Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Road to Serfdom.

It's exciting that the world is so excited about Barack Obama. I'm excited, too. That he achieved the presidency says something good about America.

But the excitement also frightens me. It reinforces the worst impulse of the media and political class: the assumption that all progress comes from Washington. In a free society, with constitutionally limited government, the president would be a mere executive who sees to it that predictable and understandable laws are enforced. But sadly, the prestige and power of the presidency have grown, and liberty has contracted. That is not something to celebrate.

Read the whole thing.

Paris Then and Now: 1900 - 2008.

More here.

Slightly Not Safe for Work True Story.

I try to keep things PG-13 at their raciest here at Diminished Expectations. There are of course exceptions. This is another.

One of my dearest friends...who prefers to remain anonymous..has gone back to school recently to get teaching credentials...presumably as a prelude to corrupting our nations youth and seducing a few cheerleaders. Actually that sounds like a pretty good deal...I think I need to look into this.

Anyway... this friend who shall remain nameless is taking a comparative religion class at the moment and on this particular day they were discussing the Christian tradition of baptism. Some denominations see baptism as unnecessary (the Quakers come to mind). Others require Aspersion the (sprinkling of water on the head) or Affusion (pouring of water over the head). Still others use Submersion or Immersion. Apparently the Eastern Orthodox practice triple immersion (symbolic of death and rebirth into Christ, and as a washing away of sin).

On the day in question the instructor was quizzing the class about the various forms of baptism and finally got round to a lovely female classmate of my friend.

Teacher: "What kind of baptism to the Eastern Orthodox practice?"

Student: "Triple penetration."

After I stopped laughing, I suggested that my friend ask this young lady out. He replied with a certain sadness that she had a fiancee.

"Ah yes" I replied, "but it seems clear that she has unmet needs."

Site of the Day: The Drunk Elephant.

Time and again my evil plans take over the world have been frustrated by a lack of minions, henchmen and miscellaneous hangers on. I blame you my dear readers. I'm very disappointed in you. At this rate I'll never be Emperor.

Time to get with the program. The Drunk Elephant has led the way in signing up as a follower of this blog. Time for you to do the same.

Do You Have a License to Move that Chair?

Rep. Dan Greenberg takes on Arkansas' interior design cartel.

The article is here.

The Madness of Crowds.

Fueled by easy credit, the real-estate market had been rising swiftly for some years. Members of Congress were determined to assure the continuation of that easy credit. Suddenly, the party came to a devastating halt. Defaults multiplied, banks began to fail. Soon the economic troubles spread beyond real estate. Depression stalked the land.

The year was 1836.

The nexus of excess speculation, political mischief, and financial disaster—the same tangle that led to our present economic crisis—has been long and deep. Its nature has changed over the years as Americans have endeavored, with varying success, to learn from the mistakes of the past. But it has always been there, and the commonalities from era to era are stark and stunning. Given the recurrence of these themes over the course of three centuries, there is every reason to believe that similar calamities will beset the system as long as human nature and human action play a role in the workings of markets.

Read the whole thing.

Ten Random, Politically Incorrect Thoughts.

Four years of high-school Latin would dramatically arrest the decline in American education. In particular, such instruction would do more for minority youths than all the ‘role model’ diversity sermons on Harriet Tubman, Malcolm X, Montezuma, and Caesar Chavez put together. Nothing so enriches the vocabulary, so instructs about English grammar and syntax, so creates a discipline of the mind, an elegance of expression, and serves as a gateway to the thinking and values of Western civilization as mastery of a page of Virgil or Livy (except perhaps Sophocles’s Antigone in Greek or Thucydides’ dialogue at Melos). After some 20 years of teaching mostly minority youth Greek, Latin, and ancient history and literature in translation (1984-2004), I came to the unfortunate conclusion that ethnic studies, women studies—indeed, anything “studies”— were perhaps the fruits of some evil plot dreamed up by illiberal white separatists to ensure that poor minority students in the public schools and universities were offered only a third-rate education.

The rest are here.