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Vienna is one of the great cities in the world, but you cannot just go there expecting to have a
good time. You must plan ahead so that you can see the country the way that it was intended, and
you will find that Vienna alone could take several days because there is so much going on in this
city.

The city of Vienna has a great rail and bus line. It also has many taxis that you could take at any
time. You will find that the city is a place you can get across in a couple minutes, and it is better
for you to try that instead of renting a car. All the experts will walk and use public transport
because it is so reliable in Austria.

The next step on your journey is to go to all the places that are the most beautiful. You have to see
things like the old churches for yourself, and you could to see the philharmonic that night. There
are many old markets in this city that you have never seen before, and you will find that you could
shop in them all day because they also have pubs and restaurants nearby. You might get lost in
these parts of the city, and they are the parts that people love most.

You could stay in the heart of the city, or you might move out to the outskirts of the city where you
will see even more vintage buildings. It is a pretty interesting place to go because it can help you
see the whole of Europe in a new way. Yes, it has modern buildings, but the city still feels like it
has an old soul.

You must take in that old soul as much as you possibly can, and you must also remember that you
can take the Eurostar train out of the city at any time. Vienna is accessible, and it is surrounded
with beautiful mountains. You might even go to the mountains next because they have snow and
skiing that you would want most.

Some very big stars live in Vienna, and you could walk through this place for hours at a time to
enjoy what Europe has to offer. This is one of the great cities in the world, and it welcomes you
when you have planned to travel it right.

The things to do in Austria are pretty varied because you have so much culture and terrain to
cover. You could come here just for the music, or you might come to ski. It all depends on what
you want to do most, and you must consider that this country welcomes people in with open arms
and allows them to stay for as long as they want.

The people who come to this place will start to get very interested in places like Vienna, and you
must also come to a place like Salzburg so that you can see where Mozart was born and where the
Von traps lived. This is the kind of place that you come for history and pictures, or you might go up
into the hills to get some skiing in.

This is a great place for you to go when you want to get down by the water because there are
many beautiful lakes you will be taken by. The people that want to have the best time in this place
are going to hit the major cities, but they also need some time out in the forests where everything
looks like it has not changed.

This means that you could easily go to the locations that you have picked out before the trip, and
you also need to remember that this is the kind of trip you take when you want to go to one of the
quieter countries in Europe. You must bring your money, a pack, adn you should get ready to see
cities, countryside, and snowcapped mountains.

The top fives places to visit in Austria are all fairly obvious because they have been publicized so
well. Salzkammergut, Zell am See, Innsbruck, Salzburg, and Vienna are all must sees for your
family or touring group.

The city of Vienna is the capitol, and it will dazzle you when you pass through. It is just one part of
a much larger country, but it something that you should stop to enjoy. You also need to remember
that this city can bring you joy, music, and history that no other town could.

The city of Salzburg is where the Von Trapps lived, and it is the birthplace of Mozart. Those two
things alone make it more interesting to visit, and you will find that the city helps you track down
the locations from the movie. You could hear great music in town, and you must take many
pictures.

The resort of Innsbruck once hosted the Olympics, and all the venues are still there. You could ski
on Alpen snow for your whole trip, or you might go up into the town because you want to see it
once before leaving Austria.

Zell am See is one of the Great Lakes in the world, and the water is reflective throughout most of
the year. This is a place where you could stay on a resort just by the water, and you might sit by
the water every day just to relax.

The last spot is the UNESCO world heritage site known as Salzkammergut. This is a resort area on
the water that has been preserved and looks like it is still in the 18th century. Bring your spouse
where for the romance, and remember that this place allows you to live like a king or queen for a
few days.

Everywhere you go in Austria is beautiful, and it should be the heart of your European adventure.
You might not even go to any other countries because you have so much to see in this place.

Vienna is one of the most beautiful cities in all the world, and there are a few major things you
need to do when coming here. The first thing you have to do is get into the museums that line the
city because each of them is different. They all feature art that is beautiful to behold, and you will
find that these museums have docents who are experts in the art you are viewing. These very
same people also know the areas outside the museum just as well.

Ride the Eurostar into Vienna and stay in a hostel near the center of the city so that you have
access to everything. The old cathedrals and churches are in this area, and the nightclubs and pubs
are not far away. You will find markets that have been around for centuries, and you could come
across shops that will let you sit for hours and sip a cup of coffee.

