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August 31, 2005

Song of the Day #380

Song of the Day: Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans?, music by Louis Alter, lyrics by Eddie De Lange, is from the 1947 film, "New Orleans," in which it was sung by Billie Holiday (featured on "The Ultimate Collection"). It has been recorded by many artists. I post it today as a tribute to the people of that great city of jazz, and to all those who are dealing with the horrific tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. Godspeed. Today's selections are from the children of New Orleans. Listen to an audio clip of a live rendition from Satchmo, a soulful version by clarinetist Pete Fountain, and a vocal version by another New Orleans native, Harry Connick, Jr.

August 30, 2005

Song of the Day #379

Song of the Day: I Don't Know Enough About You features the words of singer Peggy Lee and the music of Dave Barbour. It's a 1945 hit that has been revived again and again. Listen to audio clips from Peggy Lee, Russell Malone and Diana Krall (at those links).

August 29, 2005

Mises and China

Asia Times has a news item on "FX Trading" that mentions Mises and the Austrian business cycle theory. In focusing on cyclical phenomena in China, Jack Crooks reports also from Stratfor that "Beijing's inability to control local leaders, coupled with a pervasive culture of corruption and nepotism, has left an indelible taint on the government structure that reaches from the lowest levels to the highest." He tells us that "China, as far as we can see, is a real time test case for validation of von Mises boom-bust credit cycle analysis."

Read the whole article here.

Comments welcome. Cross-posted to the Mises Economics Blog.

Song of the Day #378

Song of the Day: Turn Your Love Around, words and music by Jay Graydon, Steve Lukather, and Jerry Leiber, exhibits that foot tappin' jazz pizzazz in the performance of George Benson. Listen to an audio clip here.

August 28, 2005

Two SOLO HQ Posts

This is just a note to direct Notablog readers to two posts of mine at SOLO HQ. The first post reiterates points I've made many times in the past on the treatment of the subject of homosexuality by Rand and post-Randian writers.

The second post relates to that Dennis C. Hardin essay I referenced in this Notablog post. It just reiterates points made here and here, with regard to the intellectual relationship between Rand and Branden.

Update: Also check out this other post at SOLO HQ, "Hefty Complaint Against Doc," and the discussion thereafter.

Comments welcome, but readers might wish to join in on the SOLO HQ discussion.

Song of the Day #377

Song of the Day: Throb features words and music by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and Janet Jackson. Granted... there really aren't many lyrics and the song is minimalist. But it scorches the dance floor. From the album "Janet" (Miss Jackson, if you're nasty...), listen to an audio clip here.

August 27, 2005

"Lost Liberty" on "Nightline"

Friday night's "Nightline" broadcast opened with a special segment on the "Lost Liberty Hotel," an effort by Logan Darrow Clements to use the power of eminent domain to condemn the New Hampshire property of Supreme Court Justice David Souter for uses that would provide a greater "benefit" to the community. (Souter voted with the 5-4 majority in the infamous Kelo decision.)

I must admit it was hilarious to see Clements with a very visible copy of Atlas Shrugged on the ABC broadcast, which he inscribed:

Dear Mr. Souter: A story about the importance of property rights. Enjoy!
Logan Darrow Clements

Talk about milking the inner contradictions of the system to prove a point.

Taking a look at Souter's property... I can understand why anyone would want it condemned. Are the taxpayers not paying Souter a good enough salary? Can't he afford a paint job for that house?

Comments welcome.

Song of the Day #376

Song of the Day: Just Friends, music by John Klenner, lyrics by Sam Lewis, has been performed by many artists, starting with Red McKenzie in 1931. Listen to audio clips of versions by Russ Columbo, Bobby Darin, Frank Sinatra, Joe Pass, Helen Merrill with Stan Getz, and Stan Getz with Chet Baker.

August 26, 2005

The Rose Petal Assumption

Back in July, when volatile discussions of James S. Valliant's book The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics were proceeding on a number of forums, Dennis C. Hardin at SOLO HQ made the following point, after a long, rather critical, dialogue in response to my own engagement at Notablog with Valliant:

Nathaniel Branden said the following a while back:
About ten years ago, I came across a saying from the Talmud that impressed me profoundly. I have not been able to stop thinking about it. ... The line that so impressed me was: "A hero is one who knows how to make a friend out of an enemy." ...
I will acknowledge that Chris has shown the true meaning of heroism in the sense described.

Well, given my long history of engagement with adversaries on all ends of the political and intellectual spectrum, I have always responded positively to that Branden-uttered line. But there seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding that phrase and its various applications. Dennis himself has brought up the issue again in a recent SOLO HQ essay entitled "Nathaniel Branden vs. Ayn Rand on Morality," which has sparked another volatile discussion. As Dennis makes clear: "Branden made this comment in the context of discussing David Kelley’s decision to address a libertarian group ... It is clear that Branden was using this quote to express his admiration for Kelley’s decision, because Kelley saw that 'libertarians often supported their position with aspects of [Ayn Rand’s] philosophy, without necessarily subscribing to the total of Objectivism.'"

It's not my desire to re-open that tired, old thread over the appropriateness of speaking before libertarian groups; it depends on the group, of course, but I'd be the last one to object in principle, since I consider myself a (small-l) libertarian, and I have always believed that Rand herself was, in the sphere of politics, a (small-l) libertarian—for the same reason she was an "egoist" in ethics, despite sharing that label with Nietzsche and Stirner, for example, to whom she was profoundly opposed. (I have discussed these issues many times; see here, which, for nonmembers of the Branden Yahoo group, is referenced here; also see here.)

What I'd like to focus on, however, is that Talmudic expression. I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a Talmudic scholar or rabbi, though I've read the Bible from cover-to-cover. I do like what Adam Reed says here:

I looked up "A hero is one who knows how to make a friend out of an enemy" in the Talmud. I would have translated it as "A hero is one who knows how to make a friend out of an opponent," because it is in the context of "makhlokhet l'shem shamaim," which in the context of the quote means "conflict between good and good." I suppose that Ayn Rand may have known of it, because in the social context that is what her heroes wind up doing. Kira turns opponent Andrei to her side, eventually. Roark turns "enemies" Dominique, and in a sense Wynand, to his. Francisco turns Rearden, and Galt turns Dagny.

