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Thursday, September 30, 2004

A Non-Political Post

By: UnrepentantNewDealer


A non-political post?! Great Jumpin' Jehosephat! But as anyone who knows me can attest, books are my greatest love. That being said, this list was originally posted on my accidental Xanga blog because...well, because I got bored, what more can I say? I was inspired--maybe provoked--to post this by a How Stuff Works Top 100 Greatest Science Fiction Novels List that I came across on Akerman's Pictoblog (link on the right). So, I decided to create my own. As I am lazy there are only 10 novels. To be fair to other authors, I count the collected works of Orson Scott Card as only "one" novel. Without further ado, I humbly present:
Michael J. Smith's Authoritative
Top 10 Greatest Science Fiction Novels List

10) Brave New World by Aldois Huxley (The ultimate dystopia, or utopia if you agree with Akerman.)

9) Mars by Ben Bova (The very best of the many novels about the Red Planet; no bug-eyed monsters here!)

8) Artifact by Gregory Benford (Conceptually, one of the coolest novels ever written. Basically, an a cube-shaped black stone is found in a Greek cave that contains a singularity, essentially a tiny black hole. Oh, yeah, and there's two of them and they are attracted to each other and if they meet, "it's the end of the world as we know it". Sing along now! "And I feel fine.")

7) The Last War by H.G. Wells (A cool apocalyptic tale of a nuclear armegeddon which allows a clean start for the rise of civilization; most impressive it was written in 1914! Talk about foresight!)

6) The Foundation series by Isaac Asimov (Required reading; it is the fall of the Roman Empire in an interstellar setting. Galactic empires, scientifically "predicting" the future, individuals with special telepathic powers--all can be traced back to this landmark trilogy. Ingenious solutions to seemingly insolvable problems, too.)

5) Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke (Someone should really make a movie of this. It would have to have mind-blowing special effects! Essentially, a cylindrical spacecraft is discovered hurtling towards the sun from another solar system. A space crew is readied to go inside. But they find far more questions than answers. Truly, an awesome book!)

4) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (If you haven't read this book, you're a miserable specimen of humanity and a waste of needed resources! Nothing personal, of course! I particularly like the Mechanical Hound...)

3) 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne (Do I really need to explain this one? Captain Nemo and a giant squid...How could you ask for more?)

2) 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke (Yeah, I know, the movie's weird. Read the book and much, if not all, will become clear.)

1) The Collected works of OSC (particularly the Ender series, Alvin Maker series, and Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus. If you aren't keeping up with this literary master's writing, well...go back and read the parenthetical remark to number 4!)

That's all for now. Don't worry, I'm sure I'll get some political fodder from tonight's presidential debate. Stay tuned...

Monday, September 27, 2004

A Pattern of Intolerance

By: UnrepentantNewDealer


How y'all doin' tonight? {silence but for the crickets chirping} That good huh? Well, it's been a while. I was waiting to post again until after Akerman responded to my previous post. When he did finally post, it was in several parts and I have held off until now so as not to screw up the sequence. Scroll down and read them now if you still haven't yet, you lousy good-for-nothing slackers!

By the way, I have become the unwitting owner of a Xanga blog. All I wanted to do was post a comment to Kristen's blog, but to do that I had to register with Xanga. It turns out this gave me a blog. Who knew? I posted a single post explaining that as I already have this blog as an outlet for my rants, raves, and occasional insights, I do not intend to make much of anything out of my "accidental" blog. I then posted a spiritual reflection on my Xanga site, sparked by Akerman's Beslan post. Read it at http://www.xanga.com/private/home.aspx?user=mjsmith2. I do not really intend to post on it except once in a blue moon. Check in occasionally. As we say here in the South, "Don't be a stranger now, you hear?"

Well, today was interesting. Cate Edwards, daughter of John Edwards came to campus today for a speech. The College Democrats, of which I am a member, hosted the event and did all the prep work. It was not what I expected. I had dreaded some lame talk on what it was like being the daughter of a Vice-Presidential candidate or why it is important to vote. I was pleasantly surprised when she turned out to be quite knowledgeable about the issues and didn't deliver the same bland generalities the 18-30 year old crowd normally hears every four years and which never fails to inspire most of them to stay home on Election Day.

