Wednesday, August 31, 2005

That's what I said 

Roming gangs of armed thugs.... We need clearly need Snake Plissken...

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"War Zone" 

A New Orleans police official on Sean Hannity is describing the scenes inside the city, likening it to a war zone, and saying that police are forced to move in convoys to avoid danger. This is unbelievable. I will try to get a transcript.

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Human Tragedy 

There's thousands of people on overpasses or the upper stories of buildings with no food or water. If they don't get any in a few days, help which is well in doubt in the depths of the flooded city, especially get water, there is going to be thousands of more deaths. This is an absolute tragedy.

There is not nearly enough help to provide food and water for the people of New Orleans. There is no instruction, order, law, or help in most of the city. There is help in certain areas, but people don't know where to go to get it. Instead, they remain where they are and slowly dehydrate to death.

The more I see what Shep Smith and his camera crew are displaying near the superdome at the housing projects, the more I become sick and angry that this is occuring and that there is no help available. We're the wealthiest country in the world, and yet we have people starving and dying for lack of rescue and aid (imagine what would have happened if this had occured in any other, less wealthy and prepared country) This is absolutely beyond words. I can't type any more...

Like I said, I'll say again. God help us all. Pray for the victims.

UPDATE: I think the one thing we have learned from this is the folly of building a city below sea level. It is supreme folly to place hundreds of thousands of people that are dependent for survival on an advanced infrastructure in a city below sea level. The people that live in modern cities are comletely dependent on the massive pillar of civilization and technology that we have constructed over the past 500 years. It's a long fall from that summit. And it appears that this pillar has collapsed on the northern Gulf coast, especially in New Orleans. I'm not saying that civilization is bad, and that technology is evil. I believe the opposite in most cases. However, as I said, it's folly to build a city in a place like Southern LA and put these hundreds of thousands of people in such a vulnerable position.

If we rebuild the city there and everyone moves back, God help us. If we can't learn from this mistake and live in places that don't risk being wiped out in one day, than we deserve what comes to us.

And just to mention the selfish argument--why should I have to pay to subsidize those that want to try to live again in such a stupid location? There has to be a limit. And the position New Orleans is in is clearly beyond any reasonable limit. If we don't learn from this catastrophe, than that will be a real tragedy.

We have to learn from the destruction of New Orleans. This isn't a movie, it's real.

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Katrina: Bigger than 9/11? 

There's something to chew on. I'm not sure what to say on that thought yet, after I heard it this afternoon. Maybe you the reader or my fellow blogger will have something to say on that. Feel free to post comments (or posts, Andrew) on what you think about Katrina, it's magnitude, and what it means in the short and the long term for the US.

Is Katrina bigger than 9/11?

UPDATE: The Mayor of New Orleans (I almost typed New York...) says that hundreds and maybe thousands may be dead...

And those that aren't dead have lost everything...

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New Ford Car 

While it may be a concept, if hope Ford takes their cars in this direction. I've always liked Fords since by Dad worked for several Ford dealers for over ten years and my family has had good experience with the Fords it's owned.

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Joke becomes reality 

This is amusing and sad at the same time.

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Escape from New Orleans 

Gun stores are being looted, the jails have been emptied, there is a complete breakdown in law and order, and armed gangs are roming the streets. (I don't have a link, but I heard this on the radio news as being reported by the AP)

Not to be disrespectful to those that are suffering, but the minute I heard about this latest development I thought of one thing, or well, one man. Let the cry go out: Someone call Snake Plissken!

UPDATE: Here's a quote on the gangs from a seemingly authoritative source in the New Orleans government (as an aside, can it be called a working government at this point when its population is dispersed and it has no control over the use of force--one of the key markers of sovereignty--in its jurisdiction? Hmmm...by many benchmarks the city of New Orleans as a political entity of people, government, culture, infrastructure, etc, no longer exists):
A giant new Wal-Mart in New Orleans was looted, and the entire gun collection was taken, The Times-Picayune reported. "There are gangs of armed men in the city moving around the city," said Ebbert, the city's homeland security chief. Also, looters tried to break into Children's Hospital, the governor's office said.
Not good.

