Archive for January, 2014

From the Editor’s Perch…

January 27, 2014
Behold my display of the 2013 Federal Register. It contains over 80,000 pages of new rules, regulations, and notices all written and passed by unelected bureaucrats. The small stack of papers on top of the display are the laws passed by elected members of Congress and signed into law by the president. - US Senator Mike Lee

Behold my display of the 2013 Federal Register. It contains over 80,000 pages of new rules, regulations, and notices all written and passed by unelected bureaucrats. The small stack of papers on top of the display are the laws passed by elected members of Congress and signed into law by the president. – US Senator Mike Lee

Will the State Eventually Regulate Our Shopping?

 

            “The consumer has more power for good or ill than the voter,” Stuart Brand wrote in his Whole Earth Catalogue in the rebellious 60s.

Forward to the next millennium when our United State has fairly well neutralized the voter through the machinations of debit financing and fiat money, in its hegemonic rise.  Democrats and Republicans now differ mainly in which portions of the government they wish to grow and nourish, while watering and caring for it all and buying the votes to do so with newly made money.  Legislatively the State pretty much has things tied up.  But like any organization which inevitably tries to grow further, and is looking towards the future to enlarge its presence, will the State focus now on dictating what we can purchase, and dictating what we must purchase?

The pocketbook is the citizen’s last and most individual source of power.

There already are lots of things we must purchase.  First and foremost, at the top of any list would be the government itself.  We must purchase our government’s laws and services, with all of the constraints and rules of user use that come with it.  And we must agree to paying its price (taxes).  And we must agree to its billing: state taxes, federal taxes, county taxes, city taxes, business taxes, regulator taxes, use taxes, permit fees, and license assessments…. etc.

There are a lot of services which we are forced to buy through the government which we can buy elsewhere.  For example, education, postal services, transportation (buses, rapid transit), security, fire protection, sewer, garbage, libraries… and innumerable other services which we pay for but do not use – could all be purchased elsewhere.  In addition to this the government also limits many things we can purchase.  This of course includes illegal drugs, weapons and hazardous materials of many sorts.  But most notably it includes all of those products either banned from our country or kept out of our country by law and restrictive tariffs.

The latest public squabbles have been over New York City’s banning of the sale of super-sized soft drinks, and the Federal Government’s insistence that we buy health care insurance (Obamacare) which meets their criteria, not necessarily ours.

The public uproar over these policies indicates the citizens’ frustration with the State’s ever increasing presumption of the citizen’s free will.  But, as Llewellyn Rockwell, Jr. notes in his book, Fascism versus Capitalism, “It would appear that the more liberty we lose, the less people are able to imagine how liberty might work.”  Like citizens of a controlled economy, they imagine that if the difficulties of managing an economy are so complex so as to confound the very brightest of their bureaucrats they can produce – how on earth is the economy ever to function by the government doing nothing?!  It’s rather like the overbearing mother asking her smothered son, however is he ever going to make his own way in life without her help?  (I hope we all have the answer to that!)

Currently, the way I would predict our State to move, will be inflationary devaluation of our personal incomes while paying its debts with devalued monies.   In this way, the State’s prerogatives continue to grow while the individual citizen’s continue to shrink – until we must beg the State for subsistence, with the loss of all our freedoms.   This is my best prediction of the Endgame, as the State currently proceeds.

 

However.  There are people out there asking questions and coming up with some answers and even some better questions. .. and even some better answers.  Many of them are Libertarians and Anarchists of both the Left and Right.  Look them up.  Behold!

 

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From the Editor’s Perch…

January 19, 2014
Core Curriculum Takes Another Local School.

Core Curriculum Takes Another Local School.

Core Curriculum: an Anarchist’s Viewpoint

 

            When I was much younger, the notion that it was much wiser to learn concepts rather than facts and information of all sorts made sense.  After all, we could always look up the facts, but wasn’t it the task of intelligence to organize these facts into a coherent, usable bit of wisdom one could carry around and use as a mental tool to examine and mine more facts and information to determine meaning?  Wasn’t the point of learning to absorb ways of looking and seeing so that the world became a comprehensible and useable?  Shouldn’t education spread the acquired wisdom of the history of all endeavors?  Otherwise, what’s to keep us from being superseded by the computer?

 

With experience came a different point of view.  When it came to arguing a point, I found facts and examples to be much more powerful tools than concepts.  Arguing from a ‘concept’ was about as effective as pounding a Bible.  Concepts are useful when you are preaching to the choir.  But otherwise, no one has time for yours.  Concepts are something you can fight with, but it’s facts and examples which do the hard work.  People generally hold concepts to be a lot like opinions (and assholes); everybody has one.  About all a concept will do is to start a fight.

Which brought me to my second, more rebellious, notion, which is that a concept is really just a prejudice about reality.   Some say that the facts organize themselves this way.  Others say that the facts organize themselves that way.  In fact, the facts do not do any organizing at all.  It’s the people who have organized everything.  So, when we discuss education, and learning, the question is: how ‘organized’ do we want this education to be’.  The Core Curriculum people (and those who would keep their jobs by enforcing these positions) would maintain (albeit tacitly) that we want it very organized, and from the top down.

 

In essence, what the Core Curriculum demands a student do is to observe the world with prejudice, rather than as it is.  And they would insist that this prejudice be extreme and all-encompassing, and – by the way, created by those far away from you who will ‘know better’.

For goodness sakes, if we are going to have prejudices, shouldn’t they be our own?  How in the world are we ever to change a prejudice, if it isn’t even ours?

