Tuesday, 13 February 2007


As I type these words, Shelbie is crouched on the floor to my right, awaiting her evening walk. She is the very picture of patience (click to enlarge):


See here for an explanation of her behavior—and mine.

R. M. Hare (1919-2002) on Moral Philosophy

The function of moral philosophy—or at any rate the hope with which I study it—is that of helping us to think better about moral questions by exposing the logical structure of the language in which this thought is expressed.

(R. M. Hare, Freedom and Reason [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963], v)

From the Mailbag

Gov. Jim Doyle (WI) wants us to pay a much higher gas tax (at 53 cents/gallon now) without being blamed. How? He will tax the oil companies and not allow them to increase their prices at the pump to cover them. An idea whose time has come??? Economic illiterates eat it up. And politicians continue to pander ’til the cows come home. Little wonder they have no interest in the teaching of economics during the 12-16 year educational sojourn dedicated to limiting stress, building egos, and awarding good grades and “honors” to all but the pencil sharpeners.



Did anyone watch 24 yesterday? There were two hours instead of the usual one, which was nice. I hate it that they end on a tense note. It makes it hard to wait for a week. Of course, that’s the plan. The network wants viewers to speculate around the water cooler (and in blogs) all week. Some of the scenes were tense, which is why there’s a warning at the beginning of each episode: “Viewer Discretion Advised.” One man was tortured with an electric drill. Ouch! So far, I’ve had no nightmares about it, but give my mind time to work. There are lots of moral dilemmas depicted in the series. Yesterday, for example, a woman had to choose between her son and her brother in law. That is, to save her son, she had to expose her brother in law to death or serious injury. What would you do? I’m also surprised that someone in the White House is planning to disable the president (perhaps by assassinating him). That seems far-fetched, even by prevailing cinematic standards.

Addendum: The man who was tortured was struck repeatedly (and heavily) by a baseball bat before having his shoulder drilled. The bat would have broken his bones, or at least bruised him significantly. Guess what? He was back to work in the White House within the hour, hardly the worse for wear. Unrealistic touches such as this take some of the enjoyment away. In real life, the man would have been out of commission for months.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Deadliest Bomb in Iraq Is Made by Iran, U.S. Says” (front page, Feb. 10):

Are we to believe an administration that cried wolf when there was no wolf in Iraq? We’ve been lied to so much by the Bush crowd that it is difficult to imagine that any of them are telling the truth when they assert that Iran is supplying Iraqi Shiite factions with deadly bombs.

Perhaps it is true, but the American public—and Congress—have been set up before by false and misleading “intelligence.”

Paul R. LaRocque
Arlington, Tex., Feb. 10, 2007

Note from KBJ: Are you willing to bet your life, Mr LaRocque?

A Year Ago


Climate Change

Here, courtesy of Will Nehs, is a fascinating essay about the motivation behind global-warming hysteria. It is nothing less than an attempt to redistribute wealth (and power) from affluent nations to impoverished nations. In other words, it’s socialism. I’m not saying this is the only motive, but it’s clearly one powerful motive.


Here is the latest example of trying to get something for nothing. Professional football players are compensated ex ante for the injuries from which they suffer for the rest of their lives. They make a bargain with the devil: pay me an exorbitant salary today; I take responsibility for the pain, suffering, and expense of the injuries I experience for the rest of my life. In effect, players are exchanging their bodily integrity (which is not to be confused with moral integrity) for the things wealth makes possible. Why should I feel sorry for them? Why should I take responsibility for them? Nobody made them strike this Faustian bargain. If they didn’t use part of the salary to buy long-term disability insurance, whose fault is that?

Addendum: Not all players are irresponsible. Carlos (whose comment I just approved) sent a link to this story, about a University of Nebraska football player who walked away from the game he loves so as not to jeopardize his long-term health. Good for him. I hope he has a long, happy, pain-free life.

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