Archive for History
Dave Killion — July 24, 2015
The Victoria Libertarian Book Club is meeting tonight to discuss the first of six essays that make up Thomas Sowell’s remarkable work, “Black Rednecks and White Liberals“. If you neither own a Kindle nor use a Kindle reading app, you might not know that one feature of those products is a list of those sections most often highlighted. We will almost certainly be discussing these, so I thought to share with you those popular highlights from this first essay (whose title is the same as the book). Enjoy –
“The burgeoning of the American welfare state in the second half of the 20th century and the declining effectiveness of the American criminal justice system at the same time allowed borrowed and counterproductive cultural traits continue and flourish among those blacks who had not yet moved beyond that culture, thereby prolonging the life of a chaotic, counterproductive, dangerous, and self–destructive subculture in many urban ghettos.”
“White liberals, instead of comparing what has happened to the black family since the liberal welfare state policies of the 1960s were put into practice, compare black families to white families and conclude that the higher rates of broken homes and unwed mother hood among blacks are due to “a legacy of slavery.” But why the large–scale disintegration of the black family should have begun 100 years after slavery is left unexplained.”
“By projecting a vision of the world in which the problems of blacks are consequences of the actions of whites, either immediately or in times past, white liberals have provided a blanket excuse for shortcomings and even crimes by blacks.”
“More generally, a pro-black stance by white intellectuals enhances the latter’s moral standing and self-esteem, whether or not the particular manifestation of that stance helps or harms blacks on that balance.”
“By cheering on counterproductive attitudes, making excuses for self-defeating behavior, and promoting the belief that “racism” accounts for most of blacks’ problems, white intellectuals serve their own psychic, ideological, and political interests. They are the kind of friends who can do more harm than enemies.”
If you have any thoughts on these, please share them with us in the comments.
Dave Killion — December 28, 2013
For some reason, it occurred to me that I didn’t know if Team Blue was named the Democratic Party or the Democrat Party. Well, it turns out that not only is Democrat Party incorrect, it’s also an epithet –
“Democrat Party” is a political epithet used in the United States for the Democratic Party. The term has been used in negative or hostile fashion by conservative commentators and members of the Republican Party in party platforms, partisan speeches and press releases since 1940.”
If you’re like me, you’ll think that this probably isn’t much of a thing anymore. If so, then like me, you’re wrong –
“National Public Radio has banned the use of “Democrat” as an adjective.”
Left/Right, Liberal/Conservative. Republican/Democrat, Coke/Pepsi… you folks can call yourselves whatever you like. We know who you are.
Dave Killion — April 14, 2013
On the 104th day after the winter solstice (April 3,4,5), there is a traditional Chinese holiday; the Qingming Festival. In it’s origins we find a warning against self-sacrifice on behalf of the politically ambitious –
“The festival originated from Hanshi Day (寒食节, literally, Day with cold food only), a memorial day for Jie Zitui (介子推). Jie Zitui died in 636 BC in the Spring and Autumn Period. He was one of many followers of Duke Wen of Jin(晉文公) before he became a duke. Once, during Wen’s 19 years of exile, they had no food and Jie prepared some meat soup for Wen. Wen enjoyed it a lot and wondered where Jie had obtained the soup. It turned out Jie had cut a piece of meat from his own thigh to make the soup. Wen was so moved he promised to reward him one day. However, Jie was not the type of person who sought rewards. Instead, he just wanted to help Wen to return to Jin to become king. Once Wen became duke, Jie resigned and stayed away from him. Duke Wen rewarded the people who helped him in the decades, but for some reason he forgot to reward Jie, who by then had moved into the forest with his mother. Duke Wen went to the forest, but could not find Jie. Heeding suggestions from his officials, Duke Wen ordered men to set the forest on fire to force out Jie. However, Jie died in the fire. Feeling remorseful, Duke Wen ordered three days without fire to honour Jie’s memory. The city where Jie died is still calledJiexiu (介休, literally “the place Jie rests forever”).”
Oops! Didn’t mean to kill you in my determination to demonstrate my gratitude to you… my bad.
The preceding quote came from Wikipedia, a source to which I turn constantly in my effort to spread . It is a bottomless trove (try starting with libertarian, or liberty), and worthy of support. In keeping with my New Year’s resolutions, I am sending them $50 this month.
Dave Killion — March 26, 2013
In Eugène Delacroix’s ‘Liberty Leading The People’, Liberty is depicted wearing a Phrygian cap. From Wikipedia –
“The Phrygian cap is a soft conical cap with the top pulled forward, associated in antiquity with the inhabitants of Phrygia, a region of central Anatolia. In the western provinces of the Roman Empire it came to signify freedom and the pursuit of liberty, perhaps through a confusion with the pileus, the felt cap of manumitted (emancipated) slaves of ancient Rome. Accordingly, the Phrygian cap is sometimes called a liberty cap; in artistic representations it signifies freedom and the pursuit of liberty.”