I think a tangent on this is the issue of dealing with looters by shooting to kill. That might have worked if they had started doing it almost immediatly, with a few warning shots at first, but it seems that now it's too late unless we're going to be shooting hundreds of people. Clearly a policy should be disseminated in the days before a disaster that those looting anything but, say, food and survival equipment (not guns!), will be shot on sight by the police and national guard. That way a few warning shots or a few people being shot would have the appropriate effect. Now, I feel, it's just too late to do this without killing a lot of people. And that would be another catastrophe in itself.

Now, shooting roving, armed gans is another thing entirely. Breaking some skulls in that case would probably be a good thing. Maybe we can use the United States Police Force for that...

Another UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg says that there should be forgiveness for looting that saves lives. I agree with that.

I don't agree with what he also reports: looters shooting police officers in the head and looters shooting other looters... He says that authorities should stem this tide of lawlessness before it's too late. Unless they have thousands and thousands of troops to guard things and bodily remove people, I don't see how anything but shooting people will curtail this crime. And, as I said above, I think it's too late for that.

Michelle Malkin has a story of a childrens hospital under siege by looters trying to break in an pick it clean. There are still patients and staff inside while this gang is coallescing.

All I can say is wow. The more I read, the more shocked I become at how bad it actually is. It's like the State of Nature, and as we all know, life in it is famously "nasty, brutish, and short".

Yep, looking at New Orleans it seems that Hobbes got that one right.

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The Ultimate Disaster Radio 

Glenn Reynolds has the scoop. If I had the spare scratch, I'd buy one myself.

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I guess one should come to expect 

Der Spiegel to always twist everything to shine negatively on America. They've even done it with Hurricane Katrina. Good job, Spiegel. You can even make political hay out of one of the costliest natural disasters ever. How about for your next act you demonstrate how Big Bird is clearly anti-Bush.

UPDATE: See my reply in the comments for more on this.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Re: Riddle Me This 

Well, Jason, I think its a mixed bag. First of all, the entire incident is horribly tragic, and none can say that these people should be without aide and comfort. If the American people are willing to pay the price in the form of taxes, then the will of the people should dictate that the government do all it can. On the other hand, how much burden for other people's decisions should I have to shoulder? Charitable giving is admirable, indeed one of the noblest of human pursuits, be it monitary or giving of one's time. But tax revenue is not my idea of charity. Perhaps the answer is one of simple economic incentives: whether or not you are insured, if you live in a high risk hurricane (or tornado, or flood for that matter) area, you should have to pay a higher tax to internalize the significant externality you will be imposing on others should your house be unwillingly transported from its foundation. Those willing to incur the cost will offset the cost they will have to the general tax paying populous. Clearly they will not be able to offset the cost completely, and perhaps shouldn't, given the lack of control any of us have over natural disasters and acts of God. But between such an incentive scheme, the presence of insurance, charity and some government assistance, the situation could be handled.

That's not to say the government doesn't have an obligation to help, but to some extent people who choose to live in a city below sea level that is prone to flooding have already elected to be responsible for themselves.

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Today's links: Lebanon Redux, Nasa Lounge, and Profanity in the Classroom 

Since we have sort of a habit of linking to a lot of interesting content during the course of the Day, I figured I would consolidate my links into one daily post, leaving more room for you, the reader, to enjoy my sound, liberal-quashing logic and abrasive but charming wit in the remaining body of the day's work. Today's theme: links not produced by National Review, since Jason seems to have covered pretty much every article available on the entire site.(Now I have a Karma Debt :-P). Anyway, here we go:

+ The drama in Lebanon isn't over yet: 3 Syrians were arrested in connection with the murder of Hariri... More on this to come obviously, but let me say for those who want to brush up that we had excellent coverage of the events as they unfolded (more in the archives, and more to come it seems)

+ The New Criterion offers an informative and honest review of the Museum of the American Indian, which is particularly relevant given the current Hawaii situation.

+ If you don't read the weekly standard already, you should start with this article on the failings of the 9/11 commission. Some good follow up commentary is available on CQB

+ Personally, I can't stand the amount of media coverage Cindy Sheehan is getting from either side as it is, but if you are interested, read this article by Christopher Hitchens on the true rantings and backward morality of the situation.

