The most improper job of any man, even saints…is bossing around other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity. – J.R.R. Tolkien
I’ve decided to make a few changes in the new year, and figured this was as good a venue as any to explain them; that’s why the Links column appears before “That Was the Week That Was” this time. Actually, it will be that way next week as well, then it won’t be for a few weeks, then it will be again for a few more before finally settling into its normal Sunday slot in March. The reason for this is complicated, but it’s mostly based in my sense of aesthetics and organization. So far, TW3 columns have been numbered by the week of 2012 on which they reported (and after #7, in which they fell). But if I continued the sequence beyond #52, what would the numbers actually mean? Of course they’d represent the actual number of such columns I had done, but in a couple of years that wouldn’t be very useful (quick, which week of which year is column #381?) So I resolved to change the system. When I first established the Links columns last summer I decided to number them by the weeks since the beginning of the blog, 131 as of this week. But take a look at that number; by pure coincidence it also works as a designator for week and year (2013 week 1, see?) So I couldn’t resist using the pattern while it lasts; for the next nine weeks my TW3 columns will bear the numbers previously associated with the Links columns, and the latter will have names so as to avoid repetition. 140 and above break the pattern, so starting in week 10 of this year I’ll change the system again to its permanent configuration, return the absolute week-numbers to the Links columns and never have to mess with it again.
Since I’m a believer in fair exchange, I couldn’t let TW3 steal the Links columns’ number system without giving it something in return, and that is the “this week in blog history” feature. Actually, it makes much more sense here; TW3 is usually overlong and needs editing to bring it under 2000 words, while Links columns tend to be under 500 words and could use the padding. Transferring the feature will thus make my life a little easier and again, please my sense of aesthetics. Furthermore, I’ve decided to shuffle the metaupdates in with the updates in TW3; from now on all items will appear in chronological order of their parent articles, with only new titles out of that sequence at the top.
Speaking of fair exchange, our (only) video today is a 64-second primer on what libertarianism actually means; I’m rather tired of people who imagine that they oppose its principles foolishly attempting to define it by particular (and usually extreme) positions taken by some people who label themselves libertarians, rather than by its true defining principle: the right of each individual to self-ownership. The “definition by cherry-picked planks” approach is as absurd as claiming that there were no progressives before the mid-20th century because all progressives support nationalized medicine. Next time someone tries this, I’m simply going to link back to this column and to “The Philosophy of Liberty” from my resource box, and leave it at that. But just to demonstrate I haven’t lost my sense of humor about it, I’ve also featured one of those “What people think” posters on the topic. This week’s top link contributor was Grace (who supplied everything down to the video), but four others provided two of the links after the video each: Jack Shafer (first and sixth), Mike Siegel (second and third), Radley Balko (fourth and fifth), and Michael Whiteacre (seventh and “book burning”). The eighth arrived via Walter Olson, the ninth via Franklin Harris, “doormat” via Lenore Skenazy, “Godwin’s Law” via Antonio Lorusso and “Spirograph” via EconJeff.
- Single-molecule motor sits on a single-atom bearing.
- I love it when tyrants start feeding on each other.
- Review of state surveillance in 2012.
- At the Mountains of Madness.
- If Athanasius Kircher were alive today he’d be writing about ancient astronauts, homeopathy, conspiracy theories and “sex trafficking”.
- Politician proposes that US government wipe out its debt by minting a trillion-dollar coin and depositing it in the treasury.
- Law professor argues that elected officials should be unencumbered by inconvenient rules designed to rein them in.
- In Macon, Georgia, a known thief, extortionist, sadist and murderer has never been arrested or tried; guess why.
- Neat demonstration of the perils of confusing correlation with causation.
- How Obama decides whether to murder you or just lock you up forever.
- How astronauts could have reached every world out to Jupiter by 1990.
- The “fiscal cliff” deal: $1 in spending cuts for every $41 in tax increases.
- A manufactured non-solution to a manufactured crisis.
- Doormat company makes fun of stupid label warnings.
- Sometimes Nazi analogies are entirely appropriate.
- Book burning, 21st-century style.
- Remember Spirograph? It’s back!
- Spacemen will bring us socialism from the stars!
- An excellent argument against “-isms” and dualistic thinking.
- “Washington is wealthy and getting wealthier, despite history’s slowest recovery in most of the country.”
From the Archives
- The first feeble rays of light are beginning to creep into the brains of those who have always accepted prohibitionism.
- New Orleans took steps against prohibitionism in December of 2010, but undid them in the next few months.
- French politicians aim to create a “more tolerant, inclusive society” by being intolerant and exclusive.
- Pearl-clutching Brits are shocked to discover young women doing exactly what they’ve always done.
- “Doublethink” explains the concept from Orwell’s 1984 and provides real-life examples.
- Here are my previous columns for New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and Twelfth Night.
- For feminists who think only women have unrealistic body-image issues.
- A prediction of the future and collapse of “sex trafficking” hysteria.
- Houston cops and journalists steal Christmas toys from children.
- Los Angeles tries to fight AHF one last time before rolling over.
- New York schemes to turn cab drivers into “sex traffickers”.
- Wonder Woman gives herself a breast self-examination.
- My complicated relationship with January second.
- Short profiles of student sex workers.