Wednesday, December 05, 2001

What's Our National Identity?

Oracle's Larry Ellison and Harvard's Allen Dershowitz have been all over the media recently pitching a National ID Card. One poll indicates 70% public support for the notion.

Most critics of a National Identity Card mention Hitler, police stops, and personal privacy to argue against the proposal. Those are good reasons to oppose a National ID Card, but they miss the idea's worst features.

Proponents of a National ID Card have a responsibility to tell us exactly what the system will do to day-to-day life in America. They are unlikely to do so because most thoughtful Americans would be alarmed at the prospect.

A National ID card is *not* really about identity. It is about authorization.

A modern National ID System will:

* Require Americans to obtain federal government authorization to travel, work, rent or buy housing, obtain medical care, use financial services, and make many purchases.

* This federal authorization could be denied for many reasons including database errors, a suspicious transaction profile, being a deadbeat parent, failure to pay taxes or fines, and any other social control
measures Congress wishes to hang on the system.

* The system will almost certainly create an outlaw class - as large as 10 to 20% of the population - cut off from "normal" life in America. This class will include political refuseniks as well as those whose behavior has caused the system's software to deny their transactions. This outlaw class will sustain the underground economy for the use of future terrorists (and ordinary criminals).

These effects are easy to predict because they've already happened on a lesser scale.

Previous National ID proposals covered such activities as travel, work authorization, national health care, and licensing of drivers. All of these proposed systems were meant to deny access to air travel, work, medical care, and driving to those who were not authorized for these activities. The events of September 11th mean that many more transactions will require a National ID. It is likely that the ID will be required for the purchase of alcohol, tobacco, Rx drugs, firearms, ammunition, knives, fertilizer, flying lessons, or any other goods or services the government considers dangerous. Additionally, in order to track the movement of potential terrorists, the New Improved National ID Card will have to control all transportation including car rentals and
purchases, accommodations and financial services. A large chunk of our lives.

When you present your National ID to complete a transaction, you will actually be asking the Federal Government for its permission. It converts most significant transactions that you make from private ones
to public ones. It creates a government license for all jobs, all travel, all medical care, and many purchases. This is a profoundly troubling departure from American traditions.

Beyond federal licensing there are all the reasons that the system will reject your proposed transaction. A National ID System can't control terrorists or illegals unless it uses software based on credit card fraud detection software to block suspicious transaction and then deny the use of the ID Card and notify the appropriate authorities.

To understand how this will work, you have to understand how modern credit card software works. A credit card authorization system performs a large number of checks to decide whether or not to authorize a
proposed transaction. First, it checks to see if the card is in the system, has not been reported stolen, and has adequate credit for the transaction. But then it goes further. It checks the customer's transaction history, it checks the exact nature of recent transactions and of the proposed transaction to see how they fit the customer's profile and the profile of fraudulent transactions that it has stored in its system. It then produces a "score" which it uses to determine whether or not to authorize the transaction. This is real "profiling".

But even if you are you, the ID card is valid, and your transactions aren't suspicious; your right to travel, work, and buy will still likely be blocked by social control measures added by Congress or the administrative bureaucracy. We know that this will happen because that is exactly what *has* happened with drivers licenses. A drivers license once meant that your state considered you a safe driver. Today, you can be denied a license for failing to pay child support, failure to pay traffic and other fines (including library fines), being a non-resident alien, and for hundreds of other "offenses".

State legislatures could not resist the temptation to leverage the drivers license system to control their populations. Their actions were based on the idea that "driving is a privilege not a right." The future abuse of the National ID Card will be based on the idea that "living is a privilege not a right."

When your National ID Card is denied (for whatever reason), you will find yourself in a very uncomfortable situation. But you will not be alone. In America today, some 20% of the population does not use credit cards or bank accounts because they are unwilling or unable to perform the financial management tasks necessary to maintain such accounts.  Similarly, the National ID card will produce a population of political or life-style refuseniks who will or cannot use it. Such populations do not disappear. They continue to survive as best they can and support a robust underground economy with its well-known negative effects on tax collection, obedience to law, and social cohesion.

As convenient as a National ID card seems for law enforcement, it is an unamerican notion. It comes from a political system explicitly rejected by those men who founded this country. The English language has a word
for a system in which the central government of a country must authorize in advance all of its citizen's activities. That word is totalitarian.

Duncan Frissell's Social Security card reads "For Social Security and tax purposes--not for identification."

