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6/28/2006

Milton Friedman on limited government

...now on Google Video.

Here he's laying down basically the entire case for free-market economics on the half-hour PBS show "The Open Mind", from an episode sometime in the early 70's. The clip's half an hour long.

I only saw about the first 10 minutes, but I downloaded all of it to my iPod (it turns out Google Video makes it easy to do that), so I'll be checking it out soon.

(Via Protein Wisdom)

6/22/2006

No time, world cup

I've been busy lately with a bunch of random commitments - between the friends' weddings, and a visiting cousing, and shuffling around between boroughs, it appears that even holding down a self-employed job is a luxury I just don't have the time for.

Anyway, I did get to see the last two US World Cup games. How do you say "total disappointment" in English? Anyway, most of the commentators said that the U.S. team looked sluggish, but I blame anti-American officiating, especially on the fouls, especially the one that led to the penalty kick in the Ghana game. The replays showed clearly how much of a non-foul that was. Yes, I'm playing the victim card. But, you know, against the Germans that's pretty much a no-brainer.

6/15/2006

Hello, East Coast

Well, I'm back from California; it's nice out there! Apparently it's a popular area for tourists. I even gained some appreciation for LA, which seems calmer and less snobby than I thought it would be. There I go, taking lessons from "Crash" again!

Even though no one bothered to guess at my fun trivia question, let me give you the answer anyway: according to the Wikipedia article "List of actors who played President of the United States", it was not until 2000, with the Mel Gibson Revolutionary-War epic "The Patriot", that a film thought to portray George Washington. The honor fell to someone named Terry Layman, in a small role.

And of course, it had to be Mel Gibson, an Australian, who did it. Score one for the immigrants!

I hope you all are astounded by this fun fact, though my guess is none of you are.

6/09/2006

Updates

So Zarqawi is dead. Y'all have seen the Allahpundit airstrike "Sabotage" video already, right? If not, it's a treat.

Speaking of important flight missions, I'm heading out to the West Coast later today for a five-day trip. I probably won't be posting anything here during that time, just so you know; feel free to use the comments section for random inanities.

Ooh, I've also got a good trivia question, if you're interested: what was the first major motion picture to have an actor portraying President George Washington? Okay, that's all.

6/07/2006

Say it loud: plus, a definition

I apparently outed myself as a conservative two posts ago, even though I used to tell people all the time that I was a libertarian. So I might as well come out and say it: I'm Spartacus (the non-libertarian)!

At heart it's pretty much a meaningless distinction: among the 100 definitions of "conservative" and the 80 definitions of "libertarian", with some "neo"s tossed in there, there are some that are identical. Libertarians are supposed to like guns and drugs, but conservatives, especially the Midwestern ones, are just as gun-crazy if not more so as any black-helicopters libertarian, and the National Review has supported marijuana legalization since the beginning.

Abortion and gay marriage are supposed to be another point of contention, but my experience is that your average Northeast conservative supports both of these things (though as long as they come through legislation and not court decree). Meanwhile, it's quite possible to imagine a strict libertarian argument against abortion: if a fetus is a full human being, then it should be covered by existing laws against murder.

And the difference that probably gets the most play these days is foreign policy: conservatives are supposed to be more in favor of foreign intervention, while libertarians support it only for self-defense. But a "neolibertarian" like this guy would argue that the War in Iraq, say, is self-defense: as Sept. 11 underscored, cheap air travel and technology mean that a dictatorial, terrorist-supporting regime anywhere in the world is a constant threat to the people of the U.S.; any action to take down any of these regimes is at least morally justified. Meanwhile, old-school Robert Novak-style conservatives are isolationists.

So, what's the real difference between a libertarian and a conservative? I've thought about it, and I contend that it has to do with none of these things: rather it's strictly an aesthetic issue relating to how you feel about your personal privacy. How much does it bother you that various aspects of your life, like your fingerprints, your call records, your library records, your financial transactions, etc. are sitting on a government computer somewhere waiting to be accessed by a greasy-fingered FBI lackey? (apologies to any government lackeys reading this). Every other position has adherents on both sides, but I contend that a libertarian has a revulsion at the thought of having his/her "facts on file", while a conservative has almost none.

So there you have it, I am a right winger. Awaiting your hate mail.

6/04/2006

Pick one

Okay, one more thing on global warming - if you really think fossil fuel consumption is going to lead to environmental devastation, you should probably be in favor of the current high gas prices, since high prices are the single most effective way to get people to reduce their consumption; and you should probably be applauding President Bush for whatever part he's played (minimal) in the current prices. Many people, like George Will, have already noted that.

So, you can complain about high prices, or about global warming, but not both. The Democrats should really pick one or the other and stick with it. Right now Nancy Pelosi complains about high gas prices, and Al Gore complains about global warming.

6/02/2006

Links update

I added Johnny Triangles, a fellow Brooklynite conservative, who wrote me recently. He's right about many things. Give the man a Gawker invite, if you can!

Also, I removed "The New Vintage"; word on the street is that its author decided to make a blogging retirement.

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