Liberty & Power: Group Blog
The evidence includes an e-mail, written by Douglas Simon, the drug policy office's White House liaison, which described a meeting where Karl Rove praised the campaign endeavor. Simon asserted that, “The Director and the Deputies deserve the most recognition because they actually had to give up time with their families for the god awful places we sent them.” Meanwhile The Washington Postreports that “The drug control office has had a history of being nonpartisan, and a 1994 law bars the agency's officials from engaging in political activities even on their own time.”
Hat tip to Bill Piper
Cross posted on The Trebach Report
David T. Beito
As media and political elites continue to demonize Ron Paul for his comments in the debates, it is remembering that another candidate, who said much the same thing, once came within a hair of winning the Republican presidential nomination.
In 1950, Senator Robert A. Taft of Ohio firmly explained to dumbfounded interviewers on “Meet the Press” why he opposed sending more U.S. troops to Europe. He condemned the deployment as encirclement and warned that it needlessly provoked the Soviet Union. To hear the entire audio of the interview, go here.
Taken as a whole, Taft was generally less thoroughgoing than Ron Paul in his defense of non-interventionism overseas and smaller government at home. Even on this show, he backtracks a bit toward the end from his earlier statements and has some unfortunate things to say about Joe McCarthy. But for the first fifteen minutes or so, he sounds as radical and confident as Ron Paul ever did.
Be patient, the audio might be slow in loading and you'll have to listen a couple of vintage 1950 commercials but it is well worth the wait.
Kudos to Scott Horton at Stress for putting up the audio link.
David T. Beito
I am leaving for a long delayed vacation so my initial response will have to be short. Here is one vital point. Not even the Bush administration has ever claimed that Iraq ever attacked us or had an plans to attack us. Saddam led a secular/socialist regime which was hostile to both the Shi'ite fundamentalists (now in power in Iraq courtesy of Bush) and Sunni fundamentalists, such as Al Qaeda. Thus by definition the Iraq War can not be considered one of self-defense even for the “mainstream libertarian.”
For the sake of argument, however, let’s concede that Randy is right. Let’s assume that libertarianism does not “commit one to a particular stance toward the Iraq War.” If this is true, then libertarianism belongs in the trash can of history. If libertarianism can not answer such a vital question of the day, it is a dead philosophy that is more suited to parlor games than to discourse about problems in the real world.
Roderick T. Long
Next year, 2008, marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Lysander Spooner (1808-1887) abolitionist, anarchist, postal entrepreneur, and the leading legal theorist of 19th-century libertarianism.
Today Spooner is best known for his 1867-70 No Treason series of pamphlets attacking the authority of the Constitution (and by implication government generally) and defending the right of secession. Murray Rothbard called No Treason the greatest case for anarchist political philosophy ever written.
But Spooners interests ranged still more broadly, touching on nearly every aspect of the moral, economic, and legal case for a free society. Over a fifty-year writing career Spooner penned defenses of jury nullification, deist theology, natural law, and Irish revolution; as well as critiques of slavery, victimless-crime laws, the postal monopoly, and both sides in the U. S. Civil War. He also developed controversial theories of legal interpretation (according to which, e.g., slavery was unconstitutional regardless of the framers intentions) and of property rights (including a case for making the term of patents and copyrights perpetual); produced numerous economic tracts on banking and currency reform; and drew up plans for guerilla warfare to liberate slaves. (Note: most of Spooners writings are available online here; a few more can be found here.)
In honour of the upcoming Spooner bicentenary, the Journal of Libertarian Studies is planning a special symposium issue on Spooner. Submissions dealing with any aspect of Spooners life and thought are hereby solicited. Articles may be historical, interpretive, or critical; comparisons of Spooner to other figures are also welcome. Submissions should be sent to JLS@mises.org by 1 April 2008.
There has been no mention, as of yet, concerning the possibility of Lisa using marijuana to counteract the side effects of her chemo-therapy. While this strategy is still controversial that is because of political not scientific or medical reasons. Even the National Cancer Institute acknowledges the potential effectiveness of marijuana in alleviating the debilitating side effects of Lisa’s chemo-therapy saying that, “Marijuana cigarettes have been used to treat chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and research has shown that THC is more quickly absorbed from marijuana smoke than from an oral preparation.”
If Tom Batiuk is going to accept praise and awards for tackling this subject then it is incumbent upon him to do so in a responsible manner. So far he has not done so, instead, he has put his cartoon strip in the service of the simplistic and questionable, moral and political statement that marijuana is bad. Just like the federal government in the real world, Batiuk has put politics above the life of his character, Lisa.
