Thursday, January 31, 2008

My brain fries

when I read this kind of stuff, The Case for Free Banking: Then and Now, by George A. Selgin
but it looks like some pretty good thinking.

Don Boudreaux recommended it. Here's Dr. Boudreaux's most recent article, The foolishness of economic 'stimulus': Do we really want to risk prolonging a bad economy? As far as I know.

The latter article has some advice for the President:
First, Mr. Bush should call for a substantial and permanent cut in both capital-gains and personal-income tax rates.

Next, he should insist on a large reduction in federal spending, including elimination of all agricultural subsidies. While he's showing such courage, he might as well unconditionally endorse free trade.

Cutting taxes is, of course, a good thing, but it's important to know why. The goal would not be to increase consumer spending. Instead, it would be to raise the returns on investment and work.

By letting investors and workers keep more of the fruits of their risk-taking, creativity, and efforts, the economy will enjoy more risk-taking, creativity, and effort. Businesses that would otherwise not be started would be created. Likewise with machinery and training that increases worker productivity. Investors worldwide would flock to take advantage of these lower tax rates, further increasing productive investments.

Cutting government spending would result in more of the economy's resources being used by wealth-creating businesses rather than being siphoned away to special-interest groups and boondoggles such as bridges-to-nowhere and Woodstock museums.

Committing to free trade would assure global investors that Americans refuse to turn inward – that producers in America will not be stymied in their efforts to buy inputs from low-cost foreign suppliers and that investments and entrepreneurial ideas from abroad will continue to be welcomed.

Finally, Bush should assure the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve that he neither expects nor wants them to use monetary policy politically. Reminding them of the wisdom of Milton Friedman, he should strongly urge them to keep a tight rein on the money supply.

Sound money, low taxes, and free trade might not "stimulate" the economy today, but this combination will surely increase its vigor over the long-run.

These reforms are about as radical as what Jefferson did when he took over from Adams and the Federalists. Of course, Jefferson should have done more.

Invadesoda sent me the direct link to's online library and I've been reading Denson's Reassessing the Presidency: The Rise of the Executive State and the Decline of Freedom [828 page pdf].

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Let's see the Democrats in this country

do this!

The Republicans certainly aren't.

I just replaced the quote from the Anti-Federalist

with this one from Tibor Machan's article, The Bill of Rights and Moral Philosophy:
The people, so long as their right to free thought is still respected by law, are still in charge. And they can make the difference between a future guided by the principles that gave birth to our nation or one directed by alien philosophies that will take us back to the dark ages of feudalism and despotic rule.

I thought I'd mention it here, so you all can comment.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I was clued to

this by Oldsmoblogger, and I recommend you read their posts for context, but I wanted to highlight this comment:

How long until Miami starts seeing a flood of Venezuelan refugees? How about now. See yesterday’s New York Times.

“Rise of Ch├ívez Sends Venezuelans to Florida”

It doesn’t matter how much oil you are standing over. If you force producers to sell goods below cost you get shortages. It doesn’t take a genius to figure this out but it still comes as a surprise to your average dictator.

God will bless those who follow those link-trails.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I need to write a review of Doherty's

Sea Venture: Shipwreck, Survival, and the Salvation of the First English Colony in the New World.

Mind if I submit a rough draft for your criticism? Amazon reviews don't need to rate publication in the New York Times, but I do want to write something that encourages people to get ahold of the book and read it.

[Before I get down to business and use that window to google the title and get you the link, I was just reading this guy. He's pretty good.]

The wreck of the Sea Venture has not been denied its fair share of attention in history and the arts - as Doherty shows, Shakespeare appears to have used William Strachey's description of the hurricane that drove Sea Venture onto the Bermudan reef as the inspiration for The Tempest.

Doherty's focus is the contributions the survivors of the shipwreck made to the survival and growth of the Virginia colony, as well as the founding of Bermuda and New England.

John Rolfe, one of the survivors, looms very large in the book, partly because he founded the American tobacco industry, but mostly because he married Pocahontas. Marrying Pocahontas, the daughter of the Powhatan, gave Jamestown "the Peace of Pocahontas" which allowed the colonists to recover from "The Starving Time" and the war with the indians and put down roots - literally. And, apparently Pocahontas herself was instrumental in Rolfe's mastery of tobacco growing, which finally made the colony profitable.

I don't think a review is the place to do more than hint at the surprises in store for readers of the book, but there are many. Doherty uses sources, John Smith, Strachey (who wrote voluminously of their experiences) and Rolfe, as well as any other writings of the time, that help you get inside the heads of the participants. Smith and Rolfe seemed to have had a deep understanding of Powhatan. Unfortunately, they weren't in position to moderate every dispute between the colonists and the indians.

