Put Your Head Back on Right this July 4

It is easy to get distracted by all the forebodings in the news today, so I want to offer Discovery Institute friends a “read” that will re-inspire you and also assert some of the personality and philosophy that I hope animates this organization and its fellows. It should encourage a different version of Independence Day enthusiasm as it is quintessentially American.

My Uncle Berlin B. Chapman was raised literally a hundred years ago in the hills of West Virginia, put himself through college and Harvard Graduate School (Phd.), and taught history the rest of his life in Oklahoma–producing some of that region’s first histories. He once told me that in his opinion “the greatest commencement address” ever made was “Acres of Diamonds,” by Baptist preacher and Temple University President Russell Conwell. I asked Uncle Berlin for the gist of it–that the opportunities in life are found in one’s own backyard–and was more or less satisfied with that truism. But I finally got around to reading a version of the address itself today because I wanted to recommend it to a young political friend of mine. Continue reading

Time to Sue the Parents?

The Obama Administration is frustrated that the kids getting government financed school lunches are not eating them. Huge piles of uneaten foodstuffs are being thrown out daily. Worse, a Congressional Committee has learned that there is black market among the kids for salt and pepper, since Michelle Obama is trying to keep these dangerous chemicals out of the food our youth consume. The situation has grown so bad that some parents are sending their kids to school with their own lunches. That of course should be prohibited and the contraband seized as evidence by the Justice Department. Other parents–even poor ones!–are taking their kids out of school and feeding them lunch at home. Why, that’s almost un-American. Kids eating lunch at home? Where will it end?

Clearly the Administration needs to sue the parents and their kids and bring them into line. A little jail time would knock some sense into them. And there are no lunches from home in prison.

Why “Gold in the 21st Century”?

GilderDiscovery Sr. Fellow George F. Gilder delivered his monograph, Gold in the 21st Century, today at the Princeton Club in New York City. The book length paper was the product of the American Principles Project and represents a next step in George’s thinking on the issue of money as it changes in our time. His next book, Life After Google (working title), will incorporate his insights on gold into a discourse on fulfilling the Internet’s promise–and resolving its ailments.

Among the topics I hope he covers in the future are what we can do about the maddening array of pop-up ads and 30 second commercials that get in the way of enjoying a particular YouTube video or newspaper article. He also needs to address the appalling spams and scams of Internet and email gangsters that prey on the gullible. The gullible also include many of us who thought we were opening a legitimate news article and found instead that our computers had been taken over by “ransom ware” or malware and that the only way to get free was to pay off the pirates (or spend an afternoon, as I have done recently, at an Apple store getting the computer de-loused).

The answer probably is some variation of Bitcoin, the monetarization of material we now obtain only after punishing advertising assaults. What will you pay to be free of these? Is the future Internet not like a toll-road that one takes to avoid the congestion and eye-attacks of billboards and blight? If so, there probably will be a way for free-loaders to continue to get content for nothing more than a stream of ads and risks to one’s serenity. Continue reading