Around the Web on 11-2-06

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Yes. Even I have my limits!

Add numerous extra obligations to a massive dose of election fatigue and you get a somewhat abbreviated weekly roundup! I very nearly decided not to post it at all this morning, but realized that what I have found might, put together, bring some welcome relief from the upcoming election.

There is nothing here about the election or John "effin'" Kerry past this point.


The Undercurrent has posted a preview (in the form of a few articles) of its upcoming November issue.


Through the Harry Binswanger List, I was reminded of an article I'd run across a few days ago about the popular myth -- now being used to sell the idea of government favors for American ethanol producers -- that Brazil's independence from foreign oil is due to its cultivation of a domestic fuel ethanol industry.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva didn't celebrate the oil independence milestone out in an Amazon sugar field.

No, he smashed a champagne bottle on the spaceship-like deck of Brazil's vast P-50 oil rig in the Albacora Leste field in the deep blue Atlantic. Why? Brazil's oil independence had virtually nothing to do with its ethanol development. It came from drilling oil.
I recall that after the fall of communism, ecological disasters -- real ones -- were turning up all over the old Soviet Bloc for awhile. And then Kyoto, I believe, exempted developing countries from its emissions obligations. And now we see that Brazil, that worker's paradise always held up to the United States as some kind of great "progressive" example, has been (shudder) drilling for oil! No one bats an eye or even says anything about it until seven months later!

That activity ( drilling ... Shhh!) has been all but banned in the United States! If you need a reason to doubt the sincerity of the left when it claims that its efforts to throttle American economic might are motivated by a desire for such things as "clean air", add this to the pile. And then try looking at the pile!


Dave Harriman's well-regarded "Physics by Induction" course is being made available to the public.
[Harriman's] unique approach is to teach physics historically, thereby teaching it inductively. From the early Greeks to Copernicus to Newton, this course presents the essential principles of physics in logical sequence, placing each in the context of the earlier discoveries that made it possible and explaining how each was discovered by reasoning from observations.

Cox and Forkum have just announced the availabilty of their latest book, Black and White World III!


I seem to have found a new whipping boy in Arnold Kling, a "former" member of the far left who has "converted" to Libertarianism and frequently posts articles to TCS Daily.

In his latest affront to the cause of individual rights, he discusses which form of government intervention would be best to combat the unsubstantiated threat of anthropogenic global warming. Quick! What's missing from the two excerpted paragraphs?
For this essay, I want to take as given the report's assessment of the cost of global warming. Also, I will take as given that the strategy of reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, which I call the de-industrialization strategy, would cost one percent of global GDP each year. I want to suggest exploring an alternative strategy for fighting global warming, which I call the climate engineering strategy.


I also will concede that I am not entirely comfortable putting the world's climate in the hands of scientists who attempt to engage in climate engineering. However, that discomfort is nothing compared with my fear of putting our future in the hands of international bureaucrats who are eager to embrace de-industrialization and to engineer a reduction of world GDP of $400 billion a year.
Our Libertarian fails to mention that he also "takes as given" that we should simply forfeit our freedom and property to busybodies -- who would tax us at best and forbid us to enjoy industrial society at worst -- all because of an overhyped, undersubstantiated climate phenomenon! Even if industrialization did cause global warming, such solutions are wrong because they threaten individual rights.

Mr. Kling, your "discomfort" is nothing compared to mine when I consider that you, who so quickly forget the importance of freedom, are regarded as one of its defenders!

Why not talk instead about freeing ourselves entirely from governments that will take any excuse they can get to push us around?


Back in World War II, we had a foe in Japan whose soldiers and citizens were so fanatical that they held military glory as a higher value than their own lives. Our leaders wisely decided to bring the war to them, ultimately showing them through the power of atomic weaponry what this really meant. They learned and we won.

Today, we have a foe in Islamic totalitarianism whose soldiers are so fanatical that they didn't even wait for things to get desperate before they became suicide bombers. Our leaders have done little to bring the war home to them. In fact, our enemy is far closer to bringing home to us the lesson of complaisence than we are to showing them what war really means.

Iran, the cradle of this movement, is being permitted to lie undisturbed as it feverishly develops the cpability to build nuclear weapons. There is, nevertheless, a significant portion of its citizenry who do not necessarily oppose America. So why haven't they overthrown the mullahs? Because the mullahs are insulating them from the full consequences of accepting their rule:
I live in a country where alcohol is officially banned, but where the art of homemade spirits has reached new heights. Sharing my astonishment about the cocktail book with some friends with better connections to the Islamist regime, they explained the government has a silent pact with the educated and affluent in Iran's big cities, who render politics unto Caesar, provided that Caesar keeps his nose out of their liquor cabinets.

