Thursday, November 29, 2007
Now he's claiming that Darwinism is just a form of imperialism that has no proof and gave us the Holocaust.
There might be intelligent critiques of Darwinism, Neo-Darwinism, evolutionary theory, but Stein demonstrates that he knows neither about the theories nor the criticisms.
He should clearly stick to economics and Ferris Bueller movies.
NY Times article about the movie.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Bidinotto frames his analysis in a unique and interesting way, comparing non-interventionist libertarians to those who are always making excuses--sociological, environmental, or otherwise--for domestic crime. He argues that at root both views share an attack on American culture and values because these are held to be the causal factors behind the terrorists and the criminal. It is our cultural 'imperialism' that causes the terrorists to attack us and it is our culture that causes the criminal to be a criminal. The analogy is a bit of a stretch, but I think it does provide some food for thought on parallels between libertarians like Paul and Rothbard before him and modern liberals.
(See my post on Ron Paul).
Sunday, November 18, 2007
First Conference on Liberty Studies
What is Liberty Studies?
5 - 6 April 2008
The College of New Jersey
Ewing, New Jersey
Call for Papers
The first annual Liberty Studies Conference, sponsored by The Center for Liberty Studies, will be held this April 5 - 6 at The College of New Jersey in Ewing New Jersey. The theme of our conference is "What is Liberty Studies?" This conference will put forth various ideas of what would constitute Liberty Studies by starting a debate and discussion concerning what undergraduate students ought to be learning about liberty. We are looking to disseminate substantive ideas that professors can consider for their own classes and home institutions.
Papers are welcome on any topic in liberty and from any discipline. We are looking for submissions that are accessible to a wide audience. Bibliographies and works cited should be limited to those works that either will be directly used in the classroom or are deemed important for instructor reference. Reading time of papers should be approximately 20 minutes. Accepted papers will be published in the new online Journal of Liberty Studies.
Abstracts of no less than 250 words are due by January 15th. Email submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org Early submission is encouraged.
For more information about Liberty Studies and The Center for Liberty Studies, please visit our website at www.libertystudies.org
This year we are holding our conference in conjunction with the 35th Conference on Value Inquiry "Values and Medicine". For information on the Conference on Value Inquiry go to www.valueinquiry.net
Saturday, November 17, 2007
His new philosophy of life is:
I wish to base my life on a non-theistic world outlook that recognizes the supremacy of reason, and the dignity of the human being, who can and must stand alone in this world, and whose accomplishments and perseverance in an incredible and beautiful, while hostile and indifferent universe can and should be celebrated.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Sylvia was battling cancer since August. She had a brief remission after chemo treatment (from the wonderful UW-Vet hospital and Mostly Cats) and seemed to be doing better until about 2 weeks ago. The cancer was back and she began to regress quickly. There just wasn’t anything more to be done for her.
Kristen called me around 5pm and told me Sylvia was fading fast. I canceled class and rushed to the vet’s office to meet Kristen. When Kristen and I met there, Sylvia was already gone.
Sylvia will be cremated and buried with a perennial plant as memorial.
She will be greatly missed by Kristen and I, and Malcom and Bella. There is a void in our hearts that will never be filled.
Update: Added the link to Mostly Cats on 11/14, 5.36 PM
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Patrick added some books to the book meme, So I thought I’d add them to my list as well.
The Lord of the Rings
Harry Potter (1-7)
The Wheel of Time
To Kill a Mockingbird
I am embarrassed about not having ever finished this.
The Great Gatsby
First read for school, but have since reread and still like it.
A Room with a View
Read for a girl. Have to say from what I remember, I didn’t like it. As a man of more mature taste, I’d like to give it another shot at some point.
The Princess Bride
Does the movie count?
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
I Know. What kind of libertarian am I??!
Smilla's Sense of Snow
Gone With the Wind
Lord of the Flies
A Passage to
I saw the movie and liked it. This is what makes me want to give E M Forester another chance.
