This Week’s Links—December 19, 2011: Farewell to Christopher Hitchens; others….

December 17, 2011
  1. Vodpod videos no longer available.

    “I’m a member of no party. I have no ideology. I’m a rationalist,” he told USA Today in 2010. “I do what I can in the international struggle between science and reason, and the barbarism, superstition and stupidity that’s all around us.”

    Crestfallen, but not surprised. Those who have looked online for images of Christopher Hitchens over the past year have seen this coming. I often took comfort in believing that every few months there would be another fresh crop of Hitchens debates on YouTube to inspire abd encourage. Alas, that is no longer true, but he has left behind an impressive catalog to visit and revist.

    Much will always be made of his Trotskyite past, but I had often wondered whether to count Hitchens as among the libertarians, given his occaisonal appearances at reason.com-sponsored events and the libertarian-sounding rhetoric he used against the notion of a celestial dictator. His support for the Iraq war seemed to weigh against the proposition. He has been quoted as saying of himself that he had a libertarian gene. I don’t know if that’s quite enough, but either way, I’m grateful for the what he has given us. Devotion to rationalism is the highest ideal—higher even than the devotion to liberty. It isn’t good enough to do what only seems virtuous. One must also be right.

  2. Yes, it would be nice if you could throw your sins and your responsibilities on someone else, and have them dissolve, but it’s NOT TRUE!

    I cherish all of the long nights during my law school days that I spent on YouTube with Christopher Hitchens, who had the courage to say, loudly and clearly, what ought to be plain. Of all that time, this is probably the video I remember best as having the earliest and greatest effect. What a lousy ethical doctrine it is to believe that one can be absolved and forgiven by throwing one’s sins on another’s back and then murdering him, ruthlessly. If that’s the way to salvation, then count me out. Read the rest of this entry »


Links for March 15, 2011: Backlog O’Links #1

February 13, 2011
  • One way to stimulate an economy is to get your foot off of it’s neck.

  • It is a crime, work? So I guess I’m a criminal. It is a crime to be working. lol.

  • I’m glad this point of view is getting out there. On one hand, I can see how the gold standard would constrain a growing economy. On the other hand, no, I don’t trust those people with the printing press.

  • Read the rest of this entry »

  • Links for November 16, 2010: Some Psychological Stuff, Some Fallacious Stuff, others….

    November 14, 2010
    1. Another fascinating diatribe from Stefan Molyneux. My question is: does this not apply equally well to libertarians and anarchists? Is libertarianism not just another ideology?

    2. Large organizations, including government, which is of course the largest organization of all, have actually become completely disconnected with what actually matters to people. … What behavioral economics shows, time after time, is in human behavior and behavioral change there is a very strong disproportionality at work: that actually what changes our behavior and what changes our attitudes toward things is not actually proportional to the degree of expense entailed or to the degree of force that is applied.

    3. After invalidating more than 30,000 Nader-Camejo signatures on dubious and highly technical grounds – for example, because signers used informal names such as “Bill” instead of “William,” or because their current and registered addresses did not match – Commonwealth Court removed the candidates from the ballot. Then it ordered them to pay their challengers more than $80,000 in litigation costs.

    4. Read the rest of this entry »


    Backlog O’Links for August 30, 2010: Old stuff that’s not even newsworthy anymore.

    July 25, 2010
    1. World Socialist Party (US) | Making Bread

      Daryl Larson, who farms 1,500 acres in Kansas sold nearly half of his wheat crop but will keep the rest in the silo in the expectation that the prices will at least climb further. Most analysts would concur with Mr Larson’s strategy of holding on to some grain for added profit. The [Socialist Party of Great Britain] only asks: why do some in this world face destitution and hunger, while others hoard food to obtain higher profits?

      Farm subsidies complicate the issue, but the simple answer is: Daryl Larson, the producer of the food, has the perfect right to do anything he pleases with it. He was under no obligation to make the food. Similarly, he is under no obligation to distribute the food. If Mr. Larson were forced to sell his grain at prices he did find agreeable, he probably not stay in the wheat business for very long.

