Self-Driving Cars, Thomas Cole & The Wide Valley Of The Future

Curbside buses can be very cheap, much safer than vehicles, and better for the environment, but regulation can stifle competition.  Chinatown in New York City is leading the way in offering competitive rates.

I think cheap is the key factor for many riders.

So, how soon will you car be driving itself?

How long do you spend in traffic, staring ahead, inching forwards?

Are you willing to cede the freedom your vehicle provides to all the inefficiencies of public transportation?

Probably not.

***Addition: In high density areas, city buses, subways, taxis, uber, zipcar etc. all make sense, but for a large majority of Americans, not so much at the moment.


Adam Kirsch at the New Republic on Austrian writer Stefan Zweig:

‘The profound pessimism of this view of humanity, and its implications for the liberalism that Zweig cherished, were not lost on him. Zweig’s nonfiction is today much less read than his fiction; none of it has yet been republished, though many of these books were translated into English in the 1920s and 1930s, at the height of his fame. The most significant for understanding Zweig’s political dilemma is Erasmus of Rotterdam, which he wrote in 1933, in the months after Hitler came to power, and just before he himself fled Austria’


American painter Thomas Cole’s ‘The Course Of Empire,’ which I saw in D.C. years ago, has stuck with me.  Moral, religious, historical and natural themes abound.  He liked parables.

What to do with all this land?

Apparently he was not a fan of the Jacksonian democracy going on around him.


Anecdote of the Jar

I placed a jar in Tennessee,
And round it was, upon a hill.
It made the slovenly wilderness
Surround that hill.

The wilderness rose up to it,
And sprawled around, no longer wild.
The jar was round upon the ground
And tall and of a port in air.

It took dominion every where.
The jar was gray and bare.
It did not give of bird or bush,
Like nothing else in Tennessee.

Wallace Stevens

Throw something at it and see if it sticks.  I like Helen Vendler’s interpretation….

What do you do with an uncivilized, wild land?  Import European learning and literature “atop” it?

The nature/culture divide?  Nature is wonderful but it is to culture where we must return.  If you are an artist, you turn towards direct experience in this land, but…you also turn to that which inspires you…European learning and thought….the products of other cultures.

Second Verse, Same As The First-More Speech

Via the New Criterion:  On Garry Trudeau:

‘The fact that an ostentatiously privileged beneficiary of that freedom should take a public stand against according such freedom to others might be described as ironical. We think “despicable” would be a more accurate designation. Garry Trudeau pretends to be celebrating the underdog. In fact, the dog he celebrates is himself’

–Six writers apparently know what is acceptable speech and what isn’t, and thus don’t think the folks at Charlie Hebdo engaged in acceptable speech (we’ll leave some French things to the French, but not our own speech here at home)

It still needs to be said, loud and often:  What keeps so many disparate groups together under the 1st amendment to the Constitution clearly includes speech which offends.  Your litmus test for ‘tolerance’ is speech you yourself see as dangerous, harmful, and threatening to you and your own.

Frankly, you want to see bad ideas coming, while also having the courage to live in knowledge of such ideas and the people who would act upon them.

As to people in different civilizations with whom we have business, military and political engagement, people who would kill U.S. citizens where they live for engaging in this freedom when it upsets their own rules and commitments, choices will have to be made.

This blog believes choosing not to ‘offend’ for fear of death is not a winning, reasoned, nor functional long-term strategy.  It is cowardly, unrealistic and muddle-headed.

The universal aspirations of the entirely Western ideologies from which it springs are no substitute for the freedoms and responsibilities we already have. In fact, they often undercut them with promises of utopian abstractions.

Such apologists have already betrayed you, me, and themselves, leaving some people, quite literally, to death.

It would be foolish to leave your freedoms and our engagement with the rest of the world in their hands.

Cartoons here.  The cartoonist is still in some danger.

Food for thought.

A British Muslim tells his story, suggesting that classical liberalism wouldn’t be a bad idea…as a more entrenched radical British Left and Muslim immigration don’t mix too well: From ‘Introduction: How Salman Rushdie Changed My Life’… Via YouTube: ‘Christopher Hitchens Vs. Ahmed Younis On CNN (2005)’

Free speech (used both well and unwell) meets offended Muslims: Mohammad Cartoonist Lars Vilks HeadbuttedDuring Lecture’From The OC Jewish Experience: ‘UC Irvine Muslim Student Union Suspended’From Volokh: ‘”South Park” Creators Warned (Threatened) Over Mohammed’

See Also:  If you thought the cartoons were bad, more on the Fitna movie here.  From The NY Times: Review Of Christopher Caldwell’s Book “Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West”  Libertarians love this issue:  Repost-A Canadian Libertarian Making Noise: Ezra Levant