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January 31, 2006

Song of the Day #533

Song of the Day: Be My Love, music by Nicholas Brodszky, lyrics by Sammy Cahn, is a 1950 Academy Award-nominated song from the film "The Toast of New Orleans," starring Mario Lanza, today's birthday boy. Listen to an audio clip here. And take a look at today's announced "Best Song" Oscar nominees for the 78th Annual Academy Awards here.

January 30, 2006

Song of the Day #532

Song of the Day: Down the Line, composed and performed by jazz guitarist Jim Hall, appears on his album, "Commitment." Like pianist Bill Evans once did in "Conversations with Myself," Hall actually overdubs his own guitar comps and solos on both acoustic and electric instruments. It is a tour de force performance. No audio clips are available on the web. Darn.

January 29, 2006

Song of the Day #531

Song of the Day: Mesmerized is credited to a dozen writers, including the one who performs it with R&B gusto: Faith Evans. I especially love the Freemasons dance mix. View the video and listen to various full-length remixes of this hot dance track here.

January 28, 2006

Song of the Day #530

Song of the Day: Violin Concerto in D (Op. 77), composed by Johannes Brahms, is a wonderful orchestral piece. I especially love the Third Movement. Listen to an audio clip featuring the great Jascha Heifetz.

January 27, 2006

Wonderful News for JARS

When The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies was first published in the Fall of 1999, its Founding Editors (Bill Bradford, Stephen Cox, and some guy named Chris Matthew Sciabarra) and its Board of Advisors knew that we had our work cut out for us. We were the first interdisciplinary scholarly periodical ever established as a forum for the critical discussion of Ayn Rand's ideas. As we state in our credo, JARS is ...

A nonpartisan journal devoted to the study of Ayn Rand and her times. The journal is not aligned with any advocacy group, institute, or person. It welcomes papers from every discipline and from a variety of interpretive and critical perspectives. It aims to foster scholarly dialogue through a respectful exchange of ideas. The journal is published semi-annually, in the fall and the spring.

One of the most important achievements of any academic journal is its ability to be added to the indices of established abstracting services. This is a way of bolstering a journal's reputation as a serious organ of scholarly discussion, while contributing to the acceptance of that journal's subject matter as worthy of such discussion.

In its first few years of operation, JARS was able to add over a dozen of these services, including: 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.

Coverage in such indices facilitates the expansion of JARS citations, and, by consequence, Ayn Rand references, within the global marketplace of academic scholarship.

This has a two-fold benefit: First, it means that the works of those who write for JARS are being made readily available as resources for future Rand scholarship. As citations to JARS articles expand in the scholarly literature, more and more scholars will find these references for use in their own work.

Second, it means that JARS will continue to attract established scholars who seek to write about Rand in journals that are reputable, and, thus, fully indexed and abstracted by services used by their fellow academics in various fields of concentration.

Though we have had success in expanding our reach in scholarly indices, it has been an uphill battle to get JARS added to three of the most prestigious of indices: the Arts & Humanities Citation Index, Current Contents/Arts & Humanities, and the Social Sciences Citation Index.

In fact, some years ago, we approached those organizations of Thomson Scientific with the requisite three consecutive issues in the hopes that they would add JARS to their lists of the world's leading journals. The first three-issue review failed; JARS was still too young to join the global ranks.

As time passed, we decided to submit JARS for a second hearing at Thomson Scientific. The review process is a profoundly rigorous one. Yet, having failed to achieve our goals the first time around, we were confident that the journal's timely publication and improved quality would facilitate its acceptance in a second evaluation.

Today, I am proud to announce that the Journal of Ayn Rand Studies has been selected as a new addition to three of the most prestigious indices in the international community of scholars.

o The journal will be fully abstracted and indexed by the Arts & Humanities Citation Index:

The Arts & Humanities Citation Index® (A&HCI ®) and Arts & Humanities Search® provide access to current and retrospective bibliographic information and cited references found in nearly 1,130 of the world's leading arts & humanities journals. They also cover individually selected, relevant items from approximately 7,000 of the world's leading science and social sciences journals.

o The journal will be fully abstracted and indexed by Current Contents/Arts & Humanities:

Current Contents / Arts & Humanities provides access to complete bibliographic information from articles, editorials, meeting abstracts, commentaries, and all other significant items in recently published editions of over 1,120 of the world's leading arts and humanities journals and books from a broad range of categories.

o And, finally, abstracts of relevant journal articles centered on the social sciences (economics, political science, psychology, etc.) will be selectively included in the Social Sciences Citation Index:

The Social Sciences Citation Index® (SSCI®) and Social SciSearch® provide access to current and retrospective bibliographic information, author abstracts, and cited references found in over 1,700 of the world's leading scholarly social sciences journals covering more than 50 disciplines. They also cover individually selected, relevant items from approximately 3,300 of the world's leading science and technology journals.

