7-9-11 Hodgepodge

Saturday, July 09, 2011


Statistician William Briggs takes a long (but hardly exhaustive) look at all the things San Francisco has banned. (HT: John Cook)

Weekend Reading

"The American system treats religion as a private matter, not something to shape government policy." -- Harry Binswanger, in "The 'Ayn Rand vs. Jesus Christ' Campaign" at American Thinker

"Contrary to popular impressions and dubious lore about Alexander Hamilton as a closet 'monarchist' or 'conservative,' in truth he was the most radical American revolutionary of his time..." -- Richard Salsman, in "Honoring Alexander Hamilton, The Great American Revolutionary" at Forbes

"Dismissing whole sectors outright is like refusing to date someone with a tattoo regardless of how much you might enjoy each other's company." -- Jonathan Hoenig, in "Love the Trade You're With" at SmartMoney

"Based on patterns I’ve seen, I do believe that perfectionism, if left unchecked, can cause addictions. Self-defeating or self-destructive behaviors like addiction are the consequence of contradictory or self-defeating beliefs." -- Michael Hurd, in "The Dangers of Perfection" at DrHurd.com

My Two Cents

Michael Hurd's point about perfectionism is, admittedly somewhat speculative, but I strongly suspect that he is correct, based on my own observations. (I am not a psychologist.) I think the following bears repeating.

Some of those conditions arise from mistaken ideas like, (1) "It's always bad to be wrong. Errors are disasters." (2) "Errors make me look foolish in front of others, and that's a catastrophe." (3) "Life should be easy and comfortable. Any departure from this is a disaster." (4) "Knowledge should be automatic. If I can't make it so, then I'll pretend it to be so." (5) "If I don't know everything all at once, then I don't know anything."
I think that a hallmark of intellectual maturity and psychological health is being comfortable with knowing what one does and does not know.

We, as individuals, don't have to know everything, and can't, anyway. Admitting this enables us to prioritize what we need to learn, and objectively consider which experts or specialists we should consult in our division-of-labor society. I freely admit, for example, that I haven't a clue about how to fix a carburetor. I do know, however, ways to get around this ignorance safely because I know what the possible consequences of this ignorance are.

An Amusing Look at Bad Arguments for a Correct Position

I disagree with most of the positive points put forward by John Cheese of Cracked, but I got a kick out of reading his, "5 Pro-Marijuana Arguments that Aren't Helping."
But again, I'm not trying to fall back to the government's "one joint will drive you insane" scaremongering. Pot is not as bad as heroin. That isn't my point. But don't go the other way and start acting like [it's] broccoli.
It is interesting what straws people will grasp when they do not understand the value of a philosophical argument.

-- CAV


Michael said...

I don't really think that the "monarchist" charge against Hamilton is far-fetched.

Gus Van Horn said...

Fair enough, but in the face of Salsman's argument, a citation or a link to a good counterargument would aid your case.

I am dubious on that point, myself, but haven't had a chance to look into it.

Inspector said...

If I may poke some fun...

"I freely admit, for example, that I haven't a clue about how to fix a carburetor. I do know, however, ways to get around this ignorance safely"

An odd example, that, since cars don't have carburetors anymore and haven't for over 25 years. Heh. Or perhaps that proves your point all the more!

(Your point is entirely valid, of course.)

Gus Van Horn said...

Yeah. I thought that might sound dated, and even considered checking to see whether cars might still have those. (They did when I was younger.)

Or, as people sometimes say, "I KNEW it!"

Anonymous said...

Or, to quote someone, the source of which I can't remember...

"I Knew It!. Well, not that I knew it terms of meaning that I actually had a clue, but I knew Something Was Going On!"

c. andrew

Gus Van Horn said...

Yeah. That's pretty much it. Given more time, I might have looked it up -- or written about something else entirely.