+ If you're a huge dork, and you have some time to spare, check out The Astronaut Flight Lounge on Nasa.gov. Come on, you know it's cool

+ Yet another reason to switch to FireFox, as if you needed one

+ Here's more on the growing rumors of a pending Al Qaeda attack on Asia. Not sure of the validity, but let me say that it doesn't seem a good idea to instantly piss off a Billion people... a Billion more that is.

+ Katrina's damage is all Bush's fault... how long did that take KOS?

+ And how's this for academic diversity: A UK School is going to allow cursing at a teacher. That should be some Show and tell...

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Riddle me this redux: 

So, Andrew, should we continue to subsidise people living in areas that are very suseptable to natural disasters through programs that provide free federal aid like FEMA? Or should we tell those people to pay higher insurance rates for their own coverage and take personal responsibility for living in hazardouse areas?

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I think this list is botched... 

I know that a degree from Chicago is considered much better than a degree from, say, Notre Dame or Vanderbilt, but yet they're right below Chicago in this list. And, we're tied with Brown. BROWN! Clearly some schools are trying harder to game the statistics than Chicago is.

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Speakin of Chicago 

The new college rankings are out...

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Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act 

Racist law is not a good idea.

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John Derbyshire on Intelligent Design 

Worth a read--he injects a lot of common sense into the debate.

I personally think that high school seniors (and ESPECIALLY college students) could use a bit of education in moral philosophy and metaphysics (some good Plate and especially Aristotle). That would give them a grounding in understanding high questions that are behind this debate on I.D. Then maybe they'd be more engaged in understanding how the world works and why and how things are right and wrong instead of just gliding by like a herd of sheep being lead to pasture.

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UChicago more liberal than Berkeley? 

Well, at least as far as donations go by law school profs, yes:
The percentages of professors contributing to Democrats were even more lopsided at some of the most prestigious schools: 91 percent at Harvard, 92 at Yale, 94 at Stanford. At the University of Virginia, on the other hand, contributions were about evenly divided between the parties. The sample sizes at some schools may be too small to allow for comparisons, though it bears noting that by this measure the University of Chicago is slightly more liberal than Berkeley.
But yet the UChicago law school is known as a home of judicial conservatism. I guess they keep it professional as far as their work goes, and keep their politics outside of their jobs. That sounds like a good model to emulate.

UPDATE: Also from the above linked article:
"liberal ideas might well be strengthened and made more effective if liberals had to run a more conservative gantlet among their own colleagues when developing them."
Well, duh. That's why going to Uchicago, which may be more conservative than other 'elite' schools but still very liberal in general, has given me an inellectual 'robustness' that my liberal peers lack. It seems to me that the great weakness of the liberal movement is that its ideas are only tested and propogated among its own adhearants (as the quote above expresses; see also this commentary), thus leading to foolish ideas that are impracticle and do nothing but make other liberals nod their heads and smile before returning to watch some more CNN. Opposition to one hones strength and skill. That seems to me why 'conservatives' (I like to call myself a classical liberal, heh) are a much more robust movement. By discussing with my airhead, unthinking peers I get smarter from their opposition, while all they do is get frustrated by the fact that I don't agree with them. It's always quite silly, and they can never engage in a good discussion because they never think about their political dogmatism much because everyone around them at school agrees with them. Good for me, bad for them.

I say to all conservative youngins--go to an elite school like UChicago (especially UChicago, where you can get arguably the best undergrad education anywhere) where there are vestiges of classical critical thinking to be taken advantage of, and plenty of liberals to argue with. The trial will leave you much stronger and much, much smarter.

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To lighten today's bad news on Katrina 

What does "meteorologist" mean in Latin? It means "liar." - Lewis Black

via here.

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1 in 5 americans thinks that the sun revolves around the earth.

Excuse me while I go beat my head against the wall...

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New Orleans is flooding 

The levies have been breached by several hundred foot holes. The pumps are non-functional. The worst appears to be belatedly happening to the Big Easy. In a matter of hours the city will be under water and covered by a toxic cesspool of benzene (which is a carcinogen and highly toxic), sewage, oil and gasoline, and decaying bodies.

Sadly, I 'm not exagerating.