It will take a few months for the journal's contents to begin appearing in these high quality indices, but JARS will soon be included in their databases. The journal coverage begins with Volume 6, No. 2, the Spring 2005 issue.

I am utterly delighted by this wonderful news.

FYI: Our forthcoming issue, which will include a symposium on Ayn Rand's ethics, will be published in the late Spring.

Comments welcome. Also cited by The Atlasphere.

Song of the Day #529

Song of the Day: Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, features one of the most familiar classical themes in its First Movement. Listen here to audio clips of all four movements, in a recording featuring the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by the great Leonard Bernstein. And Happy 250th Birthday to Mozart!

January 26, 2006

I Get Letters ...

Michael ("Mick") Russell (who has left comments on Notablog before) wrote me a personal email the other day, and I asked him for permission to reproduce it, in part—not because he was so complimentary, but because I thought he raised an issue of general interest:

Dear Chris,
Thank you for your wonderful site. And for your respect. I am a former socialist, seeking a new and improved way to change the world, for the better, of course. I have recently read Ayn Rand's We The Living. It confirmed the obvious (now) for me: collectivism is morally bankrupt and utterly wrong. I now totally reject socialism. Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism fascinates me.
But I must confess to being intimidated by its study. Leonard Peikoff? David Kelley? The split with the Brandens? Of all the Objectivist, or Neo-Objectivist blogs, I find yours to be the freest and most respectful of dissent. And I loved Blondie. My condolences.
Does my past association with Marxism—I was a member of the Young Socialist Alliance and The Socialist Workers Party—preclude me from any activity within the Objectivist movement? I am an Atheist; not only do I reject God, I don't believe Ayn Rand is God. She was a brilliant but fallible mind. Am I an apostate before I even join the movement? I try to engage but am usually rejected by various pro-Objectivist blogs. I guess I'm a libertarian. I just want to further my mind and advance the cause of freedom. Any suggestions? Mick

I'll include here my answer to Mick, with a few additions too.

My first suggestion is that you do not worry about joining any "movements"; virtually all organized movements have their pitfalls, and it's not my intention here to list those that have been manifested throughout the history of "Objectivism."

My second suggestion is that you spend time actually reading Ayn Rand's work. Instead of navigating through all the conflicts within the "movement," you should focus on the ideas, and then, once you've read and digested Rand's work, I strongly suggest moving on to works written by those who were influenced by her (Nathaniel Branden, Leonard Peikoff, David Kelley, etc.), followed by works in the secondary literature.

Of course, as part of that secondary literature, I'd be remiss if I didn't suggest that at some point you might actually want to read my own book on Rand: Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical (as well as other Rand-related books and journals with which I've been involved).

Whatever his other criticisms of my book, the late Ronald Merrill once called Russian Radical, "Objectivism for Marxists." I don't agree with Merrill's reasoning behind that quip—that I packaged Rand's work in the "language" of the left to make it accessible to the academic community. In fact, it was my belief then, and it is my belief now, that the "language" of dialectics was usefully employed because it captured something important in Rand's work, while enabling me to challenge the left's monopoly on an eminently radical methodology. It was not a marketing decision; it was an intellectual and theoretical choice that I made based on my view that it was a correct identification.

But if you began on the left, my work may, in fact, be something that helps you to situate Rand in the broader context of radical thinking.

As a supplement to your reading on Rand, let me make a third suggestion: Don't narrow your focus to all things Rand. If you're genuinely interested in libertarianism, let me also recommend all the works that I list here, which certainly made a huge impact on my own development.

