Issue CCXXXII

January 15-19, 2010

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Culture
The Issue of Copyright:
Curt Howland
January 17, 2010
In long, sometimes very hostile, discussions, it has become clear to Curt Howland that the government "Letters Patent" monopoly grants have infected the thinking of many people, maybe most, as deeply if not more so than the ever popular issue of "roads". Mr. Howland believes that the idea of intellectual property, that copying an idea/pattern is theft, is why the discussions do not remain polite.

Five Superstitions That Harm Haiti:
Edward Hudgins
January 18, 2010
The earthquake in Haiti that has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and inflicted untold misery on the inhabitants of that country has also brought to the fore five superstitions that have inflicted or will inflict even more misery on those poor people. Dr. Edward Hudgins describes these superstitions, which must be overcome in order for the people of Haiti to experience genuine progress.

Why on Earth Do New Year's Resolutions Often Fail?:

Bradley Doucet
January 18, 2010
If you are like many people, you made some resolutions to improve your life in some way in the new year. Why do New Year’s resolutions seem to be so hard to keep? What approaches can enable one to adhere to them more reliably? Bradley Doucet explores these questions. 

Economics
Free Banking and Contract Law (1949):
Ludwig von Mises
January 19, 2010
In this analysis of the history of banking and credit expansions, published in Human Action in 1949, Ludwig von Mises explains that free banking is the only method available for the prevention of the dangers inherent in credit expansion. It would, it is true, not hinder a slow credit expansion, kept within very narrow limits, on the part of cautious banks which provide the public with all information required about their financial status. But under free banking it would have been impossible for credit expansion with all its inevitable consequences to have developed into a regular—one is tempted to say normal—feature of the economic system. Only free banking would have rendered the market economy secure against crises and depressions.

History
Montesquieu on Commerce:
Gary Galles
January 18, 2010
January 18 marks the birth of Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu. Robert Wokler called Montesquieu "perhaps the most central thinker … of the enlightenment." He was also an important influence on America's founders, particularly in his argument that a separation of powers was necessary for liberty to be maintained — so much so that one writer characterized him as John Locke's "Ideological co-founder of the American Constitution." One aspect of Montesquieu's work that has struck Dr. Gary Galles recently is what he wrote about that very practical application of liberty — free trade.

Mathematics
Ordering the Primitive Pythagorean Triples by Generalized Pellian Sequences:
Keith Raskin
January 18, 2010
While it is well-known that the Pell numbers: 0, 1, 2, 5, 12, 29, 70, . . .  generate the Pythagorean triples with consecutive legs, it seems to be a great secret that the rest of the primitive triples can be generated, ordered, and largely sorted by leg difference using similar sequences. In this paper, Keith Raskin shows how the Pell numbers can generate the primitive Pythagorean triples.

Poetry
Men for Freedom:
Viresh Amin
January 19, 2010
In this poem, Viresh Amin takes the perspective of advocates of economic and personal liberty with regard to the U. S. federal government's precipitation of the recent economic crisis and continuing proposals for increased suppression of individual liberty coming from those in charge in Washington, D. C. This poem also takes an optimistic, forward-looking perspective on the emergence of a free society.

Politics
China, America, and the Future of Liberty:
William R. Thomas
January 15, 2010
William R. Thomas answers the following question from a reader: "What do Objectivists make of the hypothesis that China (or some other country following a similar trend) could be where one should consider throwing one's lot in? China is trending towards liberty, while the U.S. is precipitously trending away from liberty."

Not Exactly Mother Teresa:

Paul Driessen
January 17, 2010
Greenpeace constantly harasses companies that it deems insufficiently virtuous in advertising their products, protecting the environment and promoting their public image. But, writes Paul Driessen, the Rainbow Warriors’ own actions would frequently merit fines or even jail time if committed by profit-making businesses. The Warriors justify their actions as necessary to advancing their legal, legislative and regulatory agenda – and getting people and foundations to write a check or click their website’s “donate now” button. Almost anything goes.

The Right to See You Naked:
Christopher Westley
January 18, 2010
Providence, Rhode Island, journalist Froma Harrop is as establishmentarian as they come, and her post-Christmas-Day-terrorist-bombing-attempt column does nothing to alleviate this impression. The title? "To Be Safe Flying, We'd Happily Perform This Strip Tease." That failed attempt, writes Christopher Westley, did not simply exhilarate those on the left and right, who see it as reason to justify further expansions of the federal government's power. In Harrop's case, it also brings out her inner exhibitionist.
                                                              
"The philosophy called individualism is a philosophy of social cooperation and the progressive intensification of the social nexus." 
~ Ludwig von Mises