October 22, 2008

Great Interview at Right Wing News

Katie Favazza has an amazing interview up with Phil Valentine over at Right Wing News.

They cover Valentine's new book, The Conservative's Handbook: Defining the Right Position on Issues from A to Z, and myriad other subjects.

He's a bit of a Renaissance Man (and Favazza, a Renaissance Woman), so it's hard to summarize the interview, but here are a few appetizers:

Favazza: How would you describe the ways in which your book differs from other popular conservative books?

Valentine: I don't mean this in a cocky way but there's really nothing else out there like it. Don't get me wrong, there are some great conservative books out there from some great conservatives. There's just not anything out there this comprehensive as far as laying out conservative principles on a whole host of issues. Readers tell me they use it as a desktop reference book to refute liberal arguments. That's exactly why I wrote it.

Hm. Maybe that'll tell me why I'm supposed to be so angry about "amnesty," and up in arms about "illegals." (I mean, I get that we can't afford porous borders in this day and age, and I understand the argument that illegal immigration may be a net drag on the economy, but I don't really see crossing the border to get work unavailable in Latin America to be an act of "contempt for our laws," as so many of my colleagues do. I think people are just trying to get by, ya know?)

Favazza: How is your biofuel coming along? Can you briefly explain what you're trying to do for Bennie the BioBenz and your brand of "going green?"

Valentine: Yeah, my going green is all about more green in the pocket. I was just tired of getting jerked around by Big Oil and Big Terrorism. I also wanted to see if your average Joe with no mechanical inclinations could actually do it. It took me over a year to finally stop talking about it and take the plunge but once I did, man, what a liberating feeling that was. I remember the first time I poured biodiesel into Bennie that I had made and started him up and drove around town, I was on Cloud Nine. When Nashville went through the gas shortage in September I saw people lined up for blocks for gas, if they could find it. I drove right on by in Bennie the BioBenz. It was great.

Is it for everyone? Probably not, but I don't think our solution to foreign oil dependency is going to be one thing. It'll be a combination of solutions that gradually move us away from foreign oil. Some states penalize people who make their own fuel. Fortunately, Tennessee does not and it's encouraging all sorts of people to delve into different kinds of alternative fuel.

If the Mercedes people wanted more people to buy their cars, they'd start offering the conversions to biodiesel—if not vegetable oil—themselves. (Though these urea-injected Mercedes diesels are intriguing—perhaps not in an energy- or cost-saving sense, but certainly in terms of reducing particulate matter. What's needed might be more aftermarket firms that convert used vehicles on behalf of The Unhandy. There's a conversion primer here, to get you started. And you can read all about Valentine's adventures in his book.)

Posted by Attila Girl at October 22, 2008 06:03 PM | TrackBack

Maybe illegals don't stop on the border and spit as they cross but their attitude is no less than, "Oh, THOSE laws. Who cares? My desire to work, to get free medical care, to get cheap tuition and an education, to join a gang, or work in the drug distribution profession is the only thing that counts. The people of the world have a right to enter and live in any Western country they if they can get there and cross the border. What people of the host country think is of no moment."

They may be and frequently are personally nice people but the above is the essence of their attitudes. They know our laws exist and yet they come anyway. What? 25,000,000 have come across the border? And not one ever turned back out of respect for our laws.

I'd say that's contempt.

Posted by: Col. Bunny at October 22, 2008 06:30 PM

That might be the case if so many Americans weren't willing to hire them.

As it stands, the state has put itself in the awkward position of standing between a willing seller and a willing buyer.

This is analogous to the "Drug War": in order to get somewhere, we'd have to be honest. In this particular instance, we'd have to be honest about how dependent areas like Southern California are on the labor of illegal immigrants.

But we are not supposed to say that out loud.

Right now, you have a person who needs a service, and a group of people who are willing to provide that service. There is a second group of people who could help to meet that demand--the INS--by enforcing the borders and letting non-Latino immigrants into this country in a timely fashion (that is, quickly processing requests from people who don't enjoy the same geographic proximity). That would keep those who come North to get here less of an advantage simply on the basis of geography.

But in order to facilitate that, a government bureaucracy would have to get off its ass and do its job.

Fat chance.

Posted by: Attila Girl at October 22, 2008 07:35 PM

Right. But the excuse 'everybody's doin' it!' does not make it right, or legal.

Take software and 'entertainment' piracy, for instance. EVERYBODY in Asia does it to some degree or another. Does it make it right or legal, though? (It's legal to possess but not distribute pirated stuff in Malaysia. So a bit of shooting my own foot here.)

Lots of people screwing each other and living together without benefit of marriage. Society seemingly accepting it. Is it right? (probably legal, depending on where you are)

Conservatism, it seems to me, is concerned with the ideals and principles it purports to stand for, and will handle exceptions case by case.

Hard cases make for bad law, or something like that.

Posted by: Gregory at October 22, 2008 09:07 PM

Yes. But--as with Prohibition--you make something illegal that absolutely everybody does, you've simply set up a system in which 70-90% of the population is "guilty," and law enforcement thereby can engage in "selective enforcement"--go after anyone it pleases.

And in CA I think we pretty much approach 90% in our participation in the cheap labor available here. The staunchest conservatives I know still pick up day-laborers outside of Home Depot for special projects, or use contractors whose "taxpayer IDs" may or may not be valid. (For some businesses, the threshold is "does this look good enough for me to get plausible deniability?")

And, yes: you did negate your argument a little, there. If behavior that is considered theft of intellectual property here is widespread and acceptable in Malaysia, to make it completely illegal there may not be realistic. Better to decriminalize the common user of the prohibited product, and go after the wholesale distributors.

But international copyright law is more complex than drug legalization, because there is theft involved--it isn't a truly victimless crime, as drug use is here.

The fact is, I don't smoke a lot of weed. But I'd feel weird living in a place where it was not just decriminalized, but outright illegal illegal--and enforced.

By the way: if I'm at a party, and a pipe is being passed around, am I showing contempt for the law if I take a hit?

What if my friends weren't such light users, and I suspected that my host had more than the misdemeanor amount in his home? (I think it's an ounce.) What if I suspected that he sometimes . . . gasp! . . . sold the evil herb to people who wanted it for other than medicinal purposes?

Posted by: Attila Girl at October 22, 2008 10:27 PM

Let's not get into IP law and stuff - I feel really strongly about it... ;)

But I dunno. Stuff that the FDA regulates (but is legal, OTC and all that) in the USA is pretty much free for all in Malaysia. I've never seriously maxed out Panadol (acetaminophen... Tylenol, maybe? Not sure) purchases before, but you could buy a few hundred of 'em at a time. It's not OTC, either - it's out on the shelves. Neurofen? Same thing.

Of course, stuff that is illegal is REALLY illegal, and punishable by death.

I would say about illegal immigration that if you went after the demand, (employers, and FULL enforcement), the supply will melt away. But you'd have to get some ecomonists to chart it for you.

Posted by: Gregory at October 23, 2008 04:54 PM

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