Vienna is perfect for nightlife because they have bars you can sit in all night along with the
concerts from the opera and philharmonic. The people who want to sit on a park bench and read
could do that every night, and you will find that this city is very safe even though it is so busy for
much of the year.

Vienna has many municipal buildings downtown that you could tour as part of your vacation, and
you must plan this trip so that you get to see everything at least once. You have now traversed the
city, taken great pictures, eaten well, made new friends, and truly experienced Vienna.

Vienna is easier to enjoy if you use their public information system. They have maps and kiosks
around the city that you could stop at and learn more about the town. The maps show you where
you are, and they let you know what is closeby. You must allow Vienna to take you in because the
city itself is very good about information and tourism.

Every bus and train stop has a description, and you could get off at the stops that you know were
meant for you. You must also check off your map when you get to certain places so that you know
where you have been.

The council has offices in places that are easy to reach, adn you could ask people who work for the
city for information when it is needed. Vienna also has very nice people who might take you under
their wing when you are traveling. They will show you where to go, where to shop, and where to
eat.

Get lost in the market of this city because they are some of the most beautiful in the world. They
tend to have their pubs and restaurants right next door, and you do not have to span the city to
have a good time. You have some nightlife in the city, and you will find that concerts are going on
every night at places like the State Opera and the Philharmonic.

The Vienna that you see must be found by accident when you use a map and do some exploring on
your own. Let the city’s information system take you where you want to go, and remember that
the city is a fun place to be in Europe because it looks very old even though it has all the modern
touches you wanted.

Now few people recognize the necessary implications of the economic statements they are constantly making. When they say that the way to economic salvation is to increase “credit,” it is just as if they said that the way to economic salvation is to increase debt: these are different names for the same thing seen from opposite sides. When they say that the way to prosperity is to increase farm prices, it is like saying that the way to prosperity is to make food dearer for the city worker. When they say that the way to national wealth is to pay out governmental subsidies, they are in effect saying that the way to national wealth is to increase taxes. When they make it a main objective to increase exports, most of them do not realize that they necessarily make it a main objective ultimately to increase imports. When they say, under nearly all conditions, that the way to recovery is to increase wage rates, they have found only another way of saying that the way to recovery is to increase costs of production.

It does not necessarily follow, because each of these propositions, like a coin, has its reverse side, or because the equivalent proposition, or the other name for the remedy, sounds much less attractive, that the original proposal is under all conditions unsound. There may be times when an increase in debt is a minor consideration as against the gains achieved with the borrowed funds; when a government subsidy is unavoidable to achieve a certain purpose; when a given industry can afford an increase in production costs, and so on. But we ought to make sure in each case that both sides of the coin have been considered, that all the implications of a proposal have been studied. And this is seldom done.

Since today is Bastille Day, I’ve been thinking about the nature of revolutions. Here’s my question for today: what makes a revolution succeed or fail? Why did the American Revolution result in relative political stability, while the French Revolution ran amok and eventually resulted in the rise of another dictator?

This question is also becoming increasingly relevant as we watch the transitions and revolutions sweeping the Middle East and North Africa. Why did Egypt’s democratic revolution bring Mohamed Morsi to power?Perhaps the answer is prudence. Russell Kirk notes that the American Revolution was “not a revolution started, but a revolution prevented.” I mostly agree with that. The American system retained many parts of the old British system, including the bicameral structure and English common law. The nature of the executive they created was somewhat new, but for the most part, the new American government mirrored many aspects of the English government. While the French found themselves caught up in attempting a radical social transformation, the Americans were slightly more cautious. For example, French revolutionaries were the intellectual heirs of Rousseau’s Social Contract and demands for instant social change, whereas American revolutionaries were influenced by the more cautious ideals of Burke and Montesquieu.

There is something dangerous about being so furious with old system that the revolutionaries seek to do away with all parts of it. Many populist revolutions, like the French Revolution and later the Bolshevik Revolution, have the potential to pander so much to the public outcry for change that they do not stop to consider what they are changing. The French Revolution may well be the definition of the “tyranny of the majority,” and the tides of emotion and righteous indignation are difficult to quell.

