Conservator: The Red-Blooded, Blue-Collared American Hero
Captain Capitalism: Valiant Protector of a Free Market
Libertaria: With her Bureaucratic Shrink Ray
The Dynamic Uno: A Lone Force Against Idiotarian Evil
Senator Stupendous: Mild-Mannered Page by Day
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Monday, July 26, 2004
NEW YORK (AP) – Fox News' use of the slogan "Fair and Balanced" constitutes deceptive advertising, two political advocacy groups claimed Monday in a petition filed with the Federal Trade Commission.
Liberal MoveOn.org and historically nonpartisan Common Cause assert that Fox News' reports are "deliberately and consistently distorted and twisted to promote the Republican Party of the U.S. and an extreme right-wing viewpoint."
Alleging consumer fraud, the complaint calls for the FTC to order Fox News, consistently the highest-rated cable news network, to cease and desist from using the slogan.
Irena Briganti, a Fox News spokeswoman, told The Associated Press that "while this is clearly a transparent publicity stunt, we recognize all forms of free speech and wish them well."
Saturday, July 24, 2004
Bush is beating Kerry solidly on the second question (possibly having to do with that whole owning the Texas Rangers thing) but only 58-42 on the first.
Sure, we remember that fall on the bike. But to be quite honest, I don't think I could have held out until the sixteenth mile of a seventeen mile trick to tank my bike. We do know that Kerry's an excellent skier as long as those pesky servicemen dedicated to protecting his life aren't in the way. And has Bush ever netted a hat trick?
Randy Barnett at Mad Professor Volokh's Blog stirs up things by calling for a discussion of what constitutes a libertarian foreign policy. His post links to several interesting discourses on the subject.
I for my part (as well as the good Prof. Barnett) believe that often times war, and in particular, the Second Gulf War, is reconcilable and beneficial to a libertarian domestic policy. Of course, that doesn't make me popular in many libertarian circles--I'd better watch my back or I could end up a pariah like Neal Boortz.
As long as we're on the subject of Libertarians and foreign policy, I'd like to point out that Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik gets it wrong:
First, allow me to dispel a myth. People in the Middle East do not hate us for our freedom. They do not hate us for our lifestyle. They hate us because we have spent many years attempting to force them to emulate our lifestyle.
The U.S. government has meddled in the affairs of the Middle East far too long, always with horrendous results. It overthrew the democratically elected leader of Iran and replaced him with the Shah. After making Iranians the enemies of Americans, the U.S. government gave weapons, intelligence and money to Iran's mortal adversary, Saddam Hussein. The U.S. government also helped Libyan Col. Qaddafi come to power, propped up the Saudi monarchy and the Egyptian regime, and gave assistance to Osama bin Laden.
Fair enough, Michael. Then why do they hate places like Indonesia?
To some extent Badnarik is correct--part of the spark for Islamist violence is the increasing westernization of the Middle East. However, this is less the fault of the government then of private companies who recognize the Middle East as the next frontier of the global market. There are, as far as I can tell, two solutions to that problem--tell American companies to stay out of the Middle East or attack those whose resentment of such westernization has manifested into violence. One is considerably less libertarian than the other.
But it is a matter of EXTREME IMPORTANCE. I don't know about you, but every time I hear "The Iraq War" my ears hurt. It's such an awkward, clodding name--using a noun as an adjective as all that. Especially when an excellent and natural substitute--"The Second Gulf War" exists.
In repsonse, I have founded an organization, APACHE: The Association for Propriety in the Appellation of Contemporary Historical Events. It has no formal membership yet (except myself, Conservator, and Libertaria) but it does have this spiffy new petition to FOX News. It's the media that decides these things, you know.
Please, dedicated readers--future American history students need you.
Thursday, July 22, 2004
Monday, July 19, 2004
Unfortunately, a large fraction of voters do suffer from economic illiteracy. Indeed, it is fair to say that an ample majority does not understand the basics of how markets work.
Harry Potter, probably unintentionally, thus appears as a summary of the social and educational aims of neoliberal capitalism. Like Orwellian totalitarianism, this capitalism tries to fashion not only the real world, but also the imagination of consumer-citizens. The underlying message to young fans is this: You can imagine as many fictional worlds, parallel universes or educational systems as you want, they will still all be regulated by the laws of the market. Given the success of the Harry Potter series, several generations of young people will be indelibly marked by this lesson.