Monday, November 05, 2001 19 Terrorists Obtained Social Security Cards

"All 19 terrorist hijackers in the Sept. 11 attacks had Social Security numbers, and 13 obtained them legally, government officials say."

When you set up a system that's designed to cover everyone, you should not be surprised that everyone is covered.

SS numbers have been issued to visa holders for quite a while. Students and workers are issued them upon arrival. Only tourists make it in without them. If they impose a National ID card on us, then the terrorists will have one too. That's the whole point.


Thursday, November 01, 2001

Back in 1998, the foreign affairs columnist Thomas L. Friedman attacked Techno-Libertarians for their lack of a sufficiently bellicose foreign policy.

April 18, 1998, Saturday Section: Editorial Desk



I don't think I like Silicon Valley.

That's all right, Silicon Valley doesn't like you either.

Here's why: I'm as impressed as anyone with the technologies that Silicon Valley is producing and the way they are changing how we must think about economic power and how nations interact. But what is so striking about Silicon Valley is that it has become so enamored of its innovative and profit-making prowess that it has completely lost sight of the overall context within which this is taking place.

It has not "lost sight of the ... context" so much as it sees the context all too well and has rejected it utterly.

There is a disturbing complacency here toward Washington, government and even the nation. There is no geography in Silicon Valley, or geopolitics. There are only stock options and electrons.

I wouldn't call it "complacency" so much as "rejection." Techno-libertarians (the true targets of this piece) are quite aggressive in rejecting Washington.

When I asked an all-too-typical tech-exec here when was the last time he talked about Iraq or Russia or foreign wars, he answered: "Not more than once a year. We don't even care about Washington. Money is extracted from Silicon Valley and then wasted by Washington. I want to talk about people who create wealth and jobs. I don't want to talk about unhealthy and unproductive people. If I don't care enough about the wealth-destroyers in my own country, why would I care about the wealth- destroyers in another country?"

Sounds like a perfectly straight-forward political position to me. Libertarians have always been anti-war and anti "entangling alliances.", even back during WWII. Leftists used to be anti-war as well but some of them have strayed from that position. Someone has to keep it up.

What's wrong with this picture is that all the technologies Silicon Valley is designing to carry digital voices, videos and data farther and faster around the world, all the trade and financial integration it is promoting through its innovations, and all the wealth it is generating, is happening in a world stabilized by a benign superpower called the United States of America, with its capital in Washington D.C.

Armed neutrality is a perfectly acceptable foreign policy. Super power and nation state politics have murdered 170 million human beings in this century alone ( Until an alternative racked up that quantity of dead, we'd be well ahead of the game. Some people just don't like super powers -- however benign.

The hidden hand of the global market would never work without the hidden fist. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley's technologies to flourish is called the United States Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps (with the help, incidentally, of global institutions like the U.N. and the International Monetary Fund). And those fighting forces and institutions are paid for by all the tax dollars that Washington is "wasting" every year.

The *UN* and the *IMF* give me a break. There is little evidence that if those two disappeared anyone would notice save those who would miss a paycheck.

As for the U.S. armed forces, there is no doubt that it is very convenient to have well-trained and equipped troops available from time to time but that says nothing about the organizational form that produces such forces. The U.S. military is impressive but it is also inefficient and expensive. A few years ago, the Economist (in one of its "Survey's of Defence" proposed an international regiment to suppress insurgency. Such an institution could be public or corporate. A mercenary regiment independent of national bureaucracies could produce a very effective force that could suppress "commerce raiding" without the high costs and risks involved government armed forces. A private "82nd Airborne", equipped with off-the-shelf technology, which would focus on the bottom line both in terms of money and men, could give everyone the protection they need without the high cost and high death rate associated with government armed forces. An armed civilian population in any country that would trust its subjects with arms would make any attack even more costly.

Because of the intense competition here among companies, and the continuous flood of new products, there is a saying in Silicon Valley that "loyalty is just one mouse-click away." But you can take that too far. Execs here say things like: "We are not an American company. We are I.B.M. U.S., I.B.M. Canada, I.B.M. Australia, I.B.M. China." Oh yeah? Well, the next time you get in trouble in China, then call Li Peng for help. And the next time Congress closes another military base in Asia -- and you don't care because you don't care about Washington -- call Microsoft's navy to secure the sea lanes of Asia. And the next time the freshmen Republicans want to close more U.S. embassies, call America Online when you lose your passport.

