27 February 2007

Meet Common Sense

In honor of election day, let me introduce you to Thomas Sowell. Here is an excerpt from a recent column:

"Among the many rationales used to defend the welfare state, the most powerful is that it is necessary, in order to take care of the poor and the downtrodden. But the amount of money required to bring every poor person in the country above the official poverty line is a fraction of what is spent by government on the welfare state.

Put bluntly, the poor are in effect being used as human shields in the political wars over government spending, which extends far beyond anyone who could even plausibly be called poor.

Politicians will spend money wherever that is likely to increase their chances of getting re-elected. Of all the things that governments spend money on, none is further removed from fighting poverty than municipal golf courses.

Are the taxpayers being asked to support municipal golf courses so that the poor and the downtrodden can play? Not bloody likely." (Click here for the full article.)

Sweet sweet government spending. Doesn't it just warm your heart?

Now get out there and vote!

21 February 2007

Rand Rave Review

So far, there are few authors I have read that have floored me by their depth and complexity (yes, perhaps I need to read more... point taken). One would be Dostoevsky, another is Ayn Rand. Her writing is the kind that catches you off guard, leaves you evaluating your own ideals and wondering how the heck people can come up with this stuff. I envy the talent. After 450 pages of The Fountainhead (out of only 700), her characters still perplex me and her ideas remain to be reconciled. I will not attempt to summarize the plot nor describe its characters, but here is one example in which I find myself overwhelmed with new thoughts (the context of the conversation is not really necessary):

"Most people go to very great lengths in order to convince themselves of their self-respect."
"And, of course, a quest for self-respect is proof of its lack."
"Do you see the meaning of a quest for self-contempt?"
"That I lack it?"
"And that you'll never achieve it."

WHAT?! I can't say that I spend much time trying to convince myself of my self-respect. But would I know it if I did? And would I have the courage to admit it? Will I ever be so sure of my self-respect that I'd be so daring as to seek self-contempt just to prove I could never achieve it?

Dominique Francon of The Fountainhead is that sure and that daring. And let me tell you, it makes for a riveting story.

18 February 2007

Remember college?

When anything was possible? When you thought you could save the world by registering to vote? When a career wasn't about making money, but about forsaking all material desires in the name of unadulterated altruism? Well here I am again, and I can't say I'm thrilled about it. Rest assured, I've learned some things in my mere 4 years out of school. I'm not hopelessly idealistic (sigh of relief), but I keep stumbling across that old familiar feeling of what if? What if I conjured up all those academic passions? And then, what if I actually acted on them? Yikes. Post-wedding and post-moving have left me with a schedule I can't remember having since... well, I can't remember (hence the birth of this blog). And so I'm left with lots of time to think. Dangerous, I know. I think it's time to move on, to embrace some of those old college aspirations, or at least the energy they embodied. What else am I waiting for? I think it's time to give it the ol' college try.

13 February 2007

I'm not dreaming...

I'm gonna find me a man
Love him so well love him so strong love him so slow
We're gonna go way beyond the walls of this fortress
And we won't be afraid
We won't be afraid
And though the darkness may come our way
We won't be afraid to be alive anymore
And we'll grow kindness in our hearts for all the strangers among us
Till there are no strangers anymore
Don't bring me bad news
No bad news
I don't need none of your bad news today
You can't have my fear
I got nothing to lose
You can't have my fear
I'm not getting out of here alive anyway
And I don't need none of these things
I don't need none of these things I've been handed
And the bird of peace is flying over
She's flying over and coming in for landing

"No Bad News" by Patty Griffin