Thursday, July 08, 2004

Big Times in NC

Quite a bit of activity by media on John Edwards and the VP spot on the Kerry ticket. I have had some fun, but of course didn't get paid enough to pay for parking. You would have to be a narcissist (and I am) to care about such attention....

Toronto Star story
LA Times story
Baltimore Sun story
Cleveland Plain Dealer story
CBS TV story (about two minutes in, click on thumbnail)

Pilgrim's Egress III

Today, the final installment of Pilgrim's Egress (PEIII)

A Pilgrim's Egress (Part 3)
Confessions of a Conservative Forrest Gump

By Michael Munger
( © Michael Munger 2004; all rights reserved. No reproduction or quotation without express written authorization)

May 2001. I’m in the world’s oldest army truck, with three soft-looking 40-year-old soldiers. We are outside the main airport in Havana, Cuba, and I am in the country illegally. I didn’t sneak in; I flew in on a tiny commercial flight from Miami. But I didn’t have a valid visa, because apparently the gate agent in Miami (on whom more anon) had a twisted sense of humor. The guys in the truck couldn’t have been more bored. I couldn’t have been more scared. And I had never so vividly felt the absence of the 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendments. I promised my inner self that if I ever got out of this alive, I would stop making fun of the whackjobs in the ACLU. Heck, I would join the ACLU, and make my sons join as soon as they could have their sense of humor surgically removed.

But then I realized some money was missing. Ten dollars, American cash. It was missing from the pocket of each of the three soldiers. I took three tens out of my wallet and waved them like a fan. Then it turned out that a visa could in fact be obtained right at the airport. As I went back inside the airport, I noticed that the truck’s right front tire was flat. The bored soldiers had known the truck wasn’t headed anywhere. It was just business. No hard feelings, right?

It struck me: the Cuban system is the natural baseline, the way humans deal with each other if they are denied property and markets. Take away some peevish 18th century powderheads with a profound distrust of centralized power, and the U.S. would have the same system.

Remember the song, “I’d Love to Change the World”? It has a verse, “Tax the rich, feed the poor / Till there are no rich no more? (If you don’t remember, it is from Ten Years After’s 1971 album, “A Space in Time.”) I had heard the song maybe a hundred times before I realized that it perfectly summarizes the clotting of the mental arteries of the U.S. intelligentsia.

If we tax the rich and feed the poor, will there be a socialist nirvana? Like the song says, “Till there are no…RICH…no more.” That’s all the power to tax means. You can’t get rid of poor people by taxing the bejeezus out of anyone who is productive, energetic, or creative. But you can get rid of the rich. Cuba got rid of all its rich people by killing them, taxing them, or scaring them off to Miami.

People who are afraid of government in the U.S. often say, “Would you want restaurants run by the Post Office?” But that’s the wrong analogy. The Post Office sells a product, and could be efficient if it were privatized. What happened in Cuba was a hostile takeover by a truly abusive Third World system: the District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles.

If you want to experience Cuba right here in the States, go talk to a DC DMV employee. You will never encounter another human being who is quite that bored, or quite that angry. There are no rich people in line at the DMV. We all get treated the same. Like shit. So now you’ve been to Cuba. Welcome to the workers’ paradise.

Pilgrim’s Egress III: The Clotting of the American Mind

American education has lost sight of a simple fact. This lack in our lucubrations is discernable at every level from kindergarten to PhD programs (full circle, in other words). The simple fact is this: The U.S. is the engine of production, innovation, and scientific achievement for the whole world. For the most part, if this is acknowledged at all, it comes with an apology, like we should feel guilty. But it is hardly an accident. The U.S. is at the apex of the arc of human achievement because… well, because our system is better than the others.

Now, this may have involved luck, genius, or divine providence. But it’s still true. Most nations founded at the same time as the U.S., or later, are sitting in a truck with one flat tire, waiting for an American to take his wallet out and spread some tens around.

Some new nations, including Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, have been successful, of course. But their system is copied from ours, except for the random “u”s that preserve their distinctive colour as nations. The old nations, of course, either went the U.S. way out of good sense (England), or because they were lucky enough to be looking down U.S. gunbarrels when we stopped shooting (Japan, Germany).

People might argue that the “Asian tiger” nations are distinctive, and that their Confucian heritage explains their economic success. But then one would want to know why the ancient home of Confucian culture, China, has become the place where the DC DMV sends its managers to learn advanced techniques of humiliation and delay. No, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, and now even Vietnam have been successful only because, and then only to the extent that, they have protected property rights, rewarded creativity, and encouraged effort.

The rest of the world is a freakin’ basket case. Nations with enormous natural wealth, large populations, and fantastic ports are stagnating. The sole occupation in much of Africa and Latin America is sitting in trucks with flat tires until all available wealth can be dissipated. This is how they achieve their perfectly just income distributions. Once everybody has nothing, all they have left to argue about is who gets to sit in the truck that week.

I had come to Cuba on an educational exchange program (I started to say “visa,” but I didn’t actually get one of those, as I will soon explain). My friend (I’ll call him “John”) and I were to give lectures at the Center for the Study of the United States, at the University of Havana. We had prepared stuff on the American Presidential election (all Cubans loved the American election of 2000, because they recognized the process). And we had worked up presentations on some of the sub-cabinet appointments for Bush’s government, particularly those affecting Latin America and Cuba in particular.

We were out of our league. The folks at the Center were bright, funny, and had direct outside internet access. That meant two things: first, these nice people were stone spooks, their “study” of the U.S. being simply the analytical arm of the Cuban intelligence service. Second, since they lived in a system where whim and bias were king, they knew an incredible amount about whim and bias. “John” and I wanted to talk about the American system; they wanted to know about the third deputy underover secretary of photocopiers, because they knew that he ran the weekly game of blind-man’s grab-ass in the basement of the State Department.

They ended up showing me web sites (U.S. government web sites, mind you) where you could track cabinet appointments and get detailed dossiers of potential appointees. It became clear that the information I had prepared was too basic for them. My color overheads really impressed them, though. Cuba has that technology, of course, but they cost about $1.50 per page to produce. Figuring this was a boondoggle, rather than a Duke business trip, I had gone to Kinko’s and had the copies made at my own expense in Raleigh.

