Friday, November 19, 2004


Online library

I just found the Online Library of Liberty Fund Inc. featuring a large number of ebooks in a number of formats. The stated emphasis is “…to encourage study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals” but there is a lot of information from a broad range of sources. Just for example, here is a page of what they offer from that perennial favorite, Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). You can search by historical period, author, subject and several other categories.
I found the site via NoQuarters who was discussing in a more, uh, popular style Kant's contribution to the British concern with civil liberties here.


Maybe she would be a better attorney general...

This via The Volokh Conspiracy is from the Montgomery Advertiser about Condi Rice and gun control issues:
Rice has said memories of Birmingham's racial turmoil shaped some of her core values.

During the bombings of the summer of 1963, her father and other neighborhood men guarded the streets at night to keep white vigilantes at bay. Rice said her staunch defense of gun rights comes from those days. She has argued that if the guns her father and neighbors carried had been registered, they could have been confiscated by the authorities, leaving the black community defenseless.


Time for the voice of moderation

If anyone else has noticed the remarkable bitterness of current political feelings, we can take hope from thoughts like these from a California rabbi and talk-show host. In his words,
Whereas love is the glue that holds things together, fear is the antigravity that tears everything apart. America will continue to bleed so long as the two sides continue to be so panicked. It is time that we faced our fear.
A radical solution is proposed--visiting with each other!
I believe that President Bush and Sen. Edward Kennedy should join together to launch a national initiative encouraging Democrats and Republicans to invite one another to dinner in their respective homes. How sad that conservatives today only enjoy other conservatives company, that religious-minded people only want to hang out with fellow people of faith. How tragic that so many of my liberal friends consciously avoid having any social interaction with conservative colleagues from work and demonize them in their minds as fiends.
It's just crazy enough to work.


Then there is the FUN angle...

Who woulda thunk it, firearms can be fun. Apparently, there is a person at Slatewho will consider being a human guinea pig for trying unusual activities. It appears that they tried a go at shooting and, wonder of wonders, liked it. Like most skills of value, imagined hazards keep a lot of people from learning helpful skills. Take somebody shooting. If you do not shoot, get somebody to take you. I like this part:
I switched to a Beretta 92FS 9 mm Parabellum semiautomatic and again I punched a decent hole. Ricardo then let me try his Sig Sauer P226 9 mm with the crimson trace laser-grip. With this gun, when you put your finger on the trigger a red laser dot illuminates your target. Ricardo had me load the magazine with 15 bullets. (From watching movies, I had thought magazines came already loaded, which I realized was like thinking candles came already lit.) After a few shots around the center of the plate, Ricardo told me to get in a faster rhythm, and I found myself hitting with greater accuracy. "Go ahead, paper plate, make my day."

After I emptied the semi, Dianna came up hesitantly. "Umm, how hard would it be for me to umm, shoot a few rounds?" she asked Ricardo. I said, "I told you so."

"Well, you look like such a badass doing it, I want to try," she explained.

Maybe she thought she would turn into a homicidal maniac and was surprised when all that happened was a good time.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


Get Mr. Keillor a glass of water...

Many of us have been delighted for years by the NPR syndicated radio program A Prairie Home Companion and its wonderful regular feature of the news from Lake Wobegon narrated by the show's emcee, Garrison Keillor. He always gives us touching and humorous pictures of the lives of ordinary folks who are shown to be anything but ordinary in reality. I am always amazed at how he sees the heroisms and kindnesses in the lives of everyday people. However, it seems that recent events have taken quite a toll and perhaps he needs some time off. Read here of Eugene Volokh's take on events at the University of Chicago and here for a followup. The original article, from the Chicago Maroon is here. Volokh's remarks also include insights useful beyond the present context for the use of humor. "I was just kidding." is a weak excuse that hides many a cruel and vicious remark. If many a true word is spoken in jest, so is many a mean one.

Sunday, November 14, 2004


State of the country's youth

Where did we go wrong?


Dreadful weaponry

Via Instapundit, the monitor of dangerous stuff of all kinds comes this. Only the brave should play the mp3. We would not interrupt our normal blogging decorum but for the state of high peril involved.

Saturday, November 13, 2004


Election 2004

It's good to see that Fred is working through some of his bashfulness and is sharing some of his thoughts on the recent election-day event. Click through the main page to Fred Columns and select number 255, "Fred on the Election". Many have sought to find rhyme or reason in the election unsuccessfully. Fred's line of thought may have something to it. His "guaranteed reprehensible" claim is safe. There is something here to offend Democrats, Republicans, Christians--come one, come all. It appears that Fred would agree with Barnum that nobody ever went broke(or unelected -vwh)underestimating the intelligence of the American people. For example:
When you have seen a thousand impassioned sheep waving witless placards at a political rally, you realize that facts don’t matter. Look and feel are everything. Bush and Kerry are both pampered ineffectual rich brats, one a drunk, the other a gigolo. Kerry comes from Massachusetts, though, and you just know he eats curious salads with strange names. By contrast, Bush has a certain ferret-like pugnacity to him and a low-wattage mind that people between the coasts are comfortable with. He isn’t going to use any of them high-falutin’ words, because he honestly doesn’t know them. He won’t confuse anyone.

