Thursday, April 21, 2011

#Pubwrite's Raison d'etre: Get Drunk!

Recently I have discovered the wonders of Twitter and in doing so I have discovered hashtag "chat-rooms" using TweetDeck.  One such hashtag is #pubwrite.  Basically, it is where indie authors and budding authors go to drink, write, and socialize during their creative process.  If ever there was a statement fully enveloped the beauty of this pubwrite it is as follows:

        One should always be drunk.  That's the great thing; the only question.  Not to feel the horrible burden of Time weighing on your shoulders and bowing you to the earth, you should be drunk without respite.
         Drunk with what?  With wine, with poetry, or with virtue as you please.  But get drunk.

         And if sometimes you should happen to awake, on the stairs of a palace, on the green grass of a ditch, in the dreary solitude of your own room, and find that your drunkenness is ebbing or has vanished, as the wind and the wave, ask star, bird, or clock, ask everything that flies, everything that moans, everything that sings, everything that speaks, aske them the time; and the wind, the wave, the star, the bird and the clock will all reply: "It is Time to get drunk!  If you are not to be the martyred slaves of Time, be perpetually drunk!  With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you please." 
Picture Likely Public Domain, Found Here
I found this poem online unattributed to any author but it turns out it was written by Charles Pierre Baudelaire.  This blog can tell you a lot more about the author.

The poem has all the elements of high-brow libertinism for aspiring authors who want to get drunk not only from flowing wine but from words flowing from their fingertips.  So GET DRUNK!  Start right now!

Recently I have been reading a bit of Heinlein, mainly "The Man From Mars," and this fits in with the part of the book I have just read.  Mike, the man from mars, finally "grocked" mankind.  To "grock" something is to "intimately and completely share the same reality or line of thinking with another physical or conceptual entity" according to Wikipedia.  The man from mars "grocked" laughter and therefore "grocked" humanity in the process.  He discovered that we laugh because it is the only way we can bear bad things.  We don't laugh at the good but the bad.  The laughing becomes the good but it is not a result of good.

So too we have this Baudelaire poem.  Some things are quite unbearable without drinking.  The drink does not have to be alcoholic though alcohol is a good source of relief.  It must be a drink from something intoxicating.  Love, life, ideas, competition, and yes.. alcohol.  ANYTHING intoxicating.

Not everything in life will always be intoxicating.  Some parts of life will be a brutal struggle.  Despite this, though, I have the feeling that even the struggle can be a form of intoxication if dealt with correctly.  You decide!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Unincorporated War Book Review

Picture by Renjith Krishnan
The first book of Dani and Etyan Kollin's series is "The Unicorporated Man," which I reviewed here.  The story continues.  The second book, "The Unicorporated War," is a much different novel.  On amazon you'll see customer reviews decline a lot for the second novel.  That is largely due to the ending.  However, I found the ending to be intensely exciting which leaves the authors open to do many different things.  I won't give away what happens here.  Rather, I will explore the idea of liberty and prosperity within the context of this book.

As the authors explore the idea of freedom and liberty they ask such questions that can be summed up as follow: "What is better for society, liberty or security?"  "Are liberty and prosperity mutually exclusive?"  "Is war the reason for liberty?"  None of these questions are explicitly stated but they are definitely explored.

A lot of these questions are asked in such a way that necessitates a trade-off between liberty and prosperity or liberty and security.  This comes from a very conventional belief drilled into us by government apologists that they are in fact necessary for the organization of society.  Of course governments are not necessary to organize society and in fact stymie the organization of society through the destruction of creative minds and the destruction of the price-system.  This brings us back to some ramifications of the book.  Mainly, how does incorporating individuals (turning them into incorporations, parceling out their revenue in stock) affect societies' ability to engage in spontaneous order, that order which is not designed by any individual but is the result of individual actions.  F.A. Hayek describes Spontaneous Order as follows:

A spontaneous order is a system which has developed not through the central direction or patronage of one or a few individuals but through the unintended consequences of the decisions of myriad individuals each pursuing their own interests through voluntary exchange, cooperation, and trial and error.
Our economy organizes itself through a price system that tends towards equilibrium because of the self-interested nature of individual man.  Government intervenes in the price system through taxation, regulation, crowding out, and moral persuasion.  This interventions deteriorates the good things that come out of spontaneous order.. mainly the creativity of the human mind.  Spontaneous order is good at replacing inefficient business models with more efficient business models.  For example, if there had never been a bailout of Chrysler they would have been forced to sell themselves to a company who could remodel their business in such a way as to make a profit off of their assets.  I write about the bailouts and infrastructure here.This is what liberty brings, this is why it's good.

