Burqas One Day, Shirtlessness the Next: The French Practice Égalité

The Fifth Republic forces its people to stay in the middle course:

Male tourists in France were being threatened with $48 fines for walking around without their shirts on, The Independent reported Monday.

Locals in seaside resort towns including Cannes and St. Tropez demanded the move after they were sick of seeing Brits and other tourists displaying their “hairy chests” in the streets, the newspaper said. Inland cities such as Perpignan, in the south of France, followed the move and introduced a dress code banning bare chests for the first time.

Women wearing bikini tops in the streets could also face the fine if they failed to cover up when asked to by cops, authorities said.

The tough laws came into force after locals were shocked by a group of British rugby fans who took off their shirts while watching a match.

Coming on the heels of outlawing the burqas, this shows that la République is trying to strike a balance.  Perhaps those who have lost use of their burqas could ship them to le Midi to help those who are that region’s descamisados.  (I’m sure the Peronistas would protest this, as going shirtless for them is a political statement.)

It’s noteworthy that the Brits are at the bottom of the problem.  They’ve gotten themselves into trouble in Dubai for unlawful conjugal relations (outside of marriage) and insufficient clothing as well.  If Dubai and France can be working in parallel like this, there has to be something to the situation.

New Foundations (Obama's and Otherwise) Are Expensive

“The New Foundation” business didn’t work for either Barack Obama or Jimmy Carter:

Obama’s contribution was to be the New Foundation. “We must lay a new foundation for growth and prosperity–a foundation that will move us from an era of borrow and spend to one where we save and invest,” he declared. Obama would repeat the phrase seven times that day and on many more occasions over the next months. At Obama’s private White House dinner with presidential historians that June, the historians were no more impressed than the public with the New Foundation as a slogan. “I don’t think it’s going to work,” Robert Dallek warned. Doris Kearns Goodwin said it sounded “like a woman’s girdle.”

One of these historians might have been able to forewarn Obama that the slogan had been unsuccessfully deployed by a Democratic president once before. In his 1979 State of the Union address, Jimmy Carter began, “Tonight, I want to examine in a broad sense the state of our American Union–how we are building a new foundation for a peaceful and a prosperous world.” Carter would use the phrase five times in the speech, including in its conclusion, where he asked members of Congress to join him “in building that new foundation.” Like Obama’s effort, the phrase inspired, at most, a few underwear jokes and was then forgotten.

Since I’m about to begin again teaching on the design and construction of foundations, the foundation analogy intrigued me, and not from the underwear standpoint either.

Foundations are a critical part of a building’s integrity; as I like to say, a building is only as good as its foundation.  Foundation difficulties (especially settlement) are the chief cause of distress in structures; just think of all of the home foundation and basement repair services.

Foundation remediation, especially of large structures, is expensive and disruptive.  It’s done because the existing foundation is either not performing properly (settlement again is the usual culprit) or because either perceived or actual conditions have changed.  A good example of the latter is seismic retrofitting.  The California Department of Transportation, in the days when the state could afford it, dropped about $10 billion in seismically retrofitting the bridges around the San Francisco Bay area, and are still dickering over the Bay Bridge itself.  Usually they were able to modify and add to the foundations and achieve their goals, but in some cases it was cheaper to replace a bridge rather than retrofit it.

The latter result isn’t as unusual as one would like to think.  Replacing or upgrading the foundation of a building is frequently so expensive that it’s cheaper to replace the whole building, especially if the structural damage due to foundation failure is extensive.

Turning to politics, I don’t see “borrow and spend” as the foundation of this Republic.  It’s better characterised as the misguided MO of the Baby Boomers, but it’s not foundational to this country.  That’s one reason why historians don’t go for the “new foundation” argument.  It’s a systemic problem that can (if time doesn’t run out first) and should be fixed, but it’s not foundational to our country.

I think it’s reasonable to say, however, that Obama and many of his idea do want a “new foundation” for this country.  That’s because many of the foundational concepts we have: inalienable rights (and the source of those rights), absolute property rights and the strict rule of law, are in the way of a statist construct.  If that is their idea, then they need to tell us why it’s cheaper and better to install a new foundation rather than to tear the whole edifice down and start over.

