Thursday, 7 February 2008


I leave you this fine evening with a column by Thomas Lifson.


What if God exists?
Will atheists go to hell
Or merely perish?


Here is your entertainment for this evening. Get down.

Okay, one more.

Okay! Okay! This is all you get for the evening. Now go to bed.

Michael Oakeshott (1901-1990) on Rationalism

The general character and disposition of the Rationalist are, I think, not difficult to identify. At bottom he stands (he always stands) for independence of mind on all occasions, for thought free from obligation to any authority save the authority of ‘reason’. His circumstances in the modern world have made him contentious: he is the enemy of authority, of prejudice, of the merely traditional, customary or habitual. His mental attitude is at once sceptical and optimistic: sceptical, because there is no opinion, no habit, no belief, nothing so firmly rooted or so widely held that he hesitates to question it and to judge it by what he calls his ‘reason’; optimistic, because the Rationalist never doubts the power of his ‘reason’ (when properly applied) to determine the worth of a thing, the truth of an opinion or the propriety of an action. Moreover, he is fortified by a belief in a ‘reason’ common to all mankind, a common power of rational consideration, which is the ground and inspiration of argument: set up on his door is the precept of Parmenides—judge by rational argument. But besides this, which gives the Rationalist a touch of intellectual equalitarianism, he is something also of an individualist, finding it difficult to believe that anyone who can think honestly and clearly will think differently from himself.

(Michael Oakeshott, “Rationalism in Politics,” in his Rationalism in Politics and Other Essays, new and expanded ed. [Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1991], 5-42, at 5-6 [italics in original] [essay first published in 1947])

Note from KBJ: What Oakeshott calls “rationalism,” I call “progressivism.” The contrast is with conservatism.


When Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president on 20 January 1981, he was 69 years old (albeit only 17 days shy of his 70th birthday). Remember the talk that he was too old? If John McCain is elected president, he will be 72½ years old when sworn in. Even if the man looks vigorous today, how will he look and feel two, three, or four years from now? I don’t like having an old president. I don’t like having a young one, either. Bill Clinton, at 46½ years of age, was too young. Are we surprised that he couldn’t keep his hands off the women? It’s always important to choose as one’s vice-presidential running mate someone who is capable of leading this great nation. It’s even more important for McCain to do so, since there’s a good chance that he’ll die or become incapacitated while in office. There must be no Dan Quayle this time around. McCain’s running mate must be ready to govern on a moment’s notice. I’m thinking Fred Thompson. How about you?

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Clinton Duels Obama, Takes California; McCain Surges” (front page, Feb. 6):

With the opportunity to make history, it is imperative that Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama make up the Democratic ticket.

The thought of either candidate who gets the nomination dropping the other will lose the African-American vote or the young people’s vote via Mr. Obama, or will lose the female vote via Mrs. Clinton, potentially creating thousands of undecided voters.

Let us not interrupt history in the making while getting new blood in the White House so we can move on from the disastrous Bush administration.

Dave Walker
North Dartmouth, Mass., Feb. 6, 2008

Note from KBJ: What about the white-male vote? Does the letter writer not realize that two can play the identity-politics game?

From the Mailbag


Experts are agreed. You’ve got the worst case of YDS . . . Yankees Derangement Syndrome ever clinically studied. It’s probably incurable and if the Yankees ever win again, it will no doubt be fatal.



Don’t click on this unless you’re willing to be disturbed.

Best of the Web Today



This may be old news to most of you (is that an oxymoron?), but Mitt Romney has withdrawn from contention for the Republican presidential nomination. Here is the New York Times report. Mitt ran a valiant race. By withdrawing at this early juncture, he not only saves himself (and his family) a lot of agony, but, by putting his party above his personal ambitions, positions himself for a future presidential run. If a Democrat is elected president in 2008, Romney may be the Republican nominee in 2012.

A Year Ago