On the former, it had occurred to me that since I started using Facebook, I haven't been nearly as active blogging here at L&P. But now that the NYT has run a story confirming my hypothesis I may start blogging more just to be ornery.
On the latter, well, today is"presidents day." When I was a lad, we had"Washington's Birthday" - a day to celebrate one particular person and his accomplishments. Now we have to celebrate all presidents? Um, no thanks. I resent being obliged to celebrate all presidents with a common holiday. Fillmore? Nixon? FDR? Please. I am happy to have a day to celebrate George Washington, but changing that to a generic"presidents day" dilutes any possible meaning of that. And don't start with"we're celebrating the office of the presidency, not any one particular president" - that's worse! A national holiday to celebrate authority generally? That seems, well, un-American. But then we're back to it being a joint celebration of all the presidents, Jefferson and Hoover, Madison and Bush. Not interested. Give me back the Washington's Birthday of my youth please!
Follow-up thought: I'm overdue for re-reading the book! Maybe the impending film will motivate me to do that.
The editorial to volume 26 of Reason Papers began with this: Reason Papers was founded in 1974 by Professor Tibor R. Machan, who edited the first twenty-five volumes. A review of the tables of contents of those volumes reveals many of today's best philosophers sowing the seeds of work for which they would later become famous, and showcases some great debates in moral and political philosophy. It was an honor for me to be asked by Professor Machan to contribute a review essay back in 1992, sharing journal space with many of the scholars I looked up to and had been using in my own research. After the completion of volume 25, Fall 2000, Professor Machan decided to focus his energies on other projects, and honored me once again by choosing to turn over the editorship of Reason Papers to me. At this point, I too need to focus my energies on other projects, and so after this issue I will be stepping aside as Editor-in-Chief. Irfan Khawaja and Carrie-Ann Biondi, who have done such excellent work as manging editors, will be assuming full responsibility for the journal as the new editors-in-chief effective next issue. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to work with them and I look forward to serving them on the advisory board. I would like to thank Tibor Machan again for entrusting me with the journal over the last decade, and I’d like to thank all those who have served as referees for submissions, without whose judgement this would be a much less important venue. Thanks to Stephan Kinsella for invaluable assistance on the PDF end of things. Thanks of course to all the contributors whose work has made RP worth reading. And I’d like to thank the readers – I hope you continue to read it and learn from it, starting with the one in your hands.
It's been fun, interesting, and educational, but my run is done.
"Assault weapon" confiscation turns violent in Boston
Scores Killed, Hundreds Injured As Para-Military Extremists Riot
BOSTON, April 19 - National Guard units seeking to confiscate a cache of recently banned assault weapons were ambushed on April 19th by elements of a paramilitary extremist faction. Military and law enforcement sources estimated that 72 were killed and more than 20 injured before government forces were compelled to withdraw.
Speaking after the clash, Massachusetts Governor Thomas Gage declared that the extremist faction, which was made up of local citizens, has links to the radical right-wing tax protest movement. Gage blamed the extremists for recent incidents of vandalism directed against internal revenue offices.
The governor, who described the group's organizers as "criminals," issued an executive order authorizing the summary arrest of any individual who has interfered with the government's efforts to secure law and order.
The military raid on the extremist arsenal followed wide-spread refusal by the local citizenry to turn over recently outlawed assault weapons. Gage issued a ban on military-style assault weapons and ammunition earlier in the week. This decision followed a meeting in early April between government and military leaders at which the
governor authorized the forcible confiscation of illegal arms. One government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, pointed out that "none of these people would have been killed had the extremists obeyed the law and turned their weapons over voluntarily."
"Government troops initially succeeded in confiscating a large supply of outlawed weapons and ammunition. However, troops attempting to seize arms and ammunition in Lexington met with resistance from heavily-armed extremists who had been tipped off regarding the government's plans.
During a tense standoff in Lexington's town park, National Guard Colonel Francis Smith, commander of the government operation, ordered the armed group to surrender and return to their homes. The impasse was broken by a single shot, which was reportedly fired by one of the right-wing extremists. Eight civilians were killed in the ensuing
Ironically, the local citizenry blamed government forces rather than the extremists for the civilian deaths. Before order could be restored, armed citizens from surrounding areas had descended upon the guard units. Colonel Smith, finding his forces overmatched by the armed mob, ordered a retreat.
Governor Gage has called upon citizens to support the state/national joint task force in its effort to restore law and order. The governor has also demanded the surrender of those responsible for planning and leading the attack against the government troops. Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and John Hancock, who have been identified as "ringleaders" of
the extremist faction, remain at large.
HT Todd Zywicki
"We explore the conjecture, first hinted at by Peter Minowitz, that Smith deliberately placed his central idea, as represented by the phrase “led by an invisible hand,” at the physical center of his masterworks. The four most significant points developed are as follows: (1) The expression “led by an invisible hand” occurs pretty much dead center of the 1st and 2nd editions of Wealth of Nations, and of the final edition of the volumes containing Theory of Moral Sentiments. (2) The expression in WN drifted only a bit from the center, only about 5 percent from the center in the final edition (and even less if the index is excluded). (3) The rhetoric lectures show that Smith not only was conscious of deliberate placement of potent words at the center, but thought it significant enough to remark on to his pupils, noting that Thucydides “often expresses all that he labours so much in a word or two, sometimes placed in the middle of the narration.” (4) There are numerous and rich ways in which centrality and middle-ness hold special and positive significance in Smith’s thought."