Living in Alaska

Get up, make a breakfast of eggs and bacon, get clothes arranged from the move (finally), ping someone on the Valdez Salecycle Facebook page about a car for sale, walk Ginny the dog through the snow piles in the center of town, get coffee from the drive through place, put up some window seal tape, laundry, grocery store for a spaghetti squash, see an amazing sunset at 4:45pm.

New location, new blog

I’ve moved to Alaska and so it’s time to write again. It’s never too late to start again.

Here in a snow-heavy location, I am realizing I need a boot jack. A boot jack: one of those Y-shaped floor tools that helps you get tight-fitting boots off. Going in and out of the house with giant neoprene boots all day long necessitates it. I can’t spend valuable time and limited back-strength pulling off knee-high mucking and snow boots. Add it to the list of things I have only needed in this particular State.

Remember those bug/cricket shaped boot jacks from the turn of the last century? My grandfather had one. As he was a farmer by trade, this was not unusual. These things were made of heavy cast iron and looked like art nouveau cockroaches. The antennae were the “v” that you used to pry off the boots.

Here’s one.

Freemasonry and Change

The Grand Lodge of Tennessee recently kicked out a Brother because he advocated for his gay friends and associates. It’s madness. Tennessee has long been a problem in this area, having kicked out a couple of gay Brothers in 2016. I don’t understand the kerfuffle other than it being a manifestation of generalized bigotry, which also keeps Prince Hall Lodges out of recognition in now a small number of jurisdictions. I wish the now alleged former Brother well.

Slight Return

Well, I wrote this in July 2021 and never published. I’ll hit publish now …

There is no more tiresome post than the apology for absence. Right behind that is the heartfelt promise to continue writing / posting / recording more. It’s all empty until its actually done. So I’ll avoid that and move directly to a random series of thoughts, I hope more coherent than the average Larry King USAToday column. (Zing to a dead guy and his twenty year old product!

As my social media consumption asymptotically approaches zero, I am listening to more podcasts and I am enjoying Jonah Goldberg’s The Remnant. Not only is it a reference to a classic Albert Jay Nock article, but Jonah has been absolutely on fire in his assessment of the collapse and utter miserable state of the Right in present day America. Even when Goldberg is wrong (Snowden is no traitor), he’s cogent and educational.

You should also be listening to Social Evolution with Max Borders and Michael Porcelli. Max was a colleague of mine at FEE and a friend and is now doing mind-blowing work at Social Evolution, his own research institute.

Farewell to Steve Horwitz. A friend, social media dynamo and occasional sounding board to me. He will be missed by many, many people and his role in the libertarian world will not be easily or quickly filled, to our detriment.

Writing in 2020

I managed to get web-published a number of times in 2020. Check it out:

The 18th Century and Social Networking on AdamSmithWorks – a discussion of networking with a particular focus on the Scottish Enlightenment.

Joseph Banks – A review of Patrick O’Brian’s biography of Joseph Banks: traveler, naturalist, botanist, courtier.

Review of Jesse Norman’s biography of Edmund Burke, Part 1 and Part 2 – Come for the life of Edmund Burke, stay for Norman’s strained defense post-Thatcher political Conservatism.

And while you are at AdamSmithWorks, please check out my wife’s discussion of fashion production in the Age of Smith.

Salieri, Commerce and COVID

In Amadeus, Antonio Salieri rejects his father’s bourgeois commercial life and offers himself (?) in exchange for art and fame.

While my father prayed earnestly to God to protect commerce, I would offer up secretly the proudest prayer a boy could think of: Lord, make me a great composer. Let me celebrate Your glory through music and be celebrated myself. Make me famous through the world. Dear God make me immortal. After I die let people speak my name forever with love for what I wrote. In return I will give You my chastity, my industry, my deepest humility, every hour of my life, Amen.

After a month of quarantine and economic lockdown, I offer that Antonio was wrong about the relative diginity, fame, and importance of mere commerce. Commerce is what in fact makes the flourishing of art possible to the degree that 18th century Vienna experienced.

Three cheers for Old Man Salieri and his trade. And while Antonio may be the patron saint of mediocrities everywhere, he may also be the blessed patron of those who cannot see upon whose shoulders they stand.

COVID-19 Journal, April 1, 2020

Here are my general rules now that we are about a month in:

  • Consume only enough news to get the big picture. This takes less than five minutes. I’m not kidding.
  • Get outside.
  • Shades, curtains open. More light is better.
  • Keep working.
  • Do not descend down any rabbit holes, especially COVID related. Most are wrong and you don’t know which are right. You just don’t.
  • You don’t know.
  • Reduce the number of variables you care about because the number that you can’t control have gone up. Stop caring about things you don’t control.