Whither Merkel's foreign policy?
Newly sworn-in Chancellor Angela Merkel, of the conservative CDP/CSU alliance, is more friendly toward the United States but is constrained by the terms of the "grand alliance" with the Social Democratic Party, under which the leftists keep the diplomatic portfolio. In the old days, the centrist party of Hans Dietrich Genscher typically held that post, even as the other two parties alternated in power. Belmont Club summarizes the analyses of various writers about the future direction of German foreign policy.
Ayn Rand on smashing X-Boxes
New York libertarian blogger "Kip Esquire" rebutted self-described disciples of Ayn Rand who objected to the recent incident in which several people bought and then smashed brand-new Microsoft X-Boxes, apparently to make the point that the herd-oriented consumer masses needed a jolt to their dulled, conformist consciousnesses. Frankly, I don't care much about X-Boxes or Y-Boxes or whatever, but it does raise a good ethical question. Kip's piece is mostly a philsophical discourse on subjective vs. objective theories of value, but he concludes with a very pertinent general observation:
If there is one reason why Rand's philosophy never permeates out to the masses, it's not because the philosophy is wrong, but because myopic purists refuse to let it evolve and thereby flourish. The Randroid Objectivists are doing to Rand pretty much what the Catholics have done to Jesus. And in both cases, the potential positive impact of the original philosophy is increasingly being lost.