The techno-libertarians of Silicon Valley don't believe in passports. They are working to eliminate such inefficiencies. If government or private piracy picks up again on the "sea lanes to Asia", a simple restoration of licensed privateers could end that problem. Maybe Russia's Northern Fleet could find something more useful to do as privateers than they are now sitting around drinking, contemplating suicide, and juggling Russia's largest cache of nukes. Note that US Naval vessels can't sail these days without civilian electronics techs (contractors) to maintain and operate the intelligence and weapons systems. Privatizing the rest of the system is not as big a step as most people think.

Mercenaries and privateers have a long history and can be easily put back to work. Note too that in spite of their reputation, mercenaries and privateers have (by any measure) killed fewer civilians and overthrown fewer governments than have military forces consisting of government employees.

Harry Saal, a successful Silicon Valley engineer, venture capitalist and community activist -- an exception to the norm -- remarked to me: "If you ask people here what their affiliation is, they will name their company. Many live and work on a company campus. The leaders of these companies don't have any real understanding of how a society operates and how education and social services get provided for. People here are not involved in Washington policy because they think the future will be set by technology and market forces alone and eventually there will be a new world order based on electrons and information."

The denizens of the Valley are well aware of how "education and social services" *fail* to "get provided for". They have to try and hire the illiterate output. Arguing the domestic policy success of government is even rougher than arguing its foreign policy success.

They're exactly half right. I've had a running debate with a neo-Reaganite foreign-policy writer, Robert Kagan, from the Carnegie Endowment, about the impact of economic integration and technology on geopolitics. He says I overestimate its stabilizing effects; I say he underestimates it. We finally agreed that unless you look at both geotechnology and geopolitics you can't explain (or sustain) this relatively stable moment in world history. But Silicon Valley's tech-heads have become so obsessed with bandwidth they've forgotten balance of power. They've forgotten that without America on duty there will be no America Online. "The people in Silicon Valley think it's a virtue not to think about history because everything for them is about the future," argued Mr. Kagan. "But their ignorance of history leads them to ignore that this explosion of commerce and trade rests on a secure international system, which rests on those who have the power and the desire to see that system preserved."

This is a fascinating historical debate but it can't have much to say about future security policy. We know that periods dominated by markets (the mid-19th century for example) have fewer wars while periods dominated by governments (most of the 20th century) have more wars. The record of nation states in managing conflict is not one designed to make us confident of future peace. Alternative methods of social organization have at least as great a chance at keeping the murder rate in the 21st Century a bit lower than the murder rate during this past Century of Blood.


"God fights on the side with the heaviest artillery. These days, adhocracies have the heaviest artillery."
Ron Paul has introduced the "September 11 Marque and Reprisal Act of 2001" which would authorize the President to issues Letters of Marque and Reprisal to legalize private attacks on Bin Laden and others.

A series of thrillers by fighter jock turned lawyer cover these issues in a fictional context.

Balance of Power
by James W. Huston

The Price of Power
by James W. Huston

In the first two novels, a heroic Speaker of the House fights a weak pacifist President by issuing Letters of Marque and Reprisal under Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution to the carrier "Constitution" to fight pirates in the sea lanes of SE Asia.

Flash Point
by James W. Huston

In the third novel, a JAG officer on a carrier off Israel asks Congress to declare war on an Islamic fundamentalist who has revived the Cult of the Assassins to attack Israel and the US. Thomas Aquinas and Just War Theory play a big role together with other parts of Article 1, Section 8.

by James W. Huston

In his fourth novel, a private Top Gun flying school is targeted by terrorists who hope to learn combat flying to pull off "the worst terrorist attack in US history". Published June 2001.

I also wrote a bit on such topics in my response to Thomas Friedman's attacks on Silicon Valley for not having a defense and foreign policy. I'll send this piece in a separate e-mail.


"Western Civilization didn't invent tyranny, slavery, racism, or the
oppression of women. What it did do is eliminate those evils (to the
extent they have been eliminated). The rest of the world should be damn
grateful and if they're not we should return them to the ancient tyrannies
from which we so recently rescued them. Would serve them right."

Monday, August 27, 2001

Don't Try Henry Kissinger

Chris Hitchens' The Trial of Henry Kissinger is getting a certain amount of play. Based on a two-parter in Harpers (which has no web site to speak of) it suggests that Kissenger be tried for war crimes. See a Salon piece at The Trial of Henry the K.

The arguments in favor of such war crimes trials are the same as verdict the judge delivers at the end of Mel Brooks' film The Producers, "I find the defendants incredibly guilty." No doubt most "war criminals" are incredibly guilty. But guilt is not reason enough to employ a particular legal regime. If it were, then medievil Trial by Torture (of the guiltly) would be as good as any other system.

