Monday, January 31, 2005

Study: Kids are Stupid, Adults are Hypocritcally Stupid

There's been much to do about the study released today that a majority of high school kids want to burn books and beat up op-ed columnist. Well, that wasn't exactly what the article said, but you wouldn't know it by the half-assed way the study has been reported.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation released the following statistics:

Do you agree or disagree that . . . (percent who agree)

. . . People should be allowed to express unpopular opinions.

Students: 83%
Adults: 95%

. . . Newspapers should be allowed to publish freely without government approval of stories.

Students: 51%
Adults: 70%

. . . Musicians should be allowed to sing songs with lyrics other may find offensive

Students: 70%
Adults: 59%

. . . High School students should be allowed to report controversial issues in their student newspapers without approval of school authorities.

Students: 58%
Adults: 43%

What does this study tell us?

(1) About 25% of students can't see the logical relationship between controversial opinions being censors, and their controversial opinions being censored.

(2) Once students grow up, this cognitive dissonance infects about 50% of adults.

(3) Students are less likely to effectively disguish between censorship of ideological opinion and censorship of artistic expression.

(4) Adults can tell the difference better, but don't care. They want to censor both music and opinion they don't like

As an aside, the study shows that 75% of kids think that flag burning can be banned, and that nearly half of students think internet indecency can be censored by the government. One can say that this shows kids are ill-informed. I think it shows that they are more wiley or cynical--students believe that the government can find ways around supposedly protective rights, e.g. fining someone who beats a flag burner only $25.

The study may also suggust that teenagers, generally being under more authority, have a harder time imagining that offensive behavior is, or should be, allowed. I would like to see a follow-up into these kids as they go into their college and bachelor years, where more behavior is allowed.

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day--1/31

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day is


As in, what I gave up drinking this weekend. I was noticing it was affecting my concentration and thinking. Thus light blogging this weekend, in which I had a headachey and lethargic Saturday followed by a still lethargic Sunday. I don't know how long I'll be able to do it, though, considering my choice of beverages throughout my daily routine.

Maybe these people know what to do.

Sunday, January 30, 2005


Voting has begun in Iraq!


Foxnews reports 72% "have turned out so far", according to Iraqi Officials. The AP says Iraqi officials "have predicted" a 57% turnout. A quick look at the AP article would make you think that voter turnout was

Translation: Voter turnout is higher than expected, and the AP is again ignoring/obfuscating/semantically confusing the facts.

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day--1/30

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day is

Chiac Language

Because Andrea is a very nice lady who asked very politely.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Another Conservative Talk Show Host Sells His Opinion

Now for sale on eBay: Michael Graham's opinion

Michael Graham hosted an post-Rush Limbaugh AM radio show in Richmond, Virginia before being hired by the much larger DC market. I once saw him at a Barnes & Noble talk about his book. He spoke non-stop for about two hours straight giving his political opinions--some thought out, other not so much. This was after he got done with his four hour radio show of doing the same thing. That about sums up everything you need to know about Michael Graham.

But now he's gone and done something unexpectedly witty--openly sell his opinion to the highest bidder. All proceeds go to charity. As of Jan. 29 7:00pm EST, bidding was up to $1,125.00

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day--1/29

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day is

Exploding Sheep

Planning and People

Undercaffeinated cites an interesting article about the failure of city planning. The article says that large investments by big cities, such as Baltimore and New Orleans, to promote tourism have done nothing to stop falling populations and a quarter of the city’s population living in poverty.

But the meat of the article is here, whether The Brookings Institute knew it or not:

For these cities, and a host of other older central cities that have invested hundreds of millions in convention and visitor infrastructure, the return on that investment in terms of job creation and urban turnaround has been modest at best. Edward Glaeser's "Reinventing Boston" offers a longer term historical perspective that supports an alternative policy approach.53 Noting that Boston has succeeded in adapting itself to a series of economic changes since the early nineteenth century, including the recent shift from manufacturing to a center of the "information economy," Glaeser attributes the city's adaptability to its human capital: "Most skilled cities have done well over the past two decades, and Boston in 1980 had a strong skill base relative to its Rust Belt peers like Syracuse and Detroit."54 He goes on to emphasize Boston's ability to re-orient the local economy as other cities challenged its dominance, and its character as "a place that people wanted to live."55 The Boston case and a large volume of related research suggest that the future of a city rests on its investment in education and human capital, as well as basic city services, rather than in the sole development of a tourist wonderland.

Some phrases used by the Brookings Institute need some clarification:

“Human Capital” and “Skill Base”


Really Smart, Hard-Working, Type-A People Who Get Things Done and Aren’t Satisfied to Spend Their Lives Wallowing in Shit and Squalor

Cities are falling apart because these people left. Some left for the suburbs so they could have more wide-open spaces. Some went even further because their city’s industry—and their own pocketbook--were taxed and regulated out of existence by “city planners” who think it their God-given right to micromanage people and who take human genius for granted. Efforts to promote tourism are half-hearted, half-assed attempts to make these people come back, even if only to visit.

The article concludes that Seattle has succeeded because of a litany of welfare programs. Never mind Microsoft, Intel, Starbucks, etc.

Friday, January 28, 2005

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day--1/28

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day is:

Coriolis effect

The story about toilets flowing in a different direction in the Southern Hemisphere is a myth.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Democrats and the Wrong Element

Eight years ago, the Clinton advisers and Democratic pols would've considered it a serious miscalculation in even acknowledging people like Daily Kos. Now they're openly thanking them and attempting to buy their support. Meanwhile the Democratic Party has done nothing to stop the Democratic Underground--obviously populated by Anti-American, Socialist hooligans--from using that moniker.

It almost makes me wish that the Republican party had a better opponent, if only to make things challenging. There are local Red State voting districts where the Libertarians are the only party who run a candidate against the Republican. If the Dems don't shape up, the whole country is going to be like that soon.

Overheard in Conservation, Part I


It used to hurt so bad that I had to sit on the toilet backwards and grip the bowl.

Overheard at a Denny's restaurant one night around 10:30.

On ESPN Channel #27--Extreme Cockfighting?

Since were into creative problem solving here, I'd thought I share this story that Wife thought blogworthy: Make cockfighting okay by giving gloves to roosters.

Ever the pessimist, I don't think it will work. Though I'll qualify my opinion by saying that I don't know a DAMNED THING about cockfighting. However, I assume people watch cockfighting to see a rooster die. Either (1) this would only make the fight unwatchable, or (2)It would only slow the process of their deaths by, unless there's some way to knock out a chicken without killing it.

Still, this story is ripe for funny.

