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November 03, 2008

Election 2008

It is time for another election, and I thought that it might be nice to look back at what I wrote for the previous one. My concerns haven’t really changed that much, although I would reduce my personal weighting of the Islamo-fascism (although, like communism, I would prefer to see it buried in garlic with a stake through its heart). So, what will my ballot look like, here in the 30th District of California?

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November 16, 2006

Milton Friedman, Economist

Milton Friedman passed away today, at the age of 94. What a great life! He was one of the small band of rebels in the mid 20th century that brought the principles of economics and freedom back into the mainstream.

Here is a collection of Friedman's famous television series, Free To Choose. Here are excerpts from his book Capitalism and Freedom.

One of my favorite quotes (also liked by Alex Tabarrok), possibly because it helps remind people who they are:

President Kennedy said, "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."... Neither half of that statement expresses a relation between the citizen and his government that is worthy of the ideals of free men in a free society.

October 19, 2006

Bathroom Remodeling Part 1

We decided to remodel the master bathroom, and, at long last, employed a general contractor, Building America after several quotes. They began work this past Monday, and it looks like it will take through early next week. It will include a new tile floor, a new (and more efficient) door layout, new sink and vanity, new medicine cabinets, new ceiling, etc. It will be great.

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August 19, 2006

Make Mine Freedom

Here's a cartoon from 1948 that gives a very simple defense of freedom and capitalism (from Greg Mankiw).

July 04, 2006

230th Anniversary

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

February 02, 2005

Ayn Rand's 100th Birthday

The writings of Ayn Rand were very influential on a young me, and it would seem fitting to write a bit about that on Rand's 100th birthday. I was first introduced to her writing via the book "Anthem" during my senior year of high school, as an assignment in my AP literature class. The book was almost shocking: I could not put it down, and read it twice in this same day. Later, I read the rest of Rand's opus, and wrote a detailed paper and presentation as the final project in my class. The fiction provided a concrete introduction to Rand's philosophy. The philosophy matched a lot of the ideas that I had been gathering at the time: The world is a big amazing place that can be known by observing and thinking carefully. Ideas are important, and a good person tries to understand the long-term implications of his thoughts and actions. A good society (based upon human rights) is one that allows the individual to think, act, and grow.

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November 04, 2004

Election Results

So we have completed another Presidential election, and it happened without the interference of terrorism, fraud, or violence. The Republican Party gained more seats in the Legislature, and Bush will continue as President. Overall, I am impressed with this election. According the CNN statistics, there were over 117 million voters, which was a record number in absolute terms, and the highest in terms of percentage of the electorate (60%) since 1968. I believe that the participation was engendered due to the perception that the election was important, due to some actual issues at stake. With Bush winning by over 3 percentage points (in the popular vote), it was a much bigger victory than most people (myself included) expected. I cannot think of this as anything but a resounding YES by the American people to something. To George W. Bush? To the Global War On Terror? To "moral values"? To free markets? More than likely, people will try to spin the re-election to suit their own agenda.

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August 29, 2004

Current blog favorites

I thought that it would be interesting to put up a list of my current favorite current-event blogs.

  • Instapundit - A well-respected, high volume site of libertarian / conservative writings (usually compilations of links to other sites), run by Glenn Reynolds, a law professor at the University of Tennessee.
  • Belmont Club - Features interesting commentary, usually on the "big picture" implications.
  • Virginia Postrel - Author and former editor of Reason magazine.
  • OxBlog - Another high-volume news / commentary site.
  • Tech Central Station - "Where Free Markets Meet Technology", with essays published daily.
  • Marginal Revolution - Economics blog. "Small steps to a much better world."
  • Knowledge Problem - Another economics blog.
  • Microsoft weblog compilation. Not political, but it is interesting to see what is going on in the Microsoft software development world.
  • Slashdot. News and current events, from the Open Source software development world.

August 02, 2004

Role of Voting

Sometime last year, after the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, an American journalist was interviewing an Iraqi about the prospect of voting. The Iraqi (having been educated with only Hussein's political doctrines, and probably genuinely curious) asked the question: "So now we are going to vote? What if we vote for a theocracy?" The American journalist (having probably been educated by statists in the U.S.) did not have an answer. This was unfortunate, because it offers a clear example of the role of voting within the framework of a free society.