Friday, January 25, 2008

I've never said anything here about A Shropshire Lad?!

Well, I'm not going to do it now, either. It's a book of poetry, so the Bourgeois Philistine needs to handle it.

Paul Campaign gets Don Luskin!

Hey! Look at that! He's brought Don Luskin aboard as his economic advisor!

Not that he needed one. We used to have four economists in Congress: Dick Armey, Newt Gingrich and... the other guy's name will have to come to me later...and Ron Paul. Now we have one. Let's get him to the top, shall we?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Helicopter Ben is going to dump cash on us!

He said he would, after all.

All right, it'll be Congress and the President who are going to pay us off to encourage short-term savings wasting. Yeah, that's what we're doing wrong, the economy is f'ed up because we're not blowing enough money on stupid s***. Whiskey and hotrods for everyone!

Hayek! Hayek! Hayek!

OK, so here's what the government is doing: we're about to go into a recession because the last wad of empty calories - excuse me, cash - the government handed out (by holding interest rates below their natural rate) has run its course. People are done buying junk and are about to settle down to attending to their real needs, is how I interpret it. So people stop buying the useless crap that firms have been sinking their subsidized capital expenditures into producing. We can't have that! Crap producers will go out of business!

We need more Truck Nuts, Hoola Hoops and Pet Rocks!

Give a wad of cash to the poor. Hey, liberals! The poor spend their money on chinese junk at Walmart! Eat that, morons!

Oh! And McCain's happy that Congress and Bush are moving fast on this thing. Populist "solutions" always require a big bandaids. And they accused Reagan of going for simple solutions!

This will fuel the shortest recovery in history. And fill my house up with more junk. [Yeah, I'm takin' the money. Better that than leavin' it in their hands. And I pay taxes.]

Here's Ron Paul's reform agenda.

This seems rather important.

I wonder why I've never heard it before. Of course, this is just the beginning of the examination of peaceful conflict resolution:
Glasl shows how parties in conflict loose the ability to co-operate in a constructive manner as their successive and mutual experiences are break down. He identifies several "points of no return" which contribute decisively to the escalation.[36] In stage 1[37], there is a hardening of the positions. It is the content of the conflict that is the centre of attention, and the parties trust that it will be possible to solve the problem. In the second stage, polarisation and debate take place. The conflicted parties unite within themselves (cohesion), and stereotypes develop. When they reach the point where they feel that talking to one another is not productive, they "create facts" (stage 3: "deeds instead of words"). From there the relationship to the opposing party becomes a central part of the content of the conflict itself. "There's no use in talking to them," is the experience, "now we have to act!" From now on behaviour towards one another becomes more clearly negative, as do the notions the opponents have of each other. As the conflict constellation deteriorates, the parties slide into a situation where each feels threatened and endangered by the actions of the other (stages 4-6). In stage 4 the relationship becomes the problem. Stereotypes, and "win-lose" situations arise. In stage 5 direct attacks on the position of the opponent begin, and each party seeks to "expose" the "true character" of its opponent causing him to loose face. In stage 6 the threatening begins, and isolated violent acts might happen.

The next decisive threshold is crossed when threats and ultimatums are superseded by (still limited) actions directed against the power base of the organisation or group concerned (stage 7). From this moment on the parties no longer see each other in human terms but see only objects that they want to be rid of (stages 7-9). From now on the violence directed toward each other becomes the predominant issue of the conflict. In stage 8 the basis of power and existence of the opponent are targets, and mutual destruction takes place. In the 9th and final stage there is total confrontation even at the price of one's own destruction. The only goal is to eliminate the opponent.

Ronald J. Fisher[38] has transferred Glasl's model from its original context of social conflicts, mostly in or between organisations, to the context of political conflicts. He simplifies Glasl's nine stages to four: stage 1: communication, stage 2: polarisation, stage 3: segregation, stage 4: destruction.[39]

I'm not a pacifist (yet, anyway), but I'm all for maximising the use of peaceful methods whenever and wherever possible. And, of course, I'm against initiating physical force.

Steve Forbes is making a good case for Giuliani

in today's WSJ: The Giuliani Tax Cut.

It looks like "trimming," but you can't argue that it's unrealistic, and I think it would improve our lives.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Nobody's ever given me a real poem before!

I deeply appreciate it.

Is that where the whale thing came from?

I'm not at all an e.e. cummings expert. I've read a few of his poems...not enough to make me seek him out. And after buying an edition of Whitman's Leaves of Grass which includes the 1855 edition and the "Deathbed Edition", I feel "once bit and twice shy."