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Monday, August 29, 2005

On Hurricane Katrina 

Let's just hope that New Orleans doesn't flood, because it could take months to get the water removed. If one's house is under water for a couple of months, there probably isn't going to be much of it left (if it didn't get blown over first by the wind). Oh, and even if the water is removed in only a few WEEKS, there's still the matter of a toxic cesspool and slick being left everywhere. On the scale of destruction of property, this thing could possibly be an american Hiroshima or firebombed Tokyo, and probably a lot worse.

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Riddle me this: 

What's more courageous: living in an ideological bubble, or getting shot by scores of men while saving fellow soldier's lives?

Articles like this one just make me sick with certain people that don't look at facts, but just live on gut reactions. I thought academics were supposed to use their minds and reason to figure stuff out. If they're not doing that, are they realling doing anything useful?

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Sunday, August 28, 2005


from Spain, and the XXXI International Conference on Military History!

(Well, I just got back, but whatever)

A beautiful country, an eccentric people, this is the archetype of old Europe. Everything carries an aura of culture and age, every street corner, monument and plaza has its tales to tell. I strolled the Plaza Mayor and the halls of the Prado, and stood in the footprints of Columbus, in the room where he was commissioned to head to the new world. The feeling was unbelievable... It almost seems strange that it would be that new world that would ride to the aide of its distant ancestors time and again, only to be forgotten by the hand that snatched it from the flames of war and terror. The amount of youths surprised me, as Spain has one of the lowest birth rates in the civilized world, but I was less than surprised by the amount of leftist sign-boarding that blanketed clothing and graffiti. The Spanish women, at least, seem to have retained much of what makes them great...

I won't waste space with academic details of the conference (unless readers are indeed interested in this sort of thing, in which case leave a comment and I will elaborate), although a paper by an American on the Dutch in Spain, circa 19th century, proved interesting. The topic of "War in the Age of Trafalgar" provided many an opportunity for the European paper-givers to recount fond memories of glories and empires past, while a postponed dinner for the funeral of 16 Spanish soldiers in Afghanistan reminded me that they had no left the fight completely. Not completely.

Truly an amazing and worthwhile trip, one which I hope will not be my last, either to Europe, or to the conference.

[UPDATE] Next year: Potsdam, Germany and the topic is "War and Nationalism." Look out Mearsheimer, as I am considering giving a paper, but more on that to come...

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Saturday, August 27, 2005

The Oil-Spot Strategy 

This article outlines a way that we can win the war in Iraq, that doesn't involve following the other example of success anti-insurgency options known to historians--the kill 'em all approach employed by the Romans. Since we can't string up a line of crucifixes between Baghdad and Basra, the plan in the above linked article seems like a good idea.

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Friday, August 26, 2005

Raise the Standard 

Encourage university administrators to support ideological and pedagogical diversity in their institutions because, sadly, there isn't much of that in today's world of education.

Sadly, I'm a conservative who likes academic subjects and thinks that working a boring job that makes lots of money wouldn't be much fun. At least I can always hope for a think tank or CIA analyst if history doesn't work out...

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And you thought it was an UNproductive vacation... 

Well...if you thought that you were WRONG, heh.

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On Iraq Supporters 

This theory on why families of troops and the troops themselves support the war in Iraq much more favorably than the general public seems to make a lot of sense.

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Killing Hugo Redux 

This really is the last word on the matter. I agree. And I'm surprised to find myself agreeing with something Ayn Rand proposed so quickly, but I can't find much that I'd be willing to object to about killing evil dictators.

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Lance and Doping 

These accusations are clearly a plot by some wiley frenchmen to destroy one of the last remaining tendrils of civility connecting our two nations.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

On killing Hugo 

I don't particularly see why it's bad for someone to call for a bad person to be eliminated, especially someone that idolizes Castro and wants to turn Venezuela into the next Cuba.

Constanst calls for something have a history of working. I mean, look at ancient Rome. One of the Punic Wars was caused in a large part by Cato the Censor ending his speeches in the Senate with "Carthago Delende Est" (Carthage must be destroyed).

Now, while leading up to the Third Punic War Carthage wasn't much of a threat to Rome, Hugo is on the other hand a great destabilizing force in northern South America. I don't see why giving him a covert bullet, which wouldn't cost much at all (especially compared to what we payed to get rid of Saddam) would be a bad thing. There are many democrats in Venezuela that would love to see their country free again. Removing the force that keeps these patriots from realizing their goal wouldn't be bad.