These were professors and near the top of the heap in terms of income, at about $20 per month. The idea that someone would pay nearly $30 to make 18 overheads, on their own, was amazing to our hosts. I later found out that many of the professors/spooks also drove taxis on nights and weekends, since they could make a month’s salary in tips in a couple of days.

No Visa, No Mastercard

U.S. citizens must petititon for permission to go to Cuba, and the conditions are fairly stringent. You have to qualify for an educational, artistic, or other exchange program, and the purpose has to be documented. I had done all these things with the aid of the organization sponsoring the trip. But the U.S. government is still none too pleased about people going directly to Cuba, and so the airline arrangements are kind of sketchy.

In the Miami airport, I had asked four people, gotten three different sets of directions (all wrong), and failed to find the ticket counter for nearly two hours. When I did find it, I was told that I couldn’t possibly board the flight because the paperwork wouldn’t go through. I took my bag down there anyway, and talked to the gate agent. When I said I was there for the Cuba flight, he just laughed. “That flight leaves in 25 minutes. There is no way to get the visa forms filled out in that time.”

Having lived in Texas, I knew the Latino mind. Seeing the name tag on the gate guy, I wheedled. “Arturo, I am sorry for the trouble. It’s just that I thought that YOU might be able to do this. But, of course, now I see that it is beyond your power to get this done. I’ll just get a hotel, and come back tomorrow….”

Arturo’s breath hissed inward, and he glared at me. “YOU…WAIT….HERE!” he half shouted. Within seconds, he had the forms, and was barking orders in Spanish. Two other gate agents were recruited, and all four of us worked on forms, with me handing my passport and educational exchange visa application form around as needed. Since all the other passengers had been an hour early, as required by the visa system, the gate agents had nothing else to do anyway.

In twenty minutes, with about five minutes to spare, Arturo smiled and gestured at the seating area. “Dr. Munger, you are welcome to enter and sit down. Your seat number is 11A. Enjoy your flight.” Feeling that my place in the world hierarchy was secure, I stepped in and pretended to read a magazine for about thirty seconds before the flight was called, and we all got up to go out to the little “Miami Vice Drugrunner Special” prop plane that would take us 120 miles to Havana. As Arturo took my boarding pass at the gate, he winked.

I have a vision of the events at Arturo’s house that night. After dinner, he is helping his wife with the dishes. Arturo shakes his head, a little ruefully. “I did it again, Cipriana. I sent some jerk across without a visa.”

She turns on him. “Arturo! That’s so mean! You know they’ll hassle him! What if he reports you!”

Arturo laughs. “This guy was such a zangon, he’ll never even figure out what happened. He obviously thought he was playing me, and he probably thinks he has some special insight into the Latino mind. I wonder how he’s doing now?” Arturo looks slyly sideways at Cipriana.

She tries to look stern, but a snicker sneaks out of the side of her mouth. “SOLA VAYA!” she snorts. They both giggle, and then finish the dishes. A personal note, to Arturo: Good one, man. I deserved it.

Of course, while you need a visa to get into Cuba, you may as well leave your Mastercard on your dresser at home. Cubans take plastic, but they cannot accept American Express, or any other card issued by U.S. banks (that’s the U.S. law). So Americans have to take big plugs of cash. This is really not a problem, since Cuba (oddly) is one of the most dollarized economies in the world. The only things you can buy with pesos, from the “state” stores, are dead flies and petrified brick of soap powder.

We had lots of free time, and there are plenty of things to do in Havana. Hemingway’s house, touring the Morro castle, museums,’s a five-hundred-year-old city, with fifty years of zealotry slathered on top. We also spent a few hours each with two astonishingly interesting, sad, and hopeful people. I’ll describe them each briefly.

One of the first things “John” and I did was to go to the Museo de la Revolución, unsubtly sited in the palace of the former President, Fulgencio Batista. Our tour guide was a dedicated, attractive young government employee. I’ll call her “Antolina.” She loved the museum. She showed us the bullet holes near the stairway, where the Castro-aligned “students” had run up the stairs to try to kill Batista in 1957. Batista’s office was impressively ornate, and Antolina showed us the “secret” exit behind a curtain where the cowardly Batista had run to hide from the students’ righteous anger. The attack had failed, she said, but it had been a glorious union of the student intellectuals and the working class, the first instance of the union that still animates Cuba today, and so on (I’m skipping a lot).

Halfway through the tour, we went outside to look at some displays of military hardware. I asked Antolina a question, about the “students” and where they had come from. My question couldn’t have been more innocent. She immediately turned to me, and said, “Look, you two are professors. I’m an historian. Let’s drop that other stuff, because it’s just what we tell tourists.”

And then she told us her version of the real story. Remember, this is a woman who works in the Museo de la Revolución, as close as you can get to shrine in Cuba. She is a uniformed government employee. But she also cared about history. First and foremost, she cared about Cuba, and the truth. In that moment, she felt more of a connection with American scholars than she did with her putative colleagues at the Museo.

It turns out, at least according to Antolina, that the attack was botched from the outset. The two trucks, one with students and one with workers, were supposed to coordinate, and pull up to the back of the palace together. But the workers pulled up first, saw soldiers on the roof with rifles, and hauled ass, tires squealing. They drove off and hid behind a building, and then just bailed completely, leaving the truck and scattering (maybe it had flat tire?). The students pulled up about a minute later, and immediately became the focus of the soldiers on the roof, because of the all the tire-squealing and ass-hauling.

Several students were killed in the parking lot, but ten or so made it inside the building, brandishing rifles and yelling. They fired wildly, making the bullet holes by the stairs. As they went up the stairs, the soldiers were getting organized. The students just ran around bumping into each other until they were killed or captured. It is not clear they ever even found Batista’s office. And, if they had, it would hardly have mattered, because it is well established that Batista was upstairs in his bed that entire day, suffering from Montezuma’s revenge. In short, the workers ran off before the first shot, the students got lost, and Batista was out with a tummy ache.

John and I talked about this later, and agreed there were two amazing things about Antolina’s brief lecture in the park. First, through gestures and concise, idiomatic description (in what was, after all, her second language), she made us feel as if we had been there. Though the story was brief, she told it in a way that has stuck in my mind ever since. Second, this was a priestess, working in the temple of the Revolution. And she had abandoned the official version of the story as soon as we got outside.