I may be a philistine, but I don't care to feel like one.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Oh! Man! The Cosmo-Libertarians

at Reason Magazine picked on the wrong dude when they pissed-off the gay, Anti-War [.com] activist and biographer of Murray Rothbard, Justin Raimondo!

Check this out:
Reason, of course, in it’s new incarnation as the official organ of the libertarian movement’s aging hipsters and would-be “cool kids,” vehemently opposes reaching out to middle and working class Americans: that is far too “square” for the black-leather-jacket-wearing Nick Gillespie, formerly associated with something called Suck magazine, and Matt Welch, who was an unknown quantity before getting the job at Reason. Right-wing populism? As far as the Suck-y crowd is concerned, one might as well tout the appeal of “right-wing botulism.” Libertarianism, as understood by the editors of Reason, is all about legalizing methamphetamine, having endless “hook-ups,” and giving mega-corporations tax breaks (so Reason can keep scarfing up those big corporate contributors). The decidedly “square” Dr. Paul—a ten-term Republican congressman from Texas, no less, and a pro-life country doctor of decidedly conservative social views—was and is anathema to Team Suck.

Now, if I were like the MSM and only cared about horse-races and cat-fights, I'd leave it at that, but let's hear a little further explanation:
What would the “Smearbund” do without David Duke? No smear campaign is complete without dragging him into it. No matter what the subject—the Iraq war, the Mearsheimer and Walt book, affirmative action—if you take the politically incorrect position, according to the neocons, then you’re marching shoulder-to shoulder with the former Klansman and professional nut-job.

And sure enough, the Kirchick piece takes the Paul newsletter to task for supposedly having “kind words” for Duke. Yet, if you go and read what the newsletter says about Duke, it is clear the author was merely saying Duke’s success is due to his opposition to affirmative action and the welfare state: indeed, Kirchick cites a passage (without citing it in full) in which Duke is taken to task for his lack of a “consistent package of freedom.” Yet the willfully ignorant Radley Balko, another Cato type, avers: “I simply can’t imagine seeing any piece of paper go out under my name that included sympathetic words for David Duke. That a newsletter with Paul’s name did just that demands an explanation from Paul.”

Well, my three paragraph rule just isn't going to work for me here, let's look at a couple more:
The explanation, which would be apparent if Balko had actually cited what is written, is that these weren’t sympathetic words for Duke, per se, or his political ambitions, but for the issues—legitimate issues—that he raised (and exploited) in his Louisiana campaign. After all, libertarians such as Paul reject affirmative action, racial set-asides, and all other forms of state-enforced special treatment for “minorities” precisely because they oppose racism, or any form of collectivism.

By the way, libertarians also oppose so-called civil rights legislation that outlaws discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or disability, because it violates the rights of property-owners. William F. Buckley Jr. famously derided libertarian (and “right-wing populist”) opposition to such legislation as valorizing Lester Maddox’s refusal to “serve a Negro a plate of pork chops.” Buckley’s quip surely underscored the venality and small-mindedness of Maddox and his ilk—and yet, lost in all this, is the reality of the libertarian position, which is that people have the right to be venal, small-minded, and, yes, viciously, stupidly, horribly wrong, provided they don’t initiate the use of force.

I want you to remember, this is written by a homosexual, who lives in the Bible Belt. Or, wait a minute... Am I assuming he lives in or near Auburn, Alabama because of his close ties with The Mises Institute? My intuition is telling me he actually live in San Francisco, where the discrimination against gays isn't quite as acute (nor chronic, for that matter) as Alabama.


I'm gonna post this now. I'll get the links in later. I'm gonna just steal 'em directly from Raimondo, so if you don't see 'em yet, go to the original article. I recommend that you do so anyway. He has so much more to say. BTW, everything I know about blogging, I learned from him. Getting away from reading him has harmed me. Remember, I always balanced my reading of my hero E.G. Ross with Raimondo.

Those were the best of times.

In other, but related news, I need to put links that I got from here where I can get back to them: 1. Mr. Jefferson Comes Home, 2. McCain and the Militarist Mentality: His electoral comeback is an ill omen and 3. Locking a Nation Into Permanent Childhood

Root, hog, or die!

Well, since this guy (or these guys, and/or gal(s) or whatever), cover the meaning of the expression so well, I guess I don't have to.

It's a phrase that pops into my head once a decade or so. I don't remember it being actually used in conversation, accept when one of us kids asked Mom why they put rings in pigs noses. It's a saying with obvious meaning to hog farmers. It implies that times are tough now, I can't feed ya, you're on your own.

I guess I went ahead and explained it anyway.

The only thing left for me to point out is that "hog" is the subject of the two command-form verbs. In case that's not obvious. It's not a choice of three commands.

