Free State

I have been searching your blog for your thoughts on the freestateproject.org; are there any?

I am certainly a supporter of the Free State Project. I think it is one of the few freedom-loving organizations that stands any chance of making a difference – or at least helping people avoid some of the consequences – as the country continues in its long tailspin towards socialist crisis. I think Jason Sorens’ conception of the project was brilliant and I also believe that the choice of New Hampshire was optimal. When I first heard about it, I assumed that they’d go to New Hampshire, but it’s better that everyone had a chance to contribute to the debate and thus ensure mental buy-in.

Will I go there myself? Quite possibly, if only to support the cause of American liberty. New Hampshire’s pretty easy for me, too, as I’ve had family living there and am pretty familiar with it.

Space Bunny says

Nothing is scarier than hearing: “Hey, I fixed your computer!” She was, however, prompted to revise her statement upon hearing “As soon as I get the new distro downloaded, I’ll have a whack at your system.” Apparently that’s worse.

Fedora… you can leave your hat on….

Partitioning software

One of the difficulties in migrating to Linux is the probable need to partition your hard drive if you want a dual-boot system. Since Microsoft doesn’t want to make it easy for you to escape Windows, you need to turn to third party software. Partition Magic is the best known, but I just tried out BootIt NG, which is a shareware package that does the trick rather nicely. It’s actually far more powerful than most people need – I don’t want a boot manager – I just needed to split one giant drive into two partitions.

Anyhow, it’s pretty easy to use, not very expensive, and I’ll post a how-to up here after I tackle the third machine’s drive.

On the upcoming election

Why don’t I write much on the political horse race? Because that’s all it is. A horse race, devoid of significance. Regardless of whether George Bush, or, to choose the leftmost Democrat for illustration’s sake, Howard Dean, are elected, there will be very little change in US government policy. Mild differences in tax rates, sure, a mild variance in judges nominated, of course.

But, in either case, will we leave the UN? Will the tax fraud be abjured? Will the troops stationed in 100 countries where we are not at war be brought home? Will Federal Reserve paper be replaced by money that can’t be inflated at will? Will abortion be banned? Will the 10th Amendment be obeyed? Will the right of the People to Petition be honored?

No. So, I don’t care who wins the next election, must less the Democratic nomination.

Thus spake Neal

“The U.S. Government’s assertion that Microsoft has a monopoly in the OS market might be the most patently absurd claim ever advanced by the legal mind. Linux, a technically superior operating system, is being given away for free, and BeOS is available at a nominal price. This is simply a fact, which has to be accepted whether or not you like Microsoft…. this is not the sort of power that fits any normal definition of the word “monopoly,” and it’s not amenable to a legal fix. The courts may order Microsoft to do things differently. They might even split the company up. But they can’t really do anything about a mindshare monopoly, short of taking every man, woman, and child in the developed world and subjecting them to a lengthy brainwashing procedure.”

Mr. Stephenson, a devotee of Debian Linux, is not a fan of Microsoft. I am in the midst of what can only be described as a purge, methodically eliminating Microsoft applications and operating systems from every machine in the house. But, as I have said before, Microsoft is not a monopoly.

I realize the federal government has pronounced otherwise. They have also taken the position that ketchup is a vegetable and that the United States is still facing a national emergency due to “the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security” posed by the Burmese government.

Capitalism vs corporatism

“Linux stands on the verge of ousting Apple in the OS stakes…. As Linux continues its apparently unstoppable march over the server and desktop market, more and more people are writing to PC Plus asking why we don’t try hardware out on Linux for compatibility checks. Questions like these make sense after all, with so many users weighing the pros and cons of ditching Windows in favour of Linux, they want to know how good Linux hardware support is, and particularly for cutting-edge kit.”

PC Plus provides some reasonable answers as to why they will not be providing the same sort of coverage to Linux-compatible hardware that they do to Microsoft and Apple hardware, but it is certainly interesting that they even feel they need to address the issue at all. It’s also interesting to hear that the writer believes that Apple – “so fragile, and yet so vicious” – is on the verge of being pushed off to the side, although we’ve heard that death knell before, and I, for one, imagine that they’ll be around for a while, if only to market hardware to those who believe that style, sophistication and moral superiority can be purchased from a computer manufacturer.

I was more intrigued by the following paragraph:

“…it’s a sad fact that some manufacturers have no wish to be associated with Linux. Over on my day job at Linux Format, we recently ran a ‘Linux on laptops’ feature, for which one particularly big name suddenly refused to send us a review unit when we mentioned we’d be installing Linux on it. “We don’t support Linux, and don’t want our customers thinking we support Linux,” they explained, despite the fact that the same company had previously made a big deal over its new line of dedicated Linux systems.”

I’ve been working on a column delving into the strange quasi-capitalist, quasi-socialist corporation-centered economy in which we currently live, and I found it very curious that a laptop maker would: a) not support the fastest-growing operating system, and b) not want their customers who are interested in that operating system to know that they could run that OS on their products. Far from being the champions of the free market, it seems that corporations are increasingly focused on supporting centralization, government regulation and standardization even if this means they must sacrifice customers in the short term.

There are some real doubts about whether modern corporations and the corporatist system are truly compatible with human liberty, capitalism and the free market. I think that the next stage of the thirty-year OS saga may prove to shed some interesting light on whether corporatism finally sheds its capitalist facade in the 21st century and reveals itself as the true Third Way or if capitalism again throws off another challenger to its throne as the optimal means of secular human progress.

Stay single, young man

If you or your potential wife-to-be are non-Christians, that is. I’m serious about this. Only a woman who believes that her commitment is before God has a reason to take her commitment seriously once the initial romantic high wears off. Women choose to end 75 percent of marriages and now, contrary to what one would assume, are apparently committing nearly half of the adultery as well.

This is not to say that a Christian wife won’t leave you when she gets bored or fail to decline an affair with a good-looking tennis instructor if you happen to be spending too much time out with the guys. But at least she has a solid reason not to do so, whereas if her only reason to remain faithful is because she’s in love with you and thinks you’re super spiffy, what do you think is likely to happen if she decides she isn’t in love with you anymore and starts to believe that you are the one responsible for her being miserable?

I know there are plenty of faithless (in the religious sense) couples who are happily married. I know a few and I have great respect for them. And there’s certainly no shortage of Christians who fail to live up to their ideals. But, as the study is apparently an English one, it demonstrates how a lack of faith is likely to correspond with a lack of long-term committment. Since the legal deck is heavily stacked against men, the only real solution for young men is to avoid matrimony like the black plague. This is the strategy that Scandinavian men have pursued, according to a Danish friend of mine, and with some degree of success as 54 percent of the children in Sweden and 46 percent in Denmark are now born illegitimate. As my friend concludes, you’re going to lose custody anyhow, so you might as well make sure that you’ll be able to preserve your bank account if the relationship falls apart.

The cost to society will be terrible, of course. Which is exactly what many Christians argued, to no avail, when the Godless Leap Forward was made two generations ago. But I can’t, in good conscience, tell a young man that it makes any sense whatsoever for him to marry a woman whose only commitment is emotional and legal, instead of spiritual and eternal.