Monthly Archives: January 2009

A to Z

English is so great. It is funny to think that it’s just one of nearly 7,000 languages. There must be thousands of words as great as the ones I like in English. Some alphabets have way more than 26 characters too. Wouldn’t that be fun?

Great adjectives, A to Z.
(thanks Anna and Hannah for supplying x and y)

Antiquated

Blighted

Capricious

Detrimental

Efficacious

Fastidious

Glib

Harried

Incorrigible

Jovial

Kempt

Limpid

Meager

Negligible

Obliging

Precocious

Quizzical

Reputed

Sallow

Tawny

Ubiquitous

Veracious

Whimsical

Xanadu

Yon

Zealous

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one is not enough.

Announcing Rachel’s unawaited new blog!

Well I have started a new blog, and you’re welcome to take a look. It’s a bit different from this one and feel free to play favorites with either.

It’s called Mythopoetic for now. It’s exact look and purpose are yet to be determined, but it seems that it will definitely be lighter, happier, more whimsical, and more personal than this blog.

– Don’t worry. I’m not that personal. I don’t like those types of blog either.

– Could anything be happier than this blog already is?

– Basically, it’s more girly, and I don’t feel like I have to worry about if it’s a tad intellectual or not, as I do for this blog (no comments about the intellectual caliber of this blog, please).

So check it out but don’t lose this bookmark. I have precious few readers as it is.

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two cows

Apparently these are old jokes, but my roommate just introduced me to them.

There were a lot of hits when I googled it and many different versions of the same jokes. I synthesized some of them for you to read.

Capitalism: You have two cows. You sell one cow, buy a bull, and get a herd.

Communism: You have two cows. The government takes them and provides you with milk.

Fascism: You have two cows. The government seizes both and sells you the milk.

Socialism: You have two cows. The government takes one and give it to your neighbor.

They are awesome because they are funny, concise, and still able to explain key aspects to each politcal philsophy very simply.

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Filed under Opinions, Philosophical, politics

“from evolution to libertarianism” responses

As I mentioned before, I had my political scientist older brother read over my article before I posted it.

He gave me some helpful comments, and I thought he had some good thoughts.  He said he thought that my idea had some merit to it. He then expounded more particularly on libertarianism, ’cause that’s what he’s interested in. I particularly thought his end notes to me were useful, and I got his permission to post them too.

“I do accept the proposition that allowing people to pursue their own interests and to pursue profit will lead to greater economic gains. In the end, however, I think libertarians forget that governments are competing against each other in an anarchic world in which state survival is similar matter of natural selection. Governments must intervene in their economies in order that they may compete with other self-interested states. Furthermore, I think that libertarianism’s approach to domestic social issues also threatens the ability of a state to create a cohesive nation that may compete with others.”

As I said before, in my post, I simply noticed the connection between natural selection and the mindset of libertarianism. And that is what I wanted to write about. As he looked over it, I guess he got more interested in thinking specifically about libertarianism, and  he  delves into the strengths and weaknesses of that political philosophy.

He apparently thought about it a bit more, and he wrote his own little note about it on facebook, which, sans his introduction, is below.

“In some ways, as my sister pointed out to me, libertarianism embraces the idea of natural selection and survivla of the fittest. I do agree with the porposition that humans are naturally self-interested, and that self-interested pursuit of profit in the market economy generally leads to greater economic gains for society (thanks Adam Smith!). However, I think that libertarians may sometimes lose sight of the fact that as individuals and companies are competing with each other in markets, each country in this world is competing in a somewhat similar manner (that is, if you embrace the idea of an anarchic world, which most libertarians would be inclinded to do because of their worldview).

“If then, you embrace this idea of competition and survival of the fittest, then you probably would want your government to pursue policies that would make it one of the “fittest” countries in the world. The more “fit” your country is, the safer it is form economic and military threats. I believe that states must sometimes intervene in their economies to make themselves competitive at the global level. And if such government intervention produces some inefficiencies at the national level, might it not be worth the  trade off to become a more “fit” country as a whole?

“Sticking with the analogy of natural selection, suppose that each economic sector is an appendage of your country. If you are a state that is only competitive in one economic sector, take oil for instance, then you are like a fish with a single tail. You can move well in teh right environments, but if you lose that tail (because you’ve run out of oil or new energy sources have replaced oil, your economy loses motion. So it is better for your country to have a couple additional appendages that provide motion for your economy. If you lose one, you can have another to fall back on. And if they are strong, then your economy can move faster than others.

“Now some of you may be thinking, but government intervention tends to create uncompetitive economic sectors (or “weak” appendages). I agree to a point, but where no appendage exists, the state may intervene to encourage teh cration of new ecnomic sectors. Once these sectors are created, they may be cut loose to compete in the market economy. Many of the Asian countries would have the economies that they do today if they had not intervened in their economy. My point is this, in today’s intense international economic competition, who will be the most like to thrive – those countries whose governments refuse to use their knowledge to enhance their economic condition or those countries whose governments vigilantly watch for opportunity to encourage their citizens and companies to sezie opportunity? I just recently joked with a friend that, if we were both given a country, he could run his in a libertarian manner but I would practice additional intervention and one day beat him in a war…
[Disclaimer- in no way should the be taken as extolling self-interest, exploitation, and war]. :)”

So you can see that he and I can have some scintillating discussions, though he’s far more knowledgeable than me.

Feel free to weigh in. Don’t by shy.

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Filed under Opinions, Philosophical, politics

from evolution to libertarianism

.rachel’s grasp on the more complex things in life.

