Reading and watching Samurai movies and stuff

10 10 2010

I started reading Human Action by Ludwig von Mises last week.  I’d been meaning to do so, but…it’s a little daunting.  I tried reading it last summer, but just wasn’t ready; the first sections (“Acting Man” and “The Epistemological Problems of Human Action”) were so unlike anything I had ever tried reading before, I couldn’t make heads or tails of it.

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Steve Horwitz at The Daily Bell

8 10 2010

Update: I’m an idiot.  Steve Horwitz teaches at St. Lawrence University, not George Mason.  Seems reading comprehension is important.

The Daily Bell is a perennially interesting e-journal based in Gais, Switzerland.  Their range of regular contributors is as diverse as the subject matter covered, and I’m sure to check in and read a few articles whenever I have the time.

The Daily Bell does, at times, get a bit conspiratorial.  Fortunately, theirs is the charming, Bilderberg/power elite type of conspiracy theorizing–the kind that is at least grounded in the laws of physics (no Lizard People! stuff there, and they tend to debunk any claims of alien contact).

I particularly respect the Daily Bell’s consistent message that the Internet is an invaluable tool for overcoming ignorance–a constant thorn in the side of those that seek power and control.

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Epiphanies! Revalations!

7 10 2010

Sometimes, when it’s late in the evening and my mind wanders, I’ll hit upon something profound–a thought that changes the way I look at the world.  It happened again last night.

For years I was stumped by the lyrics to Warron Zevon’s 1976 single, “Poor Poor Pitiful Me.” As far as I could tell, the second verse went something like this:

Well I met a girl in West Hollywood
And I ain't namin' names
Well, she really worked me over good
She was just like Jesse James

She really worked me over good
She was a credit to her gender
She put me through some changes, Lord
Sort of like a ????????? blender Read the rest of this entry »

One Night Only! Live in Ann Arbor: Dr. Andrew Bernstein!

5 10 2010

I’ll soon be heading out to see a certain Dr. Andrew Bernstein (I know very little about him) give a talk about global capitalism as the solution to poverty. Bernstein’s visit is sponsored by the University of Michigan Students of Objectivism, the on-campus devotees of Objectivism, the philosophy developed by author Ayn Rand.

Though I’m not a full-fledged student of Objectivism myself, Rand introduced me to many of the ideas about liberty (largely through her fiction; most have heard of the The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, though few have apparently read them) that I have come to embrace. The Students of Objectivism always bring in interesting speakers, and given the subject matter, there’s bound to be some controversy.

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get the recap up tonight, but it will be coming soon…in the meantime, I’ve got a couple drafts saved that I want to wrap up and post.

A Quick Note

5 10 2010

I thought I’d mention that I’ll probably be going back and editing some of the stuff I write here for clarity (though not content). I’m using this as a medium for my thoughts, and because I’ve got a lot of stuff going on, I write posts quickly. Errors slip through. I aim to correct these errors as I notice them and improve my writing at the same time.

So if things change a little bit in past posts…it should be for the better. I hope.

Drolet For Senate

3 10 2010

I’ve finally started writing down some thoughts on the campaign I spent the summer working on.  I’m sure to have more to say, but I was asked to write a column for The Michigan Review on my experiences for an upcoming issue, which forced me to at least put something down on paper.

Unfortunately, the constraints of a newspaper column forced me to limit how much I could say, and I couldn’t spend much time talking about the great people I met and worked with.  Below is my original draft; the finished column is substantially edited for clarity and length, and I’ll post a link to that once the paper hits the stands.  Read the rest of this entry »

Progressivism and the Death of Satire

2 10 2010

When Jonathan Swift penned A Modest Proposal in 1729, he wielded the ancient literary weapon of satire to illustrate the desperate plight of the Irish with terrific effect.  Surely, no reader possessing a shred of humanity could agree with Swift’s position that the poor eat their own children.  Yet how different were the cold, calculated, and indifferent views of much of Smith’s 18th century audience in effect, if not principle?

Satire works when a commentator is able to take the pseudo-logical  arguments of an intellectual opponent just a few steps further, expanding their faulty premises in a new, unexpected, and often shocking or humorous direction.  Ridicule means death for bad ideas–it’s hard to take something seriously when you’re laughing at it–and satire is ridicule’s vector.

It’s hard to make satire work when an idea is too shocking, unbelievable, or laughable to be lampooned.  I’ve come across a number of items so mind-numbingly stupid (perhaps unsurprisingly, all from the progressive set) in the past few days that I’ve had to ask myself: Is it time to lay satire to rest as a tool for incisive commentary?

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