This young woman should have been a real historian, doing real research, or curating some important museum collection. If she had been born in any other country, she would have been. Her self-confidence, in retrospect, was remarkable. When she found out we were professors, she decided we were all peers. Since she had been denied a chance at a PhD, or advanced study, this took more than a little chutzpah. But, as Muhammed Ali said, “It ain’t braggin’ if you can do it.” And that tour guide could have done anything she wanted to do. Except in Cuba, where she had to spend every afternoon telling lies to tourists for an American dollar.

The second person was a semi-private, but governmentapproved tour guide, who went with us by taxi to several sites and helped us to get through an army “roadblock” that had no apparent purpose. (All the tires on their trucks were functional; I checked.) He was friendly, witty, and very energetic. I’ll call him “Trino.”

At lunch, John and I asked Trino about himself. It turns out he had an advanced degree, the closest equivalent one could find to an MBA in Cuba. He wanted to start his own business, and had several plans about how to make it happen. We talked in general terms about what would happen when Castro finally passed on, the inevitable chaos of transition and the uncertainies afterward. I realized that Trino was furious at the system he had to live in. More than anyone else I met, this tour guide made me feel the tragedy of “modern” Cuba.

He had enormous plans, gigantic ambitions. But he had to go to Hemingway’s house, or some other attraction, every day and listen to tourists ask the same questions. (“Do they have those six-toed cats here?” “No, that was Hemingway’s other house, the one in Key West.” (PLEASE GOD, JUST SHOOT ME!)). His life was ticking by, and he couldn’t build anything, even though he lived in one of the largest, most attractive, least developed tourist destinations in world. There is prime real estate, right on the Malecon, one of the most beautiful ocean vistas anywhere, where the buildings are completely uninhabitable. Some visitors ask if these buildings were damaged in the Revolution. No; they have been damaged by it, a little at a time, until whole blocks are crying large concrete tears that just stay in the streets.

Back at the University, we asked our spook hosts why these properties weren’t being developed, or just torn down. They had earnestly explained that the process of investment in real estate was complicated by the facts that (1) one couldn’t obtain loans, because capital is barren and interest is theft, and (2) one can’t own property anyway, because it is owned by the state. I tried to argue that there was a big difference between complicated and asinine, but I didn’t get far.

But I had a job, and I was going back to my own country, where the Marxist theorists are in humanities departments where they can’t do much harm. In the U.S., only the agriculture, health care, and professor- making industries are completely socialized. Trino had to ride by these inert potential fountains of cash every day, and it was tragic. All you have to do is take ten 26-year-old financetrained entrepreneurs like Trino, open up a system for direct foreign investment, and endorse private property. Within a year, each of those Trinos would have been making $30k a month, the unemployment rate would be below 3%, and the Malecon would be beautiful even if you turned away from the ocean and looked at the houses.

The cost of the Revolution, in short, is not that Cuba has failed to build tourist hotels to attract libidinous German businessmen to wear out the local hookers. (Those guys are flying in already, and staying at horrible hotels, by the way.) The cost of the Revolution is that it tells people what they can want. Then, when the system can’t even deliver that, the system admonishes people to be happy with what they have. It is not an economic system, it’s a religion.

The trip ended much less eventfully than it had begun. The taxi that picked us up at the hotel was a massive Mercedes, maybe two years old, and plush. It was about a 25 minute ride (a little over 15 miles) to the airport, and we swooshed along through the Third World landscape feeling like capitalistimperialist pigs (that’s a good thing, by the way). Our driver was quiet, courteous, drove just over the speed limit, stayed off the horn, and in his lane. In short, this was the best taxi ride I have ever had, anywhere.

When we got to the airport, the driver said, “Four-tee.” John and I both heard it that way. We were delighted. This wasn’t a truck with a flat tire, this was a new Mercedes, and a veteran taxi driver was ripping us off by charging us an outrageously realistic world price for a realistically high quality service. The Cuba of the future, and we were the vanguard. As we tried to hand him a wad of fives and tens, the driver’s eyes widened, and he shook his head wearily. Idiot Americans. “No, no: Four-TEEN.”

I was tempted to tell the driver that he would still be better off with an old truck.

Hasta La Victoria Siempre

What set of ideas led to this mess? We could blame Marx or Lenin, who came up with the original recipe. Or we could castigate Castro, and heaven knows that there are thousands of deaths, and hundreds of thousands of ruined lives, that Castro should have to answer for. But one of the important thinkers of the Revolución in Cuba was its Christ-figure/ poster boy, Ernesto “Che” Guevara. You won’t see many images or statues of Castro (to his credit, he is personally modest, in dress and lifestyle), but you will see Che everywhere, almost as much as you’ll see images of Jose Martí (imagine the love child of George Washington and Martin Luther King).

Guevara was what Fidel was not: handsome, brilliant, educated, a medical doctor, an accomplished writer, and (in the last years of his brief life) openly anti-Soviet. (If you ever get a chance, read the book he co-authored, The Motorcycle Diaries, a terrific picaresque-tradition-meets-moped narrative, written with a genuine sympathy for the indigenous peoples of South America.) He was also capable of giving a public speech in less than five hours, a skill Castro has never developed, but is still trying to work on about twice a month.

For present purposes, though, there is one other important thing about “Che” (a nickname, after his habit of ending sentences with the Argentinian slang for “pal” or “buddy”). Che was a philosopher of the Revolution. To understand the “project” of revolution in Cuba, it is worth quoting Dr. Guevara at length. This is from his “Man and Socialism in Cuba” (1965). The letter distinguishes the role of the individual, and the collective, and the project of remaking citizens:

Society as a whole must become a huge school....We can see the new man who begins to emerge in this period of the building of socialism. His image is as yet unfinished; in fact it will never be finished, since the process advances parallel the development of new economic forms. Discounting those whose lack of education makes them tend toward the solitary road, towards the satisfaction of their ambitions, there are others who, even within this new picture of over-all advances, tend to march in isolation from the accompanying mass. What is more important is that people become more aware every day of the need to incorporate themselves into society and of their own importance as motors of that society.

They no longer march in complete solitude along lost roads towards far-off longings. They follow their vanguard, composed of the Party, of the most advanced workers, of the advanced men who move along bound to the masses and in close communion with them. The vanguards have their eyes on the futures and its recompenses, but the latter are not envisioned as something individual; the reward is the new society where human beings will have different characteristics: the society of communist man.

