We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Friday, April 29. 2016
What if most people are happy to be sheep with a government-shepherd?
Friday, April 15. 2016
Monday, April 11. 2016
This past weekend, Springsteen canceled a concert in North Carolina, on 2 days notice, to protest the passage of law requiring people to use bathrooms based on the gender of birth. PayPal, similarly, canceled plans to expand operations in Charlotte.
I understand how tightly politics has become intertwined with business. Making a statement seems to be the most important thing anyone can do, these days. So I'll make a small one of my own. I don't agree with the North Carolina law, but I don't live there. I think it is over-the-top and excessive control of society by imposing a law where common sense should suffice to reign. The passage of law doesn't make an idea 'correct' or morally justified. Even so, I'm still planning to visit my family in North Carolina, spend money there, and enjoy the state's many natural wonders. I'm not going to boycott a state because I disagree with a law. If I did that, I'd have problems living in the state I currently reside.
Paypal and Bruce both have the right to make whatever statements they choose, just as I do. I'm not sure how what they are doing impacts the law, however. In fact, they both hurt many people in an attempt to 'show solidarity' with...some group or another (I can never tell which special interest groups are getting the attention these days).
Continue reading "The Springsteen Moment"
Sunday, April 10. 2016
No. It is a very rare Leftists who will tell you what the proper end point is for the expansion of government power and money. The answer is always "more."
Thursday, April 7. 2016
Bernie Sanders should take note:
Sunday, March 27. 2016
The Daoud Affair - How Western intellectuals turn themselves into the enemies of an entire class of liberal writers from Muslim backgrounds
Wednesday, March 23. 2016
I think citizens did, but government did not.
Wednesday, March 16. 2016
We already know Hillary plans to continue Obama's war on coal. Coal isn't, or rather shouldn't be, a dying business. But it is, and it's dying because of politics. At a time when politicians keep saying they want to create jobs and improve the general welfare, why would they be attacking a healthy industry? Yes, natural gas has become cheaper and more plentiful - but only because of fracking, and the people seeking to shutter coal are also trying to end fracking. So this is not strictly an economic consideration, there are political currents swirling everywhere.
As I drive my son to college in Ohio, I drive through coal country. Billboards about this war have been up for the last 3 years. The job losses are mounting. Some regions of PA and WV are starting to hurt severely because of this war. It's a political war, and it's driven by a lobby group with significant access to the current administration. Coal has long been one industry the US could rely on to produce energy when other methods faced economic uncertainty due to politics or economics. That is changing, and yet 4 years ago, we were told there was no threat. But even as other nations open coal fired plants, the US shutters its plants because of political, not just economic, realities.
Thursday, March 10. 2016
One of the grave errors of the modern mind – an error found in America in the presumptions, assertions, and actions of “Progressives” from Woodrow Wilson through Barack Obama – is the belief that society must, or should, be engineered. This principal belief naturally entails the subsidiary beliefs that the engineering must be done by the state, and that in doing its engineering the state must ignore, or even destroy, any forces of social organization that hamper state-officials’ social-engineering efforts.
A great deal of legislation and, especially, law in a free society is inevitably inconsistent with the blueprints of social engineers. And so, in their unreflective and unscientific presumption that society has no self-organizing forces, the social engineers are blind to the logic of the law and to the importance of legal processes. The social engineers therefore do not see – because their blindness prevents them from seeing – the benefits that emerge over time through the operations of decentralized, spontaneous-ordering forces. The social engineers’ designs and intrusions destroy, or at least severely weaken, these forces. But being blind to these forces, the social engineers are blind to what they destroy.
Tuesday, March 1. 2016
Tuesday, February 23. 2016
Liberty means freedom from the power of the State. America's founders grappled mightily with the paradox of assigning the State to preserve freedom form an overly-powerful State.
From Magnet's excellent Liberty—If You Can Keep It - Yes, it does demand eternal vigilance:
Tuesday, February 16. 2016
He is deeply involved in holistic and alternative medicines. That, in itself, is no big deal. I know plenty of people who use these approaches, as I have from time to time (despite being the son of a doctor). My father once told me, "If it works, it doesn't matter what it is. Even placebos have a place in medicine." Of course, he wasn't all that thrilled about me seeing a chiropractor, but I figure that was just professional jealousy kicking in.
What the CRO said to catch my attention was this - "there is no incentive for the medical community to cure cancer because they make far more money by just treating it." From someone as highly educated as he is, I was shocked.
It's not like I haven't heard this comment before. I just never heard it from a person capable of thinking deeply about an issue like this.
