Thursday, December 31, 2015
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
With even William Kristol talking about exiting the Republican Party to form a more neoconservative one if Trump gets the nomination, who’d be left in the GOP, I ask on SpliceToday?
Tuesday, December 29, 2015
As online life becomes more and more important, political arguments we never anticipated about that existence become more important, I write.
Monday, December 28, 2015
Dan O’Keefe is pissed that Rand Paul is celebrating Festivus, but Paul’s airing of grievances is closer to the spirit of Festivus than O’Keefe’s, I write.
Friday, December 25, 2015
It’s not just religion -- I fear politics will evolve into a mere expression of feelings as well, as I write in today’s column.
Thursday, December 24, 2015
The modern left-liberal will snippily decree which tiny slivers of knowledge and fact ostensibly matter and then look upon you with disdain for having the audacity to care about other slivers, I write.
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Trump’s not an authentic conservative -- but he is an awful lot like the parodies of right-wingers we grew up with in the 80s, I write.
Monday, December 21, 2015
Bernie Sanders’ chances aren’t great, but he probably deserves whatever the democratic process does to him, I write in today’s column.
Friday, December 18, 2015
Thursday, December 17, 2015
The increasingly fanatical p.c. culture on campuses runs headlong into the timeless wisdom and anti-censorship attitude of stand-up comedians in a new documentary, as I write in today’s column.
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Star Wars is fun and Trek becoming dopey, so for brainy and relevant sci-fi about things like colonizing the moon, we must look to other sources of sci-fi these days, I write.
Monday, December 14, 2015
Trump may long for the strength of the ancient fasces, but the loose bundles, the faggots, who oppose him, should band together agains him -- by dropping out, as I write in today’s column.
Friday, December 11, 2015
I can’t help noticing that the Straussians once talked about hiding from the authorities and now think like the authorities, as noted in my column today.
Thursday, December 10, 2015
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Maybe all the environmentalists’ claims are true, but they sure never seem too far from political claims, I observe in today’s column, with cameos by Brown alums, Bernie Sanders, and terrorists.
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
The left as usual seems to be pulling in two directions at once, toward explicit consent in sex and extreme ambiguity, as the porn star rape accusations and feminist agitations in the news remind us, I say in today’s column.
Monday, December 7, 2015
I begin a week of bad college political memories on Splice Today with a description of the still-relevant protestors/appeasers dynamic. I dedicate it all to Howard Dean, the weasel who tweeted that free speech is good but respect is better.
Friday, December 4, 2015
Thursday, December 3, 2015
The left can’t handle distinctions or inegalitarian-sounding conclusions, so regardless of the facts in San Bernardino, I write, their inevitable conclusion is: regulate everyone!
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Right and left are not so much a spectrum, pendulum, or seesaw as a murder-suicide pact, and one must learn to reject both halves, I write in today’s column.
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
As word comes that Trump has recruited aid from Herman Cain, who fared almost as badly in 2012 as Scott Walker in the 2016 race, I am dismayed by the sideshow of evil Karl Rove assisting crazy Ben Carson, as I write in today’s column.
Monday, November 30, 2015
People extrapolate wildly from one armed nut and ignore controls on vast swaths of the population, I write in today’s column.
Friday, November 27, 2015
If Trump falters and Carson falls, we will be welcomed home into the old neoconservative vs. libertarian fight, coalescing perhaps around Rubio and Cruz, I write.
Thursday, November 26, 2015
I hope you spent Thanksgiving thankful for science and capitalism, the real sources of happiness and prosperity, as I write.
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
If Turkey starts WWIII, will the left keep talking about Assad and the right whining that the left needs to do even more of the same, I ask in today’s column?
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Argentina’s new, market-leaning president beats the old one, Kirchner, with her slams against “anarcho-capitalism,” I write on SpliceToday.
Monday, November 23, 2015
Friday, November 20, 2015
Our most morally valuable current film franchise may be Hunger Games, assuming you don’t watch it as if it’s football or Dungeons & Dragons, I write on Splice Today.
Thursday, November 19, 2015
The EU, the U.S., Vermont, Catalonia, the sea, Amherst, North Korea, and more -- each in its own way doomed, as I write on SpliceToday.
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
I write in today’s column that we have plenty of reason to fear what J.J. Abrams might do to Star Wars for the simple reason that we’ve already seen what he did to Star Trek.
