To a comment: To be perfectly honest, this is how I approached “libertarianism” from the beginning, back in 1990–owing to the influence that awakened my mind. I saw it not so much as a required evolution in “practical politics,” as society is currently arranged, but more as a need to “evolve” (or motivate) the “practical mind” to the next stage of its necessary development. Understand: human consciousness (conceptual, integrative) is the greatest power in the universe, per se. It is the only power capable of purposefully controlling all of existence / the universe (think about it: on what foundation does knowledge rest?). We already have human consciousness. We’ve had it for about 3,000 years or so (if the late Julian Jaynes in The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bi-Cameral Mind is to be believed). All the potential is there. But I see “children” raising their fists in the streets all over the world, demanding “their fair share.” I’d love to be on the verge of concluding that the problem is existential, metaphysical. But I’m talking about things so fundamental that we’re not dealing with a “bug” in consciousness. That’s impossible (again: the foundation of knowledge?). There are…
Entries from April 2006
April 1st, 2006 · 7 Comments · Politics & Culture
April 3rd, 2006 · 31 Comments · Motivation & Lifestyle
One of my greatest memories of growing up in Reno, Nevada was our annual deer-hunting trips up north to Elko County, within eyeshot of the Ruby Mountains. My family (grandfather, grandmother, dad, mom, and assorted others) hunted deer exclusively with scoped .243 bolt-action rifles. That was the only suitable gun with which to hunt mule deer in Nevada’s sagebrush and open spaces, in our not-so-humble opinions. Why? Well, as I’ve stated, our hunting ethic was always about eating what we kill and we’d all seen way too much meat ruined by overkill with 30-06s and 7mms. Anyway, fast forward to the early 80s. I was going to college in Oregon and had occasion to go on a deer-hunting trip in western Oregon with my brother and some friends. We were hunting for whitetail, as I recall, and there was thick greenery everywhere. I quickly discovered that a scope was worthless (you get an eyeful of blurry green). A friend had a good old lever-action model 94 Winchester 30-30 he let me borrow, and I just loved that gun. Ever since, I always thought about getting one. Then, the other day, I read something over a Kim’s place and I knew…
April 4th, 2006 · 18 Comments · Politics & Culture
Reason’s Tim Cavanaugh highlights a couple of recent studies (748 patients and 1,800 patients) that suggest that not only is prayer for the sick of no measurable therapeutic benefit, it often measurably hurts, i.e., makes people worse off. God comes up empty-handed in the largest, longest study of the effect of intercessory prayer. In a study of 1,800 heart bypass surgery patients, the American Heart Journal finds that remote orisons not only don’t make any difference, they actually make things worse. My own experience with religion in youth leads me to a particular understanding. In my observation, the more religious people appeared outwardly, the worse they did at just about everything — especially financially. Often, their lives could be clearly seen as on a long, steady downward trend. Those same people, once they begin to turn away from religion as a day-to-day affair seemed to do better at manging their lives and prospering as human beings (by my standards, of course). Now, granting that such study data is objective, how do you square it with your beliefs? It seems to me that you’ve basically got to conclude that either your God is a completely evil sonofabitch, or there just isn’t…
April 6th, 2006 · 1 Comment · Motivation & Lifestyle
I’m in Vegas (again) for a couple of days. All business, this time. In the meantime, Billy Beck has a very good post up that explains what I mean when I say that “America exists all over the world.” Go take a look.
April 7th, 2006 · 13 Comments · Politics & Culture
JTK over at No Treason duly bitch-slaps Libertarian turned Republican Congressman Ron Paul. You bandy about the words “illegal” and “lawbreaker” as if they had moral content. They don’t. Weren’t Washington, Jefferson, Franklin and all the founding fathers lawbreakers? Wasn’t Thoreau? Or Martin Luther King? Wasn’t the Declaration of Independence itself an act of lawbreaking? Men have no moral obligation whatsoever to obey or even recognize immoral laws, including many immoral laws that you are party to. Stop using law as a proxy for morality in your arguments. There is no necessary relationship between the two. Amen.
April 9th, 2006 · 2 Comments · Politics & Culture
I’ve been sitting on the Doctor Doom story for about a week since I first came across it. Recently citizen scientist Forrest Mims told me about a speech he heard at the Texas Academy of Science during which the speaker, a world-renowned ecologist, advocated for the extermination of 90 percent of the human species in a most horrible and painful manner. Apparently at the speaker’s direction, the speech was not video taped by the Academy and so Forrest’s may be the only record of what was said. Forrest’s account of what he witnessed chilled my soul. Astonishingly, Forrest reports that many of the Academy members present gave the speaker a standing ovation. To date, the Academy has not moved to sanction the speaker or distance itself from the speaker’s remarks. Naturally, there’s no shortage of outrage. I don’t need to point it out, as Google will do a far more thorough job than I for those so inclined. Also, in fairness, it’s probably appropriate to reference Dr. Eric R. Pianka directly–either his clarification or backtrack, depending on your point of view. What I’ve yet to see, and anyone is welcome to point me to it, is some recognition that the…
April 10th, 2006 · 50 Comments · Politics & Culture
Here’s some food for thought to all you “law-abiding, ‘compassionate’ conservatives” out there, as well as democrats who smell the red meat that the immigration issue is sizing up to be for the upcoming solve-all-problems-by-voting-your-1/270,000,000th-say season. I’m reading reports of the massive demonstrations and I can’t help but recall back in the day when people were breaking laws right and left–peacefully and gleefully–in order to partially correct the institutional injustice faced by the black man. What was their fundamental operating premise, their rallying cry? Was it that blacks were “legal citizens of the United Sates?” Or, was it that blacks are … uh, human beings who ought to be judged, individually, by the content of their character and not the color of their skin, or, and pay attention here: their “legal” status. Arbitrarily stopping a guy at some arbitrary line drawn on a map when he is coming to peacefully trade with others in terms of employment, food, shelter, clothing, and so on, is not fundamentally different than sending a black man to the back of the bus. If these demonstrators get their fundamental premises and rationale correct, you “compassionate” ones just might get one hell of a lot more…