Come and Take It

"You may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas."

Voting for Freedom with Your Feet

A map of overall state freedom

Overall State Freedom (Courtesy – Click map to open interactive page

Recently Dan Mitchell blogged about the Mercatus Center’s latest state freedom map. He closed with the comment, “I grew up in New York, which is #50 in the rankings of freedom in the states, and then in Connecticut, which ranks only #40. But I went to college in Georgia, which is #9 in the rankings, and I now live in the Virginia, which is #8. But I somehow doubt that I’ll ever wind up in North Dakota.”

Dan’s comment intrigued me. Do Americans value freedom enough to actually pursue it, by moving from less free to more free states? Well, it’s easy enough to find out, especially if you just happen to be a Geographic Information System (GIS) geek like me. Without too much effort, I mined the most recent U.S. Census bureau data to create my own intriguing map.

Read more…

Towards Liberty

Several days ago Republican Sen. Rob Portman, in a major switcheroo, came out (in support of gay marriage). Good on you, Senator.

People often accuse me of being a conservative, or even a Republican. I understand their confusion, but I am neither. I hew to an antiquated definition of liberalism. I am a Lockean. Much like the majority of the Framers, the guiding star of my political firmament is John Locke. I try to conduct my political commerce according to his creed:

“The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions: for men being all the workmanship of one omnipotent, and infinitely wise Maker; all the servants of one sovereign Master, sent into the world by His order, and about His business; they are His property, whose workmanship they are, made to last during His, not one another’s pleasure: and being furnished with like faculties, sharing all in one community of nature, there cannot be supposed any such subordination among us, that may authorize us to destroy one another, as if we were made for one another’s uses, as the inferior ranks of creatures are for our’s. Every one, as he is bound to preserve himself, and not to quit his station wilfully, so by the like reason, when his own preservation comes not in competition, ought he, as much as he can, to preserve the rest of mankind, and may not, unless it be to do justice on an offender, take away, or impair the life, or what tends to the preservation of the life, the liberty, health, limb, or goods of another.” – John Locke, from Two Treatises of Government Read more…

Wussification – Passing Fad, or Permanent Trend?

Photos of Sydney Lea and Jack London

Authors Sydney Lea and Jack London (left to right)

They say the first step to recovery is to admit you have a problem. OK, here goes. I read. A lot. People occasionally inquire as to my favorite book or author. That’s hardly a fair question. It’s like asking an alcoholic to name their favorite beverage. There’s only one answer: Who cares, as long as it contains alcohol? Or, in my case, some reasonable facsimile of literary content.

My beloved is a delightfully complicated creature of multitudinous interests, but I suppose if you forced her to choose a label, she’d call herself a poet. Her literary tastes are (how to put it?) somewhat more refined than mine. Occasionally she runs across something she thinks might strike my fancy, and tosses it my way. Most of her bycatch is excellent, and drops down my voracious maw with nary a hiccup. But every now and then she’ll pass me something I just can’t digest. Case in point: Sydney Lea’s A North Country Life: Tales of Woodsmen, Waters, and Wildlife. Read more…

The above is my re-post of a TWG re-post of an excellent 2nd Amendment apology by Forbes blogger Lawrence Hunter. Hunter’s article is one of the most cogent defenses of the true purpose of the 2nd Amendment that I have ever seen.





It is time the critics of the Second Amendment put up and repeal it, or shut up about violating it. Their efforts to disarm and short-arm Americans violate the U.S. Constitution in Merriam Webster’s first sense of the term—to “disregard” it.

Hard cases make bad law, which is why they are reserved for the Constitution, not left to the caprice of legislatures, the sophistry and casuistry of judges or the despotic rule making of the chief executive and his bureaucracy. And make no mistake, guns pose one of the hardest cases a free people confronts in the 21st century, a test of whether that people cherishes liberty above tyranny, values individual sovereignty above dependency on the state, and whether they dare any longer to live free.

A people cannot simultaneously live free and be bound to any human master or man-made institution, especially to politicians, judges, bureaucrats…

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The Infantilization of America

Chris Rock claims the president is “our boss.” Mr. Rock seems blissfully unaware that the United States is a representative republic in which, by definition, the president is nothing more than a public servant. Let me reiterate for Mr. Rock, who seems so woefully unfamiliar with the concept: President Obama is not our boss; he is our servant.

Mr. Rock submits that president is Obama is, like, the “dad of the country.” No, Mr. Rock, president Obama is not your daddy. Nor is he mine. Only two forms of government revere the head of government as a father: totalitarian fascism, and totalitarian communism. Mr. Rock, if you let president Obama be your daddy, it will only be a matter of time before he makes himself your führer.

