Friday, April 30, 2010

"The State is just

this bitch that we've been married to for the last 10,000 years."

--Stefan Molyneux, podcast FDR 1645.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ask them 'why?'

Jay Earley, in his book Self-TherapySelf-Therapy: A Step-By-Step Guide to Creating Inner Wholeness Using IFS, A New, Cutting-Edge Therapy, asks me to name a couple of my protectors and answer some questions about them.

I think it will be easy to do. There are quite a bunch of them in the room, waving their hands and excitedly shouting, "pick me!" I'm going to pick two of the tough guys in the back, who aren't waving their hands: The Distractor and The Mumbler.

I'd like to make this funny, but I won't. The questions:

What is it's role in helping you manage your life and interact with the world?

How does it relate to other people?

How does it protect you from pain?

What is its positive intent for you?

What is it trying to protect you from?

Mr. Distractor ("Don't call me an "it.")
Mr. Mumbler ("Don't call me an "it.")

I'll get back to this later.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Author Alice Miller dies

I'm very sad, but she lived a long and fruitful life. I'm going to have to do a bit of fisking on this obit, though.
Apr 23, 2010 1:10 PM | By Sapa-dpa

Alice Miller, the author and psychologist who claimed that Adolf Hitler was bad because he was spanked as a boy, has died at the age of 87, says her Berlin publisher.
All right, that's just a sensationalistic "grabber." We'll let it slide here.
Miller, who was born in Poland, later lived in Switzerland and spent her last years in Provence in France, died on April 12 and was buried in strict privacy. This was not made public at the time, said Suhrkamp Verlag, the publishing company.

As a psychoanalyst she was convinced that corporal punishment and sexual abuse during childhood had lifelong effects on her patients.

Her views were controversial, with some arguing that the notion triggered a wave of false allegations against parents and teachers, after suggestible patients became convinced they were abuse victims.
Which is also controversial; the truth or falsity of the allegations, I mean.
In her 1980 book For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence, she proposed that Hitler's father traumatised the young Adolf with beatings and verbal abuse and taught him to despise himself and Jews.
She did not merely propose that claim, she cited proof that he was a brutally abused child. Her point was to prove her thesis.
Historians replied that the Nazi dictator's personality was not so easily explained, but the thesis was still widely publicised.
She didn't claim it was the whole explanation. And, by the way, "historians"? How many and how knowledgable are they about recent developments in psychology? Can't reporters ask these questions?
Her books about childhood trauma and giftedness appeared in 30 languages. Miller was born in 1923 in Lviv, which was then in Poland and is now a city in Ukraine.
Now here is a fitting obituary:
...[E]xposing the full extent of the psychological damage flowing from the justification of violence against children was Alice Miller's life's work and her great contribution to the world. She showed how people will go to incredible lengths, for their entire lives, for generations, just to avoid the natural feelings of humiliation, shame and anger that flow from being abused, and then having that abuse justified. People will do just about anything -- excuse, avoid, forget, invent whole ideologies -- if it will allow them to continue to repress those negative feelings, and continue to maintain the fiction of the justification.

What I learned from being the youngest of five children

Probably the biggest lesson I learned is that people who want to boss you around need to have their heads out of their rears. I never minded getting an order from somebody who knew what they were talking about, at least in the situation - their tone was important and could effect whether I resisted or talked back or not, but if they were right about something needing to be done I did it.

Yes, I assumed the authority to judge whether the thing needed to be done or not. The criteria were:
Could they hurt me?
Could they get away with hurting me?
Would they get in trouble for hurting me?
Would the consequences of their being in trouble roll down to me?
Was the matter at hand objectively important?
How important?
For what?

Each of those deserves greater elaboration, but I have to do other things right now.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Watch out for this mistake

From a review of All About “Heaven”: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife, by Lisa Miller, Newsweek's religion correspondent
...[T]here is an unthinking "respect" automatically accorded to religious ideas that throttles our ability to think clearly about these questions. Miller's book – after being a useful exposition of these ideas – swiftly turns itself into a depressing illustration of this. She describes herself as a "professional sceptic", but she is, in fact, professionally credulous. Instead of trying to tease out what these fantasies of an afterlife reveal about her interviewees, she quizzes everyone about their heaven as if she is planning to write a Lonely Planet guide to the area, demanding more and more intricate details. She only just stops short of demanding to know what the carpeting will be like. But she never asks the most basic questions: where's your evidence? Where are you getting these ideas from? These questions are considered obvious when we are asking about any set of ideas, except when it comes to religion, when they are considered to be a slap in the face.

