Freecon

Where freedom and economics meet.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

HIGHER EDUCATION:

Mike Hendrix alerts us to one of the more reprehensible vermin on this earth, much less in this Country. And, wouldn't you know it? He's a professor of History at Saint Xavier University.

ONE MORE THING:

I think last night's overwhelming affirmation of an anti-Democratic agenda means that I should never again have to hear "Bush -- the President-select, not elect" or any other such tripe. In fact, the next time anyone mentions a comparable distortion of the facts I think it would be perfectly within the bounds of respectability to suggest a return to the system of duelling. This, of course would be a terrible mismatch since the incensed Rebublican would likely choose a gun while the misguided, non-Republican would probably choose ... I don't know ... a Hacky-Sack? In any case, such historical revisionism should finally go by the wayside now that the Jeffords-betrayal has been corrected and the Republican majority that America elected in the first place has been restored ... at least until Lincoln Chaffe bugs out.

TOP TEN EXCUSES WE'LL NEVER HEAR FROM DEMOCRATS AS TO WHY THE GOP WON:

(10) MacAuliffe, Daschle and Gephardt are such doofuses its a wonder anybody votes Democrat.

(9) The Country really has shifted too far to the Left ... it was just time for a much-needed adjustment back towards reality.

(8) Barbra (and Hollywood in general) has entirely too much influence on the direction of the party, considering the fact that not one of them knows a damn thing about anything other than being a fake.

(7) Fucking Florida voters! I mean come on. What do we have to do? Put freaking Geritol and Ginko Biloba in the damn water to get y'all to pay attention when you vote!?!

(6) Bill and Hillary ... 'nuf said!

(5) Maybe we took a wrong turn in embracing Al Sharpton as the newest and brightest "leader" of the African-American constituency ... or was it when we gave so much credence to Jesse "No More Hymie-Town" Jackson?

(4) The Republicans just have the better vision for the future of this Country and we really can't offer anything better than "socialized medicine" and "social security for everyone!" and "Republicans are mean."

(3) After the Soviet Union fell it was only a matter of time before socialism took a backseat in America. Oh well, 100 years wasn't such a bad run!

(2) The people have spoken! Money in their own pockets is better than money in the government's pocket.

(1) That George Bush is so smart ... [ed. note: this phrase in and of itself is so incredibly unlikely that any completion of the sentence automatically qualifies for first place]

Since great minds will differ, email me any improvements on my list and they will be posted.

DAILY QUOTE:

"The first duty of society is to give each of its members the possibility of fulfilling his destiny. When it becomes incapable of performing this duty it must be transformed."
- Alexis Carrel, Reflections on Life

Saturday, November 02, 2002

ARMS FOR THE CHILDREN:

Suman Palit explains why gun education is more effective in de-mystifying guns for children than eliminating any talk about them whatsoever. I must agree wholeheartedly. If you believe what the Democrats say, ever single person (male?) is just one gun away from a murdererous rampage.

Friday, November 01, 2002

LEFT WING:

My commentary on the populist NBC hit "The West Wing" is belated because of work, but I had to get it out there all the same. I don't usually watch this program, primarily because I have a hard time distinguishing between it and the DNC platform. This past Wednesday, however, I decided to take a break and watch t.v. for awhile, and saw that The West Wing was getting ready to start. I thought maybe been too judgmental about the make-believe presidency and decided that I'd give the show another shot. I was wrong, of course. The West Wing is the kind of propaganda of which Stalin or Goebbels would have been proud.

Since I hadn't been following the show, I was forced to pay attention to the "scenes from last week" part. I realised pretty quickly that, like Law & Order, the story line pretty much follows the news. President Bartlett (Martin Sheen) is up for re-election and he has a debate to get prepared for. Now I was expecting there to be other good story lines that didn't have anything to do with politics, but that was a pipe dream. There is a perpetual litany of DNC dogma oozing out of every orifice during the show. Everything from why we need socialized medicine, to why we need government-controlled industry, to how socialism in general is the only true answer to all those nagging problems caused by selfish Republicans who are really only interested in getting rich off the backs of poor people and minorities. The best had to be when, during the debate, the Republican candidate, a rigid and burly fellow, delivers his canned responses only to have Bartlett fire back a witty response that sends his staff into fits of euphoria. We are expected to willfully suspend disbelief as Preident Bartlett scolds the evil Republican for thinking that Americans know what's better for themselves than the government does. This is of course such an incredibly one-sided debate that his staff decides that they won't even do any spinning afterwards, they'll just let Bartlett's incredibly cogent arguments and policy platforms stand for themselves. Yeah, right.