His analysis of the coast-heartland break is interesting:
A lot of columnists and talking heads on the coasts thought that the election was going to be a referendum on the war in Iraq. I doubt it was. Nobody in the middle of the country knows, or cares, anything about the world outside the United States. Nobody in Massachusetts knows anything, or cares much, about the world inside the United States. The Bush people have never heard of the Crimea. The Kerry people have barely heard of Texas.

As usual, Fred is unusual, but he may be onto something.

Sunday, November 07, 2004


While we're at it let's just add links to Oleg Volk's sites. There is a wealth of reliable information there for those interested in firearms and self-defense issues. The new links appear on the list to the right.


Oleg Volk

Via Kim DuToit I find that Oleg Volk has been posting new stuff. A lot of new stuff. Most people who explore firearms issues on the web will already be familiar with his first-rate photography and incisive posters appearing on other sites. His own site, featuring his broad range of interests includes much more than firearms and self-defense material. The new material is found under 2004 Gallery There are photos of people of all descriptions, automobiles, insects, buildings, and about anything else that might tempt a talented photographer. Mr. Volk is a Russian-born American citizen who teaches multimedia methods and graphic arts in Nashville, TN. A word of caution, don't go unless you have some time to move around and enjoy the material. By all means, stop by and see the pictures of some of my particular favorites, the Russian Makarov and Mosin-Nagant.


After all, what is wealth?

Charley Reese is a columnist from Florida who regularly appears on at right). He has a background as a worker in political campaigning and in the newspaper business, ending his newspaper career with the Orlando Sentinel as a columnist. His latest, on the difference between money and wealth, is worth reading and appears here.

Thursday, November 04, 2004


Whither Second Amendment?

Dave Kopel who writes from time to time in National Review Online has a summary of how firearms issues are looking after the recent election. He also has an excellent site of his own focused mostly on the same issues. West Virginia got a very positive report!


Is a cigar really such a big deal?

It's pretty bad when the British tut-tut about the repressive and overreaching government in the U.S. but they certainly have a point. Didn't anybody think to ask whether the U.S. government could pass laws about what people do when they are in other countries governed by their own laws? Make up your own mind. An interesting side note about the beginnings of the issue is discussed here:
An example involving John F. Kennedy, while it doesn't relate to trading securities, serves admirably to illustrate at least the style, if not the substance, of the tradition, and the fact that highly revered figures such as JFK engaged in it with impunity. Told with unseemly humor and undeniable affection for his boss by co-conspirator Pierre Salinger, Kennedy's press secretary, the story concerns the embargo on goods imported from Cuba after the abortive 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion launched from the United States.

As Salinger recounts, one evening fellow cigar smoker Kennedy called Salinger in and asked him to go out and buy 1,000 of Kennedy's favorite Cubans by the next morning. When Salinger reported to work the next morning with 1,200 of the fragrant smokes under his arm, Kennedy pulled the bill enacting the embargo from his desk drawer and signed it, making purchases like those his press secretary had made at his orders henceforth illegal. Cigar devotees in the nation's capital may have seen a disappearance of their favorites rather faster than those at further range from the president's favored circle of confidants.

In any event, in the light of the foregoing, Americans should be careful about ranting too much about where the U. S. falls in the spectrum of liberty and equality.


What's an Austrian?

An excellent summary of Austrian economics is here. There are also links to some of the basic literature of the school. Of course, the parent site has much more abundant information on economics from the Austrian perspective. A sample:
In this focus on the subjective elements of a man’s choice, all value - and, hence, all utility—originates. These are constructs of the human mind and explicitly not some derived property of the physical world.

Value is thus a specific, not a generic, quality and varies according to time, place, and circumstance—e.g., a thirsty man in the desert is glad to exchange gold for water, while a tourist may be happy to be seen paying 10 francs for a cup of coffee in the Hotel Baur au Lac.

Developing this idea, Austrians were in the forefront of the Marginalist revolution; an advance which realized that choices are made (and hence valuations formed) "at the margin." This alone was enough to correct errors which had long confounded both classicists and Marxists.

By marginalist, Austrians mean that a person makes an exchange only after making a favorable, subjective mental comparison of the cost of forgoing the most willingly surrendered (the most "marginal") tradable quantum of his existing property with the benefit he expects to enjoy from the corresponding, first quantum of goods offered for it by his counterparty, as well as with those which might accrue from trading for another's, different, goods instead, should this be an option.

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