Monday, 9 April 2007

Twenty Years Ago

4-9-87 . . . There are two main external variables in bicycling: wind and hills. Imagine a closed circuit. Other things being equal, one’s average speed decreases as the wind velocity increases. I once thought that any disadvantage caused by headwinds was offset by the advantage gained by tailwinds; but this is false. One never gains as much with a tailwind as one loses with a headwind. So the best speed will be attained on a windless day. The same goes for hills. One never gains as much coming down a hill as one loses going up. So the ideal conditions are a flat, closed loop with no wind. Deviations from this ideal, other things being equal, lower one’s average speed. From here on out, I’m going to limit myself to closed loops. That is, I’ll make sure that I start and stop the odometer at precisely the same spot. I’ve always done this on my [Colossal] cave rides, but sometimes not on other rides. Since wind and hills are out of my control, there will be days when my gross-average speed is better. But that’s fine, because I like diversity. The records will come when wind is low and my route has few hills.

Richard Swinburne on the Obligation to Inquire

[A]lthough a man who does not believe that there is a God can hardly be blamed for not worshipping and serving, there is, I argued in Chapter 3, (given certain conditions) an obligation on him as on all men, to pursue inquiry as to whether or not there is a God; and if he recognizes this latter obligation, he is blameworthy if he does not pursue inquiry. If he does pursue inquiry, he may come to believe that there is a God and so come to recognize the obligation to worship and serve him.

(Richard Swinburne, Faith and Reason [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981], 142)

Democrat Suicide

Progressives love to say, without adducing any evidence, that Republicans are beholden to the Religious Right. They ought to pay attention to what is happening to the Democrat Party. Many prominent Democrats, including presidential candidate John Edwards, are catering to the Moonbat Left. Edwards is doing everything he can to endear himself to anti-American nuts such as Brian Leiter. How in the world can he think that this helps him? He’s not running just for the Democrat nomination, after all. He wants to be president. There isn’t a chance in hell that Americans will elect someone who thinks these moonbats deserve the time of day. The mere fact that you associate with them renders you unfit to lead this great nation. The Democrat leadership in Congress, including Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, is also moving leftward to please the Daily Kos and Huffington Post crowds. In their case it’s understandable, since they have safe seats and no greater political ambitions; but anyone who hopes to become president had best stay clear of the moonbats. By the way, you have to wonder about the intelligence of the extreme Left. Do they want power, or do they prefer to remain powerless? If they want power, they should shut up—even if it means biting their tongues—and stop trying to move presidential candidates leftward, for that decreases the likelihood that they’ll be elected. I sometimes think progressives would rather remain powerless. It takes a responsible adult to govern, for governing is serious business and hard work. There is no such requirement for sniping, railing, ranting, and name-calling. We know from social-scientific studies that progressives are childish in comparison to conservatives. This is further confirmation of the difference in maturity. Keep it up, moonbats; you may never have power again.

Affirmative Action

Here is John Fund’s column about former Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who, more than any other American, is responsible for our sordid regime of racial entitlement. As Fund notes, affirmative-action programs have failed in almost every sense and by almost every measure. Why, then, are they so vehemently defended by academics? Could it be white guilt? Privileged whites feel guilty because they’ve had so many undeserved advantages. This creates a need for self-flagellation. But rather than give up their positions of privilege and power, to which they are selfishly attached, they choose to punish other whites. Can you say “scapegoating”? The irony is that they’re hurting the very people they’re trying to help. The sooner we get rid of affirmative-action programs, the better off minorities will be and the closer this country will be to its ideal of equality before the law.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

You document the growing income inequality in the United States. But wealth distribution—what people own—is a much more salient measure of growing inequality.

Estimates indicate that the top 1 percent own between 40 percent and 50 percent of the country’s wealth, more than the combined wealth of the bottom 95 percent. If you exclude owner-occupied housing, not a particularly liquid asset, and focus on financial assets and business equity, the figures are more concentrated.

The distribution of wealth and income in the United States today is much more unequal than in any other advanced industrial country.

Harold Jacobs
Palm Desert, Calif., April 4, 2007

Note from KBJ: There were four letters on this topic today. Not one letter writer mentioned (1) personal responsibility, (2) desert, or (3) what percentage of taxes is paid by “the top 1 percent.” I wonder why these things weren’t mentioned, much less discussed. Could it be that they undermine, or at least complicate, the case for wealth redistribution? By the way, who cares what other countries are doing? Do we want to be poor like everyone else? There’s a reason we’re the most prosperous nation on earth. It’s called “liberty.”

Bush-Hatin’ Paul

Wouldn’t it be something if, every dozen columns or so, Paul Krugman* wrote about something within the realm of his expertise, which is economics? Column after column, week after week, month after month, year after year, he bashes President Bush and the Republican Party. See here. Who reads these rants, and why? Okay, I know: people who are just as rabidly partisan and hateful as Krugman, and who need bucking up. What a waste of valuable space.

* “Op-Ed columnist Paul Krugman has the disturbing habit of shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers in a fashion that pleases his acolytes but leaves him open to substantive assaults” (Daniel Okrent, “13 Things I Meant to Write About but Never Did,” The New York Times, 22 May 2005).

A Year Ago


Best of the Web Today


Fred Thompson

Will Nehs sent a link to this column by George Will.

The Rightosphere Temperature Check for April

See here.