12-6-14 Hodgepodge

Saturday, December 06, 2014

You Don't Need to Touch Me, "Brother"

This section of my Saturday posts seems to have become ... occupied ... by Ferguson "activists" lately. This week, I shall raise a small point about the moral high ground they are pretending to hold, if they aren't simply too oblivious to realize they haven't reached it:

A smaller crowd confronted police with taunts. Chesray Dolpha, 31, yelled at the officers: "We are not violent. We are not touching you. What are you doing with that baton, brother?" The police made eye contact but did not reply.
As Ayn Rand once pointed out, it is wrong to initiate physical force against others, including threatening to do so. This is why fraud, perjury, looting, vandalism, and -- yes -- even trespassing are crimes deserving of a police response. None of these acts involve direct physical contact between the criminal and the victim, but they are all criminal and wrong just the same. This is because the criminal in each case interferes with the ability of his victim to go about his life in some form or fashion.

The protesters don't know or don't care about any of this. That they haven't been laughed out of existence already after mass arrests (particularly when they block highways and important intersections) tells me that too many others are dangerously foggy about initiation of force vs. "violence" (which can include just and retaliatory responses to crime).

Weekend Reading

"Why should you own your mistakes, but not your successes?" -- Michael Hurd, in "Pride and Arrogance: Not the Same Thing" at The Delaware Coast Press

"Knowing what you're getting out of your seemingly irrational behavior helps you to take responsibility in a way that's supportive and understanding." -- Michael Hurd, in "'Why Did I Do That?' The Psychology of Secondary Gain" at The Delaware Wave

"Cryptography is just a tool that can be used for good or evil ends -- like a knife or a gun." -- Paul Hsieh, in "Should You Have to Speak with Others in a Way the Government Can Understand?" at PJ Media

"The average American uses machine energy of 186,000 calories per day, equal to that produced by 93 physical laborers, and the vast majority of this is produced by fossil fuels." -- Philip Delves Broughton, in a review of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, by Alex Epstein at The Wall Street Journal

In More Detail

Just as I once expressed amazement that someone had to explain that the power for electric cars has to come from somewhere, Alex Epstein's reviewer expresses a similar surprise that a book like his was necessary:
When you consider that most of us live what we would consider decent, moral lives, it seems extraordinary that anyone feels it necessary to write a book called The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels. We use fossil fuels and their by-products in everything we do and rarely consider it a vice. A pang of conscience may strike us when we read of oil spills or melting icebergs. But not when we are sitting on a plastic chair, visiting a power-guzzling hospital or turning on our computers. To call fossil fuels "immoral" is to tarnish our entire civilization and should plunge us all into a permanent state of guilt, which seems a bit strong.

Yet, as Mr. Epstein notes, this is precisely what so many vocal environmentalists do... [minor format edits]
For the same reason that we need such a book out there, I am glad to see it get the kind of exposure that a review in a publication like the Wall Street Journal provides

Fun With Math

Just for fun, someone has come up with a mathematical formula for how many days there are in a month -- unless it's a leap year.


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