The organism that is most suited to survive in a particular environment will have more reproductive success, enabling it to survive and/or flourish in that environment. The organism less “fit” for the environment will be less successful at procreation and thus diminish. Fitness is measured by reproductive success. This is the process of survival of the fittest, an integral part of natural selection.

Certain traits are “selected” because they allow the creature to survive in their environment. What is fit for their environment will survive and what is not fit will not survive or, at the very least, not thrive.

Natural selection is a key component to the explanation of the theory of evolution and is widely accepted as factual. (It is worth noting that natural selection, though often coupled with evolution, is not actually evolution and most creationists subscribe to the idea).

As a political philosophy, Libertarianism is free-market and non-regulation to the extreme. It attempts to preserve a “natural” state of competition. It sees government as a necessity which should be kept small and which derives its power from the people it governs. Libertarianism is all about preserving the freedom of the individual.

A libertarian perspective might sound like: I am subject to my government, but I elect my officials. The government is there to provide basic stability and rule to our country, such as have standard currency and protect the country from foreign and domestic enemies and create a rule of law. Other than that, the government has no business being in my business.

Pure libertarians would say that people should be allowed to do whatever they wish, as long as it does not impede anyone else’s life, liberties, or rights. One of the most popular examples would be that drugs would be legal in most cases. The rationale is that an individual has the right to do as he pleases, eve if ti’s to his personal detriment. Of course, libertarians would likely support laws making it illegal to drive while under the influence of drugs (because you’d be likely to interfere with somoen else’s life), illegal for minors to take drugs or for an adult to provide them, illegal for a pregnant women to take drugs, etc.

The government would minimally regulate the economy, wouldn’t stimulate the ecnomy, or interfere with its swings up and down. It’s true laissez-faire economic philosophy. The idea is that things will right themselves better, sooner, and for less money than if the government were trying to do it. Of course, this would not mean that there would not be severe penalties for people who commit criminal acts in the free market.

Libertarianism would have very minimal welfare, believing that the best way to promote and encourage people to achieve is to unburden the achievers by undue taxation as well as that the best way to motivate people at the bottom is to encourage them to move up by making it uncomfortable to stay at the bottom.

In this world, the best, brightest, and most cunning people will rise to the top. The people who have what it takes will survive. The less achieving, less clever will inevitably stay lower on the ladder. In other words, those most fit will survive and thrive. I don’t know if today we’d measure fitness by reproduction, though.

My point is, the most logical political philosophy from a natural selection mentality is libertarianism.

An explanation:
I came up with this thought a few weeks ago, and it’s been a while ’til I could think well enough to articulate it enough to write down. It is still a rather rough sketch, I feel, but I felt good enough to post it after I had my political scientist graduate student big brother read it and he didn’t completely trash it. I hope to publish some of his comments as soon as I get his permission.

Personal Disclaimer:

“I’m just sayin’ what I’m sayin’ and no more.”

If you’ll notice, I tried to simply make a connection between the mindset one would have from an evolutionary/natural selection perspective and what the logical outworkings of that would be politically.

I did not and do not attempt to endorse either philosophy in this little essay. I can write a blog on my political views sometime, if you want, but the reader need not assume that this is one that I hold. And I’ll simply say further, to anyone who reads this and does not know me, I do not accept evolution as the explaination for the origin of man.

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Filed under complex things, Opinions, Philosophical, politics

excess but exciting

This weekend, I spent an unnormal amount of time near my computer. Last week, I did a fair amount of work blogging, especially since I’ve developing a second blog. I’ll let you know when I’m finished getting it ready. It will probably be a girlier blog, so for all my male readers, stick with this one, because you’ll probably still like this one better.

Blogging is worth it, though. I’ve converted another person. Mr. Tim Miller is now blogging and I’m pretty excited about the stuff I imagine he’ll turn out.

However, I recently was confronted with the fact that I must thinking about blogging a fair bit.

I had a dream about blogging. It actually was a short snippet of a larger dream, but it happened none the less.Because of trying to start this new blog, I have been looking at a lot of other people’s blog to get ideas of what I want mine to be like. In my dream, I got a phone call from a girl whose blog I had been looking at (what’s funny is, in my dream, it was a very specific girl and blog, one that I remember looking at in real life). She is one of those serious blogger-types with a blog with a lot of traffic, who actually has blog sponsors and everything. In my dream, apparently, I had left a comment on her wall, which is why she called. She phoned me and asked (how she got my phone number I’ll never know) and asked when the last time I had bought something from her sponsors. I replied that I hadn’t bought anything from them, and she gently explained that because of that, she needed to delete my comment.   !!!!!

It must have been something I ate.

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Filed under 'bout me, Everyday, holidays

happy to be here.

Something is different. I unexpectedly had a past rough twenty-four hours up till this morning. It was a good twenty-four hours, but very draining.

I got a headache, which never happens. I stayed up really late, which never happens. I called a friend at twelve-thirty am, which I never do.

When I collapsed into my bed at two am, I fervently prayed that I would wake refreshed with no twinges of a proverbial “hangover” from the previous day. I hadn’t felt normal all day, and I desperately wanted to feel normal in the morning.

The best part yof it was, right before I went to bed, I felt great. The phone conversation really helped, and I went to bed feeling like God has blessed me far beyond anything I could ever imagine.

Yesterday was a weird day but it was also a bit of an epoch. Hard to explain. But I can tell that some of the stuff shaped me. I am kind of one of those people who thinks that everyday shapes you in some fashion, just some days the shaping is more visible. Yesterday was the latter.

When I woke up in the morning, I felt great. It got better with church, a little snuggling Saudi boy, and a picnic with friends. Funny how the small things  can really make the difference. Especially sleep.

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Filed under 'bout me, Everyday