I really can't understand how anyone who isn't a leftist could enjoy such tripe. My wife, who is vehemently Republican and conservative, loves the show. I always ask her, "Do you recognize anyone in that show, or any other show on network t.v., that you feel like you identify with? Can you think of any character on any show that exhibits the same values and moral outlook that you have?" Her answer, predictably, is always "No, but that's just fiction. It's not real. It doesn't actually matter. Maybe you shouldn't watch that show anymore, it gets you too angry." This usually degenerates into "Your not the boss of me ... " and then I go to the other room to find a hockey game or something else that doesn't involve me being preached to.

But the fundamental question still exists: are there ANY characters on ANY t.v. show that accurately represent someone who isn't a leftist? I can't think of any. I can think of plenty of examples of the perfect Democrat or Green candidate. There are lots and lots of examples of characters who say all the right P.C. things and have all the requisite attitudes towards those who are "different" (i.e. morally equivalent -- or superior -- to any other point of view).

DAILY QUOTE:

"I have a fantasy where Ted Turner is elected President but refuses because he doesn't want to give up power."
- Arthur C. Clarke

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

THE 2ND AMENDMENT:

I haven't written too much on this subject, primarily because I find it best represented elsewhere. However, I am strongly in favor of enforcing the Second Amendment as written and not as some misguided, philanthropes would have you believe it should be "interpreted." It should be noted that I do not now, nor have I ever, owned a gun of any sort. I have certainly fired many, and I am fond of shooting skeet on occassion. But by and large I am not around guns nor do I have any grand desire to be. Even though I live in Virginia, few of my friends own guns and only one is a member of the NRA. Nevertheless, I believe strongly -- scratch that; I KNOW that I have and every other law-abiding citizen has the right to own guns and that this right is fundamental to the protection of liberty. As T.J. said:

"No man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the
people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to
protect themselves against the tyranny in government."

--Thomas Jefferson


or how about ...

And what country can
preserve its liberties, if it's rulers are not warned from time to time,
that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The
remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What
signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be
refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is
its natural manure."

-- Thomas Jefferson, Nov. 13, 1787, letter to William S. Smith, see
Jefferson On Democracy, 20 (S. Padover ed. 1939).


and if that's not enough try ...

"No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms (within his own lands or tenements)."
-- Thomas Jefferson: Draft Virginia Constitution (with his note added), 1776. Papers 1:353 ."


and ...

"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are neither
inclined nor determined to commit crimes... Such laws make things worse for
the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage
than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater
confidence than an armed man."

--Thomas Jefferson, quoting Cesare Beccaria


While the veracity of some of these quotes may be questionable (see this critique) in my mind it's pretty clear what the intent of the Second Amendment was and what it still is. Some people say that in modern times we have no serious fear of a despotic government suddenly rearing its ugly head such that we would seriously need arms to protect ourselves from it. To them I quote David Hume: "It is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once." Keep in mind that these are the same people that are constantly trying to give more power to the government.

So why I am speaking up about the Second Amendment now? Well I've recently come across some excellent sites that I've added to my blog bar roll, such as Rachel Lucas, The Ville, and FlashBunny, all of which center on the right to bear arms. I also flt like expessing my personal view on the subject. In addition, one of the new additions (FlashBunny) led me to this very well written parable. Enjoy!


DAILY QUOTE:

An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.
- Robert A. Heinlein

Monday, October 28, 2002

FLASHBACK:

Recently Radley Balko put together an excellent list of songs with libertarian themes, all of which were great selections. As is usual in such cases, suggestions came out of the woodwork in droves, and frankly most of them were excellent. Also as usual in these situations, I didn't come up with my own suggestion until the game was over, the place was cleaned up and I was picking day-old popcorn and peanuts out of my hair. Nevertheless, this morning I woke up with a song in my head that I couldn't quite think of all the words to, but I distinctly remembered "He can't even run his own life, I'll be damned if he'll run mine." I wasn't sure if this was about freedom or not, but the part I could remember seemed pretty good. So I went here (cool place) and came up with ... "Sunshine" by Jonathan Edwards. As it turned out, this is all about freedom, although I think in the context of the Vietnam War. Regardless, the lyrics speak for themselves:

