Getting a grip on the war with Iraq: The 'wrest' of the story...
What we should want, if we had brains enough to want wisely,
is a world peopled by rationalists, egoists, individualists.
A slow but certain way to achieve that is to give the world
capitalism, which can be effected simply by dismantling the
barriers to it. The world--left unmolested--runs by itself.
The war with Iraq: Taking a better grip...
The United States is going to use Iraq to demonstrate a
simple fact that other nations have sought to obscure since
the collapse of the Soviet Union: America is not just the
pre-eminent world power, we are, for now at least, an
invincible world power.
War with Iraq: Why the Bush Doctrine will prevail--and fail...
Our enemy is not Islam or China or the entrenchedly
enstenched French. Our enemy is Abel's
anti-Hellenism--irrationalism, anegoism, anti-individualism,
anti-capitalism. Whether they know it or not, these are the
things immigrants are escaping when they come to America,
and their contraries--reason, egoism, individualism and
capitalism--are the ideas United States must export.
A Just and Libertarian war...
Whatever one might say about
President George W. Bush, about the Republicans, about the
state of the American body politic, it remains that this war
not only will be fought, but that it should be
fought. It must be fought, if the philosophical
principles that undergird human liberty are to endure upon
Cain's world: Persephone's second coming...
The War on Terror will be won, if it is, not by the second coming
of the Nazarene, but by the second coming of Persephone. When the
West dares to be what it is, Cain's world, and when it dares to
hold the rest of the world accountable for its expressions of
murderous passion, then there will be hope for the
transmission of the culture of cool deliberation that is the best
and highest achievement of Western Civilization.
It is when people waver that the principles that could buttress them grow stronger. It is when people stray that the principles that should guide them prove themselves straight and true.
Curing the incuriosity of the East...
A post-communist China may be focused outward. Islam (and
many another Eastern sect) is focused eternally inward. Only
Hellenism brings that which is without within, in her
sciences, and that which is within without, in her arts.
Colloquy with a goat
It's not just that antique Westerners were even
worse than their Islamic counterparts, but, amazingly,
the modern children of Athens can only aspire to be
almost--but not quite--as morally worthy as ancient and
Back-handing the sinister American left...
What best fits the evidence? A left that lusts after power?
A left that misunderstands the threat to freedom? A left
that is perverse or distracted or over-committed? Or a left
that labors persistently to undermine and destroy the
To Condi, with sweetness
The West can change--the West thrives by changing--and the
East never can. A President Condoleezza Rice, a conservative
black woman president of the United States of America, would
make that argument more eloquently than any book ever could.
Islam and moral equivalence
The derision by the politically correct of Robertson and
Falwell notwithstanding, it is nevertheless true that Islam
is a warrior culture. It was born in war, and it remains
committed to holy war down to the present day.
When the Scout leader regurgitates the Marxist
horseshit he was force-fed without even knowing it was
Marxist horseshit, without even realizing he was being
force-fed, without ever once thinking about what his words
might mean--that man is the most effective recruiting
agent the Communists ever had.
A tear for Wendell
And yet so much of him lingers. He was so rude and yet so
courtly. So tragic and yet so unbearably funny. Such a
masterful enemy to those he hated, but such a magnificent
friend to those he loved.
I am caressing savages into peaceful revolutionaries, and Thumper is
the young revolutionary who gave me this job. A rosebud set with little
willful thorns, I have taught her nothing so valuable as what I have
learned from her own patient example: to strive, to seek, to find, and
never to yield.
This is Cameron's legacy. Not a wealth that we have not yet found (we
are un-American enough that we don't expect it to find
us). Not a big house or a fancy car. Not even a paid-up
education trust, the only item in this list I care about. In place of
those rock-hard, solid, dependable, practical values we offer
nothing but intangibles. But they are intangibles of the very best
quality, and we own them in abundance.
Cameron at four
I have not picked every sweet pear from the tree of my life, but I have
made a good beginning, and I am confident I will glean the tree in due
course. But I am confident, too, that someday my children will leave me
hopelessly behind, their minds so much better honed than my own blunt
instrument that all I will be able to do is beam with pride and brag
about them to strangers.
Whoredom, boredom, love, lust and a great big tree
I am frantic and abrasive and arrogant and self-absorbed--who could
argue with these evaluations? Moreover, I am driven, and not moderately
so. I am very much aware that I will die someday, and I take that
prospect very seriously. My work is here, on the printed (or virtually
printed) page, and I haven't done enough of it, not nearly.
