Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Debate

The discussion was lively and circular, indeed around a round table. What could I say? The wasp in the tie was there, quoting, "relationship not religion, etc., scripture was insipired by God..." the usual. The hippies were trying to see if we couldn't all get along. When I taught that the different religions were adopted by powerseekers to placate their masses, heads nodded in agreement. When I said that the three goals of all powerholders were to keep the power they have, to use it on someone, and to get more power, the heads continued to nod. When I said that cooperation was the way to do it they agreed. When I said cooperation requires competition, I started to lose them. When I said a free market with voluntary decision making fosters such cooperation they sneered Capitalism, and I backtracked, realizing that that would have to be part of another discussion.
JN

Back to Basics

I was in Asheville tonight with my wife celebrating our anniversary, when we met a bunch of Jesus-hippies and other interesting Ashevillians. It was a typical religious debate, with several god-is-alls and buddists and whatever. I met a great woman there who contested the idea that Socrates was executed, tangent to whether Jesus was executed. While it seems semantical, she said that they were not executed, rather they chose to die for what they believed in... and that was critical to their messages. She called it Axial or something like that, and refered to a time period when we read about different philosophers and religions shifting from fatalism to individual responsibility. We shared a few other ideas, including my rudimentary thoughts about world war 2 before we had to leave. It was a fun night out though, and demonstrative of people's way of thinking.
JN

Monday, May 15, 2006

What's Wrong With the World?

It is not the responsibility of foreign nations to ears suffering. But neither is it the responsiblity of domestic governments, read "Not Yours To Give" by Davy Crockett.
Whose responsiblity is it to care about the suffering?
I believe it was Bertrand Russell who wrote an essay asking "What's Wrong With the World?" to which G.K. Chesterton replied, "In response to your essay 'WWWTW', I am. Yours truely, GKC"
It is my responsiblitiy and yours. Any situation in which we perceive there to be an injustice is none of our business until we volunteer to "homestead" that injustice in order to make it right.
What baffles me is how many people assume that the government will do all the homesteading for them, but then complain that they don't have any property rights. This frustrates me particularly with professing Christians who maintain a statist worldview when it comes to public policy. Throw in the whole "Palestinians are evil because the Jews are God's chosen ones, Isaac - Ishmael thing and boys howdy have you got a mess.
From the first article:
"Western and Arab donors (individuals, not governments) should realise that the Palestinian people are suffering hardships (due to oppressive government) and the international community which believes in liberty, justice and human rights (and large centralized governments) should not be prepared to accept such a situation," he said, quoted by AFP news agency.

"We have formulated propositions so that aid can reach the Palestinian people ...(The new money will go to the poor, so we can spend our own money on maintaining our hold on power) to allow us to confront the needs of everyday life".

The US officials said on Tuesday that some $4m of special medical aid would be delivered to NGO clinics as early as Wednesday. (Because we believe in big government, too.)

The remaining $6m will be delivered through Unicef to those with urgent needs.
(Because some of the people in the agencies giving money to unicef hope to get a job with them when they leave office.)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Show this at your school!

Excellent video.
http://www.free-market.net/resources/introduction.swf
Go see it!

Profits overstated

Reading Hazlitt's "Economics In One Lesson" today. Realized that corporations always have incentives to overstate their profits rather than understate. If they really were greedy, they'd try to hide thier profits, but the more imediate incentive is to please their shareholders, so they overstate profits regularly. The Enron scandal wasn't about greedt corporations, it was about insecure little men trying to keep stockholders happy, while fleecing them at the same time.
JN

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Two events

I got on Neil Bortz show Monday, after sitting on hold for 70 minutes. (Cell phone, peak minutes.) He had two points: Who sent the mexicans an engraved invitation to come to America, and We should build a fence along the whole border. I had two retorts: The invitation IS engraved on the Statue of Liberty, and Who do you think will build the fence along the border?

In other news: I saw a bald eagle Monday flying over Lake Crabtree in Morrisville. Beautiful. Somebody better warn him that those fish aren't safe to eat though...
JN

School's Out... Almost, And not for long.

Finals are this week and one next week. Then I'm off for a while for a little R&R with Mrs. and then back to class on May 23. Ugh.

I write an awful lot on my friend Chris' blog, some of which I copy over to here. He's at http://thebrokenwindow.blogspot.com
Some very interesting and I must say fruitful discussions there.
JN