The question is... can forced incorporation at birth facilitate the necessary conditions for spontaneous order to create positive results for society?  This book series (trilogy, quadrilogy), seems to suggest that prosperity can result even as man is enslaved to another forcibly at birth (that is, assuming an individual gives up a controlling interest in him or herself as a result of schooling and wanting to increase their own revenue).  It isn't full enslavement, people have a latitude of freedom that can definitely fulfill this process, but it isn't liberty.

A society of incorporated people doesn't fall into the central planning problem... each incorporated individual has an incentive to make money while other various individuals have an incentive to help them make money because they wan to make a return off of what they invest.  Schools take a percentage of stock in order to fund their education.  The successful schools will obviously teach what has a high return.  Unsuccessful schools will go out of business and be replaced by more successful ones.  This system takes full advantage of the spontaneous order arrived at through prices and adds monetary incentives into such institutions as family while increasing monetary institution in such things as schooling (but equity rather than debt being used to pay for it).

However, this society is not totally free.  They are incorporated at birth.  This is what the main character, Justin Chord, is fighting a war to end.  With a war between the status-quo and a more free society it isn't obvious what the results would .  In the long run the more free society should win out because of it's ability to experiment and it's freedom to do so.  But since a free societies' advantage is it's failure, bad business models being replaced by better ones, this failure in the beginning of a war could be devastating.

Then there is the question of War.. forced participation in war.. and whether or not spontaneous order can facilitate a successful war.  To be clear, this book doesn't explore the topic of spontaneous order explicitly but implicitly.  Just as someone who discusses the formation of language also is implicitly discussing spontaneous order.  So, can a more free people win a war?  In the book there seemed to be a fair amount of coercion used to have people in war or force people to stay in war.

I'm not going to discuss this in greater depth but rather refer any readers to the book I have advertised to the right, The Myth of National Defense, in which the idea that we need a government for national defense is discussed.

Overall I give "The Unincorporated War" high marks because of it's intensely exciting war scenes, some really good evil characters (especially in the avatar world), and a look into the brutality of war for the common soldier.  This is definitely a book worth reading and ideas worth pondering.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Do Anarchists Riot Against Government Austerity?

Should it be called "Anarchistic" if one is rioting in the street for more government?  Subsidized students are one of the most violent groups of people when they lose their subsidy.  I mean, what else are they going to do?  I write here about why all schools subsidies should cease... but I do not come at this topic from a public safety perspective.  

First I want to say.. Only Keynesians on par with the rationalization sophistications of Paul Krugman could say that riots or "anarchy" in Greece are the result of "austerity measures" rather than a lack of previous austerity that led to forced bankruptcy.  This would be like claiming that if Enron would never have declared bankruptcy they would have been just fine and in fact they should have increased their spending in bad times.  We all know that if they increased their spending that would have increased the tragedy.  Why is a country any different?  They don't have a central bank to further confuse the issue.. they are essentially like a business except with forced payments from taxpayers.

Photo by Tom Curtis
So it is ANARCHY when students riot for more government?  When "Austerity" creates unrest due to lack of government funded programs?  These people are rioting for... anarchy??  That's what "The Independent" suggests.

