Monday, 24 March 2008

Global Warmism

I leave you this fine evening with a column by Lorne Gunter.

“Wicked and Stupid and False”

Christopher Hitchens weighs in on Jeremiah Wright. Much of what he says is well taken. Unfortunately, he uses Wright’s idiocy to attack religion—and thereby plug his book. Are there no atheistic idiots? Has Hitchens been to a college campus lately?


Here is R. R. Reno’s latest post at First Things.

Addendum: Reno uses “descrying” when he means “decrying.”

Twenty Years Ago

3-24-88 . . . The Agriculture Building sits immediately to the east of the Social Sciences Building. Every now and then I see an enclosure and animals on the grassy area near the building, a promotion of some kind by agriculture students. The other day I saw calves; today there were two brown horses, a mother and a colt or filly. I had time to spare, so I paused to watch them. What a pastoral feeling! For the few minutes that I stood there I forgot about my dissertation, the job search, and even my students. I was in a different world, a world of animals, farms, fields, and butterflies. I thought of my past on the farms of my uncles and aunts. I remembered running through pastures, watching out for electric fences, and being chased by farm dogs. I smelled the smells of the farm: cut grass, cow manure, and flowers. I thought of family and lighthearted play. You see, it really does matter what you experience in your childhood. I’m glad that my childhood contained farms.


William Kristol recommends that we not have “a national conversation on race.”

A Year Ago



Please take a few minutes to read this short essay (“Righting Wrongs”) by Australian philosopher David Stove (1927-1994). It was first published in Commentary magazine in January 1988, just over 20 years ago. Stove had no patience for progressives. Maybe the rest of us shouldn’t, either.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

I read your article “For Top Medical Students, Appearance Offers an Attractive Field” (front page, March 19) with amused interest, recognizing a trend toward the more lucrative medical specialties that has been occurring since I was a fourth-year medical student more than 10 years ago.

One has to wonder about a society that values physicians who perform cosmetic procedures over those who specialize in primary care. If Americans spent less on cosmetic procedures and more on preventive visits with their family practitioner (family practitioners provide the most efficient form of health care), we would be getting a lot more for our health care dollars than we currently are.

With the enormous aging baby boom population, we should be focusing on strategies to lure these top students into the primary care fields, through much-needed pay increases and flexible schedules for the growing number of women in medicine. We are already at a point where demand for good primary care physicians far exceeds supply.

Alexandra Fields
Providence, R.I., March 19, 2008
The writer is a medical doctor.

To the Editor:

The article about how top medical students are going into the field of dermatology is probably the best argument I have heard so far that the free marketplace does not work when it comes to the field of medicine. It is absurd to see the best and the brightest going into the field of dermatology.

This is further proof that the American medical system is gravely ill and needs major lifesaving surgery. If that does not happen, I hope we can at least take solace in the fact that the rich will look good when they die.

David Pesses
Gloversville N.Y., March 19, 2008
The writer is a medical doctor.

To the Editor:

Buried deep in your article was the key reason dermatology is particularly attractive: Dermatology also offers more independence from the bureaucracy of managed care, because patients pay upfront for cosmetic procedures not covered by health insurance. