Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Rowling courageously outs the dead guy

You know, somehow it never occurred to me to wonder who Dumbledore was sleeping with.

Apparently, people with too much time on their hands have been:
Potter readers on fan sites and elsewhere on the Internet have speculated on the sexuality of Dumbledore, noting that he has no close relationship with women and a mysterious, troubled past. And explicit scenes with Dumbledore already have appeared in fan fiction.

This isn't the article by the guy who was lamenting that Dumbledore isn't much of a role model for homosexuals: he stays in the closet, abstemious, near as we can tell, until, long after his death, his creator outs him. The Pope couldn't have asked for better.

I like this, though, "Rowling...also said that she regarded her Potter books as a 'prolonged argument for tolerance' and urged her fans to 'question authority.'"
They are that. And do that.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pardon me, boy,

Is that the Ushuaia Choo Choo?

I'm gonna ride that thing!

What the thell (I'll just leave that typo in) is an Ushuaia, you ask? The southernmost city in the world. Though, as of today, you can't find it on Google's Map unless you know where to look and use either the satellite or hybrid images. Where it looks to be quite the "goin' concern."

This guy pretty well covers Ushuaia (Argentina, btw) and neighboring Punta Arenas, Chile, the southernmost city in South America.

He explains.

Whoops! Forgot the link! Have some Ushuaia news.

What the heck! Have two! Or three!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

My computer just set my clock back.

So I had to check up on whether it should have.

Nope. Here's the article at Infoplease:
At 2 a.m. on November 4, 2007, groggy Americans will turn their clocks back one hour, marking the end of Daylight Saving Time (DST).

The federal law that established "daylight time" in the United States does not require any area to observe daylight saving time. But if a state chooses to observe DST, it must follow the starting and ending dates set by the law. From 1986 to 2006 this was the first Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October, but starting in 2007, it is observed from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November, adding about a month to daylight saving time.

So I'll have to make it a point to remember to ignore the time on my computer until next week.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I'll be d____d! Heroes of Economic Science! Equal to Galileo!

I'm cruisin' along through Eugen von Boehm-Bawerk's Capital and Interest... And it's an easy cruise, let me tell you - like ridin' in a '72 El Dorado convertible, top down, on Hollywood Boulevard on a late September evening. The guy could write! (Or the translator could translate.) But, back to my point, I'm cruising along, when this mine explodes in my mind:
The deliverances [by which he means, the writings, previously elaborated, in which the two gentlemen about to be named advanced economic theory with regard to "the problem of interest" dramatically, ed.] of Calvin and Molinaeus remained for a long time quite by themselves, and the reason of this is easily understood. To pronounce that to be right which the Church, the law, and the learned world had condemned with one voice, and opposed with arguments drawn from all sources, required not only a rare independence of intellect, but a rare strength of character which did not shrink from suspicion and persecution. The fate of the leaders in this movement showed clearly enough that there was cause for fear. Not to mention Calvin, who, indeed, had given the Catholic world quite other causes of offence, Molinaeus had much to suffer; he himself was exiled, and his book, carefully and moderately as it was written, was put on the Index. Nevertheless the book made its way, was read, repeated, and published again and again, and so scattered a seed destined to bear fruit in the end.

Of course you don't think of John Calvin as being a hero of economics, but he seems to have been the originator of the thought the Molinaeus, a lawyer, developed. I should quote the parable of Calvin's that Molinaeus quotes in his own book.
A rich man who has plenty of landed property and general income, but little ready money, applies for a money loan to one who is not so wealthy, but happens to have a great command over ready money. The lender could with the money purchase land for himself, or he could request that the land bought with his money
be hypothecated to him till the debt is wiped out. If, instead of doing so, he contents himself with the interest, the fruit of the money, how should this be blameworthy when the much harder bargain is regarded as fair?

I can't improve on Boehm-Bawerk's explication of their point - or points, as it may be - of view, particularly as I haven't read them. But my point is that these two men have made as much of a difference to economic history as Galileo made to physics and astronomy and the technology derived from his contributions to pure science - and, thus, perhaps as much of a difference in the modern world - in our standard of living - as Galileo.


Let's sing their praises!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

This Gary Galles looks like a genius.

