Saturday, January 17, 2004
Black Sabbath or Chopin?
Aaron Haspell points to a post by Michael at 2 blowhards, which discusses the aesthetic merits of Black Sabbath and Chopin with the added twist that the experience of hearing one or the other perform, is heard by two separate individuals. Who had the better experience? Interesting discussion, comments and additional links at both links in this post. I have no argument with Aaron’s responses to the total of five questions posited.
Get Out While You Still Can
Greg Swann points to a Casa Grande Valley Newspaper article which provides the details in regards to an unincorporated county area outside of Phoenix clamoring for a nanny. Greg correctly points out the irrational thinking behind this “sheep barking.” The concluding paragraph from Greg’s post.
These wannabe dogooders/will be dobadders live in a partial paradise, with one less layer of government than is inflicted upon nearly everyone else. This they must destroy. The home builders who gave them the wonderful homes they could not build for themselves (and Johnson Ranch is very nicely done for a low-budget master-planned community) won’t care; they will have moved on to the next project. The retailers won’t care; they will either build or not build (where permitted) based on their own business plans and profit projections. But the residents, willing or not, will be forevermore encysted with yet another criminal enterprise disguised as a “public servant”. How sad…
Did Not, Did Too, Did Not, Did Too
The political discourse in this country is akin to a bunch of grade school kids arguing in a manner similar to the title to this post. Of course, at times, the discourse somewhat takes intellectual flight, but alas it carries not quite as far as the Wright brothers first flight at Kitty Hawk.
Stopping by Drudge this morning I find posted an “exclusive” which follows. No links to these quotations, they are simply posted to Drudge’s page.
1/16/04 3:15 PM ET **Exclusive** In 1996 Senator John Kerry proposed to “get rid of the Agriculture Department,” the DRUDGE REPORT can reveal. A move—that if successful—would have likely resulted in subsidies cuts and programs for Iowa growers. “I think we can reduce the size of Washington,” Kerry said on January 6, 1996. “Get rid of the Energy Department. Get rid of the Agriculture Department, or at least render it three-quarters the size it is today; there are more agriculture bureaucrats than there are farmers in this country”...
The briefest of intellectual flights.
Drudge, obligingly, provides us with a comment from Dean’s spokeswoman Tricia Enright, which, I assume, is meant as a rebuttal to this almost seven year old Kerry musing.
Dean spokeswoman Tricia Enright said the Kerry quotes should alarm Iowans. “Teachers and farmers in Iowa will be disappointed to hear that Senator Kerry wanted to dismantle the Department of Agriculture and gut the Department of Education,” Enright said. “That’s not the kind of change that Iowans are looking for”...
Enright, woefully, is correct. Iowans don’t desire “change,” they desire fistfulls of dollars from everyone elses pockets, and appealling to them intellectually on the issue, is similar to discoursing with hogs or feed corn already shucked.
The penalty of intelligence is oblivion.
H.L. Mencken, A Mencken Chrestomathy, Forgotten Men, pg. 226
Friday, January 16, 2004
Colby Cosh has been reading some recent writing of Gregg Easterbrook. Unfortunately, for Easterbrook that is, Colby has also done additional reading, over the course of his days, and Colby’s comprehension, of what he has read, has been retained, and, recalled with somewhat more accuracy than Easterbrook.
Colby’s piece is entitled Easterboner of the day.
Quote for the Day
What chiefly distinguishes the daily press of the United States from the press of all other countries pretending to culture is not its lack of truthfulness or even its lack of dignity and honor, for these deficiencies are common to newspapers everywhere, but its incurable fear of ideas, its constant effort to evade the discussion of fundamentals by translating all issues into a few elemental fears, its incessant reduction of all reflection to mere emotion.
H.L. Mencken, A Mencken Chrestomathy, American Culture, pg. 203.
Well, at Least Someone Has Retained Their Common Sense
Here’s the headline, ‘Extremely dangerous’ cold grips Northeast, from CNN.com.
But one woman on a Boston street said area residents know how to deal with that type of weather:
“Dress in layers, keep moving and just try to have that old, good New England character,” she said.
Read the article, it runs like a continuous non sequitur.
Concentration - The Game
Truth in Advertising
American Socialist Party Candidate Using the Alias Democrat
Presidential candidate Joe Lieberman yesterday said he would limit insurance company profits to 2 percent a year in order to reduce the cost of health care. He would also focus on reducing medical errors in half, he said.
“I think if you put a reasonable profit limit, which is what this is, a reasonable profit limit, then that will have the effect of lowering costs underneath,” he said.
“It’s not government take-over,” the Connecticut senator said about his plan to control health costs. “It’s a public-private partnership that really can provide insurance for people. And I have no doubt that I could sell this to a number of Republicans (in Congress) to support this.”
Should require no further interpretation, if it does, go read Kim’s.
Via Kim du Toit.
“I Did It My Way”
I highly doubt that when Sinatra sang that song he was thinking of individual sovereignty as an alternative to the nanny state. Be that as it may, here is an essay, written by Sunni Maravillosa, titled Do It Your Way.
Via Claire Wolfe.
“War is the health of the state” - An Short Examination
David Carr, posting at Samizdata, looks at validity of the statement which is the title to this post. But it is David’s final analysis that rings true.
Yet, despite all of that the only true health of the state lies in the lumpen apathy of the citizens and their mystifying readiness to assign great swathes of their individual sovereignty over to those that govern them. Wartime, peacetime, anytime.
Its Only for the Votes
If Kerry thinks smoking pot is no big deal, he ought to come out for legalization. If Kerry thinks it is a big deal, as his website claims, he shouldn’t be joking about it.
