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Jihad, Terror, and Utopia Part I

In an article that's basically par for the course with Cathy Young, she details the Left's reaction to the London terror bombings and finds it "an egregious moral muddle." I'm sympathetic to some of her arguments, but I have some serious reservations. She concludes the article:


We need to have a talk

I don't know why there's so much emphasis on talks with North Korea about its nuclear program. Talks here, talks there, we need more talks, let's have (uni/bi)-lateral talks. Talks talks talks. What are these talks even about? The North Korean government knows that other governments are uneasy about its program. Why remind it? If anyone's been in a negotiating room during some talk or other between governments, please leave a comment and let me know exactly what goes on. Here's my guess (translating delays edited out):

Condoleezza Rice: Stop your nuclear program! Read more »


One of Atlanta\'s best-kept secrets

The neighborhood I live in now on the west side of Atlanta has a lot of great features: proximity to Midtown, ease of access (via Marietta St.) to Downtown, old-fashioned charm (green yards, gardens, old trees, and parks), and a good mix of people living in it. Some of the houses (and their residents) are in poor condition, and some are being improved by young professionals as I write this. It's great for running and riding a bike, and many of the houses have great porches for sitting and drinking sweet tea (or beer). Read more »


Brave New World Re-Revisited

I've been pondering a post about Brave New World for a long time now, and Anastasia's recent post finally induced me to share it. Read more »


Spirit of \'76 in 2005

The grandest holiday of the year is nigh! I hope everybody's celebrations preserve the spirit of '76. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Smuggle things into public squares when you're watching fireworks. Booze, drugs, and your own smaller fireworks are classics, but immigrants work just as well in a pinch.

2. If you're not going out into public squares, carpe diem in your own surroundings. Smoke something illegal, burn effigies, snuggle up with your same-sex partner, make a business deal on the informal market. If you're not the rowdy type, enjoy yourself and your freedom anyway. Read more »


H.D.F. Kitto\'s The Greeks

I recently read H.D.F. Kitto's The Greeks.


Blank-slatism: against humanity again

Blank-slatism can be hazardous to public health. In response to the recent race-specific drug approval:


Live Ignorance 8...Thousand

The very fact that people are willing to buy event tickets on eBay from a re-seller indicates that the tickets are obviously worth more to them than the value of the sale price. This is a very basic economic concept to grasp, but somehow it has eluded Bob Geldof. More than 100 pairs of Live 8 tickets are for auction on eBay, and bids are as high as £1,000. Geldof's comment was "I am sick with this. It is a disgrace. It is completely against the interests of the poor. Read more »


How to fail in development really trying

Assisting the development of the Third World is a goal often given lip service, but never seriously attended to. Big news lately is the cancellation of $40 billion worth of debt by the G8 countries. Debt forgiveness is high on the top of the U2 Left's list of priorities, and this decision has been praised around the world. But let's not forget that this is only a Band-Aid. In his book In Defense of Global Capitalism, Johan Norberg wrote that the average country supposedly crippled by interest payments on debt actually receives twice as much in aid as it has to pay out. Now maybe that aid also has to be paid back later, but so far the impression is that the influx will never stop. He also pointed out that debt forgiveness might be a one-time solution, but that if it keeps happening the impression of a never-ending aid stream will prevent the countries from making the best use of the money.

Catallarchy readers should already know how I feel about foreign aid in the first place, but the G8's method doesn't even pan out on its own terms. Most of sub-Saharan Africa is not developing at all, even afters years and years and billions of dollars in aid. If what the G8 countries' leaders and finance ministers really want is African development, they ought to pursue policies that maximize the bang for our buck. If they can't even do well by the standards they set for themselves, perhaps foreign aid isn't the best task for them. Read more »


Civil Disobedience: Libertarianism Unbound

I finally got around to reading Thoreau's classic Civil Disobedience. Beloved of many, but internalized by few.

This work has gotten quite a bit of praise from the Left. It is said to have been a major influence on the occasionally heroic and occasionally misguided Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr, as well as on the anti-Vietnam movement and more.


With so many years under our Western civilized belts, some are bound to be pretty ordinary. Life happens all the time, but only a handful of years are selected as truly important. The classic example of recent history is 1968, with two major assassinations and social upheaval and all that.

Election years have an edge against others, because during these years there's a lot of fuss about the direction of the country and near-identical visions of what it should be. Despite my wish that this nonsense didn't happen, it does anyway, and these years become memorable.


If the law is such that it requires you to be an agent of injustice against yourself...

The good news from the recent case about medical marijuana in California is that even though the Supreme Court ruled against federalism, it probably won't matter that much.


Vulgar sighting

Since introduced to Deadwood at the Catallarchicon, I've been watching it quite a bit. I've always enjoyed Westerns, and I've always enjoyed gritty realism, so it makes good sense. One of the first things a person notices when first watching the show is how much they say "fuck"—it's a lot. I know the word was around then, and I'm not going to split hairs by saying it was used only half as much as in the show (which would still be a lot), but it got me thinking. Read more »


A sign of the end times?

In a strange twist of fate, Democrats in Illinois are now supporting video game bans and Republicans are not. A bill currently on its way to the governor's desk would ban the sale of violent and sexually explicit games to minors in Illinois. Read more »


Arbitration

The Catallarchicon is over, and we're returning to our home bases. I had a great time trying to figure out step #2 in our plan (see below) and generally running amok with my colleagues. One of my favorite moments of the trip: we met some of the GMU economics faculty and were discussing where to go for lunch. Bryan Caplan, Tyler Cowen, and Robin Hanson favored Chinese food. James Buchanan preferred Italian. Caplan pointed out that they'd had Italian for lunch earlier in the week. Read more »