In other words, the well-to-do Iranian drinks and reads and watches what he wishes. He does as he pleases behind the walls of his private mansions and villas. In return for his private comforts, the affluent Iranian is happy to sacrifice freedom of speech, most of his civil rights, and his freedom of association. The upper-middle class has been bought off by this pact, which makes a virtue of hypocrisy.
The subtitle of the article sums it up best: "How can you have a revolution when everyone is watching TV?"

Until we give them a reason to get up out of their couches and work for regime change, they probably won't.


"Funny that out of all of my brother's wristbands, this one is first to break." -- Kyle Rosenburg

(via This is Broken)

-- CAV


Myrhaf said...

Have a beer and relax, Gus. You deserve it. Do you follow the Houston Rockets? Some think Yao is the best center in the game now.

Gus Van Horn said...

Thanks, Myrhaf!

Funny you should mention beer.... As a matter of fact, I'm heading to my home brewing club's meeting tonight. As for the Rockets, since I let Tracinski do all my thinking for me, I refuse to watch a game with so much "point inflation"!

But seriously, I watch only the odd game and tend to get more interested if a team I like is in the playoffs. So that's good news. My coworkers, many of whom are Chinese nationals and love Yao Ming, should especially enjoy that. I look forward to many elevator rides with "blah-blah-blah Houston Rockets blah-blah-blah" as part of the conversation between fellow passengers this season!

In any event, your post today on Kerry was brilliant. I read it later on after I got out of the funk I woke up in. You managed to put into words the reason for the distaste for Hugh Hewitt I often feel whenever I do go over there.

Anonymous said...

The part about Iran seems to line up with what I have heard. I have a friend who has traveled to Iran many times and he tells me that he has never seen bigger parties full of more booze and drugs. All it takes is some cash to pay off the police and it party time.

Vigilis said...

"There is nothing here about the election or John 'effin' Kerry past this point."

Gus, when I happened upon this, I instantly thought of you. Please let us know your results. There were two questions you would have no problem with that I finally answered in the negative. My Tension Quotient = 40% (average 28%). If your objectivist answers enable you to score lower on the
Philosophical Health Check, please advise:

Philosophical Health Check

Gus Van Horn said...

SEVEN percent.

Who needs to party in Iran?

I figured I'd just claim that the test was rigged if I scored higher than Vigilis, but this is ridiculous!

Anonymous said...

Yo, Gus, you write: "SEVEN percent." Huh, that was my score. Wanna bet we answered all the questions the same way?

"Who needs to party in Iran?" I was gonna say something about doing the Funky Chicken, and then made a quip about having to watch out for chickenhawks, and then speculated that even the mighty Simurgh had best watch his back, but realized that I'd just be beating a dead ass.

Gus Van Horn said...

Well. I can't accuse you of failing to aim high!

Anonymous said...

I actually got 0% on the first try,for what that is worth. I only agreed with # 2,9,11,19,22,25,26 and 28.

Gus Van Horn said...

I agreed on those and with 23 and 24, which I apparently interpreted more generously than you did. With 23, I assumed the question referred to some kind of emergency (e.g., child abuse) in which one could intervene rather than assuming as many might that, say, poor conditions in Appalacia might obligate me to pay taxes for the support of the children there. With 24, I no doubt had a far more generous idea of what would constitute "necessary". than most would have. (e.g., I favor experimentation on animals, but I don't see any reason to torture them for the hell of it. Yes, they are property and if someone wanted to they should be free to do so, but that wouldn't make what they are doing right.)

Vigilis said...

"I figured I'd just claim that the test was rigged if I scored higher than Vigilis, but this is ridiculous!" - Gus

Ouch, Gus! Based upon the boring scores and hypothetical answers revealed by yourself and Jay, the test must, in fact, be rigged toward objectivist ideology. - Vigilis

Anonymous said...

Yo, Gus, you write: "I agreed on those and with 23 and 24, which I apparently interpreted more generously than you did." Yeah, we answered the same way there and for the same reason. Looks like to me though that we differed on our answers to #13, "It is not always right to judge individuals solely on their merits," probably because we took the question somewhat differently. It depends on the sense of "merit" and the context you assume for judgment. If it's taken in the stricter sense of ability or achievement in the context of employment, then I'd have to agree with it, but if one does as I did and think of it in the wider context of friendship or love, say, it's too narrow. (Similarly, if you take it in the wider sense of superior worth or excellence, however you define those, it's not suitable for law or business--someone might be a brilliant artist or scientist yet lack certain qualifications for an accounting job, and then their merit wouldn't be relevant for deciding whether to advance him before a fellow with a degree in finance.) And of course in the case of law people should be judged by their actions, a much narrower view than their merits.

Gus Van Horn said...


Looks like it, although I was mildly scolded for the "contradiction" of not wanting to damage the environment unnecessarily and "yet" not agreeing that people should not drive when they could walk instead. That could indicate an environmentalist bias or simply be a limit of the way the test was written.


I took merit to be circumscribed by the relevant context. A person's articstic merit effectively doesn't exist if he applies for a job as an accountant.