The problem wiith such trials is that

Zero Tolerance for Duck Sauce


New Jersey throws the book at an innocent schoolboy.

Monday, August 27, 2001 12:01 a.m. EDT

Nine-year-old boy pleads guilty to constructing a "bomb" of soy and duck sauce.

Jason's parents didn't want to put their son through a trial, and they couldn't afford to spend thousands of dollars on a lawyer. Jason's father, Gene Anagnos, says a prosecutor told him the penalty would be more severe if Jason were convicted in a trial than if he pleaded guilty. So in late April he did, and was sentenced to a year's probation and 10 hours of community service.

Never plead in a case like this. If you can't afford a lawyer, do it yourself. Don't give your child a criminal record. And while you're at it, yank him out of governement schools. Very dangerous.

You can use ridicule as easily as a lawyer (even easier). "Making a pun is not a crime." "This is an unconsionable waste of tax dollars." "I gather the District Attorney attended public schools and thus is incapable of reading the languange of the statute."


Thursday, August 02, 2001

I'm grateful to Michael Hardt, co-author with Antonio Negri, of the social satire "Empire" for reminding me of a *very* inconvenient fact that the foes of Media Monopoly hope we'll forget.

On the WBUR (Boston) program "The Connection" after talking about the initial promise of radio as a liberating medium he said:

"The way radio and television have developed have been ways in which democratic voices have been excluded systematically and have been controlled by the forces of capital -- the ones who own these media."


Listen: (quote appears just after 16:00).

What he hopes the rest of the world will forget and Americans will never know is that from the dawn of broadcasting until the last few years almost all of the Earth's radio and television were owned and operated by the various national governments.

Read the history of the pirate radio ship Radio Caroline if you want to see the lengths to which governments went to secure their monopoly:

Radio Caroline History

With all of the different channels into our brains (many of which didn't exist 25 years ago), it is hard to argue that electronic media is less competitive than it was when most of it was controlled by governments.

When I was growing up, three white guys in NYC determined everything 90% of Americans saw on TV. Most towns had no more than two newspapers. Radio was exclusively Top 40 format. Yet, today, with 6 broadcast networks, 1000 newspapers available online, netcasting costing $39.95/month, and hundreds of millions of webpages extant, those commentators who themselves favor monopoly *government* complain that a Media Monopoly exists. There are more media outlets than ever.

Monday, July 30, 2001

From a front page article in the WSJ 30 July 2001:

The major oil companies would love to put the ready cash into developing elephantine oil fields, but few of those remain. With about 90% of the world's oil supply controlled by government-owned entities, publicly traded companies are finding it hard to expand their energy reserves.

Governments control 90% of the earth's oil but all we hear about is the evil oil companies.


Wednesday, July 25, 2001

At 12:54 PM 7/17/01 -0700, Sandy Sandfort wrote:

Though I didn't see what preceded your disquisition on what libertarianism is and isn't was very well thought out and cogent. Having said that, I think your below-the-by-line comments ("Mods vs. Trads") was gratuitous and fell well short of the mark.

Lawrence Auster is a traditionalist writer that attends a monthly chat fest in NYC with Lois and me. The quotes in the piece are his. He was arguing that libertarians have no moral philosophy and I was just pointing out that they weren't expected to, qua libertarians (apart from the non-aggression axiom).

I thought your prior demonstration that there is no generally accepted definition of traditional values that your sparring partner could safely rely on was unarguable. Then, in one paragraph, you proceed to make unsupported (and unsupportable without definitions) distinctions between "Mods" and "Trads."

There's actually quite a bit of evidence that the broad categories differ in "levels of personal satisfaction". John Stossel in "Happiness" got into that quite a bit. Here's a summary written by someone:

Just as one example, I really doubt that fundamentalist Muslims (one flavor of "Trad") are happier, healthier or wealthier than there more westernized counterparts in countries like Lebanon or the US.

Stossel's general point is that people in Western Democracies are happier than people in 3rd World dictatorships but that within Western Democracies Trads are the happiest.

The terms Mods and Trads are my terms of art. Traditionalist is an obvious term so I needed an opposite and used "Moderns" shortened to Mods. This let me get away from political terms like liberal/progressive/conservative etc. which have lost meaning through overuse.

You can broadly separate Mods and Trads by things like church attendance, sexual mores, attitude towards reason, and attitude towards Western Civilization, as well as by self identification. The categories aren't sharp in the middle but at the edges they are pretty clear.

