Saturday, May 14, 2005

Zarqawi: Aztec priest of Iraq?

Power Line has an interesting take on the intent of the mass murderers in Iraq.

My take on them: The so-called Islamists like Zarqawi and bin Laden are goat-buggered Satanists posing as Muslims in hope of leading real Muslims into Hell. Right or wrong, I'd love to see that line adopted by the US propaganda writers.

Friday, May 13, 2005


Posting will likely be quite lite this weekend as I am participating in a group rummage sale.

I've been industriously cleaning out kitchen cabinets and dresser drawers, boxing, bagging, and stickering. Today I took a couple truck loads of stuff over to my friend's house. Anyone unfamiliar with the normal state of my back room aka attic would take a look and be horrifed at the quantity of stuff still there. Thoughts of what I must do before moving to Hawaii still shock. The rewards of being there make up for that tho.

Althouse on Medical Marijuana and the Supreme Court

Ann Althouse, a law professor at University Of Wisconsin-Madison, seems to think that the Supreme Court will side with the feds and let Congress screw medical users of non-commercial, non-intrastate pot. Not that she thinks that's good, just that that is what is likely to happen. If it doesn't tho:
...maybe the Court will put all homegrown marijuana outside of the reach of the federal government, and we can all start tending our own little marijuana plants on our windowsills. I wonder how many people who never consider buying illegal marijuana would happily pursue the option of growing their own. A lot, I think. It's hard to imagine how much America would change if the Court made that little move -- one that is quite justifiable as a matter of constitutional interpretation.
The Republicans have unequivocally proven themselves to be liars: they claim to believe in Federalism. Liars. Liars. Liars. If the Republican Party was a business, the whole lot of them would would be imprisoned for fraud.

In combat

Blackfive has the story:
Army doctrine and training teaches that, when ambushed, move directly into the ambush. Never away, always into it. Believe me, only highly trained and disciplined troops will do that.
Military Police and medics in Iraq broke up an attack on a convoy of semis.
On Sunday afternoon, in a very bad section of scrub-land called Salman Pak, on the southeastern outskirts of Baghdad, 40 to 50 heavily-armed Iraqi insurgents attacked a convoy of 30 civilian tractor trailer trucks that were moving supplies for the coalition forces, along an Alternate Supply Route....
...three armored Hummers that formed the MP Squad under call sign Raven 42, 617th MP Co, Kentucky National Guard, assigned to the 503rd MP Bn (Fort Bragg), 18th MP Bde, arrived on the scene like the cavalry. The squad had been shadowing the convoy from a distance behind the last vehicle, and when the convoy trucks stopped and became backed up from the initial attack, the squad sped up, paralleled the convoy up the shoulder of the road, and moved to the sound of gunfire.

They arrived on the scene just as a squad of about ten enemy had moved forward across the farmer's field and were about 20 meters from the road. The MP squad opened fire with .50 cal machineguns and Mk19 grenade launchers and drove across the front of the enemy's kill zone, between the enemy and the trucks, drawing fire off of the tractor trailers.

The MP's crossed the kill zone and then turned up an access road at a right angle to the ASR and next to the field full of enemy fighters. The three vehicles, carrying nine MPs and one medic, stopped in a line on the dirt access road and flanked the enemy positions with plunging fire from the .50 cal and the SAW machinegun (Squad Automatic Weapon)....

The Squad leader dismounted with his M4 carbine, and 2 hand grenades, grabbed the section leader out of the first vehicle who had rendered radio reports of their first contact. The two of them, squad leader Staff Sergeant and team leader Sergeant with her M4 and M203 grenade launcher, rush the nearest ditch about 20 meters away to start clearing the natural trenchline.
Read the whole thing: it's worth it. There is a link at the end, in the Updates, to a captured video: the attackers had a cameraman with them. He was pretty shakey: most of the time he had the camera pointed at the sky and tree tops, but you still get an idea of what chaos was taking place.

Cool Space Pic of the Day

Revenge of the Sith

Dale Peck reviews the new Star Wars flick and it's predecessors in the New York Observer:
There has not, in fact, been a good Star Wars movie since the first one. The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi...are rote elaborations of a story arc that was pretty thin to start with. Like the prequels of the last six years, they were made primarily to gratify a marketing line and, possibly, their creator’s ego. Yet, although their props and characters...ultimately seemed to have been designed with toy stores firmly in mind, Empire and Jedi still managed to convey a sense of Mr. Lucas’ childlike thrall to all things gadgety and goofy...

