Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Andrew Dalton reminds me of an objection I have always had to Pascal's Wager: In addition to the fact that Pascal's Wager assumes that the Christian God is the right one to gamble on (And ignore for a moment that He is reported to regard gambling as a sin.), there is also the flaw that the argument assumes that He really means it when He is says that belief will be rewarded in the hereafter.
If a deity were perverse enough to create intelligent life, but make the demand that it abdicate its intelligence or face eternal perdition, why stop there? Why not consign all to eternal suffering, but especially those stupid enough to take silly promises at face value?
FCC Measure to Ensure Low Quality Cable for Poor
Galileo Blogs discusses the inevitable consequences of a recent FCC decree that sounds like it came right off pages of Atlas Shrugged:
[N]ot only is the FCC chairman's action immoral, but it will not "help" the poor or anyone else. The key to understanding this is the observation of the cable industry association that "cable companies were often granted exclusive rights to buildings after agreeing to make major capital investments in upgrading systems." Thus, a principal reason for these exclusive deals is so that apartment owners can negotiate with cable companies to pay for the wiring of their buildings. A wiring upgrade means higher bandwidth, and therefore more channels, faster Internet service, and enhanced telecommunications service. Strike down the exclusive deals and you cut out future wiring upgrades and the enhanced services it brings. [bold added]And then, in a few years, this result will strike someone like Dennis Kucinich like a bolt from the blue. The proposed remedy won't be to get out of the way of such exclusive deals permanently, but to arbitrarily force cable companies to lower their rates -- which will mean that we can all have the same shabby service.
The only way to avert such a scenario is to make a principled case for capitalism as the moral and practical political system. This requires advocating a proper understanding of morality as a field open to rational inquiry, including the determination of why we should have morality in the first place. Only then will egoism be properly understood and its practicality be known and appreciated.
And speaking of altruism, Galileo's previous post incidentally provides an excellent example of the lethal consequences of human (self-)sacrifice.
Colorado "in the Wood" on Health Care
Ari Armstrong notes a coincidence that would be amusing but for its potential consequences:
I particularly like the title, "Plan Five." For some reason, it reminded me of Plan 9 from Outer Space. The comparison is doubly fitting, because the movie is about the goofy plans of extraterrestrials, and the movie is one of the worst ones ever made. But at least it's funny. Not so with "Plan Five" from the 208 Commission.Armstrong notes the skepticism of a Colorado paper arising at least in part from the hefty price tag of a proposed plan to socialize medicine in his state. That particular objection is a mere road bump -- useful only for possibly slowing down the move to enslave physicians.