NOTE TO SELF, BASED ON QUAKER TESTIMONIES OF INTEGRITY, SIMPLICITY, PEACE, EQUALITY, AND COMMUNITY:

1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul, and your neighbor as yourself.
2. Do what you say, say what you think, think what is true.
3. Subtract superfluities from your life, speech, desires and thoughts.
4. Don't initiate aggression against the persons or property of others, nor support people who do, including the people who "constitute" the government.
5. Respect life and natural law.
6. All people are endowed by their Creator with equal and inalienable rights to the earth and to the fruits of their own labor, and a "Citizen's Dividend" funded by a "Single Tax" on the unimproved value of land and other natural resources would be the fairest way to protect these rights.

For supporting materials, see the Archive and the Recommended Reading and Videos section at the bottom of this page.

Monday, November 19, 2007

This blog recognized by star blogger Ann Althouse

First Eugene Volokh, now Ann Althouse, a former law professor of mine professing law at the University of Wisconsin whose blog averages as much traffic in one hour as mine has gotten in the last two months. Although her politics generally don't appeal to me -- she typically reaches hawkish and/or socially-liberal conclusions -- I believe her often-voiced claim that, contrary to the many oft-profane accusations from the liberal critics who troll her blog, she doesn't blog with an agenda and that her blog writing is an extension and expression of her pre-law prof life as an artist. Furthermore, the eclectic and generally interesting nature of her writing -- legal topics by her estimate constitute only about 20% of her blogging -- attracts a wide variety of readers and has correspondingly generated in my opinion perhaps the best regular comments section in the blogosphere of which I'm aware, with Volokh Conspiracy and Reason: Hit & Run a close second.

Althouse recently quoted one of my comments on her blog in a post titled "Do you want to be a star in the commentosphere?" This was the quoted comment (in the comments section of this post):

"I don't know about aspiring to be a star, but my blog now mainly consists of a running compendium of my comments on much higher traffic blogs. That way I don't run the risk of spending a lot of time on posts that nobody reads, and I'm basically doing what I'd do anyway. Thanks to Althouse for the idea (in one of her earlier posts) of blogging this way."

Later I made a few anarchic comments in this Althouse post relating to my choice of writing instruments were I appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court (i.e. crayon), culminating in this one, in response to another commenter who had said that ". . . the purpose of the Constitution was to limit the power of government":

"Alas, I'm afraid that in the actual historical context of the Articles of Confederation the purpose of the Constitution was in fact not to limit but to expand the power of government, and to bend it to the will and financial interests of the politically connected. Albert Jay Nock's classic book "Our Enemy, the State" has the lowdown. There's nothing especially admirable about the Constitution. As the great nineteenth century legal scholar Lysander Spooner put it, at the very end of his "No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority", "But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain --- that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist." And that was before the Sixteenth Amendment came along.Now the Declaration of Independence, on the other hand, that was something."

I promote further anarchy on this Althouse thread, where in response to a commenter who had criticized a passage I quoted from Thoreau's Civil Disobedience, I said this:

"Thoreau's words, at least the ones I've quoted from Civil Disobedience, carry "Authority" for me, not because Thoreau said them or because Thoreau lived for a time in a cabin by Walden Pond, but because they're true.You say "'consent' in this context means majority consent to what a government is and does." That is simply wrong, and a recipe for tyrrany [sic]. Did Stalin's USSR have majority consent? Did Hitler's Germany? It would have been hard to tell if you took a poll (fear of the Gulag, etc.), and Hitler at least seemed to enjoy the popular support of his "constituents" for much of his reign. Was a German who had retained his moral sense at that time in history bound to submit his moral sense to that of the "majority"? In America, our system of political campaigning funded by lobbyists and other Big Money interests is a poor, contemptible counterfeit for the will of the majority. In any event, the most important point is that a "majority" doesn't have some magical right to do something that it would be immoral for an individual to do, like steal or murder. Read Lysander Spooner's "No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority." Maybe then you'll have thought about this enough that we could have a meaningful debate."