That which does not kill me makes me slender

From the Onion: New Nietschean Diet Allows You To Eat Whatever You Fear The Most. While dieters are accustomed to exercises of will, a new English translation of Germany’s most popular diet book takes the concept to a new philosophical level. The Nietzschean diet, which commands its adherents to eat superhuman amounts of whatever they most fear, is developing a strong following in America…. Many Nietzschean dieters are reporting success, although some complain of side effects. Kansas City’s John Mencken started the diet in January. He lost 35 pounds, eight inches from his waistline, and many of his slave moralities. He also lost the love of his life, Marissa Hapsgood, who walked out on Mencken after discovering his involvement in a romantic triangle with a poet and a sculptress.

A brief Austrian primer

Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune writes approvingly: The Xcel Energy Center would not have been built, and St. Paul would not have gotten an NHL expansion team, if former Gov. Arne Carlson hadn’t taken the bull by the horns and told leaders in the Legislature that if they wanted any of their pet projects to pass, they had better vote for a bill funding the construction of the arena. There wasn’t any referendum to make that decision. Carlson threatened to veto 1998 education and tax bills if legislators failed to include $65 million of state funding for the $130 million St. Paul arena in a bonding bill. The city of St. Paul’s $65 million contribution came via revenue bonds.

And the only way new stadiums will be built for the Twins, Vikings and even for the Gophers football team is if Gov. Tim Pawlenty lets members of the Legislature know that he wants to get these stadium issues solved. And he should show some courage and not require any referendums.

Any questions about how government works, and for whom it is working? We certainly can’t allow those dirty little taxpayers, who don’t know a good thing when they see it, have any say in how their taxes are spent, can we.

Meta-conspiracy

That’s my answer to those who dismiss conspiracy theory. I firmly believe that any honest reading of history demonstrates that the Accident Theory is not even a theory, but rather a post-facto neo-teleological rationalization. The Marxian Theory is absurd, as social classes have never done anything of note, much less been the causal factor anywhere at anytime. There is instead growing doubt that class consciousness even exists, for as one staunch left-liberal friend recently lamented, even the poorest members of our society hate the estate tax since they can envision becoming wealthy themselves one day. Trans-class consciousness, perhaps? The Great Man theory is nothing but appellation mining, often with very little regard for whether the Great Man in question actually had much, if anything, to do with that for which they were supposedly a determining factor.

And yet, history is clear that from the earliest days of recorded history, groups of men have plotted and worked tirelessly to gain power over their fellow men. It’s true in every single historical epoch, in every single society I’ve ever studied, except, according to the lords of the media, our own. This defies reason, especially when one can easily find numerous examples of group activities that would meet the definition of conspiracy except for one thing: they are not hidden. The Commission on Global Governance, for example, is openly working to establish what anti-conspiracists would otherwise prefer to dismiss as the black helicopter notion of one world government. But it’s hard to deny what is proudly laid out on a web page for all to see.

There is no one grand conspiracy, instead there are thousands, intertwining, merging and battling each other for dominance as they each work towards their own goals in their own way. But one thing that is in common with all of them is that they seek power for their members. Because totalitarian power flows from the center, all of them that seek such power are drawn to things that centralize. This is why groups with absolutely nothing in common will still appear to be working as one towards establishing the United Nations as a central taxing and governing authority, since each believes that even a small amount of influence with a single global authority will be much greater than a great amount of influence in a single country.

I don’t know why this concept should be difficult to understand. We’ve seen precisely the same thing at work in the United States, as diverse special interest groups constantly push for increasing central federal power, because it is much easier to lobby one Congress instead of fifty. The same logic is at work in the EU, NAFTA and every other entity that promises to replace numerous smaller authorities with a single, larger one.

It is this common ground that tends to mislead people into thinking that the various conspiracies, or interest groups, if you prefer, are all somehow bound together. They are not, but seen from a distance, it is not hard to understand why one might be led to believe so. There is no one grand conspiracy, but there is nevertheless a meta-conspiracy that springs, ever new and refreshed, from the bottomless well of man’s lust for power over his fellow man.

What do you know about economics

Some of the gang have been taking the Austrian quiz over at Mises.org. WARNING: this isn’t your typical easy little preferences test; it’s one that actually requires a good bit of thought and a background in economics didn’t hurt either.

My score will probably come as no surprise: 100 out of 100. Naturlich, weil ich bin ein Austrian, ja? However, I did take slight exception to question 20 on the stock market, as I didn’t think that the correct answer properly reflected Austrian theory, but as it is multiple choice I went with the closest one.

Resispa, you crypto-commie, I sentence you to re-reading the first three chapters of Human Action and the introduction to Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy.

UPDATE: Try to remember that the point isn’t to score as high as you can, but to see where your beliefs are and learn which school of economics they belong to. The choices are not exaggerations, they are taken directly from each school of economics. It should be easy to spot the two most extreme, for obvious reasons, but that’s not the point.

The ribbon that becomes you, coffee boy

I hope Strange Semantics takes the Austrian quiz. His critique of my view of the Left demonstrates that the poor guy just has no clue what I’m talking about, as his theoretical knowledge of foundational matters appears to be nonexistent. Seriously, SS, do take the quiz. Tell me how you scored and which questions you understood. You’re a bright guy, you’ll understand some although you surely won’t grasp them all, as I doubt you could define the difference between Chicago and Keynes, much less Austria and Chicago.

But I’ll answer your question. The reason the Left is blind is that it doesn’t know its own basic theories. What is value? What is money? What is a market? What is the opportunity cost of regulation? These are elementary questions, and yet would-be Leftist political philosophers not only don’t have answers to these questions, they don’t know the answers that were provided over a hundred years ago by those who fathered the theories which laid the foundation for what they are now espousing in ignorance.

The reason I don’t have to explain these concepts, and the reason so many people reading this site understand what I’m talking about without me having to explain them, is that they are nothing new. They’ve been around for decades, if not centuries in some cases, and we are speaking a language that you do not yet know. For example, Hayek proved the impossibility of socialist calculation more than 60 years ago. If you are aware of that, then the silliness of such endeavors becomes immediately obvious whenever you encounter them. This demonstrates another blindness of the Left, as we of the Right have read and know their masterworks, whereas they have literally no clue who has contributed to the foundations of our philosophy, much less what they contributed.

Start with Hayek. Go on to Schumpeter and Mises. Then Rothbard. If you get that far and understand what you’re reading, go back and read Marx. The test is to see if you can do it without laughing out loud.