But the real loss in the immediate sequels was the cantankerous sexual triangle of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia that had given Star Wars a recognizable and genuinely compelling psychological frisson.
I've long claimed that sex cures pretty much anything. My motto: "Sex: Better than snake oil!" It sure helps a bad movie.

Peck' comment about a sexual triangle brings to mind the far superior movie, Starship Troopers. Based loosely on a Robert Heinlein book of the same name, the movie essays to portray a fascist society from the fascists' perspective. I fault Director Paul Verhoeven's politics for his equating the Federation with the United States, but he did do an excellent job. Whethor his characters proclaim Carthage Must be Eliminated or Klendathu Delenda Est, his tracking of the Federation's response to the attack on Buenos Aires was an earily accurate foreshadowing of the American response to the al Queda attack on the US.
Like Casablanca, Star Wars is a myth of resistance to an oppressive government. But where the earlier film tempered stoicism with cynicism (or perhaps vice versa), positing the necessity of right action despite enormous personal cost, the original Star Wars trilogy promulgates the comforting illusion that righteous rebellion is always an ennobling act.
Certainly the generation which saw Casablanca in theaters would agree with his characterization of right action despite personal cost, but I suspect they would have seen that as enobling.That can be seen as the reason the movie was and still is so popular.
People who do stupid things and fail are called fools; people who do stupid things and succeed are called visionaries; the people who buy into this stupid binary are called consumers.
OK: It's a cute throw away line.

Victor Davis Hanson & WWII Revisionist History

Hanson has some thoughts on revisionism which makes the US the bad guy.
Of course, we bombed German civilian centers. But in a total war when 10,000 a day were being gassed in the death camps, and Nazi armies in the Balkans, Russia, and Western Europe were routinely murdering thousands a week and engaged in breakneck efforts to create ballistic missiles, sophisticated jets, and worse weapons, there were very few options in stopping such a monstrous regime....

When the lumbering and often unescorted bombers started out against Europe and Japan, the Axis infrastructure of death — rails, highways, communications, warehouses, and decentralized production — was intact. When the bombers finished their horrific work, the economies of both Axis powers were near ruin. Armies that were systematically murdering millions of innocents in forgotten places like Yugoslavia, Poland, the Philippines, Korea, and China were running out of fuel, ammunition, and food.

Revisionism holds a strange attraction for the winners of World War II. American textbooks discuss World War II as if...the war was essentially the Japanese internment and Hiroshima...

If we were to listen to the Chinese, World War II was about the gallant work of Mao’s partisans, who in fact used the war to gain power, and then went on to kill 50 million of their own citizens...

But again, most Americans never learned the standard narrative of War II — only what was wrong about it. Whereas it is salutary that an American 17-year-old knows something of the Japanese relocation ordered by liberals such as Earl Warren and FDR, or of the creation and the dropping of the atomic bomb by successive Democratic administrations, they might wish to examine what went on in Nanking, Baatan, Wake Island, Guadalcanal, Manila, or Manchuria — atrocities that their sensitive teachers are probably clueless about as well...
It occurred to me some time back that the Japanese were terrificly lucky that the Japanese gang-rapes of 100,000 Korean "Comfort Women" ie sex slaves were not widely known in the US by the summer of 1945. Given the then existing American hatred of the Japanese for their known atrocities, widespread revulsion at the rape camps might well have led to public insistance to simply nuke Japan from north to south, east to west, until there were no Japanese to surrender.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

George Galloway

The US Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI) says they have evidence that George Galloway took bribes from Saddam Hussein. Galloway, who got the heave ho from Britain's Labour Party only to be elected to Parliament anyway, stoutly denies he did so, and claimed in response that he attempted to present his case, only to be ignored:
Isn't it strange - and contrary to natural justice you might think - that I have written and e-mailed repeatedly asking for the opportunity to appear before the committee to provide evidence and rebut their assumptions and they have yet to respond, while apparently making a judgement.
PSI Chairman Senator Norm Coleman responded to Galloway's claim:
Contrary to his assertions, at no time did Mr. Galloway contact PSI by any means, including but not limited to telephone, fax, email, letter, Morse code or carrier pigeon. Chairman Coleman would be pleased to have Mr. Galloway appear at the Subcommittee's May 17th hearing...and there will be a witness chair and microphone available for Mr. Galloway's use.
This might get interesting.