F.A Hayek, who is not an anarchist but provides a foundation for its advocacy, delineates the difference between a market society and a totalitarian society:

While superficially it may seem that two types of civilization are today competing for the allegiance of the people of the world, the fact is that the promise they offer to the masses, the advantages they hold out to them, are essentially the same.  Though the free and the totalitarian countries both claim that their respective methods will provide more rapidly what those people want, the goal itself must seem to them the same.  The chief difference is that only the totalitarians appear clearly to know how they want to achieve that result, while the free world has only its past achievements to show, being by its very nature unable to offer any detailed "plan" for further growth
The rioters are not anarchists in any true sense of the word.  Sure, some of them may very well be self-proclaimed anarchists with a propensity for violence and a lack of reflective thought, but they are rioting FOR government, not against it.  They are rioting for the totalitarian with a plan.  For government expenditures.

Paul Krugman, as well, is advocating for totalitarianism.  Even as the S&P threatens to downgrade the United States credit rating this lunatic says "no big deal."  It's not austerity we need, he would shout, look at Ireland and Greece!!!!  But it IS austerity we need.  Austerity as in.. less spending and less taxation NOT less spending and more taxation as Ireland and Greece have committed to.  We don't want government advancing itself but choking and dieing.  The Keynesian mechanisms and paradigm has failed.. there is no political clear cut way to solve these issues even if there was a proper Keynesian course of action.  Instead, as the slogan goes, we need free markets and free minds.  We need government-less entrepreneurial creativity.

Someday this doublespeak will end and hopefully with it government will cease and be replaced by market order rather than pro-government riots.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Atlas Shrugged Part 1 is Expanding!!

Photo By Kittikun Atsawintarangkul

Atlas Shrugged opened at 300 theaters this weekend with a theater average of $5,590, 3rd highest of the top 20 films, which has led to it's ability to expand.  Brandon Gray from Box Office Mojo does a good analysis on whether or not it's opening weekend should be considered a success or a failure.  After a generally negative analysis he adds:

One positive sign, though, would be if there's a significant opportunity to expand. "We are looking to expand to 1,000 screens subject to logistics," said producer Harmon Kaslow in an email. "There's strong interest from the exhibitors and we're getting very positive word of mouth from our core target audience."
Positive indeed!  If the end goal is to convert people to liberty Ayn Rand's ideas are certainly a good way to do it.  Convincing someone to go to a movie is much easier than convincing them to read a 1,000 plus page book.

Some left leaning libertarians are a bit cynical over how this movie was advertised.  One statement that has them clamoring a bit is the advertisement below when Hank Reardon says "My only goal IS to make money" in response to advice on public perception.

Here is MY REVIEW of the movie and here is the review of the movie by a friend who has not read the book and can provide a less biased perspective.  The latter review, by Mike Billy, expresses some positives and negatives.  Here is a bit of both:

 Being someone with only a cursory knowledge of the novel’s plot, I was honestly captivated. It took a little while – about thirty minutes in – to get exciting, but once the conflicts started to develop there was no looking back. I just wish the major conflicts would have been introduced earlier in the film to get it off to a quick. It was also slightly disappointing that the film ended just as the conflict was starting to build to the next level, but that makes me want to see the next one, assuming there is a next one.
If you have not read the book I highly recommend it.  It is one of those things that could possibly change your life if you're not too critical about unrealistic characters.  It is also something that is captivating, something that keeps one guessing, which apparently WAS captured at least a little bit in the movie as someone who hasn't read the book, quoted up, reported being "captivated."

All in all I would say it was a successful weekend for Atlas Shrugged and for liberty!  

Saturday, April 16, 2011

How Good was Atlas Shrugged Part 1?

Used with permission

I must admit that I am somewhat bias when it comes to this movie because I read the book and loved the story.  Ayn Rand has influenced me quite a bit.  Her books are quintessential "Dystopia" novels that, more than any other books, inspired me to try my hand at writing.  So when I went to see the first movie of 3 I was.... cautiously optimistic (a term economists use in their forecasts when they have no freakin' idea how things will turn out).  So what did I think? 

This movie was everything it should have been given the constraints.  It was great!  Sure, it probably should have been longer even for being only 1/3 of the novel but the cast was perfect, the drama was tenable, and the philosophy permeated.  The film exuded the drama Ayn Rand incorporated into her book.  To be honest, though, this is a review of someone who knows and loves the ideas in Atlas Shrugged (as they are written there, not as they are presented in later non-fiction works).  

