Core Essence

Alright, the following comment to this post is going to a separate entry (with a few small edits). The commenter I’m replying to is one of Kim du Toit’s readers, and I’ll give him credit for wading in here. “The government exists at the consent of the governed.” Pure fantasy. Someone told you that bromide, or you read it once, and swallowed it without even thinking about it. I do not consent to it. In fact, clearly, there are millions upon millions of people who do not consent to it in varying degrees. Me? I consent to absolutely none of it. Not a single thing. So, your premise is clearly and obviously completely false. What’s more, you have read my comments on Kim’s site. You know very well that I am arguing as opposed to state force. You talk about “society” and how I need to “compromise,” at the same time every one of my arguments deals with the impossibility of compromise with the state. If you could compromise with it to any meaningful degree, it would cease to be the state. I have never argued against compromise in my life. Can you guess why? Your compromises are none of…

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Prophetess

In For the New Intellectual, Rand warns against “death-worshiping mystics” who control and humiliate through the use of guilt and fear, preaching that a man’s pursuit of happiness here on earth is evidence of depravity and selfishness, that his independent mind is a source of arrogance, his body a source of evil, that his liberty, self-esteem and individuality are desecrations of the commandments for obedience, humility, suffering, renunciation and self-sacrifice. “There is no way to make a human being accept the role of a sacrificial animal,” writes Rand, “except by destroying his self-esteem.” That was published in 1963, but, you know, Rand was just a kook who didn’t know what she was talking about. Well, at least Ralph R. Reiland, writing in The American Spectator, doesn’t seem to think so. Or John Venlet. Update: Ah, hell, I can’t resist: But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. -Isaiah 64:6 I vividly recall to this day my maternal grandfather, Clarence Goodsell, throwing a fit when he heard this verse quoted at a family gathering. I…

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“Clichés”

At risk of delving into libertarian cliches, even if you buy the dubious notion that protecting us from “addictive behavior” is a legitimate function of government, even the most well-intentioned of paternalistic legislation is, ultimately, enforced at the point of a gun. The people who break these laws are arrested. The people who resist arrest risk getting shot. The end result of legislation like Frist’s is, absurdly, that government will eventually use violence against American citizens to “protect” them from violating Sen. Bill Frist’s morals. Here’s a real-world example: At last week’s forum for my Overkill paper, I met Salvatore and Anita Culosi, parents of Sal Culosi, the Fairfax, Virginia optometrist shot and killed by a SWAT team earlier this year. The SWAT team came to Culosi’s home to enforce Virginia’s prohibition on gambling, ostensibly designed to “protect” Virginians like Sal Culosi from wagering their own money on games of chance. Culosi, an accomplished, single man who had the means to back up his wagers, had been placing bets on football games with friends. He’s dead because there are people in Virginia government who fail to see the absurdity of sending a military unit to arrest a man guilty of…

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Bedside Manners

I guess it was last Friday. I was headed to the mall to birthday shop for the wife, and Dean Edell was on the radio. His show is easily one of my consistent favorites for his propensity to cut through superstition and BS. He’s a critical thinker and I can’t help but think that his methods of scientific inquiry and intellectual honesty have rubbed off on a lot of people over the years. In this particular segment, which I got to late, he was talking about surveys of patients and what they find most important in a doctor. Sadly, and, you may have guessed it, it’s things like bedside manner, ability to communicate, and other such “essential” things that rank at the top. Knowledge and skill take a back seat. Then there was a caller who indicated that when his knee needed putting back together, he was happy to have a top-rated, arrogant asshole for a surgeon. He won Dean’s hearty congratulations for focusing on what’s really important Me too. When and if the day ever comes that someone has to cut me open, I want the most self-absorbed, arrogant asshole I can find who possesses the applicable skills. Why?…

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Ironic, Yes; But That’s Not All

