:: Saturday, October 05, 2002 ::
Who am I? Who should I be?
Sometimes I think that I would like to be a country boy. Be able to hunt and fish and feed myself. Have wide open spaces. I get into these mood after watching something like Sweet Home Alabama or listening to A Country Boy Can Survive. But really, thats not me. I couldn't live in the country. How would I watch foreign films? Who would i talk to when I want to talk about most things that are relevant to me (philosophy, politics, etc....).
Other times I think I would like to be more of a "gentleman" or perhaps "aristocratic". I am attracted to virtue ethics supporting benevolence, courage, honesty, loyalty, etc... I also admire the "aristocratic tastes". Kind of like Hanibal Lector (at least from the second movie--I never saw Silence of the Lambs without the canibalism or Taki without the, well, the conservative excess. But this really isn't me either. Well, I suppose it could be someday. Maybe more in the flavor of a zen sage. That would be something. Finally, I have now started wondering about being a little more alternative. I am begining to see more value in socialist anarchists. I am begining to see more value in what I will call an alternative lifestyle. Piercings, tatoos, different music. No this is not me at all. But I think I want to be free to any and all possibilities..........
I think I'm becoming free.
:: Mike 7:03 PM [+] ::
There is an interesting piece out there about religion and liberal society. Basically it said, paradoxically, that Christianity supports liberalism and liberalism sprung out of Christianity. This is funny, because religion--especially Christian religion--is illiberal. Furthermore, strong support of one ends up killing the other.
Yet there is something here. Liberalism is inherently western. Not that there are not non-western societies that we can't learn from. However, I think most of religion is wrong. Furthermore, I think that supporting religion because it reigns in people's vices is completely wrong. As often as not, religion supports positive evils, like slavery, racism, and absolute monarchy. Furthermore, I think a good part of religious morality is off. Especially, the sex stuff. I don't know. I can see why some morality to restrain vices is good, but can't we find a morality more supporting of the political order? I hope so!
:: Mike 6:48 PM [+] ::
You know what would be good right now?? A cigar. A fine cigar. No, not one of those Macanudos or Fuentes, something hard core, and Maduro. Perhaps an Ave Maduro. Or perhaps an Ashton Maduro. Or perhaps just a Partagas Black label. Of course, a Cuban would be nice too!
:: Mike 6:40 PM [+] ::
Last night Kathy and I went to seeThe Tuxedo. It was OK. I enjoyed it. I still want to see The Piano Teacher. We also went out to Semolina's. Mmmm good. I have to learn how to cook filet Diane!!
:: Mike 6:34 PM [+] ::
The good, the bad, and the ugly of THE AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE
:: Thursday, October 03, 2002 ::
I highly anticipated this magazine, and in some respects, it holds up. In others, of course, it doesn't (it is a conservative rag after all!).
What is best about this magazine is that it takes to task most of the modern conservative movement for its major flaws. Most notably, it takes conservatives to task for supporting war on all of the middle east. After the War, by Pat, hashes out a number of possible scenarios for what will happen after we take Baghdad. Not pretty. In fact, reading this article radicalized my oposition to war fever. Has anybody even thought how a war in Iraq could catapult the whole middle east into one huge war zone? As Buchanan states it, attacking Iraq will probably cause a jihad from "Morocco to Malaysia". Justin Raimondo, in Now Entering Imperium, points out that leading conservatives, in private, hope that the war will extend to Saudi Arabia and even Egypt. This is quite disturbing. Even better, in Iraq Invasion: The Road to Folly, Eric Margolis points out that North Korea and Iran are bigger threats to the US than Iraq--but of course Iraq has all the oil, and a bigger Isreali pay off.
But the best article of all was Kevin Phillips Why I am No Longer A Conservative. This article kicked ass! It points out some of the biggest problems of modern conservatives: wall street socialism and a incredibly reckless foreign policy that, as he put it, "makes Barry Goldwater look like Mohatma Gandhi". Unfortunately he seems somewhat muddled. He can't really explain the corporate problems well, and he ends up supporting John McCain, who of course makes President Bush look like Mohatma Gandhi. However he makes a killing in some directions that I have been pushing: basically that free market advocacy usually turns a complete blind eye to the subsidization of big businesses, and thus is more like socialism for the rich!
And now, the bad. Yes, it had to be there. First off is a review of Garry Wills liberal Catholic books. So why does every conservative magazine have to come out bitching about liberal Catholics??? I think it is a stale point, Garry Wills be damned. Then there are the immigration pieces. Peter Brimlow gives a rave review to Michell Malkin's book on how American Immigration policy lets lots of bad people in. Well, yea, but all in all, Brimlow doesn't make the case too well, and comes on too strong. There are other bits about immigration here and there. Also, and this of course isn't an editorial problem, but the ad for Buying American seems more like scare tactics than anything else.
