The Inter-Rationale

The RRND editors’ blog.

Imagine, in a Different Dimension . . .

December 8, 2016
posted by

Steve Trinward Inter-Rationale    

I started writing this, not knowing if I had a column in progress or just my second-ever attempt at writing . . . “speculative fiction,” kind of an inverse version of “It Can’t Happen Here,” by Sinclair Lewis. I’m still unsure, but here’s the premise: What if Donald Trump were not the second coming of Hitler, Satan’s sidekick, or even just a very distasteful “sexist, racist, homophobic, sex-offender,” as one songwriter friend has put it? What if somewhere inside that crusty shell, there was a man with a heart, a desire to do good, and even a vision for how to get back to liberty—someone we all missed, just as we missed his viability as a candidate, and then the “surprise” victory (which had only surprised the media, the Democrats . . . and us ideologues)? What would that mean about interpreting his moves?
Here was my STIMULUS of sorts: Cato's David Boaz' comment about the Carrier crony-welfare deal: “It’s the president of the United States, the man with the biggest microphone in the world, who just might suddenly one day single you out for abuse,” said David Boaz, executive vice president of the free-market Cato Institute. “This is like being Tylenol and discovering someone has poisoned your product. It’s a sudden shock that will cause companies to be more conservative, more cautious. It hurts the broader economy because these companies won’t be seeking to maximize their own profit and solvency.”
As you’ll note, he’s partly bemoaning the idea that a president would take this route, while I’m seeing the right kind of person making very good use of such a path. I’m not wild about the idea that it's Trump doing it, but I have no problem with this being the new medium for direct contact to the public (no media shields, no prebaked speeches or soundbytes, just what is on my mind today). We went from fireside chats on radio, to email with Obama, and then the beginning of social media thru Facebook ...
Trump just moved it to the next level: short blips of random thoughts, with others then doing your distribution, individually. . . . Imagine how that model could work, under a (very loosely held) leadership both sane and benign, and not really interested in power, since it's a short-term job, revolving among all or most of us.
Here are five ways in which I could see a light shining through at least some of his actions over the last—hard to believe it’s only been a month! I’m only going to start each topic (this is intentionally a first draft), because I see this as an organic document for feedback. See if you can imagine even one of them, and then ask if a person with that motivation as well as some integrity were to do that, could you support it as a positive step?
(more…)

http://rationalreview.news-digests.com/archives/242661  

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The Jo Cox MP shooting was a natural

June 16, 2016
posted by

   

Guest piece by Nic Leobold

After British Labour MP Jo Cox was gunned down and stabbed in Northern England social media and the press went wild with earnest emotional outpourings of sadness and outrage.

But should we really be surprised that a member of a violent oppressive organization such as British Labour Party would be targeted for violence?

If anything, Jo Cox should have known better and fully expected to be the target of backlashes after British Labour Party has inflicted untold violence, oppression, and authoritarianism on the British people.

"Blowback," a phenomenon first described by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), tells us that when a party or agent inflicts massive violence and suffering on a target or population, there is usually going to be retaliation consisting of violence in kind.

This is what happened to MP Jo Cox. Simply put, she aligned herself with a violent oppressive organization, the British Labour Party, which was inflicting massive violence on the people of Great Britain, and she suffered retaliation and "blowback" as a result.

The old saying "What Goes Around, Comes Around" usually holds true. As governments and politicians become ever more violent, authoritarian, and viciously greedy for our money and our lives, we can expect many more Jo Coxes, and maybe that's not such a bad or unjust thing.

 

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The great debate, part two: Shots and misses

April 10, 2016
posted by

Steve Trinward The Inter-Rationale    

[Disclaimer: this is written from having watched the debate, taking notes as I did, and then watching it the late-night rerun to enhance or prop up the quotes. Had no transcript, and no other viewings, so if I misquoted someone badly, or distorted his position, please feel free to correct me.]

Well, they aired the second half of the Libertarian debate on the Stossel show this past Friday night, and not a lot was really different: John McAfee gave another strong performance -- straight from the gut, including sincere apologies for some of his past indiscretions; Austin Petersen continued to use any opportunity to go “off-script” and make Gary Johnson respond to his attacks; Johnson, meanwhile, appeared at times a little “tentative” (Matt Welch’s words, not mine) about expressing his deeper libertarian beliefs, preferring to present pragmatic, toward-liberty ideas the general public might actually listen to.

Stossel opened with Milton Friedman’s position that immigration restrictions might be necessary until after the welfare state has been ended. He addressed this to McAfee, who challenged Stossel’s claim that this was his own belief: “They have nothing to do with each other,” he said bluntly. Petersen noted another of Uncle Miltie’s thoughts on the subject: that in reality “illegal” immigration brings more money into the economy than it takes out, since working immigrants without papers have taxes and FICA taken from their paychecks, but then have no way to which to collect back from the system, even for tax refunds. Johnson noted that as a former governor of a border state, he had seen the issue up-close, and found the majority of those coming in illegally to be productive workers. (All three weighed in on the fact that immigration must be simplified and opened, or the problems would persist, and the illegal crossings continue, no matter how high a “wall” some people think they can build.)