"Let the roosters do what they love to do without getting injured," Shurden said.

"They don't want electronic cockfighting any more than anybody else does, or they'd be doing it."

Put that in my "List of Words I've Never Thought I'd See Together".

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day--1/27

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day is


as opposed to LIFO

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Why "Maternal Lien"

Globelens talks about my Maternal Lien article. He latently expresses some confusion as to why I call it a "maternal lien"

I guess my background in the title industry and transactional law make me use esoteric language. The idea is that the debt owed by the child to his1 natural mother would be a super-priority over all other debts, even secured debts like a mortgage or car. Nor will Bankruptcy discharge it, just like taxes or a student loan. Also, upon more egregious instances of non-payment, all the property of the son1 can be leveraged to satisfy the debt.

1 I am not gender neutral in my writing, nor do I intend on becoming that way soon.


The Iraqi terrorist--daily growing aware of democratic inevitablity--grow more and more shrill.

(I link to a respectable fellow blogger, because (1) I oppose site registration as a matte of principle, and (2)I don't want to give The New York Times one gaddammed link more than I have to.

You and Me, Both, Pal!

Frank J. Is complaining--rightfully so--that IMAO is not listed in the Wikipedia. They also don't say a damn thing about me abour me either, despite all the free daily traffic I bring them.

So over at wikipedia, a famous Gen-X humor blog or a famous literary metaphor are not allowed because it's too "esoteric", but they can have an article about "All you base are belong to us". That's the cauldron calling the pot black.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The Official Guide to Winning an Oscar

The five movies up for nomination this year consist of artsy-fartsy flim critic fodder. Missing among them are two of the best movies I've ever seen in the theater: The Passion of the Christ & The Incredibles. The former left me emotionally floored. The later was one of the best fantasy films ever made, up there with The Wizard of OZ, Star Wars, or the Princess Bride.

How did obscure films beat out some of the highest grossing, most influential, thought-provoking, well-made movies of the year. Just follow these easy steps:

(1) Don't do anything innovative, like use new special effects.

(2) Don't ever make a cartoon, despite how flexible or visually stunning the medium may seem.

(3) Don't ever make science fiction. All that technology just gets in the way of your characters' angst and self-absorption .

(4) Make your movies as sophisticated and nuanced that no one can relate to it. Classic tales of bravery and heroics are for people with GEDs.

(5) Most importantly, don't make any allusions to conservative religion, politics or philosophy in your movies. It causes alzheimer's disease in actors.

If you follow these easy steps, you'll wind up beating other filmmakers who failed to play along. Just look at this list

1932-33: Cavalcade vs. King Kong

1937: The Life of Emile Zola vs. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

1941: How Green Was My Valley vs. Citizen Kane

1946: The Best Years of Our Lives vs. It's a Wonderful Life

1956: Around the World in 80 Days vs. The Ten Commandments

1960: The Apartment vs. Psycho

1968: Oliver! vs. 2001: A Space Odyssey

1977: Annie Hall vs. Star Wars

1981: Chariots of Fire vs. Raiders of the Lost Ark

1982: Gandhi vs. E.T.

1983: Terms of Endearment vs. Return of the Jedi

1987: The Last Emperor vs. The Princess Bride

1998: Shakespeare in Love vs. Saving Private Ryan

1999: American Beauty vs. The Matrix

2002: Chicago vs. The Count of Monte Cristo
(Trust me. If you haven't seen it, do so immediately)

The Maternal Lien: A Real World Solution to Abortion

Below, I make the trespass analogy to abortion, and then use necessity as a defense to that trespass. But there was on doctrine I mention: that a trespasser must still reimburse the owner for the damage caused by the trespass. If some similar doctrine were applied to abortion, it could seriously curb the abortion rate in this country, while possibly curing problems of senior citizen care.

I propose the following; a Maternal Lien. Upon a child reaching majority, every natural mother would have a right from their natural child a certain amount of money, a debt arising purely from gestation of that person as a child. For example, (1) In 1984, mother bears and delivers child, (2) In 2005, child reaches majority, (3) Child now owes mother $20,000, accruing at 4%; child now has to pay mother approximately $83.00 a month for forty years. Thus a mother would not have an abortion out of pure greed, while a fetus would have a definite, substantive basis for his "right to life".

Q: Isn’t it a little heartless for a mother to demand money from her child?

A: Perhaps. Yet it’s also heartless for a mother to suck a baby’s brains out or drown it in salt water before it has a chance to live. Besides, it is a common assertion that children have the duty to provide for their parents. This law would simply codify that principle

Q: Wouldn’t that encourage mothers to have tons of children, regardless of how they’re reared, and for those children to do the same, resulting in some sort of motherhood ponzi racket?

A: Thus it is important to make the amount just right. Too much would encourage prolific, irresponsible breeding. Too little would not be much incentive or reimburse the mother.

Q: What about the father?

A: Remember, we are reimbursing for gestation only, i.e. not aborting the pregnancy. Also, reimbursement to men can conceive literally thousands of children; women only a few, thus causing the ponzi racket problem. And besides, this will encourage male fidelity: If they are to enjoy the benefits of having children, they are going to need to live with their mate.

Q: The kind of women who get unwanted pregnancies are not the kind of women who think in terms of the time value of money. They’re not going to wait 21 years for a measly $80 to dribble in. What’s the incentive to forego the abortion now for money later.

A: Discounting. Suppose a mother has the right an annuity of $960.00 per year in 21 years. A bank does some financial calculations and determines the present value of that right is $10500.00. They offer the woman $9,000.00 for their right in her maternal lien. She accepts and forgoes the abortion. The woman gets instant gratification, while the bank gets a great cashflow stream.

Think it could work? Let me know

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day--1/25

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day is

Bicameral Mind

The theory is probably hogwash but it is the only theory to ever explain to me why Homeric Greek is so messed up. In The Iliad, the syntax is not confusiing; it's non-existent. Upon attemping to translate it, a student of Greek-not so much like he's deciphering an ancient story-but examining the schizophernic rantings of aliens from another planet. Then again, what do Chinese people think when they read Shakespeare?

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day--1/26

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day is:

Crowding out

Monday, January 24, 2005

Different, But Still Wrong, Approaches on Abortion

Democrats can learn a lot from libertarians. Democrats only have to look magnanimous by promising everyone, everything. Libertarians have to look moral by promising nobody, nothing. Case in point: abortion.

Right now, the Drudge Report is aglow with a 72-font caption telling me that Hillary Clinton has changed her position on abortion. I am underwhelemed. All she seems to have done is restate her husband’s “safe, legal, and rare” cliché.