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Twenty years later, as I write in today’s column, this snarky world still contains Laura Ingraham, Bill Maher, and South Park.
Monday, November 16, 2015
I write in today’s column of my general fear that all the likely responses to terror incidents, in all directions, are wrong.
Friday, November 13, 2015
Compassion and our shared humanity demand that we consider the possibility many leftist and anti-racist activists are just jerks, I write on SpliceToday.
Thursday, November 12, 2015
How overtly villainous do an evil media studies prof and her violent thug protestor-henchmen have to be before the left notices it has deeper problems, I ask in today’s column?
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
I write that even if the huge GOP field is whittled down to a half-dozen, we may still have irreconcilable factions.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Maybe we could solve several problems at once by ceding colleges to radicals and former Gitmo internees and getting everyone else the hell out of those places, I write today.
Monday, November 9, 2015
I write of how slim the odds of good things happening seem one year prior to the election, at least for those of us who like Gary Johnson, Rand Paul, and maybe in a pinch Ted Cruz.
Friday, November 6, 2015
Thursday, November 5, 2015
...the Fifth of November, via my column full of anarchist-friendly thoughts on Alan Moore (again), Donald Trump, Ayn Rand, Ted Cruz, and more.
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Monday, November 2, 2015
I write of Jonathan Last, William Kristol, and most egregiously Sonny Bunch all now endorsing the Empire in Star Wars.
Friday, October 30, 2015
The Three Laws of Robotics should be: no assault, no theft, no fraud -- and Trump of all candidates seems to have some idea of why we ought to start worrying about worse robotic scenarios, I write in today’s column.
Thursday, October 29, 2015
In today’s column, I write that the GOP may be better off long-term losing with Carson or a Latino than winning via Trump.
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Amidst another terrible budget “compromise,” I write that thinking government should spend at all likely means you dwell in a fantasy world in which government can do things competently.
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
I think Diddy’s negative view of democracy may be more realistic than Mitt Romney’s, as I explain in today’s column.
Monday, October 26, 2015
For all the jokes we make about lawyers, they’re a rational, rules-respecting bunch and tend, like the president of Cornell, to see the dangers of P.C. sentiment run amok, I write.
Friday, October 23, 2015
Thursday, October 22, 2015
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
I wonder on SpliceToday whether the future will even care about which form of terrible big government you’ve allied yourself to or whether it’ll just seem like hairsplitting (and actual Jewish Nazis are mentioned, in contrast to the metaphors thrown around about Israel).
Monday, October 19, 2015
McDonald’s is beset by bogus health claims and bad economic reasoning, so in today’s column, I’m vowing to eat there weekly to show my gratitude.
Friday, October 16, 2015
Equality is not the essential thing, I write on SpliceToday, and if it were, we’d have to condemn a culture, if one exists, capable of re-engineering its solar system while we had little more grandiose than the collapsing Roman Empire.
Thursday, October 15, 2015
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
I think the big winners on debate day were Joe Biden, who wasn’t in the debate, and Donald Trump, who tweeted an awesome dubstep-infused video earlier in the day, to which I link in today’s column.
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
From the delay of Capt. Marvel to the isolation of Isaac Perlmutter, goings on in the comics industry are fraught with political implications, or so I write.
Monday, October 12, 2015
I paid a visit to LibertyFest 2015, witnessing, as I write today, our potential next president Gary Johnson and other political figures ranging from Anthem Blanchard to the Rent Is Too Damn High guy.
Friday, October 9, 2015
At Brown University (again), the Brown Daily Herald newspaper feels compelled to apologize for having the audacity to print two opinion pieces with un-p.c. opinions in them, I write.
Thursday, October 8, 2015
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
In today’s column, writing as a fan, I contrast Laurie Anderson’s new installation art about Gitmo with her more troubling comments years ago about East Berlin.
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Anarchists ought to spend more time resisting government power grabs such as eminent domain use and less time whining about capitalism, I write.
Monday, October 5, 2015
Even a moderate libertarian like philosophy professor John Tomasi has to jump through diplomatic hoops sometimes at a politicized place like Brown University, but I’m glad he does, I write in today’s column.
Friday, October 2, 2015
Richard Epstein debated Michael Huemer, and if an esteemed libertarian law professor debating an anarcho-capitalist philosophy professor brings us a step closer to talking openly about the complete abolition of government, I say in today’s column it’s a sign libertarianism is finally maturing.