My only complaint was the sparse turnout. We had about 250 people show up, out of 20,000 enrolled students. There should have and would have been more. We blanketed the campus with signs advertizing the event on Saturday. The signs were authorized by the campus administration and carried a seal mentioning that fact. But by Sunday, they had all mysteriously vanished. Because of this, many students never even heard about it. It seems to me the height of rudeness to take down signs of upcoming events if you disagree with the speaker's politics.

But the rudeness of many Republicans and the hatred they exhibit towards non-Republicans exercising their freedom of speech knows no bounds. Many Kerry-Edwards lawn signs here in Mecklenberg county have been stolen over the past few months, often the very night they are put up. When I went back home to Guilford county over the weekend, I heard of the same problem. It is not just a few idiots. It's a whole lot of idiots. I've heard of it happening in other states, too. Seriously, if a person can't exercise their First Amendment rights on their own property, where else can they? Not to mention the fact that it is illegal to tresspass on private property as well as to steal.

But when have these Radical Republicans ever let inconvenient facts, moral scruples or the law stand in their way? They sure didn't in Florida in 2000 when they illegally excluded former fellons from voting. (Florida law, by the way, at the time of the last election, allowed former felons who had served their jail time to regain the right to vote.) They sure didn't when they illegally excluded people with last names or social security numbers similar (not identical, but merely similar) to those of former felons from voting. Since felons are disproportionately black, this meant thousands of black voters were turned away at the polls, even those with no criminal history. They didn't let the law stop them when military ballots that arrived too late to meet the deadline established by standing Florida law, that missed postmarks, or that were obvious forgeries were counted. Or when some military ballots were even counted more than once. Or when the Republican Florida Sec. of State Katherine Harris, who just so happened to also be the co-chair of the Bush-Cheney state campaign committee, instructed elections supervisors that Florida law stipulated that these illegal military ballots be counted, despite the fact that Florida law required them to be thrown out.

Of course military servicemen typically vote Republican 2 to 1. African-Americans typically vote for the Democrat in presidential elections by at least 90%. Thus, if you wanted to stack the deck and rig the vote to ensure a Republican won, you'd exclude the African-American vote and count every military vote, more than once if necessary. They use these tactics because they work. When the media did an independent recount of the ballots after the 2000 election, they found that had those illegal military votes not been counted (and counted and counted), Al Gore, not George W. Bush, would have won the state of Florida, and thus, the presidency. I couldn't make this stuff up! Here are two sites that document this; there are of course more sources if you want to subscribe to the internet versions of New York Times or the Washington Post or other national newspapers to get online access to archived stories (subscription is free, but accessing archived stories is not always):

http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20010205&c=1&s=palast

http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/nation/president/2004-07-26-expatriots_x.htm

The worst part is that it could all happen again. Jimmy Carter has spent his post-presidential career overseeing elections in third-world nations with no prior history of democracy. So it is all the scarier when he says that conditions in Florida are even more unfavorable for fair elections than in many of those countries:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/3693354.stm

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A52800-2004Sep26.html (Postscript: This is a more direct link to Jimmy Carter's actual article in the Washington Post than the link I initially posted. However, I still do recommend Eric Alterman's Altercation blog at
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3449870)

This is not to say that all of these things are part of some "vast right-wing conspiracy". It is simply a mindset, an intolerance of different opinions. "It is ok to steal a sign or disenfranchise some people, not just because the ends justify the means, but because I disagree with their opinion, therfore they have no right to express it, in their front-yard or in the voting booth." Basically, the point I'm trying to make is that from stolen signs to stolen votes, politics has become a no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners, do-anything, break-any-law-to-acheive-victory type of struggle. But only for the Republicans. The Democrats are taking the high road. Apparently, they didn't get the memo.



Wednesday, September 22, 2004

ANABFR: APIP 2

By: Michael Akerman


First off, if you haven't read part 1 of the posting-in-parts, read that first. It's immediately below. Seriously, you'll just be confused if you don't. It's right here.




Daily Editorial Time


Today, I saw the stupidest building wall ever.

I should explain: at State, in the brickyard, the fraternities and sororities and Christian organizations build shacks to raise money for Habitat for Humanity. All well and good, of course, aside from the fact that panhandling annoys me, but on one of the buildings, they spraypainted: "The largest cause of homelessness is...

Capitalism."

Ahhhhhhhhhhh! ::slams head on wall:: Yes! Let us rise up against the evils of capitalism! Victory for the proletariat! Ach du lieber, and so forth! Ich ven ein Deutschland! (I'm fairly certain I misspelled all the German and that, and possibly the word proletariat...)