His position on abortion, and now her position on abortion, is so untenable and contradictory as to insult the citizen who pays enough attention to hear it. Abortion is bad, and an aborted baby is a tragedy, but a woman has a free-choice to commit said tragedy, thus we should make the commission of this tragedy as painless for the woman as possible, because the commission of this tragedy will better the situation of the woman. Simultaneously, we should discourage woman from committing this tragedy.

Let’s try a variation on this: Rape is bad, it’s a tragedy, but a man is strong and willful enough to commit rape. Thus we should make the commission of rape as easy for the men as possible, because the rough sex will make the man feel good. Yet, we must also discourage men from committing rape. Try making one yourself; it works with every crime and atrocity imaginable.

Purposefully and characteristically, both Clintons dodge the main issues: Is the fetus/embryo a human? If it is human, is it wrong to terminate its “life”? Is it conscious? If not, is it permissible to kill a potential consciousness?

Compare Clinton’s remarks to this libertarian, and you’ll wonder why one is a Senator while the other is an unknown internet commentator, Mr. Thomas Gramstad:

The main issue is the sovereignty of self, the most intimate and fundamental of all individual rights: the right to control one's own body. Noone [sic] has the right to access, use or dispose one's body against one's will. Therefore it makes no difference what a fetus is - body part, potential human, individual person, god or goddess - none of these have any right to invade a human's body against its owner's will, because there is no such right. The nature of the fetus is irrelevant to the woman's right to abortion. She has the right to evict it at any time during pregnancy, for the same reason and in the same way that she has the right to end an intercourse at any point of its execution.

Now we’re getting somewhere! The libertarian argument cuts the Gordian knot: “Even if it is ‘alive,’ it’s a living trespasser siphoning off a host, and by that right, the woman can have an abortion.”

And now that we have a real argument, we can have a real counter-argument. If you’re going to view the fetus as a “trespasser” under the law, then you must also recognize the defenses to trespass: Consent and necessity. (1) You’ve allowed the fetus into your body, and thus cannot equitably demand that it leave, and (2) the harm which would accompany the fetus committing the trespass outweighs the harm of gestation, also making in inequitable to evict it.

Thus the question remains, it is a “citizen” that has these legal/equitable rights. . .

[To Be Continued]


It took me about five minutes before I realized that this site was not a parody. (Hat Tip: LGF)

The site looks like it was thrown together as haphazardly as Boxer's wardrobe. I suspect--but cannot confirm--that the site exist only for the sake of the blogroll on the left. Set up about a thousand sites like this, and you'd fool every site meter around into thinking the looniest off-the-cliff moonbat site was the Second Coming of Instapundit.

Hell, it's not like manipulating internet statistics is beneath them or anything.

Dramatis Personae

A thorough list of the two-dozen or so major party/caucus/coalitions running in the Iraqi Elections.

Sunday, January 23, 2005


Thanks and God's blessing to Discoshaman over at Post-Modern Clog for the honor of being added to his blogroll. I'll be sure to add his site to mine: He has a pretty solid blog over there, and it's now on my shortlist of sites to visit and comment on in the future.

I'm a
Flippery Fish
in the
TTLB Ecosystem

Once again, I would counter with some comment "It gives new meaning to the phrase 'fishers of men'", but then I'd have to hire Joe Pesci to come to my house and bash my skull in with a telephone receiver as my penance.

What He Really Does in the Off-Season!

That's it! I'll never ask Santa Claus for another thing as long as I live!

That's one of the less repugnant sights over at this review of Berkeley Protests.

Silver lining: Protest Warrior was present.

Natural Childbirth

DiscoShaman over at Post-Modern Clog has a thought-provoking post about Rousseauist drivel about childhood.

I responded with the following:

(1) To paraphrase Voltaire, if restraint and civilzation were destroyed tomorrow, it would be in man's best interest to rebuild it as quickly as possible. A child, or anybody, in "nature" is not going to be some free soul frolicking in the fields. He will be someone working as hard as hell to survive, with no guarantees of success. Even the most beautiful tropical paradise will be prone to catacylisms and unknown dangers: disease, predators, natural disasters, etc.. All his mental and physical energy would go into that task. He would, very quickly, become very disciplined, or die.

(2) Your complaint of "selfishness" doesn't tell the whole story. Although "selfish," children are highly dependent on other people, and will stay dependent through advancing years if they don't mature properly. A supposedly "selfish" child will not act in his best interest by become independent of other people's whims and circumstances. Solipsism would be the better word--a child expects all people, property, facts, phenomena, and institutions to conform to their own appetites. A child matures to the degree which he comes to terms with reality, be it of the natural world or of the proper expectations he can have of those around him.

I've had this fight before, but it bears repeating: selfishness is not a bad thing in itself. Wanting to improve your situation, wanting to be independent and self-sufficient, wanting to leave others alone when their own interests aren't at stake, is a virtue and not a vice. If a child is going to survive in "nature", or anywhere else with some respectability, he'd better be selfish. As for agape love, by definition, such a sentiment is impossible for someone unless it is some he wants to do. Before you can say "I love you," you must first be able to say "I".

A Party That Can-Tell-It's-Ass-from-a-Hole-in-the-Ground No More

He has vowed not to run for president in '08 if elected chair—a kind of backhanded bribe that may induce many DNC members to vote for him.

This, boys and girls, is your Democratic Party in the year 2005: Make me your hapless leader and I won't be an eyesore of a candidate.

Meanwhile, the Republicans have about 30 governors, a dozen cabinet members, (maybe) a Vice-President and a Time Man of the Year from whom to choose a candidate.

That little "D" beside a politican's name is tanking in credibility faster than Apple in the mid-90s.

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day--1/23

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day is


Oldie But Goody

By the way, here's an interesting article about UK/EU relations from the Washington Times circa 2000. A few money quotes:

"The liberal mind believes that a person's character can be judged by his opinions, and is fantastically intolerant," Mr. Hitchens says. "This is why political correctness is not a joke -- I always get very irritated when people make fun of it. It's actually an elaborate system to make certain thoughts unthinkable by first making them unsayable, and it does this by making opinions into a character issue.

"Therefore, if you oppose homosexual equality, you are a, quote, homophobe. If you don't buy the extreme feminist agenda, then you're a sexist."


Conservatives typically retreat in the face of such socialist criticism, he says. "Conservatism often doesn't have any moral confidence in itself. It secretly accepts its opponents' constant claims that there is something selfish and wicked about wealth and authority."

Mr. Rearden, have you met my friend Mr. d'Anconia.