Once a revolution begins, it is difficult to tell where it is going. There must be a mechanism in place to stem the passions of social transformation, or else the whole process can go horribly awry. For example, the Chinese Communist Revolution was so brutal in part because of Chairman Mao’s demand for “constant revolution” so that the people would never become “complacent.”

Social change is a worthy goal, but the lessons of history suggest that prudence is necessary to make sure it succeeds. Revolutions cannot be solely emotional if they are to work – logic and caution must play a prominent role as well.

On a lighter note, here is a great comic by one of my favorite comic artists, Kate Beaton:

I love science. There are few methods of understanding dearer to my heart than the scientific method – it has been responsible for some of the most amazing advances and discoveries in human history, and I look forward to what it has to contribute to us in the future.

That said, we should resist labeling anyone who questions a scientific idea “anti-science.” “Anti-science” is not a scientific term but a political one. So what, then, does it mean to be “anti-science?”

To investigate why labeling people who express skepticism “anti-science” is problematic, it is necessary to start with a few definitions: the scientific method and the difference between scientific hypotheses, theories and laws.

The Scientific Method

I define the scientific method as the following process:

1. Formulation of a question

2. Hypothesis – a guess based on prior knowledge

3. Prediction – determining the logical outcome of the hypothesis

4. Testing – usually an experiment, but always an investigation about whether the real world is in accordance with the hypothesis

5. Analysis – determining the results of the testing and deciding what steps to take next

6. Retesting – repeat steps 1-5 over and over again until you keep coming to the same conclusion almost every time

Scientific Hypotheses, Theories and Laws

Hypotheses, theories and laws are not interchangeable, and each one does not possess the same level of proof.

Hypothesis: An educated guess based on observation. (e.g. If you notice that your iPhone goes missing every time your little cousin comes to visit, you might hypothesize that your cousin steals your iPhone.)

Theory: The summary of a hypothesis or set of hypotheses that have been repeatedly tested and supported (e.g. Darwin’s theory of evolution.)

Law: The generalization of a large body of observations that appears to always be true – as of right now, there are no laws with exceptions (e.g. Newton’s Law of Gravity or the Laws of Thermodynamics.)

The Concept of “Anti-Science”

Occasionally, scientists will formulate hypotheses and theories, and other scientists, economists, and people generally will question them. The questioners then become labeled “anti-science” because “the evidence is all there – how can they not agree? If they disagree, they must simply hate science.”

The labelers believe that the questioners are anti-science because, to them, the hypotheses and theories they have formed are so self-evidently true that the questioners might as well be trying to refute laws. For example, scientists will come up with a theory and say that questioners of their theory are akin to questioners of gravity.

Hypotheses and theories are not law. It is one thing to question whether climate simulation models are sufficiently accurate at predicting future weather events and another thing to question the existence of gravity. The models constitute a theory, and gravity constitutes a law. Remember that there are no exceptions to laws and that laws cannot be disproven. Theories, on the other hand, can always be countered by competing theories.

Why the Label Itself is Anti-Scientific

Nothing is more truly anti-science than labeling anyone who doesn’t agree with your hypothesis or theory a pariah. Science is at its best when scientists are constantly questioning and testing each others’ claims. The more rigorous this process of questioning and testing is, the closer our science comes to being true. Science is much better for the existence of competing theories because, without them, we would never approach the middle ground where laws usually lie.

If we really care about science, we ought to be encouraging questioning of methodology, data, and experimental processes, not demonizing it.

I was glancing through my Facebook News Feed the other day, when I saw a meme that my friend posted that said, “When we destroy something created by man, we call it vandalism. When we destroy something created by nature, we call it progress” (by Ed Begley, Jr.).

Why are humans considered separate from nature? Human beings are, at the end of the day, still “animals” in the strictest sense – we are mammals. It is as though many people consider humans “apart from nature,” some kind of rogue element, a parasite, that destroys nature by way of its mere existence. Yet, we don’t treat other animals this way. When humans use wood to build homes and make paper products, they are accused of “cutting down the trees and destroying nature.” Yet, when birds use wood to build nests, that is considered “natural.” Why? The things that bears and beavers build are considered natural, but the things humans build are considered unnatural. That is illogical.

