Issue CCXV

October 30-31, 2009

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Culture
Scared of Halloween:
Edward Hudgins
October 30, 2009
If you like to have fun on Halloween, fine. If not, if you think it's silly, fine as well. But, writes Edward Hudgins, it's sad that a jumble of competing superstitions and sensitivities is politicizing what was once a lark of a nice autumn night.

Why on Earth Are Vampires So Hot?:
Bradley Doucet
October 31, 2009
Bradley Doucet writes that there is something a little strange about many people's fascination with vampires. As escapist fun goes, this fantasy is more than a little twisted. For all its sensuous allure, there would be serious drawbacks to living the bloody non-life of a vamp. In short, being a vampire would kinda suck. 

Keep Your Self-Righteous Fingers Off My Processed Food:
Charlotte Allen
October 31, 2009
Just in time for the worst economic downturn since the Depression, here comes a new crop of social critics to inform us that we're actually spending too little for the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the furniture we sit on, and the gasoline that runs our automobiles. The latest cheerleader for higher prices is Ellen Ruppel Shell, a professor of science journalism at Boston University who has just published a book titled Cheap. It's not a guide to bargain-hunting. The theme of Shell's book, subtitled The High Cost of Discount Culture, is "America's dangerous liaison with Cheap." Charlotte Allen greatly disagrees with Shell's stance and argues that processed food and  inexpensive goods in general are a great benefit to individuals everywhere.

Economics
The Gold Standard and the Great Depression:
Robert P. Murphy
October 30, 2009
Paul Krugman has concentrated his fire recently on those "thumping their chests" over the falling dollar. He has particular scorn for those recommending a return to the gold standard. In Krugman's view, a simple look at the historical facts will show that it was a superstitious fetish for the yellow metal that prolonged the Great Depression. Fortunately, writes Dr. Robert Murphy, we can take a shortcut in the present article. Using Krugman's own graph, we can see that the case for abandoning gold — and devaluing currencies in the process — is not nearly as straightforward as he seems to think.

Ethics
Production of Bads, Not Goods:
William R. Thomas
October 31, 2009
William Thomas answers the following question from a reader: "
How is it inimical to one's self-interest to produce and sell an object that has a reliable market value but no or negative objective value (life-hindering)? An example would be producing and selling mind-inhibiting drugs with a high market price, ignoring potential problems with illegality." Mr. Thomas argues that it would indeed be immoral to produce a product that only serves to promote suffering and  vice, one’s own or those of others.

History
Mises.org in the Context of Publishing History:
Jeffrey Tucker
October 30, 2009
For only 500 years have books been copied by machines, after several millennia in which handwork was the only way to spread the written word. For only 150 years have books been available to all classes of society. Every innovation in publishing has meant greater distribution at ever-lower prices, culminating in today's print-on-demand methods and universal access. Digital methods have set the written word free as never before. Jeffrey Tucker discusses the history of publishing innovations and how the Ludwig von Mises Institute is rapidly spreading the ideas of liberty via its website.

Politics
Obama's Swine Flu Altruism:
Edward Hudgins
October 30, 2009
The morally ugly nature of actual altruism was on display when Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently declared that one in ten doses of the Swine Flu vaccine that were purchased with American taxpayer dollars will be given to other countries before there is enough vaccine to cover the health needs of Americans. She explained that “There’s an agreement (on a) ten percent donation that eleven nations have made.”  Once 40 million doses have been produced and distributed in the United States, then ten percent of what’s produced will be donated even as the U.S. government waits for the rest of the 250 million doses it ordered to treat 307 million Americans. Thus, writes Dr. Edward Hudgins, there might well be Americans who, thanks to the U.S. government, will not have access to the vaccine when they need it and could get sick or die.

Climate Change Treaty a Precursor to Global Government?:
Chuck Baldwin
October 30, 2009
Writing for World Net Daily, Dr. Jerome Corsi states, "A former science adviser to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher says the real purpose of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen on Dec. 7-18 is to use global warming hype as a pretext to lay the foundation for a one-world government." Corsi quotes Lord Christopher Monckton as telling a Minnesota Free Market Institute audience at Bethel University in St. Paul, "Your president will sign it. Most of the Third World countries will sign it, because they think they're going to get money out of it. Most of the left-wing regimes from the European Union will rubber-stamp it. Virtually nobody won't sign it." Corsi quotes Monckton as also saying, "I read that treaty and what it says is this: that a world government is going to be created. The word 'government' actually appears as the first of three purposes of the new entity." Dr. Chuck Baldwin believes that these arguments accurately reflect the intentions and outcomes behind the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

REAL ID and the PASS Act: America's Growing Surveillance Society:
Sam Rohrer
October 30, 2009
Pennsylvania State Representative Sam Rohrer asks the following question: “Why is it that honest, law-abiding civilians are so worried about the federal government increasing its knowledge of citizens and their activities?” After all, if you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve nothing to worry about, right? - WRONG! Under true justice, this statement would be fairly accurate, but it no longer is. Rep. Rohrer explains that a basic reason for this change is that the law enforcement and the terrorism-fighting community have wholeheartedly embraced a new and dangerous operating philosophy. Now the focus of the law enforcement community has changed to crime and terrorism prevention through the use of massive amounts of intelligence.

Every Day is Groundhog Day in the Middle East:

Alan Caruba
October 31, 2009
In the movie Groundhog Day, the main character wakes up day after day, trapped in the same events, desperately looking for a way out of that living nightmare. According to Alan Caruba, this is a very good metaphor for the Middle East.


"The excellence of the gold standard is to be seen in the fact that it renders the determination of the monetary units purchasing power independent of the policies of governments and political parties." 
~ Ludwig von Mises