Anyways, obviously the best way to end homelessness is to switch over to Communism. That's worked before, right?

All sarcasm aside, there's a reason that capitalism is the best economic setup. You see, in a command economy of any kind, be it Capitalism, Socialism, Fascism... what have you, there must not only exist control of economic practices, but perfect control of economic practices. As economic conditions fluctuate, the legislation controlling the economy must react in absolutely perfect synch, that is, in real time. Each time the supply of wool goes down one unit, the price of wool must go up one unit at the exact same time. This, of course, is impossible. Granted, a Communism could stay afloat longer nowadays because computers can shovel through so very much data so quickly, but there will still be a delay, and even small errors build up into crippling shortages of goods that cause the massive starvation and death that tends to come with communism.

Granted, capitalism is not perfect, because there can be no such thing without perfect response time. However, instead of attempting to compensate exactly for economic changes, like command economies, and failing miserably, capitalism tends to undercompensate, then overcompensate, creating a nice, even average. Nowadays, with rapid communication and calculation, the undercompensations and overcompensations are not nearly as drastic as they used to be, so we end up with a nice boom time (like the 90s) followed by a nice shallow recession (like now). Believe me, it's better this way than absolute economic collapse.

And I could go on for days about what causes homelessness, so I'll do that later.




On a different note, what's up with the controversy over genetic engineering? It's not dangerous, it increases yields without a corresponding increase in pollution, it could improve the average quality of life. The only argument that holds any water is that it's "playing God." Frankly, this argument doesn't hold water.

God would not allow us to tweak His creations to better suit us if He didn't want us to. Otherwise, opening an umbrella would surely mean you'd be smote. Surely, God meant for us to become moistened by the rain?

Surely plowing a field would set us up a place next to the devil. Worse still, irrigation and fertilization. And what about greenhouses and hydroponics? We are all doomed, I guess.




Part 2


Another day, another glimpse into the inner workings of IVIC. An addendum to my reply yesterday (which I forgot to post yesterday), Smith's reply, then my reply:

(Removed these email's as well. See ANABFR 1)




That's it for today. Mail from Pirate day shows up tomorrow. That's a real treat! Y'all come back now, ya hear?

By my hand,
~Michael Akerman

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

And Now, a Break from Routine: A Posting in Parts 1

By: Michael Akerman


Sorry about the long gap. It's just that I've been really busy, what with the homework, and reading and...

No, I'm lying. I just bought Sims 2 three days ago. I'm only posting now because my brother's playing it.

I'd reply to Smith's old post, but I can't remember it, nor do I care to look it up. Anyways, I'd just be saying the same things I've said over and over again, with different events cited as evidence. Not that I won't say those things again later, but right now I don't feel like it, and this post will be long anyways.




Editorializing



I'd like to comment on the Beslan incident of a few weeks back, and since this is my blog, I will. And no one can stop me.

To get to the point, the terrorist action on the school in Beslan was the most despicable terrorist action I can remember. I'm sure Smith could inform us of many similar events, but I know of no others that match the sheer insidiousness of this attack. To bring the uninformed up to speed:

In Beslan, Russia, on September 1st, terrorists captured an elementary school and held it hostage. The force of terrorists was sufficiently large that extraction of the hostages was nearly impossible, and any hostages trying to escape were promptly shot. Several days into a siege of their captured stronghold, the terrorists decided to cut their losses by bombing the school, leaving in their wake at least 300 children dead, along with many wounded adults.

Frankly, this attack was far more evil than any other. Even 9/11 doesn't compare. The attacks on September 11th, 2001, were executed against a building housing almost entirely adults, as well as being one which was a recognized symbol of American capitalism. Additionally, the sheer carnage caused in that fateful attack was largely accidentally, Osama bin Laden himself releasing a tape effectively saying he was "pleasantly surprised" that that many people died.

The Beslan assault, however, was not against adults. It was not against capitalism. No, this was far worse. What evil lurks in the hearts of men when they feel the best way to further their cause is to kill innocents, to assault an institution of learning? What cowardice lies latent in mankind if we even hold the capability to seek our own safety by killing 300 children and running? These men represent true evil: perhaps in the only way true evil can come to exist.

For, you see, these men were perfectly normal. A local shopkeep, farmers, and other pleasant townsmen. But, as seems to happen all to often, the group got too massive. In one of the most awesome psychological phenomena, like drunk college students at a football game, the terrorists became, effectively, a mob. And this is the only time the normal checks of society and conscience have a chance to lose their hold.