Finally, I have to cite two essays: the first, published on the Lew Rockwell site back in 2002, entitled "How I Became a Libertarian"; the second, entitled "Taking It Personally" (PDF version). Both mention my interactions with the Young Socialist Alliance when I was in high school. I was a bit more conservative back in those days, but here's the relevant paragraph from the latter essay that should make you chuckle:

I had been an outspoken political type in high school, involved in some rather contentious battles with the Young Socialists of America who had plastered the school’s hallways with their obscene propaganda. I had begun writing for Gadfly, the social studies newspaper, and had taken to quoting Ronald Reagan on the perils of central planning. I knew that I "arrived" as a political commentator when I walked into a school bathroom one afternoon to find a copy of one of my anti-socialist articles—sitting, rather wet, in the urinal. Though I’d heard of "yellow journalism," the article seemed to have been saved from discoloration because it had already been printed on goldenrod mimeograph paper. A small victory, that.

In any event, I hope you enjoy your new reading adventures; please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions, and I hope you'll feel free to comment here as well.

Comments welcome.


I've often told friends and correspondents that I am not a blogger. I am a writer and an editor who happens to blog occasionally. Even the name of this blog was born of a belief that it was "Not A Blog," though it has quite clearly evolved into one. It was for that reason that I altered the name of the blog subtly, some time ago, closing the spaces in its title and proclaiming it "Notablog."

I know there are many bloggers out there who comment on the events of the day ... sometimes on the events of the hour ... quite regularly. But I must admit that this sort of thing never truly interested me. How many times can I fulminate over this or that trend in domestic politics or foreign policy? How many times can I express my disgust with the Bush administration, while having equal animosity toward its Democratic "opponents"? How many times can I repeat the mantra that cultural change is a precursor to fundamental political change and that, for example, when you embrace democracy without certain cultural preconditions, you get majoritarian results in the Middle East that empower and legitimize theocratic, fundamentalist, and/or militant forces?

And so on, and so on ...

Though I don't post daily discussions on fiery political topics and substantive philosophical and ideological issues, I just don't see the usefulness of repeating myself over and over and over again about the same stuff day-in, day-out. And if I did, I'd get no other work done!

So, in its place, you get a "Song of the Day," that has run daily since September 1, 2004, except when I dimmed the lights for three days after my dog Blondie's passing. Yeah, you still get my thoughts on radical politics and my occasional fulminations, you still get articles and announcements, but, to paraphrase Emma Goldman: If I can't dance or sing, I want no part of the revolution.

Though I love engagement and participating in dialogue, I am curiously autocratic where my "Songs of the Day" are concerned: I continue the policy of closing those selections to all discussion because my choices are not up for debate. Yes, I can enjoy discussing the historical background of a song and the virtues or vices of a particular rendition, or even a particular artist or composer, and I do welcome private notes from Notablog readers on such topics. But I think it would be terribly counterproductive and awfully time-consuming to engage in a constant public reaffirmation of my musical tastes, which are quite eclectic, as Notablog readers regularly note. (They match my intellectual tastes, which are equally eclectic, since I've learned from the left, right, and center...) So, if you don't like my songs, or a particular song, fine. Get your own blog and make your own list! :)

In the meanwhile, if you don't see any non-Song entry posted on a given day, be sure to check out the lively comments pages. For example, the discussion of "Brokeback Mountain" continues, and should pick up steam as we enter Oscar season. I welcome additional comments on this and on any other subject open to reader input.

I should also state that I get lots of private email and I do answer every letter I receive. It may take me time, but I get to every note. And many of those emails are worthy of longer blog posts. But I treat private correspondence as personal, and unless I ask permission, readers won't see their private thoughts on public display here.

Occasionally, however, I get an email whose topic might benefit readers more generally. I hope to publish a few of these correspondences soon enough, including one later today on Rand studies.

So, for now, I just want to thank all of you for your loyal readership and your continuing personal support.

Comments welcome.

Song of the Day #528

Song of the Day: Behind These Hazel Eyes features the words and music of Martin Sandberg, Lukasz Gottwald, and Kelly Clarkson, the first "American Idol" winner, who also performs the song. (And, yes, I've been watching the fifth season of the talent show.) This song has been played so much that it essentially grew on me. Big time. I now sing along when I hear it on the car radio. Listen to an audio clip here.

January 25, 2006

Song of the Day #527

Song of the Day: Vivo Sonhando was written by one of my favorite composers of all time, Antonio Carlos Jobim, who is our birthday boy today. The song is a melodic highlight from one of my favorite albums of all time: "Getz/Gilberto" (audio clip at that link).