      If we added farm subsidies into the mix, then, depending on why the subsidies were paid in the first place, there could be a basis upon which to demand that Mr. Larson make some concessions to taxpayers….

    2. AFL-CIO NOW BLOG | Public to Lawmakers: Tax the Rich1) Aren’t you glad that the public has no authority to confiscate and redistribute your private property?? 2)Never trust anyone who classifies tax cuts as ‘spending’. 3) This article quotes labor secretary Robert Reich who believes that the ‘fundamental cause’ of the financial crisis is wealth disparity. If not for wealth disparity, the argument goes, Americans would not have needed to borrow so much. I’ve never heard this one before…  Read the rest of this entry »

    Links for July 6, 2010: Kagan on Corporate Speech, an Easter Egg in the Health Care Bill, Knocking “Deficit Hawks”, others….

    July 4, 2010
    1. Elena Kagan: How hard will she fight corporate free speech? (Photo: Doc Searls)

      An attorney’s job is to be a zealous advocate for her client. I becomes a sort of theater of the absurd. It does not necessarily follow that she will retain this mentality on the bench. On the other hand, perhaps it is not so wise to turn someone who has built a career arguing on behalf of the government into a Supreme Court Justice. Habits are sometimes hard to break. Contrast with Ralph Nader’s 36 Questions for Elena Kagan, wherein the author’s first ten questions attempt to gauge Kagan’s support for free corporate speech, seemingly unawares of her very office’s zealous efforts to limit it.

    2. I wouldn’t be surprised if this were one of many Easter eggs hidden in this bill that the American people did not bargain for. That’s generally how sprawling legislation works, is it not?

    3. The FAA has granted the company an extra 110 pounds to the LSA limit of 1,320 pounds maximum takeoff weight. Terrafugia says this will allow the extra safety equipment and a still allow the airplane to compete with other LSA aircraft in terms of range and the amount of payload it can carry.

      Kudos to the FAA for getting out of the way of progress. Read the rest of this entry »


    Links for May 24, 2010: The War on Airline Carry-On Fees, Columbia Police Chief Wishes Marijuana Reform Movement Success, Thoughts on Oil, others….

    May 23, 2010
    1. The fun part of being a libertarian is that you get to blame the government for all your problems. The hard part, and the part that drives people away from the ideology, is that you have to relinquish your sense of entitlement. No, you are not entitled as a matter of natural right to carry your luggage onto an airplane at no charge. The airlines are providing a service for you, and they have certain terms that you must either accept or reject. Who knows? The baggage charge might reward those who economize by reducing their overall ticket price…..

    2. The chief of police of Columbia, Missouri, where the now-viral video of a marijuana raid was filmed, wishes the marijuana law reform movement success. Read the rest of this entry »


    Links for May 17, 2010: The Real Drug War, Fiscal Irresponsibility, Fun with Gold, others….

    May 16, 2010
    1. But despite all the anger the raid has inspired, the only thing unusual thing here is that the raid was captured on video, and that the video was subsequently released to the press. Everything else was routine. … Raids just like the one captured in the video happen 100-150 times every day in America.

      According to Montgomery, when the couple’s neighbors inquired about the raid, they were told that the SWAT team had merely conducted a drill, and no shots were fired. When neighbors learned from the family that this was a lie, they began writing to the department and the Daily Tribune to demand answers. When the couple discovered the police had videotaped the raid, they requested a copy of the video. Montgomery said in her email that the copy they were initially given had no audio, and the incriminating (to the police) portions of the video had been removed.

      On February 23, the Daily Tribune published its first story on the raid. The paper made its own request for the SWAT video, which the police department initially denied. On April 20, Jonathan Whitworth pleaded guilty to a single charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. He wasn’t even charged for the minor amount of marijuana in his home (marijuana for personal use has been decriminalized in Columbia). He was issued a $300 fine. On April 27, the Daily Tribune made a formal request for the video, which it received on April 30, with full audio and with no visuals removed.

      This is the war on drugs: Blatant terrorism, shameless deception, and desperate cover-ups. It happens in cities across the nation every day. I’m ready to end this madness whenever you are.   Read the rest of this entry »