Wednesday, June 27, 2007
The boy who cried "hypocrisy"!
[Update: A commenter raises the following point, which I should have been more clear about: "[H]ypocrisy is a serious moral defect if it encompasses basic principles." True, but focusing on the hypocrisy of someone who would be immoral anyway even if he weren't a hypocrite is a failure to address what is wrong with that person's moral code in the first place. More in the comments.]
I see that I'm not the only one who is unimpressed when someone points out merely that someone else is a hypocrite. Brad Eisenhauer considers a video he summarizes as follows:
If wearing a burqa is an act of self-respect, of not "engaging in a mating ritual in the public street," why are Muslim men not similarly covered? Do they have less self-respect? Are they publicly engaging in mating rituals?He finds its argument to be thin gruel, intellectually.
I've seen atheists, even principled ones, often making this kind of argument, "cleverly" pointing out a contradiction or double standard in religious ideas. But here's the problem: It doesn't really make much of a point, and it comes off as a bit childish or arrogant.What does he think should have been said? Stop by his blog to find out.
Terrible Bill Only Narrowly Defeated
Commenting on an interesting post by Monica on the automobile industry, the Software Nerd discusses the cataclysmic effect that unionization has had on this industry in America. This is morbidly interesting, but it isn't his main point. He saves that for last:
The real reason unions want to abolish secret ballots is that they know that while many workers are against unions, those workers do not have the philosophical arguments for their stand. When encountered by a persistent union organizer, spewing socialist theory at them, they often nod, express sympathy for the cause, and and go on with their life. Later, in the secrecy of the voting booth, they go with their real view and keep the unions out. Unions want the bully session to end with some type of signature that can be used just like a vote.I also blogged this bill some time ago. (It was mis-named "Employee Free Choice Act".)
Write to your congressman and tell him to uphold secret ballots for unions. [The bill passed the house and was rejected 51-48 by the senate. Tell your congressman not to try again.]
It is very bad news indeed that we came this close to having such a bill passed. In fact, I would say that such a result almost guarantees that it will be brought up again soon, so this is good advice
Making Rational Ideas More Easily Available
Nick Provenzo argues that the Ayn Rand Institute should make its lectures more easily available than it currently does:
Now don't get me wrong. I honor the Institute for the excellent and valuable work it does advancing Objectivism (especially for making these lectures available in the first place), but come on--we live in the Internet age. If I can buy a book by an Objectivist thinker in the $10 to $40 dollar range, how can it profit anyone to charge hundreds of dollars for an audio lecture that same book is based upon? And whatever the price it decides to charge, why can't the Institute put the audio up on iTunes?Not only that, as I have argued, downloadable formats would make it far easier (and a lot quicker) for intellectuals sympathetic to Ayn Rand's ideas to conduct research for their own work.
I for one would like to see the Institute revisit and rethink its bookstore strategy, and come up with a plan that makes it easier for an even larger audience to get access to Objectivist ideas.
Hmmm. I can't even buy this on-line and be sure of getting what I want! If I call and find this to be the case, my choices are down to: (a) a book I will have to think long and hard about purchasing, (b) a pamphlet I'll probably misplace, or (c) a whole bunch of pamphlets I can have fun keeping track of. Great.There's a saying, "Time is money." I disagree. Time is worse than money. It's irreplaceable and constantly going away.
But let's say the CD set had everything. There's still a problem. This was on a Sunday, and both stores are doubtless small operations. I didn't try, but I bet I would have gotten a phone message at either place informing me that the time to place orders is during normal business hours.
Furthermore, I am not sure when I'll have time to sit down and think about this topic at length again. The time I really wanted this article was yesterday. What I really would have liked is to be able to order the article electronically in PDF form, or otherwise viewed it online.
Provenzo on Internet Radio
Nick also explores the webcaster side of the Internet radio royalty debate a bit further.
Today: Added note to hypocrisy section.