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A Friday ramble

It’s St. Patrick’s Day. Leave it to the Mises Institute to “celebrate” by reprinting a piece on the causes of the potato famine

I’ve never understood the saying “the luck of the Irish.” The Irish have had total crap luck. Irish history has been one long chain of famines, massacres, attempted genocides, and cruel (religious, economic, and intellectual) suppressions at the hand of the “civilized” English. It’s kind of like saying “the luck of the Jewish.” (And as Aaron Zelman used to remind me, “Imagine being both Irish and Jewish.”)

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I know some people won’t like the current, more artsy character of the blog. And to them I say I’m sorry. But it’s an unfortunately insincere apology, as I don’t plan to change my ways.

Some people think art doesn’t have anything to do with freedom. But art has everything to do with freedom. It’s that thing I’ve been preaching but haven’t always practiced: fighting for freedom may be necessary at times. But if we forget how to live free the most valiant fighting in the world will avail us nothing.

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The shape of your nose is influenced by the climate your ancestors lived in.

Tell us something you didn’t have to waste so much (government?) money concluding.

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Speaking of money … Brad R posted this in comments. But for your bitcoin users, I thought it deserved more prominence. Facial recognition? To use BTC? Can you see the dirty hand of government in here somewhere? Good, if depressing, piece by Wendy McElroy.

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See, I told you that using the Oxford comma was a good idea. Despite what your eighth grade English teacher may have told you, it’s not obsolete after all — as one company just discovered at a potential $10 million cost.

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I’m always skeptical when some celebrity is shown in acts of doggie do-gooding. Is this some just-for-the-cameras thing? Or is it for real? Still, these images of Sir Patrick Stewart and his wife with their new foster pitbull are too adorable to pass up (as jc2k knew when he posted the link in comments the other day).

Why big dogs are better. 🙂

17 Comments

  1. Pat
    Pat March 17, 2017 1:42 pm

    “But it’s an unfortunately insincere apology, as I don’t plan to change my ways.”

    Good for you!

    “It’s that thing I’ve been preaching but haven’t always practiced: fighting for freedom may be necessary at times. But if we forget how to live free the most valiant fighting in the world will avail us nothing.”

    We don’t have to ignore what’s going on in the world, but neither need we suffer from it. This “alt-free” world is ours to enjoy as we choose.

  2. Comrade x
    Comrade x March 17, 2017 2:34 pm

    +1 on not changing your ways.

    On that big dog list; #17 is a dead ringer for my little 10 month old puppy Bones, and he also loves to dance too!

  3. MJR
    MJR March 17, 2017 4:38 pm

    If the great unwashed public actually knew and understood all the trials and tribulations the Irish have endured over the centuries at the hands of the English they would recognize a people who are some of the toughest on the planet. As for Mr. Zelman, I totally understand. My father was orange while my mom was green. It made or some pretty interesting discussions when I was growing up and made me the sh*t disturber that I am today.

    About the apology thing… For those who are not happy with the “new you” there are plenty of other sites on the web. Personally I like the new course that you are charting.

  4. BillT
    BillT March 17, 2017 5:36 pm

    Never apologize it’s a sign of weakness. Besides it’s your blog, I, nor anyone else has any owner rights to it. Plus I too like what you are doing. I think that it is great that you are exploring things that bring you joy, and anyone that has issues with it has problems of their own that need to be addressed.

  5. larryarnold
    larryarnold March 17, 2017 8:03 pm

    Some people think art doesn’t have anything to do with freedom.
    Wrong, they are:
    http://www.nrm.org/2012/10/collections-four-freedoms/
    Writing is only one of the arts that can be used to express freedom.
    Of course, I also had an “art professor” tell me that Rockwell was merely an illustrator, not a real artist.

    Never apologize it’s a sign of weakness.
    Um, no. Sincerely apologizing when I screw up (which isn’t as rare as I’d like it to be) is a sign of strength.
    It’s also quite appropriate to be genuinely sorry when something that is right and necessary for me to do, causes someone else undeserved distress.

  6. Claire
    Claire March 17, 2017 8:16 pm

    “Of course, I also had an “art professor” tell me that Rockwell was merely an illustrator, not a real artist.”

    Funny you’d mention that. I actually had an illustration teacher who faced a class full of young, supposedly sophisticated skeptics and informed us that Normal Rockwell was a real artist, despite whatever artsy snobbery we were inclined to believe. Then she took us to an exhibition of his paintings, walked us from canvas to canvas, and showed us, in detail, exactly what made him great. Our snobbery melted away before Rockwell’s ability.

