Sunday Reading: Summarizing Jeremy's Corner of the Blogosphere

So I got up at 11 AM this morning (after staying up till 2AM watching 24 with Tasha - remind me to blog about that show) and spent most of the day so far catching up on my feeds (via OneFeed). I get bogged down in the sheer amount of feeds I read, simply because it's hard for me to prioritize among feeds I want to follow. Some are of higher interest than others. Sometimes - especially lately - I don't have time to check them. So often my days off are spent feeling the pulse of my favorite places on the internet.

I just posted on some stuff on BoingBoing I thought was interesting - since most of it is usually fluff. But there's some cool stuff on the blogs I read, too - stuff I think my readers would be interested in. I've noticed a trend in the articles I've been reading lately. There's some great articles centering on the theme of questioning commonly accepted beliefs.

My left libertarian friends have some especially insightful posts. Brad Spangler talks about the statist errors of the popular anti-immigration movement:

What that means for the Mr. Anastasias of the world is that they are shooting themselves in the foot by supporting immigration restrictions. While legal immigrants would of course mean extra competition in the job market, the wage difference would not be anywhere near so drastic if illegal immigrants could act in the job market without fear of the legal system. Yet that wage difference is what Mr. Anastasia claims to be upset about.

Kevin Carson questions the accepted wisdom that the Nazis' rise to power was the popular movement so commonly depicted, quoting this article:

The elite installed Hitler as Chancellor because they feared that working class power was getting out of hand, and they were desperate to find a political leader who could lead the upper classes in a ruthless war against the working classes. Standard histories of this period, such as William Shirer's classic The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, describe how this happened. Every time Germans had a chance to vote for or against Hitler, the great majority voted against him. Hitler ran for President in March, 1932 and got only 30% of the vote; in the run-off election the next month he got only 37%, versus 53% for the incumbent Field Marshal von Hindenburg. Nazi electoral strength peaked on July 31, 1932 when Nazi rhetoric about representing all Germans and not special interest groups lured some voters away from the numerous small, special-interest conservative parties. The Nazis won 230 out of 608 total seats in the Reichstag (parliament). But their main foes, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the Communist Party-both of which were led by Marxists and received mainly working class votes-jointly captured 222 seats in the same election. Voting records show that the richer the precinct, the higher the Nazi vote. Working class Germans not only voted against the Nazis, they fought them in the streets.... In the next Reichstag election on Nov 6, 1932 the Nazis lost 34 seats, reducing them to only 196 deputies, while the Social Democratic Party and the Communist Party won a total of 221 seats - 25 more than the Nazis. This was the last free election before Hitler came to power....

Although not so anarchist, Antiwar.com's Scott Horton summarizes the Constitution's insufficiency in defending against the domestic tyrant:

Ever since the Constitution was ratified, what is now the national government of the United States has been brutally killing people.

The Lew Rockwell Blog may not be straight up left libertarian, but it is consistently insightful. Today, Thomas DiLorenzo comments on the fallacy of the morally superior Yankee:

There were still slaves in New York in the 1850s and, according to the Society's publication, New Jersey did not end slavery until 1865.

Moving on to the more vulgar libertarian blogs, the Cato Institute's Enrique Ghersi analyzes the rise of populist leftist leaders in Latin America (and comes to a completely different conclusion than I would):

A new form of military coup d'├ętat is emerging in South America. Today's new militarism is characterized by leftist military men who lead a rebellion, are jailed for it, and then emerge with the popularity to win the next presidential election with large majorities of the vote.

And now for something completely different - from Marginal Revolution: is mathematics and science reaching its limits in understanding?

I worry that insight is becoming impossible, at least at the frontiers of mathematics. Even when we're able to figure out what's true or false, we're less and less able to understand why. An argument along these lines was recently given by Brian Davies in the "Notices of the American Mathematical Society". He mentions, for example, that the four-color map theorem in topology was proven in 1976 with the help of computers, which exhaustively checked a huge but finite number of possibilities. No human mathematician could ever verify all the intermediate steps in this brutal proof, and even if someone claimed to, should we trust them? To this day, no one has come up with a more elegant, insightful proof. So we're left in the unsettling position of knowing that the four-color theorem is true but still not knowing why.

After all this reading, I simply have no energy to comment right now. Just wanted to share some interesting articles with you. Now it's off to do productive things like folding laundry and doing dishes. Yay.

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Written on Sunday, January 08, 2006