Why Gardening = Freedom

From the Gardening Journals

Gardening is anti-government. The gardener is, in a little way, an anarchist. He doesn’t pay tax on his produce and no one tells him what to grow.

If you meditate on this, you begin to realize the immense importance of private property. Without private property, there is no freedom. That’s not rhetorical flourish or poetry or exaggeration. It’s naked reality.

If the State can take the position that all things come courtesy of government (“you didn’t build that”), then the State can even take away your garden, either directly (by seizure) or indirectly (by taxation). It reminds me of this quote from von Mises:… Read the rest

How to Find Diversity without Even Trying

Re-thinking our obsession with diversity

Religion is good for you. Religious participation, sociologists tell us, correlates with lower levels of criminality, better health, greater marital stability, and greater well-being.

According to an article awhile back in the Atlantic Monthly, sociologists and economists are studying this phenomenon further and, in the process, have discovered other things. For instance, they’ve discovered that Catholics are likelier to attend Mass if they live in a heavily Catholic neighborhood.

This doesn’t surprise me. When I attended the University of Michigan, I never heard any Catholics discuss Mass, confession, fasting on Fridays during Lent, etc. When I went to the University of Notre Dame, such topics came up all the time. Students discussed what churches have the best (okay, shortest) Mass. They moaned about fasting. Notre Dame back then was 91% Catholic. When almost everyone around you is Catholic, you’re more comfortable being Catholic and acting like one.… Read the rest

Blowing Away Fascist Resentment

The redemption of Philip Johnson

photography of roadway during dusk
Photo by Jiarong Deng on Pexels.com

Cancel culture comes at another dead white male. But this time, it’s a dead white homosexual male: Philip Johnson, Ohioan, architect, and Nazi. But msn.com doesn’t like it. It understands it. “White supremacy,” it says, is “the west’s original sin,” so it’s no surprise that Johnson fell for it in one of its worst forms (Fascism), but he changed his views, employed black men, and banged dudes, so he ought to be forgiven.

I gotta say, that last redeeming trait gives me the biggest motivation of all not to be perceived as a racist. “Well, Eric, you applied a toxic blanket characterization to an entire race of people. You can either die a scourge of society, with your children spending the rest of their lives apologizing for your indiscretion, or you can let Franz the Trans bed you publicly. Your call.”

It’s interesting that Johnson is now being attacked. When he died back in 2005, no one said anything about his embrace of Fascism. Here’s Richard John Neuhaus writing in 2005:… Read the rest

What is a Perfect Piece of Knowledge?

An allegory of sorts:

I once read the following (the source escapes me):

Our surroundings call forth certain behavior. We tend to act like students when we step in a classroom, and we tend to act like shoppers at the mall. This is . . . the logic of ‘ecological psychology’: I am not a wholly separate entity from my surroundings, but rather, my [surroundings] and I form an interdependent behavior setting.

I loved it. “Ecological psychology.” Whatta concept. It told me why I’ve always insisted on having a study/library in my house, where the kids’ clutter doesn’t roam and the kids themselves are vowed to civilized behavior when they enter. It explained why I reserve the room for calm reading, thought, and writing. It explained why I want to drink when I’m in a bar.… Read the rest

How to Think about the Cell Phone

Weapon of Self-Destruction or Tool of Self-Improvement:

The cell phone. Is it a great thing? A useful thing? An annoying thing? An addicting thing?

A ton of writers have condemned the cell phone on all sorts of grounds. They’re tired of rude talkers who use it in restaurants, parks, and churches, and they’re disgusted by the way cell phones seem to give people a sense of being: “I cell, therefore I am.”

At least one writer, though, decries all this decrying. Jeffrey Tucker, writing at the Ludwig von Mises Institute (http://www.mises.org/story/1849), cogently argued that it’s just more criticism of capitalism, of the Marxist sort. It’s an approach that’s been used repeatedly: Criticize a new technology as an extension of man’s alienation, pepper the essay with quotes from Nietzsche and Freud, and raise the specter of addiction. A few more such jeremiads and the psychiatric profession has a new mental illness to profit from, then maybe the government will get involved with funding.