Here’s what happens when the head of government is your daddy:

Image of a Hitler Youth poster

Youth serve the Führer

Observe closely – the cute little Aryan girl’s eyes shine almost as brightly for Hitler as Mr. Rock’s eyes shine for Obama. She is just ever so happy that Hitler is her “boss” and her “dad.” Gentle reader, do you suppose we should all be as eager to have Obama as our “boss” and “dad”? Read more…

The Trusting Ape

An image of Beaker Culture artifacts from Great Britain

Beaker Culture artifacts from Great Britain

Will your genes survive the speciation event?

As the current craze over climate change (and just about every other Malthusian craze to date) clearly indicates, we humans tend to think of our world, and ourselves, as static. For both our planet and our species, nothing could be further from the truth. Anatomically modern humans, Homo sapiens sapiens, have only been around for 200,000 years or so. Behaviorally modern humans have been around for less than 40,000 years – a blink of the eye in geologic terms. And agricultural, deeply technological humans have been around only since the end of the last Ice Age, about 12,000 years – the briefest of geologic instants.

Humans, far from being a static species, are evolving at an astonishing pace. This rapid evolution is no doubt continuing even as I write. Although there are minor anatomical differences between us and the Cro-Magnons (our brains are a tad smaller, for instance), I submit that the primary difference between the current crop of humans and our recent antecedents is behavioral. This difference doesn’t show up in the fossil record, but evidence is present in the archaeological record, and I suspect there is almost certainly a (currently unidentified) genetic marker. The behavioral trait I speak of is the capacity for trust. In fact, I suggest that our particular subspecies be tagged Homo sapiens fides. Read more…

A Second Amendment, If You Can Keep It

In a dark day for Liberty, Senator Feinstein today introduced to the Senate The Assault Weapons Ban of 2013. The Senator’s summary may be found here. The bill explicitly bans 157 specific firearms, apparently on the basis that they are simply too scary looking. Furthermore, the bill bans all magazines with a capacity in excess of ten rounds, apparently on the specious contention that the additional seconds required to swap out two ten round magazines, as opposed to continuing to fire from a single thirty round magazine, might save a life or two. (Never mind the Sandy Hook scenario, where all the victims are defenseless, and the police are nowhere in the vicinity.) The bill grandfathers possession of existing specimens of the banned varieties, but prohibits transfer or sale of these guns without a federal background check, even between family members. Sale or transfer of existing high-capacity magazines is simply outlawed. No exceptions are made for small caliber cartridges like the venerable .22 long rifle. Read more…

How We Fall Apart

Image of the Bancroft Hall rotunda

The rotunda of Bancroft Hall at the United States Naval Academy

As Americans we take pride in the fact that for nearly 224 years we have governed ourselves through that singular instrument, the Constitution of the United States. Such is the strength of our civic institutions that in all our history we have never suffered a military coup, not even through the tumult of Civil War. While we should take pride in this accomplishment, we should also beware of the false sense of security that accompanies it. We tell ourselves that because it’s never happened here, it can’t happen here. That’s a perilous way of thinking. Read more…

The Big Fail (of Keynesian Economics)

An image of Paul Krugman practicing Keynesian economics

Paul Krugman practicing his Keynesian economics…

In a recent (Jan. 6) NY Times column, The Big Fail, the esteemed Dr. Krugman suggests that a “triumph of bad ideas” is responsible for our failure to emerge from “the great slump.” And the bad idea in question? You guessed it: not spending hard enough. Apparently, my Dad never afforded Dr. Krugman his special brand of fatherly wisdom concerning stupid behavior of any sort: “Son, [stupid behavior X] is like hitting yourself on the head with a hammer – it feels great when you quit.” Unfortunately, we seem to be trading in the Keynesian hammer for an even more repulsive hammer – European-style fiscal austerity. Read more…


Altamira Cave Painting

A hunting scene from Altamira Cave, Spain, circa 16,000 B.C.

Another deer season ended this weekend, experiences filed away in the vault of memory. I’m at an age where my remaining days in the field number less than those already spent, and I find myself driven by a curious urge. It’s very difficult (some cynics would say pointless) to explain hunting to those who do not hunt. But because hunting is so important to my general happiness and well being, I’m going to take a shot at it (pun intended).

Many non-hunters conflate hunting with killing. That’s a silly notion; anybody can kill – all you have to do is watch the news for proof of that. While killing is a part of hunting, it’s only a small part. If you do things just right, you might have an opportunity to take the right animal, the right way, at the right time. But, in fact, the vast majority of my large game hunts end without a kill. No, hunting is mostly about something entirely different. For me, hunting is about the quest for the numinous. So, gentle reader, if you do not hunt, I beg your patience, and ask that you read on. Read more…

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