Sign of the Times

Now in his early fifties, my father receives the monthly AARP Bulletin. On page sixteen of the June 2009 issue, I learn from the header of the cover, I can read all about the following:

“Scam Alert: Is Your Facebook Friend An Identity Thief?”

This troubles me for at least three reasons.

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I shall not attend the University’s campus-wide commencement


The secular Left PWNs us now.

There will be no more prayer at the campus-wide commencement ceremony after the University Senate voted to eliminate the practice yesterday.


The senate approved a proposal that eliminates a prayer invocation at the university’s annual commencement ceremony in a 32-14 vote after a lengthy debate that touched on the controversial issue of the separation of church and state.


“The real concern this issue raises is the separation of church and state,” Jewish history professor Marsha Rozenblit said. “And that is one of the most important features of our democracy.”


[…]


“We need to be careful not to send the message that secular language is seen as superior and acceptable while religious language is seen as inferior and unacceptable,” [Episcopalian chaplain Rev. Peter Antoci] said. “[The university’s chaplains] are a living example of how the university has embraced religious expression and tolerance.”

Porn, Rights, and Higher Education Or, Thank God I’m Gone in Two Months


The University of Maryland: Our basketball team fails; featuring two socialists, a communist, and left-liberal constitutes intellectual diversity, and we like to show xxx-rated porn on campus.

(Some) Journalists to get a (quasi-)Bailout?

My thoughts on Ben Cardin’s proposal, at The Terrapin Times.

UMD’s Diamondback and the State of “Higher Education.” FML.

Over at The Terrapin Times, I’m sad.

No Faith in the Fed

From an article in today’s Post

After his speech, Bernanke was asked when he expected the economy would recover.

“My forecasting record is about the same as the win-loss record of the Washington Nationals,” he said.

In four years in Washington, the Team Formerly Known As The Expos have a record of 284-363, only in the first season in our nation’s capital even reaching the .500 mark. Exactly .500. I suppose that hearing a member of the Leviathan admit to being an idiot, rather than denying an incontrovertible truth, is somewhat refreshing, but that we continue to permit someone with such an abysmal ability to predict things that, seemingly, are within his realm of expertise, particularly when these are such vital issues, is bafflingly sad.

End the Fed. It’s little more than another bastion of centralization, anyway.

We should recall, too, that the Constitution only explicitly provides for the coining of money by Congress; no provision for exists permitting the Federal government to printmoney. I have no interest in advocating the return to the gold or silver standard; however, our Founding Fathers certainly seem to have recognized the need to tie our money to something sounder than the word of the government. I’m just sayin’.

More on Why I’m not a Libertarian — Or, When Belief in “the Market” is just risible, sad, and disgusting


1. Sitting in peculiarly busy traffic in downtown Baltimore this afternoon, I read, on the news monitor wrapped around a trashily modern glass building, a headline from the Baltimore Sun that informed me that Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) has proposed a bill to create a new government agency “that could stop lenders from offering mortgages and other financial products deemed unsafe for consumers.”


Now, first, I’m wholly uncomfortable with adding yet another resources-sucking, power-grabbing, liberty-quashing entity to the behemoth known as the gummint. I love the ultimate sentence of the article: “Consumer protection is part of the Fed’s mandate, but Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said the agency has been “asleep at the switch.”” So our answer is more gummint. Hmm, yep, I do agree with the libertarians here


However, the libertarian counter-argument, which, I confess, immediately flashed through my mind whilst I waited to move ahead in traffic, is equally absurd, to wit, that the market — properly unencumbered, of course — is the check on “mortgages and other financial products deemed unsafe for consumers” and a whole host of other yucky things. When corporations become as gargantuan as many of those at the center of our current economic perturbations are, they really exist beyond the controls of the market — sometimes because of the intervention of government, sometimes because they’re just “too good.” They’ve done so well that they outpace competitors to the point that no natural regulation hinders them. At this point, they fall asleep at the wheel, so to speak. Viva Distributism! Long live the small!


2. Though not a libertarian, I’m often sympathetic to many of their causes, I supported Dr. Paul quite passionately, I think that Young Americans for Liberty are doing some great work, and I wrote for the debut issue of Young American Revolution — as part of the conservative contingent of their Old Right coalition, of course. This post, regarding President Moloch’s desire to “shield” science from politics, on YAL’s Web-log, however, utterly terrifies me. Chet Butterworth writes,

Tabling the ethics of human embryo research for the moment, the only ethical way for any scientific decisions to be made is by the market. The market is unbiased and efficient. The market can determine the worthiness of the research and if it considers it worthy the market can produce it better. Through the market the only people who want stem cell research and do not care about any human embryo ethical questions pay. While people like myself do not.


One of the problems admitted by economic theory is the absence of perfect information. Sarah Palin rightly took flack for her brushing off of fruit fly research whilst on the campaign trail. (I’m not interested in debating the merits of such research here; rather, I seek merely to note that she obviously made her comment with no knowledge of why this research occurs.) If the lack of perfect knowledge is even remotely problematic in matters of everyday economic transactions, are we really willing to leave scientific research — the benefits of which often remain unknown until long into the processes — to the whims of people who lack any and all awareness of, let alone training and education in, particle physics, molecular biology, or gene therapy. (Yes, that’s my uncle in the Telegraph.) Maybe it hurts my “libertarian street cred,” but I’d rather have a living uncle than a realm of scientific research guided by the invisible hand.


The market is a good thing. But it’s also a tool of relativism. Matters of life and death seem, to me, to be beyond the very mere matters of supply and demand.

Elsewhere: Mark minces no words.