Quick Roundup 393

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I'll take a skull, thank you.

Jason, writing at Erosophia, takes a look at an ancient practice from a secular, this-worldly perspective:

As a human, I am necessarily going to die. It is important to realize that my time is finite, that every moment I have is precious. Memento mori serves to remind me not to waste my time, not to let it slip through my fingers, to never take my life for granted.
Along those lines, but focused more squarely on the process of living my life, I have to say that I am enjoying my Book of Happiness....

Job Hunt Update

Among the more recent entries in my Book of Happiness are a couple related to my job hunt, which is now, finally, making progress, thanks to advice the Resident Egoist pointed me to some time ago. When I head up to Boston next week, I will meet two new contacts, one of whom works in an industry in which I could be hired quickly, and another in an industry I may want to move into. Both I have met through people I already know.

I don't want to discuss details, but this -- not answering random job ads posted at Monster or flapping my gums at HR reps who know nothing about science at job fairs -- is what I had originally guessed my job hunt might look like. This I can understand and be comfortable with. This promises actual success. And, most importantly, this is better than I did in the previous months of my job hunt.

I am now speaking with professionals who know the kinds of jobs and industries I am looking at, rather than pragmatic "recruiters" who, for a real example, tell me I'm speaking to a hiring manager "next week", only to cancel within an hour and never be heard from again. (Having said that, I will still go to job fairs and answer interesting-enough ads, but will do so bearing in mind their lower probability of success.) How do I even know I want to be hired unless I've spoken to people at the company? How will I learn what the job entails or they get a measure of me? A relationship involving the lion's share of my time should evolve naturally.

This academic moving into the private sector regards his job hunt as having actually started December 14. Much else I did before then was a waste of my time. At least I learned a better way to do this.

Details Kill?!?!

If you went to your physician and, instead of taking your history, examining you, and running some tests, he held his hands over his ears and shouted "Nananananana," you would probably not listen to this doctor's advice, and you would doubtless find another. How can he prescribe a rational course of action without knowing the relevant details of your illness, so he can apply the relevant principles of medicine to your situation?

And yet, this is exactly the approach Tom Daschle wants to do take regarding America's semi-free medical sector! We see this from the following example, which Paul Hsieh recently quoted from Dr. Steve Knope at We Stand FIRM:
All indications are that there will be attempts to ram a national healthcare program through Congress early in the Obama administration. They will create a false sense of urgency, just as they did with the "financial bailout" of our economy. No time to study the issue; this must be done or the society will collapse! Tom Daschle has studied Hillary Clinton's failed national healthcare attempt and he does not want to make the same mistakes she made. He was just quoted in the WSJ as saying that the new Congress needs to act quickly. "We need to be on the offense. This time around, lawmakers cannot try to address every detail when it comes to legislation. Details kill." [Secretary-nominee of Health and Human Services Tom] Daschle said. [bold added]
Details kill?!?! Whom or what, Mr. Daschle?

This, by the way, is yet another example of how politics in a mixed economy stifles debate. Most, unfortunately, agree broadly that the government should solve all our problems, but any particular scheme will, by its nature, have major flaws, so putting forth positive proposals for rational evaluation is to invite being shot down. So, just as we got the President who managed to say the least during the campaign, we have lawmakers who intend to avoid any serious consideration of their dangerous schemes.

Write it Down

Paul Hsieh's post was actually about protecting oneself as much as possible from any future socialized medicine scheme, and is worth a read on that basis. Related, but on a level that applies to any situation, Darren Cauthon offers some good advice regarding hospitalization: Write everything down.

Watch Your Wallet (And Your Lawn)

The Texas legislature is back in session. And the Houston City Council is getting ready to empower neighborhood busybodies to keep you from parking in your own yard.

A Time Line

Sez the Software Nerd, "[W]hen a young Objectivist is pessimistic, tell him that we've got till 2026 if we go at the pace of the Communist revolution!" He provides evidence from history to back up his claim. I'd like to add abolition of slavery and black equality to the list, although they don't have as definite starting points.

2026 may be a little early, given that Ayn Rand's ideas are more revolutionary than in any of his examples, but the point is well-taken. Major positive change can and does occur rapidly.

Superb Op-Ed

Keith Lockitch's recent piece on "Environmental Angst" is a must-read.
The only way to leave no "footprint" would be to die -- a conclusion that is not lost on many green ideologues. Consider the premise of the nonfiction bestseller titled "The World Without Us," which fantasizes about how the earth would "recover" if all humanity suddenly became extinct. Or, consider the chilling, anti-human conclusion of an op-ed discussing cloth versus disposable diapers: "From the earth's point of view, it's not all that important which kind of diapers you use. The important decision was having the baby." The next time you trustingly adopt a "green solution" like fluorescent lights, cloth diapers or wind farms, only to be puzzled when met with still further condemnation and calls for even more sacrifices, remember what counts as a final solution for these ideologues.
(HT: Diana Hsieh)

-- CAV


Resident Egoist said...

Gus. Happy to hear you're making progress with the job hunt. Good luck.

Gus Van Horn said...

Consider me eternally grateful....