Thursday, April 10, 2008
What a rarity! My wife is awake and here while I'm composing a morning blog post!
Thursdays, I typically have to rush to get in earlier than usual, so when she asked me whether I was going to post about how much I love her, I said, "Oh, I don't know! I'm probably just going to throw some stuff out there and get out of here."
I love Mrs. Van Horn!
So there! I never said what I was going to "throw out there", did I?
New Blogger Feature
It's in Beta, but Blogger is in the process of making it possible to compose a blog post in advance and have it automatically show up at a pre-set date and time.
Once I move to Boston, I will likely have to make major changes to the way I blog if I wish to continue doing so and further my non-blogging writing career.
And I wish to do both.
All Atlas Can Do...
A reader pointed me to this column in the student newspaper of Columbia University by a student who had recently read Atlas Shrugged and decided to make the case for its inclusion in his school's core curriculum. He does a pretty good job:
[T]he most important thing that Rand does is make one question one's beliefs. I always wondered how capitalism could be morally justifiable, whether or not the rich should be shunned as most of society does, why the welfare state is inherently bad, how selfishness could be perceived as anything but appalling. In a word, where in my heart I was scared to be an egoist, Rand showed me that I should not hate this impulse, but I should embrace it, and that if all were to embrace it, the bounds of human progress would be limitless. I learned that striving to achieve and putting thought to action was the highest goal that I could seek, and that this would lead to my ultimate happiness. [bold added]Ben Weingarten earlier indicates the growing intellectual influence that Ayn Rand has had over the past few decades.
Whether or not Atlas Shrugged lives up to Weingarten's claims -- and I think it does -- that it stimulates critical thought about philosophical beliefs, there is no excuse for not including it as part of a collegiate core curriculum. Either Weingarten is right, and students are missing out on an enjoyable and profitable learning experience, or he isn't, and students are being deprived of the chance to learn what's wrong with it first-hand.
I doubt Weingarten will succeed in shaming Columbia into changing its curriculum. Shame is, after all, one of the few emotions modern intellectuals refuse to indulge. But I think that in raising this issue, he and those who read his column will learn just how small the modern intellectual is.
All knowledge has value.
Bo posted another submarine-blogger roundup last week and Rational Jenn's hosting the weekly Objectivist roundup today.
Who Watches the Watchers?
Amit Ghate's been on fire lately. Tuesday, he notes a key unspoken assumption about government regulation and points to a relevant news story:
One of the key assumptions underlying arguments for government regulation is that when people switch over from the private sector to the public sector, they're somehow transformed from devils to angels. I've never understood any part of this -- most people I see in the private sector are more conscientious and harder working than those I see in the public sector; and more importantly, the market provides an incentive to do good, honest work lest a competitor unseat you -- no such mechanism is at work in the public sector.And yet his preamble still doesn't prepare you for the orgy of theft by government officials covered in the article. Take a look.
Congratulations to Joseph Kellard!
And I also enjoyed what he wrote on the subject of his recent promotion. You will, too, if you haven't seen it already.
Oh, but that ribbon is different!
I must say that I fully support C. August's "blue ribbon campaign" for ethical sophistication!
And, on a serious note, I am very intrigued by that
Neal Stephenson's trilogy, The Baroque Cycle, is a must read if you are interested in any of the following: history, The Enlightenment, science, philosophy, reason, how ideas shape world events, the birth of capitalism, pirates, battles, or love stories. Yes, this isn't so much a book review as a trilogy review, but the books can't really be separated. [link dropped]That's as far as I've gotten so far. Or something like that.
Today: Added link to OBlogger roundup.