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Friday, August 19, 2005

JL421 Badonkadonk Land Cruiser/Tank 

Uhhh...I guess Amazon is taking over the Star Wars model market...

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Rocket Attacks 

reported today in Jordan, narrowly missing a US ship and killing at least one:

Now here is the real kicker:
Jordanian security forces are hunting a Syrian and two Iraqi nationals, a security source said.

An Internet statement released by the al-Qaida-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades militant group claimed responsibility the attacks.

Well color me confused, but I thought that Iraq wasn't part of the war on terror... isn't that what Cindy Sheehan told me? She, and the other left-wing wackos who are pulling her puppet strings, just can't get their head around the idea that Islamic terrorism is not confined to national borders. It is a movement, an ideology, one that influences Palestinian suicide bombers, Jordanian rocketeers, Osama's airline pilots, and brutal Iraqi dictators alike. If what happened in Iraq under Saddam wasn't terrorism enough, than today's attack should only highlight the existence of terror that has clear ties to Iraq, and to the movements and ideologies that were fostered by it. This only shows the need for US forces to stay the course, not only in Iraq, but in the middle east in general. But that is only half the story. The New York Times is already drawing the obvious connection:
The Israeli government is in the middle of removing settlers from the Gaza Strip, in order to turn over authority of that land to Palestinians. Though Israeli troops have had to herd hard-line settlers onto buses and out of the territory, the removal has been relatively quick and peaceful so far. About half the population of Jordan is Palestinian, and most people in this country strongly favor the unilateral move by Israel.

Again, I seem a tad bit confused: I thought that if the Israelis made concessions to the terrorist PLO and yanked their own citizens from their homes, the Palestinians would just capitulate, give up suicide bombing women and children, and stop trying to drive the infidel Jews into the sea. Yet on the day of the pullout, Israel is the target of...a terrorist attack, from a country "half Palestinian." Could that mean that (gasp) making concessions to a terrorist enemy only emboldens that enemy?

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Terrorism is like Piracy 

This article says we should work to create an international definition of terrorism that is similar to the current one for piracy. It seems to make a lot of sense to me. Read the whole thing--it's a great article.

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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Make yourself smarter 

Yeah, that's right. Put down the Ritalin and do it the natural way. Although, the Ritalin doesn't hurt...

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An account of the Yalta Conference 

Wow. To be among all of those powerful people is just crazy looking at it now.

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Lileks on 'Stifling of Dissent' 

Here's some sense on the Sheehan matter.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Scientific Orthodoxy, Intelligent Design, and Toleration 

Read this article on the poor treatment of a scientist at the smithsonian that wrote an article challenging the explanation that darwinian evolution explained certain explosions in the number of species in the distant past. The contempt shown by many of the scientists at the Smithsonian towards Christians is absolutely disgusting. There's nothing wrong with not believing, but being contemptful and openly hostile is most certainly not toleration.

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The right to say something... 

...doesn't mean you're still not saying stupid things and making a fool of yourself. Jonah Goldberg explains quite clearly why criticizing the mom outside of W's ranch is perfectly acceptable.

UPDATE: Rich Lowry has some thoughts on this idiocy.

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Monday, August 15, 2005

On the Terraforming of Mars 

I hope to see people walking around on a mars raising crops with nothing but oxygen masks in my lifetime. And as crazy as it sounds, this is absolutely a realistic possibility if we devote our resources and will towards such an amazing goal. Begin planning missions to mars and terraforming now. I'll support such efforts for my whole life.

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Sunday, August 14, 2005

Want to read what a fool thinks and writes? 

Than read this arrogant, useless swill.

Really, if you were concerned about the success of America you wouldn't write an article toned in the way that the one linked above is. But, Mr. Rich isn't concerned with that. He'd rather try to pain a picture of Republican withdrawl and coming defeat. Ahhh... I wish I could see his face when democrats get thwomped again for the same reasons as the last 6 years. Not because I'm just purely partisan, but because I'd enjoy seeing him get what he deserves. It's too bad that such a check won't change his mind. That almost makes me more sad than glad. Almost.