Victory at Last: You Learn More Away from Harvard, But…

The Washington Post, an elite institution in its own right, breaks down and admits the truth:

A study scheduled for release Monday about the value of a college education, at least when it comes to the basics, has found the opposite to be true in most cases. Forget Harvard and think Lamar.

Indeed, the Texas university, where tuition runs about $7,000 per year (Harvard’s is $38,000) earns an A to Harvard’s D based on an analysis of the universities’ commitment to core subjects deemed essential to a well-rounded, competitive education.

In other words, Lamar requires courses that Harvard apparently considers of lesser value. These include six of the seven subject areas used in the study to gauge an institution’s commitment to general education: composition, literature, foreign language at the intermediate level, U.S. government or history, economics, mathematics, and natural or physical science.

This is amazing.  So why do Ivy Leaguers dominate our government?  It’s simple: in politics, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know, and the who you know starts with who you go to university with.  And that, in no small measure, explains the quality of our government…

I’d like to note two institutions that made the list of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) “A” list:

The Standing Issue in the Proposition 8 Case Isn't a Done Deal

As the Anglican Curmudgeon points out:

In the California case in Judge Walker’s court, the principal defendants were Governor Schwarzenegger and the Attorney General, Jerry Brown. Both chose not to defend the constitutionality of the amendment, which had passed by a significant majority at the polls. (In doing so, they placed their personal views above their duties to uphold California law. Apparently, only laws enacted by the Legislature are worthy of their support.) As a consequence, neither is expected to appeal the decision, as well.

The persons who had caused the proposition to appear on the ballot were allowed to intervene to defend its constitutionality. In the same way, Judge Walker allowed San Francisco County to intervene as well to oppose the measure, although in an unpublished decision the same day he ruled on Prop. 8’s unconstitutionality, Judge Walker denied a motion by Imperial County to intervene on behalf of the Proposition — go figure. (This is not a judge whose decisions bear the stamp of impartiality — the only words adequate to describe his judicial approach are “outcome-oriented.”)…

Thus, it hardly seems proper to deny the right of Imperial County to challenge Judge Walker’s ruling on the ground that it had no basis on which to assert a right of intervention. If Imperial County refuses to implement his decision, it clearly would face civil liability under 28 U.S.C. § 1983 for that failure, with the possibility of damages. Just as with the doctors who faced potential criminal liability in Diamond v. Charles (above), this potential liability under federal law should have given the County officials a sufficient stake in the outcome to make Judge Walker’s denial of their motion to intervene reversible error — and by the same token, that stake in the outcome should supply the County officials with standing to carry the principal appeal on the merits.

Judge Walker’s one-sided attempt to block the participation of the only real parties who had both a right to be involved and a concrete stake in the outcome should in and of itself serve as a beacon to any appellate court that his decision was wholly outcome-oriented. The Ninth Circuit, of course, is generally just as liberal as Judge Walker (and particularly with regard to its current motions panel), so there is no telling whether they will be able to resist an equally outcome-oriented approach in handling the appeal. The first gauge of what will happen in the Ninth Circuit is whether it will act to continue the stay of his injunction pending the outcome of the appeal. (And if it does not, the door will thereby be opened for an appeal to Justice Kennedy and the full Supreme Court to issue the stay, as described in this post.) So stay tuned — the case is by no means a done deal yet.]

Most people are unaware of the Imperial County action, and Judge Walker attempted to bury it in an unpublished opinion.  It will be interesting to see whether the SCOTUS will do anything about this (I think the Ninth Circuit’s idea is a foregone conclusion.)

I’ve always felt that the Proposition 8 effort was ill-advised, and that this would have been the perfect moment to pull the rug out from under civil marriage altogether.  Subsequent events have confirmed that judgement.

Having said that, I think Haley’s parting comment is still valid:

Nevertheless, the people who voted for Proposition 8 have every right to feel disenfranchised. The courts, the State’s elected officials, and its homosexual activists are colluding in broad daylight to prevent any ruling on the merits by anyone other than a single — and decidedly not impartial — judge.

If we live in a country where the judiciary routinely engages in outcome based decisions and the executive branch colludes with them, we no longer have a representative democracy.  All of these campaigns, polls and elections are nothing but a pile of rubbish, and the basic nature of this republic–to say nothing of its legitimacy–is altered dramatically.

