Wednesday, May 09, 2007

50th Anniversay

Ayn Rand’s novel, Atlas Shrugged, was published in the USA for the first time in 1957.  It is a fine work, and I recommend it to anyone. has a piece up noting this, titled Atlas Shrugged, at 50, which was written by Onkar Ghate.  From Ghate’s piece.

To give a taste of its radicalness, consider that today it’s bromidic that the person of virtue is akin to Mother Teresa; he selflessly lives to serve others and demands that you do the same. Likewise, the person of vice is selfish; he pursues his own interests and demands that his actions bring him a profit. Whenever a television show or movie needs a stock villain, one whose evil motivation will require no setup, you can be sure a businessman erecting an office building on a patch of green land or a corporation testing an experimental drug will be penciled in. Simply to point out that they are pursuing profit is sufficient to damn them. More murders on television are committed by businessmen than by mobsters and gang members.

This entire viewpoint, entrenched for centuries by religious and secular thinkers alike, Atlas challenges. What emerges from its pages is that the moral person is, in fact, truly selfish: He chooses to embrace his own life by choosing to purposefully, systematically and unwaveringly do the thinking and take the actions necessary for happiness.

Posted by John Venlet on 05/09 at 05:33 PM
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Is It a Private Business, or a State (Socialist) Enterprise?

A service station that offered discounted gas to senior citizens and people supporting youth sports has been ordered by the state to raise its prices.

The above, is taking place in the United Socialist State of Wisconsin.

I refer you to the words of Ludwig von Mises:

Prices are a market phenomenon.  They are generated by the market process and are the pith of the market economy.  There is no such thing as prices outside the market.  Prices cannot be constructed synthetically, as it were.  They are the resultant of a certain constellation of market data, of actions and reactions of the members of a market society.  It is vain to mediate what prices would have been if some of their determinants had been different.  Such fantastic designs are no more sensible than whimsical speculations about the course of history would have been if Napoleon had been killed in the battle of Arcole or if Lincoln had ordered Major Anderson to withdraw from Fort Sumter.

von Mises quote taken from Human Action: A Treatise on Economics, Part Four, Catallactics or Economics of the Market Society, Chapter XVI, 15. The Chimera of Nonmarket Prices

Gas station owner told to raise prices

Posted by John Venlet on 05/09 at 10:14 AM
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Placing Blame in All the Wrong Places

Capturing mammary flashing women on film and video has landed Joe Francis, the founder of “Girls Gone Wild,” in the proverbial hot seat.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Garance Franke-Ruta labels Mr. Francis a “cultural pollutant,” and that may very well be, but he damn well is one entreprenerial cultural pollutant, who created a business entity which simply caters to those individuals, who for reasons far beyond my comprehension, get their jollies from watching girls, mostly drunken girls, flashing their more than a handful’s a waste, mammaries.

Francis’ current travails stem from a lawsuit filed by seven of these flashers who whine that “Girls Gone Wild” filmed them when they were flashing their breasts, on spring break, while underage.

I don’t know about you, but I find this absolutely ridiculous.  Seven girls are photographed, or videoed, in public, in all likelihood liquored up, flashing their breasts, probably well aware of the fact that myriads of cameras and videos of other spring break idiots are recording their stupidity, and their lack of judgment warrants a lawsuit against Joe Francis because he’s the individual who has profited the most from the seven girls’ foolishness.

Ms. Franke-Ruta moans, can transform the playful exhibitionism of young women into scarlet letters that follow them around for life.

I say, it serves them right, and provides a valuable lesson for other young women who get drunk on spring break and are “playfully exhibiting,” though unfortunately few will learn the lesson.

Naturally, Ms. Franke-Ruta proposes that a new law should be implemented raising the age of consent to 21.  This would simply be a law to protect stupid people.

Franke-Ruta’s piece, titled Age of Innocence Revisited, only got one thing right, that Joe Francis is a cultural pollutant, the rest of the piece simply scatters blame in all the wrong places.

Story link via Karen DeCoster, who has few words of her own on this subject matter worth reading.

UPDATE:  Jon Swift also comments on Franke-Ruta’s piece in his post on the subject titled Raising the Minimum Age for Porn, if only for the following observation.

I also think Franke-Ruta may have found a way in which pro-abortion feminists and those opposing abortion can finally agree. If a woman is not mature enough to have control over how her body is being used in images when she is 18, how can we say she is mature enough to have control over her body in deciding to get an abortion?

Posted by John Venlet on 05/09 at 08:51 AM
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Corn Holed

What, exactly, are the benefits of ethanol?  Environmentalists, politicos, and corn growing state subsidized farmers would lead individuals to believe that ethanol production will allow the U.S. to give the Arabs and their sweet light crude the bird, and green up the environment to boot.  But, the fact is, when it comes to subsidized corn growing famers, the farmers, instead of bending individuals over the barrel, are bending them over a bushel.

For non-farmers, though, the consequences are less cheery. They get to pay for the corn twice - once through taxes to fund a 51-cent-per-gallon federal subsidy, then again at the dinner table because as more corn goes for ethanol, less is available for food and feed, boosting prices.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather see my corn on the cob, even at 3 for a buck fifty, than have my pockets picked to fund a program which is mostly a feel good illusion rather than an actual solution.

Ethanol gold rush carries costs to your table

Posted by John Venlet on 05/09 at 08:02 AM
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Headlines I Like to See

Bill Clinton pens NY Times’ crossword puzzle

Now, if only that were the only headline where we would see his name.

Posted by John Venlet on 05/09 at 07:47 AM
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