I hear they have a beautiful campus

29 05 2011

After a very eventful journey and several hours stuck in the bleak hell that is Sandusky, Ohio,  I arrived at Wake Forest University. Which isn’t actually in Wake Forest, North Carolina, but rather, thirty miles away in Winston-Salem. Go figure.

There isn’t a whole lot of time to sit and write here; IHS seminars keep participants busy. I’ve been taking notes, though, and I’ll have a day off Tuesday. There are quite a few interesting chracters here.

Oh, and Wake Forest does have a beautiful campus. I’ll take some pictures.

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Education and Activism

26 05 2011

I’ve been doing a good deal of thinking about the roles of education and activism in the in the fight against statism as I prepare to head to Wake Forest University for a week-long Institute for Humane Studies seminar (“Liberty & Society”).

Yes, I know, I tend to think about boring things, but when I spend as much time as I do getting involved in “the cause,” what with my reading, writing, and constant interaction with like-minded friends and colleagues, I can’t help but begin wondering (as many others do, I’m sure), whether what I do is worth it.

Of course, it is worth it – to me personally at least – or I wouldn’t be involved at all. But time is a scarce resource, and I want to maximize my return on the time I invest in the cause. There are many ways to invest one’s energy, or the energy of a student group: informative events, publicity stunts, political activism, etc. But I think all forms of pro-liberty action can be placed into one of two broad and overlapping groups: Education and Activism.

Education means working to inform oneself and one’s peers about libertarian concepts and ideas. This could be as simple as taking a few minutes a day to read a book or holding a discussion group at a coffee shop, or as complex as bringing scholars to campus or hosting a seminar.

Activism is a similarly broad category, involving everything from campus demonstrations to door-knocking for a particularly principled candidate (it sucks, trust me) to running for elected office. Read the rest of this entry »





Well, that explains a lot

24 05 2011

Snide comments about Barack Obama running a never-ending campaign may be more accurate than we could have ever imagined.

It seems that during a visit to Westminster Abbey’s Grave of the Unknown Warrior, Obama left the following solemn inscription along with a wreath:

It is a great privilege to commemorate our common heritage, and common sacrifice.

Barack Obama

24 May 2008

Barack Obama: Timelord?

Oops.

At least this flub explains where our President’s head is – stuck in the glory days of 2008. Given his attempts to revive failed New Deal economic policies and his penchant for Rooseveltian bureaucratic organization and control, however, perhaps 1936 would have been more appropriate.





Don’t let government intervene in innovation

24 05 2011

If you ever doubt the ability of ordinary men to accomplish extraordinary things when allowed to innovate in a free market, head over to Greenfield Village for an afternoon.

The inventions showcased at the Village and the Henry Ford Museum, from the now-endangered incandescent light bulb to the affordable automobile, were the result of pure individual initiative. They became wildly successful because they fulfilled a real need. The same cannot be said about the recent crop of “green” products, from wan compact fluorescent bulbs to massively subsidized hybrid-electric cars.

"Better" = "No tax credits needed"

The government has long tried to turn the process of innovation on its head in an attempt to make the market respond to top-down edicts instead of bottom-up demand. Mandates, subsidies, targeted tax credits, and outright bans are all tools in the state’s arsenal. Now, in his self-appointed role of Henry Ford-in-Chief, President Obama is trying to engineer widespread adoption of eco-friendly vehicles where the market has, in his mind, failed.

But the purchase of expensive Chevy Volts and other high-efficiency vehicles for the government motor pool isn’t just a waste of tax dollars (does the federal government qualify for federal green vehicle tax credits?); it represents yet another bid to alter the course of innovation to fit the vision of bureaucrats, consumers be damned. Read the rest of this entry »





Insane vintage racing video

23 05 2011

When I was little, I used to want to be a race car driver. I even went so far as to claim that “I already am a race car driver, I just don’t have the car.” I’ve never really been able to live that quote down, but in retrospect, it’s probably not a bad attitude to have as far as life goes.

As glamorous as the life of a driver must be, there are, of course, a few occupational hazards. Like the crashes:

Video via Autoblog.

The absolutely insane thing about these early race cars is the lack of what we would consider the most basic safety gear. I’m not talking about side curtain airbags, traction control, or ABS, which really have no place on even a modern race car; these things didn’t always have functional roll cages or lap belts, let alone five- or six-point racing harnesses.

Based on the number of driver ejections, the designers’ safety strategy seemed to have run along the lines of “cross fingers and the hope driver is thrown a safe distance from car following crash (before the fuel ignites).” The video shows drivers seemingly walking off some genuinely horrific crashes after landing yards away from the wreckage of their destroyed vehicles.

It’s easy to praise vintage racers for having the combination of raw talent and crazy machismo required to tame the beastly race cars of yesteryear, but damn, am I glad that safety technology has come so far over the past century.





College Grads Wise Up

22 05 2011

Can poll results be both surprising and completely predictable?

That’s how I would describe a recent survey of 500 recent college grads which indicates that those young, idealistic voters who helped put Obama in the Oval Office are now running away from his presidency in alarming (for the Obama Administration, at least) numbers. Read the rest of this entry »





Grant Writin’

18 05 2011

Over the next few days, I’ll be writing the Michigan Review’s annual application for a Collegiate Network grant. The Collegiate Network is an invaluable national organization that supports more than thirty independent campus newspapers, including, of course, the Review.

The CN has traditionally provided the largest single source of operating revenue for the Review, which allows us to publish without relying on funds from the University of Michigan. As we never pull our punches when it comes to controversial campus issues, the autonomy that the grant provides us is absolutely essential.

Of course, we are also supported by a network of dedicated alumni, parents, and other thoughtful supporters (if you’d like to become one of those supporters and receive our biweekly issues by mail, consider donating!).

Working for a campus newspaper is an invaluable experience. Despite the sorry state of commercial print media, the Review and other student-run publications across the country are going strong–thanks in a large part to the support of the Collegiate Network and our generous donors.

Oh, and this is also a great opportunity for me to remind you all that our great new website is up and running…check it out sometime! There won’t be much new content released over the summer, but you can dive into twenty-seven years of archives if you’re so inclined.