Localist LinkfestBy J. Arthur Bloom for FRONT PORCH REPUBLIC
If Rush Limbaugh hates it, it’s probably a good idea:
When Dan Price said last week that he would cut his own pay and profits to make it possible to raise the minimum wage at his credit card processing company in Seattle to a hefty $70,000 a year, he had little idea of the whirlwind it would stir.
While the overwhelming majority of responses on social media and elsewhere were positive — punctuated with labels like “hero” and hand-clapping emojis — there were also skeptics and naysayers.
BBC has a great piece about living on Sealand:
Modern Sealand is equipped with phone and the internet. They have a gift shop, have issued passports (they stopped after 9/11, but Michael said they plan to start issuing them again soon), and even started a data haven called HavenCo in 2000. HavenCo closed down in 2008 amidst numerous problems, but re-opened in 2013 with the help of internet entrepreneur Avi Freedman.
When I asked Michael what Sealand does to make its estimated GDP of $600,000 (where this number comes from is unclear, since Sealand is not included on most official lists of GDP by country), he said: “We’ve been involved in different things over the years, including internet data havens. We have our own stamps, coins, passports, right now we cover our expenses with our online shop. We market titles of nobility and T-shirts and mugs and stamps, coins, just about anything to do with our little mini-state. I travel on other business as well, I have other business interests involving shellfish and other internet stuff.”
Modern Sealand also has a futuristic ideological heir: seasteading. The concept isn’t quite the same – seasteaders plan to build their own floating nations rather than commandeer existing structures. “So seasteaders think a lot bigger and more glamorously,” said Joe Quirk, the communications director for the Seasteading Institute, “we also like to think we’re very pragmatic.” But in many ways, they share the same ideals – independence, freedom, adventure.
Pope Francis and crypto-Catholicism
Ross Douthat on Pope Francis
Translating Mao’s poetry and touring Taoist temples with Allen Ginsburg:
Q. What happened at the White Cloud Temple?
A. I went there with Allen. We walked in there, and the abbot was wise, as Taoists should be, and generous. We were interested in everything, and although I’m not religious, religion is something I know well, so we had a lot to talk about. We were walking around, and we saw a room. Allen said, “What’s in this room?” and the abbot said, “Look inside.” Allen opened the door, and there was a young man wearing a loincloth, but otherwise completely naked. He was in a posture where his hands touched his feet, like a circle, but his eyes were open. Allen said, “Oh, oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to disturb him.” And the abbot said, “Don’t worry. No one will disturb him for 24 hours.” Allen said he had been in India for three years, but this is the real thing
Ted Cruz isn’t great about showing up to work
Jim Antle on how Rand Paul can sell peace
Social classes today
Sony leaks reveal execs tried to get their kids internships at Buzzfeed
Gown made of beetle wings
Francis Cardinal George on Christian anarchism:
Instead of a world living in peace because it is without religion, why not imagine a world without nation states? After all, there would be no American ambassador recently killed in Libya if there were no America and no Libya! There are, obviously, individuals and groups who still misuse religion as a reason for violent behavior, but modern nation states don’t need religion as an excuse for going to war. Every major war in the last 300 years has been fought by nation states, not by the church. In our own history, the re-conquest of the secessionist states in the Civil War was far bloodier than the re-conquest of the Holy Land by the now despised Crusaders. The state apparatus for investigating civilians now is far more extensive than anything dreamed up by the Spanish Inquisition, although both were created to serve the same purpose: to preserve a government’s public ideology and control of society, whether based on religion or on modern constitutional order.
Analogies can easily be multiplied, if one wants to push a thesis; but the point is that the greatest threat to world peace and international justice is the nation state gone bad, claiming an absolute power, deciding questions and making “laws” beyond its competence. Few there are, however, who would venture to ask if there might be a better way for humanity to organize itself for the sake of the common good. Few, that is, beyond a prophetic voice like that of Dorothy Day, speaking acerbically about “Holy Mother the State,” or the ecclesiastical voice that calls the world, from generation to generation, to live at peace in the kingdom of God.
Swiss newspaper covers Hawaiian separatism
Books and Culture on Shirley Jackson
The Archdruid on preppin‘:
Those who become early adopters of the retro future, to use an edgy term from last week’s post, will have at least two, and potentially three, significant advantages. The first, as already noted, is that they’ll be much further along the learning curve by the time rising costs, increasing instabilities, and cascading systems failures either put the complex technosystems out of reach or push the relationship between costs and benefits well over into losing-proposition territory. The second is that as more people catch onto the advantages of older, simpler, more sustainable technologies, surviving examples will become harder to find and more expensive to buy; in this case as in many others, collapsing first ahead of the rush is, among other things, the more affordable option.
The third advantage? Depending on exactly which old technologies you happen to adopt, and whether or not you have any talent for basement-workshop manufacture and the like, you may find yourself on the way to a viable new career as most other people will be losing their jobs—and their shirts. As the global economy comes unraveled and people in the United States lose their current access to shoddy imports from Third World sweatshops, there will be a demand for a wide range of tools and simple technologies that still make sense in a deindustrializing world. Those who already know how to use such technologies will be prepared to teach others how to use them; those who know how to repair, recondition, or manufacture those technologies will be prepared to barter, or to use whatever form of currency happens to replace today’s mostly hallucinatory forms of money, to good advantage.
Went to a forum this week to hear the authors talk about their cover story in the National Interest, and the danger of war with Russia. Read the whole thing, it games out how, though all parties may officially be against it, we may be headed for confrontation.
Alex Tabarrok reviews Joseph Heath’s new book:
Rational ignorance is magnified by rational irrationality, a term coined by Bryan Caplan in The Myth of the Rational Voter. We all face conflicts between what we want to believe and what it is rational to believe. I want to believe that I am a skilled fighter with God on my side. But I don’t want the punch in the nose that acting on such an irrational belief would surely bring. Fortunately, if I choose to believe what is rational—that I am more a lover than a fighter—I can avoid the punch in the nose. Beliefs, in this case, have consequences.
But suppose that I believe that my country’s military is the greatest military in the history of the world and that God is on our side. Given such beliefs, I will vote for war. If I believe that my country has an average military and no strong claim to side with God then I will vote against war. Unfortunately, voting sunders beliefs from consequences. The war will happen or not depending not on how I vote but on how others vote. I don’t get to choose the war but I do get to choose my beliefs and if I choose the former, I can bask in the warm glow of patriotism and righteousness. But if I choose the latter, I am an unpatriotic outcast, out of step with my fellow citizens and fearful that the country is out of step with God. Since the only difference in consequence is the warm glow, I have little incentive not to go with the glow and vote irrationally but patriotically and righteously in favor of war.
A Dominican tours the Capitol:
The rites of civic religion which colored my tour of the United States Capitol Building did not have their intended effect—I did not have a religious experience, my devotion was not kindled, I was not roused to offer incense—but I did receive a revelation from the lips of the idol’s servant. For years and years, I had been seeking the foundational principle, the bedrock reason why American soil was becoming so hostile to Gospel seeds. Why had receptivity turned so quickly to indifference, and indifference to hostility? What strange teaching had inoculated hearts to the beauty of the Crucified? What strange doctrine had made his disciples bigoted prudes in the eyes of their countrymen?
What I searched for in books of the wise and learned, I found uttered in the simple faith of my humble Temple guide:
“Nothing stands taller than liberty.”
The Fleetwoods, “Mr. Blue”
Waxahatchee, “Under a Rock”
Jackie Shane, “Any Other Way”
Luke Kelly, “Parcel of Rogues”