I don't think my love of the Ayn Rand's book "Atlas Shrugged" is the sole reason for me enjoying this movie.  There was a series of fiction that I enjoyed growing up but ended up hating the movie version... mainly the "Left Behind" series.  The "Left Behind" movie left me very disappointed despite the fact that I was a Christian who was into Bible prophecy at the time.  It even starred Kirk Cameron... and it sucked!  Atlas Shrugged was really good!

Another movie that really sucked was "The Fountainhead."  I loved the book but the movie was terrible.  If Atlas Shrugged turns out to be a hit it may be a good idea to do a movie version of Atlas Shrugged as well.  So, again, I don't think I liked the movie simply because I liked the book and associated the movie so intimately with it.  The movie communicated the book very effectively.  

There were parts of the book that were left out of the movie but some future extended version of Atlas Shrugged can fix that.  Starz did a mini-series on Ken Follet's "Pillars of the Earth" that communicated the book really well and gave the details of the book due diligence.  For now I am hyped up about the next movie coming our.  According to some sources, if the movie does well this weekend it will expand.  Of course the hope is to have the movie build momentum and eventually become a blockbuster but as of right now it is being called a wildcard by those in the know.  

For theater listings visit the official movie website! Here.  

Dystopia's Little Brother - A follow up by Andrew Edwards

So, my brother posted about the chronology of music he obsessed over throughout his life: here. We grew up in the same household yet have very different taste in music, then as well as now. I thought it would be interesting to go through the same chronology, same time periods and tell the readers what it could have been like. Think multiple universes in Marvel.

We grew up in the same house, under the same rules, and were forced to listen to a lot of the same music. And a lot of the songs George mentions are wonderful. First though, while he was obsessing over Lost the Plot, I was looking for things a bit harder. In 1996, the same year Take Me to Your Leader came out, the first Seltzer compilation came out. On it was this song:

And that was the beginning of our divergence. Not to say a complete divergence but since then I’ve always been after harder, faster music.

Yup, I was going deeper into the punk scene. I bought my first punk rock compilation album “Double Shot Punk” from Walmart in 2000. An album I kept secreted away from both my parents and my siblings in order to not have it smashed because of its secular nature. On the second disc was another MxPx song I obsessed over.

And a foray into the secular side of music

I had a great group of friend in high school, people who introduced me to a lot of wonderful music. I remember borrowing Rage Against the Machines “Evil Empire” album and recording it onto a cassette type from a battery powered boombox I swiped from my sister and hid in the woods to perform the deed.

Used to listen to this song over and over on a walkman my sister had let me borrow.
After my parents moved out and I was left with the house so I could continue my education, my college buddies got me into the Counting Crows and Perfect circle. Especially this song:

That was the extent of the softer side of obsessions. Not to say I didn’t listen to other soft music at the time, nothing really stood out as amazing.

I would listen to a tape of the Beanbag album, which is next to impossible to find anymore, over and over again but really I was still looking for other great music. Bands like Dropkick Murphys and NoFx were always up there on my personal music charts. I was listening to “Blackout” by the Dropkick Murphy’s during the major blackouts along the east coast.

So to bring it a bit more forward, I got into Godsmack and System of a Down. Both had nostalgic value. The albums were given to me by friends that moved away to other countries. A really great girl that I’ll remember forever gave me the Voodoo album when she told me she was leaving for Germany while we were hanging out at a party in the back yard of her best friend’s house, another wonderful girl. Rock Hill was a primer in Rock music for me.

I moved to PA after loseing my entire cd collection flipping my car into a Hudson River tributary. On my way out of New York I bought two albums, Breaking Benjamin and Crossfade. Hated the Breaking Benjamin album and loved Crossfade. Obsessed over this song:

Stayed in PA a short amount of time and moved to Ohio. In Ohio I was introduced to Kidney Thieves and became obsessed with this song:

Moved out of Ohio and to Indiana were I learned a lot of great music and came into my own as a musician. Bright Eyes, Project 86, Blindside, and the Dresden Dolls are all honorable mentions. Mike Patton bands were an obsession for a little bit, especially this song:

