Monday, 28 April 2008


Here is a paragraph from my journal, dated 12 March 1979:

Gasoline is constantly increasing in cost: 68.9¢ now; about a year ago, 56.9¢. About all I can do to overcome the price is to always drive gas-efficient vehicles and avoid extraneous outings.

I added the following comment 20 years later (on 12 March 1999):

The price for regular unleaded gasoline—the cheapest grade—is now 91.9¢ per gallon at my local Texaco station. I have seen it as high as $1.20 per gallon during the past twenty years.

I’m more surprised by the price nine years ago than I am by the price 29 years ago.

Bush-Hatin’ Paul

Paul Krugman¹ describes President Bush as “deeply unpopular.” Did President Bush become “deeply unpopular” before or after his second election as president? There is no doubt in my mind that if President Bush could run for a third term, he would defeat either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.


¹“Op-Ed columnist Paul Krugman has the disturbing habit of shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers in a fashion that pleases his acolytes but leaves him open to substantive assaults” (Daniel Okrent, “13 Things I Meant to Write About but Never Did,” The New York Times, 22 May 2005).


Here is a scene from yesterday’s 94th Liège-Bastogne-Liège (in Belgium).

A Year Ago



The United States Supreme Court (by a 6-3 vote) has just upheld Indiana’s voter-identification statute against a constitutional challenge. It is mind-boggling how anyone could oppose such a law, when there are so many illegal aliens running around. I hope other states follow Indiana’s lead.

Addendum: Here is the New York Times story.


Stanley Fish has forgotten Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas. Evidently, it’s only the smearing of progressives that troubles him.

Addendum: Fish’s protest against linking Barack Obama to William Ayers suggests that, at some level, he understands just how important the issue is to the American people. We do not want our presidents associating with unrepentant terrorists.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Education is by far the most important, and most ignored, domestic issue facing America.

It is not merely an issue of class and race but reaches across all races and classes, and involves the American ideal of adolescence itself.

Starting with the invention of “teenagers” in the 1950s, America has created a youth culture so devoted to hedonism that all except our most elite public and private high schools have become a global joke.

Everyone interested in America’s future should see the documentary “Two Million Minutes,” which contrasts the way American teenagers spend their precious high school minutes with the way their Chinese and Indian contemporaries are forced by their parents and society to work hard to master difficult mathematical and scientific skills.

When Indians highly educated in science and math take our information-technology industry away from us the way China has taken away our manufacturing, what will America produce then—clones of Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus?

Fred White
Baltimore, April 22, 2008

Michael Oakeshott (1901-1990) on Rationalist Morality

The morality of the Rationalist is the morality of the self-conscious pursuit of moral ideals, and the appropriate form of moral education is by precept, by the presentation and explanation of moral principles. This is presented as a higher morality (the morality of the free man: there is no end to the clap-trap) than that of habit, the unselfconscious following of a tradition of moral behaviour; but, in fact, it is merely morality reduced to a technique, to be acquired by training in an ideology rather than an education in behaviour. In morality, as in everything else, the Rationalist aims to begin by getting rid of inherited nescience and then to fill the blank nothingness of an open mind with the items of certain knowledge which he abstracts from his personal experience, and which he believes to be approved by the common ‘reason’ of mankind.

(Michael Oakeshott, “Rationalism in Politics,” in his Rationalism in Politics and Other Essays, new and expanded ed. [Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1991], 5-42, at 40 [footnote omitted] [essay first published in 1947])


Steve Walsh sent a link to this story about United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who is the bane of progressive law professors. They hate that he is law-abiding. To them, law is just politics.