Month: June 2011


pilgrim-aleOdd Names

This blog post at NRO about odd Puritan names (“Experience Bliss,” “Thankful Clapp,” “Moses Sleeper”) reminded me of this passage from A Renegade History of the United States: “In 1864 Increase Mather set out to put an end to [dancing] with a precisely titled book, An Arrow Against Profane and Promiscuous Dancing out of the Quiver of the Scriptures.” Increase condemned dancing, but not all forms. He approved of it when it was “sober and grave Dancing of Men with Men, or of Women with Women.”

Read the rest


Email picReceived in an Email

These insults are from an era before the English language got boiled down to 4-letter words:

A member of Parliament to Disraeli: “Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease.” “That depends, Sir,” said Disraeli, “whether I embrace your policies or your mistress.”

“He had delusions of adequacy.” – Walter Kerr

“He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.” – Winston Churchill

Lady to Winston Churchill, If I were your wife, I would give you poison. To which Churchill responded, madam, if I were your husband, I would take it!

“I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure..” Clarence Darrow

“He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.” – William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway).

“Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I’ll waste no time reading it.” – Moses Hadas

“I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.” – Mark Twain

“He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends..” – Oscar Wilde

“I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend…. if you have one.” – George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

“Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second . . . if there is one.” Churchill, in response.

“I feel so miserable without you; it’s almost like having you here.” – Stephen Bishop

“He is a self-made man and worships his creator.” – John Bright

“I’ve just learned about his illness. … Read the rest


The Libertarian Political Philosophy in a Nutshell

“Society, it should be kept in mind, is a group of people who cooperate with one another in order that they may severally and individually improve their circumstances, and the techniques by which Society achieves its purpose are production and exchange. There is no other way by which Society can thrive. Whatever deprives the members of Society of the fruits of their labors is a deterrent of the human purpose that brought them together; it is a desocializing force. And among the devices that men have invented to defeat the ends of Society none is more devastating than compulsory taxation, because it is a constant drain on their property, tending to increase as they show more and more enterprise. The State, on the other hand, thrives on what it can exact of Society; its temples are built with taxes, its bureaucracy or enforcement agency grows in size and arrogance by the same means, and it is with taxes that the State buys the support of those who might otherwise turn against it. The more taxes the richer the State, the poorer the people; the more taxes the stronger the State, the weaker the people; the interests of the two institutions are diametrically in opposition. Resistance to the State diminishes in the degree of its confiscations, and ultimately, when the tax load becomes a yoke, subservience to the State becomes the necessary condition of living.”

Frank Chodorov… Read the rest


Quick Reference:

“The idea that A could at the same time be non-A or that to prefer A to B could at the same time be to prefer B to A is simply inconceivable and absurd to a human mind.” Ludwig von Mises.

Surely a few people recognize the epistemological overlap with St. Thomas Aquinas. … Read the rest

From the Notebooks

notebooks.jpgPornography and Idiocy (from 2004)

Writing about pornography is kinda like making pornography: what are you going to say (do) that hasn’t been said (done) before? The director of a pornographic movie tries to think of something that hasn’t been done before (“Three guys with a girl suspended with harnesses? That’s soooo Lasse Braun”). The critic of pornography tries to think of something that hasn’t been said before.

It leads to further vices, it leads to abuse and infidelity, it’s degrading, it’s sexist, it’s immoral. Yup, yup, yup; it’s all been said and, to the extent possible, proven. So is there anything new to say about it?

How about this: It’s stupid.

If a person is stupid, he lacks a grip on reality, whether it’s the Downs Syndrome child who prefers to spend his day with his nose six inches from the TV screen or the ignorant man who spends his day in the redneck heaven of wrong presuppositions. In a very real sense, every stupid person—whether of the unintelligent or simply ignorant sort—spends his days in a dream world.

The way to bring a person out of a dream world, of course, is to wake him up. Cure the mongoloid’s defect (impossible, I know) or show the redneck why his presuppositions are wrong (also impossible), and he begins to see things as they are. Any act of waking a person up, however, must be harsh, like the alarm clock in the morning or an exasperated parent’s favorite act of flicking on the bedroom light.

I woke up from the dream of pornography about fifteen years ago. It was my conversion to Catholicism that did … Read the rest


Three Philosophers

Plato, Aristotle, and Aquinas?

The Beer Taster recently featured Three Philosophers. That is one righteous beer. I agree with this description: “The aroma is very malty and full of cherries, as well as some other dark fruits such as raisins. I also found there to be a mild alcohol aroma which isn’t surprising due to the ABV. The taste of this beer strongly resembles the aroma as the malts really show up first before the dark fruits and the alcohol take over. The cherries seem to linger around from start to finish though and made this beer very enjoyable.” Unfortunately, it’s ridiculously expensive. I think I paid $14 for a four-pack.

Another problem: It’s hard to find, but at $3.50 a beer, very few people buy it. When you do find it, you run a good chance that it’s going skunky.

More than Ripple

Urban wineries are on the rise. They buy their grapes from regional farms, then make their own wine. I would’ve thought such things were common, but this article implies that it’s a relatively-new phenomenon.

The Big Dirty

“A Dupont Circle restaurant has launched a new 48-ounce cocktail.

“It’s called the “Big Dirty,” and it takes six (yes, six) cocktail shakers to fill this bad boy.

“Since launching about three weeks ago, Dirty Martini has been selling roughly 35-40 of the cocktails a week, at $79.99 a pop.”

Link. … Read the rest



Studies like this don’t really impress me: Women Who Lost Virginity Early More Likely To Divorce. It’s nice to see empirical support for the idea that poor upbringing results in poor results, but I don’t think we can conclude from this kind of study that premarital sex leads to divorce. I think we can merely conclude that skanky behavior marks a person for continuing questionable behavior later in life. If you’re the type of person who has sex before marriage, you’re more likely to be the type of person who doesn’t frown hard enough on divorce. * * * * * * * * A year ago, economic gloom lists were the province of the libertarian crowd. Now, they’re commonplace, so much so that even the left-wing Times has gotten into the act. Here’s a roundup of factoids and survey stats indicating that the economy isn’t looking so hot, to put it mildly. Excerpt: “24 The percentage of Americans who have currently a six-month emergency fund. An equal percentage of those surveyed (24%) say they have no emergency savings whatsoever.” * * * * * * * Note: Light blogging winds blowing ahead. Blogging time and script will be scarce. * * * * * * * Smoking Fascists take another obnoxious step: “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has decided on the final images that will serve as mandated warning labels on all cigarette packaging and advertisements in the United States. The images are disturbing. They include a man smoking through a hole in his neck, healthy lungs juxtaposed with a diseased set, a cancer-ridden mouth filled with rotting teeth, and … Read the rest