Month: May 2020

Crisis Thinking: On Property

When there’s a crisis, people tend focus on the present situation and ignore the abstract, regardless of the wisdom of doing so.  This is reason enough for us to do the opposite.  And so I pose for consideration the following question:

Of what use are property rights to a man who has no property?

You’re going to hear this asked a lot going forward.  It’s an important question, and one well-deserving of an answer, but posing it directly risks missing the point of what’s been happening in Minnesota and across the country.  Because there are only two reasonable answers immediately apparent, and neither holds up to scrutiny. (more…)

I Really Don’t Know

Fires are raging in downtowns across the country, and I don’t know what to write.  I really don’t.  You shouldn’t expect reasonable conclusions and easy answers from me, not tonight.

Ever since I was old enough to understand the concept, I’ve been opposed to violence.  I try to never raise my voice in an argument because the moment tempers get out of control, people stop listening.  Human beings don’t accept new concepts very well even at the best of times, and the middle of an argument is a far cry from that.

What’s so very striking here is the mindless destruction, though that can be (more…)

Letter From A Birmingham Jail – Martin Luther King, Jr.

16 April 1963
My Dear Fellow Clergymen:
While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities “unwise and untimely.” Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms. (more…)

The Not Fake News Update, 27 May 2020

Here’s what you might have missed while binge-streaming the Great British Baking Show — or, alternately, putting in 60 hours straight at your essential job:

– Riots in Minneapolis after video of a police officer suffocating a man during an obvious excessive force apprehension goes viral.  Four officers were fired and charges against them are considered likely, but protestors — including some few from the Chicago area — nevertheless paraded, then marched, then lectured, and finally got tear gassed after provoking police.  They wanted headlines; they got me.  Slow news day. (more…)

It’s Not About Me

I keep having to tell myself that:  It’s not about me, I say.  And then fifteen seconds later it becomes about me again.  Pretty silly, isn’t it?

When I go outside wearing a mask, I can’t breathe.  I get light-headed; there’s a tightness in my chest; I get dizzy.  My lungs are going like a bellows in a steel mill and my heart’s like a jackhammer.  It’s called a panic attack, they tell me, though like Paul Vitti I object strongly to that term.  To me, it’s that I’m overheating and can’t get enough air.  That will always be my private interpretation, no matter that my brain tells me otherwise. (more…)

On The Twelfth

We’re having a great debate in this country, and as per usual it’s about the wrong things.

When I say the words “great” and “debate” in this context, I’m being misleading.  It’s more of a drunken argument between ignorance and stupidity somewhat reminiscent of politics and religion over post-Thanksgiving football between (more…)

Fear and Loathing 2020: A Letter To Uncle Joe

I’ve been trying for months, but I’ve been unable to put it into words.  Then, an unusually reasonable exchange on Twitter followed by a timely DNC campaign email crystallized the thought for me.  This is what I sent back to Mr. Biden.  It says what I mean, and how I feel.  I wonder if it might not be close to how you feel.

I know this is (more…)

Welcome To The Monoculture

We’ve achieved corporate feudalism in our lifetimes.  Congratulations.

You must have wanted it.  Otherwise, you wouldn’t have bought it.  Now that your votes don’t matter but money does, we vote with our dollars, and what we buy rules the world.  That’s why our hamburgers are extruded and why they sugar the buns at McDonald’s.

Did you know there was a time when you could get an actually good-tasting burger at McDonald’s?  It had real meat and everything.  Brilliant (more…)