His premise is based on the existence of one thing called 'cancer' which must be somehow curable. I tried to explain to him there is no single thing called 'cancer'. There are forms of cancer, and they are all quite different. In addition, we all have some form of 'cancer' within us, it's really just a question of whether the deadly or invasive form has been activated. Furthermore, the term "cure" isn't perfectly applicable. There are many ways of dealing with disease, such as prevention (one example is vaccines - the HPV vaccine should reduce the rate of cervical cancer over time) and altered diets and behaviors (there is evidence that healthier eating habits, reduced sugars can help slow some cancers from spreading - and even ending smoking or drinking can help). But even treatment is a form of 'cure' (many lymphomas are now 'cured' if caught early and treated aggressively). Regardless of how you approach the issue, strides are being made to find a 'cure'.
The idea that you "make more from treatment so you're not looking for a cure" is like saying "the attempt to cure the disease generates so much revenue, they aren't really trying to cure it." In other words, the money generated from 'curing' it isn't really an attempt to 'cure' anything. Which is a nice bit of circular logic I guess only a lawyer can get away with.
The truth is, many cancers may be 'curable', but because all cancers are such complex diseases there is no magic bullet. This, of course, makes Obama's State of the Union call a bit outlandish, and it also tends to forget that we've been trying to find a cure since 1971, when Nixon was the first president to declare "war" on cancer. This doesn't mean we should stop trying simply because we haven't cured all forms yet. However, it does mean we should keep everything in context. We've 'cured' several forms, we've made tremendous progress, and there is no value in ignoring everything which has happened to improve the lives of those with various forms.
If treating diseases generates so much money that 'curing' them isn't a goal, then I'd like to know why we do have so many curable diseases today? Treating diseases like smallpox, polio, and a host of other diseases generates plenty of money - why did we 'cure' them by finding vaccines?
In a way, the logic employed by my CRO friend is an application of Bastiat's "Broken Window Fallacy" - the idea that breaking windows makes us wealthier by keeping the glazier at work, and money changing hands. It's a logic that ignores the massive costs of lost value and misallocation of spending. Cancer's costs on productivity far outweigh the revenue any treatment can generate. 'Curing' all its forms is a goal simply because the overall gains in productivity will be greater than the revenues generated by simply managing it.
Tuesday, February 9. 2016
Williamson says Hillary and the Dems don't get the fundamentals of America:
Americans have a different view of government from Europe, thank God.
Friday, February 5. 2016
Lessons of Demopolis - Wisdom from classical Greece: democracy and liberalism are both better off if we understand the difference between them
Sunday, January 17. 2016
Of course, there are no truly free-market nations, so it is all relative.
For an excellent summary of the inspirations of the socialist, "idealistic," totalitarian-minded youth, The Leftist Intellectuals Hovering over the Campuses. Short version: They want my stuff, by force if necessary. Take my freedom, my autonomy, my stuff - and then what? Shoot me as a bourgeois, hang me as a kulak - and then what happens?
The topic is well covered by Daniel Hannan:
Thursday, January 14. 2016
For years, I've been taught that 'win-win' solutions are the best. They certainly are, and I try to find them whenever possible. But in this vein, how is compromise necessarily 'win-win'? It can be, certainly, but it is not always and definitely. In my day-to-day life, 'win-win' is what I live for. It's what keeps business running. But it is no longer useful in politics.
My friends who are Democrats bemoan the Republican stance saying "How can they block Obama at every turn? Why can't they compromise?" I don't doubt their sincerity of motive, their desire for what's best. I know they want to do well and good for themselves, others, and the nation. All they hear are flowery stories of 'curing cancer' or 'feeding the poor' and decide "Hey! That's a great idea, and politicians say we can do it by taxing the rich."
But I prefer shrinking the government. So do many people in this nation. When a Democrat says "I want to grow government infinity, and you don't, so let's compromise and only grow it 10%" I immediately start to get angry. Only growing it a little less than you want still constitutes growing it, and I am opposed to growing it. Where do we compromise?
We used to. We shouldn't anymore. It's time to say no. It's time to push back and take back. Which is why I don't particularly like the methods used in Oregon, but I support them. After all, Eric Holder took part in an armed takeover while at Columbia. How was his 'good' and theirs 'bad'?
The only compromise from here on in, as far as I'm concerned, is to agree to grow a Democratic program while cutting a larger one somewhere else - or not agree to growth at all. It's time for these people to choose what's important, and not throw shit on a wall to see what sticks. Nearly every article in the mainstream is heralding the idea that Joe Biden is going to cure cancer. This is, without question, one of the most laughably stupid concepts I've heard from anyone, anywhere, anytime. 'Cancer' isn't one single disease that a silver bullet cure can be created for, and chasing all the cures needed is absurdly expensive and outlandish regardless of what the mainstream journalists say.
Myron Magnet summarizes the history of the decay of the US Constitution. Even the founders thought that might be inevitable, given their wisdom about human nature, but they did their best to provide roadblocks. Securing the blessings of liberty (from government, of course) and securing defense from exterior powers...
There is always the excuse of a reason: Security, or To Do Good.
Monday, January 11. 2016
I imagine this is Bernie's thought process. But if he's in control, he's the entitled minority.