January 24, 2006

Song of the Day #526

Song of the Day: Poor Butterfly, words and music by John Golden and Raymond Hubbell, made its debut in the 1916 Broadway production "The Big Show." Listen to audio clips of this lovely song by Sarah Vaughan and Carmen McRae (who tributes Sassy), and a Sinatra-Ellington midtempo collaboration.

January 23, 2006

Mmmm ... Cushman Honeybells

I am not in the habit of making my site into a commercial affair, but I just got through eating a Cushman Honeybell. And this morning, I made myself a glass of sweet, delicious Cushman Honeybell juice with my breakfast. That's because we order these Honeybells every January.

What on earth is a Honeybell?

It's a hybrid fruit that looks like an orange... but is much sweeter than any orange I've ever eaten. In truth, this unique natural hybrid citrus fruit is derived from a Dancy Tangerine and a Duncan Grapefruit... and tastes like neither of them.

If you have never eaten this fruit, go to this link, and check out the produce!

And NO, I am NOT getting any kickbacks from the company. But you can't order these babies beyond the end of January. Act fast!

And now we return to Notablog...

Comments welcome.

Song of the Day #525

Song of the Day: Opus One, words and music by Sy Oliver and Sid Garris, has been recorded in a swingin' Big Band version by Tommy Dorsey and in a hit vocal version by the Mills Brothers (audio clips at those links).

January 22, 2006

Song of the Day #524

Song of the Day: I Wish, written and performed by Stevie Wonder, went to to #1 on the Billboard chart on this date in 1977. His live performances of this song are the best, but the recorded version is terrific too. Listen to an audio clip here of the original recording.

January 21, 2006

Song of the Day #523

Song of the Day: This House is Not a Home, words and music by Dee Robert and Peter Monk, was first recorded by Nicole J. McCloud (audio clip at that link). I adore the recent version by Deborah Cox, one of my favorite contemporary pop/dance/R&B singers. Listen to an audio clip of her version here (though my favorite mix is the Tony Moran Anthem remix).

January 20, 2006

"Ben-Hur" on "Jeopardy"

Readers of Notablog know that I'm a fan of both the film "Ben-Hur" and the game show "Jeopardy." So my heart skipped a beat when I turned on "Jeopardy" at 6 pm (Satellite TV provides both a 6 pm and 7 pm slot for the show) and saw a whole "double Jeopardy" category devoted to the 1959 film.

I'm very easy to please.

And, yes, I knew all the answers... phrased properly in the form of a question, of course.

Update: I videotaped the category, but missed the first question, which, I believe, was pretty much the clue I use below. By popular demand ... any takers? (The clues give away a lot of info...)

1. He got an Oscar in the title role. [$400]
2. The role of Ben-Hur was reportedly turned down by Rock Hudson and this "Hud", son. [$800]
3. The film cutting ratio of this action sequence is over 260-1; for every 260' of film shot, 1' was used. [$1200]
4. Surely you know this "Airplane" star screen-tested for the role of Messala (& don't call him Shirley). [$1600]
5. This author of "Burr" & "Lincoln" did uncredited screenwriting for "Ben-Hur". [$2000]

Comments welcome.

Song of the Day #522

Song of the Day: I Wanna Be Loved features the words of Billy Rose and Eddie Heyman and the music of Johnny Green. My favorite versions of this song are by Billy Eckstine and Dinah Washington (audio clips at those links).

January 19, 2006

The New Individualist and More News

Continuing with new announcements, I received the newest issue of The New Individualist, a publication of The Objectivist Center, which recently debuted a newly designed website. Lots of news in that sentence!

In any event, I enjoyed the magazine quite a bit and was impressed with the fact that it seeks to broaden its audience, publishing provocative essays by Objectivists and non-Objectivists alike.

I like the fact that there are many different publications in the growing Randian universe, each with its own character, and I read many of these periodicals regularly: The Intellectual Activist, Impact, Free Radical, etc. I don't agree with everything I read, but that's not the point. The more important point is that Rand's work has inspired not a static intellectual monolith, but a dynamic, ever-differentiating marketplace of ideas.

Speaking of periodicals, I'm currently working on the Spring 2006 issue of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, which will include a multilayered discussion of Ayn Rand's ethics. It will be published in the late Spring. I'll have more to say about that issue soon enough.

Comments welcome.

The Industrial Radical

I've been a bit behind in my reading and my work in general, so I'm finally getting to a few new points of information. I was pleased to see Roderick Long's announcement at L&P of the new periodical, "The Industrial Radical," and not just because he states: "'Industrial' in Herbert Spencer’s sense, 'Radical' in Chris Sciabarra’s sense."