Thursday, October 1, 2015
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
If the Republicans are rebelling against their leadership, it may be because a certain someone reminded them how angry their constituents are, I write.
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
If Mars has running water, it’s more important than ever to figure out if it has life, so Elon Musk can drop nuclear weapons on the planet and save the human race, I write today.
Monday, September 28, 2015
Friday, September 25, 2015
Ta-Nahesi Coates will write a Black Panther comic book, and it’s just one part of the comics industry’s ongoing effort to be p.c., I write in today’s column.
Thursday, September 24, 2015
As the Pope reaches NYC, many of us here ask, as I do in today’s column, why not ditch all religions and government to boot?
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Sociopaths bad, empaths good -- though as I write today, sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Those conservatives who say it’s time to leave Reagan-idolizing behind scare me more than Reagan, I write in today’s column.
Monday, September 21, 2015
A Marco Rubio campaign head punches a Rand Paul campaign head, a Fortune writer contemplates robbing an Apple store, and Ahmed is lauded for building a clock, and I think it’s all wrong, I write.
Friday, September 18, 2015
As it was four years ago, I vow to bolt to the LP if the GOP doesn’t do the right thing, in today’s column.
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Trump’s act can’t last forever -- can it? -- and so I look for glimmers of sanity from Rand Paul and, yes, Pataki in my column today.
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Monday, September 14, 2015
Maybe race and sex are just dumb topics whether people say right-wing or left-wing things, I muse in today’s column.
Friday, September 11, 2015
Whether your migrant crisis is in the EU or the U.S., born of Syria or Mexico, the easiest solution, I write in today’s column, is to just let them get to work.
Thursday, September 10, 2015
Do more about jihadists in Iraq and Syria, some urge, but the U.S. had done plenty, I write in today’s column, such as frequently encouraging jihadists -- for decades.
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
As I write, my parents are among many who like Trump and Carson more than the rest of the GOP pack, so I asked them why.
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Monday, September 7, 2015
You can understand the left feeling as if even Labor Day is a lame, not-too-leftist substitute, I write in today's column.
Friday, September 4, 2015
The non-Trump people need to rally around someone -- and in today’s column I (somewhat reluctantly) ask: might Ted Cruz be just the man to heal the nation’s wounds?
Thursday, September 3, 2015
The left keeps adding new subcategories of human beings to its grand coalition but might want to just summon the courage to say “all lives” at some point, as I write.
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Sadly, as I write today, Vox tried to start a series of controversial arguments but then decided they might be too controversial.
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
William F. Buckley was skeptical of the Iraq War and East German-style surveillance, and Rand Paul seems nearly the only major-party candidate echoing such sentiments, I write.
Monday, August 31, 2015
To experts convinced current patterns will hold, I suggest recalling some of the changes to the world just during the span of my grandmother’s lifetime, as I write today.
Friday, August 28, 2015
I urge people to remember the other Ferguson -- LIRR gunman Colin Ferguson -- in today’s column, and to remember that despite recent leftist complaints, their moderately liberal media brethren really do try to avoid being racially inflammatory.
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
I suggest a few anarchic elements of current pop culture to check while civilization collapses around you, including Mr. Robot, in today’s column.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
I make no stocks predictions, but in today’s column I explain why libertarians tend to be short-term pessimists and long-term optimists in that area.
Monday, August 24, 2015
A nominally-democratic-socialist potential next prime minister of Canada likes Thatcher and free-market services, and so does Deez Nuts, I write.
Friday, August 21, 2015
P.C. isn’t just too stuffy, it constantly drops context, which is most of culture, I write.
Thursday, August 20, 2015
David Sirota continues the trend of willfully-ignorant lefty journalists misrepresenting libertarian goals, I write.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
A year ago, we still talked of ideology, and now we’ve sunk all the way down to Hillary Clinton’s crimes and Trump’s ego already, I write.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Monday, August 17, 2015
Like an elitist version of a populist, Lawrence Lessig wants his presidential run to produce more democracy, I write.
Friday, August 14, 2015
Reform Party nuthin, Jesse Ventura’s pretty eclectic all by himself, basically endorsing twin loudmouths Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump just in the past several weeks, I write.
