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Mission Accomplished

Article 1 of the draft of the Iraqi Bill of Rights states:

3. Any individual with another nationality (except for Israel) may obtain Iraqi nationality after a period of residency inside the borders of Iraq of not less than ten years for an Arab or twenty years for any other nationality, as long as he has good character and behavior, and has no criminal judgment against him from the Iraqi authorities during the time of his residency on the territory of the Iraqi republic.

4. An Iraqi may have more than one nationality as long as the nationality is not Israeli.

A Brilliant Product of Intoxication

What happens when the Enlightened One gets horny?

A Buddha call.

Multiple Meanings

I never knew that the word "magisterial" has two very different meanings. Nor did I know how funny it would be when that word is used to describe Rothbard's writing.

I Did Not Think It Possible...

...but Justin Raimondo has sunk to a new low, even for him. Justin is now asking, with regard to the London bombings, "What did Netanyahu know, when did he know it, and how did he know it?" Because, clearly, the Israeli government was behind the bombings.

Not just the London bombings, mind you; the Israelis were behind -- or at least had foreknowledge of -- 9/11. In fact, Raimondo has even written a book expounding upon this conspiracy theory/blood libel. Read more »

For God\'s Sake, Please Just Stop

A powerful indictment of foreign aid to Africa from the Kenyan economist James Shikwati:

SPIEGEL: Mr. Shikwati, the G8 summit at Gleneagles is about to beef up the development aid for Africa...

Shikwati: ... for God's sake, please just stop.

SPIEGEL: Stop? The industrialized nations of the West want to eliminate hunger and poverty.

Don\'t Fix What You Can Buy New For Less

Ryan offers an everyday parable exposing the foolishness of conservation for its own sake.

The takeaway:

People like to lament the throwaway culture of modern society. Really it's just that we're so efficient at producing things and labor costs are so high that sometimes it just doesn't make sense NOT to throw something away.

Anal Retentive

Does it make me a prick if I correct my summer director's economic mistakes?

Scooby Snacks

My roomate Billy Grams (yes, Billy Grams) sends along this important news story:

When Tank, a 3-year-old male pit bull mix, arrived with his owner at a veterinary office in Humboldt County, his jaws packed with white powder, it was clear that something was seriously wrong.

Earlier, Tank had mysteriously consumed an entire box of baking soda — odd behavior, even for an animal with famously indiscriminate eating habits.


The interns are talking about the inbred features of the DC libertarian scene; everyone knows everyone else, and has dated everyone else's girlfriend or (and?) boyfriend.

Raker remarks,

They're like Friends, but they hate the state.

Read more »

Language Structures Thought

Anastasia ponders the relationship between language and politics, observing that the limitations of language dictate the limitations of reality - or at least our ability to understand reality. What we cannot describe cannot exist - for us. That is the radical conclusion of pragmatism as Peirce and James understood it; language structures, and in fact precedes, thought -- at least higher-order, distinctly human thought.

She ties this in to a linguistic argument one of her co-bloggers, Clara, made against gay marriage. As I mentioned in that thread, Roderick Long conclusively refuted the historical definition arguments already, so I won't bother discussing them any further here. But apart from the linguistic debate, there is also the question of "thin" vs. "thick" conceptions of libertarianism, the topic of the Molinari Society's second symposium. As Long defines it, thin libertarianism is libertarianism understood as a narrowly political doctrine, while thick libertarianism is libertarianism understood as essentially integrated into some broader set of social or cultural values.

My fellow coblogger Scott wrote in the thread in question:

I see nothing objectionable about Clara’s post. All she is arguing for is the freedom to recognize or not recognize people as being married as an individual matter, as opposed to one being imposed by above by the government.

Now, from the standpoint of thin libertarianism, Scott is right - there is nothing objectionable about Clara's post, for she does not advocate statism or coercion; she merely states her disapproval and disrespect for homosexual relationships.

But for those of us who have a thick conception of libertarianism; who believe that there is more to morality than merely refraining from rights violations; who believe that some social values are more conducive to a stable, free, peaceful, prosperous society than others; there is something objectionable about Clara's post.

Clara tells us that a "a husband-husband-husband setup" is not as meaningful as a "husband-wife bond." She "reserve[s] the right to think [these setups] are hogwash." She believes that allowing homosexuals to marry would constitute "broadening word definitions until language loses its meaning." The push for gay marriage represents "a vocal interest group gain[ing] at the expense of the majority."

Now, I know Clara well enough to know that she is a nice person, and has no personal animosity towards homosexuals. At the risk of psychoanalyzing a friend, I think she's basing her arguments on tradition - on the fact that many people find homosexuality strange, unsettling, and icky.

But despite her non-bigoted intentions, her arguments are still a form of bigotry, perpetuating a culture of anti-gay intolerance. Read more »

Crying Over Free Milk

Given the lively discussion taking place in the comments section of this post, it seems appropriate to post an op-ed I've been working on, focusing on the importance of means-testing benefits. Comments welcome.

Crying Over Free Milk

Why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free? Mothers use this adage to warn their daughters not to put out before marriage – which always makes me wonder what kind of mother would compare her own daughter to a cow.

This analogy also explains what’s wrong with the current system of public education. Many parents reason, “Why pay for private school when public school is free?”

Not entirely free, of course – we all pay for public school through property taxes. But parents have no choice in the matter; we pay for public school whether we use it or not. Parents who want to send their kids to private school must pay twice: once through property taxes for public school and once again through tuition for private school.

So it comes as no surprise that few parents—apart from the very wealthy and the fervently religious—are willing to bear the double cost of private school tuition, while also giving up free tuition to public school. And since demand for private schools is largely driven by these two groups, many get the mistaken impression that private school is only for religious fundamentalists or the wealthy elite.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We could have an education system that provided universal access for all children without making school choice prohibitively expensive for all but the very rich. The key to this system would be threefold: means-tested benefits, elimination of territorial-based school funding, and school vouchers.

The strongest argument for a system of public education is charity. Not all parents can afford the costs of school tuition, and we want to make sure that children of less well-off families are not denied the same opportunities that their wealthier peers enjoy. But if this is the case, why provide free education to everyone, including the rich? Surely most of us can bear the cost of tuition. Why not provide publicly financed education only to those who truly cannot afford it? Read more »

Jaywalkers and Aggressive Motorists: A Class Analysis

Atlanta and Washington, D.C. have two very different cultures. In Atlanta, most people drive to wherever they need to go, without worrying much about traffic or parking. DC, in contrast, is a walking town; people take the Metro and hoof it everywhere. Parking is expensive, if available at all, and traffic is congested at all hours of the day. Read more »

A Mother\'s Love

Think about this the next time you encounter a school choice opponent: Read more »


Clint Bolick, President of the Alliance for School Choice, and Laura Underkuffler, Professor at Duke Law School, debated school vouchers earlier this month for Legal Affairs.

On Tuesday, June 14th, Bolick wrote, Read more »