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Friday, August 12, 2005

Re: Drug Policy 

I think the writer Jason quotes is misguided, but I have to value his desire for a moral government, especially in a time when many members of the citizenry view morality as a political pariah, something which must be checked by politicians in order to enter the ring of public policy. Legalizing drugs, however, is not the answer.

First, and perhaps most important, is the understanding of the value of freedom and liberty in a democratic republic. Freedom is not an end in itself, but a necessary prerequisite to do good. It is not enough for us to say that people must be able to decide for themselves, we must also intend that they make the correct choice, and guide our public policy in that manner. As it stands now, people already choose to use or not to use drugs illegally, a sort of inverse of the moral decision making process described by the author: One chooses to do good by actively choosing not to engage in an illegal activity. In reality our laws do not prevent you from using drugs, they only demand that a conscious people reject drug use, and impose penalties on drug users. The capacity for moral choice is still present.

A moral government is one which would espouse not only freedom, but responsibility from its citizens. A responsible populous must realize the error of the thinking endorsed in the quote, lest we fall into the trap of believing that free choice is the ultimate good in our society. Those who oppose abortion, as I do, realize that unfettered "choice" can often lead to the epitome of an immoral society. It is not the act of choosing, but the choice itself which is moral or not.*

As author Dinesh D'Souza hypothesized, in his excellent read Letters to a Young Conservative (interview here), if 200 million Americans were to decide that they wanted to be pornographers, the quotes author would have to hail this as a good thing, since it is the pinnacle of free decision making. We ought to know better than to fall into this trap. The war on drugs is backward and mismanaged, I agree, and often makes little economic sense. If we increase penalties on marijuana and other lower level drugs, we remove and readjust incentives, often triggering more hard drug use. But the author would have to oppose any plan, even one which could hypothetically reduce drug use to none, since it would be an infringement on free decision making. I have to believe that a moral government, and a moral people, should actively work to root out illicit drug use, not tacitly condone it. And such a free people must recognize the fallacy at work here.

* : Avoiding a philosophical diatribe, some will recognize that there is much debate here, especially between Kantian and Consequential thinkers, about what aspect of moral decision making is in fact "moral". This is irrelevant, since neither endorse the choice itself, but either the moral foundations or the morality of the outcome, respectively. That is to say, either one will serve my explanation fine.

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High on the Hog 

I think I'm going to go to the local farm (there's a great one a few miles from here) and buy some lard. And maybe some fresh pork. I've been having a hankering for some real BBQ for a while (you know, the smoked, slow cooked kind).

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Why drugs should be legal 

From My Pet Jawa:
Drug use is bad. The only thing worse than letting people take drugs, that I can think of, is forcing people to do the right thing and not take drugs.

A slave is not good or bad because his actions are not his choice. People can only be moral when they choose to do the right thing, and a system of government that forces people to be good ceases to be the serveant of the people and instead becomes their master.

I am for the legalization of drugs not because I am for drug use, but because I am for moral government.
I very sypmathetic to the personal responsibility argument. I've made mistakes by being irresponsible, and I've paid for them. But, because I have to live with the consequences, I've learned from them and become a better, deeper person. People can't learn if they don't face the consequences of their actions.

Anyway, I find the argument that being allowed to make your own decisions (free will) is at the heart of the ability to choose good and evil. It jives with a particular argument that I like which explains why God allows evil in the world (so people can choose to be good). We need more bloggers with sense like this.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

A new nuclear response policy? 

I think the idea articulated here of coercing radical muslim nations and those that harbor radical muslims and terrorists into acting to root out those that would threaten the west (and instigating the people of those nations into throwing out their radical governments if they want to live) by threatening complete nuclear destruction of the radical muslim world seems like a decent idea. A nuclear attack on the US would bring about a nuclear response--we should at least remind the world of such a response and use this threat to try to create a deterance which might lessen the chance of a nuclear attack on American soil. It's in both the interest of the US and those bystanders in the radical muslim world that sit by while extremists run their government and plot destruction of the west. One should remember that if the people of Japan or Germany had, instead of sitting by and supporting their governments even when it was clear they were losing the war, had instead risen up and thrown out their governments many millions of lives would have been spared.

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Boredom Numbs the Work World 

Hmmm...now what field can I go into that won't cause me to live like Dilbert...

