Quick Roundup 529

Thursday, May 06, 2010

That's a Good Idea

Via HBL, an editorial that makes a good argument for replacing retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens with an atheist:

[Non-believers] would still be underrepresented with just one justice. But those of us who refuse to subscribe to any religious hocus-pocus would be happy to take what we can get in a country where seemingly no politician, from either party, can resist the temptation of ending a speech with the empty phrase "God bless America."


Having an atheist justice, however, would not primarily be a matter of identity politics and some sort of equal representation. Rather, a nonbeliever justice would be a mighty blow in favor of the secular principles of "reason and freedom" of which Jefferson spoke.
Yes. Marc Cooper said, "hocus-pocus!" He also said "bunk," and yet I'd classify the overall tone of the article as firm, but friendly.

That said, the drawback is that atheism is not a positive position, but since I doubt that Barack Obama will throw his pal Jim Wallis under the bus any time soon, we'll let that slide. Cooper did a great job of getting the idea of church-state separation back into the air.

This article also gives us our...

Quote of the Day

"[T]he day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerve in the brain of Jupiter. But may we hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this most venerated reformer of human errors." -- Thomas Jefferson

Taking the Wind out of their Sails Turbines

The way to fight environmentalism is, of course, to challenge its fundamental premise of altruism. But in case you ever need to back yourself up with some hard data on what the fantasy of "green energy" can cost, Power Hungry, by Robert Bryce sounds like it will provide it.

Reviewer Trevor Butterworth provides a sample:
Look at Texas, Mr. Bryce says: It ranks sixth in the world in total wind-power production capacity, and it has been hailed as a model for renewable energy and green jobs by Republicans and Democrats alike. And yet, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which runs the state's electricity grid, just "8.7 percent of the installed wind capability can be counted on as dependable capacity during the peak demand period." The wind may blow in Texas, but, sadly, it doesn't blow much when it is most needed -- in summer. The net result is that just 1% of the state's reliable energy needs comes from wind.
In other words, if T. Boone Pickens has his way, he won't just be pickin' our pockets. He'll be puttin' out our lights.

He who sits on his laurels, ...

... lands on his keister.

-- CAV


madmax said...

Unless influenced by Rand, any atheist judge that would be selected (especially by Obama) would be an extreme Leftist. The overwhelming percentage of today's atheists are of the skeptic/relativist/Leftist variety. Secular Humanism is totally altruist and thus Leftist. Sadly, this means that the best judges that have any chance of getting nominated are going to be judges with mixed philosophies built on religious foundations like Clarence Thomas. An atheist, capitalist, Rand-influenced judge just could never make it to a high court (if any court at all).

Gus Van Horn said...

True, but we're going to get an extreme leftist anyway.

I don't see a conservative President nominating an atheist any time soon, and a leftist President nominating one would potentially be a win for separation of church and state.

That aid, I don't really see it happening.

Finally, regarding the term "best." Best for what? Conservatives may be more likely to protect some remnant of property rights, but separation of church and state suffers under them, including the possible overturning of Roe vs. Wade. A secularist -- at least one we're likely to see anytime soon -- will probably stink with property rights, but stave off further erosion of separation of church and state.

Mo said...

sounds like the lesser of the two evils

Today's secularism is thoroughly irrational given its Humean and Kantian influence.

so we either get some feeble defense of property rights or a more consistent separation of state and church.

Gus Van Horn said...


True, but it's worse than that in that it's the generally best-case scenario.

Many conservatives are weaker than weak on property rights, for example, and are itching to increase state control over our personal choices.


Wilson said...

Many conservatives are weaker than weak on property rights, for example, and are itching to increase state control over our personal choices.

Name three

Apart from the issue of abortion, a thorny problem even libertarian circles, I can't think of single conservative whose views might be known to the public who fits that description

Gus Van Horn said...


You just answered your own question, Wilson.

There is nothing "thorny" about abortion when one approaches the question with a proper understanding of what a human life actually is.