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.
Now and again, some journalist proposes awarding a Nobel Peace Prize to WalMart. There have certainly been less-worthy recipients, but I understand WalMart is a supporter of increasing the minimum wage, mandated provision of health care, and has turned to local governments for assistance in acquiring desirable properties through the political process. Still, the notion of honouring a commercial organization for benefiting humanity has some merit, and if I were looking for a Canada-specific example, a more worthy nominee than UsedEverywhere would be difficult to find.
In the past year, UsedEverywhere (more specifically, UsedVictoria) has increased my well-being several times. Through their website, I have gotten free fence panels, firewood, pallet racking, and more. In addition, I have saved literally thousands buying second-hand items for my business, and some frivolous things that I would never indulge in at full price. The people from whom I got these things have been able to rid themselves of unwanted items, not only saving themselves the time and trouble of hauling them away, but even making a few bucks. These mutually beneficial arrangements have come at no cost to my trading partners and me, all thanks to the self-interested conduct of the UsedEverywhere operators. Their actions have enabled a great deal of happiness where none was possible before, and caused harm to no one.
If only there was a medal for making this kind of win-win-win possible.
Just over two years ago, I told you how I was having fun collecting nickels of a certain date. At the time, the melt value of those coins was in the vicinity of 12¢ each, and I have accumulated about (face value) $200 worth. How has my investment fared? Not so well. As of this writing, those nickels have a melt value of merely 6¢ each! There was a time when I was buying rolls of nickels from the bank and sorting through them, but now it’s hardly even worth the effort to check my change every day and pull the ‘good’ nickels out. How has this come about? Reed Watson and Greg Sauer of the Property and Environment Research Center have the answer –
“The price (of nickel) peaked in 2007 at $50,000 per metric ton, up from $10,000 just a few years earlier. Responding to the scarcity, Chinese entrepreneurs figured out how to substitute a lower-grade nickel known as “nickel pig iron” in the steel manufacturing process. As a result, the price of nickel plummeted to $14,000 per metric ton, and China became a leading nickel producer.”
Despite the devastating effect these Chinese entrepreneurs have had on my speculative ambitions, I’m glad to see yet another concrete example of innovation overcoming scarcity.
After nearly three years and 700 posts (nearly a book’s worth!), I’ve decided to put blogging aside for other efforts. It has been a wonderful opportunity to express myself, and in the process, to improve my writing and the composition of my arguments. However, my audience has always been, and will likely remain, tiny. To the 50 or so people who make up our readership, thank you so much for visiting. I hope you enjoyed yourselves. I will continue to share my opinions, plus items of interest, on our Facebook page. I hope you will visit there, and perhaps join and contribute.
Update – June 11, 2013 If this is your first visit, by all means please find a few hours to read through the blog. I still monitor for comments, and some of the stuff is not half bad.
Hit and Run added a couple of good posts recently, concerning projects to create islands of liberty in an authoritarian world. The first examines the status of efforts to create charter cities in Honduras –
” (chief of staff to President Porfirio Lobo, Octavio) Sanchez says he isn’t worried that the latest attempt will again be derailed by the Supreme Court, because the original opinion was legally flawed, and four members of the constitutional chamber that first overturned the law “were removed from office by Congress because of gross ignorance.” Non-Hondurans involved in the process think the Supreme Court decision was more a matter of internal politics and an expression of opposition to the president of Congress, the free cities supporter Juan Orlando Hernandez, who was (and still is) running for president. While another legal challenge is possible, even likely, Sanchez and others involved say the new law will be carefully crafted to be as bulletproof as possible.”
“The libertarian influence already has paid some dividends in governance. In 2007 the New Hampshire legislature voted to block implementation of a national ID card system in the state. The battle against REAL ID was lead by Joel Winters, the first member of the Free State Project to win a statewide representative seat. Winters, a Democrat and Floridian, ran for office on a platform focused on civil liberties and privacy just two years after he moved to New Hampshire.
Winters, who is a building contractor by trade, notes that other Free State legislative victories are less conspicuous, because they involve stopping bad laws before they start. “There’s always proposals to expand licensing requirements, and we’ve helped stopped those,” he says, ticking off thwarted gun restrictions and seat belt regulations as examples.”
It is a cold fact that the coercive state is under unceasing, blistering attacks on all fronts. Under such a withering assault, it cannot hope to survive.
