Quick Roundup 415

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Two all-day flights in two days await me, starting soon after this auto-posts. I'll have a tight schedule in between. Fortunately, I've been experimenting in the kitchen lately with some good results and can slap up a recipe if I'm really pressed for time tomorrow. In the meantime, here are some items that merit your attention...

Mark Your Calendars! Flip Those Switches!

Last year, I said, "I ran across Kindredist, by a Michigander named Amy as I was catching up on 'Edison Hour' festivities. I wish only that I'd thought of the name first!" I then quietly entered the time of Edison Hour into my calendar with the intent of getting the word out and celebrating the occasion if nobody else did.

This Saturday, March 28, 8:30-930 p.m., please be a responsible and grateful Industrial Revolutionist and TURN ON YOUR LIGHTS -- join Edison Hour on Facebook.
It's good to see that Amy has already gotten the word out.

Good Poem

I really like this poem by LB, which was inspired by John Keats’ The Human Seasons.

Pinched for the Right Reason

I meant to link to Joseph Kellard's piece on St. Patrick's Day last week. Here's an excerpt from "Celebrate Individualism, Not Ethnicity:"
It's high time for Americans to shed their false racial "pride" -- and should stop championing essentially race-based pseudo-ideals such as multiculturalism -- to pursue universal values beneficial to all men, no matter their biology or background. Identifying primarily with one's physical genetics or racial heritage, and the eventual irrational divisions, wars and mass killings this tribalism has ultimately caused throughout history, is nothing to be proud of.
And be sure to read what a commenter there went through at work when he spoke up against multiculturalism.

Out of the Woodwork

With all the publicity Ayn Rand's works have been getting lately, it was only a matter of time before the usual confederacy of dunces would rise up to be heard.

Leading the charge is -- who else? -- National Review, which explicitly stands by Whittaker Chambers' glaringly inaccurate review of half a century ago. After that lead-in, we have a "symposium" consisting mainly of lame, willfully ignorant put-downs that make the talking stain sound erudite. (They can only envy its relative effectiveness.)

In that context, I found the following quote from the tail end of probably the "friendliest" words spoken about Rand particularly ironic:
Still relevant in the Age of Obama? With all due respect to Whittaker Chambers, if we didn't already have her, we'd have to invent her, double-quick. [bold added]
Ah, but they did invent her -- or at least whoever it is that they are attacking. Starting with Whittaker Chambers, National Review has invented a grotesque caricature of Rand, which they have pilloried, and attacked what they imagine her ideas to be. Fittingly, the author of that quote, Leo Grin, "was twice nominated for a World Fantasy Award."

As I put it before the last time I encountered commentary on Rand of a similar quality, "
Let Ayn Rand speak for herself. She does a much better job than anyone who tries to do it for her." Oddly enough, nobody at National Review advised readers to read the books, be it to see for themselves what is wrong with the ideas or even in the snarky vein of sampling the horrible prose just for kicks.

Huh! I wonder why.

Why not gold?

First Russia, and now China, have called for something else to replace the American Dollar as the primary international reserve currency. That's understandable, but notice that it isn't gold. I explained this desire to have one's cake and eat it too in a different, but relevant, context:
Recalling some recent congressional testimony, and quoting himself, Greenspan said that "monetary policy should make even a fiat money economy behave 'as though anchored by gold.'" If that is the case, why bother with fiat money at all? Because without fiat money, the government would be unable to confiscate property and redistribute wealth via inflation...
Amusingly, the president of Kazakhstan also pushed for such a currency, to be called the "acmetal". The name was a portmanteau of "acme" and "capital," and yet it could just as easily been one of "acme" and "metal" -- which would have described gold!

-- CAV

This post was composed in advance and scheduled for publication at 5:00 A.M. on March 24, 2009.


Realist Theorist said...

"... but notice that it isn't gold"

T'aint about going straight! It's about the lesser gangs wanting in on the scam of currency-printing.

Darren said...

Thanks for passing the word about Edison Hour, I just signed up for it on Facebook.

This is one of those (few) times when I'm glad I'm on a site like Facebook. I'm connected to about 95 people now, all friends, family, coworkers, and people I've grown up with, and there are times when I question exactly why. But at a time like this, it gives me the opportunity to spread a short, simple idea in a way that I couldn't do anywhere else. One short, positive statement like "I think that we should embrace and celebrate that which enhances and promotes our lives. Enjoy your life and electricity!" that pops up on 95 people's screens is coverage that's hard to get anywhere else.

Katrina said...