Next it was about “free trade,” with McAfee quickly noting the main problem being barriers to entry set up by government. Petersen cited how lower prices for consumers resulted from open trading, adding some other good ideas as well. Johnson noted the recent success of entrepreneurship, where the “Uber mentality” has taken over in so many areas of life, despite opposition from government, unions and big business alike. He cited AirB&B and similar ventures in self-employment and private provision of services. “We just have to get government out of the way!” (more…)

http://rationalreview.news-digests.com/?p=220138  

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Civil liberties and “civil rights”

April 5, 2016
posted by

Steve Trinward The Inter-Rationale    

In part one of this, I addressed the nationally televised debate among three contenders for the Libertarian Party’s 2016 nomination for President. Now on to the bigger issues raised by all of this . . .

The latest news about Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signing a new law, allowing businesses in the state to refuse service to gay couples based on religious beliefs, brings home the bottom line about how ex-New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson was received in part one of the Libertarian Party Presidential “debate” on the John Stossel show last Friday night. The furor being raised over this legislation shows us how the standard libertarian answer to anti-discrimination laws (as is being perpetuated by Johnson’s detractors) might be received by the general public.

The issue came up during the first hour of that debate, and deserves some analysis. On that occasion, Johnson’s contender for the LP nomination, blogger/activist Austin Petersen, chose a somewhat-related question from moderator Stossel to spin it off into a challenge to Johnson, one seemingly intended to force him into a no-win situation: would he force a Jewish baker to bake a Nazi-themed cake? Johnson blanched, and hesitated at first, not sure why this was coming from a contender and not the moderator, as had been the case up to then in the proceedings. Then he answered in the affirmative, and all hell broke loose among the libertarian blogosphere. This “statist” response seemed to nail Johnson to the cross according to the “libertarian purists” (a group among whom I used to consider myself to be -- sheesh!).

Meanwhile, Governor Bryant is being viewed as a homophobic bigot by the general public, for constraining civil liberties, whereas Governor Johnson is seen as a “statist turncoat” by many libertarians, for saying such action might be warranted. Who is the villain here? To find out, it may actually be necessary to go back to the Civil Rights Act on 1966, celebrating (or not) its 50th anniversary this year. To do so, I’ll make use of my internet-surfing abilities and cite a couple of pretty worthy sources: (more…)

http://rationalreview.news-digests.com/?p=219740  

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The great debate: Potshots, purism & politics as usual (Part 1 of 2)

April 3, 2016
posted by

Steve Trinward The Inter-Rationale    

Part One: The debate, such as it was?

I was at a “watch party” Friday night, for the first half of the Great Debate among the three top contenders (according to most polls) for the Libertarian Party Presidential nomination: ex-New Mexico Governor (and 2012 LP nominee) Gary Johnson, antivirus-software developer/guru and millionaire bon vivant John McAfee, and a 35-year-old LP activist/blogsite-operator named Austin Petersen. I came away with not much changed in my preference for that nomination, once we convene for the LP convention in Orlando over Memorial Day weekend: my first ballot is likely to go to Darryl Perry, the hardcore libertarian with a clear track record of such; if/when he fades from the picture, I will support John McAfee. (If it ultimately comes down to Gary Johnson, I’ll still honor my recently gained Elector status in Tennessee and cast my vote for the LP ticket in November.)

With the exception of one question, all three handled themselves pretty well, with one notable exception (more on that to follow). This missed opportunity came when Stossel asked each candidate to outline how “the poor people” would be helped under a free-society context, and whether the tax-funded “safety net” might still be necessary or feasible. Each went immediately into the “entitlements” realm, defending or defaming the validity and/or effectiveness of the various programs:Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, and so on.

I believe they all missed on one golden opportunity: Instead of focusing on how the tiny sliver of government spending that actually goes to public assistance should be handled, why not turn the guns on the crony-corporate welfare and other subsidies to “the rich,” which along with war spending takes a much bigger bite out of the annual budget, by at least an order of magnitude or two? Even a few seconds spent targeting this issue would have had some value, both for Republicans weary of overspending and waste, and for Democrat “Berners” (who are told that it’s all about taxes being too low).

Before anyone talks about raising taxes (on anyone), they should be pushing for the elimination of the “pork” and other bailouts and payoffs that go directly into the hands of those same “greedy capitalist pigs” in return for their generous “campaign contributions”! Pausing even a minute to address this issue (which McAfee did to some extent during a later question) might have been more valuable than all the posturing and platitudes. (more…)

http://rationalreview.news-digests.com/?p=219391  

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A testing paradigm for the 21st century

December 20, 2015
posted by

Steve Trinward    

Okay, let’s begin with some points of agreement: 1) Common Core has been a disaster; 2) No Child Left Behind is better labeled as “No Child Left Learning”; 3) the mania for testing children repeatedly, with no chance to recover from a bad day or a misread question, is doing very little to improve the educational system in the United States -- and a disclaimer, for those who wonder why a self-professed “libertarian/anarchist” is even writing about this: Ain’t I supposed to hate all government, of all forms, and with regard to government schooling have only one goal: its complete destruction, along with all other forms of coercion, with the buildings burned to the ground, and salt poured over the ashes?