I stumbled across a very interesting article about the EU swallowing up Britain: "The death of British sovereignty" by James Lewis over at The American Thinker. I think it overstates its case, but still raises some good points. This gist of the article is that a sovereign, pro-American, relatively conservative Britain is being voluntarily swallowed up by a European Union which more resembles the USSR than the US. Lewis writes:

First, the highest priority of EU foreign policy is to split the Anglo-American alliance. If Britain becomes just another province of the EU, Tony Blair will be the last Prime Minister to have the freedom to ally himself with us. When Jacques Chirac recently visited London, he very plainly told the press that once it fully enters the EU, Britain would not be able to be an “honest broker” between Europe and the United States. Chirac was telling Britain, “it’s my way or the highway.”

The EU is a deadly serious effort at world domination, or, in Eurospeak, at “countering American hegemony.” Nothing is more important, as its politicians keep telling the world.

This statement raises two questions: (1) What is "American Hegemony"? and (2) How does the EU intend to counter it? Will the EU counter American military hegemony by stopping us from overthrowing dictatorial regimes and conducting humanitarian missions in Haiti, Liberia, and the Indian Ocean? Will it build a budget-busting armed forces which would crowd out any money for its welfare state?

Perhaps, then, it will counter our economic hegemony. But how? Will the EU cut off trade with NAFTA and wreck its economy, while putting only a dent in ours? They've already overvalued their currency, the result being a European run on American goods, like a giant Kmart Blue Light Special. On our end, there've been no negative effects, except for some over-hyped variations in oil/gas prices.

"America Hegemony" is nothing more than American greatness, and our attempts to become better. Our relations take only three forms: (1) trade for goods and services we want, (2) the elimination of people who pose a direct threat to us, and (3) charity to those we deem worthy of it. We are not proselytizing or conquering anybody, except inasmuch as it furthers goal #2.

Lewis points out a weapon they may use against us:

Third, the Gulliver strategy. Jorge Castaneda, former Foreign Minister of Mexico, has advocated a “Gulliver diplomacy” toward the United States

“I like very much the metaphor of Gulliver, of ensnarling the giant, tying it up, with nails, with thread, with 20,000 nets that bog it down; these nets being norms, principles, resolutions, agreements, and bilateral, regional, and international covenants.”

Under our consititution, treaties like the ones they're proposing are hard to ratify and even harder to enforce. A treaty is not usually "self-enacting", it does not give anyone any legal rights or duties in and of itself. Treaties must be accompanied by domestic laws. If not, the thing is nothing more than a list of good intentions.

And that is what the European constitution is shaping up to be. They're counting on their "Europeaness" to make successful economic over-regulation which has failed every time it has been tried. Whoever is in charge their is still going to have to maintain conditions which foster a good economy and domestic security. If the powers that be try to stay in power without providing those, the result will be a breakup or diminishment of the pan-European structure.

Also interesting is how the new inter-national struggle is not between democracy and totalitarianism, but between capitalist democracy and socialist democracy, inasmuch as the latter is not a contradiction.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

The Third Right

While looking at my TTLB ranking (quite obsessively, I may add!) I found this guy right next to me. Looks like a smart fellow, except he may have gotten his wires crossed on one assertion:

The problem today between the religious and non-religious in Israel today is one that cannot be understated. It is the cause of continual strife, and it has a most obvious cause that everyone overlooks -- democracy. Yes, democracy, that god that failed, as Hoppe called it, is the root cause of much of the hatred that brews among brethren today in Israel, because the political process in the Israeli government is inherently designed to force people into a continual string of fighting to get what they want at the expense of the losers.

End the democracy and socialism in Israel, and replace it with a free market economy, and there will be peace among the Jews there.

I didn't know that democracy and a free market economy were mutually exclusive. Nor did I know that democracy and socialism always occurred together. Granted, pure democracy leads to infringement on liberties, but it also works to protect rights. Just look at Classical Athens: free enough to have Socrates, but harsh enough to kill him. In modern times, we have curbed these democratic excesses. America is unique, it split the atom, with the limitations on the powers of government, even that of democratic majority against a minority.

Let suppose that Man has three expressions of his person: his body, his mind, and his property. Modern politics has developed so that, in succession, each is protected. Beginning in English common law, the people limited government’s power to seize, detain, and imprison a person. Beginning in America, the people limited government’s power to infringe on opinion and expression. Yet the third element of man has never been fully secured. Our constitution prohibits non-reimbursed "takings", but that prohibition is vitiated by our governments unlimited taxation power. In terms of property right's protection, we are on the same level as the colonists were with protection of bodily rights. The colonists had some small requirements of habeas corpus and fair trial, but still allowed slavery and huge civil rights violations. Now, we have some pro-forma laws protecting property, but do not anything resembling full protection of that property against government disposal.

To fix the problem, I would propose a law or amendment that goes something like this:

Neither Congress, nor the states, nor any governmental entity under this Constitution shall make any law infringing on the people's rights of ownership, use, or disposal of their individual property, unless such law shall directly and proximately prevent the use of force or fraud against said property rights.

A pipe dream? Not necessarily. In some states, it is quite easy, by referendum, to propose and pass a constitutional amendment. Such states could serve as an example of what happens when you take the handcuffs off of people's industriousness enlightened self-interest.

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day--1/22

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day is

John Jacob Astor

On his deathbed Astor indicated his greatest regret was that he had failed to purchase the whole of Manhattan.

By the way, he was a first generation immigrant.

The Riot Next Door

There appears to be a dustup over in Belize

On January 13, 2005 the government of Said Musa announced its budget for 2005-2006. The budget included major tax increased on a variety of businesses and commodities, including a 11% increase in the real estate sales tax, a 5% tax increase for financial institutions, an 8% tax increase on tobacco, and a 100% tax increase on rum. Although the government claims that these tax increases are comparable to increases instituted in 1998 under the previous government of the United Democratic Party (UDP), these taxes, on top of years of popular frustration at alleged financial mismanagement and corruption by the People's United Party (PUP) sparked protests at the National Assembly building on January 15, including confrontations between demonstrators and police. Demonstrations continued through the following week.

On January 20, the business community and labor unions called for a two-day nationwide strike. As employees did not report to work, water service for much of Belize has been turned off. On January 21, local news reported reports of scattered demostrations [sic] in the capital city of Belmopan, including some burning of government buildings and roadblocks by protestors. As government ministers were walking towards the government building the demonstrators threw rocks and bottles at the ministers, prompting police and military to get involved and subdue the demonstrators. The government has reportedly installed cameras on the exterior of some buildings where protestors are expected to congregate, and government buildings have been pre-emptively barricaded. A major public demonstration is planned by the opposition for January 21 in Belmopan; the ruling PUP has also planned a counter-demonstration.