I really admire Guevara. He was an impossibly attractive combination of intellect, physical vigor, and sensitivity to suffering, besides looking really terrific in the beret. But he had this wrong, dead wrong. (And so does this freak show) There are no “new economic forms.” And people pursuing “the satisfaction of their ambitions” are the real motors of a healthy society. People “incorporating themselves into society” are people descending into a living grave.

Cuba should be a wealthy, prosperous, educated country. It is truly beautiful, if you don’t look too closely at the collapsing buildings and chunks of concrete in the streets. The weather is great, and people run incredible “private” restaurants (paladares) out of their homes. For $18 or less, you’ll get everything from appetizers to cigars, and you’ll never taste better camarones al mojo de ajo. The cars, rebuilt coches de Bondo from the 1950’s, still run, even though not one part of the engine, brakes, or steering is original. In short, in every situation or activity where the Cuban people have been allowed to “tend toward the solitary road,” they rock.

The parts of Cuba that suck are…well, everything else. The government restaurants are grossly overpriced, and the service is decidedly indifferent. The government construction projects consist of groups of men arriving to work about 10 a.m., staring at the walls for a while, having some lunch in the shade, and then calling it a day. Their pay for this charade is about right, less than $10 per month. But they are clearly missing their true calling. These men are ideally suited to work on U.S. DOT road projects, and earn $10 per hour.

Now, on its face, this is not a problem. Collectivist activities everywhere are maddening wastes of time and money. I had no trouble recognizing the Department of Motor Vehicles service ethic, or the Department of Transportation work ethic, from my own experience here in the U.S. The difference is that in Cuba the collectivist part is the stuff Castro and his co-religionists are proud of. Just another illustration of von Mises’ fundamental insight: “Most men endure the sacrifice of their intellect more easily than the sacrifice of their daydreams. They cannot bear that their utopias should run aground on the unalterable necessities of human existence. What they yearn for is another reality different from the one given in this world.”

The Project of Moral Progress: Sirens on the Rocks

The idea of moral progress is irresistible, crack cocaine for the intellectual. Various projects, from the reform of institutions to reforming the minds of citizens, are constantly hatched and chattered about. In spite of the disasters that always result (Mao’s “Cultural Revolution,” Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society,” Pol Pot’s reeducation camps, and Hillary Clinton’s health care “reforms”), educated people are always convinced that things should be, and could be, better.

Is there an evolution in human society toward the good, or at least the better? If so, is it an evolution in institutions and technology, or an evolution in human morality and consciousness? And is the evolution a consequence of the spontaneous emergence and acceptance of new ideas, or must we be forced to be free?

In my presidential address to the Public Choice Society in 1997, I made a large claim: The fundamental human problem is the design, or maintenance, of institutions that make self-interested individual action not inconsistent with the welfare of the larger society.

If one accepts this claim, then there are two ways to conceive of the “project” of human progress. They are fundamentally different, in terms of their conceptions of the place of humans in society, and of human nature itself.

Project 1: Mechanism Design—Take self-interest as given, with “interests” themselves being exogenous. Then the task is to design, or foster, mechanisms (with markets being one archetype) where the collective consequences of individual self-interest are not harmful. Under some circumstances, institutions may emerge (or be created) that make everyone better off. Is this “led by an invisible hand” model possible for government institutions? Of course. As James Madison put it, in Federalist 51:

[T]he great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachments of the others. The provision for defense must in this, as in all other cases, be made commensurate to the danger of attack. Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.

Project 2: Moral Perfectability—In the progressive society, laws, institutions, and morals cannot be allowed to be external constraints. We must inscribe the laws not in books, but on the human heart. I am paraphrasing from what Christians call the “New Testament” (“I will put my laws in their hearts; I shall inscribe them on their minds” [Hebrews 8:10]), but the meaning attached to the words is purely modern.

For example, consider the following multiple choice question. Here is a text. Now, identify the writer:

It seems as if Marxism, once all the rage, is currently not so much in fashion. To counter these tendencies, we must strengthen our ideological and political work. Both students and intellectuals should study hard. In addition to the study of their specialized subjects, they must make progress ideologically and politically, which means they should study Marxism, current events and politics. Not to have a correct political orientation is like not having a soul....All departments and organizations should shoulder their responsibilities for ideological and political work. This applies...especially to heads of educational institutions and teachers. Our educational policy must enable everyone who receives an education to develop morally, intellectually and physically and [...develop both a ...] socialist consciousness and culture. (emphasis added).


A. Frederic Jameson

B. The entire discipline of Cultural Anthropology

C. Karl Marx

D. Mao Tse-tung

E. Friedrich August von Hayek

The only incorrect answer is “E”; all the other answers are correct. The best answers are “A” or “D”, though it is important to understand that Mao’s English prose was more accessible. (The actual quote is from Mao’s “On the Correct Handling of C o n t r a d i c t i o n s Among the People”, by the way.)

The nature of the secular religion being foisted on all of us could hardly be more explicit. The development of morality, in fact the very possession of a soul, is based on the compulsory inculcation of collective values and the acceptance of reciprocal obligations. These constraints cannot be external, for those who believe in the moral perfectability of mankind. They are learned, the product not just of education but an encompassing vision of the nature of education as a motor for social evolution. What is necessary is that the institutions of society be organized and focused on the development of the “new man.”

In Cuba, the government has tried for 45 years to force everyone to be new men and women, and punished those who tried to act otherwise. People are told from birth that they should not seek material rewards, and that their reward will come from the intrinsic value of right action, in belonging to (literally, being the property of) the community.

Still, it hasn’t taken hold. The problem for Castro is not that the U.S. casts its shadow over his economy, making it falter and break down. The faltering and breakdowns are the only things the Castro economy can accomplish. The problem for Castro, and for the moral perfectability project, is that they really want humans to be otherwise; not better—different. They want humans to want what the intellectuals think they should want. All the zeal, creativity, and coercive power of the collectivist state are focused on making those citizens want the “right” thing.

And there is the real triumph of the human spirit: an adamantine cussedness, an obdurate refusal to be “reeducated,” or remade in the image of the new man. What I saw in Cuba was an unwillingness to subordinate the self to a thousandheaded über-being, composed solely of eyes, mouths, and assholes. Cubans have dreams, they have their own lives, and they are just biding their time until they can escape the trap.