He's got an article on called Can You Say Marginal Rate of Substitution? It's about the basics of economic thinking.
The deceptive mirage of central planning is also a result of failing to think in marginal terms. Those who find the cure for everything in planning ignore the fact that market prices reveal people's MRS between goods, and without market processes to reveal that information, it is unknowable to planners. Central planning, which throws away the process by which relevant tradeoffs are revealed, must throw away the wealth and mutual gain that acting on otherwise unknowable information makes possible, as both Mises and Hayek demonstrated.

After more explanation and examples, here is the point:
One need not talk in terms of marginal rates of substitution to avoid confusion about issues such as these. However, thinking at the margin about the innumerable choices scarcity has faced us with is a valuable antidote against mistaken reasoning.

It is particularly important insurance against those who would "sell" some political panacea with misleading language and arguments. Given the vast sea of political rhetoric that uses just such misrepresentation and misdirection to win political power at the expense of individual rights (at an MRS that is appalling to lovers of liberty), it is an important part of the arsenal against the continuing expansion of the state. After all, only such careful thinking can force its proponents to defend their real positions to citizens, rather than baffling and befuddling, as they do now.

That would be very valuable, indeed.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ron Paul's scandal

Let's state it baldly:

Ron Paul passes along the earmarks his constituents ask for. Then he votes against the spending bill they're attached to knowing that he'll fail to block it. He gets credit in his district for bringing home the bacon.

He gets elected and re-elected. And, let's not forget, he gets credit from guys like me, outside of his district, who like his anti-pork, anti-Big Government voting record.

He even says that the earmark reforms that have been presented to him aren't worth a darn. He hasn't yet, but he should be required very soon to make a case against them that would prove to you that they're no better than McCain-Feingold (Campaign Finance Reform) or Sarbanes-Oxley (Corporate Finance transparency reform).

Well, let me just make my excuses for this behavior. He's displaying both the anti-Big Government bias that I support combined with an insider's realism - a sort of Libertarian Realpolitik - that I can appreciate.

I don't think he's playing games with either of us - neither his local constituents, nor those of us who wish to be his national constituents. He's been forthright about what he's been doing.

BTW, I should say, somewhere in here, that local Ron Paul activists would find it surprising if you were to accuse me of speaking out as one of their membership. I haven't been to a meeting since the first one, and I've kind of lost track of where they moved my local one to, since they split up the Mpls and St. Paul Meet-Ups. I'm not getting much info on what they're up to, lately. I've donated $35 to his campaign, so far, and no doubt I'll contribute more before November 2008, so I do care.

Whoop! Gotta go!

Holy Cow! Where did that week go?

We were preparing for the older girl's birthday party and I suddenly got the bug to winterize the place. I guess you can burn a week pretty easily doing that.

Actually, I came here to post this:
In the early stages of the party, before the names and conversations blurred with fun, I spoke to a gentleman from New Jersey — Jason was his name — more of my age and far more sober minded. We both agreed that Ron Paul's chances of becoming president are slim to none, forget what the Vegas odds makers say. Recognizing him as a Four Figure fellow, I asked him why then did he hand over so much money to Mr. Paul's campaign.

He thought about it and gave me the answer to the same question I'd been asking of myself: "I'm buying hope," he shrugged.

As Carl Menger would agree, hope has a price, too. Water can be more costly than a diamond under the right circumstances, and so can hope. Yet, despite a wife who deserves diamond earrings but instead gave them away to the longest of long shots, despite the fact that when I mentioned his name at a business dinner a week prior every single person at the table knew who Ron Paul was, and despite the large chunk of cash I handed over to buy it, I will admit I still don't have a lot of hope.

But considering the future — as embodied by a mob of college-age kids willing to spontaneously party to benefit a 72-year-old grandfather who promises them nothing other than to leave them alone — maybe, just maybe, I should have a little more.

Mine's growing. Slowly. Underground. Like crabgrass. Or quackgrass.