For their has never been a truly evil person: someone who does things against his beliefs as to what's right. Hitler attempted genocide because he thought they didn't deserve to live, and this was not some half-hearted conviction. Stalin was ruthless because he truly believed he was doing the best for the USSR. Yet in these situations, when mob mentality is allowed to overcome the restraints we place on ourselves, when we let peers and society decide for us, when we stop thinking, and just let the tide of the mob carry us, we can see true evil. The scary thing is, every one of us has stepped on to this road.

Every time we make a bad decision because "everybody's doing it," we begin to embrace evil. Every time we stand by and watch as something terrible happens, as a woman is mugged, beaten, raped, as a thief breaks in to our neighbors house, we begin to embrace evil. Every time we see a car slammed into by another, knowing we could help, aid in some small way, but drive on by because we have somewhere to get, we begin to embrace evil.

Keep this in mind the next time you pass someone you could easily aid, or perhaps even someone whose life you could save, were you to simply take a few seconds. Keep this in mind, but keep in mind also that doing so does not make you evil, that you are only human, and that God knows that you will make mistakes, and that you will sin, and turn aside from your fellow man. Most of all, know that you have done so, and will continue to do so, and repent, and be forgiven.

God bless you.

"If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us." -1 John 1:6-10




Here follows a transcript of the first part of an email conversation between myself and Michael Smith. It contains his original epistle to me, and my reply. The conclusions will follow, one per day, if I can manage it ;).

(Editor's Note: I've removed the log, because it's taking up space. I can't imagine that you'd need it, but I have it.)




There ya go! A glimpse into the internal workings of the IVIC staff. Notice that we're really not very serious at all... ever ;).


By my hand,

~Michael Akerman

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Electoral Elucidations: Sobering Thoughts on September 11

By: UnrepentantNewDealer


What is it about hurricanes that inspires me to blog? First Charley, now Ivan the Terrible (a Category 5 menace bearing down on Florida. (The "Sunshine State" is beginning to sound ironic.)) Actually, it's the anniversary of September 11 that prompted this post. I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember the President assuring Muslims that this was not a war against Islam; I remember him saying he wanted bin Ladin "Dead or Alive"; I remember him saying "We will wage the good fight and we will prevail." Please tell me I'm not hallucinating, that our president actually said those things. These days, such things seem like another world.

I walked into the classroom of Mrs. Miller, my English teacher, at about 9:50 that morning. As we all stared at the devastation on the television screen, I was the first to breake the silence, asking the question "All right, who else here thinks it was bin Laden?" No one responded to my question, still staring at the screen in disbelief. My first reaction had simply been to think what nation or group had both the means and the motive to carry out this kind of attack, al-Qaida being the most logical suspect.

The government didn't take long to come to the same conclusion. So we started lobbing cruise missiles at Afghanistan and giving aid to the Northern Alliance to fight the Taliban sponsors of Al-Qaida. By early December, Northern Alliance forces had liberated the capital and --most of the country, and bin Ladin and the al-Qaida leadership were holed up in the mountain fortress of Tora Bora. With 3,000 Americans dead because of this man, you'd think the president would have sent the full might of the American military after him. Instead, we offered the warlords of Afghanistan, who had little or nothing against bin Ladin, money to capture or kill him themselves. This is incomprehensible. When you want something done, you've got to do it yourselves. As we all know, bin Ladin and Co. escaped the noose. We had fewer than 10,000 troops in Afghanistan until 2002. This doesn't make sense.

Unless...It is now known that Bush's meeting in November 2001 with Gen. Tommy Franks was not to plan for the Afghan war, as claimed, but to begin planning for a preemptive war against Iraq. Emergency funds approved by Congress for Afghanistan were illegally shifted into the mobilization for Gulf War II. (Thanks to Bob Woodward, of Watergate fame, for bringing both of these to light.) Suddenly, in the opening days of one war, before any mission objectives had been acheived, the president had changed focus to another war. No wonder he sent mercenaries to get bin Ladin. At that point, he no longer truly cared.

In Bush's first 8 months in office, he had managed to anger and alienate the rest of the world by withdrawing from many treaties and simply acting arrogant in general. After September 11, we had the entire civilized world on our side. I remember thinking, If Bush blows all this global goodwill, he's even more stupid than I think he is. As Bush would put it, I "misunderestimated" him.

