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.