October 30th, 2007


Almost Healthy

Getting there, bit by bit. I've had a pretty miserable cold for a bit over two weeks now, but it seems to be passing. I've been running in the mornings for the past week, but mostly pretty slowly, just doing three miles or so. Today was the first day over four miles, with no coughing until I slowed down. Still nowhere near peak speed, but the worst seems to be done...

Help me with a definition?

I need a concise term for "philosophical Libertarian", in contrast to "religious Libertarian". Because, y'know, I'm getting *really* tired of the two being lumped together.

I mean, I think that the fundamental Libertarian ideals are good ones. Unintrusive and small government, limited regulation, that kind of thing -- I think they're fine goals, and ones to shoot for. That said, I recognize that reality is complicated, and that there *is* a place for things like Government and Regulation and so on. I just treat them with the measure of suspicion they deserve, recognizing that they have costs as well as benefits.

But that's not what people seem to mean when they say "Libertarian" these days. An awful lot of people, mainly on the Left -- indeed, a lot of my friends, which is what sparked this particular soul-searching -- use the word in more or less exactly the same way that the Right uses the word "Liberal": with a definition of, "Those loonies on The Other Side who have completely lost touch with reality". Basically, in each case they've taken a few loudmouths who are out on the philosophic extremes, and who have turned reasonable philosophy into religion, and defined them as being the norm for "the other side".

It's an annoying redefinition of both words, and I'm cranky at both sides for playing such semantic-warfare games. But I also recognize that the word "Libertarian" has become as polluted with connotative rubbish as "Liberal" has, salting the earth under the word.

So what the hell *do* I call myself? The left went and renamed themselves "Progressives", to get around the destruction of the word "Liberal". What does a centrist with Libertarian philosophical leanings call himself, without painting a giant "Yes, I'm a Loony" target on himself?

(Yes, yes -- I am well familiar with the diatribe about labels and why we shouldn't need them. Fact is, words are useful: that's why we have them. Unfortunately, this one seems to be pretty thoroughly destroyed by now...)

Laptop Saga: Decision Postponed

Oh, while I think of it -- remember how I was shopping for a new laptop, since my old one has gotten flaky? That wound up interacting with the changes at the company. Since we suddenly have a lot of spare equipment, I decided (after five years) to grab one of the company laptops for my use.

It's quite the little toy: an IBM ThinkPad T43p. It's a little old now (only one core -- horrors), but I suspect it was top-of-the-line when it was bought a year or two ago. Small, light, decently powerful, with every toy possible. The built-in Bluetooth is, so far, completely useless, but I'm still enjoying the fingerprint-scanner login. The feel of the keyboard is lovely, although the placement of the Fn key (where the Ctrl key should be) is still making me nuts.

Eventually, I'll probably have to deal with getting myself a new laptop that's my own property. But for now, this suffices nicely: since what I wanted was mainly for web browsing and typing, with XP for the occasions that I actually want Windows-based software (such as Simple Sudoku, my toy of the month), it's doing quite nicely for the time being...