When Nationalisation Isn't Enough

When Michael Moore is doing the complaining:

But if they’re not laying people off yet, they’re also not hiring.

During the first half of 2010, GM made $2.2 billion in profit, yet according to The Wall Street Journal, they’ve only added 2,000 jobs in all of North America, taking their workforce from 113,000 to 115,000.

And what’s true for GM is true for the country. The government stepped in with trillions of dollars in cash and guarantees to keep Corporate America from collapsing due to its own stupidity, short-sightedness and greed. And it worked—for Corporate America. You may not have noticed as you were being foreclosed on, but the profitability of the Fortune 500 is almost back to normal. It jumped to $391 billion in 2009, up 335 percent from 2008. And the 500 biggest non-financial corporations are now sitting on $1.8 trillion in cash, more than at any time in the past 50 years. (That’s what the business press always says—that they’re “sitting” on it—although as far as I know this is not literally true.)

It used to be that nationalisation was considered “the deal” on the road to social justice.  Take the profit motive out of the picture, eliminate capitalists exploiting the surplus value of the workers, make the corporation work for the public good–these were the goals of nationalisation.  That was one of the appeals of the Soviet Union–they nationalised everything.  Their counterparts in Western Europe weren’t slackers at it either, if one considers the enterprises formed by the state or nationalised: British Leyland, British Steel, British Rail, Renault, ENI, and so on.

Although it’s against the grain in the US to do anything in a direct, straightforward way, GM (along with Chrysler) was basically nationalised.

Leaving out the simple observation that nationalisation frequently doesn’t work, the basic problem here is that the nationalisers are too much in the back pocket of their well-heeled elite donor base.  It’s a strange form of socialism, but that’s what we’ve got these days.  Even Michael Moore is agitated about it.

But he, along with many others on the left, should have thought about that before they backed change they thought they could believe in.

P.S. Moore’s griping about not creating jobs has some merit, but doesn’t take into consideration the fact that advances in automation and manufacturing always lead to the production of the same amount of goods with fewer workers.  Marx predicted that this, combined with the ability of capitalists to pocket the snowballing surplus value that resulted, would lead to revolution.  The problem people like Moore can’t figure out is why the revolutionaries these days are all flocking to the Tea Party and not to the Communist (or at least the Democrat) one.

Catechises and Baptismal Regeneration

This is the second in a sporadic series on the Catechetical Lectures of St. Cyril of Jerusalem.  The first one was Is It Proper to Refer to Christians as Enlightened?

If there’s one thing that many Evangelicals agree on, it’s that there’s no baptismal regeneration. On the other hand, Roman Catholics and others live and die by it. The church is the community of the baptised; being baptised makes you a Christian. The latter have been so persistent in this that a serious goal of some atheists is to outlaw infant baptism, not realising that they’re playing right into the hands of the advocates of believers baptism!

There’s no doubt that Cyril of Jerusalem is an advocate of baptismal regeneration:

Let no one then suppose that Baptism is merely the grace of remission of sins, or further, that of adoption; as John’s was a baptism conferring only remission of sins: whereas we know full well, that as it purges our sins, and ministers to us the gift of the Holy Ghost, so also it is the counterpart of the sufferings of Christ. (XX, 6)

“Baptism for the remission of sins” are fighting words for many Christians in the “Anabaptist” tradition, and that not only includes the Baptists but most Pentecostals as well. If it’s for the remission of sins, they argue, why bother with a profession of faith? Cyril here not only assumes that baptism is for the remission of sins, he proceeds from there and states that it “…further(s) the fellowship also, by representation, of Christ’s true sufferings.” (XX, 6)

Earlier in the lectures, when he’s explaining to his pupils the meaning of baptism, he makes it clear that baptism itself imparts grace:

For you go down into the water, bearing your sins, but the invocation of grace , having sealed your soul, suffers you not afterwards to be swallowed up by the terrible dragon. Having gone down dead in sins, you come up quickened in righteousness. For if you have been united with the likeness of the Saviour’s death (Romans 6:5), you shall also be deemed worthy of His Resurrection. For as Jesus took upon Him the sins of the world, and died, that by putting sin to death He might rise again in righteousness; so thou by going down into the water, and being in a manner buried in the waters, as He was in the rock, art raised again walking in newness of life. (Romans 6:4) (III, 12)