And, just for the fun of it, let me post a scrap from a book that has come out:
A major theme of these pages is that all historical progress has bubbled up from the bottom—from the actions of common men and women. A secondary theme is that most of history's evils have flowed from the top—from the intelligentsia, organized groups, and soft-science experts who arise in mature societies and are the pied pipers of their decline. In the final chapters, we will examine how the decline of free societies has often resulted from the transfer of authority and leadership from those who built the society to a destructive intelligentsia who arrive after the heavy lifting is done. The arrival of the intellectuals also marks the time when knowledge and decision-making appears to enter a steep decline. The notion that intellectuals are wise and should be listened to is a persistent, recurring, and insidious error that has doomed most past civilizations.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Anthony Gregory hits a couple out of the park for Libertarianism

on Lew with his articles, The Cultural Contradictions of Statism, a takedown of Kay Hymowitz's article, Freedom Fetishists: The cultural contradictions of libertarianism. in Opinion Journal a couple weeks ago, and Do We Worship the Market?

On the latter question, he says, not really, but you could do worse - you could worship the State.

Here's the butt-kickin' quote (from the first article):
The statist conception of libertarians as having a totally amoral ideology is flawed from the very beginning. In a classic example of such misunderstanding, Hymowitz says the libertarian idea that "‘People ought to be free to do whatever the hell they want, mostly, as long as they aren't hurting anyone else’. . . is not far removed from 'if it feels good, do it,' the cri de coeur of the Aquarians."

But it is indeed incredibly far removed, not the same thing at all. Saying someone has a right to engage in whatever peaceful behavior he chooses is not an endorsement of what he might choose. Just because we think it immoral and socially destructive to use violence against someone doing something peaceful doesn’t mean we have to approve what he does. Drinking three bottles of whiskey a day is legal now. That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Is this really that hard to understand?

Ayn Rand made the point, in the early '60s that we ought to be free to do whatever we want, provided we harm no one else's person or property, but we ought not be allowed to shift the consequences of our actions onto others. The risks (and potential consequences) and the rewards must be on our own shoulders.

Back to Gregory:
Yes, we oppose aggression – that is the baseline of civil conduct. This is the baseline of civil morality. And aggression is not a very good solution to social problems, however real. It is not that drug abuse, marital cheating and broken families are not real social problems. It is simply that threatening to lock people in cages or to steal more of their hard-earned money is even worse. We consider such immoral coercion against peaceful people, however misguided or short of divine they might be, to be out of the question. Virtue without free will is impossible – another truth that statist conservatives and leftists will obscure even at the cost of believing extreme contradictions.

What kind of contradictions? The belief that killing an innocent person is wrong but the state can kill a million in a war and at most be considered mistaken. The belief that stealing is wrong but taxation is not. The belief that it is more acceptable to lock a frail teenager in a cage where he might be raped and beaten, rather than let him learn, through experience and family guidance, the perils of drug abuse. The belief that the youth must be protected from the sin of drinking until they are 21, unless they are on a military base and working as a hired killer for the state. The belief that without a $3-trillion-dollar organization of pillaging, killing, prevarication and ubiquitous corruption, we would have no moral example to look up to.

Ah, but if only the Clintons were in the White House, all would be well.

Monday, October 15, 2007

I mentioned that I parked my car

in the Jerry Haaf ramp, downtown during the marathon.

I named the ramp for a reason.

Jerry Haaf deserves to be remembered.
On Sept. 25, 1992, 30-year police veteran Jerry Haaf died on the floor of the Pizza Shack restaurant in south Minneapolis after being shot in the back while on his morning coffee break. The execution-style shooting remains one of the most shocking acts of violence against an officer in Minneapolis history. Haaf's killing came during a low point in police-minority relations at home and nationally: In Los Angeles, riots followed the acquittal of police officers in the Rodney King beating trial. In Minneapolis gangs traded gunfire daily, rumors of Minneapolis police misconduct were rampant, and the police administration was at a loss for how to gain the trust of the city's minority residents. MPR News looks back at the legacy officer Jerry Haaf's death left on the city and the progress and challenges since then.

It's interesting that they quote Mike Sauro so much in the rest of the article. He had his troubles too.

Perhaps I should have highlighted the union's obit instead. Or this blog post.

There are good reasons to do all of them, but that one paragraph summary of those days is a keeper.

Things seem less dark now. And it all has to do with our reactions to the murder of Jerry Haaf. He's still serving and protecting us.

