Quick Roundup 187

Monday, May 07, 2007


Gus Van Horn received its 100,000th unique site visitor (since I added a counter in December 2004) at 8:20 p.m. yesterday evening. His ISP blocked his location, but whoever it was had Googled "'enterprise zone' governor schwartzenegger california" and ended up here, where he may have read this, this, this, or this. Bare sentience would have told him at least that I do not regard the Governator as a champion of capitalism, and that I think of him as a "girlie man".

New Home for The American Individualist

Crack journalist and Objectivist blogger Joe Kellard has relocated his blog. You can reach his new location from here or through the sidebar.

Mailing List for Objectivist Bloggers

Diana Hsieh has had an idea whose time has come: a mailing list for Objectivist bloggers.

To join the list, you must be a semi-active blogger -- or intend to become one shortly. You must also be an Objectivist, meaning that you agree with and live by the principles of Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism.

As far as I'm concerned, that doesn't require that you endorse or support the Ayn Rand Institute, nor that you agree with any particular Objectivist intellectual in ongoing debates. However, it does require that you refrain from supporting, endorsing, or associating with those who actively distort Ayn Rand's life and ideas, most notably David Kelley, Chris Sciabarra, and Barbara and Nathaniel Branden. Also, if you've treated Leonard Peikoff or other worthy Objectivist intellectuals with contempt in the recent debates about the election, please don't subscribe.
You can find more information and sign up here.

Important Point on Mil-Blogs

Darren Cauthon, whose blog I added to the sidebar a few weeks ago, made a point I should have been clear about when I posted recently on the military's ill-advised blog crackdown.
I don't think this is a free speech issue, for the same reason I don't think that restrictions my employer puts on me while I'm working is a violation of my right to speak. Soldiers are employees of the government, and while deployed they are on-the-job 24/7, for the most part. If the military puts more restrictions on soldiers' blogging, soldiers have to either take it or leave it (though, it might take them years before they can leave it). [bold added]
Cauthon is correct on this: One's employer is not obligated to provide a platform for the exercise of his freedom of speech. He is also correct that this is a terrible idea.

Chavez Steals American Property

El Loco did this right under Bush's nose and right in America's own back yard. "'At a minimum,' [Ayn Rand Institute Executive Director Yaron] Brook said, 'Bush should denounce Chavez's nationalization of private businesses as a form of robbery and cut U.S. diplomatic relationships with Venezuela.'"

Will the Levees Fail Again?

According to this article in the New York Times, the levees around New Orleans reconstructed since Hurricane Katrina are already showing signs of trouble. Most interesting is this last part, which indicates why.
Robert A. Turner Jr., the executive director of the Lake Borgne basin levee district, east of New Orleans, said he was concerned, but not necessarily alarmed, about the rills toward the crown of the St. Bernard levee, calling them a common sight on new levees in the area.

Mr. Turner said he was more concerned by the images of larger ruts toward the base of the levee, and said of the [Army Corps of Engineers], "We're just going to keep on them."

Mr. Turner said the corps had been responsive to issues raised by local officials. "They're out there trying to prove to everybody under the sun that they built everything correctly," he said.

"That is a big departure from the way the corps used to operate pre-Katrina," he said, but added: "They got so much negative publicity before, they can't afford to do it wrong. They've got to do it right." [bold added]
Or what? They'll go out of business?

The best way to determine whether New Orleans really is worth saving in the first place -- and to save it if it is -- is to place the entire recovery effort into private hands. I dare say that people risking their own money with no guarantee of a government bailout will be far more careful than those who built defective levees on the government's dime in the first place -- or who have mere bad publicity as a motivation to repair them now.

Environmentalist Link Dump

I don't normally just drop lists of links here, but this collection of links on environmentalism I saw at The Drudge Report bears jotting down for future reference.
To which I would add: "Free Market Economist Warns of 'Toxicity of Environmentalism'".

A Good One by Diana Hsieh

During the warm parts of the year, I save my copies of The Objective Standard for days when I'm outdoors tending the grill. Saturday, I finally got to the last article of the latest issue, Diana Hsieh's review of Tara Smith's The Virtuous Egoist -- which I see is now available in an inexpensive soft-cover edition.

At the end of a paragraph in which Diana notes that the book will pose a "sizable challenge" because of "its positive and detailed presentation of Rand's actual moral theory", and then ticks off a few of the usual straw-men, she says the following:
If critics of egoism wish to remain reputable critics, they will have to invent some more plausible objections than such tired strawmen as these.
That one made me laugh. Quite true!

-- CAV


: Reworded a sentence.


Jim May said...

Glenn Reynolds posted about the genocidal Paul Watson here.

Notice something odd about his comment? Here is someone openly asking for the deaths of five billion people -- a number Hitler did not even aspire to, let alone match -- and the best Reynolds can manage by way of moral condemnation is "stupid" and "out of date"?!?!?!

These same kinds of blase criticism could have been applied to something Nancy Pelosi said about socialized medicine. I mean come on, "out of date?" When was such thinking ever "up to date"?

It's not as if Reynolds is ignorant about what Watson really means; the comment about keeping him away from WMD's makes that clear. I simply find his utterly pathetic "condemnation" to be appallingly weak. If that's the best opposition that Watson faces, we'll likely be hearing from him a lot more.

Gus Van Horn said...

Reynolds saves his real venom for people who annoy him with "first principles":

"People who want every discussion of current events to go back to first principles are tiresome and I find discussion with them is seldom profitable. Plus, people avoid them at parties."

I suspect that Reynolds hates principles because they tell him that he can't have his cake and eat it, too, which is what he tries to do with his simultaneous global warming hysteria-mongering and implicit claim, as a libertarian, of being pro-capitalist. His annoyance, seen in this light, would be a form of cognitive dissonance.

To condemn Watson would require that he admit that his environmentalist ideology is wrong in some important way, so he really can't do so convincingly. But he can try to intimidate troublesome party-poopers (like Watson or anyone, friend or foe, who recognizes this position as the essence of global warming hysteria) who try to point this out.

The above is the most generous possible interpretation. Alternatively, Reynolds embraces Watson on some level, but doesn't want people to realize that Watson is, in fact, the logical end of global warming hysteria, and so he pooh-poohs it.

Your guess as to what mixture of the above extremes is true is as good as mine.