Consciousness of mortality drives me to keep working, working, working,
so that I might finish my work in time, before I die.
The Band rocks from the Rockin' Chair
One of the most unique and beautiful sounds of The Band was
the sound of silence, a silence punctuated and made utterly
perfect by the interruption of a single note.
Oxford's Torment: The Latest Chapter in the Shakespeare Mystery
As we can easily see, the matter is now settled to the
satisfaction of all who dare not whisper a word of
dissatisfaction. Shakespeare wrote poems and plays that parallel
the life of Oxford, and for his vengeance Oxford wrote plays that
parallel the life of Shakespeare. What could be clearer?
Sneaking peeks at the personals
The personals combine the two products with the highest
conceivable profit-margins: desperation and the intangible. Desperation
is the product sold by prostitutes and porn shops and "exotic" bars and
romance novelists and women's magazines and cosmetics companies. And
the intangible is the most perfect product of all, one-size-fits-all,
keeps indefinitely, folds away for easy storage. Sell the sizzle, not
the steak? Nah. Just sell the sizzle and keep the steak. There is no
customer more satisfied than the one who has traded his hard-won
something for a fine and perfect nothing with a gilt-edged guarantee.
Is that AOL there is...?
I am left with the impression that America Online is a kiddie pool situated
beside the great, wide oceans of information. And that is fine with
me. The kiddie pool is always jammed, but everyone in it seems always
to be having a great time. If the kiddies shriek at an ear-splitting
volume, at least they're doing it over there, where they can't hurt
themselves, and where they can annoy only each other. It wouldn't be a
pleasant thing if they got out in the deep before they're ready, but we
all know that the sharks clean up after the undertow.
Diana Spencer died in an automobile accident. She wasn't wearing a
seatbelt, and the car was virtually destroyed. Despite what you might
infer by watching television, she wasn't actually flogged before Pilate
and Herod, then forced to drag a cross up Calvary Hill while wearing an
elegant crown of thorns. But amid the media feeding frenzy about the
evil nature of media feeding frenzies, a new story is emerging.
Why I vote YES on rec.music.white-power
Very probably, neo-nazis are everything we think they are:
stupid, self-destructive, overgrown victims of child abuse spewing
pointless bile as they wait out the slow process of death by
alcoholism. But: so what? Speech is merely speech, and, glorious or
depraved, elevating or denigrating, sublime or putrescent, it is still
nothing but speech.
Defusing the Unabomber
Technology is not our enemy. By means of technology, we have created
the wealth that permits five billion people who use the cortex to
survive on a planet that will only support five million people who
refuse to use the cortex. Our enemy, always, is the state. Our enemy,
always, is the chimp who, by his screeching, screeching, screeching,
demands that we return to the veldt.
Liberty and compromise...
We won't win anything until we win everything all at once. But we won't
win ever if we don't fight for what we really want, and not what
seems practical or necessary or expedient or profitable. The smallest
compromise with the tyrant is a victory for tyranny, and we cannot win
anything for liberty by lending our strength to tyranny.
Let 'em eat steak...
We are free because we must be. Not because we should be or want to be
or are ordained by god to be. Not because our liberty is the wellspring
of all the wealth humanity has ever produced. Not because that
accumulated wealth is a treasure no one man could ever produce--or
steal--on his own. Not because leaving us alone will produce more for
everyone else or even for anyone else. We are free not for the
collective, not for utility, not for practicality, not for beauty or
divinity or dignity or art. We are free because we cannot be otherwise,
ever, no matter what. We are free because we cannot be chained by
anyone without our consent.
Dancing with the infidel
We are libertarians, and we define ourselves, in large measure, by what
we rebel against. But we are as much defined by what we are loyal
to. The infidel won't be converted when he claims to hate the state
or to uphold the individual. He will be converted when he discovers
that the interests of one's own self come before any other claim.
He will be converted when he
dares to dance, awkwardly, gracelessly, proudly, joyously free...
Escaping Room 101...
I spend a lot of time thinking about the love of life and its
antithesis. For me, the quest for human liberty has little to do with
laws or strictures or jack-booted thugs hiding behind mirrored shades.
We are not enslaved or set free by other people, and we will not change
our interior existence by convincing other people to change their
behavior. We are free as we dare to rejoice in the beauty and glory of
life, and we are enslaved as we shrink from that rejoicing. The ego is
a realm infinite in extent, and it cannot ever be invaded from the
Meet the Third Thing...
