The Ivory Tower

This is a place for me to think out loud (or 'on paper') all things that are interesting me, and to comment on things I want to remember. Naming my blog the Ivory Tower is a joke on the popular notion that philosophy and intelligence are something beyond the common man, somehow above the 'mean' act of living as a human. Rand's refutation of this is what immediately drew me to her. Feel free to introduce yourself.



I've stopped blogging because lately I've felt like I have to perform my best for an audience every time I write and a lot of times I don't want to talk to an audience, I just want to talk to myself. Either I want to hammer an idea for eventual public display, or just take notes, or I know that a certain subject doesn't matter to anyone but me and I don't want to justify my writing on it. The point is I never started a blog for an audience, and it's become a hinderance to my writing. I found a new blogging service, called Vox, which displays posts based upon who has access to see them. Which mean I don't have to search through the back pages of my dashboard for any stray note I typed down two months ago. It's as easily accessable as the rest of my blog, because when I'm logged in I can see all my posts displayed normally. I've been using it for a month and, although I'll miss experimenting with the greater power of Blogger, Vox suits me better. Even if it feels too pre-packaged to begin with.

My new site is and I'll start moving my posts manually from here over there whenever I feel like it.



Beautiful Things #6

The Second Proclamation of the Prince Chulalongkorn From The King and I [1956]

There shall be no bowing like toad, no crouching, no crawling. This does not mean, however, that you do not show respect for king! You will stand with sholders back and chin high, like this. You will face king with proud expression, showing pride in self as well as in king. This is proper way for men to show esteem for one another, by looking upon each other’s faces, with kindness of spirit, eyes meeting eyes in equal gaze, bodies upright, standing as men were meant to stand.



I saw this this on THE FORUM 4 Ayn Rand Fans, posted by Paul's Here. It really hits home.

I need a job where I can earn enough money to pay my bills, so that I can spend the rest of my time studying. I have such a job, in fact I make enough at this job that I can even think about investing ~$150-$200/month. However, I recently discovered that the government is taking damn near 25% of my paycheck in taxes! That's over $200 per month! The government is actually stealing a week out of four from me! I'm so pissed I actually cursed loudly on the job in front of customers when I found out. So now I have to waste even more time that could be dedicated to my studies in order to find a way to suplement my income. Rat bastards.

Tax his land,
Tax his bed,
Tax the table
At which he's fed.

Tax his tractor,
tax his mule,
Teach him taxes
are the rule

Tax his cow,
Tax his goat,
Tax his pants,
Tax his coat.

Tax his ties,
Tax his shirt,
Tax his work,
Tax his dirt.

Tax his tobacco,
Tax his drink,
Tax him if he
Tries to think.

Tax his cigars,
Tax his beers,
If he cries, then
Tax his tears.

Tax his car,
Tax his gas,
Find other ways
To tax his ass

Tax all he has
then let him know
that you won't be done
till he has no dough.

When he screams and hollers,
Then tax him some more,
Tax him till
he's good and sore.

Then tax his coffin,
Tax his grave,
Tax the sod in
Which he's laid.

Put these words
upon his tomb,
"Taxes drove me
to my doom..."

When he's gone,
Do not relax,
Its time to apply
The inheritance tax.

Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL license Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax,
Fuel permit tax
Gasoline Tax (42 cents per gallon)
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Interest expense
Inventory tax
IRS Interest Charges
IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Taxes
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Service charge taxes
Social Security Tax
Road usage taxes
Sales Tax
Recreational Vehicle Tax
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax(SUTA)
Telephone federal excise tax
Telephone federal universal service fee tax
Telephone federal, state and local surcharge taxes
Telephone minimum usage surcharge tax
Telephone recurring and non-recurring charges tax
Telephone state and local tax
Telephone usage charge tax
Utility Taxes
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax

Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago and our nation was the most prosperous in the world, had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world....
and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.


Enforced Wage Increases

In regards to the recently proposed and happily defeated minimum wage increase. A government enforced increase in wages is not going to benefit anyone. Employers have a certain budget for employing labour and when the price of that labour increases, no matter how incrementally, they have to off-set the cost in some way in order to maintain their profit. Either they'll have to charge more for their product or cut costs in producing it or both. The most likely method of which is simply to reduce labour, as it's the source of the problem.

In other words, if an employer has to pay more per employee, he'll make due with less employees. Just like when anyone finds a necessary increase in their budget and they have to do without something to cover the costs. The same holds true if you were to argue that a company should take that money out of their profits, because a company doesn't just sit on a pile of money. They use their profit to invest back into the company in research and development, invest it in general, or pay dividends to their shareholders. There isn't an unlimited supply of money and rearranging where it goes does not create more of it.

So when you applaud the wage increase consider your own job, are you a necessary asset to your company or are you expendable to pay for someone else pay raise? And if you think it's OK, your position is secure you could use the money, consider who's paycheck you're receiving by governmental mandate.

It's disgusting that the government puts us in this position, of sacrificed and sacrificee, by rearranging wealth.

Update [8.18.2006 @ 5:53 pm]: I've submitted various forms of this post [edited depending upon the space I'm allowed] as letters to the editor to Purdue's Exponent, The Journal and Courier, and The Indianapolis Star.

Update [8.22.2006 @ 1:37 am]: I've got a confirmation call from all three newspapers, and my letter was published today in The Exponent. We'll see about the others, but I'm tinkled pink about it! Of course I'm keeping print copies; I may just frame them! ^_^
After reading over it in the paper, I really wish I could have expanded a few points and made my argument more explicit, but I think it was good for this format that I remain brief. I'm not sure, since I know what I meant to argue by each statement, but did my brevity do disservice to my clarity? I'd really appreciate an outside opinion on this, since it's my first LTTE.

Update [8.23.2006 @ 5:36 pm]: The Indianapolis Star has published my letter today. I'm going to run down to town today and pick up a paper. Still waiting on The Journal and Courier to see if I'm 3 for 3!

Update [8.25.2006 @ 5:33 pm]: An here's a link to the LTTE page in The Journal and Courier where mine is printed [scroll down to "Sacrifice comes with increased wages"].

Update [8.25.2006 @ 5:33 pm]: An ARI press release.

Scott Fitzhugh

Watch, I command it. ---> Linky

Scott isn't always right, but he uses his head well. And this video alone is enough to put him on my top ten "list of people who are human".

A taste: "I've never really understood people who say gas costs too much."