The PSI report also says they have evidence that the former French Minister of Interior Charles Pasqua also got bribes. Funny, wasn't the French Government one of the members of the UN Security Council which wouldn't authorize force against poor long-suffering Saddam? Yes, I believe so. I do have that distinct impression.

So, is the proper, routine, traditional means of getting UN Security Council approval simply to outbid the opposition?

PowerLine has coverage with several links.


Some geneticists are claiming that we are all descended from a single small band of people who left Africa perhaps 65,000 years ago. Nicholas Wade has the story in the NY Times:
Everyone in the world can be placed on a single family tree, in terms of their mitochondrial DNA, because everyone has inherited that piece of DNA from a single female, the mitochondrial Eve, who lived some 200,000 years ago. There were, of course, many other women in that ancient population, but over the generations one mitochondrial DNA replaced all the others through the process known as genetic drift. With the help of mutations that have built up on the one surviving copy, geneticists can arrange people in lineages and estimate the time of origin of each lineage....

Although there is general, but not complete, agreement that modern humans emigrated from Africa in recent times, there is still a difference between geneticists and archaeologists as to the timing of this event. Archaeologists tend to view the genetic data as providing invaluable information about the interrelationship between groups of people, but they place less confidence in the dates derived from genetic family trees....

Dr. Macaulay's team has been able to estimate the size of the population in Africa from which the founders are descended. The calculation indicates a maximum of 550 women, but the true size may have been considerably less. This points to a single group of hunter-gatherers, perhaps a couple of hundred strong, as the ancestors of all humans outside of Africa, Dr. Macaulay said.
As the story is presented here, it seems a bit too deterministic: I doubt that a group of 200 ppl would have decided one day that the neighborhood had gone to hell so they'd all head for Australia. Still, the basics are interesting.

Condi Rice: "The Second Amendment is as important as the First Amendment."

US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has come out swinging in favor of the right to own guns, and against gun registration. Barry Schweid, AP Diplomatic Writer has the story :
In an interview on CNN's "Larry King Live," Rice said she came to that view from personal experience. She said her father, a black minister, and his friends armed themselves to defended the black community in Birmingham, Ala., against the White Knight Riders in 1962 and 1963. She said if local authorities had had lists of registered weapons, she did not think her father and other blacks would have been able to defend themselves...

Rice said the Founding Fathers understood "there might be circumstances that people like my father experienced in Birmingham, Ala., when, in fact, the police weren't going to protect you."
She understands.

Thanks to Alphecca for the link, Instapundit for the lead.

Google, France, imperialism, and digitizing books

France and the EU are up in arms at Google's plan to digitize the world's libraries.
When U.S.-based Google announced plans in December to undertake the cost of digitizing the world's books and making them searchable to the public for free, France called foul, with the country's top librarian complaining loudly of yet another example of "crushing American domination."
The European response to an American private company doing something at a profit? You guessed it:
...a rapid response from bureaucrats in The Hague has sent a signal that the whole continent now sees Google as a threat. Last week, four months after Google's announcement, the European Commission, which represents 25 countries, pledged 96 million euros to digitize all of the books from more than 20 of Europe's most pre-eminent libraries before America gets there first.
Well, good old competition has gotten them off their rear ends and into their taxpayers' pockets, and digitizing too, of course.
Nevertheless, despite liberal investment in government-sponsored projects and industry subsidies, Europe is largely missing from the PC and internet revolutions.

It's not for lack of trying. France poured billons of dollars in state aid into subsidizing Bull's operations for years, but the longtime state-owned computer and software group never managed to capture a credible share of the server and workstation markets against the likes of IBM, HP or other U.S. firms.
I don't suppose it is even possible that their failure to compete successfully is precisely because, rather than despite, pouring billions of taxpayers' dollars into state-owned companies. Now they are planning to spend $120 million or more to do what Google likely expects to make a profit at.
"...companies like Google, like Microsoft, like Apple ...are presented as almost technology imperialists at the forefront," said Jonathan Fenby, a former Observer editor and author of France on the Brink
Making a buck by serving the market, or spending a buck to serve the market: which is a more viable strategy?
(France's Bibliotheque Nationale President Jean-Noël) Jeanneney claimed that the EC's online library project is not so much about France's and Europe's dependence on U.S. technology, but instead addresses concerns about the historical footprint that Google will make. If Google's power remains unchecked, Jeanneney argues, it could unconsciously taint how future generations perceive and interpret not only the internet but the whole sweep of Western history and culture.
Yowza: The whole sweep of Western history and culture being tainted FOREIGNERS? That must be truly scary. Especially when the foreigners are those vulgar American cowboys, and out to make a profit, at that. Acting like a bunch of Westerners they are, probably wearing Stetsons instead of a proper beret.

