Tag Archives | Personal

ALL You Can Hear, Part 2

[cross-posted at Liberty & Power]

Alliance of the Libertarian Left Just finished up the aforementioned interview, and an audio file is already available for download here!

A couple of points: a) Shawn Wilbur’s call unfortunately somehow got lost, so it’s just Wally Conger, Brad Spangler, and me. b) I don’t agree with Wally and Brad about voting being a form of aggression, but I didn’t feel strongly enough about my heresy on that particular point to take up time over it; that’s why I didn’t pipe up with a dissenting comment.


Happy Birthday, Star Wars

Today is the 30th anniversary of the original Star Wars.

Star Wars first entered my consciousness either just before or just after my 13th birthday, when I saw a homemade sign in the window of a Phoenix, Az. movie theatre announcing “COMING SOON: STAR WARS.” But I assumed it was some movie about wars among Hollywood stars, and I wasn’t interested.

But then I saw this comic book cover, complete with a green Darth Vader (the lefthand pic – of which the righthand pic is obviously a more polished version; both by Howard Chaykin), and I was hooked.

Howard Chaykin - STAR WARS

Then the magnificent one-page and two-page ad spreads started appearing in the newspapers. Soon I got the novelisation, by “George Lucas.” When I read it I thought, “wow, he’s a director, but he could really be a writer too; he writes just like Alan Dean Foster!” Only many years later did I find out the reason for that ….

McQuarrie - STAR WARS

Thus when I sat down on a May afternoon in San Diego to see Star Wars, I already knew it was going to begin with an Imperial spaceship chasing a rebel spaceship. So I scanned the opening starfield, expecting the ships to enter from the left or perhaps from the right …. Then wham! that magnificent overhead shot just blew me away. And everybody else too, apparently; I noticed that ads and commercials started emphasising the third dimension much more post-Star Wars than they had pre-Star Wars.

Star Wars opening scene

Like most Star Wars fans, sometimes I want to strangle George Lucas. But not today. Thank you, George.


Anscombe in Alabama

At the end of this week I’m off (if traveling a few blocks from my office counts as “off”) to the Austrian Scholars Conference, where I’ll be giving a paper on Austro-libertarian themes in the work of Elizabeth Anscombe. Here’s the first paragraph:

Gertrude Elizabeth Margaret Anscombe (1919-2001) – better known as Elizabeth Anscombe, Liz Anscombe, or G. E. M. Anscombe – was one of the foremost figures of 20th-century Anglophone philosophy, making important Elizabeth Anscombecontributions to philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, philosophy of action, and moral philosophy. Yet this monocle-wearing, cigar-smoking, multilingual Cambridge don and mother of seven, a Catholic social conservative who ate out of tuna cans while lecturing and once intimidated a mugger into leaving her alone, who shocked the right with her antiwar activism and the left with her anti-abortion, anti-contraception activism, and who coined the term “consequentialism” (she was against it), is far less well known among Austro-libertarians than among professional philosophers. The aim of this paper is to show why Anscombe deserves the attention of Austro-libertarians.

Read the rest here.


Transalpine Goodness

[cross-posted at Liberty & Power]

A most welcome arrival today, from a bookseller in Basel: several volumes (specifically 5-8 and 11-12, from the years 1817-1819 – though I suspect the binding dates from somewhat later), Le Censeur Europeen beautifully preserved and in excellent condition (and cheap enough for me to afford them!), of Le Censeur Européen, pioneering journal of radical liberal “industriels” and founders of libertarian class theory Charles Comte, Charles Dunoyer, and Augustin Thierry (about whom more here). Some of these volumes can be found as PDFs online, at Google Books or Gallica; but not all of them, and not this legibly.

Now I just need to build a shrine for them ….


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