Heart of Darkness
The World According to Garp
The Cider House Rules
A Prayer for Owen Meany
Stranger in a Strange Land
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
On the Beach
The Sun Also Rises
Women in Love
As I Lay Dying
The Tin Drum
The Tropic of Cancer
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret
Ah the simpler times of Judy Blume
The Big Sleep
’s great and is a must read for anyone who likes mysteries. And of course Marlowe is the inspiration for Spenser. Chandler
The Maltese Falcon
See the previous entry but change Never Let Me Go
Remains of the Day
The Red Badge of Courage
Kill me now!
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold
The Hunt for Red October
The Dark Knight
Uncle Tom's Cabin
Read for school during spring break trip in
. Clearly I recall nothing. Jamaica
Bonfire of the Vanities
The Right Stuff
Things Fall Apart
The Way of All Flesh
The Wizard of Oz
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
And I was an English major. Go figure.
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
James and the Giant Peach
Mrs. Frisby and The Rats of Nimh
The Little House Books
Remembrance of Things Past
The Wings of the Dove
The Hound of the Baskervilles
Thursday, November 08, 2007
I find it curious, though, that his campaign website doesn't make Paul's best case. Several readers have indicated that Paul is all about free trade, not protectionism; so why doesn't he say this on his campaign website? He focuses there only on international agreements and how they undermine our sovereignty. Why doesn't he say, Social Security is unconstitutional and we should work to replace it. Instead he focuses there on keeping our promises to our seniors.
This may just be campaign rhetoric, but then where is the great principled defender of liberty? He hides his most important liberty views on his official campaign website statement of the issues. How odd.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
1. Bold what you have read
2. Italicize what you started but couldn’t finish.
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Crime and Punishment
Started for some class, but never finished. I intend to finish at some point.Catch-22
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Life of Pi: a novel
The Name of the Rose
One day, that's right, read it one day for a class in college. I remember being more interested that I expected too. Skip the chapters that covering the history of whales and whaling.
Audio books count, right?Pride and Prejudice
A Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Really wanted to like this, but just couldn't get through it.Guns, Germs, and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies
War and Peace
BBC radio dramatization count?Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler’s Wife
Currently making my way through Lattimore's translation.Emma
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Reading Lolita in Tehran: a memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian: a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
Hated it. Too violent and weird.Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible: a novel
Angels & Demons
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes: a memoir
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States: 1492-present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Always heard such wonderful things. Couldn't get through the first 20 pages.
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
Should be mandatory reading for anyway who ever uses the English language.
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
The Catcher in the Rye
Holden was my hero when I first read this as a young teenage. Totally connected with him when I reread it in high school. Thought he was silly when I read it again in college.On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics: a Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an Inquiry into Values
In Cold Blood : A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences
The Three Musketeers
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
I thought I’d share some of my reasons for not supporting Congressman Paul. My read is that Ron Paul is more Pat Robertson than Barry Goldwater.
His campaign website presents 11 issues. I’ll comment on each of the issues below.
Debt and Taxes
I don’t have any serious objections to Paul’s view here. Essentially, he seems to want to limit and control federal spending by sticking to the Constitution and powers expressed granted by that document. He does some overly worried about foreign banks owning Federal debt. This fact, in it of itself, doesn’t bother me. On the contrary, it seems to show a fundamental long-term soundness to the American economy because foreign banks are willing to buy US treasury bonds and the like.
My worry here with Paul is that he appears to be striking an anti-foreigner note. “It’s those pesky foreigners!”
American Independence and Sovereignty
This section raises some red flags. Paul believes that various free trade agreements with Canada and Mexico are threats to our freedoms, in part, because there is “a plan to erase the borders between the U.S. and Mexico” and “create a single nation out of Canada, the U.S., and Mexico, with a new unelected bureaucracy and money system.”
Besides the worrisome and loony conspiracy-theorist elements, this highlights one of Paul’s great weaknesses. He’s against opening up of trade. He worries that foreign companies will take U.S. jobs and that free trade undermines sovereignty. This protectionism alone undermines the claim that Paul is a libertarian.
War and Foreign Policy
Though this is where much of Paul’s growing popularity is coming from, this is where I have the biggest problem with Paul. His isolationism is dangerous and unrealistic. He appears to accept the view, unfortunately peddled by the otherwise great Cato Institute, that if only we would leave the Islamists alone they would not attack us.