Our appeal as libertarians to the rest of the political spectrum is our
immense consistency. They see us from a distance, and we appear to them
to be monolithic in our advocacy of human liberty. Well we are, almost.
But that little bit of corruption, that tiny little claim that force
can sometimes justified, will in due course destroy the rest. Just like
the last time.
Living is what you're doing when you're too enthralled to notice. Dying
is what you're doing when all you can do is notice. Our destiny is not
to die without ever having dared to live. Our destiny is to thrive.
Without shame. Without apologies. And without one instant of shrinking.
I worship what you can become. I beseech you to become it and rejoice
boundlessly in your enormity.
The art and science of Kay Nolte Smith, Novelist
What makes Smith's works art is not what she shouts, but
what she whispers. She is enervatingly expert at leading the
reader away from her real message, blinding you with a public
point of view that is really no more than a screen for her
quietly private truth, the truth of a self that can never quite
hide itself. If we can borrow an image from the drama, it is as
though we are seeing the role of a matron played by a very young
girl, precociously wise and knowing, yet somehow too winsome, too
timorous, and much too shy.
Why I read Ibsen
Henrik Ibsen confronted the newly liberated Europeans and demanded that
they take the next step, liberation from the bonds of their own
hypocrisy, their fears, their prejudices and superstitions.
Unsurprisingly, Europe--and America, and modernity--turned its back on
Ibsen. But truth is that gentle scrubbing from which there is no
escape, no safe refuge. And Ibsen is always waiting by the fjord for
the day when you, brave reader, dare to brace the waters of his art.
Hating Bill Clinton would accord him much
more respect than he deserves. Bill Clinton is a bug, a disease,
a virus. Bill Clinton is literally a louse, a parasite of
virtually no consequence, and he deserves no more attention than
it takes to get him out of one's hair.
A GOP strategy that can win
The Framers of the U.S. Constitution anticipated that the states
would comprise laboratories of democracy, each seeking to find the
best balance between individual rights and collective authority.
Devolving political power from the Federal government to the states,
and from there to the counties and municipalities, most closely
mimics the grand idea expressed in the Declaration of Independence:
The consent of the governed.
The price of "free" organs
People are dying, and we are gravely trying to figure out how best to
be the choosers of the slain. But we need not choose the slain, and we
are criminals--murderers--when we do. If we free the market, people
will decide for themselves what is best within the context of their own
lives, just as they do with cars and houses and vacations and legacies
for their children.
The right to be self-destructive...
And it is a cognizance of this last point - that drug prohibition
serves mainly to victimize the innocent - that makes Elders'
statement praiseworthy. She didn't make the principled argument -
and the 'private sector' will find immediate need for her unique
expertise on the very day that she dares to make the principled
argument. But she made a principled argument, however badly, and
she stood behind it with the courage she owns in abundance.
Why taxpayers always get milked...
Socialism is a perverse but consistent idea of humanity-as-herd. It
cannot be fought with perverse but inconsistent ideas of
humanity-as-herd - not Reagan's Utilitarianism nor Bush's Pragmatism.
The contrary to the view of man as a cow to be milked is Individualism,
the moral philosophy that argues that each individual person is
sovereign in himself, that he solely owns his body and his mind and the
wealth he produces from their use. That a human being is not a cow,
and that even attempting to milk him of his property is a crime.
First reflections from The Valley Of The Sun
Truly, I am stunned. I tried not to form any preconceptions
about this place, when I was studying it. But no preconceptions
could have prepared me for the reality of it. Everything is
wonderful, and, so far, nothing has hurt.
A small matter of principle...
I am gloried
that I am able to see so much in something you thought was so very
small, if you dared think of it at all. I have no fear of thought. I
don't betray it, so it can never betray me. I can look at my life, at
my surroundings, and I can make of them what I will in words made
flesh, in worlds made fresh by my fingertips. The things that we own
and treasure are precious to us because they are trophies of our work,
the work our minds.
A short history of creatively powered spaceflight
Even in the days of
chemically powered spaceflight, humanity knew that the very best
spacedrives were designed by science fiction writers.
Unfortunately, the people of that distant age also believed that
spacedrives were bound to the laws of physics. It was the
discovery of the plausibility principle that delivered us from
that grim prison, the recognition that "that which has the ring
of plausibility to the untutored ear can be made to work".