It's an expression with many applications in politics.

I think God's saying something to me

Ever since I did my little study of William Penn and the Quakers* the other day, I'm running across Quakers all over the place. Here's one, for instance, and he has links to a number of others.

I've had an interest in them since I read what Thomas Paine said about them in The Age of Reason.

Actually, I've liked the sound of them since I saw the ad for a TV movie about The Underground Railroad (I never did see the movie), back in the '70's, in which a character in a Quaker meeting said, "Quakers have never been backward about breakin' laws they know was wrong!" [Apparently they were Down-Mainers: read it with that accent. If they were supposed to be Pennsylvanians, the TV guys got that wrong.]

*Because their links appear to be kind of a mess (not that reading everything there wouldn't be good for you), here's their "brochure".

[Boy! I wouldn't want to see somebody take a red marker and put arrows connecting all the directly related points in this post. Call me Mr. Parenthetical Aside.]

Monday, January 21, 2008

Well, it won't be 0° -

neither air temp nor wind chill - in Arizona for the Superbowl. You had to remind yourself, while watching the Divisional Championship games, that the weather was bad, or you'd have wondered why the teams weren't playing very well.

The Packers are out, as the Minnesotans have been making a point of reminding me. [Is it time for me to renounce my Cheeseheadship, since I've been living mostly in Minnesota since I turned 18? ...No. I became a Packer fan between the Starr/Lombardi era and the Majkowski era, so I think I've earned my seat at that table. The fact that I can spell Majkowski without looking it up...well, that's the shibboleth.]

And I'm not done being a Packer fan. That was a great, great season! And I'm not ready yet for the Favre era to be over yet. This is a very young team, overall, and I want to see what they do next year.

As for this last game, without a doubt the Giants played better. The Packers needed a Desmond Howard to win that game. Driver stepped up to the plate, but in '97, they had two great receivers and Desmond Howard. If Green Bay doesn't have a street named after that guy, they need to get one.

Back to the weather, when the announcers said that the Giants have been practicing outdoors while the Packers were practicing indoors, that gave me a bad feeling. As it was, the difference was one interception. And it looked to me like both QBs were suffering from cold hands in OT. Favre took the greater risk, and paid the greater price.

Look, as well as things were clicking (comparatively) for the Giants' offense, it's a wonder the Pack held them to three field goal attempts, there in the fourth quarter. For those who don't know, only one of them succeeded - the longest one. Any one of them would have won it for the Giants, and the final one did. Score: 20-23 Giants.

Terribly disappointing to me, and, no doubt, my swiss brethren across the border...and it don't look to me like the NFC is going to take the Lombardi trophy this year...

Ah, I'm just going to take the elder Manning brother's advice and be bummed out.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I've been going down the old blog-roll

over the past few weeks, and fixing up the old, out of date links. I notice today that Ogre's is one of them. He's got some good stuff, check him out.

Ron Paul took second in Nevada. Rumor has it that the South Carolinians are voting today. I'll be interested to see how that comes out.

Some knucklehead commenter at that last link was telling people to vote for Hillary or Obama, since Ron Paul's not going to win. I'll probably just vote for the LP guy if the Repubs continue on their hyper-statist track. If we end up with one of those commies in the White House as a result, well, it'll just hasten the revolution.

Parting thought: there is no Department of Love. Not that I want to give them any ideas.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Republican Candidates

I agree with Tom Sowell that there is no Democrat worth considering, but let me tell you what I think of those running for President on the Republican side.

Mike Huckabee: Sincere Evangelical Christian - social democrat. Not a combination I care for. I want Freedom of Choice in Religion, social relations and commerce.

Rudy Giuliani: Strong leader, saved New York City from going the way of Detroit - authoritarian. He's sure he knows what's best for you.

John McCain: A real hero, a real Christian - a real [chicken-in-every-pot] economic populist - Welfare/Warfare statist extraordinaire.

Ron Paul: near perfect Constitutionalist in his voting record - has taken some odd fliers in his career, and listened to some bad advice on how to advance his libertarian message. And he's raked in a hefty pile appealing to fringies.

Mitt Romney: Professional (and successful) business restructurer, sincere Mormon (not a bad thing at all, in my opinion) - statist. Too willing to leave Constitutional interpretation to the judges, and where he's willing to try to lead them isn't anywhere The Founder's wanted America to go.

Fred Thompson: the truest Reagan conservative in this campaign - I heard tonight that he was endorsing Bush's "stimulus package." That makes him an economic moron.

That ain't what Reagan did. Reagan didn't dodge the recession, he faced it like a man: he gave the whiners a steely glare and rode the Keynesian dragon of stagflation of the Nixon, Ford and Carter years into the ground.

