September 2009


America is a land of wonders, in which everything is in constant motion and every change seems an improvement. The idea of novelty is there indissolubly connected with the idea of amelioration. No natural boundary seems to be set to the efforts of man; and in his eyes what is not yet done is only what he has not yet attempted to do.

This perpetual change which goes on in the United States, these frequent vicissitudes of fortune, these unforeseen fluctuations in private and public wealth, serve to keep the minds of the people in a perpetual feverish agitation, which admirably invigorates their exertions and keeps them, so to speak, above the ordinary level of humanity. The whole life of an American is passed like a game of chance, a revolutionary crisis, or a battle. As the same causes are continually in operation throughout the country, they ultimately impart an irresistible impulse to the national character.

Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Book I, Chapter XVIII

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[Most Western environmentalists] have never experienced the physical sensation of hunger.  They do their lobbying from comfortable office suites in Washington or Brussels.  If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for 50 years, they’d be crying out for tractors and fertilizer and irrigation canals and be outraged that fashionable elitists in wealthy nations were trying to deny them these things.

Norman Borlaug (1914 – 2009)

Norman Borlaug, a true unsung hero, passed away this week.  In 1999, the Atlantic Monthly estimated that Borlaug’s efforts combined with those of the many developing-world agriculture-extension agents he trained and the crop-research facilities he founded in poor nations saved the lives of one billion human beings.

See Gregg Easterbrook’s eulogy in the WSJ and Reason’s excellent interview from 2000.

Democrats: The people in power can’t be trusted.  You need to remove them and put our guys in charge.

Republicans: The people in power can’t be trusted.  You need to remove them and put our guys in charge.

libertarians: People in power can’t be trusted.  You need to remove their power and be in charge of your own damn self.

Warren Meyer

What about treason? What about treason? Even — even the — the countries of Europe which have joined the European Convention on Human Rights, I believe they make an exception to the prohibition of the death penalty for treason. You can slaughter your fellow citizens, but if you offend the State you can be put to death.

Justice Anthony Kennedy during oral argument in Kennedy v. Louisiana (2008).