I also got into Jazz, particularly the driving walking bass of Charles Mingus. The guy is a genius and I would listen to this over and over:

And that pretty much brings it up till today, with quite a few gaps and a lot of great songs that should be on here and aren't. My brother and I grew up in the same environment, very different taste in music. Strange how that works. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Chronology of Music I've OBSESSED Over

My Chronology, of course, starts with Christian music from the days of my Christianity.  This list will only have the very best of what I was obsessed with over time. In this beginning period I was banned from "secular" music and had to listen to only approved Christian music.  This ban became more self imposed as my religious fervor grew throughout school.  Things were so much easier for me back then.  One song that really struck true for me in those days was "Lost the Plot."  Absolutely one of the songs that made me feel the fervor I desired.  This blog post will take you to Dystopia!

Ah, the Newsboys.  My favorite band for such a long time.  So much so, in fact, that the next song on my list is ALSO from this band.
In 1999 I heard this song for the first time in Middletown NY at my friend's house.  I remember staying up late into the night listening to the song on repeat while waiting to help him deliver newspapers the next morning. In those days I often stayed up late listening to music with friends.  D.C. Talk's "Supernatural" and Burlap to Cashmere's self titled debut were included in that list.  Eileen's song here. My father allowed me to listen to Burlap to Cashmere a lot because some of the music sounded oddly like one of his favorite singers, Don Fransisco.

I moved to Indiana from New York my senior year in high school (long story) so it became normal for me to find good music to listen to on those trips.  My brother lived in Indiana already, with my mother whom I lived with during my senior year (and who suddenly moved away before I finished school leaving me in Indiana depending on other people to have a place to live.... ultimately propelling me into the military as one of my only options).  On one such trip from NY back to Indiana with my brother and also my girlfriend (Amy Phifer at that time) I listened to a certain Relient K the ENTIRE TRIP.  One of the songs follows:

Things were so simply black and white in those days.  I joined the military and kept listening to a lot of Relient K.  This is probably why I get a sad bitter feeling when listening to them lately.. and event now while writing this.

But let's rewind just a bit!  There was music and Harry Potter!!!  When I read books I often also listen to music alongside those books.  Two such bands that I still enjoy that bring back memories of specific books include Brave Saint Saturn and House of Heroes.  I ALWAYS think of the 4th Harry Potter book.. a very sad book because of the death of Cedric Diggory, and the Brave Saint Saturn's first album.  Here is one amazing song (Skip the first 1:30 if you want to get to the music):

How can a robot in space cry?  Feel emotions?  Hurt? Die?  Maybe they can't.  Maybe WE are robots with these characteristics.  Maybe that's the expectations the world puts on us... don't feel, don't cry, don't die, so very alone, so far from home.

Then comes "1984" by George Orwell and the associated music I listened to while reading that book.  House of Heroes comes to mind and specifically the song "Julia."  If you read the novel while listening to this song it'll create an unforgettable emotional experience.  Julia was one of the main characters of the novel and a lover to the other main character.  The song may not sound like what one would typically find enjoyable.. at first.. but read the book.  The attached nostalgia will cripple you and make you fall in love with this band.
I read this book and listened to this song in one of the lowest periods of my life... a period to be overshadowed by later periods unfortunately.   This also coincided with reading books that would absolutely change my life... Atlas Shrugged, Free to Choose, and so on.  Very bittersweet.  I discovered secular music... The Killers... and Atheism in that period of my life.

Enough with that stuff.  Let's get into some GOOOD music.  Not all of this will be considered good to ALL hipsters, but, we'll see.

So good.. so good to repeat while drunk. This is Dystopia here!  Dystopia!!!!!!
Sorry, had to.
This next one I listened to all night long a few times...
And, to tone it down.. back to my nature
And... back to the distant past....
And again.. the Wallflowers.. when I thought I had a crush on the prettiest girl in my NY school.  Reading the book "The Perks of being a Wallflower" only increased my unreasonable associations with the band, their music, and love.
Maybe it wasn't an UNREASONABLE association... the opening lyrics are great.  Those were good days.  Days of very little worry.  As a juxtaposition to the present it may be a necessary Utopia for any Dystopia.