The work of the Reagan Revolution wasn't done when his time was up. I wish I could say - because it would be so much more poetic - when the Constitution mustered him out, but the fact is that I don't think he could have handled another year of the presidency, let alone a full term.

I acknowledge my personal debt to Ronald Reagan, and the debt the world owes him -whether humanity acknowledges it or not - and I'd like to see this current crop of candidates aim for that level of leadership. Giuliani and Romney can lead, but they have no principles - or, rather, that have insufficient principles of the sort I want to follow. If McCain or Huckabee were placed at the head of my column, I think I'd head for the hills.

I like Thompson. I wish he'd lead.

Ron Paul... I think he's trying to decentralize leadership. And I absolutely agree with that.

You want leadership? Get your ass in gear!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

ARI asked me to announce this

The Morality of Capitalism

Who: Dr. Eric Daniels, speaker for the Ayn Rand Institute and visiting scholar at Clemson University's Institute for the Study of Capitalism

What: A talk making the case that capitalism is the only moral social system. A Q&A will follow.

Where: Kimmel Center, Room 914, New York University, 60 Washington Square South, NY, NY 10012
Maps and directions:

When: Wednesday, January 23, 2008, at 7 pm

Registration: Attendees must RSVP to

Description: Despite the enormous success of American capitalism at producing material abundance and political freedom, critics continue their assault on the system, calling it immoral. In this lecture, Dr. Eric Daniels makes the case that capitalism is the only moral social system. He also examines the conventional defense of capitalism, which relies on the practical, economic argument, and illustrates why only a defense of pure laissez-faire capitalism can succeed.

Bio: Dr. Eric Daniels is a visiting scholar at Clemson University's Institute for the Study of Capitalism. He taught for five years at Duke University, in the Program on Values and Ethics in the Marketplace, and at the University of Wisconsin, where he earned his doctorate in American history. He has lectured internationally on the history of American ethics, American business and legal history, and the American Enlightenment. Daniels's publications include a chapter in "The Abolition of Antitrust" and five entries in the "Oxford Companion to United States History."

For more information on this talk, please e-mail

### ### ###

Copyright © 2008 Ayn Rand® Institute. All rights reserved.

If you would like to know more about Dr. Daniels, he published two articles on Capitalism Magazine: Jamestown: Birthplace of America's Distinctive, Secular Ideal (a must-read for me), and The Real Threat to our Energy Supplies.

I should say, I read an article today by Bob Bidinotto, I find my head spinning on my decision to support Ron Paul. On the other hand, I still find the other candidates less palatable. If the choice is to vote for the lesser of the many evils, at this point I still see Ron Paul as the least evil.

I should also say, that Bidinotto is persona non grata with ARI, but I believe his opinion on this matter would be in line with theirs...were ARI to condescend to recognize Ron Paul at all.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I have an idea for a book.

I'm not going to give the whole thing away, but it ties together at least three things I've managed to sustain an interest in for at least a few years. The only hint I'll give you is that reading Sea Venture qualifies as doing background research. Or perhaps I should say that Sea Venture's a popular history that gets me in the mood to dig a little deeper into the area and era that will serve as the setting.

I've already discovered that my main character isn't even unlikely. I've never run across anyone with the guy's exact history, but similar people were there.

I have another reason for not telling you too much about it: as soon as I promise to do something, I lose all interest in doing it. Particularly if it means going out of my way at all. But that's why this idea might be one I can handle, it's built up out of things that I do/study/think about all the time.

I'll need help with the dialog, though. Nobody talks like me...when I do talk. I don't think I've met many people who talk less.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Three Men in the State of Nature

I'm reading Kieran Doherty's latest and, sadly, probably last, book, Sea Venture, he tells a tale of three men who, one way or another, were left on the uninhabited islands of Bermuda awaiting the arrival of other Englishmen. Their names were Christopher Carter, Edward Waters and Edward Chard. This is from Chapter 13, which is called "Our Hoped and Desired Ilands":

When they were not busy tending their crops, hunting hogs or birds, fishing in the shallows of the harbor, or keeping watch, they often went exploring, rowing a small nearby islands, where they walked the shore, looking for pearls or Spanish coins or other valuables that might have washed ashore from some stricken and long-lost vessel. On one such trip, as the three men wandered along the beach just above the high-water mark, they spied a man-sized grayish white chunk of material wedged in the rocks that fronted the beach. As soon as the three men--all mariners--spotted the mass, they immediately recognized it as ambergris, a naturally occurring substance that is created in the intestines of sperm whales and found floating on the sea or cast ashore on beaches. They would have known, too, that the roughly 180-pound chunk of ambergris, along with a few other smaller chunks, were worth a not-so-small fortune in England, where the substance was used in the manufacture of perfume.