Government librarian Jeanneney again:
"The main issue of this project is not one that involves national pride, but it is necessary that the history of the planet (in the digital world) be communicated not only through an American medium, but one that is European -- or even Asian -- as well."
That's fair enuf. Competition is good, and it will keep Google et al on their feet, tho the assertion that this isn't about "national" ie politicians' pride is the sort of thing which makes me think that pride is exactly what it is about. It sure isn't about making money.

Bruce Gain has the story in Wired. Thanks to ArtJournal for the lead.

UPDATE: Thinking about France pouring money down a mousehole, how many billions did they spend on the supersonic Concorde? Expensive as tickets were, that boondoggle did nothing but subsidize the travel pleasure of the richer ppl in the world, courtesy of the you guessed it, taxpayers, all of whom undoubtedly walked a little taller every time a Concorde full of subsidized foreign multi-millionaires passed over at their expense.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Litachur frag

Part of a lost short I wrote several years ago and probably not to be replaced. Still, part, as reconstructed: bars likely have policies against non-employees behind the bar, as such places usually and properly do to protect the employees and mostly the till from the sleazoid patrons which are every self respecting bar’s Major Benefactors as they say at museums, art and otherwise, and why else allow them into the establishment to threaten the profits and the employees and the other Patrons, except to channel their cash flow, in reverse and reciprocal motion like the water which may or may not be added to the bourbon and other potables more or even less appetizing, except of course for Government Inspectors who push themselves in anywhere they aren’t wanted as that’s their job and how else are poor hard working entrepreneurial type bar owners supposed to pay them off except with cash and liquor and sordid sex and excise taxes behind the bar when the fellow comes in murmuring “Up Against the Wall” as in Motherfuckers! and everybody ducks for cover and inconspicuousness as well they might, being downtrodden noble freedom seeking proles at odds with inspectors and malefactors in general of that extortionate ilk or ilks as proper usage may dictate? And when will the noble downtrodden proles bite the hand you may ask, which slaps them demanding a piece of the barkeep’s action in the name of protecting the sleazoids from the substances they have come there specifically to ingest but instead of said protection just takes their hard earned green which the keep has added to their bills in order to stay herself afloat and instead use it for their own nefarious purposes such as oppressing those ingesting other substances substantially less injurious and mayhap more so too and claiming most nobly to be doing it For The Children? Principles are principles but the Health Inspector or mayhap some purportedly other from the Government who is Here to Help You has guns and more of them and who in her right mind would commit the Big Goodbye to save the grease for her own principal by one night saying Nay?

The Sombrero Galaxy...

... goes all South Beach.

In most pictures it is much more sedate.

Cool Space Pic of the Day.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Is this the first extra-solar planet ever photographed?

That would make this a Very Cool Space Pic of the Day.

Click here: APOD: 2005 May 10 - The First Image of an Extra Solar Planet

I will not hyperventilate, I will not hyperventilate, I will...


Oregon legislators are thinking it would be really helpful to them if they installed GPS in every car in the state in order to implement a "vehicle mileage tax" :
Under a VMT a motorist would pay a tax for each mile driven, probably around 1.25 cents. To administer this tax, a global positioning system would be mounted in each car. As a driver fuels up, the device would relay mileage information to the gas pump, which would calculate the VMT. A simple electronic odometer-reading device would do the trick, but Oregon is looking at GPS devices because they would also allow for charging higher VMT rates for miles driven in "congested" areas during rush hour or to exempt miles driven out of state.
OK, government lovers anywhere: Do want the gov't to know where your car is at every moment? Of course you do. You cannot conceive of the noble, selfless public servants ever misusing that information, can you? Not even if BusHitler ever turns out to be the real thing, which you don't believe is currently true, because even you are not dumb enuf to be publicly attacking Nazis on their own turf.

Brendan Miniter has the story in the Wall Street Journal. It's all about collecting taxes from those rotten ppl who use fuel-efficient cars, and therefore don't currently pay their "fair share."

Monday, May 09, 2005


The theme for the society's four-day conference is "Unstudied, Understudied And Underserved Sexual Communities." Presentations range from autoerotic asphyxiation, or "breath play," to zoophiles, or animal lovers, to more mainstream topics like sex motives of dating partners.