Finally, there is the ugly. This is actually sad, because I was really begining to think of Taki as cool. He writes about immigration and says this:
My main aim [as far as the immigration debate goes] is to remind Americans that since we are predominantly a white society rooted in Christianity, our responsability to immagrants is to bring them into our culture, not the other way around. If we have open borders, then we will be like Brazil in no time....
I have to disagree with this stance. I think that having a plethora of cultures interacting is positive. I think that there are many aspects of other cultures that could be helpfull to America. Furthermore, I don't see what being white has to do with anything. Nor do I see what being Christian has to do with anything, perhaps because I no longer consider myself so. I would agree that there are some cultural values that need to be supported. I do see that there is something uniquely western about American Democracy. On the other hand, I don't see how excluding others will help that. I actually think it is funny, well, because focusing on the cultural aspects conservatives seem to take a funny focus. They prefer Eurpoeans. But what is Europe? c,Decadent, liberal, socialistic, etc........ And they seem to disfavor Mexicans. Mexicans? I thought those were the hard working conservative Catholics. And what is Buchanan & Taki's problem with them again????
:: Mike 6:30 PM [+] ::
It seems like a good year for the Federalists. We are going to have a number of speakers. Furthermore, we are going to Notre Dame for the student symposium on Natural Law. Perhaps a good number of us will go. It will be lots of fun.
:: Mike 2:55 PM [+] ::
I went to the bar last night with the Federalists. That was pretty fun. I met some new members. They are all pretty nice. Some are a wee bit too interested in election mechanics and the personality aspect of politics, but I won't hold it against them. Gerarda was pretty nice, but she strangely had some tremendous attitude swing and went from party nut to going home early out of being tired in about five minutes. I have to say that I know most of the people there a good deal better. I also learned that the Margarita's at The Superior Grill kick your ass, at least when they are three for the price of one---at a price of one for $5.25. Also, we met some nice Masters students in Latin American Studies at the Balcony Bar.
:: Mike 2:54 PM [+] ::
Hurricane Lilli. No big dea. Wind comes in. Wind comes out.
:: Mike 2:49 PM [+] ::
I just heard the new Dixie Chick CD which I bought a while ago for Kathy's Birthday. Its pretty good. I like.
:: Monday, September 30, 2002 ::
:: Mike 2:48 PM [+] ::
Check out Justin Raimondo's new colum at Antiwar.com. It makes me want to rush out to Boarders and by a copy of Pat & Taki's new magazine!
:: Mike 5:37 PM [+] ::
Sweet Home Alabama
Last night Kathy and I went to see this movie. It was pretty good and quite funny. It seems to present the main character's personality as quite dichotomous-- she is two very different people. She is a sleek fashion designer in New York, and when she returns home (for the first time in years) she is a down home sothern girl. Now I think about it, instead of all of that drama between the two different guys, I would like to have seen a little more of how she integrates both New York fashion queen with southern rebel girl. It really doesn't show this, and it seems like she could have just cut the fashion business out of her life. I don't see why she would do this. Was being with her first bf inconsistant with being part of the New York fashion scene? Was her life in NY really all a lie? It seems to me that she somehow should have integrated the two. Of course, it really wasn't about what type of person she was, no, that is The Banger Sisters. It is about who is she going to mary, childhood sweet heart or New York politician. But her personality seemed so different in both places, and she seemed to really like New York. Of course the movie couldn't end with her taking two husbands. That would be rediculous. Not to mention illegal and by society's standards, immoral. I'm not sure either of those guys would have been two thrilled, and I am sure Candice Bergman's character would have had a coronary at the suggestion. Actually, that would have been interesting!.
:: Mike 5:08 PM [+] ::
Damn! I lost a post on the flag. Basically, I wrote that the flag stood for a lot of things, both good and bad. What does it mean to you? What does this nation mean to you? Have we swerved from our orriginal path of great ideals? In some ways I think so. Gun control, the drug war, rediculous taxation, and a millitary interventionism all indicate this. Have we made a more full and consistant practice of our ideals? I think in some respects this is the case as well. The end of slavery, Jim Crow, greater acceptance of minorities and "deviant" yet non-violent and non-coercive practices all indicate this. Somehow the flag seems to be both a symbol of good and bad things.
This ties in to some controversey regarding a country song, I believe the title is "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue." I really don't know what to think of this. It celebrates "kicking ass" as the American Way. Well, I suppose it is. I can identify wars where "kicking ass" should be the American way: wars like the Revolution, the war of 1812, and maybe even the Civil War (really don't ask me about this, I think both sides represented a conglomeration of valid points, I am glad that slavery was defeated yet sad the South lost). But most other wars we have fought in were really wars of conquest: The Mexican War, The Spanish-American War, even the Gulf War I and intervention in the Balkins were not about national defense but (in my opinion) the expansion of global empire.
So this brings me to where I stand. Kicking some terrorist ass. Good. Finishing off Sadam (because after all, he tried to Kill George Bush I) probably bad(Check "The Volich Conspiracy for arguments that fighting Iraq is about national defense--even though I tend to think it may be more about expansion/preserving Empire).
