Friday Hodgepodge

Friday, May 18, 2018

Blog Roundup

With today's post, I bring back the once-weekly blog roundup. You can expect to see these on occasional Fridays. Enjoy.

1. The blog of the Texas Institute for Property Rights recently marked May Day by taking up John Lennon's musical invitation to "Imagine". An excerpt from a chapter of Brian Phillips's new book, Principles and Property Rights, serves as an aid:

There's no need to "imagine" in Venezuela. (Image via Wikipedia.)
While history provides us with untold examples of this principle, over the past several decades two nations -- Venezuela and China -- have demonstrated it in different ways. One nation has slowly rejected Lennon's vision and enacted greater protections for property rights. The other nation has rejected property rights and moved closer to Lennon's ideal of a society with no possessions -- private property. The well-being of the citizens of the two countries reflects these trends.
Having enjoyed two other books by Phillips, I expect I'll end up reading this one, too. The rest of the chapter is available for free from a link at the end of the post.

2. The Ayn Rand Institute has a new blog by the name of New Ideal. One recent post calls out "The UN's Unscrupulous Attacks on Israel":
Let's begin with [the] member states [of the UN Human Rights Council]. Which of these six countries -- (a) Saudi Arabia, (b) Iran, (c) Egypt, (d) Libya, (e) Cuba, (f) Russia -- has served on the Human Rights Council? The correct answer: "All of the above." But these nations are all egregious violators of individual rights, and many have literally murdered their own citizens in the streets. That fact alone should have disqualified them from membership in the Human Rights Council. Take a moment to think about that -- it's like putting the mafia in charge of the police force.
Journo, too, is the author of a recently-released book, What Justice Demands: America and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

3. Writing at The New Romanticist, Scott Holleran takes on Black Panther, the latest Disney comic book movie. I really enjoyed this review after also finding the film exhausting:
Boseman's ripped king gets tricked out with James Bond gadgets, Euro-electronica ala Bourne Identity accompanies an elaborate car chase, and a trip to South Korea (does every action movie have to have an Asian connection? Is South America off limits?) goes awry. Fast-cutting fights are disorienting. Drumbeats pummel the audience. Subplots turn over and over. This onslaught slips into sameness and gets stale. The plot spins and spins, lulling the audience into a bit of a slumber. In Marvel's universe of wise-cracking white men gussied up in industrial gear and snapping lines to one another, a movie about a mythical African nation and its aristocratic superhero ought to achieve a distinctive quality or uniqueness, no? Does no one in Wakanda listen to jazz? The men go around shirtless, why not the women? Is no one in Wakanda gay? Not a single Wakandan apparently watches television, goes swimming or grooves to Lou Rawls, Sade or Johnny Mathis. Does every Wakandan have to be a 24/7 'badass'?
I expected the social justice subtext, which permeates practically everything from Hollywood these days, but thought the movie might have a bit more entertainment value than it did. Even setting aside that and my normal reservations about the whole idea of superheroes, I ended up in a similar place.

4. From a Thinking Directions blog post a few years back comes some great advice on making New Year's resolutions, or making any major change for that matter:
If you're not mentally ready to make your resolution on January 1, I suggest starting a New Year's Campaign to learn how to achieve that important goal: what concrete, specific form it will take, what doable steps will lead you to it, and what less important activity it will replace. You can always set a mid-year resolution once you know your goal is clear, doable, and important.
If you don't need that advice, head on over and consider the preceding three steps.

-- CAV


Anonymous said...

Hi Gus,

I've always thought that the playing of John Lennon's "Imagine" over the closing credits of the film "The Killing Fields" was mot juste in exactly the opposite way that the director intended.

And given the antics of the FBI around the Whitey Bulger case, including our esteemed Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, one could arguably say that the Mafiosos have been in charge of the police.

Fact of the matter is that the founder and 'reformer' of the old Federal Bureau of Investigation, J. Edgar Hoover apparently kept files on people for the purpose of 'pressuring' (read - blackmailing) them to do the right thing. President Truman warned that Hoover was turning the FBI into his private police force and that

"we want no Gestapo or secret police. The FBI is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex-life scandals and plain blackmail."

The fact of the matter is that the FBI has been corrupt since its founding. What we see today is that the mask is finally coming off despite the desperate efforts of the Demo-press to prop up the illusion of probity.

The difference between organized crime and the FBI is that the FBI has a better PR campaign (Efrem Zimbalist, Jimmy Stewart) and a perpetual immunity deal.

c andrew

Gus Van Horn said...


Your comment on the closing credits reminds me of a news item out of Seattle, in which a socialist (yes, really) councilman complained that, by threatening to leave Seattle over an outrageous "homelessness tax", Amazon was acting like gangsters.

He was, of course, completely oblivious to the irony.