  7. E. Garrett Perry
    E. Garrett Perry March 18, 2017 2:08 am

    I think the “luck of the Irish” must refer to the fact that, after all that, we’re still around at all. Any less lucky people would have gone the way of the Dacians, even before The Hunger.

    Father was Green, mother was Orange/Jewish. Lemme tell you what, THAT made for an interesting Time Life collection of neuroses growing up!

  8. Patrick
    Patrick March 18, 2017 2:13 am

    Ironically the potato blight originated in America where it’s transmission to Europe devastated all the potato crops. Only the Irish poor however had adopted the monoculture of just growing potatoes. The Welsh, Scottish, English and even French and German peasants all grew a mixture of storable root crops, more for historic reasons than education or wealth.
    In Ireland the absentee landlords, the bulk of whom were actually irish that preferred to live in London, further exacerbated the situation by using rent collectors that had unlimited powers. Incidentally almost all those collectors were irish catholics who didn’t have any compunction about turfing their fellow countrymen into the streets.
    Parliamentary records show that although there were over 120 Irish members of parliament virtually none voted to send relief to the starving even after the scale of the famine became clear to all. It took an english prime minister to do that and he did so without their support.
    There is a lot of myth about the potato famine and it has been unscrupulously exploited by nationalists in the last 60 years.

  9. JF
    JF March 18, 2017 4:24 am

    Best defense I’ve ever read for use of the Oxford/serial comma:

    “I’d like to thank my parents, Mother Teresa and the pope!”

  10. Ron Johnson
    Ron Johnson March 18, 2017 5:11 am

    No apology needed. We are not on earth to advance a political cause, but to live and enjoy life.

    Ironically, the most powerful arguments for social and political change, the ones that turn minds around, are the wordless examples of happy moral people. Live well and spark a revolution.

  11. Shel
    Shel March 18, 2017 9:54 am

    I agree that your apology is appropriate. And I don’t think it’s insincere, because you truly care about others. It would only be a sign of weakness, I believe, if you altered your behavior to deny your basic needs in response to the whims of others, which you’re not doing. And I’m very happy for you.

    I admit my appreciation for art is somewhat limited, for after walking through El Prado some years back, my first words were, “Well, what do we do next?” I’m glad you’ve chosen not to post the paintings on the main blog page, as looking at a haunted woman isn’t an activity that gives me pleasure. If it really bothers me, BTW, that means it’s really well done, and I congratulate you on your successful depiction.

    Green and Orange certainly is a difficult combination at best. Once out of curiosity I looked at some videos on the IRA positions and the Northern Ireland positions, searching for a compromise which was starkly absent. In one of the interviews with Tom Barry on YouTube, he opined that as sure as night follows day and day follows night there will be continued strife so long as the British occupy a portion of Ireland. Part of my own heritage is supposedly Scotch-Irish, but I tend to side with the rebels as I do in our own past fratricidal affair. And Barry certainly couldn’t be expected to feel any other way.

  12. ExpatNJ
    ExpatNJ March 18, 2017 10:40 am

    So, now Climate-Change Propagandists are going after the vain in their quest for world domination?

    “Become a peasant to save the planet, or else your nose is gonna grow to spite your face !”

    BTW, congrats on your artistic talent!

  13. bud
    bud March 19, 2017 12:25 am

    The comments here illustrate the American melting pot, despite the concept being out of fashion. I’m not alone in having Irish-Jewish heritage, although not as much as the previous commentators. My paternal grandmother’s parents left County Sligo for these shores, as did my maternal grandfather’s parents fleeing the pogroms of the Pale. That produced, in me, an admixture of them, plus other immigrants, some all the way back to pre-Revolutionary Virginia. IOW, an American. That’s my luck.

    Aother reason big dogs are better:
    There’s no doubt that the dog stays with you because he (or she) really likes you, because both of you know the dog could make it on his own.

  14. AG
    AG March 19, 2017 2:03 am

    All of daily life is thus hallowed much more greatly by the deft application of art and artfulness. – R. N. Taylor

  15. larryarnold
    larryarnold March 19, 2017 10:49 am

    There’s no doubt that the dog stays with you because he (or she) really likes you, because both of you know the dog could make it on his own.

    Perhaps. This certainly seems to be a meme in disaster movies and “documentaries,” that big dogs would survive EOTW where small ones wouldn’t.
    However, big dog require more food, would have to hunt bigger and potentially more dangerous game, and if feral would compete more directly with humans, Small dogs could subsist on smaller animals, which could very well be more plentiful in a devastated ecology. They can also use smaller hidey-holes.
    Of course my experience is based on cairn terriers I’ve been friends with. They would give just about any size dog a run for its money.

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