Tucker also thinks it’s just fear of something new:

“Because our eyes see something new, something we haven’t been socialized to expect, and because the market is expanding and democratizing so rapidly, it creates the illusion of something having gone oddly wrong. Instead of seeking to understand it, the temptation is to reach into pop culture’s bag of ideological bromides and decry it as some sort of pathology.”

These are excellent points.

But he doesn’t address questions that any good disciple of Marshall McLuhan would ask: How does this technology affect the user? What is this need to be in constant touch with everyone, everywhere?… Read the rest

Federal Government Admits Catholicism is True

Well, not really, but indirectly, through PBS’ Flannery O’Connor documentary

I greatly enjoyed PBS documentary, American Masters: Flannery O’Connor, on PBS last night.

I thought the producers respected her intense Catholicism. I’m sure they could’ve found critics to say sacrilegious things like, “Her dark humor emanates from a religion based on a Jew who had a bad afternoon,” but they didn’t. Her Catholicism came up frequently but always as a fact, never as a jab.

There were two forays into her correspondence with a bisexual and a lesbian (couldn’t leave those things out), but I didn’t interpret either as an attempt to portray Flannery as a repressed lesbian, and I’m sure they could’ve found critics to say things like, “Her dark humor emanates from her nascent lesbianism birthed from her Catholicism,” but they didn’t.… Read the rest

Sodomites and Gardenites

“[L]et us cultivate our garden.” That’s how Voltaire ends his novella, Candide. Great advice, that, though academics argue that, instead of a peaceful resignation, Voltaire was instead using “gardening” as a metaphor for improving the world.

That kind of interpretation strikes me as absurd, but I’m no Voltaire scholar, nor do I want to be. I mean, heck, the guy supposedly once engaged in anal intercourse with another guy in order to see what it was like. When his partner eagerly suggested later that they do it again, Voltaire declined, saying, “Once, a philosopher. Twice, a sodomite.”

That line is pretty funny, but the background disturbing, hence my lack of eagerness to study Voltaire and form an educated opinion about whether Candide suggested that people cultivate their garden literally or “cultivate the garden of the world” (metaphorically), though I would add that Voltaire was a gardener.

I’ve adopted the literal meaning of Candide’s words. The world hasn’t been cruel to me like it was to Candide. Far from it. But I’m increasingly living in a world that makes no sense to me, and I’m done trying to figure it out.… Read the rest

What I Saw at the NCAA Tournament Yesterday

Welcome to the first day of spring.

So I’m a bit whipped this morning. My last son, Max, is a huge college basketball fan. Over the years, he has gotten kind of screwed when it comes to sporting events. I always tell my kids, “Every stage of life brings its advantages and disadvantages, and so does the order in which you’re born.” In Max’s case, it means his parents had more money to provide him with things but less time to do things. I know that sounds kinda horrible, and perhaps it is, but I’ve always been comforted by the fact that his older siblings had plenty of time to do things with him.

But they couldn’t take him to sporting events.

So I made up for it a bit yesterday, and crossed-off an item on my bucket list: Go to the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

We got screwed by the NCAA right off the bat. In order to get tickets (which sold out in less than a minute), you just had to pick a location and slot. In our case, Max selected “Lucas Oil, First Game.” We then waited a week to see which of the 32 games we got for our $111 per seat.

We got Baylor v. Hartford. Hands-down the worst game of the 32.

And that’s not just my opinion. The free market agrees. Whereas most resale value of tickets hovered around $100, the Baylor game resale value was just $6.

I honestly can’t imagine why the NCAA needed to set up a system (a blind sale) that inherently screws a large number of fans, but it screwed me.

And we chose Lucas Oil, home of the Colts, so it meant we would be high up (turns out, were we very high up . … Read the rest