Whatever the precise translation of the statement, it has had some personal significance for me. I cite it in a recent interview conducted by Sunni Maravillosa at Sunni's Salon. On this page and this page of the interview, I state the following:

I guess I've always operated also on what I call the "rose petal assumption." A friend of mine once observed that I was the kind of person who would find the one rose petal in a pile of manure. Instead of calling the whole thing crap, I'm busying myself searching for that rose petal, and sometimes getting pretty dirty in the process. But, the truth is, I do try to look for the good in people, even in my critics; I try to appeal to the best in everybody. Perhaps I would like to embody that Talmudic expression that Nathaniel Branden has often highlighted in his work: "A hero is one who knows how to make a friend out of an enemy."
This strategy, however, which is built into my very soul, as it were, does not always work. Some people are just constitutionally nasty and mean-spirited and it doesn't matter how many nonviolent responses one authors. It never makes a dent. I usually give such people three strikes. I mean, it is possible that in the rough and tumble of give-and-take on any particular discussion forum that a person might occasionally lose their temper in an exchange, perhaps once or twice. But beyond that, I've learned not to be somebody's punching bag. I've gotten better at drawing and re-drawing that "line between valid criticism and a crank's ranting," as you put it. Most of all, I've learned to stop tolerating rudeness. I am willing to engage anybody on any issue, but the moment my interlocutor treats me with ridicule or rudeness or disrespect, I stop the discussion and refuse to enable or sanction such behavior. I have also noticed that when people engage in rude and disrespectful exchanges, the topic of the discussion soon shifts from a debate over substance to a debate over style.
I know that in the cyber-universe and in the blogosphere, in particular, it's not just pro-freedom individuals who are loose canons in this regard. I've seen that same level of negativity, anger, fear, and hatred on display on left-wing forums as well. As for those in our own ideological home being unable to deal with criticism in a constructive way, I can only say that there is only one way to create a civil discussion: acting with civility. There is simply no substitute for actually practicing the very virtues one claims to celebrate. ...

I then draw a distinction between Rand's practice and my own:

Rand ... often speeds to the bottom line of a judgment on, say, a particular philosopher, which seems to sweep away any and all complexities in that thinker's corpus. So, while I'm more apt to look for the rose petal, Rand is busy taking the hose to the manure. And that function is needed. But it's not easy to reach people working in other traditions if one always approaches them with the hose. Or the sledgehammer.

Now, let's just explore these themes a bit more.

The phrase—"A hero is one who knows how to make a friend out of an enemy" or an "opponent"—has particular application to the context of civil and voluntary discourse and social relations. It has no applicability once the line has been crossed into incivility and coercion, especially coercion. Branden himself makes the point in a recent interview with Alec Mouhibian in The Free Radical. When the person you are engaging is quite clearly a "mad animal," such as a terrorist suicide bomber, the very last thing you should be doing is trying to turn that person into a "friend." As Branden puts it: "There’s nothing you can do except shoot him. ... [I]n action, one kills them, rather than getting killed by them."

As one who has spent some time trying to situate the whole post-9/11 world in a wider context that takes account of the evolution and structure of U.S. foreign policy, I have frequently made a very clear distinction between "explanation" and "justification." One can look to the past history of U.S. involvement in the Middle East as one factor in the modern development of fanatical Islamic fundamentalism; but an explanation of its development, or even of its goals, is not the same as a moral justification for the actions of those particular Islamic terrorists who killed nearly 3,000 civilians on September 11, 2001.

There is only one appropriate response to those who have destroyed life, liberty, and property: Justice. And justice demands that one act in self-defense against those who violate individual rights.

Quite clearly, then, the Talmudic expression applies to genuinely human social relations. It is not a pact of appeasement between those who live according to human standards and those who adopt the barbarism of the jungle.

The Rose Petal Assumption has allowed me to reach out to my critics and my intellectual adversaries in a spirit of rational, civil engagement. It is not a license or a sanction for rudeness or ridicule. It is not a license or a sanction for the violation of individual rights. Those who are rude are not entitled to civility; in my view, they're not even entitled to a reply, except perhaps "But I don't think of you." And those who violate rights are not entitled to the sanction of those whose rights have been violated.

Comments welcome.

Song of the Day #375

Song of the Day: Pent-up House (audio clip at that link) is a Sonny Rollins jazz composition. It has been played by many musicians; among my favorite versions is one featuring two great jazz violinists: Jean-Luc Ponty and Stephane Grappelli. These two actually recorded the composition live for "Violin-Summit" (it was also included on their "Giants" disc). An audio clip of a solo Grappelli effort is here.

August 25, 2005

Song of the Day #374

Song of the Day: At Last features the music of Harry Warren and the lyrics of Mack Gordon. Today, one hears it during a cat food commercial. But it has been recorded by many artists, including Glenn Miller, Celine Dion, and, of course, Etta James (audio clips at those links).

August 24, 2005

Song of the Day #373

Song of the Day: Jump, Jive, an' Wail is a classic Louis Prima composition, which was also recorded by the Brian Setzer Orchestra (audio clip at that link). But nothing compares to the Prima version (audio clip here). The master passed away on this date in 1978, but his music lives on and on...

August 23, 2005

Song of the Day #372

Song of the Day: R&B Junkie is credited to Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Janet Jackson, Tony "Prof. T" Tolbert, and the writers of "I'm in Love" (because it samples from that great Evelyn "Champagne" King track). Performed by Janet Jackson, it has all the groove of the Kashif song, with a little Jam & Lewis magic. Listen to an audio clip here.

August 22, 2005

Dualism: A Difference With Distinction

The chat continues between Geoffrey Allan Plauche, Billy Beck, and me. Billy had originally questioned the very use of the word "dualism" to describe what he believes is mere "difference." He writes here:

What's with all this "dualism"? I'd wondered how they (Chris Sciabarra and Plauche) were using the term, starting with a review of Anaxagorean split of mind and matter. No; I conclude that they're talking about little more than definitions. In his fifth paragraph, Plauche recaps relations among various "monopolistic institution[s]" (what Plauche correctly spikes as Rand's "definition" in his third paragraph), but all this is really only different arrangements of the same basic thing. It's not about "types"; it's about the degree of application of the basic thing. Now; if we want to call it "dualism" to properly identify two different things and scrupulously discriminate between them, then I guess it's okay, but everybody should bear in mind that that's what it means.

Billy takes it one step further with these comments here:

On "dualism": Geoffrey says (quoting Chris Sciabarra, I'm pretty sure, but I think he missed the opening punctuation) that it is "an orientation toward analysis by separation of a system's components into two spheres." He continues diligently and you should go read it. I do understand that technical philosophy—not cracker-barrel jaw-boning—must keep certain standards of concept and referent that are generally alien around the cracker-barrel, but I cannot understand why the plainly simple concept of "difference" would not suffice: it is what it is (which is: understanding that a thing—material, conceptual, whatever: the referent at issue—is not what it ain't and cannot be substituted for with what it ain't), and I, for one, don't see a call for Rube Goldberging structures around "methodologies" when the Law of Identity not only works, but should be endorsed as effective at every turn throughout this currently advancing Endarkenment. K.I.S.S., fellas.

