Category: baseline essays

“The Good Ship NEWF”

[This essay first appeared at Eternity Road, on July 1, 2006. I claim that one cannot have a defensible position on either abortion or cloning until he has satisfactorily answered the questions here.] Who are you? I mean, really? And how do you know? That phrase “identity theft:” what does it mean? Is the thief …

Continue reading

A Cabal Of Its Enemies

[The following essay was first posted at the Palace Of Reason on September 2, 2003. I consider it a useful adjunct to the ongoing series on the nature and behavior of systems of all kinds.] Robert Conquest’s Three Laws of Politics: Everyone is conservative about what he knows best. Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner …

Continue reading

Disparates

[This essay first appeared at the old Palace Of Reason, on December 17, 2003. Inasmuch as the Democrats have recently been promulgating the notion that the Republicans are conducting a “war on women,” with specific reference to abortion and birth control, it strikes me as especially pertinent today.] In response to this Curmudgeonly tirade, reader …

Continue reading

The Desiccated Remains

[This essay first appeared at Eternity Road, on January 23, 2009. It strikes me as extremely pertinent to the machinations of the Left today.] *** The list of well known writers on liberty includes some names that don’t belong there, such as John Stuart Mill, and omits some names that should appear at its head, …

Continue reading

Giantism

(The following first appeared at the old Palace of Reason, in 1997.) Part One: The Comedians. Is Bigness to be distrusted? Well, yes, but not because of any difference of motives between the people who staff and run big organizations and the people who staff and run small ones. It’s more a combination of two …

Continue reading

Egos The Size Of Cathedrals

Perhaps, given yesterday’s events, I should stay away from politics for awhile. At any rate, today’s topic is non-political. *** “These people, it’s no mystery where they come from. You sharpen the human appetite to the point where it can split atoms with its desire. You build egos the size of cathedrals. Fiber-optically connect the …

Continue reading

The Stupid-Or-Evil Trilogy

Once in a great while, someone who’s emitted as much political blather as I will find that something he wrote long ago has become pertinent once again. We confront exactly that phenomenon today. Under which flimsy rationale I hereby present, as they first appeared at the old Palace Of Reason: The Stupid-Or-Evil Trilogy 1. Stupid …

Continue reading

The Helix

[Inasmuch as I just recently had a most striking reminder of the power of prayer, it seems appropriate that I reprise the following article, which first appeared at Eternity Road on April 2, 2006.] C. S. Lewis has proposed that the human tastes for constancy and novelty are best conjoined — that they are intended …

Continue reading

The Food Chain

We who believe often speak of the need to “grow in faith.” I’ve never been certain exactly what that means. But as time has passed, my own faith has become ever more important to me: not as a comfort against the certainty of bodily death, and not as some sort of confirmation of my own …

Continue reading

King Cash

There are mornings when every columnist must feel he faces an embarrassment of riches. For me, this is one such. Telling of his recent sailing vacation around the coasts of Italy, Michael Ledeen reports thus: The spring weather has been unusually unpleasant, which no doubt accounts for at least part of the problem, but this …

Continue reading

The Naked Face Of The Enemy

I’ve considered long and hard. I’ve agonized. I’ve cast about for alternatives until all the skin has worn off my fingers. I’ve repeatedly refused to accept the implications of what my senses repeatedly told me. I simply can’t do it any longer. The evidence is overwhelming. America is currently in a state of civil war, …

Continue reading

Pragmatics

Pragmatics Some time ago, when embroiled in a quarrelsome encounter, I challenged my adversary in a fashion he found troubling. “Define Milwaukee,” I said. “Huh? Why?” he replied. “To prove to me that you know both how to do it and why to do it.” At first he rejected it as absurd, but I persisted, …

Continue reading

Heroes

Yesterday afternoon, Beth and I indulged our taste for action movies and went to see Lockout, Guy Pearce’s near-future star vehicle about a breakout on an orbital prison. Yes, we enjoyed it quite a bit, though perhaps for different reasons. Pearce’s character Snow is the archetype of the American hero of yesteryear: masculine, cool, fearless, …

Continue reading

The Three Systems of Man

Some years ago, a DEC software engineer by the name of Mike Gancarz wrote an intriguing little book called “The UNIX Philosophy.” In it, he propounded his conception of the Three Systems of Man. The First system occurs when some genius with time and CPU cycles on his hands thinks up a nifty new idea: …

Continue reading

Life Stories

     [The following was written by a dear friend – a young woman who can fairly be said to have saved my sanity – named Duyen Ky. It first appeared at the late, lamented Eternity Road on January 18, 2009. Today she lives in Southern California with her husband. – FWP]      Welcome to Sunday! …

Continue reading

Gamblers

     [This essay first appeared at the old Palace Of Reason on August 5, 2003 — FWP] ***      Once upon a time, a group of gamblers who controlled the nation of Japan looked around them at a vista that gleamed with opportunity. A host of prizes stood temptingly near, theirs for the taking. There …

Continue reading

Sex!

     Being of a certain age — I’m certain of it even if you aren’t — I came to manhood amid the loudest and rowdiest years of the Sexual Revolution. Being of a certain height, build, and facial conformation — see the Personal page if you really need to know — mostly I didn’t participate. …

Continue reading

Dictionary Of Government Doublespeak

Ever wondered why you simply can’t understand bureaucratese? It’s a problem that daunts many people, what with phraseology like “firmly tentative,” “bold caution,” and “interim final rules.” But never fear: your old friend Fran is on the job, and herewith presents the First Edition (collectors be alert!) of his fabulous… DICTIONARY OF GOVERNMENT DOUBLESPEAK Like …

Continue reading

Overheads

     Economists tend to partition the world’s goods into: Capital goods (made because they help to produce something else), Consumption goods (made because they’re desirable in and of themselves).      This is an incomplete partition, and its failings have cost us dearly.      There is a third category: overhead. Overhead goods aren’t made for productive …

Continue reading

Load more