Saturday, June 12, 2004

Marriage Degraded Again

As a married man, I am appalled at the latest body blow dealt the institution by a high profile celebrity. I'm not talking about J-Lo, though she and Britney Spears make it tough to explain to kids the value of a marriage. This time it's Rush Limbaugh, who is divorcing his wife of ten years.

Divorce is a bitter pill for a conservative moralist to swallow. Problem is, this is not Rush's first divorce, either. Nor is it his second.

On the heels of his highly publicized drug abuse problem, I'd say his credibility has taken an even greater punch to the brain than the institution has. No doubt, though. When a moralist the stature of Limbaugh can't keep himself hitched 'til death do us part', why should anybody listen to anything he says? Do us all a favor, Rush, and keep your trap shut henceforth on the issues of drugs and marriage. Do yourself a favor and clean out your closets. At this rate, by 2006 you aren't going to have any issues left to speak on with any real authority.

Friday, June 11, 2004

The Folly of Light Rail

I was very pleased when I was quoted in a recent Indy Star article in opposition to the proposed light rail nightmare. I am on record describing one's transportation as his responsibility and taking the position that it is wrong to ask others to pay for it. This was excellent, but it did not detail who would benefit and who would pay.

My letter in today's Star does this. The beneficiaries would be citizens and workers in Hamilton County- Indiana's wealthiest county. Among those paying would be some of the poorest people in Marion County.

In fact, all of the people in the Central Indiana region will be expected to pay for this, but only a tiny fraction of the people will benefit directly. I ask my liberal friends: is this fair? Is this what you want? The usual answer is 'yes', I know. This time, you're robbing the poor to pay the rich. Is this fair? Is this what you want?

If you ever wanted to understand the distinction between Republicans, Democrats, and Libertarians, here it is. Libertarians say it is unfair to rob anyone to pay anyone else, all the time. Robin Hood was a villain all of the time. The ends never justify the means. The problem is not how to redistribute wealth. The problem is redistribution of wealth.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

A Goofy Position To Take.

If a Libertarian candidate for office declared, "if I win the election, I will resign so that the Governor can replace me with an appointment- even if that appointee is from a different party than mine," there would be a chorus of hoots and hollers, and the candidate labeled a 'kook'. Commentators would point out that the position is elected, and if you weren't prepared to accept the office if elected, you shouldn't even run.

So, what happens when a Democrat does this? From the Indy Star:

Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Joe Hogsett and former City-County Councilwoman Susan Williams are joining Gov. Joe Kernan and Lt. Gov Kathy Davis on the Democratic ticket this fall.

Hogsett will run for attorney general, and Williams, a former teacher, is running for superintendent of public instruction.

Both choices came as somewhat of a surprise, but the biggest surprise was Williams' announcement that if she wins, she will resign to let the new governor -- whether it's Kernan or his Republican challenger Mitch Daniels who is elected -- appoint his own education leader.

Ed Gluck of Vigo County wants to run for Judge, but is unable because he is not a lawyer. Indiana law specifies that to run for Judge, the candidate must be a lawyer. He begged the LP to let him do this, but the State Chair and then the Central Committe voted against him doing so. Much of the objection was over being viewed as a crackpot bunch of kooks. The further belief was that if you don't like the procedures, rules, regulations, and laws surrounding running for a particular office, the most proper, respectful thing to do is to work to get it all changed. We'd rather not have our candidates thumb their noses at the process.

Alas, the Democrats will be thumbing their noses at the process, and high up on the ticket.

Kernan said the position should be a cabinet-like post, especially since education is ultimately the governor's responsibility.

Politics, Kernan told cheering Democrats at the 2 p.m. announcement, should play no role in education.

Both Kernan and Daniels have favored making the superintendent of public instruction an appointed position. So, too, has the Republican incumbent, Suellen Reed.

But no one had suggested such a dramatic changeover as Williams and Kernan proposed today.

What a crackpot bunch of kooks!

Monday, June 07, 2004

Al Barger for US Senate

One of the more satisfying outcomes of a recent meeting of the Libertarian Party of Indiana's Central Committee was to nominate Al Barger for US Senate. Webpage

Incumbent Senator Evan Bayh is as about as untouchable as they come. He is generally more conservative than the average Republican, both fiscally and socially. There were Reagan Democrats throughout the US, but in Indiana, there are Bayh Repubicans. So, why not run a colorful candidate such as Al? He's endlessly quotable, and to make a dent in Bayh, you have to be noteworthy. The GOP's challenger may as well be an empty Coke can. Dr. Marvin Scott has an excellent resume`, but that and $4 will get you a latte at Starbucks. I'd give a week's pay to have Bayh and Barger on the same stage for an hour, along with the Coke can. Sweat would definitely form under Bayh's perfectly coiffed hair, and that rarely happens.

As an internal matter, it was very satisfying that Al could be nominated and accepted despite having a favorable take on the war against Al Qaeda and in Iraq. He is as libertarian as John Hospers or Murray Rothbard ever were, despite straying from orthodoxy on this issue. It is satisfying that there are no purity police on the Central Committee. Other states would have refused to give the assent. Our group recognized that Al is the best man available for an impossible battle. I know I'd rather have someone like Al who is his own man with his own thoughts and reasons than a stiff dogmatic who can only spout platform bromides. That's no different than the Coke can, and probably less effective anyhow.

Plus, Al is my blogfather. His encouragement has led to more than a year of posts on a variety of topics. He is an inspiration as a Mencken of the day. When I read Al's posts about sticking Al Sharpton up in the Democrats and breaking him off inside, I can picture old Henry Louis smacking his knee with hearty guffaws inbetween hacks at the keys.

That's my kind of candidate for this kind of race. I was pleased to sign his campaign papers as Secretary of the LPIN. Have at 'em, Al!
Opting Out

Home schooling used to be viewed as a curious, freaky solution to the problem of a combination of lousy public schools and a desire to avoid paying for private schooling while providing a child with the best education possible. No more. 97 home schooled students participated in graduation ceremonies Saturday at the Convention Center. Indy Star story.

97 may not seem like a huge number, but what is significant is that the numbers are sharply on the rise. While just over 7,000 kids were learning at home in 1984, more than 21,000 are today. These "graduating classes" will only increase in size in years to come.

We used to hear from teachers that these kids would be under-educated if not taught by professionals. The string of spelling bees won by home schoolers helped dash this. Then again, we were hearing this from the teachers union, who would rather not lose customers to rank amateurs, such as parents. While K-12 teachers won't endorse them, college professors do.

At colleges like IUPUI, home-educated students have a proven track record.

"Home schoolers that have come here have done extremely well," said Michael Donahue, director of admissions at IUPUI. "The best way to describe our experience with home schoolers is they are self-motivated, self-directed and the faculty likes them as students."

Studies at IUPUI, where more than 100 home-schooled students enroll each year, show that they perform at almost a full letter grade above the general student body, according to the university.

We used to hear that these kids were destined to become social retards as a result of not being socialized with other kids. In fact, the opposite is true. Because homeschoolers aren't socialized with the kids who are being werehoused and don't give a crap about being educated, or caught up in pointless fashion fads, or the cliques that are so destructive to self-esteem and instead are actually focused on learning, they are better socialized. For instance, they can effectively express themselves and hold a conversation with an adult!

Joel was "the class clown," in elementary school and wasn't being challenged enough to keep him motivated, she said. Andrew was in a less than ideal setting and was afraid of going to the bathroom because kids smoked marijuana there.

Sounds like my experiences with school, and I went to private schools!

This is just another example of an area of life where people are voting with their feet, giving the greatest anti-endorsement possible.