From what little I can tell about this country, there isn't any clear "good guy" in this fight. Both parties appear to be provoking civil unrest. Both parties plan to raise taxes and appease labor unions. Their proposed "austerity plans" go the wrong way--tax hike heavy with few budget cuts. Both parties seem to be promising the moon and that everything will get better if they're elected.

Absolutely no one else is talking about this story. I searched everywhere I could think off: AP, Reuters, Google News, CNN, Fox News. The only stories I could find on Belize were some travel articles. Exotic and romantic Belize is a travel destination for couples looking for a getaway far from the maddening crowd one article laughably asserts.
As a pleasant discovery, the best source of news on this region appears to be a weblog: belizean.

UPDATE: Shiplord Kirel over at LGF informs me that said Musa is a Palestinian emmigrant.

Friday, January 21, 2005

The Cuckoo’s Egg and The Martyr's Crown

This puts a whole new dimension on the NJ slayings

The Armanious family had inspired several Muslims to convert to Christianity — or thought they had. These converts were actually practicing taqiyya, or religious deception, pretending to be friends of these Christians in order to strengthen themselves against them, as in Qur'an 3:28: "Let believers not make friends with infidels in preference to the faithful -- he that does this has nothing to hope for from Allah -- except in self-defense."

It was these "converts" who knocked on the door of the Armanious home. Of course, the family, not suspecting the deception, was happy to see the "converted" men and willingly let them in to their home. That's why there was no sign of forced entry. Then the "converted" Muslims did their grisly work.

Another hat tip to Michelle Malkin

Wonkette Blood Libel

Wow! Latent Anti-Semitism Night on the Blogosphere continues as Wonkette adds one adjective too many to her pointless blather and cockteasing. In case you want to give here the benefit of the doubt, she removes all doubt here.

Every time I look at that site, I feel like I have to erase the history on my web browser before my wife finds out.

By the way, this is interesting:

WHOIS registration information via

Registrant: Make this info private

Talos, Attila


Frankel Leo u. 106-108

Budapest, Budapest 1023


Phone: +36-1-212-2569

Fax: 123 123 1234


Administrative Contact :

Talos, Attila


Frankel Leo u. 106-108

Budapest, Budapest 1023


Phone: +36-1-212-2569

Fax: 123 123 1234

Does Wonkette (Gasp!) outsource her blog?

"rather angry jewish"?

adrock2xander over at Outrageus. Beautiful. Misfit. links to me. (Just pan down; I can't find a permalink.)

He's half right. I'm half Jewish. The other half English Norman, from what I can tell. The result is extreme intelligence and love of virtue channeled into royal ambition. However, I'm also Born-Again Christian.

For those of you slow-learners: Yes, it is possible to be both Jewish and Christian. I am racially Jewish, yet Jesus is my Lord and Savior. "Jewishness" is not just a religion, but an ethnic identity of specific race who occupied specific territory at a specific point in history.

UPDATE: I've also been added to this guy's blogroll. CAUTION: If you have a low-tolerance for pornography, don't click on "more" fo his "Beauty for the Day".

Oysters, Anyone?

I'm a
Slimy Mollusc
in the
TTLB Ecosystem

I'd reply with something like, "Give's new meaning to the phrase 'pearls of wisdom', but then I'd have to repeatly bash my head against my car door for saying something so stupid and formulaic. Then what kind of blogger would I be, spouting out cliches while suffering massive brain trauma. I'd end up like these people, or maybe even this guy.

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day--1/21

The Wikipedia watchword of the day is


In general, it can be stated that a scientist builds in order to learn, but an engineer learns in order to build.

Thursday, January 20, 2005


Thank you Professor Reynolds for the site traffic.

How Scrooge McDuck Shaped My Life

Dammit! I was just thinking today of writing about Scrooge McDuck. Then along comes Glenn Reynolds with his super-duper mega-blog and endless professor time to write about it and find all kinds of miscellaneous links about it. And literally before I know it, I’m late for the greatest meme in blog history since the Dean Scream.

I grew up on Scrooge Mcduck—in his later incantation as the afterschool show Ducktales. I have trouble finding words to describe the influence this show had on me growing up. It introduced me to every archetype imaginable, ingrained in me the ideals of a benevolent universe, human progress in science and finance, and most importantly, love for human greatness.

Why was Scrooge McDuck cool? He had so much money he could fucking swim in it!! How did he acquire this money? Carl Banks never lets us believe it was any reason beside hard work and creativity. Yet he never let his money get in the way of him being a human . . . or a duck, as it were. He adventured around the world as an effort to preserve and build his fortune. Yet even a child quickly understood that Scrooge used his money as a means to some greater ends. Before Rush Limbaugh, before Ayn Rand, Scrooge McDuck was the first example I was given of a uber-rich protagonist when every other societal source told me that money = evil. (BTW--This would not the last time that Disney has spread Objectivist Propaganda.)

I also liked the nephews, who grew up a lot more the way I wish I could’ve. And a lot of other kids. Childred are meant to mature much faster than the “petri dish” lifestyle they’re crammed into until at least 18. More on that later. Also admirable was the indefatigable Launch McQuack, and the underappreciated Gyro Gearloose. The later deserved his own spinoff, if for no other reason, to teach kids about science.

As for archetypes, here are the ones I can name of the top of my head: Homeric Greece, Atlantis, Medieval times, China, the center of the earth, the Arctic, the Klondike, the Horatio Alger rags to riches story, the robot-gone-crazy archetype, the ancient South American Indian tribe archetype. . . the list goes on.

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day--1/20

The Wiipedia Watchword of the Day is

The Problem of Universals

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The Eternal Anti-Semite

Reasons People Hate Jews:

(1) Don’t recognize pagan gods

(2) Won’t worship leader as god

(3) Don’t Recognize the one true God and his Prophet

(4) Killed God

(5) Are all Atheists

(6) Are all Communists

(7) Are not Communists

(8) Are all Democrats

(9) Too wealthy; control the world’s money supply

(10) Invented a “slave morality” where the weak are the most virtuous

(11) Invented Objectivism, which denounces altruism and glorifies materialism

(12) Oppress a minority population trying to claim a right to their homeland

(13) Are overly pious

(14) Are purveyors of amorality

(15) Oppress African-Americans

(16) Are supporters and enablers of blacks

(17) Are all do-nothing neurotic worrywarts

(18) Are all successful lawyers, doctors, businessmen who have too much control over society

(19) Are all Neo-Conservative Imperialist hawks pursuing a destructive American Imperialism

(20) Have questionable loyalty to the regime in power

(21) Are an intenerate, rootless people eternally siphoning off of other countries

(22) Are a ultra-nationalist aggressor state endangering world security for territorial gain

(23) Are too ugly

(24) Run the entertainment industry

One must wonder, considering all these contradictory reasons to hate Jews, if there is one eternal attribute which links all anti-semitism. I'm too tired to think of it right now, but if anyone can add to that list, let me know. Except it looks like and can already add organ stealing and cannabalism

Democracy in Iraq

Some cool pictures of Iraqi election posters.

