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Monday, January 1, 2001

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New Years Day

I woke up last night at midnight from all the firecrackers being set off. Someone kept going for fifteen minutes. Thank goodness we didn't have a fire and it's only once a year since the 4th of July crackers are set off as soon as it gets dark.

The date today can be written as 01/01/01. Is that cool or what? It'll be another thousand years for it to happen again. We are finally in the "real" new millenium so hopefully the millenium hype will die down now. Ok, we're there. Now we just need to live in the new millenium, not wonder what it's going to be like.

I haven't gone anywhere today, either, and have just sat here nursing a sore throat. I tried to read "Emma" by Jane Austen but just got irritated. They take so long to do everything and the things they worry about are so beyond me. I've heard people talk about how nice it would be to live back then. Sure, if you are of the tiny minority that can take the time to worry about manners to such an excessive degree because you have servants to do your work.

I did finish reading "Hard Green" by Peter Huber. The subtitles are "Saving the environment from the environmentalists" and "A conservative manifesto". He makes a good case for allowing the market to do it's work since the countries with the least government interference in the market have the best environmental record and the countries with the highest governmental control have had the worst environmental record. He feels that the only environmental action that is worth much is to just save large tracts of wilderness and then let them just sit, don't interfere with them. I tend to agree with him.

Huber shows the fallacy of relying on computer models for anything more than a day or two ahead, whether it's for conservative or liberal reasons. Any model can become a straight jacket since the chances of the model staying on course are pretty much nil. The computer models can't even accurately predict the weather more than a day or two ahead, how can they predict all of nature decades in advance? The only way to handle the future is the have the ability to change as the future arrives. He also goes into the immorality of making today's generation pay for what might not happen. We saw this happen in Russia and they are still paying for it.

The countries with a negative population growth are not countries like China with it's brutal abortion policy but developed countries with wealth; countries in which people have a longer life span and know their children will have a longer life span and they can therefore have fewer children and give them a better life. The wealthiest countries also have the best life for women. Every study has shown that nothing lowers the birthrate, outside of murder, like wealth and the developed countries have wealth because they are industrialized and because they have less intrusive governments.

When I say wealth I don't mean like Bill Gates or the Rockefellers but the ability to buy the food we want and the ability to have a decent place to live and the ability to send our children to school, and for all our faults, we do have that.

I also read "Blood of the Prodigal" by P L Gaus. This is a story about the Old Order Amish and how difficult it is for them to live in the world and not be of the world. I was interested in learning that their children are allowed a year to try the world, any way they want, before making their final vows. This is a story about a young man who went too far and left the Amish only to be drawn back by a son he hadn't known about.

I have a problem with anyone who feels they are too good for the world or would be soiled by associating with us, but at the same time there is a pull to the closeness that they have. At the very beginning of the book an Amish child thinks about how he enjoys being alone in the early dawn, before anyone else is up, and wonders if the pleasure of being alone is wrong. How sad that such a simple pleasure could be a sin. This is a good story, not only about a kidnapping and a murder, but about a totally different culture.

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(c) Rachel Aschmann 2001.
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