Well, I haven't found the bleepin' camera yet.

It's only been missing since Sunday when I took pictures of the roses and...whatever that yellow flower is that Rosie planted last spring. It's just gone nuts all-of-a-sudden.

I didn't look for the camera because I decided that, before it rained again, I needed to finish shingling the "tree house." It's not in a tree, it's a play "yard" that I bought from Menard's and built when Rosie was three. The tarp roof that it came with dissolved finally, so Rosie and I decided it needed one with a twenty-year warranty.

Right after I bought the shingles, I found the tarpaper left over from when we re-roofed the house. Interestingly, that was done at the same time I built the play "yard." The guys who were helping me let me (told me to) spend the afternoon doing that with their tools while they attended to the routine work of nailing down shingles.

The chop-saw was a huge help. I couldn't have done it in an afternoon without it. I think I impressed the guys, who were both farmers from Up North. One of them said that it was surprising how well I handled tools for a... Well, I wasn't real clear on what it is that I'm supposed to be.

I'll tell you what I am. I'm quiet. I listen. I watch. I pay attention. I learn.

I took wood shop and metals shop in school. They taught us a lot, back in the days before they decided that education money was better spent on grief counselors and assistant secretaries. Which happened about five minutes after I graduated.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

SmartWool! That's what they're called!

The brand of socks I wore in the Marathon a week ago. My wife just tossed them at me. I told her I'd keep them next to my heart, as I stuffed them into my shirt pocket.

She seemed to take that amiss, somehow.

That's some kick-@$$ $#!#! Here's their website, though they seem to go in for clever Flash graphics. You can get some from REI or anybody you like here.

Mine are the "Running Lt Micro" variety, but I have no doubt that you'll be pleased with whatever you get for whatever purpose. I'm afraid to find out what "Lifestyle" socks are.

I could show you a picture of my feet, but I don't remember where I left the digital camera and it's not worth it to me right now to run and find it. My feet look like hell, but most of the obvious damage is from last year's run, retarded by training for this year's. I have one new blister - a blood blister, but it doesn't hurt. It's smallish and out of the way for all practical purposes - unless somebody wants me to audition as a foot model.

Consider that I was on my feet in these from the time I part ["Part!" Good God! I meant to say "parked."] my car in the Jerry Haaf ramp, until I got into my wife's car after reclaiming my stuff. At least seven hours in which I covered at least 28 miles, what with one thing and another, on my feet.

To hold these socks is to want to put them on. I'm succumbing to that temptation right now. They're wonderful!

When I do a pic-post of my Finisher shirt and medal, I'll make sure to include a shot of them. And my shoes.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Oh, yeah. Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Human Race may rest in peace. The more, the better, according to environmentalist doctrine.

I used to be one of them. I should know.


Lest there be any doubt, I'm calling Al Gore and his radical environmentalist pals traitors against humanity. And by Humanity, I mean my daughters and their loved ones. You people have to do better than "An Inconvenient Truth"!

In the latter third of my college career, I gleened an inkling that I would not be excluded from the blow-back from the rhetoric that my "liberal" friends were spewing.

My first reaction was to delve deeper into Conservationism. I was perfectly OK with letting the currently f'ed-up parts of the planet continue as is. Of course, as a hick from the sticks, I wouldn't have missed them if they'd been nuked at any time from before the first Earth Day until the present. Of course, from "today" on, I'd prefer that less indiscriminate methods be used.

There was a period of my life when I would have been happy if only Douglas County, Wisconsin and Sequoia County, Oklahoma survived The nuclear Holocaust. I soon had to include the entire states of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Oklahoma.

The area of the Earth that I was willing to exclude from total destruction continued to expand as I considered the traumatization of my loved ones. But I was perfectly willing to consider that concern about their emotional welfare must have a limit.

For those who realize just how infantile such a delusion is, I finally began to break with the radical environmentalists when I began to consider biological weapons. How could I save all my love ones without compromising my vision?

Of course, the vision of The Omega Man could make that question academic.

It's fortunate that I didn't discover Earth First before they began Act-ing Up.

I've covered my transition from Enviro-fascist to Neo-con to Libertarian before - Rush Limbaugh and Jason Lewis were instrumental - and I'd want to consult my previous posts before elaborating on that.