A Box of Chocolates

Forest Gump kept saying that “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.” This did not displease him, however, because he had a naïve, but ultimately vindicated, conception of life: Even though there is nobody in charge, and the world is not under someone’s control, there are forces that drive us toward the good. This is a fundamentally libertarian perspective, and it drives people on the left, and for that matter on the right, bonkers.

There are certain features of systems that work: effort, creativity, and merit are rewarded. People are allowed, even encouraged, to find the niche that suits them best, rather than being directed by some hive-mind. And the laws and institutions of government countenance adaptable, highly plastic relations among citizens, not restricting their ability to associate politically, economically, or spiritually.

The reason that such systems are fragile, and don’t survive very well, is that the temptation to make things better is simply irresistible. The human mind is vain and deceitful, as Hobbes told us:

But without steadiness, and direction to some end, great fancy is one kind of madness; such as they have that, entering into any discourse, are snatched from their purpose by everything that comes in their thought, into so many and so long digressions and parentheses, that they utterly lose themselves: which kind of folly I know no particular name for: but the cause of it is sometimes want of experience; whereby that seemeth to a man new and rare which doth not so to others: sometimes pusillanimity; by which that seems great to him which other men think a trifle: and whatsoever is new, or great, and therefore thought fit to be told, withdraws a man by degrees from the intended way of his discourse. (Leviathan, Chapter VIII)

Hobbes didn’t know any “particular name” for this failing, but it has since been named. It is the conceit of social engineering that dominates the academic establishment in the United States. This conceit, apparently irresistible even to first rate minds, is this: Something must be done to improve the system. We should constantly look for ways to direct and improve that which is destroyed by attempts at direction or improvement. Che called these will-o-the-wisps “new economic forms,” but fundamentally failed to recognize the fact that the reforms he advocated would tranform Cuba from a thriving developed nation into an economic mausoleum. The kind of new economic forms that work must be the product of individually-motivated private innovation, not collectivist direction.

I want to thank NEW SENSE, and in particular Madison Kitchens, for having given me this extended forum for the presentation of these recollections, provocations, and outrages. For those of you who have been kind, interested, or just angry enough to read through all three of these essays: Thanks to you, too. Feel free to email me at if you have comments, or just want to point out my errors of thought or expression. I have had a great time.


Ernesto “Che” Guevara, 1965, “Man and Socialism in Cuba,” Letter from Major Ernesto Che Guevara to Carlos Quijano, editor of the Montevideo weekly magazine Marcha.

The translation here is by Brian Basgan, found A Gringa’s Search for Pesos in Cuba.”

UPDATE: Humberto Fontova, on Cuba and the Dem's pet hippo

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Pilgrim's Egress II

Again, New Sense, the student magazine published at (but not by) Duke, was kind enough to publish a serialized version of some chapters from a book I'm working on. This is the second installment

A Pilgrim’s Egress (Part 2)
Confessions of a Conservative Forrest Gump

By Michael C. Munger
( © Michael Munger 2003; all rights reserved. No reproduction or quotation without express written authorization)

August 1986. I’m 27, two years out of grad school. We’re balancing Wheat Thins and cheese cubes on plastic plates, holding our plastic glasses filled with Chardonnay. Our faces fill with unbalanced plastic smiles. The “New Faculty: Welcome to Texas!” party had started half an hour ago, but it was quiet as a tomb. What do you say when there’s nothing to say?

Then the Dean, a grouchy guy in a nice suit, walked out to an open space among the fifty or so newcomers. Incredibly, he took a plastic fork and ting-ting-tinged it against his plastic cup, making no sound and spilling wine. But in the silence he soon had our attention.

“Now, I want you all to listen to me, because this is important.” He smiled, as if about to say something clever. “I don’t want to hear about ‘teaching, how much teaching’ you are all doing. You are here to do research.” Big smile now; avuncular, in a Slobodan Milosevic way. “This is a simple business: you will be judged on how much research you produce. You have to teach, you all have to teach, but I don’t want to hear anything about it. You have to teach well enough that I don’t get any complaints. But…” (here his voice rose: louder, higher) “…you will be judged solely on your research records, when it comes to salary, retention, and promotion decisions!” His voice echoed. “Are there any questions?”

There weren’t any. He had been pretty clear. Psychotic, but clear. I expected him to shriek, “If you doint eat yer meat, ya canna have any pudding! How ken ya have any pudding, if yer woint eat yer meat?” Welcome to Texas! Everything’s bigger here, even the grouchiness of the people in suits who run universities.

Pilgrim’s Egress Part II: Everything’s Bigger in Texas

In the last issue, I described the infamous “attack of the conservatives” on the anti-apartheid shanties on the Green at Dartmouth College, in Hanover, NH. If you missed that introduction, you can find it on the NEW SENSE website:

This month, I turn to my experience at my first “real” (meaning tenure-track, the opposite of real) job, at the University of Texas in Austin. UT couldn’t have been more different than Dartmouth, in every way. Dartmouth was small, private, and students were the boss. UT was public, it was huge, and professors thought students were the crap on their shoes. (sorry: I’ll stop writing in verse, right now).

Folks tell you “everything’s bigger in Texas!”, but you would have to see the UT campus to believe it. The overall undergraduate population hovers between 45,000 and 46,000, with another 10,000 or so graduate students. The UT website trumpets that “UT is the nation’s largest university.”

Then, if you go to the Texas Memorial Museum on campus, the entryway signs trumpet the statue of the “Texas Pterosaur,” the “largest flying creature ever discovered on earth!” It is common for a Texan to tell you, proudly: “We’re bigger than France!” What is the deal? Why does everyone in Texas talk so big?

The answer is uncomplicated: Texans assume, plausibly, that outsiders (particularly Yankee academic outsiders) will look down on them. So the natives bluster, and brag, and look out of the corner of their eyes to see if the professors are impressed. The profs are not impressed, of course, for an equally uncomplicated reason. Most faculty, particularly in the social sciences and humanities, are politically Leftist. Now, Leftists love “The People,” as an abstraction. But Leftists often hate dealing with persons personally.

The idea of engaging with a nonacademic, someone unaware of Foucault’s genius, is very upsetting. Professors love the working class, as a big lumpen proletariat in need of assistance, by force if necessary, but professors find the idea of actually working appalling. Stands to reason: if you spend your time caterwauling about how deadening working must be, you have to believe that workers are the walking dead.

