Archive | September, 2007

Statism for Kids

Biggest Ever Book of Questions and Answers Yesterday while waiting in the barber shop I took a look at a children’s book they had amongst the magazines, titled Biggest Ever Book of Questions and Answers. One of the entries read as follows:

Why Are Some Lands Richer Than Others?
Some lands have good soil, where crops can grow. Some have oil, which is worth a lot of money. But other countries have poor soil, little rain, and no minerals. However hard people work there, they struggle to survive.

Well, sure, variation in the supply of natural resources is certainly one reason why some lands are richer than others. But to omit political factors entirely is hardly honest. Is superiority of natural resources really the reason why, say, Luxembourg and Hong Kong are so much richer than Honduras or Angola? It does children no service to teach them that poverty is due solely to the arbitrary favours of nature rather than to the remediable wickedness of political institutions.

Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David Saxe-Coburg-Gotha Windsor But it soon transpires that the Biggest Ever Book of Questions and Answers is no disrespecter of governments. Reading a little further, under “What Is A Head Of State?,” I learned that “The most important person in a country is the head of state.”

Really? So for example in 1936, in an England that included Francis Crick, Paul Dirac, J. B. S. Haldane, F. A. Hayek, Aldous Huxley, John Maynard Keynes, C. S. Lewis, George Orwell, Bertrand Russell, Alan Turing, Frank Whittle, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Virginia Woolf, the most important person in England was the blithering nonentity named Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David Saxe-Coburg-Gotha Windsor?

By that time the barber was ready for me, so I was spared further inanity.

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Dylan Death Metal

Cylon Michael On tonight’s third-season premiere of Prison Break the song that’s blasting on the radio as Michael explores his charming new prison is a Spanish-language version of “All Along the Watchtower.” I couldn’t help wondering whether this was a nod to Galactica’s third-season finale.

Yeah, I know – it’s a famous song, and no connection to Galactica is necessary to explain someone’s using it. Still, Galactica’s was the most recent, prominent, significant use of it, so I’m betting it’s no coincidence.

But what I want to know is – does this mean that Michael, Mahone, Bellick, and T-Bag are Cylons?

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Atlas Plugged

Chris Sciabarra has written previously about Randian influence in comics. Well, here’s the latest example, out this week:

Atlas Plugged

(There’s nothing especially Randian in the issue beyond the title.)

While we’re on the subject of comics, and inasmuch as I blogged recently about Jonah Hex, look who’s guest-starring in next month’s Booster Gold:

Booster Gold meets Jonah Hex

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Beat Your Swords Into Thetans

I just saw a commercial in which a girl acting in a school play suddenly breaks from the script and asks why soldiers should obey an unjust ruler’s order to go into battle, and why government should be allowed to serve only a few rather than everybody. Radical stuff, especially the former. (The latter is a pipe dream, though a well-intentioned one.)

So I went to the advertised website and discovered it’s some L. Ron Hubbard outfit. Does that mean the Scientologists are pushing military civil disobedience now? I didn’t know they swung that way.

Still, on said website one of the listed 21 Ethical Precepts is “Don’t Do Anything Illegal,” which would seem to conflict with the aforementioned suggestion of endorsing civil disobedience. Of course on a Socratic-Scholastic-Spoonerite understanding of law there’s no conflict, but is that what they mean?

I suppose I could satisfy my curiosity by shelling out 18 bucks for a bundle of booklets; but the last Hubbard tract I read did not awaken within me any desire to tackle another.

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Synchronicity

lake monster “A Big Thing in a Deep Scottish Lake!”
(Story title, Jack Kirby, 1973.)

“Many miles away
something crawls from the slime
at the bottom of a dark Scottish lake.”
(Song lyric, The Police, 1983.)

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