Despite all my negativity and cynicism I REALLY DO think my best days are ahead.  I don't want my best days to be some easy moments of my youth... mitigated only by variations of religious fervor and purity... but days ahead where I can put my mind into real action.  Maybe that's what's attractive about the Shinedown song.. one of revolution and action!  Maybe it should be an anthem for revolution for my Dystopian revolutionaries!!!  Maybe.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Book Review: Replicas by Justin Scro

What can be said about "Replicas" by Justin Scro?  First and foremost, I really enjoyed the book.  It was well written though not well edited as the increasing grammatical errors (simple spelling errors easily fixed with an editor) became almost annoying.  "Replicas" is a sci-fi book and as I have said elsewhere, I don't really like sci-fi (maybe because I haven't read enough of it).  This book was different, however, and had something much more readable than Isaac Asimov of Aurther C. Clark.  I would recommend this book to anyone who likes thrilling sci-fi dystopia books that have both predictable and unpredictable twists.  However, it is in my nature to criticize, so.. here goes.  I'll write this in the most non-spoiling way possible that can still get my points across.

This book is about the future.  Humanity has destroyed their ability to live on earth's surface and enacted a self-imposed exile to the underground that became permanent for reasons that would spoil the plot if divulged.  Machines were the rulers of the surface while humans were rulers of the underground.  Since many things are much more difficult to produce underground, Unit agents (Government agents) called "Replicas" were trained from birth to mimic "Machmen," the machines that ruled the surface.  The "machmen" for some reason still produced and had a market economy of some sort (I assume) as Eye, the main character and replica of Tria, was able to shop at Mach stores that sold a variety of items.  In following the orders of "The Unit," Eye accidentally sets off an event that would force the underground world to leave the underground and face the "Machs" or perish.  You'll have to read the book to find out more.

What I have always wanted to see in a dystopia novel is real knowledge of economics and how a system COULD collapse for various reasons other than the most obvious and used... environmental destruction.  The underground theme has been used before but this makes the book no less enjoyable.  Of course, the above criticism isn't really a criticism.. but something I plan to avoid in my own writing.  I don't want to be that annoying ass of a reviewer that criticizes an author for not writing the book I myself have always wanted to write.

The characters are built up well enough with the main character having deep flaws that made the book realistic but there were moments when the author didn't take advantage of the characters depth in order to create a real sense of emotion in the plot.  When one character killed himself there was no reminders that he was leaving behind children, how the main character thought this would affect those children, and so on.  The author is writing like a man.. lots of sex and very little time focusing on the emotional elements of the situation. Focusing on the latter could have made this good novel become phenomenal.

Lastly, I would love to know more about the political processes going on.  This book was edgy and fast so taking the time to write about the political processes may actually tarnish the reading and have made it sound more didactic but I am always interested in political processes especially in dystopia books.  If "1984" is any indicator of how inserting political information into a book turns out then I think it is a sure bet that it can be done well.  It's not that it is totally devoid of information about the politics going on... but it isn't as vibrant as it should be.  Humans are capable of making any mundane set of rules into complicated interactions like a chess game.  More of that.

My basic criticisms... more economics and less writing like a man (or more writing with deep feeling) so that the reader cares deeply about the characters.  This book could use a good edit once through by someone other than the author and then again by the author.  There are way to many grammatical errors.

This is a phenomenal author who has unlimited potential.  I hope he writes a lot more in this genre. Apparently there will be a sequel to this book, a sequel I will purchase as soon as it comes out.  For now, I will be reviewing some other works and hoping to come back to review Justin Scro more in the future.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Contest to Win a Kindle from a Local Indiana Author

Want to win a Kindle?  A local Indiana author Jeff Bennington is giving a couple away.  Here are the terms of the contest from his website (You're going to want to go to his website to follow the links to all the blogs he posts below):

Follow the REUNION Blog Tour and WIN a FREE KINDLE!

