Some reading recommendations!

These are all articles about which I wanted to write, but will never find the time.  I recommend them for your reading pleasure.

  1. DDT, Eggshells, and Me“, Ronald Bailey, Reason Magazine, 7 January 2004 — “Cracking open the facts on birds and banned pesticides.”  A balanced look at a chemical widely considered evil by some, harmless by others.
  2. WHO gives indoor use of DDT a clean bill of health for controlling malaria“, World Health Organization, 15 September 2006 — Another balanced look at a complex issue.
  3. Will the United States Survive Until 2022?“, John Derbyshire, New English Review, January 2007
  4. Fighting Identity: Why We Are Losing Our Wars“, Michael Vlahos, Military Review, November/December 2007 — “Our enemies understand that “it is in the living of war’s mythic passage that identity will be truly realized.” We, for our part, blunder blindly on, fitting ourselves to their Manichean narrative.”
  5. The state despotic“, Mark Steyn, The New Criterion, June 2009 — “On our gradual slide into servitude.”  An open version was published in the Wall Street Journal on 1 July 2009.


Please share your comments by posting below. Per the FM site’s Comment Policy, please make them brief (250 word max), civil and relevant to this post. Or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).

19 thoughts on “Some reading recommendations!”

  1. It seems that the definition of a harmful chemical is “does it cause cancer”. And then there is the inevitable debate that mouse is not a human. What is over looked is that many chemicals can mimic estrogen and cause reproduction problems.

    This issues is not something that you can say well a mouse is not a human. The endocrine system is very old and is virtually identical in fish, amphibians, birds, reptiles and mammals.

    There are 6 families of plant that product estrogen like compounds. These plants don’t produce these compounds for their own functioning, but to disrupt the reproduction system of their animal predators. We should proceed with caution.

  2. Will the United State Survive? Presidents over the years have essentially gotten the supreme court to void the constitution. The federal government was to be a body that served the states. This has been reversed with the states forced to serve the whims of the federal government and half the states subsidizing the other half.

    This, combined with the fact the you could strip naked every man, woman and child and toss them in the ocean, put a for sale sign over the US, and the federal government couldn’t raise enough money to meet its financial obligations could very well lead to states breaking from the union to form loose federations.

    I’m in Ohio. The states in this area have abundant natural resources and access to the great lakes and Mississippi waterway. There is no reason why we couldn’t leave the union to form a federation and still engage in international trade and trade with other states that form federations in North America.

  3. Boy, three posts in as many hours. You sure are in a hurry to bury that Ft Hood shooter-PTSD article, aren’t you?
    FM note: Most posts on this site are written days in advance. The “recommended reading” post was originally slotted for this time. Yesterday I wrote the one about Finel, and forgot to reallocate the “reading” post. Then the Texas incident came, and I wrote the “SJS” post — and forgot to reallocated the previous two. This is annoying, forcing me to write new material (this website takes far too much time).

    Short version: you are wrong. Belligerent guessing usually is wrong, in my experience.

  4. I still have some confederate money. But, do i really want to live in the Republic of 1/50 th? Hm, tough choice :P

  5. I wouldn’t expect each state to go it on its own. I could see the break down being, northeast, southeast, great lakes-Mississippi valley, west coast and Dakotas though Texas. Michigan we give to Canada and Nevada could become America’s badlands.

  6. Vlahos seems to have lost his sense of proportion. These “wars” we are fighting are, in the grand scheme of things, regional squabbles with inconsequential impact on America’s standing in the world and the sources of our strength. Too much arguing from history can lead you into rhetorical dead ends, shoehorning evidence to make a point that was insupportable from the outset. Hicks’ defeat by the Mahdi was of no more strategic consequence than the Little Bighorn; when Britain finally decided to squash his (successor) regime, it did so with only trifling difficulty. The world today is a vastly different place than the great power world so beloved by historians.

  7. Maybe it doesnt matter whether DDT is harmful or global warming will happen .
    The human race just needs problems . A perfect situation of Heaven or Paradise doesnt work for our human minds , and is itself a problem . Pandora’s box is opened , imagination ignites , the crackling neurones of innovation start to turn , sulci and gyri slip into gear , adrenalin jets into the powerhouse – ah , hallelujah .

  8. (sorry 2Pac)

    Perhaps I was blind to the facts, stabbed in the back
    I couldn’t trust my own homies just a bunch a dirty rats!
    Will I succeed? Paranoid from the weed
    And hocus pocus try to focus but I can’t see!
    And in my mind, I’ma rich man doin time
    Look to my future cause my past, is all behind me
    Is it a crime, to trade, for what’s not mine?
    Everybody’s lyin, tell me what’s the use of tryin?

    I’ve been Talent since birth, reckless, cause I’m cursed
    And fantasies of my company, in a hearse
    And they say it’s the Congress I should fear
    But it’s my own kind doin all the tradin here!
    And all my memories, are seein bankers bleed
    And everybody grieves, but still nobody sees
    Recollect your thoughts, don’t get caught up in the mix
    Cause the media is full of dirty tricks!

    Only Geithner can judge me now!
    (all you other mother regulators get outta my business!)