Speaks for itself, really.
I have no fundamental objection to the French position on the war, which is what everyone who says "freedom fries" seems worked up about, but to not even believe in the market is simple foolishness.
Foolishness, however, was not exclusively French this week, as shown by Jonah Goldberg's NRO piece this morning, "Baby Cons in the Mist." I understand his point that "the youth vote" can never be a coherent interest group and that to treat it as such(the way liberals do) is both silly and condescending, but to say that young people are "by definition at the bottom of the learning curve" was unnecessarily insulting. At least in his similarly-themed November column he took the time to offer the "important caveat" that "there are many smart and well-informed young folk." We know you know, Mister Goldberg, sir, but it's important to say it.
Goldberg does, however, get Buckley Points for using the word "lugubrious."
Friday, July 16, 2004
In other news, Richard Posner reminds us that even conservatives believe in Marbury v. Madison:
It is one thing to believe that the Supreme Court is too aggressive; it is another thing (and it is Kramer's argument) to suppose that lay people could do a better job of interpreting the Constitution.
This from his review of Larry Kramer's new book The People Themselves: Popular Constitutionalism and Judicial Review. How Appealing called it a "must-read" (the review, not the book itself).
Saturday, July 03, 2004
As tomorrow is July 4th, my mind goes to one thing. America, and how much it kicks ass. But something else comes to mind. Fireworks. Nothing represents America and its policy making decisions like a controlled explosion. But something as gone wrong with the wonderful world of the firework. Living in North Carolina I can't buy the best that my good friend George can get. Why? Because the two groups that I consider the most dangerous and inherently stupid (liberals and Jerry Falwell conservatives) don't want you to have fun. Something about being dangerous to kids or something. Whatever. Everything is dangerous to kids if you use right. There is no reason to ban them.
So I urge everyone who reads this blog..go buy some fireworks...REAL FIREWORKS. Real blow your finger off fireworks. Smuggle them into your state if you can't buy them where you live. Then tomorrow night get yourself a beer and light those suckers off. And while theyre screaming into the air...yell something patriotic like "Go America!" or "France can eat me!".
Thursday, July 01, 2004
We miss you Sir and we know that it’s been difficult for you too. Your speech has touched the hearts of all the Iraqis I have met just as your efforts have contributed in drawing the outlines of the bright future of Iraq, the new free democratic Iraq and we will never forget you. You worked hard as if you were a true son of Iraq and in fact you’re one of Iraq’s sons, that’s how we look at you.
I never heard anyone talk badly about you, I heard people say a lot of bad things about GWB and the GC members but you were the most respected and loved political character among Iraqis and I can say I’m almost sure that if there was a poll about who’s the most popular person in Iraq, then you would’ve been the winner.
I once heard Bremer's name volleyed about as the eventual replacement for George Tenet. I wonder if that's still a possibility.
Given the stance of most of the Liberty & Power contributors on the "war on terror" in general, and the Iraqi war in particular, the time may be ripe for a full fledged debate on the relationship between libertarianism and foreign policy. It appears that there is an assumption on the part of many libertarian intellectuals that libertarian principles entail a very specific version of "noninterventionism" in foreign policy.
I believe that this is a category mistake, and that noninterventionism (which I favor), and its exact contours, does not follow deductively from libertarian first principles. In other words, two people holding exactly the same commitments to libertarian principles can favor radically different foreign policies. I realize that this is a cryptic observation, but I do fear that the recent anti war vociferousness of some libertarian intellectuals, of whom I have the highest regard and respect, may unfairly tag all libertarians with a very particular set of foreign policy positions about which even radical libertarians actually differ.
I confess that my instincts here are driven by the fact that I disagree sharply with the anti war stance of these libertarians, and they with me, but I do not believe my libertarian principles, or my commitment to them, have changed in the slightest. Because I think neither has theirs, something other than libertarian first principles are at stake. About all this I am open to reasoned argument. I have not given this matter any sustained or systematic thought, but the time may be nigh to do so.
I am quite interested, if this debate should occur.