Anticipating the distinction between mere "difference" and "dualism," Geoffrey answers a query from John T. Kennedy, who asks: "Is the True/False dichotomy an example of dualism?" Geoffrey writes:

Nope. Not every dichotomy is a false dichotomy, and often it depends on the context. However, a dualist methodology encourages the creation and/or acceptance of false dichotomies. ... I should add that a dualist methodology will tend to lead one to drop or overlook at least part of the full context of a given phenomenon which will make it difficult if not impossible to identify and analyze it correctly, and failing to identify and analyze the phenomenon correctly will tend to result in any subsequent action/policy/solution being at least partially incorrect.

Everything that Geoffrey says here is accurate, from my perspective.

Let's backtrack a bit to clarify why we need the concept "dualism," rather than the concept "difference" to describe what are essentially "false alternatives."

In the above post, Billy mentions the Law of Identity. Let us recall Aristotle's first formulation of the law of noncontradiction (noncontradiction, excluded middle, and identity, being the first laws of logic):

[T]he most certain principle of all is that regarding which it is impossible to be mistaken. ... It is, that the same attribute cannot at the same time belong and not belong to the same subject in the same respect ... It is for this reason that all who are carrying out a demonstration refer it to this as an ultimate belief; for this is naturally the starting-point even for all the other axioms. (Metaphysics 4.3.1005b17-33)

In essence, Aristotle is telling us that A cannot be A and not-A, at the same time and in the same sense. That's a crucial italicized proviso, especially for those who seek to deny the law by introducing a temporal element or by viewing A from a different perspective or relationship, and who declare that A is somehow "different" than what it is, that A is not-A.

Well, we can and should accept this fundamental law. And since Aristotle presents the law as both a law of being and a law of thought, that is, as both an "ontological" and a "logical" principle, it is clear that identity implies "difference," and that there is a "difference" therefore between "A" and "not-A."

But there are "different" kinds of "difference." There are certain differences that are differences within a unity; Aristotle called some of these "correlatives." Such differences must be viewed in their indissoluble relationships; any attempt to create a mutual exclusivity between such terms does violence to the meaning of each, since the definition of each depends upon its relationship to the other. Here is Aristotle again:

For example, if a slave is spoken of in relation to a master, then, when everything accidental to a master is stripped off—like being a biped, capable of knowledge, a man—and there is left only being a master, a slave will always be spoken of in relation to that. For a slave is called slave of a master. (Categories 12.7.7a35-39)

So, it is not good enough to say that there is a "difference" between master and slave, as if these are simply in "logical" contradiction to one another. Strictly speaking, in actuality, they are not logical opposites, like "true" and "false," but relational opposites. G. W. F. Hegel would pick up on this theme in later years, in his own discussion of "master" and "slave," which Robert Heilbroner has rendered into more understandable English than anything Hegel ever wrote:

[T]he point is that a Master is a being who can only be defined or described by using a concept that is its meaningful opposite or negation. Without Servants there are no Masters, and vice versa. ... The logical contradiction (or "opposite" or "negation") of a Master is not a Slave, but a "non-Master," which may or may not be a slave. But the relational opposite of a Master is indeed a Slave, for it is only by reference to this second "excluded" term that the first is defined.

This principle actually has revolutionary political implications that have been noted variously by thinkers as diverse as Hegel, Karl Marx, and Ayn Rand: The revolution consists not in a Slave becoming a Master or a Master becoming a Slave, but in stepping outside this whole relational dynamic. Rand understood, for example, that the independent individual is one who is neither master nor slave, one who neither demands nor provides sacrifices.

In Randian language, the fallacy of dualism is, in essence, the fallacy of "false alternatives." It might be said that a dualist looks at all distinctions as if they are logical opposites, rather than relational opposites. This has the effect of rigidifying all opposites as if they are stark "black-and-white" choices, rather than relations within a unity or terms or philosophic stances united by some common (false) premise. The dualist sees mind and body as fundamentally opposed, for example, rather than as part of some organic unity. The oppositions that emerge from this dichotomy are legion:

mind-body
ideal-material
reason-emotion
fact-value
moral-practical
theory-practice

... and so on ...

Now, in the history of philosophy those who adopt methodological "monism" do so as a way of resolving the "false alternatives" that have been posited by dualists. But these "monistic" solutions don't seek some "fuller context" within which to understand false alternatives; rather, they simply emphasize one pole of a duality to the detriment of the other pole, and the dominant pole becomes the means of "resolving" the dualism. That's the methodological pretext at work in the oppositions that one finds between

Materialism and Idealism
Intrinsicism (or what was known as "classical objectivism") and Subjectivism
Rationalism and Empiricism

... and so on ...

So, to repeat: "Dualism" is used to describe a specific kind of difference.

Now let's remember that dialectics is the "art of context-keeping." When I speak of a "dialectical" resolution of a false alternative, I am speaking of one that highlights the larger context within which to understand oppositions that are, in fact, relational, rather than logical. That's why it is an obscenity when conventional defenders and critics of dialectical method have attacked its relationship to the law of noncontradiction. As I put it in my book, Total Freedom (I have dropped the footnotes and references for now):

All concepts of method presume the validity of logic. We cannot even think about the world without adhering to the fundamentals of logic, which are as much about being as they are about knowing. Logic is "the fundamental concept of method," a tool of objectivity upon which the theoretical and applied sciences depend. Objectivity entails a recognition of the fact that we can only acquire knowledge of reality by means of reason in accordance with the rules of noncontradictory identification.
One implication of this caveat is that dialectics, as an orientation, is not in opposition to logic, but rather is a fundamental complement to logic, and, as such, cannot correctly be said either to undermine or to "transcend" logic. The widespread failure to grasp this fact has resulted in the irony that dialectics has been as seriously jeopardized by some of those who have sought to preserve and extend it as by those who have endeavored to destroy it. Those so-called dialectical theorists who champion dialectics as "superior to" logic fail to appreciate logic as the foundation of knowledge, an undeniable constituent of all concepts of method. Those who refer to dialectics as being "transcendent of" the axiomatic laws of noncontradiction, excluded middle, and identity are thus speaking nonsense every bit as much as those who claim that dialectics is destructive of those laws. Defending the rightful status of dialectics as a methodological or research orientation is thus made doubly difficult, because those most in need of keeping logic foundational to their dialectical inquiries do not think they need to, while those most capable of showing that logic is foundational to dialectics think that dialectics is antithetical to logic. Logic and dialectics are mutually implied: just as logic is the art of noncontradictory identification, dialectics is the art of context-keeping, and both arts entail various techniques for achieving these mutually reinforcing goals.

How all of this relates to the debate between libertarian anarchists and minarchists is discussed in my book Total Freedom. Since this whole discussion between Geoffrey, Billy, and me began with the question of anarchism, I'll relate these thoughts to that debate.