"Let me tell you, it was not easy finding these pictures," Hunter College professor Jose E. Nanin told his audience in a seminar about "specialized" sexual behavior among gay men.
I'll bet. He probably had to go to a gay bookstore in New York, or San Francisco, or Los Angeles, or Chicago, or Amsterdam, or Stockholm, or Tokyo, or Bangkok. Or possibly even all the way to the Internet.
Nanin's photos are more than an explicit how-to of exhibitionism and sadomasochism, he says; they are examples of safe alternatives to sexual intercourse that need to be de-stigmatized in order to fight diseases like HIV/AIDS.
The Raggots of the world might have a different perspective on that. Spot and Rover, too.

Does "underserved" sound like a scientific research term, or advocacy?

Click here: Sex researchers shed light on unpopular sex acts - Yahoo! News

Looking for work/study in Cuba?

Friends of Cuban Libaries has the story (scroll down):
NEW YORK, May 6, 2005 (Friends of Cuban Libraries) - Sensitive to growing international concern over reports of human rights violations, in late April the government of President Fidel Castro conducted a secret trial of two Cuban librarians, Elio Enrique Chávez and Luis Elio de la Paz, and sentenced them to prison on a charge of "dangerousness."
I hope our government never grows so sensitive.

The two librarians from eastern Cuba are registered delegates to the Assembly to Promote a Civil Society, a conference of more than 300 non-governmental organizations scheduled to convene in Havana on May 20....The hundreds of organizations planning to meet in Havana for the Civil Assembly are regarded as illegal by the Cuban regime, which refuses to recognize the existence of civic groups outside of its control.
I guess if the government regards them as illegal, then they are illegal.
In a letter smuggled out of jail, Elio Enrique Chávez and Luis Elio de la Paz provided details to the Executive Committee of the Civil Assembly about their recent trial:

"Lieutenant Colonel Manuel Gómez Vásquez Allen ordered us to be taken out of our cell for an interview," states the letter from the two librarians, "telling us that the trial was on a charge of Dangerousness ("peligrosidad"), that we were going to be convicted and we could say whatever we wanted, but the jury wasn't going to pay attention to anything we said."

...the police told the defendants that their prison terms would be publicized as a government work/study program rather than a form of punishment...
That Fidel: He's such a humorist.

The following story quotes Che Guevara's grandson:
Canek Sánchez Guevara, a grandson of Che Guevara who has left Cuba and now lives in Mexico. In yet another sign of the emergence of a civil society within Cuba, Canek Sánchez Guevara has decisively broken with the Castro regime and has adopted anarchist/libertarian views.

In this article he is responding to comments by Celia Hart, the daughter of two other high-ranking officials in the Cuban government. Celia Hart had emphasized the need for President Castro to embrace a broader range of supporters on the left, including Trotskyists and anarchists, as long as they profess loyalty to the Communist Party; both groups were persecuted when President Castro seized power in 1959.

"Do you know, or do you not know, that these revolutionaries [in present-day Cuba] don't have a right to open a library to the public, to broadcast a radio program, to hold meetings without permission, to have their own newspaper or to freely defend their viewpoints within trade unions or within groups focused on young people, neighborhood activism, gender, environmentalism, etc.? These things require a degree of freedom which today is nonexistent and which calls for, not the intervention of the State, but rather autonomous authority; they require nothing more or less than the socially guaranteed possibility of every collective group, however they may define themselves - as long as they don't violate the liberty of others - to set their own rules. You...must have noticed the obsession [in Castro's Cuba] with surveillance, control, repression, etc. And freedom is something entirely different."
If Canek Sanchez Guevara is a sign that civil society is emerging in Cuba, why is he living in Mexico? A "broader range of supporters" means Trotskyites and anarchists? I suspect he means leftist anarchists rather than individualist anarchists, but maybe. Does anybody out there know?

Thanks to ArtsJournal for the lead.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Extreme Ironing Bureau

Just when you thought that all the serious sports had been invented, along comes Extreme Ironing.

Don't miss the photo gallery. I thought the upside down underwater ironing particularly impressive.

Thanks to the ever-educational bloggers at The Corner on National Review Online

Good-Neighbor Radio

Garrison Keillor doesn't seem to realize that everything he claims to enjoy became possible because Ronald Reagan eliminated the Fairness Doctrine.
The deregulation of radio was tough on good-neighbor radio because Clear Channel and other conglomerates were anxious to vacuum up every station in sight for fabulous sums of cash and turn them into robot repeaters.
True enuf, and he seems to realize that in the longer run that will change, but he doesn't seem to understand that a free industry is a dynamic one, ever changing, and that that change and diversity are products of freedom, not of the Fairness Doctrine and other regulation.

