Saturday, 3 November 2007

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

President Bush told reporters: “I’m not going to talk about techniques. My view is this: The American people have got to understand the program is important and the techniques used are within the law.”

In democracies, we do not rely on our leaders to tell us what programs are important and legal, even while hiding their details from us. The American people get to make their own decisions.

Jacob Remes
Durham, N.C., Nov. 2, 2007

Note from KBJ: We did: on 2 November 2004. Your guy lost; remember?


Is it racist merely to inquire into racial differences in intelligence? Philosopher Peter Singer says no. You have to admire Singer’s integrity and honesty, even if you disagree with him about infanticide, euthanasia, famine relief, the war in Iraq, the moral status of animals, and other matters. Many of Singer’s fellow progressives, such as Paul Krugman, are intellectually dishonest. Their aim is to change the world, and they don’t care one bit about how it’s done. The end justifies the means. By the way, I expect Singer to be attacked by his fellow progressives, many of whom view science as a mere means to their progressive ends. They embrace science only when, and only to the extent that, it confirms their prejudices. Speaking of prejudices, isn’t it interesting how progressives make it seem as though only conservatives are prejudiced? Ha! I was a progressive for most of my life. Take my word for it: There is more prejudice in progressive ranks than in conservative ranks.

John Stuart Mill’s Autobiography, Paragraph 17

On learning, however, in the spring of 1819, about a year after the publication of the History, that the East India Directors desired to strengthen the part of their home establishment which was employed in carrying on the correspondence with India, my father declared himself a candidate for that employment, and, to the credit of the Directors, successfully. He was appointed one of the Assistants of the Examiner of India Correspondence; officers whose duty it was to prepare drafts of despatches to India, for consideration by the Directors, in the principal departments of administration. In this office, and in that of Examiner, which he subsequently attained, the influence which his talents, his reputation, and his decision of character gave him, with superiors who really desired the good government of India, enabled him to a great extent to throw into his drafts of despatches, and to carry through the ordeal of the Court of Directors and Board of Control, without having their force much weakened, his real opinions on Indian subjects. In his History he had set forth, for the first time, many of the true principles of Indian administration: and his despatches, following his History, did more than had ever been done before to promote the improvement of India, and teach Indian officials to understand their business. If a selection of them were published, they would, I am convinced, place his character as a practical statesman fully on a level with his eminence as a speculative writer.

Note from KBJ: It would be easy to dismiss Mill’s praise of his father as filial piety, but I don’t think Mill would praise his father unless he believed it to be deserved. In other words, I think Mill was looking at his father objectively (or as close thereto as a human being can come). Justice consists in giving each person his or her due. Mill, I think, was determined to give his father his due.

Curro Ergo Sum

It’s a sad day in the running community. See here.

Retronym Alert

First, there was libertarianism; then there was left-libertarianism; and now there is right-libertarianism.

A Year Ago