It took me about a week, New Hampshire transplant that I was, to take the Texan’s side on this point. My wife and I never lived in the enclave north of the University, choosing instead to live south of the river. Colleagues would ask us, “How can you live with…Texans?”, and then laugh as if they had said something clever. For academics, Austin was a Chekhov play. They lived impossibly far from Moscow, but desperately aped the manners of the Muscovite (okay, Cambridge, New Haven, or Palo Alto) elite. All they could do is dream, read their books, and study the job openings newsletters.

The condescension toward Texan students was remarkable. “I can’t believe how conservative everyone is. Do they not have any good teachers in the high schools?” The goals of my colleagues often had little to do with traditional education. Many “teachers” at UT confronted students with their “hypocrisies,” rather than trying to lecture. In my department, Government, several professors openly tried to confront and embarrass conservatives. The hubris of my colleagues was breathtaking, because they were satisfied with nothing less than complete conversion. It wasn’t enough to think Pinochet was bad. The last lesson had to be learnt: you had to love, really love, dapper Danny Ortega.

“Politically Correct”: The Real Story

Without reprieve, adjudged to death,
For want of well pronouncing shibboleth.

—John Milton, “Samson Agonistes”

You have to realize that the idea of political correctness, as opposed to its archenemy, political incorrectness, lies behind the bland smile of many otherwise decent liberals. There really is a right, and a wrong, view. Right is what they believe; wrong is anything else. If they are tolerant, it is the same kind of patronizing tolerance that keeps them from correcting one of their yowling whelps in a restaurant. They give the child time to work on his issues, and he’ll come to the right conclusion on his own. But don’t be confused—the tolerance the politically correct Left shows is not the kind of respect that implies, or even allows, an exchange of views. They are right, and you are wrong, and only an idiot would disagree. (You are the idiot, by the way.)

This is the sort of utter certainty, and contempt for alternative viewpoints, that explains the current popularity of desipient demagogues like Michael Moore. It’s all so obvious. Either you agree with the Left, or you’re a selfish pig or an idiot, and probably both. The correct views, the correct clothing, even the correct facial expressions, are deducible from the basic truths that all smart (i.e., liberal) people share. (Check out Eric Adler’s hilarious observations about the “women’s studies nod”; Adler, 2001).

As for so many other topics, the best insights I have seen on this subject come from Nobel laureate economist F.A. Hayek, in this case from his 1973 book Law, Legislation, and Liberty. Hayek’s claim is that intellectuals have convinced themselves that:

…human institutions will serve human purposes only if
they have been deliberately designed for these purposes,
often also that the fact that an institution exists is evidence
of its having been created for a purpose, and always that
we should so redesign society and its institutions so that all
our actions will be wholly guided by known purposes. To
most people these propositions seem almost self-evident and to
constitute an attitude alone worthy of a thinking being. (pp.
8-9, V. 1, emphasis mine).

What are they so sure of? What view of the Left has come “to constitute an attitude alone worthy of a thinking being”? It is that markets and independent thought may, at best, be a necessary evil. Real freedom requires planning and control. A famous statement of this view is Mannheim’s:

At the highest stage freedom can only exist when it is
secured by planning. It cannot consist in restricting the
powers of the planner, but in a conception of planning
which guarantees the existence of essential forms of freedom
through the plan itself. For every restriction imposed by
limited authorities would destroy the unity of the plan, so
that society would regress to the former stage of competition
and mutual control. (p. 378; quoted in Caldwell, 1997).

The very idea of “political correctness,” then, is the product of two certainties that intertwine in the minds of the intellectual Left. (The nonintellectual Left has only one certainty: the rest of us should shut up, or go to jail. This is exactly the same certainty as the nonintellectual Right, by the way.) The first certainty is the moral superiority of planned economies, and education systems, with equality of income and the absence of opportunity for social differentiation through effort or excellence.

The second is the inevitability of historical “progress” toward this goal, as societies evolve and improve. Together, these two certainties constitute a dynamic teleology, with both moral and historical force. To be politically correct, then, is not simply to pay lip service to current fads of speech or fashion, such as what name to call a minority group to avoid insulting its most sensitive members. Political correctness is the sense that there is a right side in history, and people on the other side are evil, delaying progress and misleading the gullible masses.

Now, I have raised, superficially, a number of difficult questions, and haven’t answered any of them. The status of planning, the socialist calculation debate, and the causes of history are not things I have definitive answers on. And that’s the point. I’m confused, not sure about how the good society should be structured, open to alternative points of view. I am just the sort of person that is not politically correct, because I ask questions and insist that the answers be based on the rules of logic and empirical evidence, rather than on a faith in a secular religion with a naïve socialist eschatology.

That’s why the first time I heard someone use the phrase “politically correct,” I burst out laughing. I was standing at a water fountain, and a colleague who didn’t know me very well (he would never have suspected me of the heresy of uncertainty) stopped to chat. He mentioned Jesse Jackson (who was running for President, and to whose campaign he had contributed) was giving a speech that night.

I assumed he would be excited about the speech, glued to the TV, since he had been chattering about the Reverend for weeks. (At this time, Jesse Jackson had not yet become an egregious and embarrassing self-caricature, running a “pay me or I’ll call you racist!” protection racket). “Oh, no,” said my colleague. “I really don’t like to listen to him. He doesn’t have many concrete policy proposals.”

I was amazed. “Why are you supporting him, if you don’t think he is a good candidate?” I asked.

He was surprised I didn’t understand. He spoke slowly, as to a child. “Well, given how corrupt and unjust the American democratic system is, the choices we make don’t matter anyway. So, you might as well be politically correct.” What he meant was that you should pick the candidate who most visibly serves the agenda of the Left, purely as a symbol (in this case, by having black skin). Since there is no substance, or meaning, to democratic politics (he assured me Foucault proved this, by asserting it), we should all make symbolic choices that serve the good. To do otherwise, and most particularly if you actually believed in one of the candidates, was to be duped by shadowy people who “control” the process. In short, the sign of his depth and cleverness was precisely the superficiality of his choice criterion.

The Left’s use of “politically correct” as a pass phrase didn’t last long, though of course the underlying certainty about truth persists. Before long, in fact, the abbreviation to “PC” had become an even more powerful shibboleth for the political Right. If you said that you that favored hiring a person who happened to be a woman, or African-American, you might be accused of “caving in to the PC movement,” even if you genuinely thought that the candidate was simply the best person for the job.