UPDATE:I didn't make that post as clear as I might have: the consolidation in the radio industry was not, of course, due to the end of the Fairness Doctrine (which did lead to much greater diversity- Keillor's thing) but was due to greatly reducing restrictions on corporate mergers, including ownership of multiple news media in a single market. All part of the same deregulatory parcel tho.

Mothers of the Blogosphere:

Happy Mothers' Day!

Friedrich Hayek, George Orwell, & the Road to Serfdom

"For most of the...population today, the notion that people could solve many of the problems of society without governmental Gleichschaltung, the Nazi term for overall coordination, is completely alien," concludes Theodore Dalrymple in City Journal on The Roads to Serfdom.

Well worth a read, especially if you haven't read Friedrich Hayek lately.
For George Orwell, the difference between the two tyrannies was one of ends, not of means: he held up Nazi Germany as an exemplar of economic efficiency resulting from central planning, but he deplored the ends that efficiency accomplished. While the idea behind Nazism was “human inequality, the superiority of Germans to all other races, the right of Germany to rule the world,” socialism (of which, of course, the Soviet Union was the only exemplar at the time) “aims, ultimately, at a world-state of free and equal human beings.” Same means, different ends: but Orwell, at this point in his intellectual development, saw nothing intrinsically objectionable in the means themselves, or that they must inevitably lead to tyranny and oppression, independently of the ends for which they were deployed.
Friedrich Hayek, tho ignored for long, had other ideas for which he eventually won a Nobel Prize.
Hayek pointed out that the wartime unity of purpose was atypical; in more normal times, people had a far greater, indeed an infinite, variety of ends, and anyone with the power to adjudicate among them in the name of a conscious overall national plan, allowing a few but forbidding most, would exert vastly more power than the most bloated plutocrat of socialist propaganda had ever done in a free-market society.
Hayek—with the perspective of a foreigner who had adopted England as his home—could perceive a further tendency that has become much more pronounced since then: “There is one aspect of the change in moral values brought about by the advance of collectivism which at the present time provides special food for thought. It is that the virtues which are held less and less in esteem and which consequently become rarer are precisely those on which the British people justly prided themselves and in which they were generally agreed to excel. The virtues possessed by the British people in a higher degree than most other people . . . were independence and self-reliance, individual initiative and local responsibility . . . non-interference with one’s neighbour and tolerance of the different and queer, respect for custom and tradition, and a healthy suspicion of power and authority.”
"non-interference with one’s neighbour": What a remarkable concept in today's planned communities, with homeowners' association rules in detail about what color one may paint one's shutters, permission required to plant a tree or a flowerbed, bans on garage sales, and on leaving the garden hose out. It doesn't take the state to oppress: it takes a mindset. The mindset which tells one that I am my neighbors' keeper, and my neighbors' ruler. And my neighbors are mine. It is the mindset of control.
Unlike Orwell or Beveridge, however, (Hillaire Belloc) realized that such benefits would exact a further price: “A man has been compelled by law to put aside sums from his wages as insurance against unemployment. But he is no longer the judge of how such sums shall be used. They are not in his possession; they are not even in the hands of some society which he can really control. They are in the hands of a Government official. ‘Here is work offered to you at twenty-five shillings a week. If you do not take it you shall certainly not have a right to the money you have been compelled to put aside. If you will take it the sum shall stand to your credit, and when next in my judgment your unemployment is not due to your recalcitrance and refusal to labour, I will permit you to have some of your money; not otherwise.’ ”....” The people lose “that tradition of . . . freedom, and are most powerfully inclined to [the] acceptance of [their servile status] by the positive benefits it confers.”
This might apply equally to today's debate over privatizing Social Security. It is a matter of control over one's own money. Currently, those who die early get none of their payments back, and neither do their heirs. Changing that system is to strike at the heart of the state, and thus cannot be tolerated by the apostles of statism.

The real argument over Social Security isn't about how to provide for the elderly: It is all about who shall be in control.

It is about freedom versus security: Do we want to be free, independent, and likely but not surely prosperous, or marionettes dancing on the government's strings in return for security?

Thanks to Arts & Letters Daily for the lead.