Reviving the Phrygian cap as a fashion statement may prove a challenge, given its modern depiction as Smurf apparel, however, the truly determined can find patterns here, or buy one ready-made here and here. In any case, should you acquire a liberty cap only to find it doesn’t suit you, simply mount it atop a flagstaff to create a liberty pole. Either way, you have a guaranteed conversation piece, and yet another means by which to spread the libertarian philosophy.
Dave Killion — March 3, 2013
Current federal regulations require all lifeboats be stocked with snacks.
A cruise ship near the Canary Islands recently lost five crewmen to drowning, and not long ago, the Costa Concordia grounded off the coast of Italy, with more victims. And in 1915, the SS Eastland rolled over in the Chicago River, killing over 840 people. The most surprising contributor to these losses? Lifeboats –
“The 101st anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic arrives on April 14. We will hear a great deal about the importance of government regulations to ensure that every ship has enough boats for its whole company of passengers and crew.
Since the Titanic, this kind of regulation has been in effect. But as with most regulations, the effects have been mixed, to use a conventional kind of understatement. When American total-lifeboat regulations came in, two things happened. One was the ruin of America’s passenger steamship lines to the Orient. The owners couldn’t afford to meet the new standards (which, admittedly, included labor-protectionist provisions only notionally connected with safety). The other was the sinking of the steamship Eastland. The Eastland capsized in the Chicago River, with immense loss of life, because it had been overloaded with lifeboats.”
That government safety regulation would have mixed results will be no surprise to libertarians. But lifeboats? In a million years, it would never have occurred to me that the coercive state would threaten my existence with lifeboats. And I live on an island! I have to ride a ferry three or four times a year. Truly, there is no place where we are safe from government.
Dave Killion — December 28, 2012
“As for “un monde” I stand with Bertrand de Jouvenel, who said he believed in world government until the day he crossed the Swiss border ahead of the pursuing Nazis.”
John Robson, Dec. 28, “Eye On The Hill”
A sentiment shared by many Syrians, I’m sure.
Dave Killion — December 10, 2012
“Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”
Frederick Douglass, “If There Is No Struggle, There Is No Progress” (1857)
Thanks to the wonders of the market, you can purchase the kindle version of “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave” for $1.00, and you don’t even need a Kindle to read it. Amazon makes available (for free!) Kindle reading apps for your computer or mobile device, right here. This may be one of the most important American autobiographies, and you oughtn’t miss it.
Dave Killion — December 2, 2012
Wakey – wakey!
This is an image of Mary Smith, taken in 1931, carrying out her job as a Knocker – up. From Wikipedia –
“A Knocker-up (sometimes known as a knocker-upper) was a profession in England and Ireland that started during and lasted well into the Industrial Revolution and at least as late as the 1920s, before alarm clocks were affordable or reliable. A knocker-up’s job was to rouse sleeping people so they could get to work on time.
The knocker-up used a truncheon or short, heavy stick to knock on the clients’ doors or a long and light stick,often made of bamboo, to reach windows on higher floors. At least one of them used a pea-shooter. In return, the knocker-up would be paid a few pence a week. The knocker-up would not leave a client’s window until sure that the client had been awoken.
There were large numbers of people carrying out the job, especially in larger industrial towns such asManchester. Generally the job was carried out by elderly men and women but sometimes police constables supplemented their pay by performing the task during early morning patrols.“
For this work, Ms. Smith purportedly earned about sixpence a week. For this, she was required to wake as early as 3 A.M. each day, and to carry out her duties in all weathers. I doubt sixpence was much money. It was, however, reward for the type of honest work that could be carried out by dependable (albeit otherwise unskilled) persons, thereby sparing them the indignity of receiving welfare. Sadly, in today’s environment of minimum wages and state-supplied welfare, people like Ms. Smith are denied the chance to make a positive contribution to society, and are instead relegated to being supplicants. This is not the sort of development I would call ‘progress’.
Antony — November 20, 2012
Today is officially Laurier Day, in honour of Canada’s seventh Prime Minister. It is an excellent opportunity to promote and celebrate of Canada’s libertarian heritage.
Sir Wilfrid Laurier was known for vision of Canada as a land individual liberty and decentralized federalism. Among his notable quotes are: “Canada is free and freedom is its nationality”, and “Nothing will prevent me from continuing my task of preserving at all cost our civil liberty”. He worked to secure autonomy for Canada within the British Empire based on “absolute liberty, political and commercial”.
In many ways Canada has a strong libertarian heritage, but it has been largely neglected. So let’s take this opportunity to rekindle awareness of Canada’s culture of liberty, and work to move our country towards a land of freedom and prosperity that we can be proud of.