Climate & Culture

I stumbled upon a very interesting article on a hypothesis I’ve ruminated upon for some time: the idea that climate and geography profoundly affect culture. It may seem obvious, but few thinkers allow its implications to color their judgments.

America is a great case-in-point. Founded under a universalizing, Enlightenment-era liberal ideology, Americans have internalized a peculiar lack of attachment to place. (For more on this, visit the wordsmiths at Front Porch Republic). However, I have noticed in my late-night, pajama-clad research sessions, that warm States are different than cold, and coastal States different than inland.

I determined that despite my love of warm weather, the trade-offs were intolerable: high crime, corruption, dishonesty, and disease.

Meanwhile, coastal areas appear to be wealthier, more sophisticated, and to have a certain je ne sais quoi that makes their cultures widely envied and imitated.

Anyway, making such generalizations is certainly a troll-baiting exercise, but it’s just food for thought.

For the record, I admire the politics of the Mountain West, which is not coastal, and Texas, which is not cold. But we’re looking for tendencies here…

Attention, Libertarian!

The sage Lew Rockwell wrote this piece in 1996, during another one of those tribal conflicts we call federal presidential elections.

It is important reading for those of us who quickly call ourselves ‘libertarians’, accepting the pessimism and hopelessness that hangs on that label. It reminds us that we are part of a proud tradition that has proven its success and popularity worldwide since the Age of Enlightenment, and even back to antiquity: liberalism. Continue reading

The Grand View of Ron Paul

The Grand View‘s article, entitled Electric Car Redux, illicited another lengthy comment from me, reposted here for the benefit of reaching a larger interested audience. Respect is paid to WordPress for providing a platform for intellectual broadcast and discourse: 

In a rather delayed response, I wanted to address your question about Ron Paul’s chance of success. Yet again, it seems that electric cars provide a guide. They’re a healthier, more sound, and more efficient choice, yet they are taking the long road to acceptance.

As of now, libertarian ideas – which are what Dr. Paul espouses – are outside the mainstream. People naturally find radical ideas scary, because they are unfamiliar. They lump us in with every hair-brained, social-engineering, utopia-seeking scheme around, from ‘communism’ to ‘social credit.’ But, like electric cars, liberty is not a new proposal. It is the principle that has fed every great Western civilization: Greece, with its city-states and government by lot; Rome, with its constitution and popular sovereignty; and most importantly America, which has been by far the most libertarian civilization in history.

The odds against Dr. Paul are long, but he has found a winning strategy to help Americans rediscover their civilization. He may not win, but would it hurt any of us to root for him? Every vote, every letter-to-the-editor, every rally for Ron Paul sends that much stronger a message to Washington: we’re taking our rights back. With the current regime torturing, surveying, and perjuring at home and abroad, and none of the ‘mainstream’ candidates of either party willing to repudiate these crimes, I’m thinking that it’s about time to send a message. Don’t you?