- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Freedom to burn

“Lots of people don’t really know what you mean when you say either Burning Man or Libertarian, and to the extent that they do, they kind of have a bad attitude about it. People assume Burning Man is a bunch of disgusting self-indulgent hippies acting like idiots, which is partly true, but it also presents the radical edge of Libertarianism: absolutely unbridled personal expression as long as you’re not hurting someone else. …

“There’s a lot of [people at Burning Man] who, if you put Libertarian principles in the vaguest way, like, ‘Shouldn’t people be free to do what they want?’ would say yes. That’s a very natural instinct. It’s sort of what America’s built on. When you break it down to specifics, like, ‘Maybe that means we don’t need a government to build roads, maybe the roads could be built by private companies, and we don’t need a Food and Drug Administration approving our drugs,’ they start jumping off the Libertarian boat.”

— Brian Doherty, author of “Radicals for Capitalism,” interviewed by Shana Ting Lipton in Radar Online at www.radaronline.com

Cowboy economics

” ‘Cowboy up’ is western slang for facing your problems like a man, and it applies very well to the states that are generating high rates of job creation by way of low taxation.

“In Wyoming, for instance, where the corporate and individual income-tax rates are zero, the cowboy-up philosophy is paying huge dividends: Last year, the state led the nation in nonfarm payroll employment growth. …

“Michigan … has recorded six straight years of job losses. …

“Why is Michigan such an economic laggard? Short answer: the state’s anti-competitive tax and regulatory structure and failure to cowboy up. …

“Unfortunately, Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm has resorted to the logical fallacy of poisoning the well and blaming others — including President George W. Bush and former Gov. John Engler — for the state’s single-state recession.”

— Greg Kaza, writing on “Cowboy-Up Economics,” Wednesday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

Time fades

“The 1969 Chicago song ‘Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?’ couldn’t be written today. Everyone knows what time it is, even the people who aren’t wearing watches.

“These days, the correct time is everywhere: in the corner of the computer screen, on the television in elevators, on cable news channels, in train stations, as well as on car radios, microwaves, ovens, and in all sorts of public places. And, perhaps most significantly, on cell phones, BlackBerries and IPods. Most people these days carry a highly accurate and durable timepiece, but it isn’t a watch.

“All of this is bad news for the watch industry — or at least for that sector of the watch industry that sells watches meant to be used to tell time, as opposed to watches that are meant to be worn as fashion accessories or as portable symbols of status and wealth. As in many other consumer areas, the middle is getting squeezed.”

— Daniel Gross, writing on “Takes a Licking and Stops Ticking,” Friday in Slate at www.slate.com

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