Monday, December 14, 2009

Monad of the imago

This will form the monad of the imago of society. So says Daniel Bell, who is a hack.

Friday, January 05, 2007

How about voting for some real people next time?

The op-ed page of the newspaper seems to alternate between filled with people trying to sound nuanced by creating an "opinion" out of a hodgepodge of rhetoric from the "right" and the "left" and people that might as well be fellating an elephant or a donkey. But today, the Dallas Morning News published a piece by David Brooks of the New York Times pointing out that neither the Democrats or the Republicans have what I would call "real people" as their leaders:
I have a dream that Ms. Pelosi, who was chauffeured to school as a child and who, with her investor husband, owns minority shares in the Auberge du Soleil resort hotel and the CordeValle Golf Club, will look over her famous strand of South Sea Tahitian pearls and forge bonds of understanding with the zillionaire corporate barons in the opposing party.
Zing. Let the quotes continue, because they're awesome:
[Nancy Pelosi] is part of the clash of the rival elites, with the dollars from Brookline battling dollars from Dallas, causing upper-class strife that even diminutive dogs, vibrant velvets and petite salades can't fully soothe.
And you expect people who own such things to use the guns of government for the "greater good" why?
The main fact to know about Ms. Pelosi is that she is a creature of the modern fundraising system. Some politicians rise because they run political machines.

Some rise because they are great communicators. Ms. Pelosi has risen because she is a master of the thousand-dollar-a-plate fundraising circuit.
Note what wasn't included in that list: being smart, understanding the economy, or any other skill that actually makes one qualified to run the country. Maybe it's time to elect some real people.

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Drowning in a sea of dogma

Being a libertarian environmentalist can be frustrating. Take the most obvious issue, global warming. Many of my favorite Libertarian personalities (like Ian Bernard of Free Talk Live) insist that global warming is either a myth, not anthropogenic, or not a problem. Many environmentalists scream about the need for more government intervention. In reality, they're both being dogmatic. I believe that the market is the best solution to environmental problems, not government or ignorance.

It's the statist environmentalists that are pissing me off now. A Sioux Falls, SD company has genetically engineered cattle that almost certainly cannot be infected with BSE, otherwise known as mad cow disease. Average beef-eaters would say "Awesome, now I can eat beef without worrying about slowly dying from variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease."

But it's easy to imagine what would happen if this company tried to bring the cows to market. People wearing funny costumes would protest, the FDA would be required to go through a multi-year process to ensure the safety of something that almost certainly carries zero risk. I have a better solution than regulation: let those of us who feel the risk of vCJD is worse than the risk of something going wrong with the cows eat them, and let those other people eat "natural" cows.

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Friday, December 22, 2006

This is a surprise?

364 news agencies (as of 10:34 AM CST) apparently think it's "news" and therefore "surprising" that teens are increasingly turning to their parents' medicine cabinets to get high. I've known this for four years - and I haven't used any of them, either.

If the nation's drug warriors and educators were unaware of this phenomenon for so long, which apparently they were, what on earth makes them think they can prevent teens from using drugs? We've seen that making the drugs which psychonauts found before doctors did illegal only causes violence and forces those who search out psychoactive drugs to abuse legal ones.

One solution is to stop letting parents think the government will make their kids into good people and actually do their job. Another is the government's solution:
...apply the prevention tools that have apparently succeeded in combating illegal drug use to fight the abuse of legal medicines.
No, you idiots, "prevention tools" didn't stop teens from using illegal drugs, the realization that you could get high by chugging a bottle of cough syrup did. Nothing the government can do will do anything to stop teen drug abuse. Only good parenting can do that. Unfortunately, America's parents are afraid to tell their kids to do their homework, much less have a serious talk with them about drugs.

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Why I like George Phillies

I've been trying to stay fairly neutral in the race for the 2008 Libertarian presidential nomination, simply because it's a long, long time until the 2008 convention, but I kinda suck at neutrality, and I've found myself pretty consistently favoring George Phillies. Here's why:
  • He's respectable and electable. (I really wish those didn't rhyme, but they do.) His credentials would impress anyone - he's an MIT-educated physics professor at a high second-tier school (Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts) and is a constant and respected member of WPI's elected faculty committees.
  • He's focusing on issues that average Americans - not just Libertarian Party members - care about: the war in Iraq, property rights, energy issues, etc. He has sensible Libertarian solutions to these answers without delving into weird Libertopia-style stuff.
  • Most importantly - he's running for the Libertarian Party, not for George Phillies. He will help Libertarians get elected to many tiers of government while running a competent campaign for President. He's already shown he's serious about this - his campaign produced free radio commercials for Libertarian campaigns for the November 2006 elections.
I think Steve Kubby (the other major candidate for the LP nomination) is a good person and a good Libertarian, and would certainly be the best president since at least Calvin Coolidge if elected. But Kubby is known only for his sometimes flippant marijuana legalization activities - which, although I totally support them, will lead to his being marginalized as "the stoner candidate" no matter how much he cares and talks about other issues, as shown in this video (Kubby appears at 3:18). That's a hard image to shake, and Libertarian candidates have enough of a glass ceiling to break through already.

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Dealing with something does not imply consent.

People often attempt to cut short my explanations that government is equivalent to coercion by saying "you're still here, so you've consented to the US government."

...Right. And slaves consented to slavery because they stuck around, not wanting to risk the other forms of repression they'd encounter elsewhere, even if they technically weren't slaves? Blacks in the American South before the Civil Rights Act consented to segregation and a government machine designed to repress them? The German Jews on the MS St. Louis consented to the Holocaust because nobody would allow them into their countries?

Even if some psychobeasts would answer "yes" to all of those, their argument still makes fails: rights cannot be taken away from somebody, even if they consent to their removal. North Koreans still have the right to free speech, even if their government punishes them for exercising it. We still have the right to our property, even if the government takes it by force. Simply because you aren't constantly fighting to maintain your rights doesn't mean you've given them up.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Big government: Like big corporations, but actually bad.

"Progressives" like to rail against big corporations, especially big oil companies as "exploitative". But when I think "exploitative", I don't think ExxonMobil. (Well, not in America, at least. Chad is another story.) I think OPEC - a multinational organization composed of governments - big ones. The governments of the OPEC nations don't just regulate their countries' oil industries, they are their countries' oil industries. Today, OPEC announced that it will make a cut in production. They did this not because they believe that's what's in the best interest of the "global community" (whatever that means), but rather because they "want to balance supply and demand". In other words, they want to maximize profit.

There's nothing expressly wrong with that, if you think of the OPEC governments as corporations. But if you think of them as governments just trying to do what's best for the little guy - which Hugo Chavez, a member, would certainly like you to - then it's reprehensible. And even the overtly for-profit nations spend oil money on weird stuff: financing Sudan's murderous Janjaweed militia (experts in ethnic cleansing and mass rape), funding other Muslim militias in the Sahel, and, in the case of Saudi Arabia, paying a huge annual stipend to tens of thousands of men who do no work but apparently are Saudi princes by birthright.

Either way, government control of the energy industry certainly doesn't help "the people". It helps some people, sure, but those people seem to have a talent for being scumbags.

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