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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Male and Female Brains and Autism 

Check out this very fascinating article that relates the recent controversy on the the apptitude (or lack of it) for one sex to do well at certain professions and an hypothesis on the cause of autism.

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Monday, August 08, 2005

Do you like physics? 

Do you like reading about physics? Than check this website out.

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What is the end? 

It might look something like this. Such a bleak picture it may even drive atheists to religion...

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Sunday, August 07, 2005

Video Games 

do not breed evil. Anyone with a healthy mind separates the real world from an imaginary one. Shooting people in a video game is akin to watching bugs bunny get smashed with an anvil. Even as the graphics get better it remains something totally different than the experience of real life. If you're a responsible parent, and you tell your child that certain things are good and certain things are bad, than they can play video games without being damaged. I play war games, and I don't want to kill anyone--well, besides maybe Osama...

Even games with no educational intent require players to learn a great deal. Games are complex, adaptive and force players to make a huge number of decisions. Gamers must construct hypotheses about the in-game world, learn its rules through trial and error, solve problems and puzzles, develop strategies and get help from other players via the internet when they get stuck. The problem-solving mechanic that underlies most games is like the 90% of an iceberg below the waterline—invisible to non-gamers. But look beneath the violent veneer of “Grand Theft Auto”, and it is really no different from a swords-and-sorcery game. Instead of stealing a crystal and delivering it to a wizard so that he can cure the princess, say, you may have to intercept a consignment of drugs and deliver it to a gang boss so he can ransom a hostage. It is the pleasure of this problem-solving, not the superficial violence which sometimes accompanies it, that can make gaming such a satisfying experience.
Spot on. That's exactly right. It's the problem solving that is the main part of games, along with, in some (like Super Mario Bros. for example) dexterity and reflex challenges.

Another UPDATE:This is really cool:
Games can be used in many other ways. Tim Rylands, a British teacher in a primary school near Bristol, recently won an award from Becta, a government education agency, for using computer games in the classroom. By projecting the fantasy world of “Myst”, a role-playing game, on to a large screen and prompting his 11-year-old pupils to write descriptions and reactions as he navigates through it, he has achieved striking improvements in their English test scores.

Another area where games are becoming more popular is in corporate training. In “Got Game”, a book published last year by Harvard Business School Press, John Beck and Mitchell Wade, two management consultants, argue that gaming provides excellent training for a career in business. Gamers, they write, are skilled at multi-tasking, good at making decisions and evaluating risks, flexible in the face of change and inclined to treat setbacks as chances to try again. Firms that understand and exploit this, they argue, can gain a competitive advantage.
I never really thought that I had gained skills from video games before. However, now that I think about it, I'm sure that it's sharpened me in ways that I wouldn't have been otherwise.

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Darwin and Intelligent Design 

Check out the comments to this post on ID and Darwinism. They provide a variety of viewpoints on this subject; reading them has helped me get my mind around the issue.

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US Oil Dependency by the Numbers 

It's not sitting the way you'd think at all. We get less from Saudi Arabia now than we did in 1991. Don't believe me. See for yourself. Even if you do, check it out anyway.

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Are we living in a state of Moral Self-Repair? 

David Brooks says according to the numbers, it appears so. I can't seem to argue much with the numbers he's throwing out there. Maybe that just shows how far away the radical left is from mainstream America, and that mainstream America is drifting even farther from them as time goes by.

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Saturday, August 06, 2005

Is Radical Islam filling the power vacuum... 

...left by the collapse of marxism as a revolutionary ideology? Jonah Goldberg thinks so. I think he's on to something.

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Quote of the Day 

"Hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue."

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Friday, August 05, 2005

Is Italy full of coke heads? 

Uhhh, actually....

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Thursday, August 04, 2005


Jason rouses from his slumber... and promptly links the same story as me (Again) Good to see you... although I fear, "this means War."

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Does the Constitution protect incest? 

Well, under current interpretation like the Lawrence decision by SCOTUS that uphelt the right to homosexual sodomy, the short answer is 'yes'.

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Darth Bolton 

James Lileks pen drips gold once again.

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The Plenary Commission on International Shade Accords 

Truly funny writing (Via NRO, I think)

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