Since time immemorial, the populace has yearned for consistency, and has sought to enforce it through force.  But since time immemorial, wisdom has taught us the errors of placing all of our eggs in one basket.  The reason facts occur without prejudice is because life occurs without prejudice.  The only thing which occurs with complete prejudice is death.  Yes, death is restful.  Death is peaceful.  Death will silence all of your questions and anxieties.  The Core Curriculum is a big step towards this ideal state.  And they would start with our children.

Photo from Google Images

Travelling Expenses…

January 17, 2014

Paul Eenhoorn Surfaces in Iceland!

Editor’s Note:  I’ll bet none of you who have been wondering what Paul Eenhoorn is up to, guessed that he might be shooting a new movie in Iceland!  He’s ripping it up onscreen as one of a pair of old duffers out to celebrate a friendship in a quite out of the way place.  Look for it at Sundance!

Land Ho!’ Poster Premiere: This Is the Sundance Movie You Definitely Want to Party With

By  Jan 13, 2014

Two ex-brothers-in-law (This Is Martin Bonner’s Paul Eenhoorn and Eastbound & Down’s Earl Lynn Nelson) set off on an Iceland vacation to reclaim their youth; dipping their toes in the Reykjavik nightclub scene, visiting trendy spas, dining at daring restaurants and communing at rugged campsites. What starts as a raucous adventure becomes a journey of self-discovery.

Land Ho! is the latest producing project from lyrical indie-film favorite David Gordon Green, directed by Martha Stephens (Pilgrim SongPassenger Pigeons) and Aaron Katz (Cold WeatherQuiet City). The endearing tale is part 1980s raucous road comedy, part sensitive and charming portrait of aging à la an edgier Strangers in Good Company for men. Interestingly enough, Nelson, who wasn’t formally trained as an actor, plays a brazen surgeon in the film. He’s also a practicing surgeon in his offscreen life as well. Nelson’s improvisational, naturalistic style caught the eye of Green when he appeared in Stephens’ Passenger Pigeons.

We have the poster premiere for Land Ho!, which teases a bit of that lovely Icelandic landscape and the refreshingly genuine and fun bond Eenhoorn and Nelson share throughout the film. The witty work will make its debut at this year’s Sundance Film Festival on January 19.

From the Editor’s Perch…

January 12, 2014

Lady Gaga2

Fashion

 

            In the book, Fascism versus Capitalism, Llwellyn Rockwell Jr. mentions the Harvard philosopher, Santayana’s observation “that ideas aren’t usually abandoned because they have been refuted; they are abandoned when they become unfashionable.”  Most people reading this who have tried to introduce an unfashionable notion probably have suffered this observation.  You either find yourself socially isolated.   Or you are made to feel as if you are speaking in a foreign tongue, as if, as a woman at a theater rehearsal once told me (regarding my thoughts):  “I feel as if I am talking to someone from the moon.”  Thoughts judged to be unfashionable are simply left to die alone while conversing to the backs and sides of heads, and thence to float away, detached and withered, into the cold outer reaches.

The most dramatic example I’ve run across of this phenomenon is from the same book as mentioned above.  Henry Hazlitt was an editorial writer for the New York Times from 1934 till 1945 who backed a return to the gold standard.  He was finally sacked for his editorials in opposition to the Breton Woods agreement of 1945 establishing the World Bank.   Hazlitt wrote: “it would be difficult to think of a more serious threat to world stability and full production than the continual prospect of a uniform world inflation to which the politicians of every country would be so easily tempted.”  Throughout his tenure, no one, as far as can be seen, joined him in his warnings.  He could not even generate a credible opposition.  His opposition around the Breton Woods agreement ignored him, claiming a world catastrophe if the measure were not passed.

History has proved Henry Hazlitt correct.  And millions of lives perhaps need not have been lost to the devastations of WWII if the advent of rampant inflation had not been there to fuel the rise of fascist philosophies.  But no matter.  WWII did occur.  The Times has never apologized.  (Don’t hold your breath!)  And Henry Hazlitt lost his job.  John Maynard Keynes ideas appeared to be new.  Henry Hazlitt’s appeared to be old.  To be included in a current conversation you must be perceived to be ‘new’ – otherwise, the argument goes, why have one?   Though there was no factual basis of incompetence for firing Henry Hazlitt, by 1945 the Times publisher,  Arthur Sulzberger, “had had enough.”  “When 43 governments sign an agreement, I don’t see how the Times can any longer combat this,” he said.

 

“How important is sound money?  The whole of civilization depends on it,” says Llewellyn Rockwell.  Nevertheless, fashion trumps it.

 

            If these anecdotes don’t arouse you, then I give up.  I can’t reach you with a sharp pin.

 

But fashion itself is a fascinating topic.  It seems to move and change on its own timeline, without regard for events.  (Which, I would suppose is as we should expect, given its impervious nature.)  In my younger years I lived in a home I’d purchased on the cheap in the Rainier Valley area of Seattle.   This section of Seattle contained (and still does) the most diversified population in terms of race and ethnicity of any area in King County.  While I lived there, gang violence was endemic.  I still remember my neighbor arguing loudly in the middle of our street with his son not to join the gang which was waiting for him on the corner.  I had passed the years watching this decent kid grow from a toddler, to the middle school aged youngster who now apparently had been judged old enough to join the gang.  I also remember a neighborhood friend relating the tale of going to pick up her son at school and having to hug the floor of her car outside of the school to escape the exchange of bullets passing overhead.  Our community and the city government tried this and they tried that.  Then, after it seemed I had given up hope and had moved on anyway, it just ended.  No more violence.  No more gangs on the corner.  And yet everything else was the same.  Same people.  Same laws.  Same police.   Same homes.  Same everything.  Only the people who did that sort of thing, didn’t do it anymore.  As near as I could tell, it just passed out of fashion.

Photo is Lady Gaga from Google Images


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