Funny how modern the posters look. Also neat is Allawi's reticence to showing his face in his posters, a good contrast to Hussein's vanity.

Asshat Shrugged

Some very determined moonbats plan to boycott all "consumer spending" during Inauguration Day. I have a few questions:

(1) How are you defining "consumer spending"? How about buying gasoline for your car? Diapers for your child?

(2) Wouldn't this lack of spending be offset by more spending before or after Inauguration Day?

(3) What about businessmen who voted against Bush? (Yes, such people exist. Just ask Steve Jobs, George Soros, Warren Buffet, etc.) Are you protesting Bush, or capitalism in general.

(4) Aren't you getting started a little late?

Once, just once, I'd like to see it tried the other way around.

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day--1/19

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day is:

Cost of Goods Sold

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

EXTRA: One-Celled Organisms Offend by, Officially Boycott, IMAO

In one bold stroke, Frank J. manages to piss off all three Abrahamic religions at once

Every American should be allowed to join in, even if you're Jewish or atheist, but you still have to forcefully convert the heathens to Christianity or have them meet your sword (well, M-16). When I forcefully convert people, I love the line, "Worship Jesus, bringer of love and peace to this world, or I'll gut you and your family!" because it has that nice bit of irony to it.

Of course, the main goal is to get to the holy land and, just like with the moon, plant our flag there and declare it the property of America and America alone. Of course, there are some tough Jews near there, but I'm sure they'll rent the area to us at reasonable prices. Along the way to the holy land, we should make a stop at Mecca where it is believe the terrorist mastermind Allah is hiding out. He's always the one cited as instigating terrorist acts though never carrying them out himself. If I know people like Allah, he's really a coward and will surrender without a shot. Then, we can make him sign a document declaring that "Jesus is superfly!" which will really disenchant Allah's followers.

God would strike Frank dead if he didn't find him so hilarious.

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day--1/18

The Wikipedia Watchword of the day is:

Saint Denis

Now that'd be a great way for the Archbishop to escape!

UPDATE: Look like it didn't have to come to that.

Monday, January 17, 2005

duh . . . wha?

Via Scylla & Charibdis

To the suggestion that the MSM should have actually investigated what the "facts" were, before pronouncing them to be false, Lynch stated that since the public can only focus on a few sentences of a story, the MSM was justified in not investigating this "complex" Kerry story, because it would only confuse the public. That is, no investigation other than to solicit a denial from the Kerry campaign...

Contrary to the popular saying, CBS may be the first organization to go broke by underestimating the intelligence of the American people.

Hat tip to LGF

More Trouble in the Garden State

Speaking of Malkin, her blog brings to my attention this disturbing occurrence, given other events in New Jersey.

Not all the facts are in, but few others have the Modus Operandi of decapitation. I'll happily offer a retraction if proven wrong.

Otherwise, this guys are beginning to make Robespierre look like Floyd the Barber.

Then again, last I'd heard, New Jersey has some weird characters living there.

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day--1/17

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day is:

Ideal Type

Now That's More Like It!

I'm a
Crunchy Crustacean
in the
TTLB Ecosystem

(By the way, does anyone know how, in the footer bar below, to move the TTLB ranking to the right of the Site Meter. I tried everything last night, but I couldn't get the blogspot template to even acknowledge the code I was putting in. )

The Manson Murders of My Generation

Yes, I know a family of four has been brutally and mercilessly killed, for which I sadness and anger.

But you must admit, this story has it all: Grizzly slayings, an Islamofascist angle, an pro/anti immigration angle, an internet/blogger angle, "old world prejudice meets new world media." A story that encompassess all the hot-button elements of the 2000s. (Thus the title).

I'm also waiting for the first Dhimmi to come out and say something to the extent "We'll he had it coming. If that right-wing Christian nutcase hadn't been trying to force his beliefs and culture on those who held a worldview different from his, this never would've happened," and thus completely miss the significance, loathsomeness, or terror behind what just occurred.

I once was in a conversation with a person who said "I believe in tolerance towards all beliefs." Then I said "Do you tolerate intolerance?". "What?" "Do you believe in tolerating intolerance?" "No." she unctuously said. I said, "Then you don't believe in tolerance. Your intolerant of intolerant people, you bigot. Why don't you leave me alone and quit trying to force your beliefs on me!"

She failed to see the contradiction behind of her statements, and then accused me of word play and absurdity. Well, now with patently intolerant Muslims wanting to kill us all, although it's certainly absurd, it isn't just word play anymore. The only question now is how reasoned people are going to work around the "tolerance" crowd to stop these animals from destroying civilization.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin is all over this story.

Well, Screw You Too!!

However, TTLB adds: Note that your statistics page will be blank until tomorrow, after the Ecosystem scans your weblog for the first time during the nightly scans.

For your information, I plan very soon to rule your pitiful little "ecosystem" once the little people see my radiant talent, and my keen insight illuminates their confused, fun-house mirror, kafkaesque world.

When that happens, I won't forget those of you who befriended me. Nor will I forget those of you who have become my blood-enemies. Instead, I will turn both of you against each other, and watch the fun.

In the meantime,

. . . MUST!!! GET!!! LINKS!!! . . . .

Sunday, January 16, 2005

A Bit of Modern Anthropology

Consider the following:

In 1955: Your household would’ve had a radio, getting AM/FM, along with a record player. Maybe you would’ve had a transistor radio. If it had a television, it would have been black and white, and got about the big three channels, with some local UHF channels. A daily paper subscription would’ve been your best source of news. It was common for some to not have a phone in their house.

From 1955 to 1965: Your household would’ve definitely have had a phone. It was much more likely to have a TV, possibly a color television, with about the same number of channels. There also may have been more FM radio channels and UHF TV channels than before in your area.

