Daily Archives: 4 January, 2013

Mars as it may once have been


Note: I dream of Mars several times a year. It’s always a bleak place, of dark shadows and a surface like the upper slopes of Mount Etna. Life, when present, is generally small and exo-skeletal. Otherwise, I often wander through vast cryogenic labyrinths underground, where the power has long since failed and the occupants have become shrivelled husks. I doubt these new pictures will find their way into my dream world – indeed, I like things the way they are – but they are interesting. SIG

The New Joy of Gay Sex


From Free Life, Issue 19, November 1993
ISSN: 0260 5112

The New Joy of Gay Sex
Dr Charles Silverstein and Edmund White
The Gay Men’s Press, London, 1993, 220 pp., £16.95
(ISBN 0 85449 214 3)
Reviewed by Sean Gabb

I did think of turning this review into a plea for the toleration of sexual differences. But where homosexuals are concerned, I suspect I am about a decade too late. I will not claim that they have today no justified grievances. The criminal and civil law of this country embodies a mass of prejudice which ranges from the petty to the viciously destructive. Even so, the argument for removing that prejudice has been largely won in the minds of those who matter. There are very few middle class people left who regard homosexuality as something abominable – as justifying an exclusion that amounts to social death, or even as justifying the slightest legal disability.

Of course, such people do still exist. But they are the despised minority. They are the ones often excluded from polite society. They are even the ones whom this journal may soon be defending from a legal persecution.

This being said, I will deny my readers an unnecessary effusion, and move directly to consider the merits of this book. Continue reading

Briefly in Praise of Edward Gibbon


by Sean Gabb
from 2000

It may have been observed that no issue of Free Life appeared between last October and January. The blame for this lapse is entirely mine, but the reason is Edward Gibbon. I opened the first volume of his Decline and Fall one Sunday afternoon in September, and closed the last volume early in December. During this time, almost every moment not reserved to earning a living or to the cares of married life was given up to reading Gibbon. I read him on railway trains and in the gaps between lectures. I read him in bed and once very furtively in the Church of St Mary le Bow. I read him sometimes with enthusiasm and sometimes with helpless envy. I read him sometimes with impatience. But always I read him in the knowledge that he was the greatest of English historians, and one of the four or five greatest of all historians, and easily one of the greatest of all English writers. Continue reading

Slavery Contracts and Inalienable Rights: A Formulation


by Roderick Long
http://c4ss.org/content/16025

Slavery Contracts and Inalienable Rights: A Formulation

Slavery Contracts and Inalienable Rights: A Formulation was originally published in the Winter 1994-95 issue of Formulations by the Free Nation Foundation, written by Roderick T. Long.

Liberty vs. Self-Ownership?

Libertarianism stands for maximum individual liberty — and thus against any kind of slavery. Yet libertarianism also stands for self-ownership; and what I own, I have a right to sell. Apparently, then, libertarianism countenances the legitimacy of selling oneself into slavery, and enforcing the slavery contract against those who change their minds. Thus it seems that the ideals of self-ownership and sanctity of contract can come into conflict with the ideal of maximum liberty and the rejection of slavery. How can this conflict be resolved? Continue reading

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To be Taken into Consideration


Thoughts on Capital-Based Macroeconomics


by John P. Cochran
http://mises.org/daily/6307/Thoughts-on-CapitalBased-Macroeconomics

Thoughts on Capital-Based Macroeconomics

Part I.

In 1979 the Cato Institute published a collection of Hayek’s post-Nobel-laureate contributions to Austrian monetary theory, policy, and macroeconomics titled, Unemployment and Monetary Policy: Government as Generator of the Business Cycle. The monograph made more available to an American audience material originally published by The Institute of Economic Affairs in London in 1975, including the foreword by Gerald P. O’Driscoll and “A Note on Capital Theory” bySudha R. Shenoy. This volume has been one ofmy favorites and has been a source I have used frequently during nearly 30 years of commentary on Hayek’s business cycle theory.It is good to see others highlight passages from the work as was done most recently in the “Quotation of the Day” posted by Don Boudreaux on November 12, 2012 at Café Hayek. Much of the content or similar content is available in New Studies in Philosophy, Economics and the History of Ideas. For those who prefer an audio rendition of many of Hayek’s arguments during this same period of time my mentor, Fred R. Glahe , has made an audio of Hayek’s lecture given at the Department of Economics of the University of Colorado on April 28th, 1975 available at the Mises Institute web site. The question and answer period with CU-Boulder faculty is quite interesting, especially in the context of the then-emerging stagflation and the breakdown of the Keynesian synthesis that occurred along with and because of the development of the Phelps-Freidman natural unemployment rate theory. Continue reading