My LibertyCon 2019 Schedule

LibertyCon at the Chattanooga Marriot, June 28-30.  I’ll be at these programming events:

Day Time Name of Event
Fri 04:00PM Ask A Scientist – Kids Edition

Dr. Robert E. Hampson moderates this Q&A for kids across a broad array of sciences.

Fri 05:00PM Opening Ceremonies

Take advantage of the opportunity to meet the LibertyCon Guests and Staff and listen to our Guests of Honor speak!

CC: Meeting Rooms 4 & 5
(90 min)
Fri 06:00PM Author’s Alley (Burkhead, K & K Evans, J. & HP Holo, Lowery, Schantz)

Come by the Author’s/Artist’s Alley to chat, buy a book or get an autograph!

Author’s Alley (M: Plaza Ballroom Mezzanine)
(60 min)
Sat 02:00PM Author’s Alley (Burkhead, Carpenter, C. Kennedy, Tinney, James Ward)

Come by the Author’s / Artist’s Alley to chat, buy a book or get an autograph!

Author’s Alley (M: Plaza Ballroom Mezzanine)
(60 min)
Sat 03:00PM Autograph Session (D. Burkhead, W. Webb)

Autograph sessions will be located in the Dealer’s Room. Authors will cycle through hourly, except for the author’s that have their own tables who will be available when they are not scheduled in the program. Limit 5 books (if you bring more, get 5 signed and go to the back of the line.)

Dealer’s Room (M: Plaza A/B/C Ballroom)
(60 min)
Sat 06:00PM 500 Vampires, No Waiting

500 Vampires, No Waiting: How many vampire types are out there? Do you prefer the supernatural? The aliens? The Wesley Snipes movies? Declan Finn moderates this panel on the many varieties of Nosferatu.

Sat 09:00PM Nuclear Weapons 101

Ken Roy moderates this panel discussion on Nuclear Weaponry, Radiation and nuclear effects.

Sat 11:00PM Mad Scientist Roundtable

Roundtable discussion of various and timely science topics moderated by Les Johnson. This is a remarkable panel dating back to the earliest LibertyCons. Everyone gets a say but no one gets to say too much.

Sun 10:00AM Kaffeeklatsch

Have coffee / continental breakfast and chat with the pros.

M: Tennessee River Room
Michael J. Allen
Quincy J. Allen
Arlan Andrews
Griffin Barber
Jim Beall
J. D. Beckwith
Rick Boatright
David Bogen
Karen Bogen
Scott Bragg
Robert Buettner
Douglas Burbey
David L. Burkhead
Daniel Allen Butler
David (D.J.) Butler
Anna Grace Carpenter
David Carrico
Julie Cochrane
David B. Coe / D. B. Jackson
Jason Cordova
Jim Curtis
Doug Dandridge
Dr. Ben Davis
Jonathan Del Arroz
Jeff Duntemann
Karen Evans
Kevin Evans
Robert S. Evans
Kacey Ezell
C.S. Ferguson
Declan Finn
Stephen Fleming
Marina Fontaine
Monalisa Foster
A. M. Freeman
Karl Gallagher
Melissa Gay
Amie Gibbons
Jeff Greason
Valerie Hampton
Michael H. Hanson
John Hartness
Jonna Hayden
Louise Herring-Jones
Taylor S Hoch
Dan Hollifield
H.P. Holo
Jacob Holo
Teresa Howard
Daniel M. Hoyt
Sarah A. Hoyt
Daniel Humphreys
James Hunter
Jamie Ibson
Kevin Ikenberry
Steve Jackson
Les Johnson
Bryan Jones
Paula S. Jordan
Chris Kennedy
Tom Kratman
R. J. Ladon
D. Alan Lewis
Doug Loss
Tamara Lowery
Terry Maggert
Amanda Makepeace
Ian J. Malone
T.C. McCarthy
Edward McKeown
Joseph Meany
Anita Moore
Morgon Newquist
Russell Newquist
Chris Oakley
Jon R. Osborne
David E. Pascoe
Gray Rinehart
William Joseph Roberts
Natalie Rodgers
Cedar Sanderson
Hans G. Schantz
James Schardt
Dave Schroeder
Julia Morgan Scott
Lydia Sherrer
Martin Shoemaker
Stephen J. Simmons
Benjamin Tyler Smith
Chris Smith
Kal Spriggs
Tom Tinney
Melisa Todd
Tiffany Toland-Scott
John Van Stry
Mark Wandrey
James Ward
Justin Watson
William Alan Webb
Rich Weyand
Benjamin Wheeler
Marisa Wolf
Chris Woods
Matt Wyers
James Young
(60 min)
Sun 11:00AM Reading: Tamara Lowery & David L. Burkhead