:: Mike 4:54 PM [+] ::
Romancing the Republic: The Grand Jury
Even though I have some preference for a more, um, non-territorial concept of governance (i.e. what is generally called "Anarco-capitalism" and involves representatives who do not represent a territory but groups of individuals, and the way to get a representative is to buy one), I think that there is a certain romance to some of our historical "republican" instituions. One of the "romantic" concepts, in my opinion, is "fully informed juries" (a code word for juries who know how to nullify the law). Another one of those concepts is the Grand Jury. This institution once was considered a shield between an accused person and the prosecution.
The problem is that today it doesn't do this. It was once said that an average prosecutor could use a grand jury to "indict a ham sandwitch". Grand jury proceedings are controlled by the prosecutor. The accused does not get to testify or present exculpating information unless the prosecutor wants. The accused does not get to have any representation at all before the grand jury. I think that if we want to invegorate the criminal justice system, this should be changed.
Furthermore, grand juries once acted as a "sword" by investigating whomever they wanted for whatever reason regardless of the prosecutor's own ideas. Grand juries once were known to indict people not presented to them by the prosecutor, including corrupt government officials and others. These juries were sometimes known as "runnaway grand juries". However, they served a purpose. In my opinion, something has to be done to make grand juries the effective tools they once were!
:: Mike 4:41 PM [+] ::
I would like a DayQuil and Tonic with that
:: Sunday, September 29, 2002 ::
Still have this stupid cold. And its soooooo cold here in the law school!
:: Mike 4:30 PM [+] ::
I have a new favorite blog! Jesse Walker's blog is great. I first encountered his writings in Sam Konkin's "left libertarian" email list. Then I noticed he writes for reason. He is something of an "anarco-capitalist" but seems to have more non-capitalist anarchist leanings than most of the an-caps. He is a good read. Check out his recent writings somewhat sympathizing with the demonstrators at the most recent "international trade management seminars".
:: Mike 6:03 PM [+] ::
Recently I have been reading a book on Zen (or more acurately, Chan because the book is written from a Chinese perspectiv). I like it very much. It is called "Hoofprints of the Ox" and is by Master Sheng-Yen. It is better than many zen books. First of all, most zen books seem to come from a focus on Soto zen, and emphasize the "just sit" perspective. Sitting is important, but is it the only important aspect of Zen? I think not. Other books on Zen are a bit too complex to begin with. "Zen Flesh, Zen bones" has a real appeal, but just presenting a number of koans to somebody who doesn't yet get it is not productive. I don't get it yet.
"Hoofprints of the Ox" is quite different. It provides a good amount of information many very different perspectives of Zen. Of course it talks alot about sitting and "silent illumination". Furthermore, it gives a very good explanation of the koan and the Huatow. Furthermore, it places Zen in the context of Buddhism. Unfortunately, many writings on zen will give the idea that zen can be almost completely divorced from Buddhism. Not so here. I think that "Hoofprints of the Ox" is perhaps the best book to impart a begining understanding of Zen Buddhism and a nice "how to" on begining practice.
:: Mike 5:41 PM [+] ::
Last night, Kathy and I watched "Gossford Park". What a boaring movie! It was way too long and the different sub-plots were way to scattered and actually quite unimportant, except as a distraction to finding the real killer. Only, they gave away some of the biggest secrets as to who the real killer would be way too early! If you look back they pretty much gave away the biggest conflict from the begining. Perhaps I just found all the other plot lines revolving around other potential killers too unimportant to really give much creedance. This movie was pretty boaring.
:: Mike 5:32 PM [+] ::
I am sick and tired of having a cold!
:: Mike 5:23 PM [+] ::
Dissapointing! Mr. Hasnas' review of anti-discrimination principles, while enlightening from a 14th amendment prospective, just doesn't deal with how anti-discrimination fits in with libertarian legal or moral philosophy! I just can't seem to make it work. While this is throughly frustrating, I'm sure the problem won't go away. I think it has to do with competing values that I actually hold, and the slim theory that Rothbard came up with just doesn't cut it. It doesn't really take any account into how his political structure deals with a larger moral system, or what that system would be like. Oh well.....
On the up side, reading (parts of) this (100 page) work gave me some clarity. It demonstrated to me at least why an "anti-oppression" principle is better than an "anti-distinction" principle. To explain, an anti-distinction principle declares that you can't make distinctions based on anything irrelevant to job performance; an anti-oppression principle says that you can't make distinctions between races only when the distinction is oppressive. I think this is preferable. This is because I definately don't think that the government should be able to prosecute you for employing, say, only your family, or perhaps law school buddies, if they are not the best qualified. This seems "non-oppressive". Furthermore, excluding white people because of their race is not always oppressive. I'm not sure if it can be oppressive, although, many times it seems unwise or perhaps not in one's own best interest. Anyway, I'm sure there will be more to come.
:: Mike 5:20 PM [+] ::