Contest Rules:
Guess what? I'm giving away Two (2) FREE Kindles on The REUNION Blog Tour!  One is specifically for the kind folks who host me on the tour. The other Kindle is for anyone who follows the tour and follows the contest rules. If you'd like to win a Kindle, all you have to do is...

#1. Buy REUNION and email your receipt to by May 13th.

#2. Comment on one or more blogs on the REUNION Blog Tour.

I'll video the drawing and have one of my children pick the winner. The video will be posted on my blog, The Writing Bomb on May 15th. Good luck!

Be sure to visit as many blog stops as possible. Read the different interviews and each unique guest post that pertain to the characters, the supernatural, what went into to writing REUNION, etc, etc, etc. I can't wait to see you there! - Jeff

Date            Blog                                                Topic
1 - Candace's Book Blog  - "The Story behind the Story." (REUNION available to eReaders.)
2 - The Cajun Book Lady  - "Meet the Survivors."
3 - Julia Madeleine's Blog - "Why write fiction about a school shooting?"
4 - Bewitched Book Worms - "Why ghosts make great antagonists."
5 - Indie Paranormal Book Reviews - "Creating back story: David Ray's dark past."
6 - The Creative Penn - "Got Story? - Get Edited."
7 - Pinnacle Writing - "Author Interview."
8 - Jemima Valentino's Blog - "Book to Print: The Making of a Story."
9 - Swamp Dwellers, Dark Fiction Book reviews - "The Dark in Fiction."
10 - Jennifer Wylie's Blog - "Author Interview."
11 - Kait Nolan - "Supernatural, Love, and Fear."
12 - The Writing Bomb - "Character Interview with Lana Jones & Noah Berkley."
13 - Reading Without Restraint - "Twenty years after the shooting."
14 - Good Choice Reading - "Jeff's only Live Interview: Open questions from host and followers."
15 - Preternatural Primer - "Building Suspense one Ghost at a Time."
16 - 100 Stars or Less - "Author interview"
17 - Readaholic - "My experience with Blog tours... so far."
18 - Lost For Words - "Interviewing Tanner Khan: The Lost Survivor."
19 - I Am a Reader Not a Writer - "Author interview."
20 - The Writing Bomb - "Remembering Columbine: April, 20, 1999."
21 - Go YAY Reviews - TBA
22 - Reena's Blog - "Making a story go from scratch."
23 - Wakela's World - TBA
24 - You Wanna Know What I Think? - "The Motivation Behind Reunion."
25 - The Book Tree - TBA
26 - My Reading Room - "Author Interview"
27 - My Neurotic Book Affair - "Character Interview with Nick Tooley: The cRaZy One."
28 - Courtney Conant's Blog -  "Questions about REUNION."
29 - The Writing Bomb - "Character Interview With Kate Schmidt Tooley: ."
30 - Paranormal Haven - "I'll have a Love, Ghosts and Fear Martini."

1 - The Writing Bomb - "Character Interview with Maria Vasquez: The Lonely One" (REUNION Available in Print!)
2 - My Eclectic Bookshelf - "My life as a Guest Blogger!"
3 - Fang-tastic Books - "Why I write Supernatural Thrillers."
4 - Bookhound's Den - "Proofing REUNION, what the Bookhound discovered."
5 - Patricia's Vampire Notes - "The story of Earl: My real ghost experience."
6 - AOBibliosphere - "Getting the story into Print and the Passion behind it."
7 - Book Noise - "How to Make a Book Read Loudly!"
8 - Yzhabella's Book Shelf - "Thoughts on Bringing Life into Paper."
9 - Rex Robot Reviews - "Thoughts on Plotting: How to pull it all together."
10 - JoJo's Book Corner - "Would the Correct Genre Please Stand!"
11 - Paul Joseph Writes - "Why Bullies Suck!"
12 - Frugal Family -
13 - OPEN: Last day of The REUNION Blog Tour!
14 - The Writing Bomb - Tour Wrap Up...Packing for Vacation.
14 - The Book Worm Blog - TBA
15 - Announce Winners of Kindle Giveaway!