Come out and have a seat as our author guests reads passages of their works

M: Lookout Mountain Room
(60 min)
Sun 02:00PM Author’s Alley (Burkhead, J. Hunter, T. Lowery, J. Osborne, William Webb)

Come by the Author’s / Artist’s Alley to chat, buy a book or get an autograph!

Author’s Alley (M: Plaza Ballroom Mezzanine)
(60 min)

“There has to be a better way.”

You hear that a lot.  Explain scarcity, that wants (often called “need” even when “wants” is the correct term) will always outstrip availability and someone comes back with “there has to be a better way.” Explain that while it’s “reasonable” to believe that peaceful trade is far more beneficial economically and in every other way than war and conquest, not everybody in every nation is “reasonable” and so it is necessary to maintain a strong military to cause those unreasonable folk to at least hesitate and “there has to be a better way.” Explain that this same principle applies on the personal level and that, furthermore, no matter how much the police might want to protect you (if they want to protect you) they can’t–they can’t be everywhere–so you have to be responsible for your own protection and, sure enough, “there has to be a better way.”

No.  There doesn’t.

Oh, you might want there to be a better way.  I might want there to be a better way.  But nowhere is it writ that the Universe must, or even can, conform itself to what we want.

This is not to say that there is never a better way.  After all, that’s what progress is all about:  finding the ways that are better (for sufficient values of “better”).  Mind you, not everyone agrees whether these new ways are actually better.  I find the speed and convenience of email a vast improvement over handwritten letters.  There are some who bemoan letters written in neat script on thick, textured paper becoming largely a lost art.

There is a passage from an old novel set in the late twenties (1920’s), where one character, stopped at the side of the road with car trouble, bemoans the change from horse and buggy to the motor car.  Before, you see, he could have just taken a nap. “The horse knows his way home.”

So, yes, often there is a “better way” for many things.  But, that is no guarantee that there must be for any particular problem.  And while the search for better ways is a worthwhile pursuit, the thinking that there must be one, particularly when it comes to social institutions and the human condition, is fraught with danger.

When one insists that there must be a better way, there’s a dangerous tendency to dismiss current ways as bad, and to ignore what has been learned from long experience.  And so the old is tossed out in favor of the “new” without sufficient consideration about whether this new thing will work at all, let alone whether it will be better.  And sometimes people cling to these “new things” long after any newness remains.

An example of this is centrally controlled, planned economies.  They were “sold” on the idea that they would be more efficient than voluntary exchanges in a free market.  And time and time again, they have been demonstrated to simply not work.  And yet people remain so enamored of the idea of planning to reduce waste, increase “fairness” (as they see it), and eliminate the chaos and uncertainty that comes with freedom, that they keep trying to sell it again.

Another example is the repeated effort that if we just “understood” folk who mean us harm, if we just “extend the hand of peace” to them, if we were just nicer to them they would be nice to us or, at least, leave us alone.

Well, Rudyard Kipling put well where that thinking leads:

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”
“Gods of the Copybook Headings” 
Rudyard Kipling

So while it remains worthwhile to look for better ways, one needs to take care not to throw out the proverbial baby with the proverbial bath water.

And remember that not all “better ways” are actually better.