Quick Roundup 505

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Boob Tube

Software Nerd notes:

Even Venezuela's dictator [Hugo] Chavez realizes that the "wrong ideas" about life and philosophy can be more "corrupting" than a little nudity. A while back The Simpsons were ordered off the air, to be replaced by Baywatch!
This comes on the heels of his comparison of Ayn Rand's vs. the conventional views of the relative merits of Playboy and National Review.

Interesting to contemplate is why, aside from merely breaking a commandment or two, viewing nude pictures so raises the hackles of traditional moralists. Enjoyment of any kind is both selfish and motivating, and will, if morality is equated with altruism, lead to various levels of rejection of "morality." Such a rejection would be implicit (at least at first) and visceral. The images expose, so to speak, what is missing from their moral code.

This is fire, and the traditional moralist sees it as something not even to be played with.

The "Middleman"

At a professional networking event, I was recently quite surprised to find myself in a couple of conversations about politics that other people spontaneously started. Since most of my previous face-to-face exposure to leftists has been on the job (where I usually avoid such conversations like the plague), I found myself lacking in good replies.

Several times, people came out in favor of socialized medicine since it would (they said) realize cost efficiencies of scale and take "the middleman" out of the picture. Both arguments take altruism as a given, to be sure, but both are also wrong on economic grounds. (For example, the "middleman" argument discounts the role of insurers as brokers of information on health risks and medical costs, and resembles the more general fallacy that "management" does no actual, productive work.)

On later reflection, I think that what I really wanted was not necessarily a quick reply, but a better approach that engages minds: I suspect that the Socratic Method (or something like it) would be a better. Perhaps the process of asking "What do you mean by that?" can, after a time, lead to my being able to indicate the moral and economic flaws of socialized medicine, or, better yet, help someone realize them for himself.

Objectivist Roundup

It's over at Reepicheep's Coracle this week.

The First State of the Union Address

A small windfall of the return of principled men to politics will, mercifully, be shorter speeches. (HT: Jim Woods, who reads it on YouTube at his blog)

What a Crop!

Sez Amit Ghate: Ten years ago, let alone twenty, who ever would have thought it would be possible to put up this "collage"? Ghate introduces four new books by Objectivist intellectuals on the following topics: philosophy of science, neoconservatism, and the War We Should Be Fighting, but Aren't (twice).

Hsieh on Filibusters

Apparently, the "anti-filibuster" movement I thought I'd caught wind of is (or is becoming) more of a "Filibuster For Me But Not For Thee."
Basically, [Ben] Eidelsen argues that when Democrats use the filibuster it's for the benefit of the majority of Americans, whereas when Republicans do so it's to thwart the majority.
Memo to the Democrats: The United States is not a democracy, and for good reason.

Free Beer!

The first word is a verb. Via HBL, I learned of a lengthy, but very interesting-looking post about government controls on the beer industry.

-- CAV

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