Thursday, June 22, 2006


Cross-Posted from Gus Van Horn

50-50 Odds on a Roundup Next Week

If excusing oneself for a spell of light blogging is a membership requirement, then I'm about to join the club with Andy and Mike. Over the next week, I will be working on a major project and travelling, so the odds of my posting anything here are slim to none until late Monday. After that, we'll see. In any event, I am excusing myself now from the next mid-week linkfest in case I need the time.

But I shall return, unlike Alex, who has joined a group blog. Or, perhaps, Myrhaf (HT: Blair), who claims to have beaten his addiction to writing, but recently posted an update. Only to "quit" again. No. Not quite. He is "not blogging regularly again", you see.

That blog was one of my favorites and I must confess that I wouldn't mind seeing Myrhaf "not blog regularly" on a more frequent, if not regular basis! What? Did he really expect to post without hearing some smack outta me? On a more serious note, I am glad things are going well for him!

Close, but no Cigar....

Houston, compared to most other American cities, is a capitalist paradise. But one will occasionally get a reminder in the news that it still has a long way to go. In the latest such story, we learn that Harris County had considered privatizing its impressive, 83-mile-long toll road system. Unfortunately, Commissioner's Court has decided to rest on its meager laurels of having opened the nation's first all-electronic tollway that was designed as such.

I would have loved to be able to brag about our city being almost completely encircled by a private superhighway!


Articles like this one at TCS Daily really annoy me. The article reminds me more than anything else of the kind of rationalistic "arguments" I saw throughout my Catholic education. Namely: Someone wants to show that the Faith supports some position he likes and so goes into all kinds of theological and historical minutiae in "support" of his point. The big problem with this approach -- aside from the fact that one can find an authority to support almost anything one likes -- is that it fails to see the forest for the trees.

But for some items that the reader may find to be of historical interest, this essay is a complete waste of time. So what if Moslem societies have had quasi-market economies in the past? So have communist countries, and so must any society of more than a dozen or so to the extent that it can survive at all. One can not run a large economy by central planning, heavy regulation, or confiscatory taxation.

And so what if one can, say, bend the religion's famous prohibition against interest (which is just payment to the lender for his willingness to assume risk) into a prohibition against "unreasonable" interest? Is the market or Islam to determine what is reasonable? And is such reasoning heretical or not? How would we go about proving this, and is proof more important than blind faith?

This is a religion whose followers constantly issue threats against their coreligionists for not obeying its dicta to their satisfaction, and against non-Moslems who refuse to convert. How the hell is that "compatible" with a system premised on allowing men to act freely on their own best judgement so long as they do not violate the rights of others?

It is not.

How Kelo can you go?

Another TCS Daily article discusses an even worse law in Britain, and points to a list of abuses that have occurred in the United States iu the year since that odious Supreme Court decision.

For example: "In Hercules, CA, the city council on May 23, 2006, unanimously voted to seize property acquired by Wal-Mart, in order to prevent the retail giant from opening a store in town."

Robert Tracinski at RealClear Politics

Yesterday, Robert Tracinski reported via TIA Daily that he has become a regular (biweekly) contributor to the popular political web site RealClear Politics. In his first regular appearance, he discusses altruism as the morality behind the desolation in "Palestine".
Only one prominent intellectual in the last century -- Ayn Rand, the great intellectual defender of individualism -- has been brave enough to name the moral lesson. Rejecting the morality of sacrifice, she declared that "The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live," while in her classic novel The Fountainhead, her hero laments that "The world is perishing from an orgy of self-sacrificing." Ayn Rand remains a controversial figure, scoffed at by both left and right. But this phrase, "perishing from an orgy of self-sacrificing" -- could there be a better description of the Palestinians' suicide bomb society?

Look at the horrific plight the Palestinians have chosen, and you can observe the real meaning of a culture of self-sacrifice. Look at America, by comparison, and you can see the life-affirming benevolence of a culture of rational self-interest. [bold added]
Read it all. Cox and Forkum have more on the subject, specifically on the weak-kneed Western "embargo" on war funding -- I mean, "humanitarian aid" -- for Hamas.

Help the Tsunami Victims!

Diana Hsieh tells of a way to get double the bang for your buck if you donate to the Colorado Books Project, which will bring Ayn Rand's revolutionary ideas into more high school classrooms. Academia remains devastated by an intellectual tsunami that struck in the18th century.

North Korea

I haven't covered North Korea in much detail lately, but that's okay. Amit Ghate points to a good threat summary.


... hits a new low in "science" reporting.

Literatrix Punts on a Book!

"And here we have a first for my blog: a book so awful I have given up on trying to finish it."

Hmmm. That reminds me: I never was able to force myself to finish wading through Shut up and Sing! (But then I did foresee that very possibility!)

Toiler can't write mad.

I have the opposite "problem": Some of my best and fastest writing happens when I'm good and crocked off. The level of concentration is trance-like. The writing is superb. And I achieve catharsis.

But it is vitally important for me to fact-check after I've calmed down a bit as I can miss important details! (That one I learned the hard way.)

WMD Roundup

Eric writes about the predictable leftist reaction to recently-reported findings of WMDs in Iraq so I don't have to.
Frankly, if incontrovertibly clear evidence of WMDs were discovered ..., I think there'd be a huge outcry questioning the timing -- and a huge chorus along the lines of WHY NOW? Either Bush planted the evidence (BUSH KNEW, PART II?), or he knew all along but Karl Rove advised him to wait for election purposes, and if these arguments failed to gain sway, there'd always be the accusation of incompetence. (The WMDs were there all along, but because of Bush's bungling leadership and poor military strategy, they weren't found when they should have been.)
He also has plenty of links if you like that sort of thing.

We're in big trouble ...

... when we're having to import foreigners to remind us of the merits of our own countries.

Oh shit! I'm Hitler!

(HT: Abe Lincoln)

-- CAV