At some point, autonomous vehicles will create traffic that will be simply beyond the ability of human reflexes to negotiate. Long before that occurs, people will be prohibited from operating vehicles in most places. I wasn’t much bothered by that, until I put my motorcycle back on the road for this season. The thought that people won’t be able to commute by motorcycle makes me a little sad. But, the market delivers, and perhaps autonomous vehicles will be so much fun that they will somehow more than make up for whatever we have to give up.
“Based on true events and laced with wry humour, STILL MINE is a heartfelt love story about an 89-year-old New Brunswicker (James Cromwell) who comes up against the system when he sets out to build a more suitable house for his wife (Geneviève Bujold) whose memory is starting to go. Although Craig Morrison is using the same methods his father, a shipbuilder, taught him, times have changed. Craig quickly gets on the wrong side of an overzealous government inspector, who finds just about everything unacceptable, including the unstamped wood Craig has milled from his own trees. As Irene becomes increasingly ill and amidst a series of stop-work orders Craig races to finish the house. Hauled into court and facing jail, Craig takes a final stance.”
This just has ‘libertarian’ written all over it! It’s showing in Victoria, which means it might be showing in your town, too. Is it any good? I can’t say, but the reviewers at Tribute.ca love it. If you’ve seen it, please comment and let us all know.
” When I go around giving my Free-Range Kids lectures, at some point I hold up a pair of little knit things that look like mini sweat bands and I ask the audience, “What are these?” And when I finally inform them, “Baby knee pads,” they shriek in disbelief. (At least, the ones who aren’t shrieking, “My mother-in-law just gave us those!”)
Since when do kids need knee pads to crawl safely? Aren’t babies born with built-in knee pads called “baby fat”? Isn’t that why their knees adorably dimple?”
Full post here. If, like me, you think baby knee pads are something that few parents would be interested in, I encourage you to do an internet search on them. You will find they are widely offered.
If ever there was a metaphor for the way our culture deals with difficulty, baby knee pads is it. There are a symbol of the way that every challenge is softened, every adversity removed. What are the effects of this sort of molly-coddling? I can’t say for sure, but so long as crawling is made more comfortable, the longer I would expect a baby to crawl. This is not the sort of product in which I expect libertarians to be very interested. We much rather people learn to stand on their own two feet.
One of my minors at university was in Chinese studies, and earlier in my life I lived in Taiwan for a few months. Naturally, I was very interested and excited to see a travel article about Taiwan in the digital version of “Liberty“, a libertarian magazine. Here is an excerpt –
“Everyone in the bank turned to look at the westerner with the biking helmet. In response to the door guard’s inquiry, I pulled out a US $100 bill to indicate I wanted to change currency. The entire staff rolled their eyes and threw up their arms — not in an off-putting manner, but rather in an inclusive “we’re-all-going-to-share-a-root-canal-at-closing-time-and-we’re-going-to-pull-together-and-actually-have-fun.”
A teller ushered me to a seat, placed a cup of tea in my hands, and indicated that I should wait. Two minutes later the manager brought me a snack and tried to engage me. Placing my fists close to each other, I rotated them to duplicate the motion of pedaling a bike, uttered “Taiwan”, and signed an oval in the air to say that I was biking around Taiwan. The staff erupted in smiles, hung haos(very good), and thumbs up. More tea, more snacks, more encouraging glances, more waiting.
Twenty minutes later, only the foreign exchange teller was engaged — with what looked like an Indonesian lady. When she stood up, he motioned me over. I handed him my passport and counted out $400 US in $50 and $100 bills. He scrutinized the passport, including the tourist visa stamped in the back, and then the US money, first separating the denominations, then collating the bills. He rejected three $50 bills: two that were well-worn and one that was brand new, saying in English, “too old.” So I gave him one more $100 bill, which he accepted. He counted the money — twice — wrote down the amount, and asked for my confirmation. Then he stood up and approached the vault.
I got the impression that this bank branch had little experience with US money and had never seen a US $50 bill. While waiting for his return, various tellers brought more tea, more snacks, and more friendly attempts to communicate. One snack consisted of dry, pickled prunes, the pits of which I needed to spit out. The attractive teller who’d offered them to me was well aware that she might be pushing the limits of a westerner’s tastes, and so was expectantly attentive to my reaction. She pulled a handkerchief from her purse, put it on her palm and indicated that I should spit the pit onto it. Apprehensive that spitting into her hand might cross some sort of intimacy line, I hesitated. She understood perfectly well and reassured me by repeating “is OK, OK.”
The whole thing is delightful, and written from a libertarian’s perspective. Enjoy!