Cross posted on The Trebach Report
Roderick T. Long
Robert L. Campbell
Till it turns into a pumpkin, the link is
(If you open a free online account with The Chronicle, you'll be able to read the entire article.)
The Philosophy Department at Texas State (formerly Southwest Texas State, in San Marcos) was offered a multi-year grant by the Anthem Foundation to fund a visiting professor who would specialize in Objectivism.
They turned down the money.
Here are the key passages, to my way of thinking.
Mr. Fulmer [Gilbert Fulmer, a Full Professor of Philosophy] and some of his colleagues also had specific worries about the world of Rand scholarship, which has occasionally been marred by schisms and accusations of scholarly foul play. In particular, the Ayn Rand Institute, a nonprofit organization with which the Anthem Foundation is closely associated, has sometimes been accused of enforcing rigid ideological conformity — and even of failing to acknowledge the work of scholars associated with rival organizations.
Debates surrounding Rand's work often"resemble a religious dogma surrounding a sacred text, and not the free give-and-take of ordinary scholarship," says Rebecca Raphael, a senior lecturer in philosophy at Texas State.
Rebecca Raphael was specifically worried about ARI's institutional culture and its promotion of unscholarly behavior by its affiliates.
Much of the opposition was organized by Ms. Raphael, the lecturer in the department, who was disturbed by the notion that money might shape the department's offerings."Debate about Rand's quality and significance should be pursued — but not by these means," she says.
While researching the objectivist world online, Ms. Raphael began to fear that Anthem's grants were given only to a narrow range of scholars associated with the Ayn Rand Institute. No Anthem grants appear to go to scholars associated with David Kelley, a former Vassar College philosophy professor who broke with the institute in 1990 amid a personal and ideological dispute that concerned, among other things, whether it is appropriate for objectivists to speak at events organized by libertarians. Mr. Kelley, who now directs the Atlas Society, an objectivist group in Washington, says he can understand that the institute might not want anything to do with him personally. But he believes it is absurd for the institute to demand that its associates"repudiate" any and all scholars who"tolerate" him — a formulation that often appears in objectivist blog posts.
Mr. McCaskey, the Anthem president, says that Ms. Raphael's concern about narrowness is unfair and unfounded. Many of the Anthem Foundation's grants, he points out, go to institutions like the University of North Carolina, where there are no objectivists on the faculty. And Mr. Gotthelf noted that he himself has historically had an arm's-length relationship with the institute. In 2000, four of its leaders declared that they felt"morally obliged" to criticize Mr. Gotthelf's book On Ayn Rand (Wadsworth) for being written in inaccessible academic language. Ms. Raphael is correct, however, to note that the foundation has never supported any scholars associated with Mr. Kelley, some of whom have published extensively in objectivist philosophy.
The Chronicle could have said more about the different ways that ARIans treat academics with no prior connection to Objectivism and those they consider heretics or apostates. But there is an explicit reference to the way David Kelley and his associates are shunned.
Wouldn't you know that one of the academics that Anthem was thinking of placing at Texas State was Andrew Bernstein?
Another red flag for Ms. Raphael was an abject apology distributed online in 2002 by Andrew Bernstein, a visiting professor of philosophy at Marist College. Mr. Bernstein lectured on Rand at Texas State this past March, and Mr. McCaskey mentioned his name as someone who might fill the position that Anthem offered to finance.
In his 2002 statement, Mr. Bernstein apologized for having contributed a one-paragraph letter to The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, a journal that publishes a variety of approaches to Rand's philosophy, many of which the institute's leaders find false and offensive. (Mr. Bernstein's short contribution was a reply to a negative review of his CliffsNotes of Rand's novels.)
"The so-called Journal of Ayn Rand Studies is filled with writings by people with whom I refuse to knowingly associate under any circumstances," wrote Mr. Bernstein in his apology."I deeply regret my thoughtless decision to contribute to this journal, and hereby irrevocably repudiate any and all association with it. In this regard, the fault is entirely my own. This journal does not hide what it is. Its contents are available on the Internet for all to see. In failing to do the requisite research and gather the necessary data, I failed to properly use my mind. I must now suffer the consequences of that. To all who are sincerely concerned with objectivism, I apologize, and recommend a complete repudiation and boycott of this journal. ..."
When asked by The Chronicle about his 2002 comments, Mr. Bernstein replied that rejecting The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies was a moral and intellectual obligation."We are literally in a struggle to save human civilization from the destruction wrought by irrational philosophy," he wrote in an e-mail message. The editors of the journal have been hostile to the Ayn Rand Institute, he said, but"anyone who sincerely supports Ayn Rand's philosophy, and appreciates its indispensable role in promoting cultural renaissance, must, as a logical consequence ... respect ARI's dauntless, indefatigable, gallant struggle on behalf of a rational philosophy."