The Bainbridge post was in response to viewing a FOX News item which ran a home video showing Kerry singing along to “Puff the Magic Dragon” while pretending to smoke a joint. I’m wondering if Kerry also feigned inhaling in the video. Bainbridge then juxtaposes the preceding image with this statement from Kerry’s website.
In order to deal with the problem of illegal drugs in this country, efforts must be focused on keeping drugs out of the country and our communities, as well as reducing demand for illegal drugs. John Kerry supports aggressively targeting traffickers and dealers, as well as making a commitment to sufficiently fund drug prevention and treatment programs.
Bainbridge, correctly, states that Kerry should come out for legalization, among other suggestions and comments at the end of his post.
So far, so good, but, at this point it breaks down. There is not a candidate out there, from either wing of the socialist party in America, who would have the cojones to stand up for a principle he believes in, most especially the drug issue. It would cost them “votes” and strip the pockets of the “voters” bare. And if the “voters” pockets are stripped bare, no candidate would be able to rake in the “voters” “votes.”
I don’t mean to be a killjoy, only realistic. Smoke em if you got em.
Thursday, January 15, 2004
Venezula Supreme Court Judge Lobbies for Crime
Principles, world wide, are dying, along with principled men, upon the dogooder altars of altruism and misguided pity. It breaks my heart. Go read this post by Nicholas Provenzo at The Rule of Reason, and the accompanying Reuters article, which Nicholas links to, and you will see exactly what I mean.
UPDATE: Link to Reuters article is no longer functional at The Rule of Reason. Link available here.
A Conundrum or Sophistry?
Tyler Cowen, a professor of economics at George Mason University, posts, yesterday, at The Volokh Conspiracy, a Conundrum of the Day. Tyler invites comments in regards to the post, which I oblige here.
There is an arbitrariness in defining the relevant class of risky events. In my lifetime as a driver, I stand some (fairly low) chance of killing an innocent pedestrian. Few people would argue that I should be prohibited from driving. Assume, however, that science prolongs (fit) human life forever, at least unless you are struck down by a car. My chance of killing an innocent pedestrian then would approach certainty, given that I plan to continue driving throughout an eternal life. In fact I could be expected to kill very many pedestrians. Should I then be prohibited from driving? When we make a prohibition decision, should we measure the risk of a single act of driving, or the risk of driving throughout a lifetime? Measuring the bundled risk appears to imply absurd consequences, such as banning driving for people with sufficiently long lives.
Alternatively, measuring the risk of only the single act is vulnerable to counterexamples. Imagine an involuntary game of Russian roulette with very many chambers in the gun, played very many times against me. The chance of my death from any single firing is very small, but surely we would prohibit such a game, looking at the high overall risk of the bundle. In this case we consider the bundled risk, but does this mean that we should stop immortals from driving cars?
Tyler blogs on this subject also at Marginal Revolution under the heading Would potential immortals be risk-averse? In that post, Tyler links to this post by Lawrence Solum at Lawrence’s blog Legal Theory Blog.
The basic premise, as I understand it, is, if anti-aging drugs available for general consumption, or advanced medical technology, would, result in immortality, would this change our behavior? Specifically, in the realm of risk. Tyler clarifies his query with this statement,
“I asked the different question of whether an immortal is necessarily a murderer with a probability approaching one, given the recurring risk of accidents.
in response to Solum’s post, which was a response to Tyler’s initial post at The Volokh Conspiracy.
Enough background. When I first read this, over a cup of coffee this morning, my initial thinking was, what a crazy subject to be thinking about. But, not wanting to make too rash of a judgement, I decided that I wouldn’t comment on this “conundrum.” Instead, I went outdoors and shoveled my driveway, sidewalk and my neighbor’s sidewalk. Contemplating this while shoveling, did not markedly effect my initial thoughts, but it did, somewhat, assist me in clarifying them.
First, regarding the concept of whether an immortal is a murderer. The probability of a human individual being immortal is quite small. Though the question is asked in a serious and investigative manner, I fail to find any merit in pursuing an answer. Would not the minds that can posit such a “conundrum” be better utilized in pursuing answers to individual rights in the here and rational now?
Secondly, in regards to the main catalyst of the premise, at least as presented by Solum’s post, anti-aging drugs. If, the technology to create anti-aging drugs is perfected, and the said drugs are then made available, I would submit that medical technology would have advanced to such a state that death by accidental injury, think of the car accidents mentioned in the conundrum, or murder, would be of no concern either. If an individual is mowed down, by either a car or gun toting psycho, zip, the hover ambulance would show up, gather up the remaining pieces, cart the “dead” to the local miracle hospital, a stitch here, a engineered limb there, a booster shot of anti-aging adrenaline, and wa la, the individual is good as new and sent on his merry way. The other images presented in Tyler’s post at Marginal Revolution, restaurants serving only minced food, no contact sports, skiing, roller blading, etc., would also be, non-issues. If anti-aging drugs, which result in immortality, can be created and made available, medical technology would also have made the leap to level of there is no such thing as being dead. If you’re mangled, shot, or dead, we can fix you.
Though I enjoy the mental gymnastics of the “conundrum,” I fail to find any benefit in further pursuit of the questions asked.
An Interesting Read
Diana Mertz Hsieh posts an analysis of Positivism and Psychology which was written by Robert Campbell, a professor at Clemson University. A short description of positivism from Diana’s post.
Positivism is a conception of science. Roughly, it is the view that science consists entirely collecting and analyzing empirical data. To put it another way, it is the view that the only questions that qualify as scientific are those that can be answered by collecting and analyzing data.