The Reacher novels I've been reading hint at why I might have been a terrifying weapon for the anti-human primates. Hint: I understand ballistics, viscerally and intellectually.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Looks like T. B. Macauley was a

Every man who has seen the world knows that nothing is so useless as a general maxim. If it be very moral and very true, it may serve for a copy to a charity boy. If, like those of Rochefoucauld, it be sparkling and whimsical, it may make an excellent motto for an essay. But few indeed of the many wise apophthegms which have been uttered, from the time of the Seven Sages of Greece to that of “Poor Richard,” have prevented a single foolish action. We give the highest and the most peculiar praise to the precepts of Machiavelli when we say that they may frequently be of real use in regulating conduct, not so much because they are more just or more profound than those which might be culled from other authors, as because they can be more readily applied to the problems of real life.

Here is the best article on Ron Paul that I've seen.

In the Orange County Register, written by Alan Bock.

After talking about the strength of Paul's campaign, Bock tells us about Paul's policy positions:
His most significant issue in this campaign is the war in Iraq. He is the only one of the active candidates (besides Democrat Dennis Kucinich) to vote against authorization to use force in Iraq, though he had approved the military incursion into Afghanistan after 9/11. He uses Iraq – 70 percent of the American people now believe the Iraq war was a mistake – to broaden the discussion, arguing for a noninterventionist foreign policy that would involve bringing our troops home from Korea, Germany, Japan and elsewhere, and minding our own business.

He also believes the income tax should be abolished, government made significantly smaller, and that the Federal Reserve should be abolished, with the country returning to a gold standard rather than printing fiat money. He is staunchly pro-life and seldom misses a chance to denounce the war on drugs, which he believes is unconstitutional.

This is a frankly radical platform, much more radical than Barry Goldwater's in an earlier era. Why has it attracted such enthusiastic support?

Part of the reason, Rockwell believes, is that economists and other intellectuals have been building the case for a free economy and free society since the 1930s, and there's a critical mass of people who have studied freedom and support it. Add to that the Internet and other forms of communication that have allowed people who might have felt alone in their beliefs to communicate with and get to know others of like mind. And we've had six-plus years of a Republican presidency that has not only been aggressive militarily but has increased domestic spending and started new federal programs, leaving many traditional Republicans feeling abandoned.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Condolences to the family and loved ones of Chad Schieber

who died in the Chicago Marathon (the one that was shut down due the heat, humidity and lack of water Sunday).

There, but for the Grace of God...

It may well be that the bad knee kept me out of more serious trouble the other day. Makes you think about Divine Providence.

You think of running as a healthy activity, but there are many ways to get injured or killed on the roads.

I suppose none of that is comforting.

God bless you.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Well, that's over.

Number of finishers: 7215
Number of females: 2825
Number of males: 4390
Average time: 04:48:

As for me:
5K Split 35:00
10K Split 1:10:24
13.1 Mile Split 2:34:52
30K Split 3:53:47
20 Mile Split 4:12:21
Finish Time 5:39:48
Pace 12:58

That was awesome.

The heat and the knee killed me. And the fact that the knee kept me from training very well for the past month.

Aches & pains?

1. The knee.
2. My feet are killing me, just generally.
3. One blister on my toe. (I gotta spread the word about those socks!)
4. New shirt and drawers chaffed off some hairs that old stuff hadn't taken care of.
5. Fanny pack buckle dug a hole in my back. I discovered those last three spots when I got in the shower and hit 'em with the water.

6. No blood this time. Band-aids and vaseline took care of that.

7. Sunburn.

It was supposed to cloud up and thunderstorm by 9:00 (the race started at 8:00), but instead, we dealt with warm, sunny and humid-as-hell until 11:00. Then, all-of-a-sudden, it was cloudy. It felt good, but it was too little, too late. I saw a lot of sunstroke victims on the side of the road. All of whom were being professionally (I mean that in the most complimentary way) attended by EMTs.

I noticed that all of them (the runners lying on the side of the road) seemed to be in better physical condition than I.

They announced at the beginning that "Today is not the day to go for a PR!" [Personal Record]

Great. What am I doing here? I figured, even with the bad knee, I had to do better than last year.


