Tuesday, November 30, 2004

If it quacks...Part Two

Comrade BKMarcus weighs in on my post of yesterday with his own very eloquent remarks on his blog today. Check it out here.

Monday, November 29, 2004

If it quacks like a duck...?

In this morning's Wall Street Journal, Pete DuPont reflects on Election 2004:
"What was determinative is that the two political parties view the American people very differently. The Republican Party has become the party of individualism, believing that free enterprise, market economies, and individual choices give people the best chance of a good life; that if ordinary Americans are left alone to make their own decisions, they will generally be good decisions, so they -- not the government -- should have the power to make them."
What Republican Party is DuPont talking about? Have I been caught napping? The Republican Party that I've observed has grown the State tremendously over the past four years, and restrictive, tax-eating, government social programs have increased steadily under the Bush administration. It's said that if it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, then it's a duck. Well, this Republican duck quacks one way and walks quite another.

Buying into DuPont's nonsense is like believing that, well, Hillary's gone conservative!

(Thanks to Steven Horwitz for alerting me to the DuPont article via History News Network's "Liberty & Power" blog.)

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Less than serene about delay of "Serenity"

I've mentioned several times Joss Whedon's wonderful, libertarian, sci-fi TV series Firefly, which appeared on Fox for just 10 weeks in 2002 before being unceremoniously cancelled. The series got a "second life" last winter with the DVD release of the complete series. And Universal quickly gave the "green light" for a Whedon scripted and directed movie based on the show, Serenity, which has been shot and was scheduled for release to theaters this coming April.

Well, Joss Whedon himself (via WHEDONesque.com) just announced that Universal has pushed release of the movie to SEPTEMBER 2005...a five month delay. Ack!

As Joss explains: "April got crowded with a lot of titles aimed at a similar demographic, and the studio decided September was a clearer corridor for the film to make the kind of impact it should. ... It's just a marketing issue."

He continues: "I love this movie. I HATE waiting to show it to you. ... But these guys know what they're doing, and they're trying to protect their investment, not bury it. So I gotta be a grown-up. The release date is September 30th. Hopefully it won't change again."


Monday, November 22, 2004

Hooray for "National Treasure"!

The new movie National Treasure is a lot of silly fun. But there are two remarkable moments in it, both involving Nicholas Cage's character.

In the first, Cage quotes at length the "train of abuses" passage from the Declaration of Independence: "...it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government." This may be the first time most Americans have been exposed to this radical language; certainly, they don't hear about it in government (i.e., "public") schools.

In the second significant moment, Cage raises a toast to "traitors" at a state party.

It's unfortunate that most viewers of National Treasure will probably be more intrigued by the "eye of the pyramid" on the dollar bill than its references to the Declaration itself. But if only a handful are inspired to revisit the Declaration of Independence and really study it for themselves, this film has done a great and unexpected service.

Monday, November 15, 2004

To protect and serve...

WorldNetDaily.com reported November 11 that an Oklahoma judge has upheld the $185 fine levied against Tricia Morgan for dropping a sunflower seed on a street in Oklahoma City. Police claimed that dropping the seed was "littering."

"Police say littering laws in the city have been beefed up in recent years, and seeds fall under the definition of litter," reported WorldNetDaily.com.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Two cheers for Tammy Bruce!

The fun thing about C-SPAN (or C-SPAN2) is that I so often accidentally fall upon wonderful TV programming there while randomly clicking the remote. Last night, it featured a two-hour lecture/Q&A by Tammy Bruce, who was my favorite local radio talk host in the L.A. area, oh, some eight years ago. She was at that time the president of the L.A. chapter of NOW (National Organization of Women), and slowly over a period of months, I heard her move from a “groupthink” feminist position to a freethinking, individualist position. Eventually, she lost her NOW job and KFI radio fired Tammy for having the guts to offend Bill Cosby’s wife, who had publicly taken a hard-line victimhood political stand. Since then, Tammy’s authored two books -- The New Thought Police and The Death of Right and Wrong -- and now hosts a syndicated national radio talk show (which I unfortunately can’t access right now).

Anyway, what I saw of her presentation on C-SPAN was entertaining and enlightening. Tammy is a self-proclaimed gun-owning lesbian feminist who in the past worked on many campaigns for Democratic candidates. She has a new book on individualism vs. groupthink in the works and now describes herself as a “classical liberal,” which she defines as belief in individualism, free markets, and minimal government. That’s great as far as it goes, but she regrettably glosses over the passionate antiwar stance of classical liberalism. For that reason, she supported (but did not actively campaign for) Dubya in this past election, despite her many misgivings about Bush’s domestic policies; she admits that Bush has grown government larger and larger during the last four years, but, after all, the War on Terror yadda yadda...

Regardless, Tammy Bruce is a refreshing gem among today’s glut of neocon/”liberal” pundits, and I recommend her work highly. If it’s available in your area, listen to her radio show. And look for her upcoming book.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Mr. Incredible...aka Howard Roark?

We went to see the latest Pixar blockbuster The Incredibles this past weekend. We enjoyed it very much, but as radical a libertarian as I am, I apparently wasn't struck as hard by the movie's Objectivist messages as a few reviewers were.

Writes John C. Snider at the scifidimensions website:
"Writer/director Brad Bird has delivered a fresh, entertaining and shockingly philosophical parody of the superhero genre. ... There's even an Ayn Rand undercurrent (and maybe a little 'Harrison Bergeron') criticizing our society's tendency to encourage mediocrity and beat down self-esteem and personal excellence."
Newsday's John Anderson writes:
"Ever wonder what a collaboration between Tex Avery and Ayn Rand might have uncorked? Wonder no more. The Incredibles...is a fun-filled foray into animated action, fantasy and adventure. And Objectivism. ..."
I guess I'll have to study this film more seriously.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

On madness & the delusion of democracy

I had thought the past 18 months of campaign rhetoric was as bad as it gets. But in watching the news channels last night, some 24 hours following Election 2004, I learned otherwise.

We have now entered a period -- days, weeks, months? -- of both media hand-wringing (“Were we biased? Were we fair? Why were our exit polls so, well, so goddamn wrong?”) and self-congratulation (“Democracy works! And look, we’ve managed to hold a national election with minimal fraud, vote-tampering, and lawsuits!”).

What remains conveniently unacknowledged, of course, is that despite higher-than-usual voter turnout this year, non-voters were, as they have always been, the vast majority. And as my friend Sam Konkin used to remind me, the prime reason the State grants democracy is to maintain the State -- and to maintain the State is to suppress liberty.