A little earlier he has already made this explanation, using the Scriptures:

For since man is of twofold nature, soul and body, the purification also is twofold, the one incorporeal for the incorporeal part, and the other bodily for the body: the water cleanses the body, and the Spirit seals the soul; that we may draw near unto God, having our heart sprinkled by the Spirit, and our body washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:22) When going down, therefore, into the water, think not of the bare element, but look for salvation by the power of the Holy Ghost: for without both you can not possibly be made perfect. It is not I that say this, but the Lord Jesus Christ, who has the power in this matter: for He says, Unless a man be born anew (and He adds the words) of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3:3) (III, 4)

In the same breath, however, he makes this statement:

Neither does he that is baptised with water, but not found worthy of the Spirit, receive the grace in perfection; nor if a man be virtuous in his deeds, but receive not the seal by water, shall he enter into the kingdom of heaven. A bold saying, but not mine, for it is Jesus who has declared it: and here is the proof of the statement from Holy Scripture. Cornelius was a just man, who was honoured with a vision of Angels, and had set up his prayers and alms deeds as a good memorial before God in heaven. Peter came, and the Spirit was poured out upon them that believed, and they spoke with other tongues, and prophesied: and after the grace of the Spirit the Scripture says that Peter commanded them to be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 10:48); in order that, the soul having been born again by faith , the body also might by the water partake of the grace. (III, 4)

Cyril is persistent in two things: his belief that baptism is necessary for salvation (he does make the exception for the martyrs,) and that baptism is not meaningful without an inward transformation towards God through Jesus Christ, something that the church in his day backed up with many of the extensive preparations the catechumens went through before baptism.

So what gives? Why are we left with an “either/or” proposition when Cyril and his church considered it a “both/and” business? The answer isn’t necessarily in front of us, but it was in front of Cyril. His Catechetical Lectures weren’t given in the nursery, but to people who were “of riper years” (to use the 1662 BCP’s delightful expression) who could understand Cyril’s instruction and act on it.

As I’ve noted elsewhere, the trout in the milk is, as usual, infant baptism.

To put this issue in perspective, let’s consider the following relating to that other great sacrament of the church, the Eucharist:

For I myself received from the Lord the account which I have in turn given to you-how the Lord Jesus, on the very night of his betrayal, took some bread, And, after saying the thanksgiving, broke it and said “This is my own body given on your behalf. Do this in memory of me.” And in the same way with the cup, after supper, saying “This cup is the new Covenant made by my blood. Do this, whenever you drink it, in memory of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death-till he comes. Therefore, whoever eats the bread, or drinks the Lord’s cup, in an irreverent spirit, will have to answer for an offence against the Lord’s body and blood. Let each man look into his own heart, and only then eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For the man who eats and drinks brings a judgement upon himself by his eating and drinking, when he does not discern the body. That is why so many among you are weak and ill, and why some are sleeping. But, if we judged ourselves rightly, we should not be judged. (1 Corinthians 11:23-31)

Here we have two things: the simple statement that the Eucharist is the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and b) that those who receive it unworthily and without preparation will suffer up to and including the death penalty. We are presented with both a sacramental infusion of grace and the necessity of internal preparation and a right relationship with God.

That’s what Cyril presents to his pupils—and us—regarding baptism, using the Scriptures to back him up. The key is having the baptised be in a position of being properly prepared so they can receive what God has for them in baptism.

The two groups that object to adult baptism (the usual term is “believers baptism,” but that isn’t quite what Cyril has in mind) are fans of Reformed theology and those of the churches of the apostolic succession who believe that infant baptism and an apostolic church simply go together.

With Reformed theology, the key is to wash away original sin, and that of course dominates Roman Catholic thinking as well (or at least used to.) Although infants certainly exhibit signs of their sinful nature (and some are more demonstrative of that than others,) it cannot be avoided that they are not yet in a position to take responsibility for it. In any case, since true adherents of Reformed theology also posit that humans are so depraved (even after baptism) that they are incapable of even making a decision for God and can only be saved if they are predestined, why they waste valuable church time on any baptism is hard to know.