BTW, libertarians are probably psychologically closer to Trads than to Mods because of their strong beliefs (Mods eschew Belief) and their optimism.

One way we can know that Mods are more depressed than Trads is via self-reporting. If you read the fiction produced and read by Mods you find it to be very depressive. Filled with failed love affairs, suicide, existential angst, fin-de-sicle, etc. Think of the classic New Yorker short story. Their non-fiction is also quite depressed. Likewise their songs and movies. On the other hand, Trads produce, read, sing and watch books, music and movies that are much happier, optimistic, and un depressed.

Note that I am speaking in terms of statistical averages and not individuals.

Let me unpack my .sig line:

Mods vs. Trads. Mods are much less likely than Trads to form lasting family relationships,

Can one doubt that promiscuity, divorce, and abandonment are a bigger part of the lives of Mods than Trads? Consider that most homosexuals are Mods and they skew the numbers in and of themselves (as do the Condits, Clintons, and Kennedys).

they kill themselves and others much more frequently,

Certainly suicide seems popular among Mods. Lovers of Sylvia Plath, etc. Most murderers in America are progressives in their voting patterns (90% Democrat voters) and life styles.

they suffer more from drug and substance abuse,

Obviously. Party hearty.

they are more prone to disease,

Because of their life styles they are more likely to live alone and those who live alone suffer more medical problems if only because there's no one to keep an eye on their health. Drink, drugs, and sex are related to increased risk of health problems. Likewise the average lower family incomes and irregular habits, diet, etc.

they even have a higher accident rate,

Because their habits are less regular and they are more likely to be wandering around in circumstances that carry an increased risk of accident. Recall Ted Kennedy's speech at the 1988 DemonCat National Convention. His rap consisted of a series of indictments of George H. W. Bush punctuated by "Where was George?". Republican operative immediately churned out t-shirts reading "Sober, At home, In bed with his wife." Those who practice such habits have a lower accident rate than those who find themselves drunk, out at night in a car with une fille de joi.

they have lower family incomes,

Sloth is a problem here. Also steadiness. Level and quality of education.

their MMPIs are much more jagged,

By definition Mods deviate psychologically and so their MMPIs do too. Here it's not a matter of politics but mental status. One can be a radical and still have a flat MMPI but Mods have a host of adjustment problems that score them poorly. Obviously, a careful study would be required to establish this.

their life expectancy is shorter,

Because of all of the above.

and they score lower on tests designed to show levels of personal happiness or satisfaction. Sounds like a maladaption to me.

Happiness is psychologically related to a sense of personal effectiveness and control. You'd be unhappy too if you felt that life and the world were doomed empty shells and everyone was completely dependent on government action for their survival.

To avoid being poor in today's America, you need do only three simple things. 1) Get a high school diploma, 2) Get married, 3) Get a job. (Any diploma, any marriage, any job.) Only 0.2% of persons who have accomplished all three are poor today. No excuses.
At 11:10 AM 7/25/01 -0400, James B. Kalb 69 wrote:
Left out the most obvious point, that antidiscrimination laws make the proposal to separate marriage and state and turn marriage into a matter of private definition and communal expectation and custom unworkable. Any time anyone recognizes traditional marriage as something special he'll have to do the same for homosexual couplings or violate the law. Libertarians naturally oppose such laws but it's not an issue they make much of or apparently feel strongly about.

We're always getting beaten up for opposing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 et. seq.

I think libertarians do emphasize it. At least I do.

I always point out two things:

1) It's not illegal to discriminate against the protected groups in the protected interactions but such discrimination merely gives rise to civil liability.

2) If such discrimination is wrong and should give rise to civil liability, why not similarly punish those who discriminate against protected groups in the selection of friends or marriage partners?

"I favor discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color sex, age, alienage, previous condition of servitude, recent interstate travel, handicap, sexual or affectional preference, marital status, Vietnam-era veteran status (or lack thereof), occupation, economic status, and anything else I can think of."

Tuesday, July 24, 2001

We'd better hope that strong cypto, cheap telecoms and free markets can provide the organizing basis for a workable society because it is clear that coercion as an organizing principle ain't what it used to be.

My Favorite Webcam

Zermatt (Visibility may vary).

Monday, July 23, 2001

Antiglobalization Activists Are Shifting Focus to Multinational Corporations

Sayeth the WSJ.

"We're going after the root of the problem," Mr. Brune said. "Corporate campaigns are the next frontier -- and definitely it's companies like CitiGroup , Boise Cascade and Exxon that will be seeing this for sure."

Note to demonstrators: Pick corporations headquartered in non Right-to-Carry states only. Armed employees are hard to blockade. See Right to Carry States for a colorful map showing the states to avoid.

As for the speaker's three targets, C seems safe since it is headquartered in (officially) disarmed NYC. Watch it with the other two, however. BCC is headquartered in heavily armed Boise, Idaho and XOM is headquartered in equally heavily armed Irving, Texas.

Maybe they should concentrate on rioting against the Federal Government headquartered as it is in (officially) disarmed Washington, D.C.

"Nuke 'em till they glow then shoot 'em in the dark."
--Courtesy of the National Committee for the Preservation of Antique Right-Wing Slogans.

Wednesday, July 18, 2001


I've been exploring the world of weblogs and here is a summary.

A weblog is a "me-zine" publication which allows anyone to easily publish whatever they want to the Web on a casual or formal basis.

Here's an example:

This is where Dan Gilmour explains what a weblog is:

Weblogs are a unique form, native to the Net. They combine hyperlinks to other material and personal observations. I've been doing a Weblog since October, 1999.

My approach is to post a variety of items -- news and commentary -- on this Web site as they come across my field of vision. These items are typically much shorter than my column in the paper, but they usually include some perspective. I update the page at least once a day, usually more. Weekdays, anyhow -- and when I have time on the weekend.

Here are a four more weblogs:\/mezinecentral/01-04-10/mezinecentral.asp

A few years ago, one would have had to roll one's own HTML to post a weblog or have a web host that allowed one to install and run a CGI/Perl script like NewsPro

Derek and I did this not so long ago.  See and

These days, anyone can easily produce their own weblog without lifting a finger.  You will be unsurprised to learn the miracle is accomplished by software.

The term weblog is sometimes shortened (as if it were not already short enough) to blog and the site will let you instantly start your own weblog.  It can be hosted on their server or yours.  See mine at For now it duplicates my postings (and my personal mailing list) but I will probably transition to run my Blogger generated weblog soon.

So get out there and start publishing your own:



"The world of these books is thin and unsatisfactory, their imagery is derivative, their characterization automatic and their structure deeply flawed," -- Critic Philip Hensher on "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" by J.K. Rowling which finished just one vote behind Seamus Heaney's translation of the Anglo-Saxon epic "Beowulf" in voting for the Whitbread Prize.

Monday, July 16, 2001

Can Libertarians be Moral Traditionalists?

At 05:23 PM 7/13/01 -0400, Lawrence Auster wrote:
Ok, [name withheld], you're upset, traumatized, amazed, horrified by the electronic Sodom that engulfs our cultural environment and is turning the contemporary world into a vision of hell. And there is nothing in your philosophy that can stand against it.

It depends on what [name withheld's] philosophy is. Libertarianism is not a systematic philosophy. It has no Aesthetics, no Theology, no Philosophy of Science or Philosophy of the Mind and its Ethics is strictly limited. It is a political philosophy advocating a particular political arrangement.

Some libertarians have attempted a complete philosophical system but we call them "Objectivists".

Libertarians may, as individuals, possess philosophical tools that will allow them to deal with Mods in all their glory. For example, Christian libertarians can say, "God will punish them for their sins." Libertarians who hold traditional aesthetic philosophies can attack the aesthetics of Mod culture. Persons such as myself can use sarcasm, derision, and irony against Mods.

You must have been talking to too many libertarians. They can never be counted on to know the full implications of their philosophy.

There is nothing in my libertarianism that prevents me from saying that Madonna's first child is a bastard (the bastardy of her second was cured by her subsequent marriage to its father), or that fornication is a sin, or that same-sex marriage is impossible (because of the nature of marriage), or that priestesses in the Christian Church are impossible because Christian sacerdotal magic is a sex-linked characteristic, or that viewing pornography makes adult sexual love hard to achieve, or that a King can be more moral than a Parliament depending on what specific actions those worthies take in life (just like the rest of us), or that grammatically, the male includes the female. In fact, I do say all these things.

Anyone, libertarian or not, can block Mod culture from entering his home (property rights). He can organize proprietary (gated) communities that minimize it. He can join or emulate fundamentalist Christians or Jews in organizing religious communities and parallel economies that refuse to support Mod culture. He can refuse to send our children to slave schools for indoctrination, he can educate them as we see fit to resist Mod culture. Even libertarian children's rights theory permits parents to control children while in custody it merely allows the children to change custodians. Likely to be a rare occurrence with most parents (certainly much rarer than the 90% hand over of children to slave schools for indoctrination in contemporary society).

