This is not a political site. This is an anti-political site. Our purpose is to advance civil society and the freedom philosophy and perhaps have a little fun while we're at it.

9/16/17

Sugar is Addictive and We Are All Addicted

I don't agree with 100% of what Lustwig says, but I agree with the vast majority of it.

I wouldn't have been able to agree or disagree if I had not watched it and a lot of other opinions on the topic as well. What a ridiculous thing to say! So obvious it need not be said.

Except that most humans are resistant to change, particularly in regard to their own comfortable habits. Therefore, they do not read or watch things that threaten to force them to make uncomfortable choices.

It wouldn't matter unless the consequences for our own health and that of our children were not so profound. I think it matters.


1/30/17

This Blog is a Failure



By Grant Davies

When I first started this blog back in 2008 (yes, it has been that long) it looked different than it does now. A lot has changed over the years.

I don't write as much anymore but I don't think that caused the failure. My writing was never very good (in some cases dreadful) but people didn't seem to mind too much if the message I was sending got through.

I will opine that the writing has gotten less dreadful over the years. So the writing itself probably didn't cause the failure. The failure was in the concept, not necessarily the execution.

The current description at the top of the page explains "This is not a political site. This is an anti-political site. Our purpose is to advance civil society and the freedom philosophy and perhaps have a little fun while we're at it." And that is true now. I can't even remember what it was before I changed it to that. But the title of the blog tells what I really wanted the blog to become.

"What we Think and Why" referred to my desire that people could read what I wrote and then comment. What "we" think referred to everyone who read the blog, not just my opinion. The "why" part was my hope that people would not just spout off, agreeing or disagreeing, but explaining why they thought what they thought. Perhaps they would even include links to the articles or studies that explained why.

I was hoping for thoughtful discussion. It didn't happen to any acceptable degree. A few people (not too many) commented on the posts a bit in the beginning. They mostly do not anymore. Those who did were mostly agreeing with me. Affirmation was not my goal.

So, the site has become what I think and why. Question is, who cares? I try to make the topics compelling, but my opinions don't pass the "compelling" test. I post things that I suspect many people haven't spent much time thinking about, much less reading about. The idea wasn't to educate people. After all, who the heck am I to do that? It was an effort to expose people to articles, authors, and concepts they didn't usually address. That part was mostly a success I think.

But the failure was in the communication part. What we've got here, is failure to communicate. And I'm not sure exactly why it works better on some social media, like FaceBook, than it does on this blog.

Anyone who has a thoughtful opinion about what they think about that and why, is invited to comment below. I don't expect a flood of replies because, in that regard, this blog is a failure.


1/17/17

Shame on Me

"Never before have I written so long a letter. I'm afraid it is much too long to take your precious time. I can assure you that it would have been much shorter if I had been writing from a comfortable desk, but what else can one do when he is alone in a narrow jail cell, other than write long letters, think long thoughts and pray long prayers?" --- Martin Luther King, Jr. 



By Grant Davies

In April 1963, only a few days after my thirteenth birthday, Martin Luther King was sitting in a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama, writing a letter to some clergymen. The letter he wrote was not on my radar screen. I was preparing to graduate from elementary school.

Looking back now I only vaguely recall hearing his name. I certainly didn't know anything about him. I remember later hearing that he was a "negro agitator." It didn't sound like a good thing to be.

But I had other things on my mind. I was alternately terrified and anxious to attend high school in a few months. I cared about girls and my paper route. As the next few years went by I became more aware of who he was but my focus was still on girls and my various jobs.

I wonder now if my outlook on life would have been somewhat different if I had read that letter and had the maturity to understand its contents back then. I'll never know.

Today, I saw a post on Facebook from a freedom advocate with whom I am acquainted. His name is Ken Prazak. He confessed: "I am a bit ashamed to say that I had never read this all the way through. I regard it as one of the greatest arguments for freedom and justice ever written. I look at it as a universal argument, not only for the "negro" but for all mankind." He was, of course, referring to that same letter written in that Birmingham jail cell.

Now I'm sixty-six years old and I guess it's never too late. I decided to follow his lead and read it in its entirety.

I agree with his comment about the letter. I read it. Shame on me for not reading it sooner.

Letter from a Birmingham jail. 

12/15/16

The Most Interesting Man in the World Has Passed Away

This is easily the best obituary I have ever read. You're not as sad that he died as you are that you didn't go with him. He was, the most interesting man in the world.




Irishman Dies from Stubbornness, Whiskey

Chris Connors died, at age 67, after trying to box his bikini-clad hospice nurse just moments earlier. Ladies man, game slayer, and outlaw Connors told his last inappropriate joke on Friday, December 9, 2016, that which cannot be printed here. Anyone else fighting ALS and stage 4 pancreatic cancer would have gone quietly into the night, but Connors was stark naked drinking Veuve in a house full of friends and family as Al Green played from the speakers. The way he died is just like he lived: he wrote his own rules, he fought authority and he paved his own way. And if you said he couldn't do it, he would make sure he could.

Most people thought he was crazy for swimming in the ocean in January; for being a skinny Irish Golden Gloves boxer from Quincy, Massachusetts; for dressing up as a priest and then proceeding to get into a fight at a Jewish deli. Many gawked at his start of a career on Wall Street without a financial background - but instead with an intelligent, impish smile, love for the spoken word, irreverent sense of humor, and stunning blue eyes that could make anyone fall in love with him.

As much as people knew hanging out with him would end in a night in jail or a killer screwdriver hangover, he was the type of man that people would drive 16 hours at the drop of a dime to come see. He lived 1000 years in the 67 calendar years we had with him because he attacked life; he grabbed it by the lapels, kissed it, and swung it back onto the dance floor. At the age of 26 he planned to circumnavigate the world - instead, he ended up spending 40 hours on a life raft off the coast of Panama. In 1974, he founded the Quincy Rugby Club. In his thirties, he sustained a knife wound after saving a woman from being mugged in New York City. He didn't slow down: at age 64, he climbed to the base camp of Mount Everest. Throughout his life, he was an accomplished hunter and birth control device tester (with some failures, notably Caitlin Connors, 33; Chris Connors, 11; and Liam Connors, 8).

He was a rare combination of someone who had a love of life and a firm understanding of what was important - the simplicity of living a life with those you love. Although he threw some of the most memorable parties during the greater half of a century, he would trade it all for a night in front of the fire with his family in Maine. His acute awareness of the importance of a life lived with the ones you love over any material possession was only handicapped by his territorial attachment to the remote control of his Sonos music.

Chris enjoyed cross dressing, a well-made fire, and mashed potatoes with lots of butter. His regrets were few, but include eating a rotisserie hot dog from an unmemorable convenience store in the summer of 1986.

Of all the people he touched, both willing and unwilling, his most proud achievement in life was marrying his wife Emily Ayer Connors who supported him in all his glory during his heyday, and lovingly supported him physically during their last days together.

Absolut vodka and Simply Orange companies are devastated by the loss of Connors. A "Celebration of Life" will be held during Happy Hour (4 p.m.) at York Harbor Inn on Monday, December 19.

In lieu of flowers, please pay open bar tab or donate to Connors' water safety fund at www.thechrisconnorsfund.com.


I'm guessing that whoever wrote this won't mind that we are sharing it. Hat tip to Mike Dixon for posting it on FaceBook.

12/13/16

Santa Claus Actually Lives In Venezuela

Editor's note: Dan Mitchell is our most well known guest contributor. Okay, that's BS. I just like to call him a guest contributor because it gives this little blog some class. 
The truth is I have Dan's express written permission to republish stuff he writes. He's a contributor in that sense. He cares more about educating people and freedom issues than he does about getting me to pay him for his stuff with money I don't have. 
Cato pays him, and I hope it's a lot.

You can get on his email list and see all his posts for free, and you ought to.  International Liberty

Venezuela and Santa Claus vs Thomas Sowell and the Little Red Hen

Earlier this year, I borrowed from Dante’s Inferno and created the Five Circles of Statist Hell. At the time, I suggested that Venezuela was on the cusp of moving from the third circle (“widespread poverty and economic misery”) to the fourth circle (“systematic and grinding poverty and deprivation”).
Since we now know that children in the country are suffering from hunger and malnutrition, I think we can safely confirm that Venezuela has made that crossing, joining the dystopian hell of North Korea (though you can make a good argument that the savage regime based in Pyongyang actually belongs in the fifth circle).
And just in case you need another piece of evidence about Venezuela, consider these excerpts from a surreal BBC report.
Venezuelan authorities have arrested two toy company executives and seized almost four million toys, which they say they will distribute to the poor. Officials accused the company of hoarding toys and hiking prices in the run-up to Christmas. Last week, the government issued an order to retailers to reduce prices on a range of goods by 30%. …Venezuela…said…”Our children are sacred, we will not let them rob you of Christmas,” it said in a tweet, along with photos and video of thousands of boxes of toys. …The agency also posted photos of the two executives being marched from the premises by a squad of heavily armed soldiers.
Here’s some additional background on the economic situation in the country.
This is not the first time Venezuela has ordered price cuts on retailers, or mobilised armed units to enforce it. In late 2013, the country introduced laws allowing the government to fix prices and dictate profit margins. …The same measures have been used to fix the prices of basic products such as flour, meat and bread – but supply is limited in a country where many people go hungry.
Before continuing, I can’t help commenting that BBC journalists apparently can’t put 2 and 2 together. The reason supply is limited and people are suffering is because of the price controls and intervention.
Sigh.
Anyhow, here are some final passages from the article.
The Venezuelan government is becoming increasingly unpopular as the country’s economic crisis grows. …The International Monetary Fund estimates that inflation – the rate at which prices go up – will hit 2,000% next year.
Yup, Venezuela is a regular Shangri La. No wonder Bernie Sanders is so infatuatedwith the place.
But let’s focus today on the Venezuelan government’s attempt to play Santa Claus by seizing toys and selling them at below-market rates.
I don’t know if this move will be politically popular since that depends on whether ordinary people have some degree of economic sophistication.
But we can say with great confidence that it represents terrible economic policy. That’s because, as Thomas Sowell has wisely noted, it’s very difficult for a government to steal wealth more than one time.
The victims (both the ones who already have been looted and the ones who might be targeted in the future) quickly learn that it’s not a smart idea to accumulate assets that can be stolen by the state. In effect, the productive people of the country learn to behave like the Little Red Hen.
In the short run, though, the Venezuelan government gets to play Santa Claus. At least for 2016.
But it won’t have that option in 2017. And because the nation’s kleptocratic government is running out of victims, it’s just a matter of time before the system collapses, at which point the government either gives up power or launches a brutal crackdown.
Hopefully the former.
Though it would remain to be seen whether the leftist thugs who currently hold power are able to escape the country with all the loot they’ve stolen, or whether they get the Ceausescu treatment.
They deserve the latter.