For those in apostolic churches, to some extent infant baptism is an expression of their concept of church. It’s a concept that has enamoured them to (and to some extent has been moulded by their contact with) the state. You’re born into a nation, you are born into a church. But the church of Cyril’s day is the witness of a church that was fully apostolic in the succession of its bishops and yet made adult baptism the norm. It also avoids the trap of Affirming Catholicism, which states that if you’re baptised then you’re a Christian without any other further act of will or divine intent.

Cyril’s church—and baptismal procedure—is in many ways the best of both worlds, and Christian churches would do well to examine it carefully.

Robert Gibbs Evidently Isn't Worried About the Right Wingers Taking Drugs

But only President Obama’s left-wing critics:

During an interview with The Hill in his West Wing office, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs blasted liberal naysayers, whom he said would never regard anything the president did as good enough.

“I hear these people saying he’s like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested,” Gibbs said. “I mean, it’s crazy.”

The press secretary dismissed the “professional left” in terms very similar to those used by their opponents on the ideological right, saying, “They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality.”

He and his boss should have thought about all this when these left wingers became his base.  Those of us who are products of the 1960’s and early 1970’s know that the modern (or more accurately post-modern) American left was birthed in that era, and has been working on making its tenets reality ever since.  Gibbs is either exceedingly dense or intellectually dishonest not to know this.

Let’s start with the drugs: any self-respecting 60’s style liberal would be proud to fail a drug test.  To be positive for controlled substances is a badge of honour, and these days legalisation of such substances is closer than ever.

Then there’s his statement that “They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality.”  Isn’t eliminating the Pentagon what these people have been fighting for since the days of Berkeley and Kent State?  Why should they give up now?  Didn’t they vote for Obama believing that he would get us out of Iraq?  (Let’s throw in Afghanistan and do it right!)  As far as Canadian health care is concerned, that’s a compromise for a true leftist, because the real model is a Soviet style system, both single payer and single provider.

Yes, I know that not all of the “Netroots” base are superannuated hippies whose use of controlled substances has significantly reduced the number of working brain cells they started with.  But those who do fit that category have done a reasonable job of their own version of Proverbs 22:6.  It’s really the same cause, just some new standard bearers with new weapons of warfare.

But some things the left does these days defy their own principles.  Would someone tell me why we’re still fighting over civil marriage when it should have gone the way of fault divorce?

Why the Republicans' "Fourteenth Amendment" Campaign is a Waste of Time

There’s been a great deal of press about the campaign by certain Republican leaders to either amend or redefine the Fourteenth Amendment to exclude the children of illegal immigrants from American citizenship.  I don’t think it’s a winning issue politically, but on a more profound level it’s based on the a priori assumption that American citizenship is an unalloyed benefit.

As was the case with Roman citizenship, whose value deteriorated from the time when the apostle Paul invoked it for his own legal protection until the Late Roman taxes and politics inspired the Britons to cut loose from the Empire, our isn’t getting better either.  An example of this come from Rubin on Tax:

While ostensibly limited to “reporting” requirements to address offshore tax evasion by U.S. persons, at some point U.S. investors will balk at the level of reporting and forego profitable investments in the world at large, and foreign investors will simply move on to greener pastures and avoid the U.S. in making capital available…

For example, U.S. persons that purchase stock of a U.S. corporation from a foreign entity are required to obtain certification regarding “substantial” U.S. ownership (or nonownership) of the foreign entity. If the U.S. person does not obtain the required certification, the U.S. buyer is obligated to withhold 30% of the purchase price from the foreign seller (at least that is how I read the new statute). If the U.S. buyer is not aware of these rules, the IRS can come after it for the 30% withholding even if the buyer has already fully paid the foreign seller.

We also have the spectacle of foreign banks turning away American citizens/persons because of the onerous requirements our government places on banks which do business with our citizens/persons.  And, of course, one must never forget the double taxation that we impose on those who work abroad, frequently for American companies.

That’s why we’re seeing an increase in people renouncing their American citizenship.  For someone who comes to this country with the idea of achieving economic success, the possibility of their American citizenship trapping them in an economic bubble (and I mean that in several senses) should give pause.

It’s unlikely that most of those who come to this soil to have their children are thinking that far ahead, but if our government continues to punish people for success and ties economic activities in kilometres of red tape, they need to start.  And the Republicans need to stick to making American citizenship worthwhile for everyone rather than obsessing with denying it for a few.