The people doing these disgusting things are simply enacting the libertarian philosophy. They are pursuing their own self-defined concept of happiness, and they are not, to use your words and those of John Stuart Mill, infringing on the rights and freedoms of others.

Most Mods are not libertarians in that they believe in various invasive government activities. So they can also be attacked by libertarians qua libertarians for their sins of aggression. And these attacks can even be physical depending on exact circumstances.

You say libertarianism is ok with responsibility. What is the source of such responsibility? Whence does it derive its standards? What is there in libertarianism to say that the behaviors you describe should not be allowed? Libertarianism with responsibility is like Communism with a human face, a synthetic attempt to keep alive a false ideology by means of values imported from outside that ideology.

Since libertarianism is merely a political philosophy and obviously not a totalitarian one, those who hold it will hold other values as well. This is inescapable. I can be a White Supremacist or a Black Supremacist or an Integrationist and a libertarian so one would expect a bit of diversity in values.

Without a generally accepted concept of moral order transcending the individual and his wishes, and without the totality of authoritative institutions and habits embodying and transmitting that moral order to the society as a whole and to each individual in it, the society will have no ability to turn back this tide of sickness and evil.

But must those institutions possess a geographic or population monopoly? Can authority be non-authoritarian? Can we not draw boundaries of geodesic relationship (a virtual private network) rather than lines on a map? Can we not join with like-minded men to build traditional institutions without reference to Mod culture?

You are, as I am, deeply offended by such things as Viagra ads on talk radio and vaginal dryness ads during the evening news. (I stopped listening to talk radio largely because of them, after writing several e-mails to Rush and complaining to WABC.)

They've largely cut out the sex ads on WABC BTW.

Now ask yourself, WHY are you offended? You are offended because such ads violate some inchoate sense of the way things ought to be. But that inchoate sense of the way things ought to be is already a glimpse of an inherent nature in things. A traditional society embodies its shared sense of that inherent nature of things in its laws and customs. But a libertarian society, which says the only limit on a person's freedom is a direct violation of another person's freedom, by definition precludes such laws and customs.

Never customs, one is always allowed to have those. And since in a free society one is free to refuse to deal with people of whom you disapprove (say homosexuals), it is easier to maintain traditional customs than in our current society. As for laws, you can certainly have private law that governs your interactions and punishes transgressions (by monetary damages and disfellowship (just like the early Christian church).

If you support the legal imposition of a monopoly authoritative society, you risk that it will be a tradition and authority that you reject (say, socialism). It would be hard to imagine that you could get a majority to outlaw Mod culture in any case. They would be more likely now to outlaw Trad culture (as indeed they are in some cases).

Granted that the development and "sale" of traditional institutions on the open market is challenging, it is not as challenging as establishing a State monopoly of such institutions would be. Religious fundamentalists have proven that they can "grow" Trad institutions even in a Mod culture. To get your State monopoly, you would have to decide exactly what sort of Trad culture you wanted: Divine Right of Kings vs. Swiss Canton vs. Constitutional Republic, etc.; Slavery? yes or no; Serfdom? yes or no; Suffrage? yes or no (if yes who?); State Religion/Religious Test for Public Office? yes or no (if yes which religion?); Married Women's Property Acts? yes or no; Government Schools? yes or no; and so forth. Lots of questions and hard to achieve all the same answers in a particular geographic area. Even plenty of Trads will disagree with whatever proposals you make. You *can* find people who *will* agree with you if you can gather them from amongst a larger population and if you're not counting on gaining a monopoly. Even God eschewed such a monopoly in this world.

When Lois and I were to be married in the new "with it" Episcopal church and were told that we could write our own ceremony, we just handed the priest the 1662 BCP marriage ceremony ttp:// and had him do it straight. As Lord Peter Whimsey said, "I 'have not the gift of continence' and I'm not ashamed to admit it."

Speaking up and organizing, are perfectly valid responses to Mod culture and they can as easily be indulged in by libertarians as by anyone else.


Mods vs. Trads. Mods are much less likely than Trads to form lasting family relationships, they kill themselves and others much more frequently, they suffer more from drug and substance abuse, they are more prone to disease, they even have a higher accident rate, they have lower family incomes, their MMPIs are much more jagged, their life expectancy is shorter, and they score lower on tests designed to show levels of personal happiness or satisfaction. Sounds like a maladaption to me.

Thursday, July 12, 2001

If Womyn and Victims of Color think that it is tough to make it in an advanced capitalist society, they should have tried doing it the way Dead White European Males had to do it -- building an advanced capitalist society out of ancient tyrannies from the ground up stone by stone.