Thursday, August 13, 2015
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Monday, August 10, 2015
Friday, August 7, 2015
Thursday, August 6, 2015
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Rand Paul is basically a “minarchist paleolibertarian” and should say as much in tomorrow’s debate, albeit admittedly in simpler terms, I write.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Rand Paul apparently confuses people, but I think there’s a coherent philosophy there, and this Thursday’s debate is the perfect time to defend it explicitly, I write.
Monday, August 3, 2015
There may be no heroes among politicians, but I try whittling the massive GOP field down to the four least-villainous in today’s column.
Friday, July 31, 2015
The U.S. is actually pretty moderate and uncertain on abortion, which I argue in today’s column contributes to its queasiness over Planned Parenthood revelations.
Thursday, July 30, 2015
There’s something odd about the anti-lion-hunter outrage when it evokes tears from Jimmy Kimmel, who encourages stealing candy from children, as I write today.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Monday, July 27, 2015
Friday, July 24, 2015
Thursday, July 23, 2015
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Unlike Shikha Dalmia, I still think the end goal should be completely privatizing marriage and letting countless types of contracts bloom, I write.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
McCain seems as if he should be fair game for Trump, and a member of the media-government-corporate elite is probably fair game for Gawker, I write.
Monday, July 20, 2015
Friday, July 17, 2015
A Nation writer hoped for syndicalism in Greece, the left there praises national autonomy and resistance to Europe, and everyone pretends they don’t sound like the communitarian neo-fascists of Golden Dawn in the process, I write.
Thursday, July 16, 2015
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
Thursday, July 9, 2015
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Monday, July 6, 2015
Friday, July 3, 2015
•Careful observers will have noticed I have four favorite topics on this blog, basically sci-fi, music, science, and politics.
But having recently watched both Marvel and DC abandon having a coherent fictional universe, stopped hosting events in youthful and indie-rockin’ Williamsburg, begun to suspect that science idolatry could cause people to overlook strange-but-perhaps-real things with which skeptics ought to wrestle or cause them to accept as final some verdicts merely gussied up in the acceptable scientific lingo, and despaired of virtually any mainstream political current leading anywhere good, I need to retool. Online, I will focus on plugging a couple crucial, radical libertarian projects.
•But for a taste, instead, of the economist who is probably the most respectable and mainstream manifestation of libertarianism so far, you might check out Don Boudreaux’s look at Essential Hayek with explanatory videos at that link to augment the print material.
The basic free-market case is needed now, with socialist Bernie Sanders rallying a crowd of nearly 10,000 in Madison, Hillary Clinton pretty openly working for authoritarian foreign governments and no one caring, politicians of both parties serving the Saudis in similar fashion, and a Vox piece (h/t Sonny Bunch) saying the American Revolution was a mistake (in part because we’d have a more redistributive government if we hadn’t left England).
And calling these things bad signs would be considered hilariously unhip these days in some quarters, like being pro-McCarthy a half-century ago. Get with the socialist program, dude! Everyone knows it works great! Look at the cool people running Greece!
•Since I don’t think all that is cool, I’m going to start writing libertarian columns daily for SpliceToday.com on Monday -- and a few months later unveil the book I’m writing, Libertarianism for Beginners.
•What better time to dig deeper and teach the world the whole conventional political spectrum is wrong than now, with the prospect of another Clinton-vs.-Bush election upon us next year? A lot could happen before November 2016, but Clinton’s still safely ahead of Sanders, and all the Republican candidates (if we assume the small Trump launch bump is temporary) are down in the single digits in surveys of Republican voters except Jeb Bush, who is at an anemic but perhaps sufficient 19% or so. We can do better, but only with a change in philosophy.
•You know if I had my way, the paleolibertarian + crunchy con + antiwar candidate to emerge from the Republican primary would be Rand Paul, author of Taking a Stand. While conservatives and libertarians fight over whether he really belongs in the other camp, Paul to his credit is busy reaching out beyond both Republican factions, already building bridges to Democrats and, yes, alienated black voters. He could win the general that way, I think. And he could change world history. Everyone ought to regard him as a sign of real hope.