I think one of the fundamental questions one must ask, and answer, is this: Is the distinction between "market" and "state" a logical one or a relational one? Is there some sense in which it is both logical and relational? I think anarchists and minarchists provide different answers to these questions.

I think on one level, there is clearly a logical difference between the "market" and the "state" insofar as these institutions rely upon fundamentally different principles of organization. The former is based on voluntary exchange, the latter relies upon the initiation of the use of force.

But, on another level, for me, the really interesting questions focus our attention on the historical relationship between markets and states. Here is how I put it in my discussion of the work of Murray Rothbard in Part Two of Total Freedom:

Rothbard's persistent description of the state as an "external" intrusion, however, obscures the "multiplier effect" of state interventionism. Since each intervention engenders another, having multiple, and often unforeseen, social and historical consequences, it seems extremely difficult, if not impossible, causally to trace every consequence to either the market or the state. No theorist has such an omniscient view of social evolution. Though logic suggests that predation is a parasite upon production, evolution entails reciprocal patterns of development. The state may depend upon social production for its survival, but it sets the parameters within which social production has functioned. Indeed, the historical development of the interventionist economy has so deeply affected every social practice that it may be impossible to separate market and state influences cleanly. Each sphere is in a dynamic interrelationship with the other. Each sphere permeates the other. And if the very existence of the state constitutes "intervention," as anarchists claim, then the market has always existed within the parameters of state involvement. This includes a statist legal structure that defines the very form of property relations in a way that differs significantly from Rothbard's quasi-Lockean theory of "just acquisition." Will not the market continue to reproduce the injustices of state-influenced property distributions? Moreover, if individuals exist in a concrete historical context, and this context has always been tainted by "coercive" elements, how is it possible to create an accurate balance sheet by which to evaluate who is a producer and who is a parasite?

I concretize this abstract discussion by reference to an historical concrete:

These rigid distinctions create problems for individuals living in today's world. R. W. Bradford conceptualizes the difficulty, in a discussion of the Randian argument that those who receive benefits from government or who take public jobs are "morally justified" only if they regard these as "restitution," while those who advocate for such benefits "have no right to them." As the public sector crowds out the private sector, it is self-defeating for libertarians to become martyrs, while ceding to the profiteers of statism all the alleged benefits of the system. Rand’s only warning to prospective public sector employees is that they ought not to take jobs that bolster statism ideologically or that require the enforcement of "improper" laws, i.e., laws that violate individual rights per se. Like Rand, Rothbard argues that in a state-run world one should "work and agitate in behalf of liberty," "refuse to add to [the world's] statism," and "refuse absolutely to participate in State activities that are immoral and criminal per se." When one realizes that, for Rothbard, the very existence of the state is criminal, one begins to grasp the significant problems. For as Bradford observes, it is often difficult to evaluate the propriety of jobs or benefits—public or private—under statism. Recalling the Ruby Ridge conflict, he reasons: "Sure, it’s easy to see that, say, the FBI murder of Vicki Weaver while she held her baby in her arms in the doorway of her home is an 'improper' function of government." But he wonders:
. . . what about the secretary who helps the FBI agent, who killed Mrs. Weaver, with his paperwork? Is his job also improper? What about the cook in the FBI cafeteria? Is his? And what about the person who hauls the trash from the FBI headquarters? Does it make a difference if the trash hauler or the cook work for a private firm that contracts with the FBI? I suspect that Rand, and most libertarians, would reply that these tasks are peripheral to the murder of Mrs. Weaver, and that the person who prepared the FBI agent’s lunch is not acting improperly. . . . But this doesn’t really answer the question of where exactly the boundary between proper and improper action lies.
Bradford emphasizes that, while the inner contradictions and crimes perpetuated by statism are omnipresent, our evaluation of moral action in that context requires a precise understanding of the particular conditions within which a given person acts. One can only determine the propriety of an action by factoring into one's evaluation such important issues as people's knowledge of the situation, their causal distance from the crime committed, the enormity of the crime, and the mitigating circumstances. Without taking these important qualifications into account, libertarians might gain "credibility" for adhering strictly to their own principles. But such adherence translates into a rationalistic application of dogma that comes "at the price of human suffering."

There is a lot to digest in this post. But I do believe that this whole discussion of "dualism" is not simply a floating abstraction on the level of what Billy calls "terminographologicality." It is a discussion that has real social and political implications. How we organize the data of our world will affect the strategies we adopt when we attempt to change that world fundamentally.

Comments welcome.

Song of the Day #371

Song of the Day: I'm in Love, music and lyrics by Kashif Saleem (born Michael Jones) and Nicholas Trevisick, is one of Evelyn "Champagne" King's best. Listen to an audio clip here.

August 21, 2005

Song of the Day #370

Song of the Day: Meditation from Thais is a theme composed by Jules Massenet from the opera "Thais." I first heard this as a 78 r.p.m. recording by violinist Fritz Kreisler, and fell in love with it. Listen to an audio clip here of this wonderful melody played by violinist Maxim Vengerov.

August 20, 2005

Anarchy and Dualism, Revisited

Geoffrey Allan Plauche over at Libertas revisits the subject of "Anarchy and Dualism" (which we'd discussed briefly here and here), mostly in response to a post by Billy Beck over at Two--Four.

Geoffrey discusses the fallacy of dualism, which I highlight in my own book Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism. What is of interest to me is that even though I have viewed anarchists as creating a dualism between market and state, they themselves view the state as the source of social dualisms and conflict. One might say that they are motivated by a desire to resolve the very dualisms in social life that even nonanarchists decry. (I have argued that the anarchist resolution is not dialectical, but that's a separate issue.)

In any event, check out the relevant links above for some interesting discussion.

Comments welcome.

Song of the Day #369

Song of the Day: Lovin' is Really My Game, words and music by B. Woods and T. Womack, was first recorded by the group Brainstorm (audio clip at that link). Belita Woods, who was one of the song's accredited writers, and who spent some time with George Clinton and P-Funk (Parliament-Funkadelic), provides the rousing hi-energy vocals on the track. It was also recorded by Ann Nesby and by Sylvester (the audio clip is linked mistakenly at "Take Me to Heaven").

August 19, 2005

The Brooklyn Egg Cream

I posted some follow-up at SOLO on that 10th Anniversary Thread. In that post, I mentioned the Classic Brooklyn Egg Cream, in my attempts to explain what I meant by "seltzer" (my drink of choice):

Seltzer is seltzer-water, or carbonated water, or soda-water. It's like club soda (without the sodium) or mineral water (without the minerals). I add this explanation because anytime I've traveled out of the NYC area, and I order Seltzer, some waiter or waitress thinks I mean "Alka-Seltzer" or "Bromo-Seltzer" for the tummy. But seltzer is a classic New York drink. You can even make Egg Creams with seltzer. (I'd add another footnote to this footnote, but that's not standard academic practice. Suffice it to say: Egg Creams do not include Eggs or Cream. See here for instructions on how to make a classic New York Egg Cream. Also see here. And yes, we have real seltzer water delivered to our home in Brooklyn.)

