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Reblogged:Friday Hodgepodge

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Notable Commentary, Fifteenth Anniversary Edition

"Competition and the profit motive would actually deter any [company] from pursuing such a disastrous strategy and if they did, those same motives would propel its competitors to take away their customers." -- Raymond Niles, in "The Solution to Blackouts and Wildfires in California" at the American Institute for Economic Research.

"As we debate energy policy during the 2020 election campaigns, the fundamental role that low-cost energy plays in our lives, and the unique ability of the fossil-fuel industry to produce it, needs to be part of every conversation." -- Alex Epstein, in "Energy Means Food and Time" at National Review.

"Given the high rates of invalidations of patents by courts and the high rates of rejections of patent applications in some fields of technology at the USPTO, it is Congress' job to perform its key constitutional role in amending the legislation that has been the fountainhead of the U.S. patent system since 1790." -- Adam Mossoff, in "Testimony on 'The State of Patent Eligibility in America' Before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Intellectual Property Subcommittee" (PDF) in George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper Series, No. 19-26.

"The mother of all Motte and Bailey Fallacies in monetary economics." -- Keith Weiner, in "Motte and Bailey Fallacy" at at SNB & CHF.

"New restrictions may paradoxically worsen the problem of illness caused by black-market products, rather than help." -- Paul Hsieh, in "Don't Make the Vaping 'Crisis' Worse With Hasty New Regulations" at Forbes.

"The central issue in ethics ... is whether we are committed to achieving personal values -- or whether we are committed to surrendering personal values because some external authority says so." -- Don Watkins, in "The Reckoning: Why 'Serving a Cause Greater Than Yourself' Cannot Give Life Meaning" at Medium.

"Is it dignity to presume that two adults can't reach an equitable agreement to exchange work for pay?" -- Gus Van Horn, in "California's Politicians Threaten to Suffocate Silicon Valley's Gig Magic" at RealClear Markets.

Fifteen Years Ago Today...

I decided to start a blog as a means of satisfying my writing itch and to achieve a bit of what I -- naively, and for a time -- would call "work-life balance."

Thanks to blogging and the people I have met as a result, I have enjoyed the following:
  • Making new acquaintances, including a handful of new "in real life" friends;
  • More easily maintaining some older relationships with people I knew before I started blogging;
  • Maintaining some level of intellectual engagement (and a measure of sanity) as a father (and main caregiver) for two very young children during a period that saw us move three times in six years;
  • Gained opportunities to write in other media; and
  • Learned new things, be they from material I encountered in the course of looking for subject matter for posts, or about myself and the process of writing.
I still have lots of model railroading things in boxes. This might be a good hobby to resurrect and introduce the kids to... (Image by Darren Bockman, via Unsplash, license.)
On that last score, I have ironically, after years of dealing with difficult constraints, been granted the gift of time by my wife -- only to take months to realize that I need to plan time away from writing to make the most of this opportunity, whatever its duration. I don't like the term work-life balance, because work should integrate with the rest of one's life, but it manages to capture the problem that dawned on me (while working in the garage as you might guess): One needs a break from whatever it is one spends most of one's time doing, no matter how much one might like it.

Many people dream of pursuing hobbies full time. There is nothing wrong with that, but to keep that from becoming a nightmare requires one to treat the hobby like a job in more ways than one. And it also requires being open to the idea that perhaps the beloved activity best remains just that: a hobby.

So, fifteen years in, I get to do something I fantasized about long ago, and have been monumentally frustrated from seriously attempting for a very long time. But I have lots to learn, including, among other things: (a) how central to my life I really want writing to be, (b) how to shift from the survival tactic of using scraps of time to write short pieces to also incorporating longer stretches (This has been oddly harder than I imagined it could be.), and (c) what area and type of project to focus on.

Regarding the last: I started out with two book ideas. The good news is that one was good -- so good in fact that someone is coming out with something about the same subject and from a similar perspective in November. The other is much harder to write than I thought it might be. So, I may have a book in me, but I am pretty sure I am farther from being able to put one together than I thought I was at first -- and there's also what publication and marketing require, which includes the huge matter of finding a way to establish my credibility).

This is a good problem to have, but it is a problem: It is something I have to figure out, and I will leave it at that for now.

In the meantime, let me thank my readers for coming by, especially my friends RB, who helped me realize I should try something "bigger" in the first place; and Steve D., for his invaluable editing. And last, but far from least, I thank my wife, not just for putting up with -- but standing behind -- a writer for so long.

-- CAV

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