There is a very real need to reclaim the "radical" label in defense of liberty. As Hayek once said, "we are bound all the time to question fundamentals ... it must be our privilege to be radical."

Read up on this new magazine here.

Comments welcome.

Song of the Day #521

Song of the Day: (You Are My) All and All was written and performed by Joyce Sims. I once heard a live remix of this song at a dance club called Bentley's in Manhattan, and was utterly astounded by the DJ's skill. It was inspiring to me, as I was still DJ'ing parties back then in 1986. Listen to audio clips of various remixes of this percolating freestyle dance track here.

January 18, 2006

Song of the Day #520

Song of the Day: In the Name of Love, words and music by Joe Leeway and Tom Bailey of the Thompson Twins, was a #1 dance hit in 1982. Same title as yesterday's song, but a very different end-product. Listen to an audio clip here.

January 17, 2006

Song of the Day #519

Song of the Day: In the Name of Love features the words and music of R. Williams and Sharon Redd, who performs this memorable Prelude dance track. Listen to audio clips here and here.

January 16, 2006

Song of the Day #518

Song of the Day: Avalon features the music of Vincent Rose and the lyrics of G. "Buddy" DeSylva and Al Jolson, who had a huge hit with it in 1920, as did Benny Goodman in 1937. And on this date, in 1938, Benny Goodman performed this tune with his classic quartet, live, on stage, in the famous Carnegie Hall concert. Given the fact that today also happens to be Martin Luther King Day, it is all the more appropriate to celebrate the Goodman legacy in music. For years, Goodman featured both black players and white players in his various bands; a person's race mattered not. All that mattered was the person's ability to make great music. Goodman's Carnegie Hall concert continued his policy of racial integration in jazz. As for the history of this particular tune: it includes a bit of litigation. In 1921, Puccini actually won a suit against the writers, claiming that the melody was derived from "E Lucevan le Stelle." Listen to audio clips from Al Jolson, the original swingin' recorded version by the Benny Goodman Quartet, and a blazin' Natalie Cole rendition.

January 12, 2006

Blondie: 1989-2006

Blondie: July 6, 1989 - January 12, 2006

Blondie: July 6, 1989 - January 12, 2006

I'm heartbroken.

Update, January 16, 2006: In the comments section, here, I have responded at length to the many lovely public and private condolences that I've received since Blondie's death. My deepest appreciation and gratitude to each of you for your support.

Update, January 19, 2006: I have responded to additional comments posted by Notablog readers here.

Song of the Day #517

Song of the Day: Bluesette features the words of Jean "Toots" Thielemans and the music of Norman Gimbel. Thielmans first recorded this song whistling in unison with his guitar lines. Thielemans is a consummate musician, and my favorite jazz harmonica player too. Listen to audio clips of this song recorded by the Ray Charles Singers (aka Charles Raymond Offenberg), Mel Torme, and Thielemans himself (a live clip here as well).

January 11, 2006

Song of the Day #516

Song of the Day: St. Louis Blues, words and music by W. C. Handy, is one of the great American classics. So many renditions to choose from, but I love a two-part version by Billy Eckstine. Check out also versions by Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, and Benny Goodman. And also check out an audio clip of a small band version featuring vibes player Johnny Lytle (thanks Jeff!).

January 10, 2006

Song of the Day #515

Song of the Day: Every Day I Have the Blues, words and music by Peter Chatman (aka Memphis Slim), has been recorded by many artists. I love the classic Joe Williams-Count Basie recording (an all-too-brief audio clip can be found here), but I also love another Joe Williams version, which uses the bass line of "All Blues." Listen to an audio clip here. And read more about the first recordings of the song as "Nobody Loves Me."

January 09, 2006

Song of the Day #514

Song of the Day: All Blues, composed by Miles Davis, is from one of my favorite jazz albums of all time: "Kind of Blue." After "Blue Suede Shoes" and a Big Blue loss, I'll be in Blue for a few days. This classic features such players as Cannonball Adderley, John Coltrane, and the great Bill Evans, who contributed much to the modal approach to jazz featured on this recording. Listen to audio clips here and here.

January 08, 2006

Song of the Day #513

Song of the Day: Blue Suede Shoes was composed and performed by Carl Perkins (audio clip at that link). Today, however, I highlight my favorite version of this song, recorded by The King, birthday boy Elvis Presley. Listen to an audio clip of this early rock and roll classic here.