All I can say is: If you've never had a Brooklyn Egg Cream, you've never had a refreshing drink! There are all sorts of debates as to how to make it. The ingredients are simple: syrup (chocolate, but some heretics use vanilla), milk, and seltzer. Some add the milk and seltzer first and stir in the chocolate syrup; some add seltzer and chocolate syrup first and stir in the milk.

But I love the original Brooklyn Egg Cream. Some insist this is the Bronx Egg Cream and that the Brooklyn Egg Cream starts with seltzer and milk, instead of chocolate syrup.

But this is the recipe I learned, growing up in Brooklyn:

Begin with chocolate syrup; in a tall 8 oz. glass (glass is the only way to go!), add about 3/4 of an inch-to-an inch of syrup; then another inch or so of milk; then add seltzer from a Seltzer Bottle (only resort to a newly-opened can of seltzer if you're desperate).

And there you have it: The Classic Brooklyn Egg Cream, with a nice thick white foam at the top, and a delicious carbonated beverage that will quench your thirst. Great for the "Dog Days" of August.

Comments welcome.

Song of the Day #368

Song of the Day: Love Insurance, words and music by S. Plotnicki and E. Rubin, was performed by the group Front Page, featuring the late Sharon Redd. Listen to an audio clip of this rare, energetic, musical disco classic here.

August 18, 2005

My Interview at Sunni's Salon

The tenth anniversary celebrations continue this afternoon with the publication of my interview at Sunni's Salon. I have known Sunni Maravillosa for a long time, and she's a total sweetheart. Her interview of me is comprehensive, wide-ranging, sometimes intimate, and always entertaining.

The 8-page interview starts here.

Comments welcome.

Ten Years After, Take 2

On this date, ten years ago, my book Marx, Hayek, and Utopia was published by the State University of New York Press. The book is near and dear to my heart because it was the very first book I ever wrote, a derivative of my doctoral dissertation that became the first installment of my "Dialectics and Liberty Trilogy." As I stated in my "Ten Years After" article:

Marx, Hayek, and Utopia was first accepted for publication in 1989 by a West German publishing house, Philosophia Verlag, which eventually went bankrupt. I took back the rights to the book and eventually secured a contract with the State University of New York Press, which published it as part of its series on the Philosophy of the Social Sciences. By the time it appeared in the same August 1995 week as my second book, Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical, Germany had become a united country.

Reminiscing about all this, ten years after, I have posted several times this past week at SOLO HQ. (Readers can follow that discussion here, here, and here.)

Today, in fact, at SOLO HQ, Edward W. Younkins publishes a version of an earlier review he did of my book Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism. He mentions in his review that while I offer an interpretive, methodological, and historical discussion, I don't offer my own substantive "dialectical-libertarian" social theory. Here, I make two brief points in response:

1. It is true that I didn't develop a formal "Sciabarraian" dialectical social theory in my trilogy, but there is an implicit parallel of sorts, between my own work and the work of somebody like Isaiah Berlin. Now, I'm not comparing myself to Berlin (some love him, some hate him) or to Berlin's history of voluminous writing. Moreover, I disagree with a lot of what Berlin has written.
But something of Berlin's "approach" was imparted to me through my Marxist mentor Bertell Ollman, who was himself taught by Berlin. One of the things I learned was that if I wanted to do intellectual history, I could express my own substantive views through my interpretation of the views of others. While my trilogy does not offer a substantive social theory, it is interpretive, methodological, and historical, and one can glean where I stand by the enthusiasm that I bring to my reconstruction of [, for example,] Rand's "tri-level model" (in Part Three of Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical) and of Rothbard's "structural" critique (discussed in Chapter 7 of Total Freedom).
2. I think of my own essays on domestic and foreign policy as applications of the tri-level Randian model that I discuss in Russian Radical, and that I endorse, while being fully cognizant of important insights from other theorists as well (including Menger, Mises, Hayek, and Rothbard). Some day, when I finish a whole host of planned articles, I hope to return to the enunciation of a more formal "Sciabarraian" social theory. But before I can do that, I need to work on a much more accessible exposition of dialectical method. Though I defend my own ability to speak "Polish," as Linz has put it (that is, to situate myself in some very technical contemporary debates on methodology), I also believe that the time is ripe for extended essays on "The Art of Context-Keeping"—essays that not only present "Dialectics for Dummies" (so-to-speak), but that integrate and illustrate the concrete practice of the art.

Here, I have more to say not only about this issue of speaking "Polish," that is, of speaking a technical language in books that are aimed at a technical audience (at least partially), but also about the larger issue of civility in public discourse:

I, personally, have engaged in what I view as very strong criticisms of other's works. Take a look at my critique of James Valliant's book, for example. I'm not going to re-open the substance of that debate on this thread. But if I'd called Valliant a "maggot" because I disagreed with him, what would it have achieved? We would have spent hours upon hours upon hours debating the style of my essay, rather than its substance.
An interview conducted by Sunni Maravillosa goes up later today where I expand on these themes. I'll post the link later. But as I say there, "when people engage in rude and disrespectful exchanges, the topic of the discussion soon shifts from a debate over substance to a debate over style."
Now, I'll admit that Linz has a nice Goldwater-tinged maxim in his essay from yesterday:
"Civility in the face of evil is no virtue; rage in the face of nihilism is no vice.
People who have seen me post to SOLO HQ have surely seen that I get passionate about many issues. Take a look at former discussions here of everything from homosexuality to foreign policy. But there comes a point where I move on. Just because I have serious disagreements with somebody does not mean that I have to revel in that topic for eons, spewing the newest, freshest insults I could come up with. That's just not me. It's not even a difference between a "public Chris" and "private Chris." It's not that I think one thing privately and say another publicly. I am usually unwilling to throw epithets around on SOLO HQ because I don't see the point of making the style of my exposition the center of the debate, thereby detracting from the substance of my points. It's as much a tactical decision as it is an expression of who I am.

Readers who doubt that should simply read Notablog more regularly; the discussions here that have been most contentious never go "off the rails." I expect my readers and posters to adhere to a certain tone in my home, and I lead by example.

