For almost exactly three years now, I’ve been using a mid-2013 13.3” Macbook Air as my primary machine. As I explained in a review which has now disappeared with the demise of Epinions, I didn’t expect the transition from an expensive gaming rig to a super-slim, barebones laptop to go as smoothly. The idea behind the move was partially to make myself incapable of gaming during University, and partially to have a single machine through which I would use for all my computing needs. I wanted a “single pane of glass”, as it were.
Let me start this off by stating that I’m probably not the good person to review fiction. Following my review of The Free Market Existentialist, Dr. Irwin offered to send me a review copy of his recently released Free Dakota, and I gladly accepted after highlighting the fact that I hardly a literary savant. Reading non-fiction has the unfortunate opportunity cost of not affording me to read as much fiction as I would like, as a result I would hardly consider myself well-read in fiction in any of the languages I know how to read. Knowing this, take this review with a grain of salt.
I don’t like independence referenda, and Brexit was not an exception. As with all things political, they invariably end up being subject to manipulation from every side with skin in the game. Campaigns get real dirty real quick, and why not? In the end, the result is decided by numbers so compromise, the secret spice that makes mob-rule democracy somewhat functional despite all it’s pitfalls, is thrown out the window by all. Bitterness and mutual resentment grows, and usually hangs on for a while, even long after the ballot boxes have been counted.
Alexander Kirss’ recent article publish on War on the Rocks caused quite the stir in the foreign policy circles in the last days: apart from being a flamboyant example of insubordination from a fellow to it’s think thank, it added fuel to the fire of what some now call the “realist civil war”. It focused on why Trump is not going to be a boon for foreign policy realists, but it was also loaded with other assessments on realism’s “failures” which I think are probably more important than the piece’s main thesis. While denouncing the Center for National Interest’s (CNI) increasingly lenient stance on Trump’s wishy-washy idea of a foreign policy agenda, he lambasts realists for shirking policy-making and staying within the comfort of academia, failing to provide a compelling narrative for America’s role in the world, and not being sufficiently organized in ways that can influence policy. The take-away is that because they fail at implementing policy, realists tend to flock to strong-men like Donald Trump to “save” them.
When I first joined the libertarian camp through my membership and subsequent candidacy in Trois-Rivières for the Libertarian Party of Canada, I had low expectations as to quality of the philosophical discourse I would be hearing. In terms of political philosophy, I had read mostly classical and post-war liberals (those usual suspects in English, and French anti-totalitarians: Camus, Aron et al), which had a great influence on me. Comforted in what I thought to be a solid position on the ethical justification of the free-market in the wider context of the attainment of a free society, I came to be skeptical of other extremes, on both sides of the spectrum. I despised the left, which held no coherent idea of what freedom really meant and believed in concepts like the social contract and social determinism, which I abhorred. On the other side of the spectrum, the radical right’s economics-based justification of the free-market model, with it’s utilitarian leitmotiv implying that it aught to be adopted because it would work better, seemed just as empty as the left’s constant referencing of the socialistic Scandinavian model as an empirical success to be emulated. To be sure, a lot of the discussion of libertarianism I have encountered through my contact with like-minded folks both inside and outside of the party remains either very technical or heavily reliant on moral facts deemed objective, but I was pleased to have discussions that went far beyond that at times. Metaphysics, ontology, epistemology often came to be mentioned.