Quick Roundup 34

Friday, March 17, 2006

Good One on David Kelley

If you don't already follow Noodle Food, go over there right now and read Diana Hsieh's piece, "David Kelley's Mind-Body Dichotomy in Moral Judgment". I particularly liked this passage.

And so Kelley reduces the scope of irrationality from evasion of any fact whatsoever to just evasion of the likely outcomes of action.

What does all that mean in practice? It means that if John's wife threatens divorce if she catches him in bed with yet another hooker, John can be morally condemned as irrational for soliciting the in-home services of "Bunny" only to the extent that he evades the risks of detection and the pain of divorce. He cannot be condemned for ignoring his past promises of fidelity, blaming his actions upon his "bad" genes, and deceiving himself about his hostility toward his wife -- even though those evasions also made the call to "Bunny" possible. Also, if "Bunny" insists that John use a condom, then his wrong isn't quite so bad, since he need not evade the great risk that he will transmit some nasty STD to his wife.
Read it all.

With jail chaplains like these ...

... who even needs "faith-based" prisons? Awhile back, when discussing faith-based prisons, I said:
While I don't want my tax money being spent to proselytize for any religion, I still find myself saying, "Scientology and Wicca?!?!" And I know our prisons are probably already hotbeds of Islam, but if this keeps going, we'll be training terrorists with federal money at a prison with a "strictly Islamic bent". [bold added to last sentence]
Apparently, we are already indoctrinating prisoners in the ways of militant Islam -- not to mention funding Islamist propaganda -- at taxpayer expense.
Last week, another Muslim chaplain's outrageous statements went public. Imam Umar Abdul-Jalil, a "spiritual leader" in the city's Department of Correction, had declared in a speech that the greatest terrorists in the world occupy the White House, that Muslims underwent torture in Manhattan prisons following the Twin Tower attacks, and that his co-religionists must not permit the Zionists of the media to dictate what Islam is to us.

Public outrage followed this performance. Hizzoner responded by suspending Abdul-Jalil without pay for two weeks. The chaplain's crime wasn't rabble rousing or expressing falsehoods. No, his peccadillo merely was failing to state that, when he made his inflammatory speech, he was speaking as an individual, not a representative of the city.
Notice the synergy between our blurred church-state boundaries and political correctness here. The purpose of prisons is to keep dangerous men from being able to harm law-abiding citizens, not to "reform" them or turn them into good followers of one religion or another. But we accept these last two premises while ignoring the fact that we are in the meantime using government funds to promote religion every time we pay a chaplain's salary. In the meantime, we end up contorting ourselves into pretzels to explain away statements like Abdul-Jalil's for fear of appearing "intolerant" or facing legal consequences for "discrimination" -- because his comments are plainly based on his religious beliefs! As a result, the government ends up funding incitement! This is outrageous!

Here's my take on government subsidies for prison chaplains: "If you want to go to church, stay out of jail."

Microsoft Plays with Fire

Bothenook notes a curious dialog box, which says, "Replace User and then Click OK."

I wonder. How long will it be before the Colossus of Redmond sees the error in its ways and pulls this new "feature"? Rumor has it that the new, improved users are wiping their hard drives clean and installing Linux.

Islam as Borg

Edward Cline draws a very interesting parallel between Islam and the Borg over at Rule of Reason.
We can, however, thank ... "Star Trek" ... for introducing and concretizing a new nemesis long before its real-life counterpart made itself known. This was the "The Borg," a ravenous, nomadic phenomenon bent on conquest through the destruction of civilizations and the absorption and forcible conversion of their inhabitants into ant-like ciphers with no volition of their own. Its collective by-word and warning was "Resistance is futile." The sole alternative to submission to it was death. Its goal was to erase all traces of individuality and values from men so they could better serve "the hive."
"I'd rather eat a Kvassian bivalve -- and I have!"

And speaking of Star Trek, this piece on its Soviet knock-off is hilarious.
Although Russia's science-fiction tradition predates Jules Verne, "Cosmos Patrol" is "Star Trek" in Marxist-Leninist drag. Consider the similarities: "Cosmos Patrol" takes place in the 23rd century aboard a large galaxy-cruising spaceship called the Red Adventurer (Krasny Avantyurist). Like the Starship Enterprise, the Red Adventurer is on a long-term mission of exploration on behalf of the Commonwealth of Independent Star Systems. Both ships are manned by some 400 brave and able crewmen and -women. Both ships encounter strange alien beings and bizarre celestial phenomena week after week. Both ships boast a dashing commander at their helm, with an overly intellectual first officer by his side. And both shows feature cheap special effects and odd velour uniforms.

The hero of "Cosmos Patrol" is the handsome yet avuncular Commander Vasily Dobraydushev; Comrade Commander to his crew. His surname translates literally as Kind Soul. Consequently, fans of the show call themselves dushki, which means, approximately, dear little souls. Like much of Russian pop culture, the show oozes with sentimentality, up to and including tearful folk songs and lengthy toasts to the Intergalactic Brotherhood of life forms. And when Comrade Commander faces a difficult decision, he sometimes asks for guidance from the bust of Lenin in the ship's ward room.
(HT: Hannes Hacker)

Wafa Sultan Central

Cox and Forkum have a good cartoon on Wafa Sultan and a very good collection of pertinent links here, including one to her web site.


I was pleasantly surprised yesterday to find that City Journal linked to this post.

-- CAV


Amit Ghate said...

Congrats on the City Journal link. You're really building momentum with your blog and gaining a well-deserved audience. Keep up the great work.

Gus Van Horn said...


Thank you! Whatever I end up being able to accomplish with this blog or because of it, it will be in no small part because of the encouragement and assistance I have gotten from the many good people I have been lucky enough to meet along the way.


Amit Ghate said...

I forgot to mention, I thought this line was very pithy: Here's my take on government subsidies for prison chaplains: "If you want to go to church, stay out of jail."

Gus Van Horn said...


Thanks. Liked it almost as much as "Rothbardpuram", myself!

Come to think of it, I think it's one that people will love or hate depending on whether they are predominantly rational.


Anonymous said...

I wouldn't allow religion in prison and I also wouldn't allow heavy weight lifting. You see these ex-convicts that have spent every day for 10 years lifting heavy weights and reading the Koran. When they get out they are religious nuts that can snap your next in a heartbeat.

I would allow them jump ropes and 10 pound dumbells and that's it.

D. Eastbrook