No. This is not a case of ignore the bully and hope he leaves us alone. Nor is this a case where the Islamists have legitimate or reasonable gripes against American foreign policy--certainly nothing that remotely justifies taking up arms against Americans. These Islamists are in this fight to destroy us because we are free and secular; because we are not strict Muslims. (See David Kelley's "The Assault on Civilization" They will not quit this fight because we leave Iraq or even stop our important support of Israel.
Whatever one thinks of the wisdom of invading Iraq when we did, it would be foolish and dangerous to leave now. It would quickly become a dangerous Islamist state. Also, we need to be there to attack Iran before it goes nuclear, but that’s another story.
I’ve always differed from the mainstream isolationist view of many libertarians. I believe we need a principled foreign policy that encourages and supports free societies through out the world. This sometimes requires providing military or other support to such societies: like Israel, South Korea, Taiwan, etc. This is justified on the basis of our self-interest in having more strong free societies through out the world. This also means that sometimes we have to destroy regimes that pose significant threats to ourselves and our allies.
Paul’s foreign policy is essentially: buy our goods but then go away and please don’t bomb us.
Life and Liberty
Another major strike against Paul is his anti-abortion stance. He has sponsored bills that would block Federal courts from protecting the reproductive rights of individuals where state laws prevent abortions.
Besides the problem of being anti-abortion, this points to a more general concern with Paul. He apparently thinks that State’s should be left free to violate individual rights. The Federal government on his view should not interfere with state laws that prohibit abortion, homosexuality, or religious freedom.
Related to this issue, Paul apparently doesn’t support the separation of church and state. He also advocates using federal power to prevent homosexual unions and marriage (and where’s the expressed authority for that in the Constitution, Mr. Paul?)
No problems here.
My biggest gripe here is that for a man that claims that he “never votes for legislation unless the proposed measure is expressly authorized by the Constitution,” he does not speak out against Social Security. He merely wants to reform it and make it solvent and he’s introduced legislation to that effect.
Border Security and Immigration Reform
His anti-immigration stance is as unacceptable, and as un-libertarian, as his protectionist stance on trade.
Privacy and Personal Liberty
“The biggest threat to your privacy is the government” Hear! Hear! It is comments like this that attract the attention of libertarians and other pro-freedom advocates. Paul is also a strong critic of the Patriot Act. As a whole the Patriot Act is a dangerous threat to our freedoms, and Paul’s voice is important here.
Property Rights and Eminent Domain
Paul is pretty good here. Though he doesn’t mention any legislation he has sponsored on this front.
My criticism here is similar to my concerns under Social Security. He appears to accept the current system and doesn’t speak out against the FDA. Most disconcerting, he doesn’t mention at all the plans by most of the other presidential candidates that would nationalize health care. He’s at the forefront of making sure we don’t lose our right to take what ever vitamins or supplements we want to take, but he has nothing to say about HillaryCare or Medicare? That seems out of whack to me.
I don’t have a problem with his view’s on home schooling. The worry here is that while he wants to prevent the Department of Education from regulating home schooling, what about other types of schooling?
While Paul talks the talk at times for libertarianism and pro-liberty, I don’t think he walks the walk. He is on the side of anti-liberty forces on immigration, trade, reproductive rights, and religion. He advocates dangerous and irresponsible foreign policy views. He is, at worse, a hypocrite and, at best, inconsistent and superficial when he claims he only supports legislation expressly authorized by the Constitution. Legislation that he sponsored and cites on his own website belies this view. He doesn’t speak out against clearly un-constitutional proposals, such as nationalizing health care. Nor does he speak out against already established, yet not constitutionally authorized, programs and agencies, such as the FDA, Medicare, Social Security, and the Department of Education.
I do not see a principled defense or advocacy of liberty here. I see a man using the ideas of liberty to protect his view of America as a white, Christian country. That is not good for liberty, libertarianism, or America.
Update: I also recommend reading Timothy Sandefur's post Ron Paul: a threat to serious libertarians
Update 2(12/28/O7): Since I originally wrote this post, Paul has updated his website and added more issues. I hope to have an expanded analysis soon.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
The review summed up in a few words: worthwhile book that has some flaws.