From 1965 to 1975: By now, your household would most likely have a color TV. Possibly, there would’ve be an 8-track, reel-to-reel or some non-vinyl means of music, which could now play “hi-fidelity” stereo. You may have had a touch-tone phone. Only a committed hobbyist may have owned a do-it-yourself computer kit such as an Altair 8800

From 1975 to 1985: You would have several color TVs, along with remote controls, a VCR, and a video game console (i.e., Atari, Colecovision). You would now have a “video camera” which makes videotapes for you, a vast improvement from old home-movie cameras. Along with video games, there are now portable LED games. The TV could likely have gotten cable, allowing the viewer to choose from dozens of channels, including one or two 24-hour news channels. You would’ve most likely had a touch-tone phone, perhaps even a cordless phone (with a relatively long antenna). You would have multiple AM/FM stereos in your house, complete with cassette players. Compact discs and video laser disc were around, but rare, as were “portable phones”. You may now have a computer that runs DOS programs, such as an Apple II or subsequent clones. But those who were well-to-do or had a technical background may have owned one of the first Graphical-User-Interface (GUI) computers, the Macintosh.

From 1985 to 1995: Your cable choices have expanded greatly to many spinoff movie channels and pay-per-view options. You own several cassette players, CD players, VCRs. Video cameras have gotten small and more portable, and now have better quality. However, many of these new media would new be integrated with your computer.

You would be able to play CDs, and possibly record and watch some form of video media your computer. You would have gone through several generations of video game consoles, the most current of which plays 16-bit image quality games.

The graphical and computing content on these computer would be vastly improved, matching the best video from TV. Indeed, by now you would likely own some sort of GUI interface computer, be it Apple or “Wintel”, but most likely the latter. Even more important, your computer would have a modem that would, through a router service, connect to the Internet, a completely new, but quickly growing phenomenon. It would offer the user with a plethora of information and communication on just about every other topic, e.g. just about every famous work of literature which has passed into the public domain. The internet also has some interactive features, such as “realtime” games. An Internet user would also have an email address by which he can almost instantaneously send and receive written message, and also documents and programs measuring in the megabytes.

Also important to mention: Media deregulation of odious “equal time” doctrine had an interesting impact on AM radio, long thought to be a dead medium. The quality of AM is inferior for music playing, but still suitable for monologue. Thus you would have “talk radio” host have begun shows expressing highly controversial and political motivational opinions, both influencing your political opinions and revealing to you political bias and mis-reporting in mainstream media sources.

You will properly have some kind of mobile phone.

From 1995 to 2005:In your household, HDTV, coupled by DVDs, will give you unmatched visual quality. Digital cameras, be they for motion or stationary pictures, will make unmatched video quality. Multi-media options will allow you digital control over what you watch, and when you watch it. Yet that’s only the beginning.

Your computer, coupled with the internet, will give you (to list only a few benefits) $35.00/month free unlimited long distance, instant access to consumer goods sold around the world, audio/visual telecommunications and instant messaging with anyone around the world, free or extremely cheap music and movies (depending on your scruples toward exponentially eroding IP laws), ability to pay all your bills electronically, power to download free software that was considered state of the art only years ago, and your ability to publish your own media.

Speaking of self-published media, from them you will have at your fingertips all media sources on every major story, and commentary by thousands. Coupled by talk-radio and counter-biasing news networks, “bloggers” will make old-media sources obsolete. In some cases, they will expose for you, within hours, reports by media figures in their 70s as being ridiculously fraudulent.

You will almost definitely have a cell phone. You may have even given one to your children because “it makes you feel safe to know where they are.” These phones themselves will have the ability to email, IM, and play games. If you do not have one, it is only for reasons of privacy.

Game consoles—interacting with PC software and IT--will make graphics and scenarios which interact with gams around the world and have an other worldly quality. There are also game consoles the size of old video game controller, for sale between $20 and $40, which contain hundreds of the old 8-bit games.

Did I mention you also have a robot vacuuming your floor?

Notice how little changed between ’55 and ’75, compared to ’75 and 2005. Was it just the knee of a pre-set J-curve? The liberation of computers from their main frames? The advent of libertarian-conservatism? (Doubtful, at least merely in the political sense). Whatever the reasons, we have a huge ride ahead of us.

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day--1/16

The Wikipedia Watchword of the day is


It was chosen due to a disagreement between me and Wife over whether Women have a prostate or not. She said no, while I said they have vestigal tissue which is the foundation of a prostate. Can anyone clear this up for me?

WARNING: The Wikipedia has been on the fritz lately. If you can't get the link up the first time, try again later.

The Other Whitewash

First CBS, now the Zepher Teachout (!) whitewash. On Monday, January 10, "Zonkette" said the following

On Dean’s campaign, we paid Markos and Jerome Armstrong as consultants, largely in order to ensure that they said positive things about Dean. We paid them over twice as much as we paid two staffers of similar backgrounds, and they had several other clients.

While they ended up also providing useful advice, the initial reason for our outreach was explicitly to buy their airtime. To be very clear, they never committed to supporting Dean for the payment -- but it was very clearly, internally, our goal.

Today, she writes the following

There was no quid pro quo. I never heard anyone tell a blogger what they could or could not say. I never heard anyone tell a blogger that because of the contract, they had to support Dean or couldn’t support another candidate.

. . . . .

3. Do you think Kos or Jerome did anything unethical?

No. There was no questionable commitment on their part. Jerome or Kos weren’t party to any of these conversations.

I asked "Zonkette" two questions

(1) Did you ever explicitly tell Armstrong/Zuniga/Daily KOS that you wanted to buy "airtime" to support dean?

(2) Did they, before taking your money, ever explicitly say to you that they didn't want to give you "airtime", only to give "techincal advice."

If the answers are "yes" and then "no", then they had a contract for "airtime", an explicit offer with an acceptance by action. If I hold in front of you a $100 bill and say "I'll give you this $100 if you paint my house," and you take it without saying anything, you've nonetheless communicated to me, quite clearly, that you're going to paint my house.

In either case, the whole thing stinks to high heaven. An FEC investigation would not be unreasonable.

UPDATE: Things are getting ugly in the comments section over there.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Wikipedia Watchword of the Day

The Wikipedia Watchword of the Day is:

Four Color Theorem

. . . .Or is it the other way around?

Art imitates life.


One of the institutions which separates the civilized from uncivilized, or even humanity from animals, is the proper disposal of the dead. No matter how hated or infamous one may have been in this mortal world, the tribe or polity which hated him will dig a hole for him, or set a fire for him, and put him in there. Even those victims of a dictatorial regime, executed and placed in ovens or mass graves are . . . well, put in ovens or mass graves. Legends and literature date back thousands of years stating that they who do not dispose of their dead will have curses heaped upon them. This was no mere superstition, as a dead body left lying around is a ripe source of contagion.

That being said, I pose the question of what culture would dispose of a person in this manner?

I pity the Israelis for their duty--forced on them by the rest of the world--to babysit these troglodytes.

