Monday, December 10, 2012

Off to the West!

Oh my, so much unpleasantness in the previous post and exchange, but even much more in the events preceding it.  I'd prefer not to be involved in such a sad affair, but the behavior of PL was too far beyond the bounds of civility to go unchallenged.  So as requested I will go ahead and post the email exchange I referenced, but this will have to wait until we arrive in Montana.  OK, enough of that, on to more pleasant matters.

I'm particularly looking forward to the new year.  First, I've been tracking the official Unforeseen Contingencies predictions for 2012.  So far we have two clear home runs: SCOTUS affirmed the constitutionality of PPACA and Obama beat Romney in a close election.  It will be a genuine disaster if we don't score at least three clear successes (see prediction 1), and both 4 and 6 are looking pretty good as well.  If we hit only 50% it will be great, especially since the remainder are bad news.  We are, of course, still hoping for a hit on the wild card, number 11.

Second, training for BoB100 is going well.  It's minimalist, as usual, but not too minimalist.  I suspect I've done more runs beyond the marathon distance this year than any previous (eight).  All were done between 6 July and 8 December, so without question this is the most ultra-length runs I've done in a six month period.  And that doesn't count the runs in the 20-24 mile range.  All I can say is "ugh."  Man, am I beat, and beat up too.  Icy Hot is my friend.  I will try one or two  more runs in the 30 mile range once in MT, but particularly interested in getting some long snowshoe or ski or hiking or climbing days in, 12 plus hours.  (Any readers in the Bozeman area are welcome to join.)

I hope to have another installment of "Reclaiming Libertarianism" before year's end (Libertarianism and History), and a few more posts on economics and other issues as well.  I might try blogging from the road, but until the next post, just stay tuned.

Picture: believed to be an actual unretouched photo of an artist's rendition of the Unforeseen Contingencies operation heading west.

Dr. Steele,

Best wishes to you in your continued training; it is certainly more demanding than what I have been doing. I have recently (on December 1) repeated my feat of four years ago of running an elliptical-trainer marathon (in a time of 4:30:05) – but I have no plans to venture into ultra-marathon territory for the foreseeable future. What you are doing is impressive.

I am fully in agreement with you regarding the Post-Libertarianism fiasco, by the way. While not all libertarians are right about everything (and civil discourse and debate are always proper if pursued as a way of discovering truth and/or identifying error), incivility and ad hominem attacks are completely counterproductive – especially considering that libertarianism is far from the dominant political philosophy today. The conduct of PL is symptomatic of a tendency that has torn at the libertarian movement for generations now. (I observed similar degrees of viciousness, bitterness, and fanatical denunciation in certain Objectivist circles in the mid-2000s, and anyone who dared to oppose such conduct was quickly lumped in with those who were being denounced and condemned.) For the record, it is my view that the attacks by PL on Sheldon Richman, Thomas Szasz, Chuck Grimmett (especially – as I consider him a friend and a person of integrity), and FEE more generally have been outside the pale of civil discourse and are not worthy contributions, in any manner, to anything. Pointing out errors in anyone’s thinking, as you have done, is respectable and can be interesting. But PL’s level of vitriol is totally unacceptable.

I look forward to your future posts.

Dr. Steele,

I do not know if you are aware that Malthus used, as one of his examples of inherent limitations to human progress, the impossibility of a human being traversing 100 miles on foot in a single day. He wrote, “A motive of uncommon power acting upon a frame of moderate strength would, perhaps, make the man kill himself by his exertions, but it would not make him walk a hundred miles in twenty-four hours.” (He refers to walking in his text, as if running the distance did not occur to him. Perhaps he thought that running would be even more difficult than walking and so would lead the man to fail even sooner.)

So another benefit of your upcoming run will be to demonstrate yet another way in which Malthus was wrong.

Thanks Gennady; I concur. I do think PL made some very valid and important points re errors in thinking of both Szasz and Richman, and I found Richman's refusal to seriously engage such criticisms shocking. But PL himself makes absurd and unjustifiable statements, cranks out insults like Bernanke cranks out dollars, and half the time seems to be speaking from rage rather than reason.

I don't know how I could have missed Malthus' example. He's just lost substantial stature in my eyes.
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