Wednesday, February 22, 2006

AROUND THE WEB ON 2-22-06

Cross-posted from Gus Van Horn

Next week, I will be on the road for at least part of Monday, and hosting out-of-town guests later in the week. Blogging will likely be lighter than usual. It is quite possible that I will post my weekly roundup in a late and/or somewhat abbreviated form, if at all.

Tycoons, Especially, Take Note

The Center for the Advancement of Capitalism is soliciting donations in order to file amicus curiae briefs.
Since its inception, the Center for the Advancement of Capitalism has filed several amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs with American courts, including briefs on the Microsoft antitrust case, the Nike commercial speech case, the University of Michigan affirmative action cases and a case involving the application of the antitrust laws to the US Postal Service.

The reason that the Center elected to file the briefs is academic: the decisions of the US Supreme Court and lower courts affect the freedom and prosperity of every American. Additionally, as the most intellectual branch of our government, the courts are the realm where Objectivists are particularly well-suited toward having a positive impact.

Building upon CAC's groundbreaking legal advocacy, I propose a new effort to submit amicus curiae briefs on every key case before the Supreme Court that impacts the right of Americans to live for their own sake and to profit from their own work. I solicit the financial support of Objectivists who believe in fighting for their freedom....
I ask my readers to consider donating to this worthy cause, and to inform others of this fund drive.

Oh! Now they have a name.

Nick Provenzo also points out an article about a newly-identified species of conservative, the "crunchy conservative", that opposes capitalism and espouses environmentalism. From the Wall Street Journal:
Four years ago, [Rod] Dreher[, a columnist and editor at the Dallas Morning News] coined the term "crunchy conservatism" (as in crunchy granola) to describe hybrids like himself: political right-wingers with countercultural sensibilities. Now, in a book based largely on interviews and his own experience, he explores the type in depth. But "Crunchy Cons" is not a pallid work of sociology. It is a rousing altar call to spiritual secession from an America that Mr. Dreher sees as awash in materialism, consumerism and "lifestyle-libertarian" thinking.
In other words, we now have an example of a conservative which is the diametric opposite of a capitalist.

Long-time readers of my blog will find only the fact that this species has finally been named to be new information. Consider: (1) a recent global warming junket to Alaska by John McCain and his potential presidential running mate, Lindsey Graham; (2) an article called "What would Jesus cut?" I blogged awhile back; and (3) a children's book/national treasure hunt which sounds like it would be right up a crunchy-con's alley.

Madness or Genius?

Andy Clarkson has a very interesting post up at The Charlotte Capitalist on the Dubai Ports World controversy, in which George Bush and Jimmy Carter have become strange bedfellows, and opposed by apparently every other American politician.

If Dubya does has something up his sleeve, Carter would be the perfect stooge to serve as cover. But he is, in the meantime, also scaring the bejesus out of everyone who cares about this country.

Toonophobia

John Cox and Allen Forkum, whose coverage of the Moslem cartoon riots has been both thorough and heroic, have outdone themselves with the below cartoon and commentary.


They quote the following from Christopher Hitchens:
The silky ones may be more of a problem in the long term than the flagrantly vicious and crazy ones. Within a short while -- this is a warning -- the shady term "Islamophobia" is going to be smuggled through our customs. Anyone accused of it will be politely but firmly instructed to shut up, and to forfeit the constitutional right to criticize religion. By definition, anyone accused in this way will also be implicitly guilty. Thus the "soft" censorship will triumph, not from any merit in its argument, but from its association with the "hard" censorship that we have seen being imposed over the past weeks. A report ($$) in the New York Times of Feb. 13 was as carefully neutral as could be but nonetheless conveyed the sense of menace. "American Muslim leaders," we were told, are more canny. They have "managed to build effective organizations and achieve greater integration, acceptance and economic success than their brethren in Europe have. They portray the cartoons as a part of a wave of global Islamophobia and have encouraged Muslim groups in Europe to use the same term." In other words, they are leveraging worldwide Islamic violence to drop a discreet message into the American discourse.
I thank Cox and Forkum for their brave and able defense, on the ideological front, of our freedom of speech.

Review of Thomas Paine

Jennifer Snow has posted a nice review of a collection of Thomas Paine's writings over at Literatrix.
My initial impression is that this man was the absolute nuclear generator of quotes; even more so than Ayn Rand, and she is eminently quotable. The reason that both were very quotable is, in my mind, that both spent their time turning a vast complexity of information into simple, memorable principles. They are different, though, in that when you quote Ayn Rand, you have to remember that you are summoning up a vast context for your quote and be careful not to oversimplify the case. Thomas Paine's quotes generally require little or no context, and he frequently manages to oversimplify the case without the interference of any outside agency.

His writings are fascinating because they outline, in exquisite detail, the essence of the American character with all its strengths and flaws. He is adept on the attack, especially in revealing the inanity of other views, but he is not very good at defending his own ideas; his defense consists frequently of announcing that his idea is the only alternative to the ridiculous. He rejects fanatical religion for a secular lifestyle but still maintains the air of theology. He attempts to moderate freedom with progressive social programs.
It is lengthy, but I am sure you can see why you should read it all.

Finished, On Hold, and On the Way

Myrhaf, whose blog I have really enjoyed over its short existence, has decided to stop blogging in order to devote more time to other pursuits. Stop by to wish him well.

Felipe Sediles reports that you should disregard any milk cartons with his picture on them. Among the many things that are distracting him from blogging are his upcoming PhD candidacy exams. Stop by and tell the lad to get his priorities straight say "Hi!"

David the Machine, who sometimes comments on my blog and recently helped me with my new blog template, is getting ready to start blogging. No posts yet, but the template is pretty nice. Stop by from time to time for, "status reports of the progress of [his] continued enlightenment in all things: animal, vegetable, or mineral." I'm looking forward to reading his new blog.

-- CAV

Updates

Today: Corrected a typo.