In my first installment of taking a look at Kim du Toit’s posts since our recent conflagration (here, too), I was first struck by the irony of Kim criticizing the censorship of speech by private entities (like, in a blog?). But he’s right, so I’ll have to wait for something else that signals a contradiction with principles he claims to uphold. (copy and paste the link) Here’s what I see arising from all this. Already, thanks to [spit] pay packet withholding, corporations (which exist solely at the behest of government) are doing most of the government’s work in terms of income tax collection. But in recent times, corporations have also been doing the government’s work for them when it comes to political correctness, speech- and thought control. Yep, and that’s the libertarian take on the matter. Or, as Billy Beck (the other bannee) often says: “They use the things we love against us.” As a business owner myself, I can relate. I’ve essentially no choice but to enforce a whole lot of government regulations, which, to employees, have the appearance that I’m the one coming up with these various idiocies. Others have tried: i.e., refusing to be the IRS’s…

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Good News; Only 30 Years Late

I hate to keep harping on it, but the next time you begin to have delusions that the upcoming election is going to make a real difference, for the first time in history, stop and consider that it only took about 100 million deaths from malaria over the past 30 years for the World Health Organization to finally change its tune on DDT, a mosquito eradication pesticide never shown to be harmful to humans. I certainly hope that Rachel Carson is burning in a particularly hot spot in hell. (Samizdata)

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The Comments That Got Me Banned from Kim du Toit’s www.theothersideofkim.com

You can read them at the following two links, in full context. I put them up here simply for archival purposes and continuity. Remember, as with all links to Kim du Toit’s blog, The Other Side of Kim (www.theothersideofkim.com), you must copy and paste as referrals from Uncommon Sense are being blocked. So, here are my more substantive comments. The first is in response to one other of Kim’s readers who is essentially justifying his advocacy of state coercion on the basis of “everybody does it.” Princewally says: “It’s impossible to live in society without the government (and the other members of society) encroaching on your freedom.” That’s absolutely true, wouldn’t you say? Let’s add a qualification and see if you still agree: “It’s impossible to live in society without the government (and the other members of society) encroaching on your freedom [to live your own life without harming another soul].” Still true? Are you willing to stipulate that even if you’re as meek as a monk, never hurting anyone in your life, nor engaging in behavior very likely to hurt others, that your freedom—your freedom to live in peace—is going to be encroached upon by the state?…

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Pointlessness

Questions have been raised as to the point of this project, the “Kim du Toit” project. Here’s why I think it’s worth a shot, in pictures.

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Kim du Toit

Alright. I understand that this may not be of general interest, but you can read all about what I’m talking about at the following links, which, you must copy and then paste into your browser to access. Kim has seen fit to prevent his server from serving up pages where the referrer is this site or a couple of others. Now, he’s welcome to block tinyurl.com too, I suppose, but then he blocks anyone and everyone now and in the future who has or will use it to communicate “tiny” links to Kim’s posts. I have asked Kim to be sporting enough to remove that block, but no response. The first of those is what kicked it off, with me posting a link to my post about his, and then all the comments ensued, culminating in the action taken which you can read about at the second link. Is it a big deal? Yes, and no. No, in that it’s just a couple of guys battling it out on their blogs. Big deal. Yes, in that Kim is influential and he has done some damage to his integrity, in my opinion. A note to his dittoheads, and I’m…

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A Look Back

Via CK in email, some creative Caltech student put together a photo series to Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start the Fire. It’s a must. Quite entertaining. Oh, by the way, Firefox rendered a little tiny window. It played better in IE. Enjoy.

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Word

Amen, Lynette. I believe that’s the single best 9/11 anniversary post I’ve read. Right to the heart of the matter. Government seeks to disarm me, confiscates my property, and invades my privacy. The Terrorists represent less a threat to me than the DEA, ATF, or FBI. That was so five years ago and it’s doubly so now. Word.