Interestingly, supporting a minority candidate you happen to admire won’t get you any credit on the Left, either. PC-ers don’t think that there are, or should be, standards. There are only symbols and politics. So, while the use of “politically correct” has changed dramatically, the meaning hasn’t changed at all. If there are no objective standards of morality, no means to judge right and wrong, then conformity with a political doctrine is the only metric. Thus, the Left has aligned itself with a long tradition of intellectual indignities, starting in many ways with Rousseau, and passing along through many other people who spoke excellent French. That perspective can be summarized simply: No one can tell what is good or bad. Except me.

I am a Red-Baiter

“Red-baiting” is a political tactic, one that rabble-rousers on the right used in the 1940s, the 1950s, and in some ways have never stopped using. It is reprehensible, because it plays on the fears and patriotism of otherwise good people. And, for the person called a “Red,” the result in the 1950s could be devastating: loss of job, denial of future employment, even physical threats.

It is tempting to think that that was then, and this now, and things have changed. Still, people on the Left really do still have some legitimate fears. (Two words: Ann Coulter.) We no longer think of a backlash against Leftists as “red-baiting,” of course, since there are no more Marxists outside of English and Literature departments (and people who ought to be in those departments, but don’t know it). Without a worldwide movement and the sinister muscle of the Soviet Union, it is hard to say why people get so worked up when someone on the Left expresses their views.

But they do: questions about U.S. foreign policy, whether in Latin America, Africa, or more recently in Afghanistan and Iraq, bring angry reactions. Instead of addressing the issues, demagogues on the Right question the patriotism of dissenters. This is illogical (disagreeing with U.S. policy hardly implies you support the policies of our enemies), but it is rhetorically useful.

Questioning patriotism puts the dissenter on the defensive, turning the “debate” from policy to dissenters’ attitudes. “My son plays baseball! I pick up trash on the jogging trail! I drive a Volvo, but it has American-made floor mats! I love America!”

Here’s the thing: you might think people who fear intellectual repression wouldn’t practice it. You would be wrong. One tactic of the academic Left (I won’t talk about the academic Right, or unicorns, or Santa Claus) is to transform a question about policy into an accusation about attitude. For example, you label as “racist” anyone who disagrees with your views. Since “racist” is such a powerful accusation, and since racism actually is a real and present force in American society, it is a knockout blow, ending a debate. After you have been called racist a few times, you stop arguing and just smile when someone says something stupid.

But the cruelest tool of the academic establishment dates from the 1980s. It is “red-baiting-baiting.” If someone argues with you, you call them a red-baiter. The irony is that being “red” at a university is a sign of sophistication, and people hardly try to hide it. Most of the time, at dinners or meetings, I am the only conservative. What would happen if I called a faculty member an extreme Leftist in such a setting? As far as I can tell, that person would get an endowed chair and go on to write prose so chuckleheaded that it wins the “Turgid N. Opaque” award year after year.

In the spring of 1989, there had been complaints from students about government department professors being “too liberal.” The real problem was more like “too lazy.” Profs spent class literally shouting at students about how ignorant they were. (Knowing you are ignorant, and going to college to remedy it, ought to mean the student wants to be taught, not mocked, but irony is dead) The profs would yell, “Hey, you, orange shirt in the fourth. row. Do you know that the government of El Salvador is a fascist puppet of the U.S. imperialist plutocracy?”

Now, the choices for answers to these questions were “yes” or “no.” Neither one was much help in terms of learning. Still, even these surly and unhelpful rantings should have been protected under the umbrella of academic freedom, at least in any one classroom. If some West Texas kid from Burkburnett or Floydada comes to Austin, and doesn’t get to see “fahreatin’ liberals,” he ought to get his money back. Our job is to take people out of their comfort zone. Further, there was no evidence, at any time, that political views affected grades. And there had been no complaint about a single incident that clearly crossed a line of propriety, just general discontent.

Notice that I said “…in any one classroom.” What I meant was that if academic freedom protects the liberals, it protects the conservatives. Academic freedom means specific protection from job-related reprisals (firings, salary cuts, or denials of raises or promotions) from the administration. It cannot possibly mean that you are protected from other faculty expressing their own, possibly opposing, views. The person who said this best, in my experience, is Barry Saunders of the Raleigh News and Observer: “Freedom of speech means you can say what you want, but then you still got to take the ass-whuppin’ for being wrong, if you are.”

Remember, academic administrators today are disproportionately (on the order of 10-1, or more) liberal. Bleating about being oppressed, within the university, for expressing liberal views is absurd. But there was, at Texas, one complicating factor. You absolutely had to avoid complaints about your teaching. If students complained about a faculty member being too liberal, or anything else, that faculty member needed to make some changes.

So, the department decided to take strong action. In other words, it formed a committee. It apparently wasn’t taking the problem all that seriously, though, because the chairman asked me to be on the committee. As a third-year junior person, I had little knowledge and even less power. But it was my first committee assignment, and I was determined to do my best.

Our agenda was simple: how to deal with the complaints that a few students had leveled, verbally, alleging no single incident or valid cause, against two of the instructors in the Government Department. The answer seemed pretty easy to me. We needed to say that these were not real complaints. There was no action that justified interference with the classroom teaching of these faculty.

When it came time for the meeting, though, I was shocked. The committee chair said that there was good news. The department had done a great job of dealing with the complaints of previous years. There had been, in fact, no complaints at all.

This seemed facile. After all, there had been complaints, just not actionable ones. I said I wanted the department to take a stand, not sweep the problem under the table. In retrospect, I was obnoxious, and probably wrong. The distinction between “no complaints,” and “some complaints, but nothing important or specific,” was not exactly at the Watergate level of cover-ups. Still, I could not have predicted what happened next.

The head of the committee was furious. “What sort of complaints?”

I knew the answer to that: “Some of the students have complained that the instructors are ‘too liberal’, and that they make the students uncomfortable. Now, I think…”

He interrupted me: “Have there been complaints that you are too conservative?”

I later realized that he thought he was threatening me, but I wasn’t clever enough to understand. This should show you, though, that the very idea that professors might be afraid for being liberal, inside the administration, is far-fetched. Most department chairs, and mid- and upper-level administrators, lean Left. The others lean so far Left that they have toppled entirely. But what I said next, in my ignorance, made things worse. “Suppose there have been complaints, about me, about being too conservative. Then there still have been complaints, and our committee needs to address them.”