Yes, but I also have a streak of realism in me, and know that this goal, if not entirely infeasible, is at very least going to require a complete shift in public awareness, if not an entire quantum leap in the evolution of the species. In the meantime, therefore, I keep coming up with measures to make step-wise improvements, so long as they do not backslide along the way from the road to human Liberty. This might be one of them.

Still with me? Good! Now let’s take a look at how this might be done better, for the benefit of students, teachers, and even those educrats who think they know more than anyone else, about (to give them the benefit of the doubt) helping children to truly learn—not what to think, but how to develop their own abilities to distinguish truth from nonsense or outright lies, and to form their own views about life. (I will grant that some of those in this field are less interested in seeing this happen than in creating another generation of Prussian factory-drones; they aren’t reading this anyway. This is addressed to you folks who actually do care about literacy, numeracy . . . and the facilitation of student learning.) (more…)

 

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If Social Security was really about funding your retirement …

January 21, 2015
posted by

   

The more I see and hear about Social Security, the clearer it becomes how many people misunderstand it.
I’m 65 and a few months now; after some deliberation, I filed last month. My considerations: file now, and get a slightly smaller monthly check (and maybe lose part of it, since I’d continue to do at least some work on the books); or wait until I hit 66 in July (“full retirement” for my age-group), for a bigger monthly check and no real limits on what else I chose to earn, within reason. I’m now waiting (finding other ways to cope) while they process the application, hoping all goes well and I have my first three months of “payback” in hand by mid-February.
I'm still editing part time, along with several months of full-time seasonal work to supplement things; once the regular checks start hitting my bank account, I might even put a little aside (yeah, sure!). I’m also thinking I could invest a little back into my long-dormant IRA account, or maybe put some cash into clean, full-band studio recordings of a couple of my better songs, then pitching those to create some residual income. Meanwhile, by making $300-500 a month on top of the SSA checks, I can probably live fairly comfortably for my tastes, and I’m already three quarters of the way to that level, just with current recurring projects.
However, I still sometimes wish I could have held onto a bit more (or all?) of what I earned, and done it my way. . . .
(more…)

 

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Announcement: RRND Scheduling Change

April 25, 2013
posted by

   

If you subscribe to the email edition of RRND (if you don't you should -- there's a form in the sidebar), you'll notice next week that your daily editions start arriving at a different time of day. That time of day isn't completely nailed down yet, but it will probably be late morning, US Eastern time.

Over the years we've changed up our schedule a few times, for various reasons. This time the reasons are:

  • Because I'm getting old and don't always want to be up until midnight any more;
  • Because some of our editors prefer to enter their content later in the evening (our current publication times mean that either they have to hurry to keep up with me, or I have to wait on them);
  • Because late morning publication will make most of our content "fresher" (at present, I enter most content from "my" sources in the morning, which means they were published the day before; and then it's the next morning before most people read the email; now that morning entry will immediately precede email publication); and
  • Because with the other editors posting drafts in the evening and me finishing up in the morning, I can get a smoother "mix" in terms of story order, instead of stuff being published largely in edit0r-centric blocs.

Obviously if this doesn't turn out well, we'll go back to a late evening publication schedule.

Yours in liberty,
Tom Knapp
Publisher
Rational Review News Digest / Freedom News Daily

 

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Spiritual Politics 2012

September 26, 2012
posted by

Rational Review    

There’s a wonderful spiritual statement about how we focus our attentions: "what you resist, persists." A corollary to this, and the basis of many self-help and other improvement programs, expresses the obverse: since everything material began as a thought, what you focus on now, with all your heart and mind, becomes your future reality.

I believe this principle also applies to political action, and helps explain the basic muddle in which many voters find themselves going into yet another Presidential election involving far less than perfect candidates: very few people are looking forward to November as a time to affirm their beliefs and values. For a large percentage of would-be voters, there is (once again?) only a choice between what they see as a "barely acceptable" candidate and an inherently "evil" one. (Note: I acknowledge that this condition is not universal, and there are some who truly believe in their Republican or Democrat standard-bearer; this essay is addressed to those for whom that allegiance is not so fervent.)
(more…)

 

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Looks like I’ll have to find a new travel agent

March 17, 2011
posted by

   

Owsley Stanley has died.

 

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Our fourth most frequent site visitor …

March 12, 2011
posted by

   

... from IP 155.214.128.4, is the US Army Information Systems Command, out of Colorado Springs.

Um ... hiya!

Question: Are we an intelligence target or an intelligence source?

 

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Welcome to The Inter-Rationale

March 12, 2011
posted by

   

The name? Yeah ... well, it's what I came up with.

This is the new RRND Editors' Blog -- a place for notes, notices, bon mots and other short-form material that doesn't necessarily fit the "editor's note on a blurb/link in RRND proper" format. Long-form stuff will still appear over at "the old site."

Enjoy.

 

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