8-27-16 Hodgepodge

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Sadly, Not a Test Case

Santa Monica, California, having enacted fascistic laws against individuals using their own property as they see fit, has prosecuted someone who rented properties through the popular Airbnb service.

Rental operator Scott Shatford, who listed five properties on Airbnb, was charged with eight misdemeanor counts of operating a business without a license and failing to comply with citations after he refused to stop renting out his properties, Deputy City Atty. Yibin Shen said Wednesday.

Shatford pleaded no contest on July 5 in a plea deal with the city, agreeing to pay $3,500 in fines and to stop renting properties within the city. He was also placed on two years' probation.
Unfortunately, rather than defying this law with an eye towards challenging it in court, Shatford basically dared the city to go after him by bragging that it couldn't enforce its immoral, rights-violating rules, which two different media lapdogs called "tough".

Shatford harmed no one by contracting with someone else to trade the use of his property in exchange for money. Perhaps he would have had a case, but he chose to taunt the little dictators in Santa Monica, rather than opposing them in some constructive way. The proper goal when opposing irrational, right-violating laws is a return of government to its proper function, not anarchy.

Weekend Reading

"As a group, African-Americans need unhampered capitalism more desperately than anyone, because as a group, they have never yet been able to benefit from it." -- Michael Hurd, in " How Trump Could Win the Black Vote" at Newsmax

"What many people refer to as rebellion is actually nothing more than individuation." -- Michael Hurd, in "Why Do Teens Rebel in the First Place?" at The Delaware Wave

"The problem with environmentalists is not that they have an ideology, but that it is an ideology with an inverted standard of value." -- Peter Schwartz, in "The Zika Virus and Politicized Science" at The Huffington Post

"What you can do is to gently encourage [your shy loved ones] to see what they're missing. " -- Michael Hurd, in "Social Anxiety Disorder: It Used to Be Called Shyness" at The Delaware Coast Press

What's Wrong With the GOP in a Nutshell

Someone who has negotiated with Donald Trump has written a Forbes piece defending him as being presidential material:
What we need in the White House -- and need desperately -- is someone who can cut through the Washington gridlock and get things done. Based on my own head-to-head experience with him, I know that Donald Trump has what it takes to do that -- and more. He's a tough man who can fill the toughest job in the world.
No word on what this lifelong Democrat might want to "get done." Apparently that's an irrelevant detail.

Given a choice between two people whose goals, harmful to me, are more or less indistinguishable, I'll take the less effective (i.e., the lower threat) every time. In this case, the uncharismatic Hillary Clinton, who would at least inspire opposition would be preferable. (And we haven't even begun to discuss the long-term damage a Trump presidency might cause the GOP or to our level of political discourse...)

Oh, and I see Gary Johnson has come out in support of a carbon tax, not that I had made up my mind in favor of voting for him, even in protest It's looking more and more like "Vote for the 'Crooked': It's Important" may well be my advice for this election.

-- CAV


Gregory said...

I would disagree with Dr. Hurd on the notion that blacks have never benefited from unhampered capitalism. Oklahoma was founded predominantly by blacks fleeing slavery and Jim Crow. They founded numerous towns, businesses, banks, even at least one university, and were extremely successful--until racist whites saw the success as a threat and crushed it. For a brief, shining moment black Americans were truly free, in a way that none of us is today, and they saw themselves rise from slaves to industrialists and intellectuals--heroes, in other words. Sadly, they had to travel beyond the reach of the law to do it.

It's not that blacks have never enjoyed unfettered freedom. It's a far sadder story. They have experienced it, and had it taken away from them, and largely turned their backs on it in favor of thug "culture" and gang violence.

Gus Van Horn said...


Thanks for mentioning that little-known chapter of American history. You bring up a good historical example of blacks benefiting from freedom, although I'd hardly hold it against Hurd for not necessarily knowing about it.

That said, I do have to differ from you on something: The freedom the blacks in Oklahoma enjoyed then was de facto rather than de jure, i.e., due to a power vacuum, and not because of an actual capitalist system, in which individual rights were both codified into law and universally protected. This was U.S. territory, and the eventual arrival of whites made the end of this state of affairs all but inevitable, given the cultural and political conditions of the time.

So I'd call this a historical example of blacks prospering under freedom, but I'd stop short of calling it capitalism.


Snedcat said...

Yo, Gus, you wrote, "The freedom the blacks in Oklahoma enjoyed then was de facto rather than de jure, i.e., due to a power vacuum, and not because of an actual capitalist system, in which individual rights were both codified into law and universally protected."

Just to add to the general conversation, this is something Ralph Ellison discussed in his introduction to Shadow and Act, which I consider one of the most interesting essays on self-fashioning in American literature. Ellison was born in Oklahoma in 1914, and here is some of what he said about Oklahoma when he was growing up:

Anything and everything was to be found in the chaos of Oklahoma; thus the concept of the Renaissance man has lurked long within the shadow of my past, and I shared it with at least a half dozen of my Negro friends. How we actually acquired it I have never learned, and since there is no true sociology of the dispersion of ideas within the American democracy, I doubt if I ever shall. Perhaps we breathed it in with the air of the Negro community of Oklahoma City, the capital of that state whose Negroes were often charged by exasperated white Texans with "not knowing their place." Perhaps we took it defiantly from one of them. Or perhaps I myself picked it up from some transplanted New Englander whose shoes I had shined of a Saturday afternoon. After all, the most meaningful tips do not always come in the form of money, nor are they intentionally extended. Most likely, however, my friends and I acquired the idea from some book or from some idealistic Negro teacher, some dreamer seeking to function responsibly in an environment which at its most normal took on some of the mixed character of nightmare and of dream.

One thing is certain; ours was a chaotic community, still characterized by frontier attitudes and by that strange mixture of the naive and sophisticated, the benign and malignant, which makes the American past so puzzling and its present so confusing; that mixture which often affords the minds of the young who grow up in the far provinces such wide and unstructured latitude, and which encourages the individual's imagination--up to the moment "reality" closes in upon him--to range widely and sometimes even to soar.

Incidentally, here is a good essay reviewing Ellison's collected essays and stories and discussing his views, times, and milieu.

Gus Van Horn said...


Thanks for passing along the quote and the link.