Prince Harry, Totalitarianism, and the Double Standard

Here's an interesting article about Prince Harry and the double standard between Nazis and more insidious brands of totalitarianism.

It is yet another perfect example of the double standard so prevalent out there in the kommentariat and the wider world - which happens to be one of my pet hates. Imagine if prince Harry came dressed up in a fur coat with a hammer and sickle armband. No one would bat an eyelid, a few people might chuckle and comment how cute he looks, and the only reason why the story would make it into the media would be if PETA protested the prince wearing fur. Imagine for that matter if Harry wore a Che Guevara or a Mao t-shirt. As John Lennon said, it's easy if you try.

Mr. Chrenkoff offers a explanation, but I don't think it gets to the root of the matter. How are the Nazis different from Communists? Because, in their own perverted way, they believed in and fought for human strength and human virtue. Nazis were thugs who goal was to eradicate "inferiority" from the world. But even more odious are the communist thugs who believe in eradicating superiority from the world. To the Marxist/Communists/Socialist/Liberal, the Nazis are guilty of the unforgivable crime of not being egalitarian. Such a sentiment emanates from people whose whole entire political psychology can be described with one word--envy.

UPDATE: Yeah, that about sums it up .

No, They Weren't.

Over at the new History Carnival, Ms. Natalie Bennett at Philobiblion contributes the article "Those Ancients Weren't Dumb". (Also admirable is that she's one of the few carnival-goers who actually reports history rather than interpreting it.)

Indeed, Ancient greeks (and others) reached the same conclusions we did: Long ago, giant creaures roamed the earth which resembled present-day animals. They also imbellished the stories to make things fit their ethos, much like scientist do with die-hard commitment to old-earth evolution.

She forgot to mention this little chestnut, though: Cyclops = Wooly Mammoth Skull.

First Impression's of Ayn Rand's Objectivism

To start my blog, I'm posting a letter which I wrote to a friend of mine, who himself has a great blog.

I've been reading some Ayn Rand lately. She had some good insights into life, despite some errors and omissions in her philosophy. She believed in the primacy of Existence and the Aristotelian Law of Identity: A is A; nothing can exist and not exist at the same time in the same way. Thus she also believed in man's independent identity and reason/rationality as the correct way or perceiving and affecting reality. She rejected Platonic/Kantian philosophies that thought that consciousness affected and/or determined existence--consciousness as the subject rather than the object of reality (thus the phrase "objectivism" as her philosophy). Thus she notoriously rejects altruism--that an individual should exist through and for other people.

Unfortunately, she also rejected Christianity. She was an atheist for the reasons alot of free-thinking intelligent people are: they cannot perceive God, and don't believe in anything that cannot be perceived; it’s literally unreasonable to do so. She also rejected the quasi-Kantian nature of Christianity--believe in a Consciousness above nature, that this Consciousness effects and affects nature, and that altruism is a primary virtue.

Rand describes her Objectivism as "a philosophy for living on Earth." I think that such a statement exposes Objectivism's limitations and flaws. She contemplates the nature of existence, but does not consider the origins of that existence: questions such as "How Earth?" "Why Earth?". She doesn't believe in a God that cannot be perceived. Yet everything that can be perceived--everything that exists--must come from Something that cannot be perceived and does not exist in our world, but transcends it in a way we cannot imagine.

Nevertheless, she makes some good points. Man cannot alter reality with his consciousness or will; God created man to use his rational ability to work in the physical world by the physical laws He has set. Miracles can occur which suspend those physical laws, but they are the exception and not the rule, and effected only by God and not man. As for the nature of altruism, she has some insights that do not necessarily contradict Christianity. She rejects complete, utter and total self-sacrifice to other people. But is that what Jesus taught? Jesus said "Do to others what you would have them do to you." Amazing how Jesus can make such a statement understandable to children but confounding to philosophers! Imagine Christian A and Christian B. A approaches B and says "Jesus told me to live my life doing kind things for you. What would you like?" Is B, as a Christian, going to say "Give me everything you have and become to me a total mindless slave completely subservient to my will!" Of course not; no Christian would say that! Instead, B would say something more like "By all means, don't trouble yourself. Continue to lead an full and prosperous life. Just do what it is you do best and be the full person God intended you to be. And when you do something great and good, just let me share in the fruits of you success. When you grow good food, give me a chance to eat some. When you build a new invention, let me buy one and try it out. When you write a great book or paint a great painting, let me see it or read it." etc. Such a mode of life sound awfully close to what Rand envisioned. Compare the Golden Rule to Kant's flawed "categorical imperative": If everyone completely and utterly sacrificed themselves to everyone else, the result would not be a utopia but the extinction of humanity. [Insert a reference to "nirvana" ironically being a word for "extinction" here.]

There are some other interesting points about Rand's philosophy. It would seem that, like the Atkins diet, Rand's philosophy started to became popular only in the last years of its creator. She wrote her last work in the 70s, regretting a world dominated by communism and liberalism, and died in 1982. Around that time, Ronald Reagan became President and Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister, who stand up for individualism and capitalism. “Yuppies” emerged in the 80s, who, despite whatever flaws rightly or wrongly attributed to them, committed themselves to free-will capitalism (albeit little else). Atlas finally shrugged in the Eastern Bloc and communism collapses. Rush Limbaugh "pop-conservatism" emerges. (At certain points in his radio monologues, I find that Rush restates Objectivist philosophy almost exactly. It wouldn't be inaccurate to call him a "working man's Ayn Rand".) Capitalism becomes universally accepted as good, while the welfare state becomes universally accepted as flawed, just like Rand would've like. If there is a First Circle of Hell, Ayn Rand is there, observing the world grinning in smug self-satisfaction.

During all this political-philosophical movement in the past twenty-odd years, there were also evangelical Christians. One would think that they would've leaned against Rand philosophies instead of for them. Christianity believes in three concepts that Rand soundly denounced: mysticism (a God you cannot see), collectivism (koinonia gathering and worship), and altruism (agape love). Instead, in practice, evangelical Christians are one of the most loyal, staunchest supporters of conservatism. On further thought, reasons for this trend become apparent. For one, philosophically, Christians have alot more in common with Ayn Rand than with relativist philosophers. Both believe in absolute truth and reject the subjective existence of the universe. Both believe in human virtue. Both rejected living "second-hand" whether leaching off of other people's wealth or validating oneself through popularity or tribalism. I regret that Rand came so close, but never made the logical steps necessary to accept Christianity. She admires creativity, but not the Creator who made the universe. She admired an independent individual person unfettered by other men, but not a independent sovereign God built without human hands. She admired the laws of nature, but not the logos that put those laws in place.