January 07, 2006

Song of the Day #512

Song of the Day: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (Cantata No. 147), composed by Johann Sebastian Bach, closes out this year's seasonal favorites, which began here. Listen to audio clips of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Josh Groban with Lili Haydn. Merry Christmas to all my Russian friends!

January 06, 2006

Song of the Day #511

Song of the Day: Dead End Street features the words and music of D. Axelrod and B. Raleigh, with a gritty monologue by Lou Rawls, who performs the tune to soul perfection. When this Classic 45 came out, I took an instant liking to it because Lou Rawls referred to the wind as "The Hawk," a phrase my family had used for years. Rawls won the 1967 Grammy Award for "Best Rhythm and Blues Solo Vocal Performance, Male" for this recording. Sadly, the three-time Grammy winner passed away today. Listen to audio clips of the monologue and song here.

Go Giants!

I am only a casual football fan; my passion remains baseball, and I'm counting the days to February 14, 2006. Yes, it's Valentine's Day. But it's also when pitchers and catchers report to Yankee Spring Training Camp.

As football goes, I grew up when the Giants and the Jets actually played in New York City. They were (and still are) called the New York Giants and the New York Jets... and yet, they play in New Jersey, and are on the verge of creating a new sports complex in the Garden State, where they will both continue to play.

But I still find myself rooting for Big Blue and Gang Green. I know that's sacrilegious; you're supposed to be a fan of one or the other. Like I said: I'm a casual fan.

In any event, my hopes for the Jets were dashed when poor Chad Pennington had another season-ending injury in 2005. But I still do like the future prospects for young Eli Manning (who just turned 25), Quarterback for the Giants, and I'm hoping for a Giant Sunday as the NFC East Division champs begin their playoff quest.

Go Giants!

Comments welcome.

Song of the Day #510

Song of the Day: Popsicle Toes features the music, lyrics, and recorded performance of Michael Franks. It's not, strictly speaking, a "seasonal favorite," though it is in keeping with the temperature around these parts at this time of year! The song has also been recorded by Diana Krall and the Manhattan Transfer (audio clips at those links). But no version is as cute, clever, jazzy, and oh so sexy as the one featured on the Franks album, "The Art of Tea" (audio clip at that link). "I know today's your birthday," hot stuff! Much love and affection, happiness and health, always ...

January 05, 2006

David Mayer's Annual Report on "Prospects for Liberty"

Readers should check out historian David Mayer's whirlwind annual survey of the "Prospects for Liberty." Mayer examines everything from the "welfare-state mindset" and "the disappointing Bush presidency" to the threats posed by various stripes of fundamentalists (Islamic, Christian, "radical environmentalist," etc.). He also focuses some attention on the "Demopublican/Replicrat Monopoly" and the "Collectivist Bias of Intellectual Elites."

I always enjoy reading Mayer's work, and find myself in agreement with him on so many significant issues. Hardly surprising since I'd certainly qualify as among those he characterizes as "Radical Individualists."

Of course, it doesn't hurt that he cites my own work in his most recent survey. Mayer writes:

In an insightful essay, "Understanding the Global Crisis," published in the May-June 2003 issue of The Free Radical, Chris Matthew Sciabarra has written persuasively about the reasons to be wary of any long-term U.S. expansion in the region. As he has noted, "The lunacy of nation-building and of imposed political settlements – which have been tried over and over again in the Middle East with no long-term success – does not mean that there is no hope for the Arab world." Citing evidence suggesting a rising revolt against theocracy, especially among a younger generation of Iranians who "eat American foods, wear American jeans, and watch American TV shows" and thus are fed up with oppressive government, he adds, "I don’t see how a U.S. occupation in any part of the region will nourish this kind of revolt. If anything, the United States may be perceived as a new colonial administrator. Such a perception may only give impetus to the theocrats who may seek to preserve their rule by deflecting the dissatisfaction in their midst toward the 'infidel occupiers.' I can think of no better ad campaign for the recruitment of future Islamic terrorists." Sadly, the story of the U.S. occupation of Iraq seems to have proved Sciabarra’s prediction to be right.
The United States and the rest of the Western world must use military force, as appropriate, to defend themselves against the threat posed by fanatical Islamists. Our past policies of appeasement toward Islamic terrorism have proven to be failures, but we should not adopt policies of overreaction that will be failure in the opposite direction. Of course, we are right to strike back against those who initiate force and even to strike preemptively or unilaterally against imminent threats to American security, as Chris Sciabarra notes. Nevertheless, I also find persuasive his argument that "America's only practical long-term course of action is strategic disengagement from the region," meaning the entire Middle East. Like Sciabarra, "in the long term, I stand with those American Founding Fathers who advocated free trade with all, entangling political alliances with none. If that advice was good for a simpler world, it is even more appropriate for a world of immense complexity, in which no one power can control for all the myriad unintended consequences of human action. The central planners of socialism learned this lesson some time ago; the central planners of a projected U.S. colonialism have yet to learn it."