Well, my wife was happy I survived. [That's a good thing.]

Update: Hey! I kind of like this thing! They knock 19 minutes off my time for being 44 y.o.

Update: One more thought, from the article linked in the next post, there were plenty of spectators sprinkling and hosing us down. Thank you for that.

Friday, October 05, 2007

1 Korinther 13

My daughter wants to learn German now. I wonder if this would help. From BibleGateway:
1Wenn ich mit Menschen-und mit Engelzungen redete, und hätte der Liebe nicht, so wäre ich ein tönend Erz oder eine klingende Schelle.
2Und wenn ich weissagen könnte und wüßte alle Geheimnisse und alle Erkenntnis und hätte allen Glauben, also daß ich Berge versetzte, und hätte der Liebe nicht, so wäre ich nichts.

3Und wenn ich alle meine Habe den Armen gäbe und ließe meinen Leib brennen, und hätte der Liebe nicht, so wäre mir's nichts nütze.

4Die Liebe ist langmütig und freundlich, die Liebe eifert nicht, die Liebe treibt nicht Mutwillen, sie blähet sich nicht,

5sie stellet sich nicht ungebärdig, sie suchet nicht das Ihre, sie läßt sich nicht erbittern, sie rechnet das Böse nicht zu,

6sie freut sich nicht der Ungerechtigkeit, sie freut sich aber der Wahrheit;

7sie verträgt alles, sie glaubet alles, sie hoffet alles, sie duldet alles.

8Die Liebe höret nimmer auf, so doch die Weissagungen aufhören werden und die Sprachen aufhören werden und die Erkenntnis aufhören wird.

9Denn unser Wissen ist Stückwerk, und unser Weissagen ist Stückwerk.

10Wenn aber kommen wird das Vollkommene, so wird das Stückwerk aufhören.

11Da ich ein Kind war, da redete ich wie ein Kind und war klug wie ein Kind und hatte kindische Anschläge; da ich aber ein Mann ward, tat ich ab, was kindisch war.

12Wir sehen jetzt durch einen Spiegel in einem dunkeln Wort; dann aber von Angesicht zu Angesicht. Jetzt erkenne ich's stückweise; dann aber werde ich erkennen, gleichwie ich erkannt bin.

13Nun aber bleibt Glaube, Hoffnung, Liebe, diese drei; aber die Liebe ist die größte unter ihnen.

I could do my translation thing, if anybody'd like.

Time to blog and nothing to say.

I've just been resting my leg, pretty much. It feels good right now, but who knows.

I finally finished That Hideous Strength. Makes you feel quite spiritual, I must say. Lewis ties together all the mythologies of the world, says they're all true in their way, and shows us how they fit into God's Plan.

And kills the stinking fascists and commies along the way.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


BELLEVUE, WA – Republican Presidential hopeful Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) will speak during a Saturday evening reception at this weekend’s Gun Rights Policy Conference, which opens Friday evening and runs through Sunday in the Cincinnati, OH area at the Drawbridge Inn & Convention Center in Fort Mitchell, KY.

More than 800 gun rights activists from across the nation have pre-registered for the event, sponsored by the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA). Participating organizations include the National Rifle Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation, and Gun Owners of America.

Also scheduled to a special address Saturday morning is NRA Executive Vice president Wayne LaPierre. In addition, SAF President Joseph Tartaro and CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb will be speaking Saturday and Sunday.

Other prominent speakers will include Congresswoman Jean Schmidt (R-OH), Larry Pratt, executive director, Gun Owners of America; Jim Irvine, chairman, Buckeye Firearms Association; authors Clayton Cramer, David Kopel, John Lott, Kenneth Blanchard, David T. Hardy and Gordon Hutchinson; and attorneys Robert Levy and Alan Gura, who represent plaintiffs in the landmark Parker v. District of Columbia gun rights case.

Panels will discuss diverse topics including federal and state legislative affairs, the 2008 national elections, right-to-carry issues, firearms litigation, new communication technologies, Microstamping and ammunition bans.

The conference begins with a Friday evening reception starting at 7 p.m., with activities continuing Saturday at 8 a.m. with an awards luncheon scheduled at noon. The conference schedule runs through noon on Sunday.