I don't consider my loathing of Dunlap to be particularly unusual or unjustified. I don't know the man, but his behaviors were pretty transparent. It was easy to not like him, as opposed to a Warren Buffett or Bill Gates, who have proven themselves astute and relatively even-handed businessmen (even if you don't necessarily admire their politics).
There are still other reasons why people loathe the successful, and the death of flamboyant glam-rocker David Bowie reminded me of some. Many popular music stars have no problem speaking out against successful business people or businesses - even those in their own industry. I don't know if Bowie ever had anything bad to say about the marketers who helped turned him into a cottage industry, but plenty of his contemporaries certainly had/have very negative things to say about the successful. I have sat through more than one concert (Roger Waters in particular) which did nothing but complain about corporations and greed.
As a younger person, I used to complain about paying $X to go see a band. "The greedy music companies want to soak us." I still paid and saw the band. I never considered that the $X I paid covered a large number of costs which provided jobs to people. Sure the music promoters got wealthy, but these promoters were usually making money on the margins, and managed several events which also lost money. Whatever I ultimately paid for the ticket probably covered the costs for the show, as well as some losses on other shows.
As I aged, I realized even though I paid $X, jobs were created to service my entertainment needs. I also realized my willingness to pay $X meant I believed $X was a fair exchange for my entertainment. I no longer believed some wealthy promoter was ripping me off - I was engaging in a fair trade which left both of us better off. I enjoyed my entertainment and the promoter got paid for his ability to put together a show which thousands may enjoy.
Continue reading "Loathing Success"
Thursday, January 7. 2016
Whoopi says she has no problem with someone who wants to search for her gun (she says she's a gun owner, which I don't doubt) and has no problem registering her weapon. Good for her. I do have a problem with it. Why do I have to do it because she doesn't have a problem? I need to register because she's OK with it? Well, I want her to register with my gym and start attending with me, because I did it and it's good for me and it would be good for her.
I didn't need the extra piece of roast beef last night, but I wanted that extra piece of roast beef.
I didn't need to drive 40 in a 25 MPH zone, but I did and nobody was harmed.
I didn't need to cross 34th Street against the light while there was traffic, but I made a choice and I was prepared to deal with the consequences.
Laws which are created by people based on the belief they are needed for others miss an essential point. The 25 MPH zone exists to protect children who live on the street. But at 1am, with well lit streets, I am fairly certain I'm not putting them at risk and I can see very well to react in a timely fashion. While I crossed against the light on 34th Street, and stepped into traffic, it was at a standstill due to a jam. What we 'need' is not always what works in a given situation, and it does not properly address the desire to pursue happiness (my roast beef, or my wish to get across 34th Street quickly).
Others telling us what we "need" or passing laws based on what they feel we "need" are really just telling us what they want or don't want us to have based on their own biases and desires. That's not what this nation was built on. It is what totalitarian regimes are built upon.
Tuesday, January 5. 2016
The "purple squirrel" comment made me laugh because it's perfectly descriptive. I've been involved in many job searches for "purple squirrels." Watching the evolution of the job listing, from purple to brown or gray, as different candidates are interviewed can be alternately frustrating and comical. It's mostly annoying and aggravating, though.
On the other hand, as I pointed out to my friend, you can always have a purple squirrel if you have enough dye and the willingness to hold down the squirrel while you change its colors. It's not a good way to run an organization, but I've seen that happen, too. Happens every day in politics, which is probably why the process of electing a leader is about as enjoyable as the job search for that "purple squirrel." Not only are we trying to find one, but after we elect one, the leader usually becomes the one trying to inflict the dye job on the population.
Tuesday, December 29. 2015
A major essay/book review by Rev. James Schall SJ, What “Social Justice” Really Means. One quote:
Monday, December 28. 2015
"The government can not only evoke fear in its victims; it can also evoke a sort of superstitious reverence. It is thus both an army and a church, and with sharp weapons in both hands it is virtually irresistible. Its personnel, true enough, may be changed, and so may the external forms of the fraud it practices, but its inner nature is immutable."
H.L. Mencken, via Hayek
George is so old-fashioned. People just want more free "services" to make life easier.
Wednesday, December 16. 2015
Of course giving people money ends poverty, technically. (In the US, poverty stats ignore the value government benefits. Poverty stats also ignore those with voluntarily low reported incomes: clergy, grad students, hippies, criminals, the early-retired, budding entrepreneurs, aspiring actors, etc etc).
People ought to make life choices designed to meet their goals. To put it another way, in the absence of mental illness or mental incapacity, we should respectfully assume that adults' choices are guided by their goals. In America, part of poverty is electing not to do the things that prevent poverty. The best way not to be poor is to be married before having kids. Statistically, single motherhood is the best path to poverty and dysfunctionality.
Wednesday, December 9. 2015
Monday, December 7. 2015
George Will: The nonexistent case for progressive taxation
I am certain that Mr. Will fully understands that the reasons are 1) political and 2) the Willy Sutton reason.
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