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Monosizean Shoes

What follows is an excerpt from: John Hasnas, The Myth of the Rule of Law, 1995 Wisconsin Law Review 199 (1995)

Are we condemned to a continual political struggle for control of the legal system? Well, yes; as long as the law remains a state monopoly, we are. But I would ask you to note that this is a conditional statement while you consider the following parable.

A long time ago in a galaxy far away, there existed a parallel Earth that contained a nation called Monosizea. Monosizea was remarkably similar to the present-day United States. It had the same level of technological development, the same social problems, and was governed by the same type of common law legal system. In fact, Monosizea had a federal constitution that was identical to that of the United States in all respects except one. However, that distinction was quite an odd one. For some reason lost to history, the Monosizean founding fathers had included a provision in the constitution that required all shoes manufactured or imported into Monosizea to be the same size. The particular size could be determined by Congress, but whatever size was selected represented the only size shoe permitted in the country.

As you may imagine, in Monosizea, shoe size was a serious political issue. Although there were a few radical fringe groups which argued for either extremely small or extremely large sizes, Monosizea was essentially a two-party system with most of the electorate divided between the Liberal Democratic party and the Conservative Republican party. The Liberal Democratic position on shoe size was that social justice demanded the legal size to be a large size such as a nine or ten. They presented the egalitarian argument that everyone should have equal access to shoes, and that this could only be achieved by legislating a large shoe size. After all, people with small feet could still use shoes that were too large (even if they did have to stuff some newspaper into them), but people with large feet would be completely disenfranchised if the legal size was a small one. Interestingly, the Liberal Democratic party contained a larger than average number of people who were tall. The Conservative Republican position on shoe size was that respect for family values and the traditional role of government required that the legal size be a small size such as a four or five. They presented the moralistic argument that society's obligation to the next generation and government's duty to protect the weak demanded that the legal size be set so that children could have adequate footwear. They contended that children needed reasonably well- fitting shoes while they were in their formative years and their feet were tender. Later, when they were adults and their feet were fully developed, they would be able to cope with the rigors of barefoot life. Interestingly, the Conservative Republican party contained a larger than average number of people who were short. Read more »


Sabine Sighting

I'm sitting about 30 feet away from Sabine Herold, who is meeting with a bunch of Cato higher-ups and other policy wonkish types. Us lowly interns will not get a chance to meet her, but I was able to glance in on the meeting through the window on my way into the building. Perhaps some of the Cato bloggers will fill us in on what she talked about.

For past Catallarchy Sabine coverage, clickity click.


Minor Celebrity

Turns out Tanner Pittman of the now defunct dashingyoungman blog is a fellow intern. I sent out an intern-wide email with a link to Scott's idea for Bastiat activism to get us in the mood for tomorrow's lecture on French Freddie, and it was then that Tanner realized he was in the presence of blogging greatness. Read more »


Cato\'s Fall Guys

Update: If you are Brooke Oberwetter, Justin Logan, Tim Lee, or Jude Blanchette, stop reading now. This post is not for you. In fact, just give up now.

Three other interns and I are playing the policy debate equivalent of the Washington Generals to the Harlem Globetrotters of more senior staffers; that is, we are acting as fall guys to help them prep for a debate against CSIS. The topic our group must defend: Read more »


Cruel And Unusually Dirrrty

Time reports that U.S. interrogators are using Christina Aguilera music to torture Muslim detainees. [Registration required - try bugmenot]

After the new measures are approved, the mood in al-Qahtani's interrogation booth changes dramatically. The interrogation sessions lengthen. The quizzing now starts at midnight, and when Detainee 063 dozes off, interrogators rouse him by dripping water on his head or playing Christina Aguilera music.


Yellow-Bellied Poltroons

Via digamma:

A guy starts out looking for some female companionship, and 19 posts later ends up claiming responsibility for 9/11.

Be careful who you go cycling with.


While Flipping Between MTV and The History Channel...

My roommate ad-libs a promo for a show we'd both like to see:

After conquering the world at the ripe young age of 17, Alexander the Great goes on to form the boy band, "Five Young Greeks."

Song title suggestions welcome in the comments.


Reading Rainbow

Glen Whitman sent me this book blog meme a while back, and I finally have enough time now to respond to it: Read more »


The REAL Libertarian Girls

A libertarian group blog made up of Koch women is in the works, and though it will include a number of lovely Russian ladies, none of them will be mail-order brides. Stay tuned for more developments...


Name Dropping

Pace Jacob Lyle's anti-statist travel guide to the belly of the beast, there is no better place to be than Washington DC if you are a young libertarian. Read more »


Homeless Blegging

This Catallarchicon shindig ends tomorrow, Sunday, May 29th, but my Koch fellowship at Cato doesn't begin until this Friday, June 3rd, so I'm looking for a place to crash for five days in the greater D.C. area. I'm not very picky - all I need is a place on the floor to set up a sleeping bag, a place nearby to park my car, and preferably high-speed internet access. I'd also be willing to split the cost of a hotel room if anyone else is in a similar position looking for a place to stay for the next week.

Contact info: mghertner at gmail


24 Makes You Smarter

Not what you'd expect from the New York Times: Read more »


Caesar Needs A Bath

Jonathan Dingel, who I met at last summer's Mises University, passes me the Caesar's Bath meme:

Behold, the Caesar’s Bath meme! List five things that people in your circle of friends or peer group are wild about, but you can’t really understand the fuss over. To use the words of Caesar (from History of the World Part I), “Nice. Nice. Not thrilling . . . but nice.”

I've never gotten into:


My TiVo Addiction

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution interviewed me a few days ago about my TiVo-watching habits. Read more »


Hayek Was Not Hayekian?

Bettina Bien Greaves reviews Alan Ebenstein's "Hayeh's Journey: The Mind of Friedrich Hayek," in the April edition of Liberty Magazine (review not available online).