Of course there's plenty of proof that the idea of heaven can be comforting, or beautiful – but that doesn't make it true. The difference between wishful thinking and fact-seeking is something most six-year-olds can grasp, yet Miller – and, it seems, the heaven-believing majority – refuse it here. Yes, I would like to see my dead friends and relatives again. I also would like there to be world peace, a million dollars in my current account, and for Matt Damon to ask me to marry him. If I took my longing as proof they were going to happen, you'd think I was deranged.

"Rationalist questions are not helpful," announces one of her interviewees – a professor at Harvard, no less. This seems to be Miller's view too. She stresses that to believe in heaven you have to make "a leap of faith" – but in what other field in life do we abandon all need for evidence? Why do it in one so crucial to your whole sense of existence? And if you are going to "leap" beyond proof, why leap to the Christian heaven? Why not convince yourself you are going to live after death in Narnia, or Middle Earth, for which there is as much evidence? She doesn't explain: her arguments dissolve into a feel-good New Age drizzle.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hey, kids!

If you enjoyed this discussion, don't miss this one!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Here's something to think about

If you like that song, the guy wants you to do something.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Signs and Wonders

Earthquakes, volcanoes, meteorites, wars and rumors of wars, floods... Got any famines or pestilence?

Whoops! Got some of the latter at my house. Gotta take care of something right now.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Here's a fun interview of Doug Casey

by the Whiskey and Gunpowder boys: Anarchy Is the Solution to the Evil Idiocy of the State. And here's an interview of him and Tom Woods:

Update: here's a bit from Anarchy, Part II:
Doug: I find the concept of a necessary evil rather repugnant. It’s largely sophistry, usually trotted out to justify some type of criminality. Can anything that’s evil really be necessary? And can anything that’s necessary really be evil?

Entirely apart from that, people say the state is necessary because that’s all they’ve ever known. But it’s not, in fact, part of the cosmic firmament. There have been times and places in history when central authority was so distant, or negligent, that the people did function — and prosper — in what was essentially a functioning anarchy.

Kevin Carson has some disturbing news and analysis

From Corporate Welfare Queen Kills 25

Mountaintop removal is just what the name implies. It involves clearing areas of thousands of acres, in the process filling nearby valleys and stream beds with debris and destroying entire watersheds. It also involves showering surrounding areas with coal dust from silos — you know, the dust Blankenship’s taxes pay the schoolkids to breathe. And then there’s the multi-billion gallon sludge ponds full of coal mine waste. The dam enclosing one such Massey pond gave way several years ago, with its contents wound up in the Big Sandy River. A number of towns lie in the flood path of other such ponds, should they give way.

Now, you’d think tort liability for the full damages of wholesale devastation of the entire countryside, the poisoned water and coal dust, the deaths from gross negligence, and all the rest of it, would seriously undermine the profitability of mountaintop removal. And you’d be right.

That’s exactly what the regulatory state was created to avoid. Let’s look at a little history. I can’t recommend strongly enough “The Transformation of American Law,” by Morton Horwitz. According to Horwitz, the common law of tort liability was radically altered by state courts in the early to mid-19th century to make it more business-friendly. Under the traditional standard of liability, an actor was responsible for harm that resulted from his actions — period. Negligence was beside the point. Courts added stricter standards of negligence and intent, in order to protect business from costly lawsuits for externalities they might impose on their neighbors. The regulatory state subsequently imposed far weaker standards than the traditional common law; the main practical effect was to preempt what remained of tort liability. A regulatory standard amounts to a license to commit torts below the threshold of that standard, and lawsuits against polluters and other malfeasors can be met with the defense that “we are fully in compliance with regulatory standards.” In some cases, as with food libel laws or product disparagement laws, even voluntarily meeting a more stringent standard may be construed as disparagement of products that merely meet the regulatory standard. For example, Monsanto has had mixed success in some jurisdictions suppressing the commercial free speech of those who advertise their milk as free from rBGH; and conventional beef producers have similarly managed in some cases to prevent competitors from testing for mad cow disease more frequently than the law mandates.

