Saturday, April 27, 2002

European Libertarians?

I was going to write a long rant about the complete lack of Libertarian thought in Europe, until I stumbled upon the European Libertarians website. Fascinating stuff. It’s interesting to note how these groups seem more an offshoot of Neoliberalist economic thought than the individualism that seems to dominate American Libetarians (No second amendment over there I guess).

Although I’m still flipping between pure Libertarian thought and classical individualist conservatism (the difference is small, but important), I’m glad to see that Libertarian ideas are at least somewhere among the 300 million or so Western Europeans. Hell, even the French have a few pro-lib groups. Go fig…
Worldwide America and the Canadians

I stumbled across the website for United States International, which bills itself as, “the central registry for organizations, websites, and individuals worldwide who are working to make the United States a bigger and better country by bringing new geographic areas into the Union as States.” Some of the member sites have definite Looney-Tunes tendencies (with one or two disturbing racists / homophobes in the bunch), but I like the general concept neo-manifest destiny. Call me an evil nationalist if you want, but I think adding a few more stars to Old Glory would be just spiffy, and most nations could do a lot worse (and have!) than the US Constitution.

However, outright annexation would probably not be very effective. Argentina’s recent trouble with a dollar-linked currency and the piss-poor performance of the Euro show that, although a common currency can look nice idealistically (the Euro) and provide stability (the Argentine Peso), it only works in a tightly integrated economies. Floating currencies adjust better to local differences in economy, and allow national money lending institutions (European Central Bank, Federal Reserve Board, etc…) to set monetary policy appropriately.

I don’t think the European Union can ever work as an economically centralized nation, simply because standards of living differ too much between member states. Let’s look at the richest and poorest members of the USA as of 1999 (per capita income, via the Department of Commerce ): #1) Connecticut -- $39,543, #50) Mississippi -- $20,686. Big difference? You betcha, but the Fed seems pretty capable of making fiscal policy, and the dollar does just fine. Now take a look at participating Euro states (IMF site): Luxembourg -- $44,205, Greece – $11,873. The Europeans don’t even share the same language, culture, or history that we ‘Merkans do. How the hell is the ECB supposed to regulate financial policy for all these disparate little nations. I just can’t see how it works.

Some kind of union between the Anglophone nations seems inevitable, especially of the sane, Free-Trade variety. Certainly Australians and Americans have a pretty nice fit (the more Aussies I meet, the more I’m convinced we really have the same damn culture). I don’t know why they’re not already in NAFTA.

The British would certainly be better off if they ditched the EU completely and joined a NAFTA style trade agreement. I’m a little worried about the Brits, as their hardcore left seems to be indistinguishable from their continental comrades, but I think deep down the majority of the British people understand the benefits of closer cultural integration with the colonies.

Canada, who already has the free-trade relationship with us, are the ones that worry me. Canadian Nationalism amazes me. How can a country so much like the USA, try to carve out it’s own identity by hating America. I know not all Canadians have this resentment of us southlanders, but their state-run media (we get the Vancouver CBC affiliate here in Seattle) are so virulently anti-USA in everything its rediculous. It’s like the worst of the PBS pinkos here got a lot of funding, and didn’t have to worry about Jesse Helms blowing smoke up their ass. And their cultural protectionism (music, movies, etc…) is insane. Sure, I like the Bear Naked Ladies and the Crash Test Dummies as much as the next guy, but somebody took Alanis Moresette and put her on the radio. I can never trust Canadians, because of Alanis. And Quebec of course.

Sunday, April 21, 2002

Lead singer of Alice in Chains dead

Layne Staley, lead singer of Alice in Chains is dead of what looks like a heroin overdose. Growing up here in Seattle, I listened to an awful lot of AIC. Kinda a bummer I guess. Anyways, I guess this just gives you another reason not to put to much stock in the political opinions of musicians.

Gin and Tonics are way to easy to drink.