Sunshine go away today
I don't feel much like dancin'
Some man's come he's tryin' to run my life
I don't believe what he's askin'
Well he tells me I'd better get in line
I can't hear what he's sayin'
When I grow up I'm gonna make it mine
These ain't the dues I've been payin'


Well how much does it cost
I'll buy it
The time is all we've lost
I'll try it
He can't even run his own life
I'll be damned if he'll run mine...(sunshine)


Sunshine go away today
I don't feel much like dancin'
Some man's come he's trying to run my life
I don't believe what he's askin'


O.K., up until this point I wasn't sure if this song conveyed the sort of libertarian ideas that I ascribe to. The part about someone (government) trying to run my life without being able to handle their own affairs rang pretty true. As did the very capitalist "how much does it (freedom?) cost, I'll buy it." But it was the next set of lyrics that sold me:

Working starts to make me wonder where
The fruits of what I do are goin'
He says in love and war all is fair
But he's got cards he ain't showin'


Well how much does it cost
I'll buy it
The time is all we've lost
I'll try it
He can't even run his own life
I'll damned if he'll run mine...(sunshine)


Sunshine come on back another day
Pretty soon I'll be singin'
This ole world she's gonna turn around
Brand new bells will be ringin'


The last part I think seals the deal by talking about new bells ringing -- of freedom possibly? like the Liberty Bell, perhaps? Well, I'll let you be the judge.


DAILY QUOTE:

Character is higher than intellect. A great soul will be strong to live as well as think.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, October 25, 2002

HAWK IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING?:

Reid & Taylor is a Scottish weaving company that is rumored to make the finest cloth in the world. According to David Farrer, G.W. Bush has ordered some very rare material from them to make some suits for next summer. The punch line is in the origin of the wool:

Escorial 12 Micron, at £800 per metre, is so rare that only one or two flocks in every Escorial breed have the ability to produce it. The miniature sheep can be traced back to the 16th century when Moorish invaders introduced them to Spain from north Africa to make ultra-soft garments for King Phillip II.

I'm not too sure what to make of the fact that the President may soon be wearing suits made from the wool of miniature Islamic sheep...


STUPID WHITE MAN:

If my name was Michael Moore, I think I would steer well clear of Rachel Lucas. In fact, if my name was Michael Moore I would run away with my best buddy Michael Bellesiles to France where I could be amongst my intellectual and political equals. No wait, maybe I would just kill myself ... but I'm against guns ... maybe I'd gorge myself on burgers and fries and buckets of lard ... no, tried that and it just mad me a big, fat socialist. I don't know what I'd do. Thank God I'm not Michael Moore!

BYE-BYE BELLESILES:

According to a statement released by Robert A. Paul, Interim Dean of Emory College, controversial "historian" Michael Bellesiles has resigned. Yeah, I know what you're thinking -- "What? So soon!?! [link via InstaPundit]

PREDICTIONS:

Casey Lartigue has some interesting (and probably pretty accurate) predictions about reactions by the black community to the Cowardly Killers.

SEN. PAUL WELLSTONE R.I.P.:

I disgreed with everything this man said, thought and advocated for, and it is highly unlikely that that would ever change. Nevertheless, the man served his state and his country and for that he earned my respect. May he and his family rest in peace.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY:

Most of us think of "property" as something tangible such as land or our car. When it comes to music and video, however, it is often only the artist or producer who sees such as "property". The concept of "exclusion" is obscured when one's use of something does not preclude another's. Yet these products of our intellectual labors can be protected by the rule of law, and in fact are so protected. Sonia Arrison outlines the opposing sides of just how much protection should be afforded intellectual property on Tech Central Station.

RETURN OF THE SCOURGE:

If you've ever wondered if WaPo columnist Richard Cohen is just some fictional character contrived for the purpose of ridicule -- kind of like a pundit effigy -- well the most likely candidate for that contrivance is back at SQNP. Come on Charles, take off that Richard Cohen mask. We all know it's you. In any event, four brand-spanking new Scourges have been served up for our reading pleasure. Enjoy, and welcome back Charles!

