Issue CLXVIII

July 21-24, 2008

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Culture
Judge-mentally Impaired Should Get Off Michael Savage's Back:
Selwyn Duke

July 21, 2008
It seems as if taking offense is the recreation of choice in modern America.  The latest example (of which I’m aware; I’m sure our UPS {umbrage per second} statistic is sky high) has resulted in a planned protest at WOR Radio in Manhattan over some comments radio talk show host Michael Savage made concerning autism.  Or, to be precise, the commentary involved not that condition but behavior that might be misdiagnosed as autism. Selwyn Duke writes that Mr. Savage's comments point to a severe and genuine problem among psychiatrists today: the tendency to diagnose virtually anything as a mental disorder.

Economics
Austrian Realists:
Robert P. Murphy

July 21, 2008
Anyone who peruses the top mainstream economics journals will quickly realize that economic theory has been crowded out by mathematical formalism. The neoclassical economists’ uncompromising quest for precision in their models has been achieved at the expense of the accuracy of their predictions. The Misesian approach to economics does not rely on unrealistic formal models. Dr. Robert Murphy contrasts this Austrian approach with the mainstream one, giving as examples of the latter two arguments proposed by neoclassical economists Bryan Caplan and Steven Landsburg.

Faith-Based Currency:
Ron Paul

July 21, 2008
The Latin term “fiat” roughly translates to “there shall be”.  When we refer to fiat money, we are referring to money that exists because the government declares it into existence.  It is not based on production or earnings, and not backed by any commodity.  It is solely based on trusting the government.  Fiat money is exchanged in the economy as long as there is faith in the government that issues it. Rep. Ron Paul explains the problems with this faith-based approach to currency.

Literature
A Nudge in the Wrong Direction:
Gary M. Galles

July 21, 2008
Libertarian Paternalism. It would appear to be a contradiction in terms. But Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein argue for just such a thing in Nudge (Yale University Press, 2008). They try to combine the two by arguing that a nudge — "any aspect of the choice architecture that alters people's behavior in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives" — can benefit those nudged, while staying consistent with liberty because it does not force anyone to do anything. Gary M. Galles reviews and critiques this book.

Music
Sonata-Allegro #1, Op. 55:
G. Stolyarov II

July 22, 2008
Mr. Stolyarov composed this work in strict sonata-allegro form, the form that predominated in the first movements of compositions in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. If it were composed 230 years ago, this piece could have been the first movement of a piano sonata from the Classical era.

Politics
Who Needs NATO?:
Alan Caruba

July 21, 2008
Alan Caruba writes that as NATO readies itself for its seventh decade, well beyond its original stated purpose and need, it is surely time for the next U.S. administration to consider ending this one-sided relationship. It has solved the conflicts that produced two world wars. There is no need for it to remain an American security protectorate.

The Politics of Showmanship:
Alan Caruba

July 24, 2008
For political theatre, there is no denying that the speech Sen. Barack Obama delivered in Berlin drew a huge, adoring crowd and was filled with the kind of talk intended to impress, not just Berliners, not just Europe, not just America, but the entire world that a new leader has appeared on the scene to work miracles. Chuck Todd, the NBC News political director summed it up best when he pointed out that the same speech could have been delivered by Sen. John McCain because its content was ideologically the same in many ways. But the message of this speech is mostly not a correct one, writes Alan Caruba. Rather, it is an example of Obama's politics of all show and little genuine substance.

Science
Letter to the American Physical Society:
The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley

July 21, 2008
The American Physical Society invited the Viscount Monckton of Brenchley to publish a paper critiquing the theory of anthropogenic climate change, and then posted an insulting and inaccurate disclaimer next to the paper. This is the Viscount's letter to the American Physical Society in response to such unprofessional, unscientific conduct.

Videos
Global Warming Doomsday Called Off - Documentary:
Lars Oxfeldt Mortensen

July 23, 2008
This documentary, written and directed by Lars Oxfeldt Mortensen, was aired on CBC television. It presents testimonies by numerous eminent scientists who dispute the International Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC's) fraudulent "climate change consensus."

Remarks Regarding Ben Bernanke's Testimony - Video:
Ron Paul

July 24, 2008
Rep. Ron Paul gives his impressions of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's recent testimony before the House Financial Services Committee. Bernanke admitted that inflation is both a purely monetary phenomenon and a stealth tax, but he defended the Fed's massive credit expansion nonetheless. Rep. Paul, in the meantime, explains the dangers of fiat currency and inflation as a government funding mechanism. 

"Just as man can't exist without his body, so no rights can exist without the right to translate one's rights into reality, to think, to work and keep the results, which means: the right of property." 
~ Ayn Rand

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