After I finish a few book I'm currently reading I will review his book on this site.  Look forward to it!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Dishonest Marxist Claims About Austrian Economics

Original Article published on 
In an attempt to refute the ideas behind Austrian Economics, a Marxist website (no hyperbole here), stooped to the level of blatant intellectual dishonesty in order to dissuade people from one viewpoint and proselytize them to their own. This deception was so glaring and obvious that I felt compelled to stop their attempt to persuade the easily deceived. The author, John Case, did a terrible job researching his subject.
In Frederic Bastiat’s introduction to “Economic Sophisms – First Series,” Bastiat wondered why it is that liberty is “so hidden as to be discovered only by professional Economists.” His timeless conclusion was repeated by Milton Friedman, in Friedman’s own words, over two centuries later in his book “Free to Choose.” Bastiat said:
We must confess that our adversaries have a marked advantage over us in the discussion. In very few words they can announce a half-truth; and in order to demonstrate that it is incomplete, we are obliged to have recourse to long and dry dissertations.
Fortunately there is no need for me to write a dissertation here and writing one would do more harm to my purpose than good as the folks do not seem inclined to read as much as would be required. Instead I will quickly address three of their claims.
First, the claim that proponents of Austrian Economics are “calling for the end of public schools, roads, post offices, Internet, media of any kind, health care, retirement, fire stations, etc, etc, etc” is wrong. Austrian Economists are not against things like health care and the internet. Rather, Austrian Economists have enough of an imagination to suppose that things can be produced and created without the use of the initiation of coercion as a means for wide-scale social cooperation. In fact, many libertarians believe the use of coercion limits the creativity of the individual and impedes the development of society as a result. The internet is not a result of coercion but the result of many dispersed individuals cooperating to create something amazing. The internet embodies the results of non-coercive social cooperation that economists like Mises and Hayek espouse.
My second point of contention is Case’s mysterious imbuement of religion into the Austrian Business Cycle Theory (ABCT) that cannot be traced back to a single major proponent of Austrian Economics (or anyone but Case himself). In describing how his version of ABCT he says:
Every graph of the financial crises showing crashes and bubbles is just God’s continuing morality play. Government intervention in this “virtuous” cycle prevents God and/or nature from rendering justice with the “tough love” everyone needs
The most prominent model used as an explanation for the business cycle is Hayek’s triangle. I searched the internet for one that included “God’s Wrath” but the best I could come up with is mining tools depicted in the most elongated portion of the its representation of the market.
Well, maybe Hayek wasn’t religious. However, modern day proponents of Austrian Economics must be! This turns out to not be the case. Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard and Walter Block are all atheists and the latter two are even associated with the Ludwig von Mises Institute (of which he cites in his article). Even those who do believe in a God do not use God in their economic models. For good measure, some of those folks include Hans Sennholz, Robert Murphy, and Tom Woods, all of which think the business cycle is a bad thing and have devoted large portions of their lives attempting to educate others.
Finally, the last bothersome claim I want to address is the claim that Austrian Economists suggest NO policy solutions to end the business cycle. It’s easy to see how someone can get this impression. Ron Paul gave interview after interview on how prices should decline in order to adjust from bubbles that were caused by monetary expansion and interest rate manipulation. However, if any research for this article was done at all I would be curious as to how Case could have missed Ron Paul’s NY Times best-selling book “End the Fed.” Isn’t ending the Fed a policy solution? How about Murray Rothbard’s “What has Government done to our Money,” Lawrence White’s “Competition and Currency,” Hans Sennholz “Age of Inflation” (with a picture of a money bubble on the capital building), or Tom Wood’s “Meltdown.” I admit, a few of these books would require one to not glean Austrian Economic policy solutions from the cover, a few pages would have to be read, but to make such a vociferous claim about a school of thought that is diametrically opposed to actual policy suggestions is dishonest and lazy.
There are many more claims made by Case in his article but demonstrating the absurdity of a few satisfies me. Most readers of Students for Liberty are well aware of how absurd the claims made by Case are, but, in case you’re not aware of the more insidious, gasp – the claim that Austrian Economists do not use math- here is a great introduction to Austrian Methodology. Unfortunately full-truths require a bit more reading than half-truths because of the ease at which half-truths are spoken.