I am saddened to see that Nobel-winning libertarian economist James Buchanan passed away today, though he leaves behind the insight that government, too, behaves selfishly and can be better predicted with that in mind than if we naively assume it’s more magnanimous and well-meaning than the rest of society.
•Last month saw the passing of Judge Robert Bork, whose intellectual legacy will likely be even more relevant to our Dionysium debate this coming Monday (8pm at Muchmore’s). We’ll be asking whether “judicial activism” is a good thing, and Bork was an important proponent of the idea we are better off with judges who defer to the original intention of the framers of the Constitution (but some of us think he could have interpreted those intentions in a more libertarian way, so I should be torn enough to make a good neutral moderator, as always).
•I am less torn about fracking after seeing Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney’s documentary Frack Nation, which, much like their prior documentary Mine Your Own Business, accomplishes comedic and political wonders simply by checking the facts as (mis)reported by environmental activists.
(I did not know until talking to Ann after the movie that the two of them got their start in such counter-revolutionary activities by becoming disillusioned a mere decade ago while working on a Greenpeace-inspired project that they concluded was bunk, leading them to switch sides when their concerns fell on deaf activist ears.)
As a media guy, the revelation from Frack Nation that seemed most infuriating was the insistence by Josh Fox, the weasel-activist director of the anti-fracking movie Gasland, that it’s not relevant that the notorious bursts of flame he showed coming out of people’s faucets are an age-old phenomenon that existed long before fracking did.
His response when asked why he excluded that important fact from his own documentary was, as seen in Frack Nation, to demand to know who Phelim works for. That’s a response I’m accustomed to from my own days working for hype-debunking organization ACSH: When the environmentalists don’t have good arguments, they just demand to know who their critics’ unsavory associates are – it’s the government/media establishment equivalent of responding to an unwelcome question by just saying, “Who let you in here?!”
Lying green assholes. And millions of dollars lost per day, plus countless people financially ruined because of it. And still they think they hold the moral high ground.
•More embarrassing for the libertarian side, arguably, was conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ ranting pro-gun (and anti-medication and anti-bank) appearance on Piers Morgan’s CNN show, but you almost can’t blame him for going nuts when you consider what he’s up against, including things like O.J. Simpson legal advisor Alan Dershowitz on that same broadcast saying outright that he’s frightened that Jones is a gun owner and wants gun control to disarm such people.
I’m not calling Jones level-headed by any means, though. Check out this hilarious spittle-flecked rant, for instance (or this rant augmented by a viewer’s comical graphics) – but keep in mind he at least has the decency to criticize government bureaucracy and garden-variety violent cops alike, along with their media and corporate enablers, a sweeping combo of political/cultural criticism that should be done by many more people, in a more careful and thoughtful fashion. The intellectuals’ failure in this regard has made Jones necessary.
He’s out to lunch on his 9/11 conspiracy theories (former all-comedy site Cracked is a bastion of sanity on the topic by comparison), but lest we kid ourselves that he’s wrong about everything, note, for example, that the cop he was showing in the first of those linked rants (laughing about a protester being shot) has gone on to work for Homeland Security in Florida rather than being sent back to the private sector.
•Monday night, the same night as the Frack Nation premiere and the Jones appearance, the greatest display of sanity was, as usual, on Fox News’s 3am show RedEye, which was announced as featuring panelist “Kennedy Montgomery,” meaning perhaps that the ex-MTV VJ’s last name is getting used once more. I hope this portends a Sade Adu concert in the near future.
But the important thing is that Kennedy summed up authoritarian centrist David Frum’s latest brilliant scheme – partnering with substance-abusing, car-wrecking halfwit Patrick Kennedy to resist drug legalization – by saying, “Well, he can suck it.” Hear, hear: how much more evidence do you need that bipartisan establishment types are jerks regardless of nominal party allegiance?
(That RedEye episode was joke-sponsored by the sport of “sledding,” by the way, and we can only hope that if Kennedy’s professional snowboarder husband was watching, he didn’t feel slighted.)
•These ten weirdest political parties are all likely saner than the Patrick Kennedy/David Frum team.
(But I know P.K. and D.F. are the establishment and my friends aren’t: It's both pleasing and sort of pathetic that if I search YouTube for <anarcho-capitalism>, I see at least five people I’ve met on the first page of thumbnails. I suspect there are somewhat fewer than a billion of us, then.)
•And to leftists out there who think DC is your defender against the plutocrats: a whopping 43% of “the 1%” live in the DC metro area. What’s skewing wealth upward is big government and its cronies. GET RID OF IT, and let creative and productive entrepreneurs do their thing.
The next time you lament Boehner crimes, remember that you’re the ones who’ve always wanted Washington to have more power.
By contrast, this town with only twelve residents has been an inspiration to many, many writers. For all its troubles, perhaps we owe more to it than to the cesspool on the Potomac.
Great update, I'll have to check out "Frack Nation".
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