A Neocon finally takes on the task

of defining Neo-Conservatism in todays Opinion Journal.
…[S]ome kind of common neoconservative mentality endured beyond the cold war. What were its elements?

First, following Orwell, neoconservatives were moralists. Just as they despised Communism, they felt similarly toward Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic and toward the acts of aggression committed by those dictators in, respectively, Kuwait and Bosnia. And just as they did not hesitate to enter negative moral judgments, neither did they hesitate to enter positive ones. In particular, they were strong admirers of the American experience--an admiration that arose not out of an unexamined patriotism (they had all started out as reformers or even as radical critics of American society) but out of the recognition that America had gone farther in the realization of liberal values than any other society in history. A corollary was the belief that America was a force for good in the world at large.
Second, in common with many liberals, neoconservatives were internationalists, and not only for moral reasons. Following Churchill, they believed that depredations tolerated in one place were likely to be repeated elsewhere--and, conversely, that beneficent political or economic policies exercised their own "domino effect" for the good. Since America's security could be affected by events far from home, it was wiser to confront troubles early even if afar than to wait for them to ripen and grow nearer.

Third, neoconservatives, like (in this case) most conservatives, trusted in the efficacy of military force. They doubted that economic sanctions or UN intervention or diplomacy, per se, constituted meaningful alternatives for confronting evil or any determined adversary.

To this list, I would add a fourth tenet: namely, the belief in democracy both at home and abroad. This conviction could not be said to have emerged from the issues of the 1990s, although the neoconservative support for enlarging NATO owed something to the thought that enlargement would cement the democratic transformations taking place in the former Soviet satellites. But as early as 1982, Ronald Reagan, the neoconservative hero, had stamped democratization on America's foreign-policy agenda with a forceful speech to the British Parliament. In contrast to the Carter administration, which held (in the words of Patricia Derian, Carter's Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights) that "human-rights violations do not really have very much to do with the form of government," the Reagan administration saw the struggle for human rights as intimately bound up in the struggle to foster democratic governance. When Reagan's Westminster speech led to the creation of the National Endowment for Democracy, the man chosen to lead it was Carl Gershman, a onetime Social Democrat and a frequent contributor to Commentary. Although not an avowed neoconservative, he was of a similar cast of mind.

This mix of opinions and attitudes still constitutes the neoconservative mindset. The military historian Max Boot has aptly labeled it "hard Wilsonianism." It does not mesh neatly with the familiar dichotomy between "realists" and "idealists." It is indeed idealistic in its internationalism and its faith in democracy and freedom, but it is hardheaded, not to say jaundiced, in its image of our adversaries and its assessment of international organizations. Nor is its idealism to be confused with the idealism of the "peace" camp. Over the course of the past century, various schemes for keeping the peace--the League of Nations, the UN, the treaty to outlaw war, arms-control regimes--have all proved fatuous. In the meantime, what has in fact kept the peace (whenever it has been kept) is something quite different: strength, alliances, and deterrence. Also in the meantime, "idealistic" schemes for promoting not peace but freedom--self-determination for European peoples after World War I, decolonization after World War II, the democratization of Germany, Japan, Italy, and Austria, the global advocacy of human rights--have brought substantial and beneficial results.

I think the guy's definition of "traditional conservative"...well, it makes me want to gag. I'd call Nixon and Ford, by the '70s, anyway, RINOs. Although, oddly enough, I don't have any problem with Eisenhower. I think his problems could be forgiven as "returning to Normalcy" after all the trouble caused by Roosevelt and Truman. Or, to say it more kindly, the problems throughout the world during their administrations.

Their "tradition" wasn't old enough to warrant the name.

Monday, October 01, 2007

I seem to be having a flare up of

Iliotibial band syndrome. [Yes, I cut and pasted that.]

The exercise on that page has me feeling better already. Don't anybody say anything about the placebo effect.

Marathon Sunday. My plan is mostly to do that exercise and some other stretches, and rest until then; let that muscle strengthen and heal. Hopefully I can get in a seven and a two mile run in, but I'll just have to skip 'em if the leg hurts. Maybe I can do some pool running at the city swimming pool. The girls'd like that.