Thanks for posting the National Review roundtable. As painful as it is, occasional reminders of why I abandoned Conservativism are useful. Few have made it as obvious as this piece. I thought at first it was a "man on the street" interview because of the thuggish and trashy language, but these are professors and today's intellectuals speaking like this about the most important book of the 20th century. Pathetic.

And I just have to say, the one who insisted on referring to Rand by her birth name, Rosenbaum, is such a tool. There are only two reasons to do that: to make Rand seem dishonest/pretentious for changing her name or to make yourself seem more authoritative for knowing that she changed it. I suspect the writer is operating under both motives.

Gus Van Horn said...

Thank you all for your kind comments.

RT, your comment shows exactly what is wrong with this sudden revolt against the dollar: It is no move towards capitalism, but a case of real criminals wanting to outdo pickpockets.

Darren, you cause me to seriously consider joining Facebook for the first time. Although, if I do, it won't be for awhile due to too much on the plate as it is.


Your dissection of "Doctor Korinthenkacker" was right on the money! The use of the appearance of erudition to impress and intimidate is also a perfect description of Wm. Buckley's entire intellectual persona.

Amy said...

Hey, thanks so much for the mention Gus! I wonder if the power companies will report a surge. :-)

Gus Van Horn said...

That would be hilarious!

And thanks for remembering Edison Hour!

Mo said...

the post about multiculturalism is thought provoking. However I do not necessarily see how one's heritage should be seperate from his identity. at the same time it does smell like a receipie for tribalism.

Gus Van Horn said...

I'm not sure of what your question is, but it would probably make more sense to consider the question in light of one's more recent ancestral past.

I'm from the South. The cultural environment has shaped me in many ways, most strongly in terms of the kind of food and music I like. My home state has produced far more than its share of writers and musicians -- and racists.

I have been shaped by my upbringing in Mississippi, but I own none of the virtue and none of the vice of its past inhabitants.

It would be ridiculous to say I am not a Southerner, but more so to call me a racist: cultural heritage and moral character are two different things.

Mo said...

well my issue is cultural heritage. lets say that you're Irish. Would you take pride in the accomplishments of your ancestors and their traditions? or would you consider that "ethnic" and false pride?

Gus Van Horn said...

It all depends on what you mean by "take pride in".

Realist Theorist said...

Plutarch: "It is certainly desirable to be well descended, but the glory belongs to our ancestors."

Gus Van Horn said...

Nice! Thank you, sir.

Anonymous said...

by take pride in, I mean are you proud of your ancestral achievements?

Jim May said...

Cultural heritage is optional, like *any* cultural matter.

I am Canadian. This, however, does not define my identity in any fundamental sense.

I have rejected the entire Canadian political identity. I am thoroughly American in that respect. I own firearms, I am opposed to socialized medicine, and find the notion of the so-called "human rights committees" morally abhorrent.

This rejection, however, is not complete. I retain Canadian citizenship, and I still root for Canada in international sporting events and in baseball (go Blue Jays!). I retain an affinity for dill-flavored snacks, maple syrup, Canadian icewine and poutine.

However, these are things that I have chosen to keep. That makes them my traits. Someone born in Texas who visits Canada and takes a liking to Dill Doritos and Canadian sports while retaining his American political outlook, is about as culturally Canadian as I am.

Every individual is the author of himself. This remains true no matter how deep and complex the choices involved become -- whether we are talking about someone like Ayn Rand, who in many ways originated her own personal culture -- to the abject conformist whose entire identity is defined by the single choice not to choose for themselves, and who wear their tribal identities with false "pride".

Heritage is therefore separate from identity -- it is the free-acting individual who decides where they intersect, and by how much. For those who decide not to choose, it tends to be the dominant input into who they are. For those who actively take charge of their own identity, it's just one set of options to choose from.

Gus Van Horn said...

You can ADMIRE their accomplishments, but since they are not YOUR OWN achievements, you cannot properly take pride in them.

Joseph Kellard said...


Thanks for mentioning my column “Celebrate Individualism, Not Ethnicity.”

In the comments section here, Mo wrote: “the post about multiculturalism is thought provoking. However I do not necessarily see how one's heritage should be seperate from his identity. at the same time it does smell like a receipie for tribalism.”


If you read more carefully, I note that my Irish heritage is part of who I am, but it is not primary.

Joseph Kellard

Gus Van Horn said...

You're welcome, Joseph.

Gus Van Horn said...


Once again, your comment showed up, late in the "comments moderation" queue in Blogger, but not at all in my GMail account.

Sorry for the late posting.

That out of the way, you sound like you are about as Canadian as I am Southern!