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July 19, 2004

Cowboys

OpinionJournal had an interesting comparison of US and Canada, and noted the differences in US attitudes towards the frontier. The phrase "Cowboy Americans" has a different meaning over here, and probably one that foreign observers might not quite understand.


So can they call us cowboys? You bet. Because we are. Our response ought to be that of the Virginian when he was described as a son of a bitch: "When you call me that, smile!"

June 06, 2004

Reagan Farewell

The text of Ronald Reagan's farewell address to the nation after his presidency can be found here. May the spirit that moved him move us too.


I've spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don't know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it and see it still.

And how stands the city on this winter night? More prosperous, more secure, and happier than it was eight years ago. But more than that; after 200 years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true on the granite ridge, and her glow has held steady no matter what storm. And she's still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home.

April 29, 2004

The Truth Is...

Steven Den Beste makes some serious remarks. His remarks about the hypocrisy of the U.N. opposition to the invasion of Iraq are particularly interesting. Given the "Oil For Food" scandal, why does the U.N. have any credibility at all?

March 08, 2004

Presidential Election, Take 1

As the Presidential election starts to heat up, let me summarize my current position. I wonder, as November approaches, if my analysis will change.

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November 17, 2003

Manifesto

Take a look at this. Interesting and bold stuff.

November 11, 2003

End of the Third Reich

I discovered Eric S. Raymond's blog today. ESR is a noted technology pundit and open-source advocate, and he apparently has many other interests, too. In this article, he notes the similiarities between the Nazi resistance at the end of World War Two with the current Iraq Baath party resistance. The reference to this article is particularly interesting, as it details the Nazi Werewolf guerilla movement.

October 26, 2003

Iraq Commentary

It seems like some people (even Americans!) seem to want the United States to fail in the reconstruction of Iraq. This is evidenced by their focus on bombings and setbacks, and the odd expectation that a nation can be converted overnight from a war-torn / fascism-ravaged wasteland to a prosperous and free democracy. (Anyone who has been involved in any large-scale change effort should recognize that it takes time and effort.)

What would happen if the Iraq reconstruction worked? (By worked, I mean: Iraq developed into a peaceful, relatively free market/nation with a relatively democratic government.) It would certainly take credence away from anything that political segment has to say. That is particularly poor reason to oppose something, but I guess that people hate to lose.

In all fairness, their actual argument probably goes something like: It is impossible for the USA to help Iraq move into the 21st century, so any resources spent there will be wasted. Setbacks demonstrate our lack of effectiveness, and thus should be emphasized to influence the future direction of the nation.

I dont believe that of course, because freedom DOES work. Our particular cultural institutions may not work over there, but that doesnt matter: The fundamental principles (individual rights, limited government, i.e. freedom) can be translated.

An essay that deals with some of these issues can be found at here. (I am not a huge fan of National Review, but I think that the author hit on something important here.)

October 07, 2003

Stephenson Quote

In honor of today's recall election, I shall attach an interesting quote from Neal Stephenson. This quote was taken from a recent article about Neal's new book, Quicksilver.

The twentieth century was one in which limits on state power were removed in order to let the intellectuals run with the ball, and they screwed everything up and turned the century into an abattoir We Americans are the only ones who didn't get creamed at some point during all of this. We are free and prosperous because we have inherited political and value systems fabricated by a particular set of eighteenth-century intellectuals who happened to get it right. But we have lost touch with those intellectuals.

California Recall Vote

I did my civic duty today by voting in Californias recall. It was a pleasure (on several levels) to vote to remove Davis. I voted for McClintock as the new governor, and against both propositions (on general principle).

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June 23, 2003

Star Trek, The Dynamic Society

Andrew Sincic recently extolled the virtues of Star Trek: The Next Generation, as portrayed on the season 5 DVD. As a science-fiction fan, Ive always enjoyed the show for its clever stories and interesting special effects. But Andrew alluded to something else in Star Trek that has always appealed to me, too: It portrays an open, dynamic society in which the amazing opportunities of the universe are explored. This is an important and encouraging vision in todays world.

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April 03, 2003

Rambling About Current Issues

There are several current topics that I find interesting, and I will try to write about a couple of them.

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March 22, 2003

Protesters

On Thursday after work, I went on an evening run through my neighborhood. The police had blocked off the Wilshire exit off of the 405, due to anti-war protesters, and I was curious to see what was actually going on.

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