Incidentally, though he comes from the faction of libertarianism more fond of Mises than Hayek, a faction with more right-wing baggage, he expressed support for South Carolina taking down the Confederate Flag, and his call for privatizing marriage is the correct libertarian response to cultural wrangles like the one that I hope just ended last week. I also respect his silence on the topic as it was being resolved. Politicians should often be silent. Paul is a Christian but knows it’s more important how deep in debt the federal government is than how deeply disturbing some people think certain sexual relationships are.
But principles are more important than individual politicians, whether Rand Paul or Gary Johnson or anyone else, and starting tomorrow, on the Fourth of July, I’ll stick to using the Net to reaffirm those basic principles and steer clear of some of the crazier, pettier wrangles the Net’s gotten so good at fomenting.
Thursday, July 2, 2015
•Alex Rose’s book Men of War: The American Soldier in Combat at Bunker Hill, Gettysburg, and Iwo Jima is out this month, and it should appeal not just to history and military buffs but to the increasingly prevalent gamer mind (I suspect the future will not understand how we could have thought these were all separate disciplines).
With conservative respect for fighting men but anarchic awareness that tidy master-narratives are usually baloney, Rose sets out to document not just the heroic high points but the chaos and confusion of battle, the feeling of being on the ground and in many cases not having the slightest idea who’s winning, who’s losing, who’s in charge, who’s over the next hill, or even who’s twenty feet to your left.
I think it’s still legal to sympathize even with hapless Confederate soldiers caught in the fog of war, but you’ve got multiple armies to study and learn from here, even if you come away convinced combat is more about happenstance than honor.
•Rose is the author of Washington’s Spies, on which the AMC series Turn is based and has just announced he’ll soon be the author as well of Twilight of the Gods, about men linked to the Hindenburg disaster and the decline of German aviation dominance. I told him it’s good timing that Marvel is releasing Thor: Ragnarok in a couple years. I make intellectual contributions like that.
•Men do not always fight other men, of course. Take for example the harrowing, or at least embarrassing, “Emu War” fought in Australia between man and bird, with machine guns and everything (h/t Matt Yeackel).
•Maybe Terminator Genisys, out yesterday, is a glimpse of what our final war will look like, much as we might wish Facebook, the military, or whoever else is playing with A.I. fire out there knew what they were doing. Of course, in the Terminator movies, if you destroy the world, you get a do-over (and yet another sequel) thanks to time travel, which makes it unfortunate I didn’t quite get this week’s blog entries written during my official “Month of Revisionism” in June.
Oh, well. As Sonny Bunch rightly notes, this fifth installment in the Terminator franchise does less to advance our understanding of time travel and robotics than to give the female co-writer (who has also been a Bionic Woman producer and union website editor) a chance to throw a feminist/pro-choice revision into what most of us thought was already a pretty badass mama-bear sort of story. Now we know that if only Sarah Connor had been taught to fight earlier on, she not only would have fared better against SkyNet, she wouldn’t even really need to have a legendary son. She’d have “choice.”
Alas, despite the fighting spirit of people like one or more Connors, the real end of the world may still be sparked by something as dumb as these chatbots (hilariously) learning from each other’s conversation (h/t Jim Melloan).
•If we must celebrate any element of war this weekend, though, let it be the Declaration of Independence, which turns 239 on Saturday. I have big declarations of my own to make in the next couple days as well.
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
•Janice Erlbaum gets inside the head of a despicable person in her novel I, Liar, showing us convincingly the process of character formation that might lead an almost-ordinary-seeming woman to become a chronic victimizer. Enough slights from Mom, enough lousy living situations in need of escaping, and perhaps you too might have ended up finding comfort in duping playmates, fellow students, and co-workers. Where will it end?
•Some free-marketeers I know are as guilty as communists of seeing lying as morally unlike contract fraud (though the free-marketeers tend to take the formal business contracts more seriously and the communists tend to take them less seriously). You’re always making the presumption if you lie, though, whether in writing or in casual conversation, that your judgment of how the person you’re talking to should deploy his resources and life energies trumps how he would want to use them if he knew the truth. Not cool. Never do it (except, as with punching or any other aggression, as a defense against outright coercion, such as lying to Nazis at the door).
The case wouldn’t have to be spelled out this rationalistically, of course, if people would show some damn empathy. Lying, rooted in the arrogant belief one knows best, inevitably undermines that.
•Speaking of low-empathy cases, I notice at least one person thanked in the acknowledgements of the aforementioned novel who is among that 5% of Facebook friends who’ve ended up unfriending me, not such a bad ratio given that my whole m.o. is violating that (purported) party etiquette rule against discussing religion or politics.
