Friday Hodgepodge

Friday, May 13, 2022

Blog Roundup

1. New Ideal announces a new book on abortion rights by Ben Bayer:

The reasoning in this short book can change minds. Bayer takes on key issues in the debate, including the alleged rights of a fetus; the issue of drawing a line at viability; and scientific claims raised by opponents of abortion rights. The final essay, "Ayn Rand's Radical Case for Abortion Rights," underscores how Rand's principled position (in Bayer's words) "is not only fundamentally at odds with religious conservatives, but also radically different from what most Democrats and sundry 'liberals' offer to this day."
The blog advertises a preview PDF and a Kindle edition as available now, with a paperback to be released shortly.

2. Harry Binswanger considers that tired old objection, to real money -- "You can't eat gold." -- and finds a delightful truth:
Image by Zlaťá, via Unsplash, license.
It may surprise the spiritualists who damn gold to hear this, but gold, like music and painting, is a spiritual value. Gold is a value because it is radiantly beautiful. It is the esthetic pleasure gold brings that makes men esteem it.
I recommend reading the rest: Its beauty lies in its ability to provoke thought in opponents and allies alike.

3. To say that, in our culture, most people do not understand how their minds work, or why, would be a gross understatement. Partly for that reason, I was glad to see the title of Jean Moroney's latest post at Thinking Directions, "Taking Facts About Your Mind Seriously."

Amusingly and instructively, she even includes demo:
You directly control what you're paying attention to. What you pay attention to then affects the thoughts and emotions that pop up from the subconscious. Emotions can arise lightning fast. In contrast, thoughts take a couple of seconds to pop up. Setting an intention -- a purpose for yourself -- will speed up the retrieval.

If you want to test these assertions, name three countries in South America. Do it now.

Did you do it? Or are you irritated that I'm interrupting this article and impatient for me to get to the point? Or were you curious where I was going with this and why I chose South America? Or some other emotion? The emotion likely popped up quickly -- in response to your thoughts about my question.

If you do/did stop reading to name three countries in South America, there would be a delay of 1 -- 2 seconds before names of countries would start occurring to you. Even if you don't stop to do it, familiar names of countries may start occurring to you now, since I've mentioned South America three times in the last few paragraphs.

You have now witnessed this fact.
There is some good writing advice towards the end, too.

4. At the blog of the Texas Institute for Property Rights, Brian Phillips explains that Republicans are showing disdain for property rights and freedom of association in the form of various proposals to prevent businesses from deciding their own vaccination policies:
The laws in Minnesota and Mississippi prohibit private businesses from establishing the terms and conditions for entering their property. Those laws force business owners, their employees, and customers to associate with unvaccinated individuals, regardless of the desires of the owners, employees, or customers.
Do not be fooled by the Republicans couching these incursions against our freedom in the terms of personal choice.

-- CAV


: Corrected post subtitle.


Dinwar said...

I've always made the opposite argument about gold's value: It's useful for money precisely because it's useless for anything else. It's too soft for use in tools, and rare enough to be interesting, and easily subdivided, and doesn't tarnish.

Other metals were used for money--copper, silver, even iron nails. And non-metal things were used as money--cattle in Germania and rice in Japan, for example. But all of those have other uses, and frankly more immediately beneficial uses, than as money, so they tended to get used for those other things. Or, with silver and cattle, they aren't consistent over time (silver tarnishes, cattle are born and die, rice gets eaten). Gold was the ideal combination of useless and long-lived, allowing for wealth to be stored and transferred.

Gus Van Horn said...


But was gold really useless even before we most recently found more mundane uses, such as for electronics? I would say not: It has always found ornamental use on top of its use as money -- which I think only buttresses Binswanger's point.

And arguing that its primary value lies in its beauty does not in any way make its other properties (divisibility, etc.) unimportant.