Monday, October 17, 2011
The Financial Times reports that, unsurprisingly, Barack Obama supports what Ann Coulter aptly calls the "Flea Party." This isn't news, but perhaps the fact that GOP Majority Leader Eric Cantor outed himself as an ally of the same is:
A top Republican in Washington dramatically altered his stance on protesters involved in Occupy Wall Street just one week after comparing the movement to "angry mobs". Eric Cantor, the Republican majority leader in the House of Representatives, told Fox News on Sunday that Republicans agreed there was "too much" income disparity in the country. "More important than my use of the word ['mobs'] is that there is a growing frustration out there across the country and it is warranted. Too many people are out of work," he said. [bold added]Too much disparity? Does Cantor mean that the government ought to limit how much income someone can earn, or does he think it should limit how many people can earn large incomes? Either way, Cantor is wrong, and has disqualified himself as an opponent of Barack Obama and his confederacy of collectivist, street-squatting dunces. Had he any real understanding of capitalism, he would have immediately gone on the offensive, and noted that our "frustration" is due to improper government meddling in the economy, and that it will not end until such meddling lessens or ceases.
The fact that Bill Gates is wealthy and a bum is poor reflects both the consequences of their respective work habits and the fact that they live in a society that (still, sort of) protects the right of the productive to keep what they earn. (This is true, at least when the government doesn't wrongly redistribute wealth, but we set this aside since the occupiers' choice of Wall Street shows that they aren't protesting state redistribution of wealth, at least in principle.) This disparity thus represents a good thing, the misconceptions of Gates himself and other anti-capitalist tycoons to the contrary notwithstanding. If anything needs to be said about income disparity, it is that our country could stand much more of it.
The fact that someone like Cantor can so easily fold in the face of two words, "disparity" (with its ridiculous connotation that one man should not own more than another) and "frustration" (with its equally ridiculous connotation that people who support government programs and yet wonder why the economy is tanking are blameless victims) shows, to me anyway, an astounding degree of ignorance about (or, worse, indifference to) the issue at hand. It isn't like it's even moderately difficult to come up with solid reasons for income disparity to exist, or good examples.
At least we now know where Eric Cantor's loyalties lie: in the gutter.
--- In Other News ---
I'm with Eric Raymond: Ubuntu and Gnome have jumped the shark:
I’ll spell it out explicitly because there are a few non-programmers in my audience. User configuration data goes in plain text files, not binary blobs. There are many reasons for this, and one is so they can be hand-edited when the shiny GUI configurators turn out to be buggy or misdesigned. No programmer who doesn’t grasp this bit of good practice has any business writing a window manager, especially not on a Unix-derived system. The fact that this botch shipped in GNOME 3 tells me the GNOME system architects are incompetents who I cannot trust with my future.Ugh. The new "Unity" interface is even worse than I found it to be upon briefly having to deal with it: It would appear that the same short-sightedness that led its designers to waste precious screen space on my netbook riddles all aspects of its design.
New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton deservedly makes sports writer Ryan Fowler's list of Week Six Studs:
While Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz were playing ... in Detroit, New Orleans head coach Sean Payton kept his eye on the game as trainers attended to his shredded knee following a sideline collision. It was later learned Payton tore his MCL and broke his knee. He will have surgery Monday. That's stud.As I've said before, he's my kind of coach.
Harry Binswanger recommends a book by Raymond Tallis, who has impressed me in the past. Here's an excerpt from the customer review by John Gillis on the Amazon page for The Aping of Mankind:
The book strikes me as having two basic goals:I'm not sure when I'll get around to reading this, but it sounds like a must-read.
(1) A withering critique of reductionists who believe: (a) that our great conceptual abilities as humans can be reduced to (is equivalent to) the neural firings in our brain. These he call neuromaniacs; and (b) those intellectuals who seek to minimize human differences from other animals by either anthropomorphizing animals or animalizing humans, in wrong ways. This phenomenon he calls Darwinitis. [However he is a committed Darwinian in the original meaning of the term.]
(2) A fascinating theory of human origins that involves explaining the origin of free will in humans, the origins of self-consciousness, the origin of conceptual development and language development, resulting from the nature of our entire body and its unique set of features. [minor edits]