Monday, 22 January 2007

The Top 10 Conservative Idiots

See here. My favorite is number eight, in which the author says that George W. Bush is “mentally unstable.” There you have it: A mentally unstable man defeated the best the Democrats have to offer. Twice. Makes you wonder about the Democrats, doesn’t it?

Pop Atheism

See here.

Addendum: The formatting of the essay is screwy. Here is a better version, although, as time passes and new items are posted, you’ll have to scroll to find it.


Here is the latest essay by Christopher Hitchens.

Salt and Vinegar

Whoever invented salt-and-vinegar potato chips should be awarded the Nobel Prize—for sinfulness!


Somebody get me up to speed on 24. If you don’t, I won’t understand tonight’s episode, which I intend to watch (assuming I get my work done in time). I haven’t watched one second of any episode. All I know is that the main character, Jack Bauer, is played by Kiefer Sutherland. Somebody also told me that he’s a good guy—although I’ll be the judge of that.

Addendum: Joe Carpenter’s link (in the comments) didn’t work, so I found the site myself. Here it is. Also, I misspelled “Kiefer” as “Keifer,” perhaps because I was thinking of my own name. It’s been corrected.


Has anyone noticed the inconsistency at the heart of progressive thought on Iraq? Over and over, we hear about how awful it is for “innocent” Iraqis to die. But the same people who say this insist that the United States withdraw from Iraq. Won’t that lead to even more “innocent” Iraqi deaths? How can Iraqis both matter and not matter? If they matter, then what the United States should do is an open question. How many deaths will occur if we withdraw? How many will occur if we don’t withdraw, or if we withdraw more slowly? Here is a New York Times editorial on the topic. The Times has no solution; its concern is merely to criticize President Bush.

Use and Mention

Read this. An actor is in trouble for using an “anti-gay slur,” but nowhere in the story is the word mentioned. How can I understand the story—how can I decide for myself whether it is a slur—without knowing what word was used? Mentioning the word in a story is not the same as using the word. Compare the following sentences:

1. Dogs have four legs.
2. “Dogs” has four letters.

In the first sentence, I used the word “dogs” (to refer to dogs). In the second sentence, I mentioned (i.e., referred to) the word “dogs.” The first sentence is about dogs (the critters).  The second is about “dogs” (the word). See the difference? Did the actor use the word “fag”? How about “queer”? Tell me what he said! If it’s politically incorrect not merely to use certain terms but to mention them, then political correctness is dumber than I thought.

Anthony O’Hear on Roger Scruton

It seems to me that there are three key elements to Scruton’s vision: a sense of belonging, a sense of the past and of the future which grows out of the sense of belonging, and a sense of human life as sacred and as guarded by absolute prohibitions which sanctify our inheritance by honouring the dead and protect both the living and the unborn. Even from this very brief account, it will be clear that Scruton sees the enemy (or at least one of the enemies) as the spirit of the Enlightenment, which de-sacralises the world and human life and (in his brilliant phrase) ‘de-means’ us, leaving the physical world a prey to all kinds of technological assault and the human world open to the inhumane calculus of the utilitarians, those who would import the ways and considerations of science into the moral sphere, and so legitimate practices such as abortion and euthanasia, while finding nothing objectionable in pornography.

(Anthony O’Hear, “A Political Philosopher?” review of A Political Philosophy: Arguments for Conservatism, by Roger Scruton, The Salisbury Review 25 [winter 2006]: 46-7, at 46)

Best of the Web Today


From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “The American Way of Equality” (column, Jan. 14):

As an economist who favors free markets and eschews media “warnings” of rising income inequality, I liked most of what David Brooks wrote (through the lens of Seymour Martin Lipset) about why socialism never caught on in this country.

Yes, our hopes and desires for a better life (whatever that entails) have been typically acted upon first by ourselves and secondarily by the government—keeping “big brother” at bay.

But when a society’s media keep harping on growing income inequality, as if there are evil forces producing income differences (at a time when our economy is robust), segments of society can eventually ease up and look for help.

As Mr. Brooks said, the Democrats have responded to perceived pleas for help with “pebbles”—but where there are pebbles, there are usually rocks and also boulders. That’s what troubles me.

Paul Ryscavage
Washington, Jan. 16, 2007
The writer is the author of a book about income inequality.

A Year Ago