Press "Enter" to skip to content

Living Freedom Posts

Monday Miscellany

Here’s a small collection of stuff I’ve picked up or thoughts I’ve thunk during the last week. This might become a regular feature. Or not. 🙂 An astute observer dropped this into the comments on a census post this morning: “Don’t Trust the Census.” Maybe you knew that so-called “confidential” census data was used to round up Japanese-Americans during World War II. Did you know that General Sherman — he of the unpunished “civil” war crimes — used census data in his genocidal march to the sea? The virtues of adversity. I mentioned the heroic Sister Kenny in my recent…

11 Comments

Even kaleidoscope artists are freeing themselves

I’m on a couple of listservs for kaleidoscope builders and collectors. Yes, every tiny interest group has a list these days. In fact, the kaleidoscope world even has its own membership society, which holds regular conventions. As you might guess, it’s been hard times for kaleidoscopes the last few years, as it has for arts and luxuries in general, so the Brewster Kaleidoscope Society has cut its conventions from annual to bi-annual. One of those rare conventions is coming up and people on the lists are talking about whether they’ll be there or not. “Or not” seems to be a…

10 Comments

A question for you: Movies about inspirational people

Somebody asked me yesterday whether I still write movie reviews for the print version of Backwoods Home. Officially, I do (Dave willing). But as a practical matter, I ran out of family-friendly, English-language films of interest to a rural audience a long time ago. P.T., the person who asked the question, hoped I would review biopix of inspiring people — particularly women. Thought that was a great idea. With two reservations. First, most recent biopix (aside from often being about dissolute folk who wouldn’t be welcome on many backwoods homesteads) are just giant mess-blobs. Take movies like “Ray” and “La…

20 Comments

New level of search privacy

Dr. Katherine Albrecht — who is as beautiful as she is intelligent and (I can personally testify) as kind as she is gorgeous* announces via YouTube a new level of search-engine privacy to debut this [now LAST] Thursday. The search engine she represents, StartPage (aka IXQuick in Europe), already bills itself as the world’s most privacy-respecting. This week it adds a proxy service to, “… revolutionize the way people surf the web by allowing completely anonymous access to virtually any page on the web. … We are upping the ante by allowing users to privately visit the websites they find…

Leave a Comment

More on the census and GPS tagging

In today’s earlier post on the census, I mentioned that, starting last year, census workers have been sent out to record the GPS coordinates of every residence in the U.S. Some people were surprised by that. So here are a pair of backgrounders. The first is totally mainstream — an NPR article from 2006 extolling the planned GPS program and mentioning its potentially “life-saving” virtues. (Although it does note, too, that private companies and others would sure like to get their hands on all that juicy data.) The second is a more recent, more speculative, and more alarmist piece from…

13 Comments

The census and the death of civil society

One more reason to resist the census, courtesy of that great thinker and great lady, Wendy McElroy. One way in which civil society breaks down — and social engineering ascends — is by making individuals turn against each other so that the peaceful activities of my neighbor are seen as harmful to me. Most of the current arguments for participation in the American census are based on the idea that my desire for privacy damages society. How? Last year one of my acquaintances was thrilled to get a job doing preliminary census work (e.g. GPS tagging other people’s homes). She…

11 Comments

Money and “The perfect is the enemy of the good”

The other day, I noodled about that famous Voltaire quote. While googling the phrase, I came across series of 14 articles on the Get Rich Slowly site. (The ninth article in the series is “The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good.”) Since avoiding unnecessary debt and financial dependency are among the basics of living free, I thought I’d toss the series to you for a read. It’s filled with solid advice even if you don’t aim to get rich, slowly, quickly, or any other way. In fact, the last article in the series is “It’s more important to be…

5 Comments

“As a Man Thinketh”

This tiny booklet, “As a Man Thinketh,” (free to read online in various formats from various sites) is more than 100 years old. But I’d never heard of it until a nice guy, A.G., pointed me toward it. There are also print versions, including one transcribed especially for women, which A.G. was kind enough to send me. It’s not very big on how-to. But there’s much food for thought there for anybody who wants to change his — or her! — life, starting from the mind outward. (And doesn’t every author dream of having works in print for more than…

6 Comments

“The perfect is the enemy of the good”

Voltaire, a favorite philosopher, said, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” So did Gustave Flaubert. And apparently also Joseph Addison. Plagiarism or just “great minds”? No matter. It’s a fine thought, and I try to remind myself of it when I’m otherwise inclined to say, “Oh, to heck with even trying.” Perfection and procrastination are evil twins. Unfreedom is their kissing cousin. Because we can’t have perfect results, to heck with it; we just won’t bother. This losing game is as true in self-liberation as it is in learning to draw, building a house, running a marathon, or…

5 Comments

Thought for the day: Using our freedom

“To know how to free oneself is nothing; the arduous thing is to know what to do with one’s freedom.” — Andre Gide Wouldn’t exactly say freeing ourselves is “nothing.” But I suspect Gide meant simply that it’s easier to break free than it is to know how to make the best use of the freedom we win. Seems to me that if we envision first how we want to use our freedom, we’ll be more inspired to figure out how to begin.

4 Comments