The line between what is “natural” and what is “unnatural” has become somewhat arbitrary. Many people routinely consider chemicals unnatural, but nearly every natural occurrence is the result of a chemical reaction. So, then, why are some chemicals privileged over others? What makes certain chemicals more “natural” than others? In the late 20th century, Greenpeace attempted to ban the element chlorine entirely – but chlorine is part of table salt, it filters our water, it cleans our swimming pools, and it performs a number of other functions that are crucial to society. Banning the existence of a naturally-occurring element on the periodic table seems unnatural.

The idea of “harmony with nature” has both upsides and downsides. Because we exist in a modern industrialized society where we have the privilege of taking for granted our hot water, our instant light-switches, and our internet, we have begun to idealize a pastoral Eden that has never existed. Many people have become seduced by the vision of “humans in harmony with nature,” a picture in which we dance in the woods, live in small homes, and drink water straight from the streams. Yet, that is a utopia – it has never existed.

The reality of nature is more harsh than romantic. Before the late 19th century, when humans actually lived in a more “natural” state, that “natural” state included such horrors as burning wood and dung to make fuel, malaria, tuberculosis, drinking water from streams that contained animal waste, and floods and storms from which we had little shelter or protection. Americans used to boast proudly in the 19th century about taming nature, because it meant that they had overcome such hardships and could live comfortably. When we say that we want to “live in harmony with nature,” what we actually mean is that we want to go camping for about a week (perhaps stay in a log cabin while we are out in the woods), bring modern conveniences with us, and then go back to our heated, weather-resistant homes once that week is over. What we do not mean is that we want to abandon modern civilization entirely and put ourselves at the mercy of natural forces.

We should be willing to consider our industrial achievements part of nature. Since we are part of nature and they are our creations (created from elements found from nature as well), there is no reason they should not be considered part of the environment. Being in “harmony with nature” does not mean recklessly attempting to turn back time – it means charting a more prudent future. So let us build and be proud of what we build – they are as much a part of nature as we are.

 

I’ve been reading Henry Hazlitt’s “Economics in One Lesson,” and it occurred to me that there is a moral case both for and against minimum wage laws. Yet, it seems to almost be a truism among many people today that these laws are inherently moral. Maybe we should rethink that.

The minimum wage debate basically comes down to which is the greater of the two evils: low wages or unemployment. The fact is that minimum wage laws do put people out of work, and that is a real ethical issue that we should care about.I’m certainly no economist, but here is a hypothetical thought experiment for considering the moral implications of the minimum wage:

Cindy lives in Seattle and is looking for work. Based on her qualifications and experience, most employers would be willing to pay her $280 a week ($7 an hour, assuming a 40-hour work week) to work in a free market. The state of Washington, however, requires employers to pay her a minimum of $367.60 a week ($9.19 an hour, again assuming a 40-hour work week). Since employers don’t value her labor at $367.60, they are unlikely to hire her and will instead hire someone whose qualifications and experience are worth $367.60 to them. Thus, Cindy can’t find a job.

Now, let’s consider what happens when we add unemployment benefits to the equation. Since Cindy can’t find a job, she applies for unemployment relief. This poses two distinct problems for her and for society:

  1. On one end of the scenario, the minimum level of unemployment relief that Cindy can obtain in Washington is $148 a week ($3.70 an hour, if we thought of this as the equivalent of a 40-hour work week). Because her skills actually make her worth $280 a week in the market, but she is prohibited by law from earning that amount of money, she is losing $132 a week that she could have otherwise made. Cindy is effectively banned from earning money she could have used to sustain herself.
  2. On the other end of the scenario, the maximum level of unemployment relief that Cindy can receive is $624 a week ($15.60 an hour, assuming the same conditions as in the previous example). Since the minimum wage entitles her to $367.60 a week, but unemployment benefits are now worth $624 a week, it makes no practical sense for her to work at all. It is more economical for her to be unemployed than to have a minimum wage job. This situation deprives Americans of her services who could have otherwise benefited from them.

Clearly, the moral case is not as black-and-white as minimum wage proponents would have us believe.  Their argument rests on the idea that extremely low wages hurt Cindy’s fundamental human dignity. Yet, unemployment is also an indignity. She loses her sense of self-sufficiency and her feeling that she has earned any success she might have. The indignity of unemployment merits consideration every bit as much as that of low wages.