Saturday, December 28, 2002

when evil is good

They kill the innocent in church services on Christmas Day. They kill the innocent in synagogues, in pizza parlors, at weddings, on public transportation, in office towers. They kill the innocent when war has not been declared.

They kill the innocent in his mother's womb.

Barbarism has come of age. And noone seems to be outraged.

alien baby boom

Are these the kind of people we want mass produced? People who think the human race was engineered by aliens? People who disregard the law; people who unwisely push the envelope on new technologies? People, who, perhaps, stretch the truth?

Of course these comments are about the recent claim by members of what is best described as a cult that they have cloned a human being. Even if this claim proves to be a stretch of the definitions, as it probably will, it begs so many questions that it can't be dismissed.

The begged question today is, do we really want to mass produce people like that? And, anyway, who decides? Would Tutsis want to see Hutus turned out en masse? Would Palestinians want to see Israelis mass produced? Would Muslims want to see Christians spawned by the gross? How many people really want to see Hillary Clinton mimeographed in 3-D? What if Osama bin Laden had made 10,000 clones of himself? What would the world be like 15 or 20 years after some self-styled god initiates life in his own image?

The real question is, who gets to decide who is fit to be cloned? And who confers what rights on a cloned life?

The correct answer is, of course, that no individual or committee is fit to make this decision. The problem now is, that someone must. And, really, when someone is deemed fit to decide who is qualified to have life initiated, it is not very far at all to having someone decide who is qualified to have life terminated. All for the good and enlightenment of the race at large, of course.

Unfortunately, Eugenics has come of age. We were warned that it would come to this, if we got comfortable with abortion, but who listened? Not enough people, apparently. And eugenics is the sort of thing that people who want to eliminate entire races think about and practice.

Lunatic fringe, we know you're out there.

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

good will

Is Christmas too "commercial?" The parking lots were full today. Today, and in prior days, busy people took time out from their busy schedules, and, using money they usually work pretty hard for (or will in the future), they thought of people besides themselves.

They studied things and shopped and dealt with crowds and fatigue and spent more than they know they should have, seeking just the right gifts; frivolous with time and money.

And frivolous with Good Will, if there can be such a thing. But I think there can be no such thing as frivolity with Good Will toward Men, which is, after all, the Christmas Spirit.

So, if the retail trade gets carried away, and even if it misses the beauty completely, The Invisible Hand is at work; people motivated by thoughts of Good will toward others are spending dear wages, granting gainful, maybe even rewarding employment, providing for the needs and comforts of life, and the means for a better future, experiencing joy, some even a riot of joy, in the simple act of giving. The giver will not lose his reward.

And so spreading Good Will becomes the Project this industrious people sets itself to in this season, and they carry it off with excellence and gusto, as usual.

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests." Luke 2:14

And yes, His favor has on us rested. May it always be so. And may we always set ourselves to the spreading of Good Will. Perhaps the real driver of proseperity isn't our wits as much as it is our embracing of the Spirit of Good Will to Men.

Sunday, December 22, 2002

beyond the meltdown

The Argentine economy has collapsed. Again.

"You could die waiting for the IMF and the government to solve Argentina's problems," says Walter Blas, a Buenos Aires resident and coordinator of distribution of goods and services locally -- and privately.

But the people are making it work. Workers are keeping open plants that have been bankrupted, making and selling goods and keeping themselves employed. Food, clothing and medicine are being distributed -- needs are being met -- through charity and barter, through creativity, will, and cooperation.

In other words, the Invisible Hand is at work. It's a tough time. But in tough times, free people triumph. It's axiomatic.

When government and big business implement policies that are some combination of misguided, self-perpetuating, or fraudulent, and they thereby destroy an economy, confiscate the wealth of productive people, and mortgage the means of production and distribution of goods and services, there is still hope. Or perhaps it should be put another way: there is finally hope.

A free people with a fighting spirit and work ethic. Never, ever underestimate the good they will accomplish.

Saturday, December 07, 2002


Picture this scene with me.

It’s an art auction. The auctioneer is at the podium. He describes a Monet. “We will start the bidding,” he declares, at $25,000. Do I have $26?”

“I’ll bid 25 thousand and 10 dollahs” shouts someone from the back.
“Twenty five thousand and twenty dollars!” comes another call.
“Twenty five thousand and 30!” still another.
“40!” wails the first bidder.
Fifty!” hollers another.
Finally, an aggressive buyer steps up. “26 thousand dollars,” he bids.
“Twenty six thousand and 10 dollars” counters another.

Is this getting frustrating to read?

Now you know what it’s like to trade in decimals.

If the efficiency of an auction market is partly determined by the minimization of frivolous bids, then decimals hinder efficiency. Decimals are an invitation to market obstruction.

Is this a true auction market? It might better be described as a market within a market. What the boiler room guys used to call 'insides.' Pennies are used to nullify bona fide bids and offers, buying time for the specialists and his partners in crime, the floor traders, to trade ahead of you with a complete knowledge of the market at that moment.

As one trader said, "I didn't know pennies would be so expensive." Lately it seems like an auction in name only.