Wednesday, 21 March 2007


Look at John Paciorek’s career statistics. One Major League game; 3-3 with two walks; four runs scored; three runs batted in. Here is a website about him. John’s brothers Tom (“Wimpy”) and Jim also played Major League Baseball. They grew up in my native Michigan. Jim was quite the high-school athlete. As I recall, he made the All-State team in three sports: baseball, basketball, and football. Each team won the state title his senior year. I believe all three teams were undefeated. As if this isn’t disgusting enough, he was valedictorian of his high-school class.

Andy Warhol Was Right

Enjoy your 15 minutes, Peg! Congratulations! For those of you who don’t know Peg Kaplan, I met her about three years ago when she wrote a wonderful letter to me, out of the blue. Somehow she found my blog. Peg, who studied philosophy at the graduate level at the University of Minnesota, became a blogger herself shortly thereafter, and we have kept in touch. What’s next, Peg? Oprah? The O’Reilly Factor? American Idol? Just remember me when you become rich and famous, okay?

Best of the Web Today



Robert T. Miller is a law professor (at Villanova University) and a doctoral student in philosophy (at Columbia University). He has written a two-part essay (here and here) on misconceptions about moral relativism. The word “relativist” is often used the way “fascist,” “communist,” and “atheist” are used—not to describe something, but to condemn it. As Miller shows, this is unfortunate, for the word does have a descriptive meaning and does mark off a particular type of normative (or metaethical) theory. It might surprise you to learn that there are very few moral relativists among contemporary philosophers. Utilitarianism, for example, is not relativistic. It denies that rightness and wrongness are relative to cultures, societies, times, places, or individuals. What makes an act right, everywhere and always, is that it maximizes overall utility (where “utility” is variously understood as pleasure, happiness, welfare, or the satisfaction of preferences). If the opposite of relativism is absolutism, then both utilitarianism and natural-law theory are absolutistic. This doesn’t make them the same normative theory, obviously.  It just means that they have something in common.

The Moonbat from Tennessee

I’m an atheist, but I thank God every day that this creepy man wasn’t elected president in 2000.

The Latest “Scandal”

Read this. If a Democrat president had done what President Bush is alleged to have done, nobody, including the New York Times, would be talking about it. This is just the latest excuse by progressives for running down the president, whom they detest. It’s all quite irrational, but then, nobody ever accused progressives of being rational. They are driven by emotion—and not healthy emotions, either. They are driven by spite, hatred, anger, resentment, envy, and fear.

R. R. Reno on Academic Blacklisting

Peter Singer can write essays endorsing the killing of infants, but someone who publishes an essay questioning any aspect of gay liberation will be blacklisted. Academics can publish pseudo-scholarly essays excoriating “fundamentalism” and its role in public life, but scholars who criticize feminism or race-based policies or any other liberal piety make many professional enemies.

(R. R. Reno, “Correspondence,” First Things [February 2007]: 3-4, at 4)

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Don’t ‘Pack Up,’ Bush Says After 4 Years of War” (news article, March 20):

After four years of a war brazenly launched by a large United States bombardment, President Bush and his administration seem audaciously indifferent to the morass and suffering in Iraq that American actions and presence worsen each day.

There is no good that can come of a continued United States troop presence in Iraq. Rather than stemming terrorism, American military might and bases are fueling a maelstrom of hatred and determination that merely give rise to terrorism.

What is unconscionable is that Mr. Bush claims sole authority in this matter. It is little wonder, then, that no mention was made of democracy in this war anniversary speech. It has been useful as a war slogan, yet discarded as a guiding principle to abide.

Democracy’s erosion is a threat that whittles away at us by bits and pieces, until our voices are neither heard nor heeded, and a war we decry rages on with no end in sight.

Nancy Dickeman
Seattle, March 20, 2007

Note from KBJ: The letter writer is convinced that “no good can come of a continued United States troop presence in Iraq.” President Bush and many others, both in and out of his administration, are convinced otherwise. The difference? He was elected; the letter writer was not. As for President Bush “claim[ing] sole authority in this matter,” why yes, that’s how our system works. He is our commander in chief. As for democracy being “eroded,” I beg to differ. It’s working just fine. We elected President Bush to do a job. He’s doing it for us.


I’d like to wish my Northern Hemisphere readers a happy vernal equinox and my Southern Hemisphere readers a happy autumnal equinox. If you scroll to the bottom of this page, you’ll see that I have readers throughout the world. I like to think of it as corrupting people far and wide.

Hall of Fame?

Tommy John. (For an explanation of this feature, see here.)

A Year Ago