Thursday, March 29, 2007


In an affront to individual sensibilities, NYC has now decided to usurp your right to live in an "unlivable" city just as I have thought would eventually happen.

(Heh, that's almost as funny as asking for animals to be treated "humanely".)

"Mr. Washburn, 44, is charged with making sure the parks get the right amount of sun, buildings aren't too bulky, and the skyline stays coherent. He will act as Ms. Burden's eyes for the incredible number of projects now under way in the city"...

"Senator Moynihan believed that good design is not just about aesthetics, but that the look of a city expresses the values of the people who live in it," he said.
Now where exactly do these folks get off dictating the "values" that the city-people want? And in any case, to what relevancy does it matter what some third-party pretends to want for everyone's values?

"It's really the citizen that will be the measure of our success," Mr. Washburn said. "How do you make sure New York doesn't become dull, but has the greatest streetscape with the greatest variety and the greatest texture? To keep everything vibrant and authentic with new projects is really tough. You have to calibrate everything very finely. Every time you change something in the city, you affect another constituency."

Which is exactly why central planners should be kept as far as possible from urban development. I mean just look at Brasilia, or ask yourself why Robert Moses is one of the most despised man in NYC urban development history.

But the sheer amount of haughtiness and conceit is astounding considering all the misplaced faith put into the past anointed guardian saints for urban aesthetics. This should be a fine example to those planners of how aesthetic expectations are valued both ex ante and ex post, thus making the goal of aesthetic perfection for posterity at best a Sisyphean task.

On a positive note, most people who are concerned with urban aesthetics usually prostrate to the altar of the Jane Jacobs goddess and her seminal work The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Since Jacobs ideas were inspired in part by F.A. Hayek and his aversion to central planned economies, one has hope that they can transcend from the position of merely recognizing the beauty of unplanned, and 'chaotic' order, and to come to the realization that utilizing the violence of the state is the furthest thing from affecting the spontaneous communal life that they so very much desire.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

pattern tyranny

Like a scene out of Stephan Kinsella's most horrid nightmare, I did a double-take after seeing this written on a bag of pretzels.

And for those of you who want to quickly get to the point:

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

ma gavte la nata

Although Andrew Berman is one most pompous busybodys around town as the organizer behind the GVSHP, I can still find the courage to commend him for acting in a civilized manner in regards to his latest bellyaching over aesthetic concerns to a billboard erected in what is known as the Meatpacking District.

Civilized, in the sense that he organized a boycott of local merchants to protest the erection of this unwanted advertising sign by having the participant shun and ostracize the party they feel offended by. This is largely in contrast to his usual tactics of complaining to the local goons and fabricating all sorts of wishy-washy nonsense on stilts which would supposedly justify their aggression against the despised party.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

an apropos analogy

Tarran, a frequent and admired commenter on the Mises blog delivers this nugget (via Cafe Hayek) on his world view of the business world, one that I very closely share:
"comparing tax burdens is precisely the same act as a bunch of shop-keepers getting together to discuss the protection money they pay to the local Mafia family, and getting into an argument as to whether the more affluent shop-keeper is paying his "fair" share."
Of course, this is all said to the extent that the business we are talking about is a business qua business; a viable one that does not ultimately depend on a violent, criminal-class customer base (read: no-bid government contracts) for most their income, for in that case I would acquiesce to the left-lib side and call a spade a spade-- a net tax recipient which didn't take in much loot as it would have otherwise.

Monday, March 12, 2007

one bad bite deserves no other

Nothing spells CYA over-reaction like city government.

This brouhaha occured after a KFC-Taco Bell joint was found to be infested with rodents a day after they were green-lighted by the NYCzar's Health Inspectors, leading the Department of Health to react by shuttering a record 89 food establishments around the city.

As I've argued before, it's not always that anarcho-libertarians have a beef with the goals of government; it's that in the [racketeering] job that they purportedly serve to justify their monopolizing or market-crowding existence is one marked by corruption, inefficiencies, and incompetency; a sure recipe for failure under free market conditions.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

geriatric pastures for trannies

"Barbary Lane Communities at Lake Merritt, one of the country’s first urban independent-living communities for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) seniors is being developed in Oakland, Calif...

According to BLC, the needs of LGBT seniors are currently unaddressed in the senior housing industry largely due to lack of awareness, discrimination and homophobia. There are presently over 3 million LGBT seniors over the age of 65, and that number is expected to double by 2030.
" - Article Link