He got very quiet then. He asked me what the complaints were, though we had discussed them in the hallway. Then he asked me, quite formally, what classes and professors the complaints had been addressed to. I played along, and named the courses and the instructors. Then he closed his notebook, looked at the other two committee members, who had not said a word, and announced that the meeting was now over.

This seemed like a funny way to run things, but okay. I went home. When I came in the next morning, I walked by the open door of one of the complained-about professors. The person howled, “SO! YOU DON’T LIKE MY CLASS! WHY DIDN’T YOU HAVE THE COURAGE TO COME TO ME YOURSELF?”

I actually was so dumb I didn’t know what the person meant. “No, I don’t have a problem with your class. What do you…”


What the committee chair had done was to scuttle down the stairs to the main office, and say that I, Michael Munger, was complaining about the class. I tried to explain, but the instructor I had “ratted” on was beyond wanting to hear explanation. This person had thought we were at least casual friends, and here I had complained about the person’s class, in a “secret” meeting, without even letting the instructor know first.

I went back into the hallway and heard a booming voice. “Doing a little red-baiting, are you Munger?” The speaker was a friend, a guy way on the left side of the political world, but a perfectly decent and thoughtful fellow. We had been over to each others’ houses and went to lunch at least twice a week. I tried to explain to him what had happened, but he had already made up his mind. “Munger, this is why we can’t have conservatives in the department. When it comes down to it, you people can’t help yourselves. You have to play the commie card!” I could see that he was laughing at me, and was half-joking.

But he was also half-serious. The academic Left needs to see itself as being outré, oppressed, the “Other” in the society in which it lives. If the Left thought of itself as conventional, and established, two things would happen. First, they would actually be responsible for the problems and inadequacies of American university education, rather than the rebels trying to make things better against overwhelming odds. Second, they would be overcome by unhappiness on a grand scale. Many people on the Left require a sense of “otherness” to be able to survive psychologically. Intellectual laziness and moral bankruptcy are not very attractive. Better to be beaten down and discriminated against by “the man.”

I had to give up, and I did. I apologized to the two instructors whom I had “wronged.” (And, if I had done what they had been told I did, it would have been wrong.) The committee chair was a different matter. The amazing thing was that, by the time I talked to him again, he had convinced himself that his made-up account was true. He took me to lunch and tried to have a fatherly talk, saying that I needed to curb my ideological extremism.

I was in no position to argue. I was, however, in a position to leave, and did. In August of 1990, I left for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, taking a pay cut of nearly ten percent just to escape.

Concluding Remarks

In 1988, my colleagues were loudly in love with Jesse Jackson all spring and summer. In the final campaign they became Michael Dukakis worshippers. Mikey D didn’t do very well, especially after the famous “bobble-head in a tank” incident. The day after the election (I was pretty happy, because I had voted for the winner, George H. W. Bush), I came into the department whistling. Okay, I was singing: “Happy days are here again….”

One of my colleagues, standing at the water fountain, yelled out: “Oh, screw you!” Fair enough, I deserved that. In fact, the person was smiling, so this was just the sort of friendly “my team lost, so bite me!” reaction I expected and would have given back if the situation had been reversed. But as I got closer, I saw that the smile was a rictus of hate.

“I don’t know anyone else who voted for idiot Bush. How does that make you feel, to be the only one? Doesn’t that make you wonder if you have it all wrong?”

This seemed odd, to say the least. Bush had won the Electoral College by 426-111, a pretty handy victory. The popular vote was closer, of course, but Bush had still won by nearly seven million votes. That is, out of 89 million votes, Bush got 48 million. Furthermore, in Texas itself, 56 percent of the voters had gone for Bush. That’s nearly three million people, in Texas alone, that my colleague had never met, or apparently even heard of.

The great mass of people, who worked at jobs, paid taxes, sent their kids to school, and made political choices based on their own best judgement, were completely unknown to my colleague. And this person was proud of that, considering it a badge of honor not to know any of the people who worked and paid our salaries.

How can one love “The People” and yet hate everybody? The answer can be found in one of my favorite jokes. A firebreathing liberal is standing on a streetcorner soapbox, regaling the crowd about how their lives will be better after the Revolution. “Come the Revolution, things will be better! Come the Revolution, there will be no property, and you will have everything you want! Come the Revolution, YOU WILL ALL EAT MILK AND HONEY, THREE TIMES A DAY!”

In the back, a timid fellow said something, but the speaker couldn’t hear it. The speaker roared, “WHAT? What did you say?”

The timid guy raised his voice. “I said, what if I don’t like milk and honey?”

The speaker is outraged, and glares at the questioner. “Oh, my friend, that’s easy. Come the Revolution, you WILL like milk and honey!”

The academic Left, as a religious community, doesn’t like people at all. They have rarely spoken to, or met, anyone who doesn’t fully share their views. The series of educational and employment choices that lead to a career in the humanities or social sciences nearly guarantee a kind of isolation and groupthink that is self-perpetuating.

I guess it comes down to one particular claim about truth. Reasonable people can disagree about the best form of government, and the nature of the good society. If you really don’t know anyone who disagrees with you, you shouldn’t take that as a sign that you are right. It means you should get out more. And try to find a place that serves something besides just milk and honey. You might like it.

Coming Next NEW SENSE:
“Pilgrim’s Egress, Part III: The Clotting of the American Mind”


Adler, Eric. 2001. “What Fresh Hell is This?” Women’s Quarterly. Spring.

Caldwell, Bruce. 1997. “Hayek and Socialism.” Journal of Economic Literature. 35: 1856-1890.

Hayek, F. A. 1973. Law, Legislation, and Liberty: A New Statement of the Liberal Principles of Justice and Political Economy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Mannheim, Karl. 1940. Man and Society in an Age of Reconstruction: Studies in Modern Social Structure. London: Kegan Paul.

Texas State Historical Association, “Handbook of Texas Online,” accessed December 16, 2003.

U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2000 Redistricting Data (P.L. 94-171) Summary File and 1990 Census. Table 2: Counties Ranked by Population: 2000. Internet Release date: April 2, 2001, accessed December 15, 2003.