More from my SOLO HQ post:

But few people ever walk away from a dialogue with me wondering about that substance. People know where I stand on a subject, whether it be the Iraq war, dialectics, feminism, homosexuality, or countless other topics.
None of this means that I'm not entertained by other people's diametrically opposed styles. Vive la difference! I have been entertained, plenty of times, by people (like Jeff), who can use satire and parody in devastating ways. And I may not like it when Linz throws certain epithets in my direction, but he can sometimes be very effective in the style that comes naturally to him.
And let me state this for the hearing of the world: I have actually learned from Lindsay Perigo. Horrors! There is a distinctive difference between the style of my academic work, which enters into very technical scholarly debates over methodology and epistemology, since it is addressed to a very specific audience, and the style of my essays for The Free Radical, which is more accessible. Linz has helped me to tap into my Inner Pit Bull on many an occasion, in his editorial comments on my first or second drafts for TFR, pushing me toward far more colorful and effective communication in that context. But I stand by my ability to speak "Polish" (as Linz puts it) to the Poles because I believe that different contexts demand different approaches. They do not demand a compromise of the substance of my points. But they do demand that I take into account the interests, needs, and knowledge of the audience I'm addressing.
On these last points, see my essay: "Dialectics and the Art of Nonfiction."

I'll post the link to my exchange with Sunni Maravillosa later today.

Comments welcome. Also mentioned at L&P.

Song of the Day #367

Song of the Day: Hound Dog, words and music by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, was performed with characteristic gusto by Elvis Presley. Though the song was performed by Big Mama Thornton in 1953 as a #1 R&B track, it would not become a pop hit until three years later. On this date, in 1956, the song ascended as a double-sided record with "Don't Be Cruel" to #1 on the Billboard charts and stayed there for 11 weeks. It's one of my favorite Presley recordings. Listen to an audio clip here. This past week also marks the 28th anniversary of Presley's death.

August 17, 2005

Austrians in Academia

At the Mises Institute site, Walter Block publishes a thought-provoking piece entitled "Austrians in Academia: A Battle Plan." In it, he makes a number of interesting observations about publishing prospects. He even mentions The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies (to which he has been a contributor):

What about “movement” journals for Austro libertarians such as Journal of Libertarian Studies, Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, Review of Austrian Economics, Independent Review, Cato Journal, the American Journal of Economics and Sociology, The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, Advances in Austrian Economics, etc? (I call them movement journals because none of them is biased against Austrian or libertarian themes; indeed, the very opposite is the case).
If all of your publications are in these journals, e.g., you have none in any other refereed journal, the number of schools that will hire you will be limited. If you are aiming for a faculty position at an Ivy League school, you had better limit yourself to, say, 10% of your overall publications to journals such as these. The lower in (mainstream) prestige you go, the higher the proportion of such articles you can profitably have on your c.v.
Now that I have tenure, myself, I need not worry about such considerations, although there are still some slight pressures on me in this regard: if I want to be mobile, or get more of an annual salary raise, then I should look further afield for placement of my publications. As well, mainstream economists do not focus on these journals. If we want to have some impact on the profession at large, we should seek publication in “their” journals.

I think Walter is, of course, correct. I would hate to think that people in the academic profession who are interested in Ayn Rand, for example, would publish only in The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies (and Walter is right: JARS has published its share of Austrian theorists too). It is very important for scholars to publish work on Rand and on Austrian theorists in "mainstream" journals.

But the existence of "movement journals" is important, insofar as they advance scholarly study of the subjects in which they specialize. That study must proceed with established standards of double-blind peer review. In addition, such journals must gain greater visibility in scholarly abstracts and indices. That's one of the reasons I have been relentless in my quest to get JARS noticed; the journal is now indexed in CSA Worldwide Political Science Abstracts, IBR (International Bibliography of Book Reviews of Scholarly Literature in the Humanities and Social Sciences), IBZ (International Bibliography of Periodical Literature in the Humanities and Social Sciences), International Bibliography of the Social Sciences, International Political Science Abstracts, The Left Index, The Philosopher's Index, MLA International Bibliography, MLA Directory of Periodicals, Sociological Abstracts, Social Services Abstracts, and Women's Studies International. It is also linked to many online guides and resources. And there are many additional professional indices on the way.

In any event, as I said, Walter's article is provocative and merits your attention.

Comments welcome.

An Interview, Conducted by Sebastien Care

This is a Notablog Exclusive.

In keeping with my tenth anniversary activities, I am interviewed today by Sebastien Care French researcher and Ph.D. in Politics, on the subject of libertarianism. Here's the link:

An Interview, Conducted by Sebastien Care

Comments welcome.

Song of the Day #366

Song of the Day: It Ain't Necessarily So, music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin, has been recorded by countless artists. Listen to audio clips of this "Porgy and Bess" staple performed by Peggy Lee, Bobby Darin, Lena Horne, trumpeter Art Farmer, clarinetist Buddy DeFranco and pianist Oscar Peterson, Peterson on clavicord with guitarist Joe Pass, and Paul Robeson.

August 16, 2005

Song of the Day #365

Song of the Day: Once Upon a Time features the words and music of Giorgio Moroder, Pete Bellotte and singer Donna Summer, who performs this disco classic. Listen to an audio clip here.

August 15, 2005

On Anniversaries

Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of the publication of Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical. All this week, I'll be "looking back" on the past ten years, through interviews, posts, and discussions.

Ironically, just yesterday, in anticipation of the 40th anniversary of the Beatles' Shea Stadium concert, a piece by Michele Ingrassia was published in the NY Daily News entitled "Reasons to Celebrate." Ingrassia asks the question: "What's behind our obsession with anniversaries?" She writes:

Behold, the anniversary onslaught. Not a morning goes by when someone isn't heralding, say, the 145th anniversary of the Pony Express, the 70th anniversary of the flat-top beer can or the 40th anniversary of the Slurpee. ... "It's a way for people to put their lives in context," says humorist Robert Lanham ... If anniversary mania has exploded this year, perhaps it's because 2005 is such a nice, neat number to subtract from. ... Lanham calls it a symptom of our "neurotic culture"—baby boomers' need to explain everything through the prism of their own lives. ... "It's a way to recontextualize," [pop culturalist Robert] Thompson says.

Well, it's not necessarily the case that one is "neurotic" for seeing life through one's own eyes and one's own experience. Personal context does matter! And given my own obsession with the art of context-keeping, I can't think of a better way to mark my own tenth anniversaries this week than to extol the virtue of looking through the prism of my own life. It is an opportunity to "recontextualize" things, indeed—to take stock, to look back, to see where I was, where I am, and where I'm going.

So there will be more to come throughout the week. Two new interviews make their debut this week. For those interested in past interviews and notices, take a look here.

Comments welcome.

Song of the Day #364

Song of the Day: I Feel Fine is a John Lennon-Paul McCartney composition, recorded by The Beatles. Speaking of anniversaries, today is a big one: The 40th anniversary of The Beatles' Shea Stadium concert (a midi audio clip of this song at that link). Nobody could actually hear this song or any other performed at Shea because the roar of the crowd was deafening. But it was a seminal moment in rock history. I also love a version of this song by singer Nancy Ames, from her album "Spiced with Brasil."