Go read the whole of Mayer's article here.

Comments welcome.

International Encyclopedia of Economic Sociology: Libertarianism

As I mentioned here and here, I wrote an entry on "libertarianism" for the International Encyclopedia of Economic Sociology. The entry surveys those who have contributed to a libertarian "sociology," thinkers such as Herbert Spencer, Carl Menger, F. A. Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, and Ayn Rand.

I am pleased, today, to publish that entry, with permission from Routledge, on my website:


Comments welcome. Cross-posted to L&P and the Mises Economics Blog.

Song of the Day #509

Song of the Day: Ben-Hur ("Star of Bethelehem"/"Adoration of the Magi"), composed by the great Miklos Rozsa, is perfect on the eve of the Epiphany. From my favorite movie, the 1959 version of "Ben-Hur," these selections can be sampled from the soundtrack album here.

January 04, 2006

International Encyclopedia of Economic Sociology: Karl Marx

I just received my copy of the International Encyclopedia of Economic Sociology from Routledge. Some time ago, I told the story of how I came to author two articles for that newly published reference work. The 2006 volume includes two essays authored by me: one on "Karl Marx," the other on "libertarianism."

Today, with permission from Routledge, I publish an HTML version of the essay on "Karl Marx." Given my comments today in this thread, I am happy that the essay on Marx highlights one of the most appealing aspects of his work: his use of dialectical method. Readers should point their browsers to the following link to take a look at the essay:

"Karl Marx"

Tomorrow, with permission from Routledge, I will publish my Encyclopedia article on libertarianism. Stay tuned!

Update: Speaking of dialectics, I should mention that Michael Stuart Kelly is running a site called "Objectivist Living," wherein he features a "Sciabarra Corner." He's also re-published some excerpts from an article I wrote on getting published. Readers might wish to check out the forum.

Comments welcome. Cross-posted to L&P.

Song of the Day #508

Song of the Day: Joy to the World (audio clip at that link) is a truly joyful carol, with words by Isaac Watts and music derived from George Frederick Handel ("Antioch"), arranged by Lowell Mason. Listen to audio clips from versions by Joan Sutherland, Andy Williams, Ella Fitzgerald, Perry Como, Nat King Cole, and Mario Lanza.

January 03, 2006

Song of the Day #507

Song of the Day: It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, a spirited holiday song written by Meredith Willson, made its debut in 1951. Listen to audio clips of various renditions: Perry Como and the Fontane Sisters, Johnny Mathis, and Dionne Warwick. Also check out the audio clip at the link for "Pine Cones and Holly Berries," from the original 1963 Broadway cast album for "Here's Love." Thanks Eric!

January 02, 2006

Song of the Day #506

Song of the Day: Adeste Fidelis (O Come All Ye Faithful) (audio clip at that link) features the Latin words and music of John Francis Wade, with an English translation by Frederick Oakeley. Listen to audio clips of recordings of this uplifting melody by Celine Dion, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Luciano Pavarotti, Mario Lanza, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

January 01, 2006

Song of the Day #505

Song of the Day: Greek New Year Song is a traditional tune sung in many Greek households on this day. An audio clip of a "New Agey" version of it can be found here, by pianist George Skaroulis. It marks not only New Year's Day, but the feast of St. Basil the Great (Agios Vassilis), one of the saints of the Greek Orthodox Church in which I was baptized: The Three Hierarchs Church, founded by my maternal grandfather (the paternal side is Sicilian): the Rev. Vasilios P. Michalopoulos. There is currently a beautiful concrete monument to him in front of the church. It would have been his "name day" today, and it's my sister's name day too (Elizabeth, derived from Vasiliki). A Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year! Chronia Polla!