While Chard would later claim he was the first to spot the ambergris, all three immediately laid claim to it and, no doubt, set to dancing and shouting gleefully on the beach, imagining themselves living the good life in London town or perhaps sailing the seas as the owners of their own ships. Of course, reality soon set in. They must have wondered how on earth could they possible [sic] get a chunk of ambergris--a chunk described in a letter as "a big as the body of giant [with] the head and arms...wanting"--off the Bermudas and to England, where they could sell it and pocket the proceeds. How could they keep it out of the hands of the adventurers of the Virginia Company who would, if they knew of its existence, claim it as their own?

The first thing the three men did was hide it, perhaps in one of the many caves that mark the Bermudas. Then they began to argue. Chard claimed the bulk of the ambergris belonged to him since he had discovered it. Waters and Carter, not surprisingly, disagreed. The Three argued, then fought, for the better part of two years. At one point, while fishing together in their little boat, they started bickering and the bickering escalated into open combat. They had at each other with fists and teeth and oars and anything else they could use as weapons. Snarling and bloody, they fell overboard, where they kept fighting until, exhausted, they dragged themselves ashore. Things were so bad that a dog that had remained on the island with the three sailors...waded into the middle of a particularly noisy fracas, biting Waters in a apparent attempt to make them stop. Eventually, Chard and Waters were prepared to fight to the death with swords or pistols rather than share the ambergris. Carter, though, was determined to avoid bloodshed and not happy at all at the thought of spending years--perhaps the rest of his life--along in the Bermudas with no company other than the dog. He hid the weapons so that an uneasy peace settled over the little camp on Smith's Island.

There's your sample of Doherty's lively writing style. Now we have to revert to my lesser skills.

Later, despairing the non-appearance any English ships, the men got together to build their own boat, in which to ride the Gulf Stream to Newfoundland, but the effort turned out to be unnecessary, as the Virginia Company finally got around to relieving them.

I think its a real life illustration of the development of morality under Natural Law, and why we really don't need to fear the messiness of life to the degree that we do. And it adds some credence to Crusoe Economics, though with no whitewashing of the dangers.

No anarchist doubts that the State of Nature has its dangers, they just doubt that The State is better. Actually, I doubt it. They flat out deny it.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Amen, Steyn!

You're a genius!
Oh, yeah: "change." Innovation drives change, the market drives change. Government "change" just drives things away: you could ask many of the New Hampshire primary voters formerly resident in Massachusetts. Nevertheless, between Iowa and New Hampshire, almost every presidential contender found himself lapsing into boilerplate assertions that he was the "candidate of change" – or even, as both McCain and Hillary put it, an "agent of change", which sounds far more exotic, as if they're James Bond and Pussy Galore covertly driving the Aston Martin across some international frontier, pressing the ejector button and dropping a ton of government regulation on some hapless foreigners.

But it's capitalism that's the real "agent of change." Politicians, on the whole, prefer stasis, at least on everything for which they already have responsibility. That's the lesson King Canute was trying to teach his courtiers when he took them down to the beach and let the tide roll in: Government has its limits. In most of the western world, the tide is rolling in on demographically and economically unsustainable entitlements, but that doesn't stop politicians getting out their beach chairs and promising to create even more. That's government "change."

Saturday, January 12, 2008

I live-blogged the Packers' game

next door.

Congratulations Patriots, for tying the greatest single-season record of all time: 17-0.

Friday, January 11, 2008

All right, I'll try to cool it with the Ron Paul posts

but I've gotta tell ya, I really like the campaign's new blog.

I think we can trust Daniel McCarthy not to "do THAT again," though I strongly encourage you to head over there and keep them honest.

[Oops! I made a rather important typo last time around. I said "can't trust McCarthy." That's a big oops! 1/13/08]

BTW, McCarthy (and I) encourage(s) anyone who has problems with Paul's foreign policy ideas to check out the transcript of the Russert interview. I know for a fact that the transcriber had some problems, but you'll still come away with a better understanding of how Paul, as president, would try to run...I don't want to say "the country," let me just say "his administration."

Let me help him/her out:

All I can't find where he said something [inaudible] about the Department of Education. The word was either "cut" or "eliminate." Or, possibly "abolish."

REP. PAUL: Yeah, no. The point is, Randolph Bourne says war is a helpless state. ...

Bourne's most famous work is War Is the Health of the State.