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Principles Always Win

Say what? Have I lost my mind? No, and I’ll show you. Radley Balko links to a video clip of a recent O’Reilly episode concerning the prosecution of Mantra Films, Inc. and founder Joseph Francis, producers of the Girls Gone Wild video series, which is essentially a soft-core, voyeur series that films “girls going wild” (basically: getting blasted and showing their nubile tits and other accouterments to the cameras during Spring Break and other such gatherings). Jesus, Christ: have we ever effing come a long way from kids getting stoned, listening to the likes of Carlos Santana, and romping naked in Woodstock, NY, in effing 1969 — 37 effing years ago — for eff’s sake? Fuck; how I ever loath all of you muther-fucking fundamentalist Puritans. Die (hard). And go to hell. We’re talking about tits. And it merits a whole “complete investigation” and all other whatnot and so forth, and in the end, it goes away for the $2.1 million that Mantra and Francis could no doubt afford (big surprise). So, in the end, the AG gets a cut of the video profits and all’s fine. Oh, just don’t forget the paperwork next time. (Side note: I attended a…

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Why, Kim?

[Note: As they say, “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” Kim’s wife, Connie du Toit (Tech Support) apparently doesn’t want readers from this site to link over there (long story; see comments below), so she’s blocking referrals. So, in order to get there … huh? yes, if Kim ever gets too far out of hand, he probably will find all of his clothes in the street … you’ll have to do a copy/paste job on the link: Infantile, I know, but fear often brings out strange behavior.] From Ronald Reagan: “You know it’s said that an economist is the only professional who sees something working in practice and then seriously wonders if it works in theory.” From this we may extrapolate the following corollaries: – A conservative is one who sees something working in practice and then formulates his philosophy around it. – A liberal is one who sees something working in practice and then ignores it because it does not conform with his theory. – A libertarian is one who sees something working in practice and then ignores it if it is the outcome of government, or heartily endorses it if it is the outcome of…

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Let’s Rally!

Oh, man, unless you follow the markets every day as I do, you probably just cannot begin to imagine the utter fraud represented by Wall Street brokerages, across the board, and their talking-head cohorts on CNBC and such. As a member of the intelligentsia (the Bears), I laugh every day. Of course, that’s not how I trade. As a trader, you are best served by always being agnostic as to market direction, as money can always be made up, down, or sideways. Try this SNL video. Now, of course, the markets have been traditionally a decent investment, particularly if you engaged in the “buy & mold” strategy of good companies. They make up for inflation and give you a few pennies extra. (Next time your broker recommends a stock, ask him for a performance chart or graph over the past 10 years, adjusted for inflation.). Mutual funds can be nice, if for nothing else, that someone else manages the investments. But if you’re going to buy mutual funds, then get index funds or buy exchange traded funds (EFTs). Almost no mutual funds outperform the S&P 500 over a 10-year span when you factor in management fees (and God forbid that…

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“Are We Safer?”

Well, I don’t know. I don’t think anyone does for sure — which ought to be a striking realization after the billions and billions spent, eh? After the millions of hours and millions of inconveniences suffered at the hands of our airline security “protectors,” eh? After the war-deaths of 3,000 or so really, really good people and thousands of serious injuries suffered by the same sorts of good people who happen to be soldiers. If you’re up to it, and care to challenge what you think you might know, spend the 10 or 15 minutes necessary to John Mueller’s essay over at CATO Unbound. (link: Balko)

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A Reading

I had occasion just now to post a comment, here. It quotes something I read a week or so ago, had intended to blog, but didn’t get around to it. So here it is. And I’ll leave you with the money quote: But to be comfortable as anarchist, you need to identify there is no fixed point and there are no guarantees. Every argument you make is pro-choice and pro-freedom, it is not pro-system. You cannot ever say what will be, only what you think could be. At first, it seems you are pushed in the corner in each and every argument – how do you defend not knowing? How can you proudly claim you don’t know when everybody is ultimately out to get a detailed and warranted answer? The problem, until you realize it, is of course that there are no answers about the future. You simply cannot tell. No one on earth or anywhere can tell. The only thing we can know about the future is that if statism prevails, there will be someone saying what should be and having the power to make it so. And that can’t be right. This is actually the most important point…

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