it their way, you'll still pay some taxes and a lot of your money will not be immediately accessible, but you won't go to prison and it will be there for whatever you planned to have it for.)

Big News! A judge with a campaign site!

Link to site.

She links to two stories that indicate her opponent's unfitness for the post.

Actually, I agree with Judge Patricia Kerr Karasov and Amy Klobuchar in the first one. You can't go around shooting your friends in the back. If you're a crazy old lady.

In the other, she goes easy on a lady convicted of 2 counts of criminal vehicular homicide. The perp, driving without a license (it was revoked for a previous DUI, though intoxicants don't appear to have been a factor here) ran a stop sign in a semi truck and killed a pregnant woman.

The story says that the truck had failed a safety inspection. Never mind that, I guess. The jury said she was guilty.

Wait a minute, "LOAD-DATE: December 8, 1998"?! Was that her most recent f-up?

Oh, no. The Geezer shooting happened May 31, 2003, Saturday.

All right, Rowe. One more chance.

January 19, 2000. Strike one. Strike two is: I think "Get outta town" is a fine way to handle the gal. Nope. This ain't baseball. For once I think I'd stick to the incumbent.