Unexpected Delays

Unexpected Delays.

I’ve been promising posts left and right and I assure my readers that they are still on their merry way. In the future I’ll be a little more vague about dates and times, because, well, because Murphy’s Law. My main problems have been that I am busy and I have underestimated the scope of some of my projects. No more self-imposed deadlines! On top of this I was forced to sit idle for two days by a temporary (whew!) deactivation of my blog because some old post back from October contained a link to a commenter’s website, which apparently is on WordPress.com’s banned list. Not a heinous or obscene site, mind you, but spam nonetheless. I had to send in a report with my objections to the deactivation and explained that I was unaware of any policy violations. I was polite about it and received a response explaining the situation and got reactivated in next to no time. It was a bummer at first but it gave me a much-needed chance to tackle a few other things. But I reckon now it’s time to shift things back into high gear.

If at First You Don’t Succeed…

If at First You Don’t Succeed….

Congratulations to Notes on Liberty consortium co-editor Brandon Christensen on winning the first ever Thorpe-Freeman Blog Contest, put on by the Foundation for Economic Education in May. That’s $250 cash plus some well-deserved name recognition for Brandon and the blog. It’s a great piece about how things are actually looking up for liberty if you take a couple steps back to look at the bigger picture. I recommend that you check it out. Here it is at NOL, and here it is at FEE.

Also check out some of the other stuff going on with Brandon and NOL. It’s success is a microcosm of the ground gained by the idea of spontaneous order, as touched on in the winning essay. If I may put it so boldly for the otherwise humble blog. It’s a diverse crowd, there’s plenty of disagreement, but all of them are influenced by this idea to some degree. You could even say they were brought together by it.

And if you’re in the mood, check out some of the other contestants’ work.

Received honorable mention:

How Commerce Expands Culture by Andrea Castillo

Literal and Symbolic, Part 1 by Dan McFerren

My own submission (also published originally at NOL; I hope to get it up here soon):

Ham-Fisted Coercion and Incompetence versus the Invisible Hand of Self-Interest

I am hoping I will have the time and the gumption to make a submission for this month’s contest as well. I would need to re-read the rules and suggestions, pick out some material to start with, hone my abilities, and then get to researching and writing. The question is, whether to submit again under NOL, as I would be honored to do (but I wonder if they would be less likely to pick another submission from the same blog as before) or to submit under my own revitalized and rejuvenated site (in the hopes that it will be something new to the contest judges, whose evaluations, after all, are subjective). I really don’t know at this point. I’ve got more than two weeks to decide. Either way, it looks like the competition is fierce!

Some Great Finds

Some Great Finds.

Went to the public library yesterday. They were giving away books (there were some for sale as well, but most of them were free). There were several thousand books, and when I was there, easily more than 100 people in there. Still, I made some impressive discoveries (including a number of left-wing classics).

Looking Backward: 2000-1887 by Edward Bellamy (Francis Bellamy‘s utopian socialist brother) (1887, 1995)

A work of fiction.

On the Front Burner: Issues in U.S. Foreign Policy by Seyom Brown (1984)

Haven’t cracked it yet, probably Cold War pragmatism type stuff.

Champions of Freedom: Great Economists of the Twentieth Century (2006)

Volume 34 of the Ludwig von Mises Lecture Series from Hillsdale College, several contributors, Steve Forbes, Bruce Caldwell, Richard Ebeling, Robert Skidelsky, Mark Skousen, Lee Coppock, Robert Barro, Donald Devine, and Gary Wolfram. Features recommended reading section with a few short essays from Ludwig von Mises. Front cover has Hayek, Mises, Keynes, Knight, Buchanan, and Friedman.

The Defense of Gracchus Babeuf by Gracchus Babeuf (1796, 1972)

If you don’t know who the guy is (I’m proud to say I already did), feel free to click here. A very interesting character, the “first” communist. Book features essay by Herbert Marcuse of the Frankfurt School (in my opinion, the Marxists with the most class).

An Autumn of War by Victor Davis Hanson (2002)

Interventionist fear mongering, no doubt. War on Terror, blah, blah, blah. But since I do respect Mr. Hanson (Greek history buff here), I am trying to collect all his works.

International Organizations and Ethnic Conflict by Milton Esman and Shibley Telhami (1995)

Lebanon, Rwanda, Somalia, Yugoslavia. Need I say more? Okay, how about Libya, Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistn? Wrong decade? Sorry. Just look the other way.

The Communist Manifesto and other Revolutionary Writings: Marx, Marat, Paine, Mao, Gandhi, and others (2003)

Laugh Out Loud!

The Unforgettable Winston Churchill: Giant of the Century (1965)

One of those old neat Life Magazine specials. Might find some dirt on him in there.

So those are the paperbacks.

European Economic History: The Economic Development of Western Civilization by Shepard Clough (1968)

This should be good. I might not read it, but as a reference at least.

Not one, but two copies of Imperial Hubris by Anonymous (2004).

Blowback. He knows it. Do you?

Volumes 1-5 of Thomas MacAulay’s History of England and volumes 1-4 of the same (no dates in either set, which means they’re old)

I was amazed I got these for free! 9 books, older than dirt, classic works of history. Why did I buy two separate sets, one incomplete? Because I am a collector of everything MacAulay. Do I even need a reason? I already had yet another incomplete set, Volumes 1, 2, and 4, as well as a few other books by or about him. That includes the Lays of Ancient Rome, which was the book Tom Cruise picked up in the cave in Oblivion (saw it in theaters, that same friend I was drinking beer with that one time bought my ticket, what a guy).

Moving on to the stuff I actually bought:

Mid-Century Alaska: the United States Department of the Interior Office of Territories (1958)

Note the date. Pre-statehood. Got it for $1.50. Interesting book in itself but I bought it because it looks like the front and back cover might be gold leaf. It certainly could be metal/have metal in it, judging by the way it creases and it’s weight. Maybe I struck it rich. Book sold for a dollar in 1958, when an ounce of gold was $35.10. If an ounce of gold can be flattened into a 160 square foot sheet, couldn’t less than a 35th of an ounce be flattened to the size of a book cover approximately 144 square inches? You do the math. The gold could be 16oth of an ounce (worth 22¢ in 1958 but $8.75 or so today) and still fit this cover. That is when it is so thin light can shine through it.

And last but not least, Biblia Hebraica edited by Rudolf Kittel (1966)

Essentially an Old Testamment (Tanakh) written in the Hebrew (modern, I presume) language and alphabet. Read it from right to left.