SHEEP IN WOLVES CLOTHING:

I remember being grounded (a lot) as a kid, usually by being banished to the confines of my room for some arbitrary period of time. This was of course during the pre-computer era and the most entertaining things in my room were books and Lincoln Logs. Eventually I would try to convince my parents that if my friends came over to hang out in my room it was still me being grounded only with company. The predictable response was, of course, that this was nonsense since having my friends over to play pretty much entirely defeated the point of depriving me of having fun by isolating me from the rest of the world. Well, apparently this story doesn't translate into Danish.

DAILY QUOTE:

In a state-run society the government promises you security. But it's a false promise predicated on the idea that the opposite of security is risk. Nothing could be further from the truth. The opposite of security is insecurity, and the only way to overcome insecurity is to take risks. The gentle government that promises to hold your hand as you cross the street refuses to let go on the other side.
- Theodore Forstmann

Thursday, October 24, 2002

ALWAYS LEAVE 'EM LAUGHIN':

Some great Bengals jokes courtesy of C.Dodd Harris IV (who got them from hi pal "Phil"):

Q. What's the difference between the Cincinnati Bengals & the Taliban?
A. The Taliban had a running game.


Q. What do the Cincinnati Bengals & Billy Graham have in common?

A. They both can make 60,000 people stand up & yell "Jesus Christ!"

Q. How do you keep a Cincinnati Bengal out of your yard?
A. Put up goal posts.


Q. Where do you go in case of a tornado?
A. The Paul Brown Stadium -- there's never a touchdown there!


Q. What do you call a Cincinnati Bengal with a SuperBowl Championship ring?
A. A thief.


Q. Why doesn't Dayton, Ohio have a professional football team?
A. Because then Cincinnati would want one.


Q. Why was Dick LeBeau upset when the Cincinnati Bengals' playbook was stolen?
A. Because he hadn't finished coloring it.


Q. What's the difference between the Cincinnati Bengals and a dollar bill?
A. You can still get four quarters out of a dollar.


Q. How many Cincinnati Bengals does it take to win a Superbowl?
A. Mike Brown has no idea -- and we may never know either!


Q. What do the Cincinnati Bengals and opossums have in common?
A. Both play dead at home and get killed on the road.


Q. How can you tell when the Cincinnati Bengals are going to run the football?
A. The back leaves the huddle with tears in his eyes.


Q. What do you call 47 people sitting around a TV watching the NFL playoffs?
A. The Cincinnati Bengals.



HIPHOP CAUCUS?:

Cal Ulmann links to an interesting article about the disconnect between the HipHop and Civil Rights generations in the black community, citing in particular LL Cool J's endorsement of Pataki over the black candidate McCall. I guess I had thought of it more as a Baby Boomer vs. Gen-X thing. IMHO, our generation is much more independently minded than the Boomers, and much more likely to buck the herd.

AMMUNITION:

The other night I got together with a couple of my good buddies and we got our drink on pretty hard. As is customary at these sorts of things, heated "discussion" broke out and, to make a long story short, I think some of my friends got a little bottled-up annoyance with yours truly of their chest. You see, I have this terribly annoying habit of spouting off about socialists, taxes, collectivists, et al. whenever the opportunity presents itself. In fact, one of the reasons I started this blog was to vent those sorts of things into the blogosphere where only those with any interest would be bothered by them. This strategy has realised only modest success. So last night I found myself challenged to explain calmly and completely why I think and say certain things. One topic of interest was on the origins and breadth of Arafat's power as leader of the Palestinians. Without getting into the gory details, suffice it to say that I pulled some things out of my ass as "facts" and my friend did the same. In order to at least glimpse the bottom of the conundrum I googled up this article by David Brooks on Atlantic Monthly. It is quite informative and well balanced. Hopefully I can remember some of it the next time the topic comes up and my brain is swimming in Jack n'Cokes.

**UPDATE: HonestReporting.com has some good info on Arafat as well.

DAILY QUOTE

"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws."
- Plato



BACK IN THE SADDLE:

I haven't posted in awhile because I was sick and had a lot of work to do. Then my computer decided to take a hiatus and it took me some time to coax it back into working order. For the one or two of you who actually care, sorry. For the rest of you (stop laughing!) we return you to our regularly scheduled programming.