Song of the Day #363

Song of the Day: Oh Marie, written by Eduardo Di Capua, was sung with jazzy Italian gusto for the Peabody-dancing crowd by the Wild One, Louis Prima. A Louis Armstrong-influenced performer, Prima gives us Sicilian scat singing at its best. Listen to an audio clip here.

August 14, 2005

Ten Years After

On this date, ten years ago, Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical was published. It was actually not "officially" released until the fall, but its arrival on my doorstep in 1995 was a moment of celebration for me. Russian Radical was actually my second book, but it arrived from the printer four days before the release of my first book, Marx, Hayek, and Utopia (which was published on 18 August 1995).

This week, I'm celebrating "Ten Years After" the publication of the first two books of my "Dialectics and Liberty Trilogy" (which culminated in 2000, with the publication of Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism). There will be articles, interviews, and discussions here and at various host sites.

Today, to kick it all off, SOLO HQ publishes an article that first made its appearance in print in the July-August 2005 issue of The Free Radical. (Subscription information for Free Radical is available here.) The article is entitled:

"Ten Years After"

Discussion is archived here.

Links to all of my previous Free Radical-SOLO HQ writings are available here, along with PDFs for many of my Free Radical essays, including the current one here.

Comments welcome here at Notablog, and at SOLO HQ, and at Liberty & Power Group Blog too (with L&P comments here).

Song of the Day #362

Song of the Day: Jazzman, words and music by Carole King and David Palmer, is sung by King, with a little help from saxophonist Tom Scott. Listen to an audio clip of this song here.

August 13, 2005

Comments on the "Cultural Root of Parental Socialism"

I posted a few brief thoughts in reply to Steve Horwitz's L&P entry, "One Cultural Root of 'Parental Socialism'."

Comments welcome, but readers are invited to read Steve's paper and comment at L&P.

Bearing Witness

Every year since 2001, around the time of the September 11th anniversary, I put up another article, another testament to the tragedy and horror of that day. I've got quite a few articles planned for my annual series, and this year's essay should be of interest to those who have read previous installments (start here).

In the meantime, I must confess that I've been deeply moved by the materials I have found today at the NY Times website, the result of a court order that led to the release of "a digital avalanche of oral histories, dispatchers' tapes and phone logs so vast that they took up 23 compact discs."

Readers should check out pages here, here, and here, especially. I was reminded of the people I knew who died on that day, and of the people who survived... to bear witness.

My next 9/11 tribute should be up at Notablog around September 8th, a few days before the Sunday commemoration.

Comments welcome.

Song of the Day #361

Song of the Day: Once You've Been in Love, music by Michel Legrand and lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman, is from the 1972 film "One is a Lonely Number" (aka "Two is a Happy Number"). Streisand recorded a version of this that was never released. But Sarah Vaughan's version was released, and it is grand and moving.

August 12, 2005

Song of the Day #360

Song of the Day: Once in a Lifetime, music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, was featured in the 1962 Broadway musical, "Stop the World, I Want to Get Off." This song was also featured in the 1966 movie version. I was first exposed to this song as a kid when I heard my sister-in-law sing it in performance at the Gil Hodges Grand Slam Cocktail Lounge. Listen to Newley's original version here and to a swingin' grand slam version by Sammy Davis, Jr. here.

August 11, 2005

Song of the Day #359

Song of the Day: Scrapple from the Apple (Dexter Gordon audio clip at that link), composed by Charlie "Yardbird" Parker, is one of those classic bop tunes that has been recorded by countless jazz musicians. Listen to a "Bird" audio clip here and to a clip of one of my favorites: a Jim Hall live rendition here.

August 10, 2005

Summer of Sam

I was reminded of the "Summer of Sam" by today's NY Times "On This Day" feature. On this day, in 1977, David Berkowitz was caught before yet another wave of his ".44 Caliber" terrorizing of the citizens of NYC.

During that time period, I remember distinctly that we were all on edge. Less than two weeks before his capture, Berkowitz attacked and killed a young woman named Stacy Moskowitz who sat in a car not too far from my home in Brooklyn.

Two or three nights before Berkowitz was arrested, I was accompanying my sister and mother home from my grandmother's house. It was after 2 a.m. The streets were deserted. And oh so silent. We had been talking about the Son of Sam all evening, and were, naturally, a little tense.

Being the overprotective male figure that I was, and 17 years old, I announced to my mother and sister: "Don't worry, I'll protect you."

As we passed an all-night gas station just a few blocks from our home, a car that had just pulled up to the pump... backfired.

I am not sure if I screamed or if it was just a lower, more masculine expression of surprise. But I am pretty sure that I must have jumped about two feet in the air from pure fright.

The ribbing I caught from my mother and sister—"Oh sure, you're gonna protect us!"—had us laughing for some time thereafter.

The Son of Sam was taken into custody days later. The trail of blood he had left behind was no laughing matter.

But at least on that one night, our laughter helped us to face our fear.

Comments welcome.

Song of the Day #358

Song of the Day: And the Beat Goes On, words and music by Leon Sylvers III, William Shelby, and Stephen Shockley, was performed with jazzy gusto by The Whispers. Listen to an audio clip of this classic dance track here.

August 09, 2005

Song of the Day #357

Song of the Day: Rock Steady, music and lyrics by Babyface, Antonio "L.A." Reid, D. Ladd, and B. Watson, was performed by The Whispers. Listen to an audio clip of this retro-sounding, soulful 1987 dance cut here.

August 08, 2005

A New Look for Liberty & Power

As a contributor to Liberty & Power Group Blog, I got a nice surprise today when I visited there. Check out the new look!

Comments welcome.

Peter Jennings, RIP

This is not going to be a post about media liberal bias, or the waning days of the Network News Anchor. This is not going to be a post about the changing nature of news in the cyber-age.

It's just a note to mark the passing of ABC newsman Peter Jennings, 67, who headed the anchor desk for two decades.

And for those two decades, I was a regular watcher of Jennings. I remember his Millennium coverage with special poignancy. Whether I agreed or disagreed with him, I liked his graceful and classy manner.

Jennings died of lung cancer; having lost my own mother to that horrific disease, I can only send my condolences to the Jennings family.

Comments welcome.

Song of the Day #356

Song of the Day: Never (Past Tense), words and music by R. Checo, A. Lorenzo, and P. Lewis, is performed by The Roc Project, featuring Tina Arena. A catchy hook and an irresistible dance beat grace this track. Listen to an audio clip here.