I think that paragraph deserves quoting in full:
REP. PAUL: Yeah, no. The point is, Randolph Bourne says war is a helpless state. I believe that statement. When you have war, whether it's a war against drugs, war against terrorism, war, war overseas, war--the mentality of the people change and they're more willing to sacrifice their liberties in order to be safe and secure. So, yes, right after 9/11 my reaction was, you know, it's going to be a lot tougher selling liberty. But I'm pleasantly surprised that I'm still in the business of selling liberty and the Constitution and there's still a lot of enthusiasm for it. So all the American people don't agree that we have to have the nanny state and have the government taking care of us. So I have been encouraged. I might have been too pessimistic immediately after 9/11 because, in a way, it has caused this reaction and this uprising in this country to say, "Enough is enough. We don't need more Patriot Acts, we don't need more surveillance of our people. We don't need national ID cards. We don't need the suspension of habeas corpus. What we need is more freedom." So in one way I was pessimistic, but in another way, now, I'm more encouraged with the reception I'm getting with this message.

I think you can fill in the rest of the blanks. The Randolph Bourne thing probably wasn't generally known, so that needed to be done. The issues raised in the quoted paragraph I want to be seriously debated. With Paul's position seriously considered.

And, I want to say this: I want Paul's hand on the Veto pen. If he gives us four years of Gridlock, I think that's just great. There'll be screaming and yelling and gnashing of teeth. There'll be overridden vetoes...probably by the score. But the Founders' vision for our Government was that Congress would control this country, and the President would obey their laws (and, I'm pretty sure President Paul would obey their Declarations as well, to the best of his ability).

And I'm not fond of pure democracy: I don't like 51% overruling the wishes of 49% - 60/40 comes considerably closer to my ideal.

Yeah, I'd like a Paul Presidency.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Oh, crap! I've gotta go and listen to that again...

Dr. Paul is going to be on CNN "5 p.m. ET"

I guess I've missed it already.

Here's the story.

Will we hear what he has to say?

Update: All right. I'm inspired. I believe.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Ron Paul needs to explain better

I'm afraid the Reason guys [Crap! They've got more than one important post or article on this: one, two, three, four. And that's not all, but the first one is the one I'm talking about.] are right about his response to the New Republic story.

It's terse.

I'm inclined to believe what he says, but I'm not the injured party. I'm afraid it looks like Paul isn't concerned about the injured parties. He needs to do a better job of explaining how the principles and policies he espouses preclude effective racism and homophobia. (Though, we don't pretend to be able to preclude the emotions. We would, however, allow racists and homophobes to find places where they wouldn't be bothered by people of the "wrong" color or sexual preference. What we don't--or wouldn't--allow is for the racists and homophobes to force anyone else into a ghetto.)

I trust Paul. His votes have matched his stated principles, and, for the most part, I agree with those principles. The couple that I don't are indeed matters of dispute among libertarians.

It's old news to me, btw. It's come up before during this campaign. I was a bit surprised to see it drop as quickly as it did. Apparently Paul's enemies either didn't really care at the time, or they had their flunkies stuff the info in their pockets for use later. Like during the New Hampshire Primary.

That shouldn't surprise me any - it's SOP for all political campaigns. That's not a conspiracy theory, it's just something I assume all campaigns do. And all campaigns should be prepared for.

Let's hear the great, inspiring speech, Ron.

Update: Virginia Postrel suggests that Lew Rockwell, president and founder of the Mises Institute, may have written these things. Murray Rothbard was around back then, was he okay with all this?

This is probably as much of an answer as you're going to get from Lew.

On the other hand, there was a lot of that kind of talk on the local talk-radio shows back then, too. I don't think Limbaugh did any of it--I was a passionate fan of his then--but there were plenty of others. In fact, let me admit it right now, libertarianism doesn't prevent anyone from hating anyone, it would just prevent them from harming anyone based on that hatred. I'm pretty sure Paul and Rockwell are all for the libertarian non-aggression principle: you may not initiate aggression against the person or property of another individual, nor may you delegate such aggression to any individual, group, organization or government.

They also fully support the First Amendment. All of it.

But those excerpts sure don't look like pure individualism to me--they look like that crudist form of collectivism: racism.

Update: Sheldon Richman weighs in. Thoughtfully, as usual.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

I guess I'd take one of these,

if you wanted to give me one:
Free Image Hosting at
Bugatti Veyron

I should tell ya, I got that pic here where you can also find out what an awesome vehicle it is.

I shrunk the pic for my use here; his is bigger.

Holmgren's coming back to Green Bay!

Unfortunately, he's not coming back to coach my team. The Seahawks just whupped the Redskins to knock that politically incorrect team out of the playoffs.

So now we know who the Packers will be playing next week.

Hopefully playing against Holmgren won't rattle Favre. I've seen games where it looked like that was going on. Favre needs to just remember what Holmgren taught him.