I can’t help noticing, though, that you can pretty much say there’s no God on a regular basis without losing any Christians, but disagree with one line or narrow, specific policy implication of a recent Salon piece and you run a good chance of someone, usually a young, white, female, East-Coast, feminist liberal who ostensibly hates narrow-mindedness and intolerance, vanishing. The most “privileged” and coddled adult population on Earth -- sought as either solidarity sisters or sex partners by nearly everyone they encounter in a place like NYC -- they have decided they are the vanguard in teaching the rest of us what constitutes ethical discourse and acceptable political thinking. They are jerks. One advantage of aging is being able to say so without fear of relevant social consequences.
I will shortly endeavor to absent myself from increasingly rapid and vicious culture clashes (flags, gays, what have you) in favor of the more serious business of teaching the world some basic economics, though. If I can do so in a world with no Ex-Im Bank and less of an EU, so much the better! More soon.
•Today marks the final issue of a two-year, twenty-five-issue X-Files: Season Ten sequel series that was begun before any of us knew the TV series itself would be coming back (as a miniseries, next year). It’s purportedly canonical, but I suppose few will worry about whether its resurrection of Cancer Man and the Lone Gunmen jibes with the semi-retired status of Mulder in the lame second X-Files movie.
And I say just chalk up the lack of a 2012 invasion to magnetite in all those “chemtrails.” So simple. Gotta clear the decks of old plot threads once in a while, in all nerd media.
•It is fitting that Clickhole has concocted a masterful conspiracy theory about the true meaning of Alex Trebek’s actions on Jeopardy (h/t Glen Whitman), given that Trebek played one of the mysterious Men in Black (alongside Jesse Ventura) in my favorite X-Files episode. It was arguably the funniest episode and the one that taught us the most up to that point about what the conspiracy was really up to.
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
•I saw Malcolm Gladwell interview Katherine Taylor, author of the novel Valley Fever, earlier this month, and he was very good at subtly teasing out the fact that this novel required research. Though set in the author’s native Fresno, it bears less resemblance to her own life than her previous novel, Rules for Saying Goodbye. Instead, we are immersed in the seasonal, precarious, and anxiety-inducing lives of Central California farmers, seen through the eyes of a depressed farmer’s daughter, and we learn that even as seemingly effete a pursuit as wine-making can lead to brutal financial backstabbing and emotional betrayal.
With real valley fever (in humans and in dogs) in the news, along with drought and water-wrangling, it’s a perfect time to read this book. Even when describing very pragmatic matters, though, it’s also poetic in a sparse, efficient, Hemingway-influenced fashion, so it’s a great balance between the relevant and the artsy. It’s like reading extremely beautiful bullet points.
•It should not, by the way, be confused with a Sweet Valley High novel, though Taylor knew someone who wrote Sweet Valley High novels. Note that the siblings at the heart of Taylor’s novel are not twins.
•The economics of Valley Fever’s universe is subtle and intertwined with emotional conflict in a way that might make some of my Ayn Rand-loving friends think twice before the next time they approach property rights issues with a rhetorical sledgehammer, but if you want to see a range of fiction approaching econ issues from all angles, from the subtle to the giant-robot-related, always remember to check out the latest stuff at LibertyIslandMag.com.
•With the world having all too few writers about Central California agriculture, Katherine Taylor found herself reading the work of farmer, historian, and political commentator Victor Davis Hanson, though she assured one curious audience member she’s mainly interested in Hanson’s take on farming, not in politics.
Those who really want to see conservative wisdom prevail over lefty hippie ideas in rural areas might, however, enjoy watching this spectacular footage of Germans finally dynamiting the giant, virtually useless windmills that environmentalists duped them into constructing.
•Apparently, there’s a movement afoot here in the U.S. of media folk who want to organize rural presidential debates to counter the outsize influence of the big cities. As a relatively impartial guy who grew up around dairy farms but moved to the ultimate city, it sounds like a good idea to me. It also strikes me that such forums could play to the strengths of a certain self-described “crunchy con” paleolibertarian candidate I like (you know, the one who this week suggested completely privatizing marriage and sought donations from the bourgeoning marijuana industry, fresh off his near single-handed battles against drones and NSA snooping).