Thursday, July 05, 2001

How to Create a clean Juno Connectoid

Juno is an ISP that started some years ago as a free e-mail service. It currently offers free or low cost e-mail and net access. Its Juno Express system also acts as an ISP for some DSL services as well as the Ricochet wireless network.

When it was purely a free e-mail service, Juno required you to use its software which dialed up its servers and grabbed your e-mail. Since it has expanded its repertoire, it has attempted to maintain some of the same control while using Dial-Up Networking under Windows 9x et seq.

Juno requires you to install its own software (Juno ver. 5.0) to access its service.

Once you install Juno and enter (or generate) your username and password, it attempts to require you to continue to use Juno 5.0 for your net access. Once you have started the program and logged on, you can minimize it but it is always there. The login and logout processes are slowed by the extra software and it may cause the connection to be a little flakier.

What Juno 5.0 does to get you online is to create a temporary dial-up connectoid (with a software-generated username and password) and then to kill it when you exit the program. Since you can't see the properties of a connectoid when it is running, Juno hopes that you won't even notice its existence or find a way to make it persist with the correct username and password.

There is a way to accomplish this but it takes a little playing around.

I haven't tested this procedure on a clean system after I got it to work the first time so it may not be perfect but some version of it will work.

The secret to the process is a great little program called Dial-Up Networking Magic (DUN Magic) which you should already have on your system in any case. DUN Magic lets you copy and export connectoids, something Windows won't let you do.

The examples given are from my Juno Express account using a ricochet modem but the technique should work for any Juno account though some of the connectoid names will be different.

1. Download and install Juno and get your connection to the net working.

2. Download and install DUN Magic
Pay the creators of DUN Magic the $10 they ask for. It's worth it.

Note: DUN Magic is not "run" in the conventional sense. it is used via the My Computer icon/folder.

3. Connect to the net using Juno 5.0. All of the following steps *must* be done while the Juno 5.0 program is running. If you close the Juno 5.0 program, it will close your the temporary connectoid and you will lose it.

4. Open the Dial-Up Networking folder and notice the connectoid (for example Juno Express). At this point, its status will show "Connected".

Note: If no Juno connectoid is visible, perform steps 11-16 below right now. The connectoid will be visible in DUN Magic and cloning a connectoid will make it visible in the ordinary Dial-Up Networking window..

5. Disconnect from the net by right-clicking on the Juno Express connectoid and selecting disconnect. Don't close Juno 5.0 and ignore the blinking dialog box that that program opens when you disconnect.

6. Click on the Juno Express connectoid to examine it. You will probably see your Juno-assigned username (something like in my case) but the password box may be empty. If the box has your password in it, you're in luck. Skip to step 11. Otherwise continue with the next step.

7. Your job is to get Juno to fill the connectoid with the password. The problem is that the connectoid has the "Save password" check box unchecked. Check the "Save password" box and then click the Connect radio button to try to connect to the net. Since the password box is empty, the attempt will fail but the check in the "Check password" box will be saved (since the connectoid thinks that you entered a password of ). Close the connectoid and then re-open it to make sure the check mark stays. Then close the connectoid.

8. Now accept Juno's invitation to reestablish your connection to the net. Juno should fill the empty password box which is now in a "save" state.

9. Disconnect from the net by right-clicking on the Juno Express connectoid and selecting disconnect. Don't close Juno 5.0 and ignore the blinking dialog box that that program opens when you disconnect.

10. Click on the Juno Express connectoid to examine it. You will probably see your Juno-assigned username (something like in my case) and you should now see some asterisks in the password box. Click the Connect radio button to try to connect to the net. If it works, you're set. Now to clone the connectoid.

11. Close the Dial-Up Networking folder.

12. Open your My Computer folder.

13. Highlight the Dial-Up Networking folder by single-clicking it (or whatever).

14. Right-click on the Dial-Up Networking folder and highlight to bring up a new menu.

15. Select Dial-Up Magic, Clone..., and then the Juno connectoid (in my case Juno Express) from the new cascading menus that open. Dial-Up Magic will ask you if you want to clone the connectoid and will tell you the name it will use. Hit yes.

16. Open the Dial-Up Networking folder and notice the two connectoids (for example Juno Express and Juno Express(1)).

17. Close Juno 5.0. The original connectoid will be emptied (though its name may remain).

18. Use the cloned connectoid (for example Juno Express(1)) to connect from now on.

Good luck.