The Ayn Rand Institute is now getting the publicity that it deserves.
[Cross-posted at Objectivist Living]
Therefore, they are not invaders and their entry in no way constitutes an invasion. This is belligerent Pat Buchanan-talk, and it is unworthy of Ron Paul. I hope he will rethink his position.
Cross-posted at Free Association.
Amy H. Sturgis
New from Common-Place:
"National Character: Daniel Day-Lewis, American historian" by Jim Cullen
David T. Beito
In the puffed up optimism produced by shock and awe, the figure of “Baghdad Bob” (Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf, the Iraqi Information Minister) was the center of much mirth. His predictions of U.S. defeat, even as American tanks rolled in the background, repeatedly made the rounds on the internet, especially on pro-war blogs. But four years later as Bush’s Iraq policy is in tatters, “Baghdad Bob’s" pronouncements no longer seem so delusional.
Here are a few examples:
“Who are in control, they are not in control of anything - they don't even control themselves!"
"I can say, and I am responsible for what I am saying, that they have started to commit suicide under the walls of Baghdad. We will encourage them to commit more suicides quickly."
"I can assure you that those villains will recognize, will discover in appropriate time in the future how stupid they are and how they are pretending things which have never taken place."
"We have them surrounded in their tanks"
"Now even the American command is under siege. We are hitting it from the north, east, south and west. We chase them here and they chase us there. But at the end we are the people who are laying siege to them. And it is not them who are besieging us."
Any apparent American gains, he said, were a cunning ploy by the Iraqis to lure the enemy into a trap."Our armed forces, according to their tactics, are leaving the way open"
Roderick T. Long
[cross-posted at Austro-Athenian Empire]
Was David Rice Atchison President of the United States for a day or at least for a few minutes?
But if he was President, he was a pretty darn good one.
Not that he was a particularly good man. (A vigorous proponent of slavery, he advocated executing abolitionists without trial. This seems a mark against him.) But during the course of his presidency, such as it was, he did absolutely nothing.
That may put him ahead of William Henry Harrison (not an especially good man either) as least harmful president, since unlike Harrison, Atchison neither convened a special session of Congress to enact mercantilist legislation nor subjected anybody to a two-hour inaugural address in the winter wind.
Roderick T. Long
[cross-posted at Austro-Athenian Empire]
Unfortunately, the reviews are cutesy and idiotic (and in the case of Never Ask the End, factually inaccurate), and would never have tempted me to read the novels; but here they are: reviews of Never Ask the End, If It Prove Fair Weather, and The Fourth Queen. (Plus theres an especially stupid summary of the latter book, describing it as follows: Galleon-scuttling, bussing and swearing in the bawdy days of Queen Bess. Its not an inaccurate description, exactly, but what a tin ear!)
Time also offers a Paterson obituary.
Plus you can check out this more recent and much less annoying review of Never Ask the End, this one from Neglected Books rather than Time.
Recently, for example, a fellow contributing editor of the History News Network's Liberty & Power Group Blog―let's call him Mr. X―made a post to call attention to a new blog. He might have done so by stating:
Those interested in science and peer review issues might be interested in a new blog, http://scienceblogs.com/clock/.
But, instead, he wrote:
Those interested in science and peer review issues for more than finding lame reasons to discount work on global warming might be interested in a new blog, http://scienceblogs.com/clock/.
Now, regular readers of Liberty & Power will recall that not long ago, on May 7, I posted a short article at this site under the heading"Peer Review, Publication in Top Journals, Scientific Consensus, and So Forth" and that a lively discussion ensued in which Mr. X and several others debated various issues related to my article, in particular, issues bearing on the subject of human-caused global warming. In that discussion and others at the same site, Mr. X expressed strong claims for his position and suggested in so many words that those who disagreed with his views were, shall we say, personally deficient in some way, although the nature of the deficiency―whether it was intellectual, moral, or ideological―usually remained murky in the midst of exchanges that sometimes grew rather heated.
Well, all right, Mr. X is scarcely the only person with strong feelings about the science of global climate change, its methods, and its findings. But now, when he revisits this topic, he inserts in his post a gratuitous and backhanded characterization of those who disagreed with him earlier as"those interested in science and peer review issues [only] for . . . finding lame reasons to discount work on global warming." Disregard the clumsy sentence construction―after all, it makes little sense to suppose that anyone seeks"lame reasons" to support his views―and consider only the writer's inclusion of an uncalled-for insult in his statement. In 1944, F. A. Hayek dedicated his great anti-socialist tract The Road to Serfdom, evidently with complete sincerity, to"the socialists of all parties." Mr. X, however, feels no obligation to extend the same sort of courtesy to his intellectual opponents (as he habitually takes other contributors to Liberty & Power to be whenever they take issue with any of his views and at times defensively in anticipation that they may take issue).