A preemptive war is illegal under international law and goes contrary to American traditions and values. Pearl Harbor was a preemptive strike, an attempt to knock out the American navy, so there would be nothing in the way of Japan dominating the entire Pacific. A preemptive war relies on Mafia logic: I think this person might perhaps someday pose a threat to me so I'll eliminate him now, on that off-chance. That being said, most Americans, myself included, would support a preemptive strike, if it would prevent another attack on America, another September 11. So it only made sense to sell the war to the American people by scaring the bejeezus out of them. A scared populace will acquiese to anything, so long as it is purported to keep them safe. This administration played on the fears of the American people, conjuring up visions of mushroom clouds and Armeggeddon. The basic premise was that the administration knew Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction and could give them to terrorist groups to use against America. The American people, myself included, fell for it, hook, line, and sinker. The majority of other nations refused to join us unless Bush provided compelling evidence of his claims, which he never did. We believed Bush, because whatever you thought of him, surely the President wouldn't lie us into war.

So we invaded Iraq. The first tip-off that we'd been had was fact that the Iraqis did not use WMD against us. Saddam used them against his own people in the 80's. Are we honestly supposed to believe that if Saddam had these weapons, and using them might allow him to keep power for even just a few more days, he wouldn't use them, not even against troops sent specifically to depose him? But no WMD was used and none of recent origin (since the inspectors left in 1998) ever found in Iraq. The second suspicious thing were the reports of CIA analysts being pressured to change their reports to bolster the administration's case. Not to mention the Joe Wilson affair, in which Wilson was sent to investigate a claim Iraq tried buy uranium from Niger, reported the claim was bogus, but the claim still ended up in Bush's Scare of the Union address in 2003. Now, the president has changed the rationale. This "flip-flopper" of a president claims, we went to war in Iraq because of "WMD program-related activities"--whatever that means! I could go on and on, but I hope you get the gist. Bush lied us into war because he could not lead us into it.

And at what a cost. The credibility of the United States is tarnished. Our historic allies eye us warily. And the Muslim world hates us even more than ever. Want proof? This week's Time magazine article about Islam, reports that "In Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, only 15% view the U.S. favorably, compared with 61% in 2002. In Saudi Arabia, according to a recent poll, 48.7% of the population sympathizes with the aims of bin Laden." And now, Iraq is in crisis as Islamic fundamentalists and terrorists travel to Iraq to fight jihad--against us. No matter how many terrorists we kill or capture, more will always take their place until we win the real war: the battle for the hearts and minds of the Muslim world. The war in Iraq has turned the minds of the vast majority of Muslims in the Middle East against us--perhaps for good. Meanwhile, in a cave somewhere, bin Ladin laughs maniacally. For we have done what he could not: convince the Muslim world that America is waging war against Islam itself.

In baseball, they have a saying: "Never take your eye off the ball." The Bush Administration took their eyes off the ball of al-Qaida. And why? For Cheney, still receiving a lucrative yearly stipend from Haliburton, it probably was about the oil and reconstruction projects. For Karl Rove, it was an issue to use against the Democrats in 2002. But, inarguably, the most important motivation is that of the president. He is the one who sends troops into harm's way. His is the perspective that matters.

During the run-up to the war, Bush didn't mention just WMD. He also said, on a number of occasions when his WMD argument just didn't seem to be persuading people, "This is, after all, the man who tried to kill my father." (In 1993, Kuwaiti police prevented a plot to kill the former president while visiting that country.) Think about that statement. With bin Ladin, it wasn't personal. But Bush had a personal motive to see Saddam dead. Is it a coincidence the opening strike of the Iraq war was an ill-fated attempt to assassinate him? Or that the president, according to reports, keeps the pistol Saddam had on him when he was captured, in a desk as a kind of sick momento, showing it to visiting heads of state? Could the president have, on a purely instinctual level, sent our troops into harm's way to settle a personal vendetta against one man? A vendetta 1,000 Americans and untold numbers of Iraqis have died for? Could this man really be so shallow? So callous? So blinded by a desire to avenge a decade-old attempt on his father's life? As Bush has told us, many have "misunderestimated" him. And we are all of us paying the price.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Yay! Thursday!

By: Michael Akerman


Well... not yet. But I do have a day off tomorrow (yay!) because both of my classes are classes that can't meet on Labor Day week.

Anyway...




Give Me the Beat, Boys, and Free My Soul



I'm starting to fall in to a pattern now with school. Oi, though! People drive like maniacs around here. No accidents yet though.

