Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Amit Ghate on Civic Responsibility
His focus on debate is an excellent concretization not only of what is wrong with the libertarian approach to political change, but of what is right with the approach of the Objectivist movement:
Citizens today, particularly the young, are told that their greatest civic responsibility is to vote. I think this is ridiculous -- the most important responsibility is to educate oneself and then add one's voice to the debate. One way to do this is to pick a topic of particular personal interest, learn about it, and then participate in the early legislative policy debates (which are normally open to public commentary). In this way, instead of simply casting a vote for the limited choices others have saddled you with, you get to shape the choices that millions or even hundreds of millions will vote on.And how does one form a basis for these policy positions? By first educating oneself about a proper political philosophy, which will also enable one, in turn, to participate in the broader political and cultural debate.
And one more thing. Always fight, but do stop to admire the flowers from time to time. If you are not fighting for something, you are doing something terribly wrong.
And speaking of enjoying your values, ...
Here's a Book to Get
I enjoyed reading this post over at Live Oaks about 101 Nights of Grrreat Romance.
Live Oaks, by the way, is now one year old.
"Details Kill" Update
Not too long ago, I noted that Tom Daschle, architect of Barack Obama's attack on freedom in the medical sector, is an enemy of open debate about "health care 'reform'" and wants to slow down the development of new medical technology.
Daschle's attitude on debate seems to be the rule rather than the exception in his party these days. Diana Hsieh notes that Congress wants to pass socialized medicine without debate -- and Glenn Reynolds notes that Barack Obama has all but completely reneged on a campaign promise to, "put [new bills] online for five days, review, and make them open to the public" before signing them into law.
If the Democrats are as "reality-based" as they are so wont to claim, why not allow plenty of debate, along with the inevitable tidal wave of public support the merit of their plans would bring?
Oh. Daschle already answered that one, I guess.
The Democrats' only concession to reality is to admit in this way that their proposals are wholly without objective merit, and, incidentally, that they are more worried about details killing their power grabs than the saving the lives of their constituents.
Jeff Britting Schools Tobias Wolff
Darren Cauthon recounts a panel discussion I think I would have enjoyed:
When it was his turn to speak about Ayn Rand's character in "Old School" by Tobias Wolff, he nailed it. Britting started by stating that Wolff's presentation of Ayn Rand was a "total distortion," among other words, and then went on in detail to explain who she was, the themes of her four fiction books, and a little bit of her philosophy. Near the end of his presentation he compared Wolff's "character that shares Ayn Rand's name" with the actual Ayn Rand and showed a few specific cases where the two are polar opposites. He also asked the audience to not take his presentation or Wolff's presentation of Ayn Rand on faith by reading Rand's books for themselves.Ayn Rand's opponents are, increasingly, in a lose-lose situation: Distort Rand and invite comparisons with what she actually said. Ignore Rand and look like you live under a rock.
An Edison Day Quote
From The Kindredist:
Nature is not kind, or merciful, or loving. -- Thomas EdisonMore at the above link.
Better late than never!
A Pesky "Collection" Problem: Solved!
I haven't blogged on personal productivity in a long time, but that doesn't mean I haven't been thinking about it.
One problem I never completely solved to my satisfaction was how I could make note collection at all times as easy as possible. For various reasons, I did not want a PDA, but that meant I ended up using either my calendar or scraps of paper in my shirt pocket for on-the-fly note-taking. This has been one area I was never quite satisfied with regarding my implementation of David Allen's techniques.
Until Sunday morning, that is. Stopping by Life Hack, I found a thread about Moleskine hacks that intrigued me and, specifically, the following snarky comment by Catherine Cantieri, a productivity blogger I had not encountered before. (She might enjoy this humorous take on Moleskines.)
I hope this doesn't get me kicked out of the creative-kids klatch, but I just don't get Moleskines. I carry around a Levenger Pocket Briefcase and that seems to meet all my needs. Am I missing something? Could Moleskines change my life? [link added]I took a look at the Levinger's web site (linked above) and, knowing they have a store in the mall nearby, decided to take a look. There turned out to be a small version with business-sized note cards that fits into my shirt pocket without leaving a huge bulge. It's a nice-looking, three-compartment business card holder that also holds a card on its outside for note-taking and comes with a small pen held along its bottom side. Levinger's sells ink refills for these tiny pens. (Who needs an expensive PDA just to jot down a quick note?)
My wife offered to buy me one, but I was not quite sure -- until remembered that I still didn't have a nice business card holder. That sealed the deal for me, because I had a job hunting/networking event to attend Monday night.
At that event, I got to give the Pocket Briefcase a test run, taking notes a couple of times and using it to keep track of business cards. I am quite happy with it, and now no longer feel "naked" on those occasions when I can't take my calendar along with me.
With that, it's off to the skies again, this time for one of my last Boston to Houston commutes. We will move the bulk of our belongings up here in a few weeks and, possibly, myself, although I may have to stay in Houston for another month or two for writing and experiments.
Today: Added missing link to Live Oaks post on book.