Of course, my example is so mild and trivial that one might well wonder why I call attention to it, and I admit that it may have struck me in part because Mr. X has had occasion to throw verbal spears at me and my views in the more distant past, as readers of Liberty & Power with extremely good memories may recall. But apart from this latest example, any of us can surely point to a great number of instances in which contributors to Web-site discussions and debates have deliberately made ill-mannered statements rather than equally informative but courteous ones.
Often, I suspect, this nastiness occurs because the medium offers discussants personal distance or anonymity of a sort that other venues do not. If you insult your colleagues at a faculty meeting or in the hallway of your office building, then even if they do not retaliate immediately, they may await an apt occasion to pay you back in kind, perhaps with interest. In face-to-face settings, a certain amount of common courtesy suggests itself as sensible even to the nastiest sorts of people, if only to save themselves grief at pay-back time. On many Web sites, however, comments are allowed from one and all, and many of those who post comments do so while identifying themselves, if at all, only by Internet nicknames or enigmatic icons. The marginal cost of posting an insult for all the world to see is negligible, and the risk of serious personal retribution is virtually nil, especially for persons who have no established reputation to protect in the first place, so nothing impedes a person who is given to making spiteful remarks and dispensing personal insults.
I place an article of some sort on the Web perhaps every two or three weeks, on average, and many of them are later linked to or reposted at other Web sites where comments are invited. Over the years, I have been called nearly every insulting name imaginable by those who post comments on my articles. Perhaps the most popular insult is"idiot," although various synonyms also make a strong showing. The more vulgar writers declare me to be an"a**hole," a"s**thead," and so forth―if you are a man, just think back to your high school locker room for the rest of the inventory. For my views on war and the state, I am often described as a" coward," an"anti-American," or an"America hater"; I am said to lack"guts" and to be the sort of man who would stand by while his wife or daughter was raped or murdered―all this calumny being flung, mind you, by people who know virtually nothing about me.
Perhaps the most remarkable insults are those that dismiss me as a"socialist," a"liberal" (by which the insulter clearly has in mind a contemporary American left-liberal), or a"leftist." Strange to say, others describe me in contrast, often in a style more condescending than blatantly insulting, as a" conservative." Anyone who has the slightest acquaintance with me or my views will understand immediately how far off base both of these classes of ideological insult are―I have been a lifelong opponent of socialism, and I am certainly no conservative―but Internet insulters do not feel constrained to learn anything about a person before they fling an insult at him. The Web seems to attract a host of people who are densely ignorant and do not read or think carefully. They visit Web sites wearing a bandolier of personal affronts, and on the slightest provocation they shoot from the hip, content to let Allah sort out their rhetorical victims.
If a site is open to everybody, then nothing can be done about this nastiness unless someone manages the site and suppresses the viciousness. On sites such as Liberty & Power, where only authorized persons can make original posts, it might be possible to use moral suasion to keep the start-up discussion within civilized bounds. I appreciate, of course, that in certain metropolitan areas of this country an insulting style of discourse is as common as traffic congestion. Many of us, however, hail from elsewhere, and we have acquired the perhaps quaint idea that nastiness does not make a positive contribution to the process of learning from one another. On behalf of these others, I beseech those given to insults: mind your manners. If you do, you may even find that people will pay more attention to what you have to say.
Amy H. Sturgis
*"Heinleiniana" by John Derbyshire
* “'We must ride the lightning': Robert Heinlein and American spaceflight" by Dwayne A Day
*"In A Strange Land" by John J. Miller
*"Heinlein's Ghost" by Dwayne A. Day
*"Robert Heinlein at One Hundred" by Ted Gioia
For additional information:
The Heinlein Society
The Robert A. Heinlein Page
Robert A. Heinlein Centennial Website
DarkSyde over at Daily Kos writes
"Imagine if the very foundation of cutting edge research science could be streamlined using the real-time, online blogging community model powered by the open source format familiar to all of us? Sci-blogger and friend Coturnix has been tasked to develop the community aspect of this idea, and he’s asking for scientists and science buffs alike to see if that traditional peer review process can benefit from our novel methods at the Public Library of Science."
There's more. Check it out at
The net is rapidly becoming one of the most fascinating spontaneous orders of our time.