And an observation I made last Sunday is, the Packers' offense has a lot more weapons than just Favre and Driver. They, for instance, seem to finally have an O-line that can give Favre time to figure out who the best receiver is.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Huckabee, schmuckabee!

The guy's a "pro-life" socialist. But, then, what do you expect from Iowegians.

I used the quotes for my non-American readers. I wouldn't have used them if half my regulars weren't from overseas.

I'm afraid that most Baptist ministers that I've listened to wouldn't have made good Legislators (note the capitalization). Social conservatism and fiscal "liberalism" don't mix well.

Remind me to write a whole post on that last sentence.

The title of a Sinclair Lewis book was flashing like a warning beacon in my mind all day, since I heard Huckabee'd won the Iowa Republican Caucuses.

The book? Hey! It's a free e-book on Gutenberg! It Can't Happen Here!

Should I tell you why ever I'd vote for this guy? Oh, all right: the irony of having a former Governor of Arkansas defeat the wife of his predecessor is just too... I'm sorry, the standard word to use in this context is "delicious." I rhetoricly painted myself into a corner there.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

What really needs explaining is:

Why do things usually turn out all right (more or less), no matter what the effin' bleep-ups [who think they're runnin' the place] do?

That's the anomalous reading I keep getting from my gauges. Everybody's crying wolf all across the political spectrum all the time: Liberals, environmentalists, union leaders, conservatives, fundamentalists, libertarians and populists - name a group: they're crying wolf.


They're all howling louder than the damn wolves! We should hunt 'em all down and... Well, I've given up advocating violence. What I was going to say was, essentially, do to 'em what shepards used to do to the wolves.

This guy talks about some of what I'm saying.

What?! Where'd he go?

Ah, it was probably an email I deleted.

Or maybe this post was inspired by the first paragraph of this article, which then takes off in a completely different direction (and revives your worries after I've tried to salve them).

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

I took these notes while reading Higgs'

If Men Were Angels:

R. J. Rummel

I have a book, High Adventure in Tibet: The Life and Labors of Pioneer Missionary Victor Plymire, by David V. Plymire, that describes conditions of anarchy there in the 1920's and '30's. It's not encouraging.

I suppose you could say that there was only one, or at most a couple, of hordes of poorly armed marauding heathens ravaging the, admittedly sparce, populace.

I don't recall that either Plymire was concerned to analyze the origins of either the chaos or the anarchy, let alone whether one caused the other, but I need to reread the book. It's been lost in my stacks for years. I've wanted to refer to it before; now I've found it.

For three bucks I'd seriously consider ordering a new copy, though these people (the one's I linked above) need to get the message about what "online business" means. Having to go upstairs, get my phone and call a phone number kills my impulse to buy, when I'm sitting here right now with my credit card and my keyboard.

Not that I mean to discourage anyone else.

Here's some pretty strong argumentation (and language):
Classic discussions of state versus nonstate societal outcomes usually involve static comparisons; they ignore the changes that occur systematically with the passage of time. Thus, for example, a Hobbesian or Lockean account stipulates that in a “state of nature,” which has no governing state, a great deal of disorder prevails, and adoption of a state brings about a more orderly condition: in terms of my notation, D-NS(0) > D-S(0). [Translation: Disorder in a Non-State condition (anarchy) is greater than Disorder in a State, -ed.] Analysts recognize that the people sacrifice some of their liberties when they adopt a state—Hobbes goes so far as to suppose that the people sacrifice all their liberties to an omnipotent sovereign in exchange for his protection of their lives. Even if the trade-off is less severe, however, L-NS(0) > L-S(0) [Liberty in Non-State is greater than Liberty in a State] upon the establishment of a state. A ruler always assures his victims that their loss of liberties is the price they must pay for the additional security (order) he purports to establish.

Well might we question whether the ruler has either the intention or the capability to reduce the degree of social disorder. Plenty of evidence exhibits state-ridden societies boiling with disorder. In the United States, for example, a country brimming with official “protectors” of every imaginable stripe, the populace suffered in 2004, according to figures the government itself endorses, approximately 16,000 murders, 95,000 forcible rapes, 401,000 robberies, 855,000 aggravated assaults, 2,143,000 burglaries, 6,948,000 larcenies and thefts, and 1,237,000 motor vehicle thefts (U.S. Census Bureau 2007, 191). The governments of the United States have taken the people’s liberties—if you don’t think so, you need to spend more time reading U.S. Statutes at Large and the Code of Federal Regulations, not to mention your state and local laws and ordinances—but where’s the protective quid pro quo? They broke the egg of our liberties, without a doubt, but where’s the bloody omelet of personal protection and social order?