I don't seem to need to try, though. Once again, I'm drifting. I'm headed in the right direction, obviously, but it's not like I'm being challenged or having all that much fun with school like I used to in AP classes.

I think I need to get back into music, incidentally. I really miss concert band (not marching all that much). I think music is something deep. The creation of music, and, moreso, that intricate melding of music between each musician in a band, the dancing of notes about one another, playing with the nuances of each other, bouncing off one another in a perfect relationship that rings against the ear, touches something in human nature.

Perhaps it's the natural engineer in all humans, or maybe it's the social animal in man, or maybe some combination of both, but being a member of a symphony draws one out of oneself and into a greater nature. I wonder if this is what a religious experience is like, a feeling of being drawn into a larger being...

It makes you feel gooood (gooood)...

Not to mention the fact that I'd really like to see that girl everyday like I used to...




Screw your advice! And screw you, too, Blogger Knowledge Base!



Blogger says I should keep my posts short, because apparently everyone on the internet is from New York and has no time to read long posts. At any rate, IVIC's never really been about keeping readers happy (not that I want to offend you, but I hope the purpose of the blog carries the readers along). This is more important than blogging about what I do for the sake of telling everyone my personal life. No, IVIC is a mental record, a philosophical channel that allows me (and Smith and Snyder, when they're about) to solidify and broadcast the deeper ponderings of our lives. Hopefully, there are people out there who take note of my thoughts, and maybe, just maybe, they change peoples' minds.




Don't Stay Regular!



Or... the Anti-Metamucil

In economics lab today, we discussed price ceilings and floors. This is why I miss AP though. No discussion of regulatory policy took place, had the time to take place, or was allowed to take place. So, I blog...

The Democratic parties idea of a regulated economy is foolhardy, at best. The idea, of course, is to help special interest groups (i.e., farmers or consumers) by keeping the price high for suppliers in some cases, and low for consumers in others.

In the supply side price floor, we end up with an artificially raised price on a good or service. If a price is raised higher than the "equilibrium price" (that is, the price at which demand for a good or service is equal to the supply of the same), there is a surplus of the good or service (it's how it works), as suppliers try to sell more, but buyers won't buy more.

For instance, the department of agriculture currently pays farmers not to grow crops to keep the price higher on the crops. This is tantamount to forcing a certain price, and buying the unused surplus at market price, wasting taxpayer money, as well as crops which could easily be exported for a very handy profit overseas. This is especially appealing considering the United States' ability to grow incredible quantities of crops compared to other countries. Want to end world hunger? End economic regulation.

Of course, the antithesis to this is a price ceiling. For instance, what we don't seem to realize about gas regulation (to make the price lower on a gallon) is the terrible consequences of it. If Kerry chooses to regulate the price to a lower level, suppliers will not be able to afford as many barrels, and they will not be willing to sell as much gas at the now-lower profit. With the lower price causing increased demand for gas, we would quickly hit a deficit in supply of gas (that's turned out well in the past, right?).

Let me make one more extremely controversial example: minimum wage! Seems like a good idea to regulate at least a "living wage" for workers, right? We all see where I'm going with this. That is WRONG! Why?

Let's think, shall we? If we place a minimum wage law on the books, we raise the price of labor. If we raise the price of labor, demand for labor falls. In this situation, there are more workers who need a job than jobs that need a worker, translating to: unemployment. You want a living wage for everyone? Let's start with a wage for everyone first.

Let's assume we drop minimum wage laws. The assumed result is that those greedy, greedy businessmen will see their opportunity and drop wages to nearly nothing. However, the economy has a built-in failsafe for this: the workers themselves. If business owners make wages too low (meaning the demand is high), laborers will not accept the conditions and move to another business, or out of the market entirely. With a high demand for workers and a small supply, a business would find themselves at a shortfall of laborers. The only viable option is to provide a wage acceptable both to the laborers and to the businessmen, set by each individual business, and maintained based on cost of living and economic conditions automatically. Additionally, this equilibrium price for labor would cause unemployment to drop to near 0%, as all the laborers that need to or wish to work for these wages would be able to find jobs. If you want to end unemployment, end government regulation.

Perhaps you understand now why we should stop trying to regulate the economy. My suggestion to you: take an economics class! Hopefully, an in-depth study of how a free economy causes the best overall results will convert you to the Republican party, or at the very least, the Libertarians.

~Michael Akerman