So a class action suit against a coal mining company for the public nuisance created by mountaintop removal could be thwarted by simply demonstrating that the operation met EPA regulatory standards, even if such operations caused serious harm to the property rights and quality of life of the surrounding community.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Well, I was thinking about purging the most egregious statists from the blogroll

But it seems there aren't many left. A couple, but they're pretty good for what I say they're good for, so I'm not inclined to dump them. One thing I want to do, though, is add a blog to the roll: Faith Reconsidered, by a guy who calls himself Eulercircles.

I'm afraid I have to admit, I don't get the reference, even though I minored in Math. A minor, apparently, doesn't take you far enough into the subject to find out what Euler was up to. I just worked my way to the end of the "cookbook" and gave it up as a bad job. Couldn't get those dif e.q.s to come out fluffy like they're supposed to.

Oh, and Kyle Bennett has a great post that'll stand the test of time (it already has, to a certain degree): An Agorist Manifesto in 95 Theses.

Anyway, on to the reconstruction project.

OK, done. I ended up just deleting some dead blogs. I felt bad about scratching some old team members, but there was nothing there to look at. I kept a couple because they still link me and I'm a link whore.

Since I'm actually fairly proud of the new me, I should get out there and make my presence felt. Anybody got any good ideas about where to go?

Sunday, April 04, 2010

They made better looking cars back in the '30s

See these beauties.

I was going to say, 'No matter how you slice it, that '33 Plymouth Coupe is a beautiful car' 'til I looked at some of these a little closer. It is, indeed, possible to slice 'em so I don't like 'em.  Whoops!  I meant these, not those.  Same difference, as my mother would say, but wrong for the context.

By the way, I got that picture here.

'20s cars are too utilitarian and '40s cars are too rounded for my taste. I like that long, sleek, sexy/curvy look they had in the '30s. They made a lot of good-lookin' cars in the mid-50s to late '60s too, and a few since, but my favorites are from the '30s.

I told you about the old antique car museum in Muskogee that my Dad took me to.  I'm not sure I conveyed the depth of my mourning when my Mom took me to one of her antique booths a decade ago and it was in that building and the cars were all gone.  I'd visited the place, I think, four times.  I could have recited many of the plaques to you at one point.  When I was in there with Mom, I walked around and looked at the place where the copper Rolls Royce had been and Hitler's Mercedes, and...I don't remember what all else, it's been too long, and I haven't spent that much of my time dwelling on it, really... 

But the place was a touchstone to me.  "Antique Car Museum" indeed!  It was like a shrine to me!  The only reason that made any sense as a name, was that the collection was so eclectic that only a broad term could cover them all.  Unless you wanted to call it "Shrine to Automotive Artistry." 

I always looked for the billboard for it and I always looked to make sure it was still open whenever we passed by.  I did bring the wife and the boys there, back in the early '90s.  I'm glad of that.

Anyway, when I was in there with Mom, some old geezer was sweeping the floor and complaining that there were no visitors.  Mom commisserated with him a bit and he moved on.  Then she told me that he was the owner,  and he'd sold all the cars due to some legal difficulty...  Dude, I really wanted to cry then.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Bring love

I plan to make a plaque of that phrase and hang it above the front door. I think there are very good reasons to put on either side, out or in. Maybe I need to make two.

The first should go on the outside, I think. We need to bring more in. When we've got enough to share, I'll put one on the inside.

Now this is naiveté

"The aim of every political constitution is, or ought to be, first to obtain for rulers men who possess most wisdom to discern, and most virtue to pursue, the common good of the society; and in the next place, to take the most effectual precautions for keeping them virtuous whilst they continue to hold their public trust." --James Madison, Federalist No. 57
I got it from these guys; the Founders Quote daily email.