August 07, 2005

Song of the Day #355

Song of the Day: (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons was most likely written solely by William "Pat" Best, but a lyric credit has also been given to Deek Watson. Either way, the song has charted with many artists through the years, from Ella Fitzgerald to Sam Cooke to the Cleftones (audio clips at those links). Listen to an audio clip of my favorite version, the #1 hit by Nat King Cole.

August 06, 2005

Song of the Day #354

Song of the Day: Rumour Has It features the words and music of Giorgio Moroder, Pete Bellotte, and singer Donna Summer, who performs the song. At the height of her Disco Diva status, Summer belted this one with gusto. A classic Moroder production, it first appeared on the album, "Once Upon a Time" (audio clip at that link).

August 05, 2005

Song of the Day #353

Song of the Day: Memories of You features the music of Eubie Blake and the lyrics of Andy Razaf. Listen to an audio clip interview with ragtime pianist Blake and a clip of him playing the song here. And check out an audio clip from a lovely version featuring clarinetist Benny Goodman and guitarist Charlie Christian here.

August 04, 2005

Welcome to Stephen Davies!

Just a shout-out to Stephen Davies who, today, joins the roster of Liberty & Power Group Blog!

The Art of Cyber-Pedagogy

Yesterday, I read a really interesting article by Michael J. Bugeja in The Chronicle of Higher Education, entitled "Master (or Mistress) of Your Domain" (shades of Jerry), with the descriptive subtitle: "Creating a Web site for your latest book can showcase the work and aid your case for tenure and promotion."

I'll put aside the issue of aiding one's case for tenure and promotion. I'd like to suggest that it might actually aid one's cause (which might not actually aid one's tenure or promotion). And I think more classical liberal and libertarian scholars should consider doing it.

First, let's take a look at Bugeja's points. He writes:

For better or worse, the Internet is playing a larger role in editorial decisions about books and in promotion and tenure evaluations. It is commonplace for external reviewers to Google Web sites or troll databases before rendering their decisions on behalf of publishing houses and institutions.
Search committees also are using the Web to evaluate the writing or scholarship of job applicants before inviting them to on-campus interviews. ...

I advise authors to create a Web site with the title of their texts as the domain name and to assemble other sites with domain names identifying their scholarship. ... Authors are responsible for getting their books reviewed, purchased by libraries, and adopted by professors for use in research or in the classroom. In the past, that required an author to fill out a questionnaire for the publisher, identifying editors, book reviewers, and colleagues who might have interest in the work. The Internet has changed that.

Bugeja explains how he marshalled his own resources to promote his own work. Who is a better salesperson than the person who authors the work and knows it, inside-out? He "e-mailed reviewers and technology columnists, directing them to the Web site" he had established for his book, "asking if they would like a copy. Several said yes, generating reviews and citations that I added to my site under 'latest news.' Without the site, the book would have died along with the trees that gave it life at the printing press. Instead, it went on to win a research award with reviews in top publications. That's the benefit of a book site."

Bugeja tells us that his book site boosted classroom sales too. He reminds us that those who surf the web expect some things for free. The Internet may not be a "medium for professors concerned about copyright issues or intellectual property," but Bugeja encourages authors "to share [their] pedagogies or methodologies," giving readers, potential teachers and students alike, "all manner of free information, including lectures for each chapter; sample syllabi for large, middle-range, senior, master's, and doctoral classes; end-of-chapter materials; forms for paper assignments, journal exercises, and presentations; sample midterms and final exams; a bibliography; and an index." He even provides

a 103-page instructor's manual in both Word and PDF formats. Online manuals save the publisher printing costs and allow potential users to manipulate syllabi, lectures, and other downloads. The most popular free feature on my site is a twice-monthly teaching module meant to stimulate classroom discussion. To date, I've added more than two dozen such modules to the site on content too topical to include in a new edition but nonetheless related to the concept of the work.

I especially like Bugeja's suggestion that authors archive "reviews, recent articles, and information about" themselves. I've been doing such things for over ten years now on my own site, and I've had URL forwarding for the titles of all of my books. Just try typing totalfreedomtowardadialecticallibertarianism.com or, more simply, marxhayekandutopia.com, and see where that takes you. I'll never forget how my pal and colleague, Lester Hunt, once characterized my site. Linking to it from his site, he wrote: "Chris is a true liberal. In the interest of provoking dialogue, he puts some very adverse criticisms of his controversial work on his site, together with his replies." I think that's actually very important. And I think more liberal/libertarian scholars should be doing it precisely because it documents the history of a discussion of a particular work, while also providing the basis for future dialogue.

The one thing authors should not supply, of course, is: the book. But links to services where you can order the book online are always helpful. As Bugeja puts it: "That's the point of the site, and all links lead to that outcome."

I've not yet put a syllabus for my books online, but I do have one available for use in a cyberseminar that I give now and then on my "Dialectics and Liberty" trilogy. But Bugeja has given me a good idea about developing more study guides and syllabi for my various publications so as to facilitate their use in the classroom.

It would be a good idea, I think, if those in the liberal/libertarian academy do more to develop these kinds of web resources in a more formal manner. It is one way to develop a "parallel institution" of learning, while at the same time providing a blueprint for the use of such materials in established institutions of learning. Additionally, it gives each of us, as authors of the works, a chance to frame the discussion in a way that is most likely to generate further interest in our own contributions and the contributions of our colleagues in the libertarian academy. I've seen some development of this model on the sites of some of my colleagues; in the light of Bugeja's essay, I think this is something that can benefit each of us individually and the cause of liberty more generally.

Comments welcome. Cross-posted to L&P, where comments are posted here.

Song of the Day #352

Song of the Day: The Way You Look Tonight, music by Jerome Kern, lyrics by Dorothy Fields, has been recorded by many performers, including The Lettermen, Anita O'Day, and Frank Sinatra (audio clips at artist links). This Oscar-winning song was first performed in the film "Swing Time," where Fred Astaire sings it to Ginger Rogers. Listen to an audio clip from the soundtrack here. I especially love a live instrumental version by jazz guitarist Jim Hall (audio clip here).

August 03, 2005

Song of the Day #351

Song of the Day: The Way You Make Me Feel features the words, music, and performance of Michael Jackson. Back in the day, when I was a DJ, I'd play this at a party, and have to play it a few times in a row because the crowd just wouldn't stop dancing to it. It grew on me. Listen to an audio clip of this finger-poppin' Jackson track here.

August 02, 2005

Song of the Day #350

Song of the Day: The Way He Makes Me Feel, music by Michel Legrand, lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman, is a gorgeous Academy Award-nominated song from the 1983 film "Yentl." Listen to two Barbra Streisand audio clips from the score here.

August 01, 2005

Song of the Day #349

Song of the Day: What Do All the People Know? features the words and music of B. Monroe from the group, The Monroes. Listen to an audio clip of this rhythmic '80s new wave hit here.