Dad’s Nuke

by Henry on March 7, 2004

Building from Belle’s “post”:http://examinedlife.typepad.com/johnbelle/2004/03/if_wishes_were_.html on end-state anarcho-libertarianism, a question for the floor. Everyone’s favorite libertarian SF author, Vernor Vinge, makes the case for private ownership of nuclear weapons as an important bulwark of liberty in his short story, “The Ungoverned” (it can be found in his recent “Collected Stories”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0312875843/henryfarrell-20). If you’re a serious anarcho-libertarian, do you agree that individuals should be able to have their very own nukes? If you disagree, on what grounds do you justify your disagreement? Discuss.

Pick a Winner

by Brian on March 7, 2004

I rather liked the discussion that followed from John’s “earlier post”:https://www.crookedtimber.org/archives/001450.html on voting systems. So just for fun I thought I’d try a more complicated version of an example I brought up in the comments there, to see what people’s opinions are.

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Rhinegold

by Chris Bertram on March 7, 2004

I’m back from seeing the “ENO production of The Rhinegold”:http://www.eno.org/whatson/full.php?performancekey=18 (sung in English). I should say, before uttering a word of criticism, that I enjoyed myself and wouldn’t disrecommend the experience at all. But, that said, this was a pretty weird staging. The opening scene takes place in a pole-dancing club, with dodgy businessman Alberich being teased by dancers in turquoise pvc mini-dresses. Alberich is sung by an Alexi Sayle lookalike (Andrew Shore) who does an excellent job of portraying the sexually-frustrated dwarf. The scene opens, though, with Alberich being encouraged to enter the club by property-developer Wotan and his PR-man and Mr Fixit, Loge. This addition, needless to say, has no textual warrant and, if taken seriously, would amount to a major distortion of the plot.

Scene two takes place in Wotan’s apartment and opens with Wotan in the bath. The dynamic between Wotan and Fricka may not have been modelled on Tony and Carmela Soprano (or JR and Sue Ellen), but it is hard to think that such comparisons weren’t somewhere in producer Phyllida Lloyd’s mind. The giants are played as construction engineers who brandish their plastic-bound copies of the contract as they demand payment for their work on Valhalla. Donner wears trainers and wields a baseball bat, Loge prefers subtler methods: you get the picture. One of the problems of staging such a modernized production is that it interferes with the suspension of disbelief. If everyone is dressed up in fantasy costumes then it is easier to take seriously the idea of Freia as an object of lust even if she is somewhat hefty. But if everything else looks like Dallas or the Sopranos then a Freia who doesn’t fit with the conventions of those dramas is incongruous.

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Ideas and interests

by John Quiggin on March 7, 2004

One of the justifications I make for the time I spend blogging is that it gives me a chance to try out arguments I use in my work. With that in mind, I’d very much appreciate comments on this short summary of the role of ideas and interests in explaining policy outcomes.

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