  9. A good series of articles. #5 can be found at the Wall Street Journal without a subscription.

    As I read #4 I started thinking of how it applies in country. The centralization of authority in the federal goverment may end up having the same effect on the states as our Army does in relation to local foreign society. I’ll have to think more on that.

  10. With the house passed health care bill requiring people and companies to confess to felonies, we could well be on our way to regions wanting to leave the union. Good thing for Pelosi that her state has started printing their own money.

  11. “The state despotic“, Mark Steyn, The New Criterion, June 2009 — “On our gradual slide into servitude.” An open version was published in the Wall Street Journal on 1 July 2009.

    Mark Steyn feels nostalgic about a time he never experienced. It’s too bad we can’t send him back to get a real taste.
    He admires Tocqueville’s thinking but offers none of his own. Perhaps Professor Rhae has some new ideas but Mr. Steyn omits them. He points to Tocqueville ‘s observation that democracies over time move relentlessly toward increased equality – and since the quantities of liberty and equality that exist in a society are inversely proportional – total democracy means total equality and that leaves zero liberty – and etc. etc. etc. He makes no specific recommendations – he just pines longingly for our diminishing liberty.
    He neglects to include that democracy’s exponential smoothing of society also limits excellence in many areas of endeavor – for example education and its product – and more.
    It is worth a mention that Mr. Steyn’s work itself is a manifestation of the very phenomenon he laments – for it is a dramatic decline indeed from the towering brilliance of Tocqueville and an Albert Jay Nock’s political philosophy to the “me too” ideology/propaganda of Mr. Steyn and his trite and unoriginal stablemates at Regnery. IMO if excellence in political theory still held sway and had not been flattened smooth and dumb by excessive egalitarianism Mr. Steyn’s work would be getting very little attention – if any.
    If we are sheep – sheep dip is in order. Mr. Steyn obliges. FM – you could do better.
    FM reply: I think that is unjustly harsh.

    “He admires Tocqueville’s thinking but offers none of his own.”

    Everybody quotes towering figures from the past, and often without adding our own thoughts (which would appear small by comparison). The wisdom from the past can be quoted without addition — speaking for itself, IMO.

    “He makes no specific recommendations”

    By profession Steyn is a critic, so he seldom provides explicit recommendations. This is a common limitation of analysts, of which I am often guilty. Sometimes analysis is all we have the ability to do, giving a diagnosis — hoping that wiser heads will suggest cures. That we do not know a cure should not inhibit analysis, IMO. I suspect that Steyn’s recommendation would to vote for conservatives.

    “for it is a dramatic decline indeed from the towering brilliance of Tocqueville”

    By your logic, almost everybody who quotes past greats exhibits a dramatic decline. That’s not so. Do only the geniuses of today (who might not be recognized until the future) get to quote past greats?

    “total democracy means total equality and that leaves zero liberty”

    Why? Athens had perhaps the closest approach possible to total democracy (among its citizens), but they had neither excessive equality between citizens nor a low degree of liberty for their citizens.

  12. “He neglects to include that democracy’s exponential smoothing of society also limits excellence in many areas of endeavor – for example education and its product – and more.”

    If people only knew we lived in a republic.

  13. ‘Are you not entertained?” — Gladiator (2000 film)


  14. “Mark Steyn feels nostalgic about a time he never experienced.”

    For Gods sake man, he lived in Canada.

  15. Secession?

    The trouble with extreme times is that very low probability events can, in some cases, become more probable.

    Example Germany pre Hitler. Germany then was the most liberal society, Artists, scientists flocked to it. It was home to a huge Jewish population, basically totally integrated, many of which came to Germany as a refuge from pograms in Russia and Poland (etc of course). If you had asked anyone in (say) 1925 that germany would become a Nazi state with mass exterminations and involved in a World War again .. you would probably have been locked up as a nut job.

    People in the West who predicted the USSR would break up years before it happened were treated only slight less severely (they just lost their jobs)

    Extreme times create chaos and anything can happen as all the trendlines are broken.

    So if you had asked me say 5 years ago about the probability of secession in the US I would have given it as less than 10E-7.

    But now? For many States there could possibly be significant economic advanatges (e.g. California is the poster child).

    Plus you have heard me put this thesis up before, the rest of the World is reacting. And quite few actors wouldn’t mind a breakup of the US on security/economic reasons. E.g Brazil, watching the US coming back into South America … and everyone there knows what that means.

    China and Russia watching the US on their (or nearly there) borders.

    Saudi Arabia, who must be thinking ‘we’re next’ after Iran.

    All the time when the Federal Govt is pumping out money to save Wall Street, while sacrificing Main Street and, increasingly, the rest of the World.

    Interesting times as they say. As the normal probabilities go haywire.

  16. But now? For many States there could possibly be significant economic advantages (e.g. California is the poster child).

    I think the other 49 states would be economically better off if California left the union. Many of there anti commerce regulations get imposed on the other states by the federal government.

    This is a state that just place a 10% income tax increase on the people. Sorry, wrong terminology, a compulsory interest free loan to the state to be paid back with worthless IOUs.

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