The Ultimate Insult: Comparing the Obama Administration to France's Ancien Régime

When the Telegraph’s Nile Gardiner says that “the British press…has a far less deferential approach towards the White House,” he’s not just kidding:

What the great French historian Alexis de Tocqueville would make of today’s Obama administration were he alive today is anyone’s guess. But I would wager that the author of L’Ancien Régime and Democracy in America would be less than impressed with the extravagance and arrogance on display among the White House elites that rule America as though they had been handed some divine right to govern with impunity.

It is the kind of impunity that has been highlighted on the world stage this week by Michelle Obama’s hugely costly trip to Spain, which has prompted a New York Post columnist Andrea Tantaros to dub the First Lady a contemporary Marie Antoinette. As The Telegraph reports, while the Obamas are covering their own vacation expenses such as accommodation, the trip may cost US taxpayers as much as $375,000 in terms of secret service security and flight costs on Air Force Two.

In addition to the usual “let ’em eat cake” analogies, there are two aspects of these United States these days where the similarity to Louis XVI’s France is exact.

The first is the financial crisis.  The monarchy was in the throes of a long-term financial crisis which both Louis XVI and his predecessors had created.   Attempts by the likes of Necker had gotten nowhere due to the opposition of both the monarchy and the nobility.  Things had deteriorated to the point where Louis XVI was forced to call the Estates-General into session (the first time in more than a century and a half) in an attempt to enact new taxes, and that began the series of events that ended with Louis XVI losing his head and Napoleon I putting the crown on his own.

The second is the lack of uniformity and rationality in government administration.  Taxes were wildly different from one part of France to another; there were all kinds of special privileges entrenched by custom and law and, of course, there were those venal offices.  In this country two centuries of federalism plus the maze of overlapping bureaucracies at the top make a legal environment of daunting complexity, ambiguity and unpredictability.  Obama’s major initiatives only make matters worse; both the health care and financial reforms create bureaucratic mazes and carve out exceptions for special interests that add to the difficulty.

It’s ironic that the revolt against this constantly refers to the Constitution, that “Age of Reason” document whose principles (along with the Declaration of Independence) strongly influenced France’s own revolution.  But these days, how you view a revolution doesn’t depend on principle but on which side your interests lie.

Now They Tell Us: Finding Cheaper College Textbooks

The New York Times informs us that Bush-era legislation will help make it cheaper to find college textbooks:

You might call it the college student’s first lesson in exploitation: paying $100 for a textbook, then getting a mere $12 when reselling to the campus bookstore at the end of the semester.

College textbook prices rose about 6 percent, on average, every year — that’s twice the rate of inflation — from 1986 to 2004.  And there’s nothing more infuriating then paying the sticker price on textbooks (well, with the exception of tuition itself), when many other books are available at a discount. The cost of buying the textbooks can easily add up to $1,000 a year or more.

Thankfully, federal rules that went into effect in July may help ease the pain. Publishers can no longer bundle their textbooks with accompanying materials like workbooks, and they must reveal their prices to professors when making a sales pitch. Colleges, meanwhile, are now required to provide students with a list of assigned textbooks during course registration, which allows for more time for shopping before classes begin.

This isn’t the novelty it looks like it is.

I’ve been hosting free textbooks and reference materials on my website vulcanhammer.net since at least 2004, and the reference materials for several years before that.  Some of them I’ve put in print as well.  That’s a relief since the courses I teach at UTC have textbook prices that range from $150-$200 each.  (I only require one for each course I teach; the rest are free downloads.)

I have found two things that still surprise me in this digital age: the students, as the NYT article notes, still prefer a paper book (UTC’s problematic printing facilities are a part of that) and still prefer to stick with a structured textbook.  Part of the appeal of paper, for engineers at least, is that they can study a textbook on one side while trying to solve the problem either on their computer (spreadsheet is the weapon of choice these days) or on another sheet of paper.

Many textbooks are going to publishing on demand (especially in the higher course levels) which eliminates the dead inventory when the publishers make their obligatory changes every few years to kill the used textbook market.  I know the one I co-authored is probably done that way.

I believe that, with textbooks, the labourer is worth his (or her) hire, but I also think the students need a break, and that’s one reason why I’ve put so much material up for free download.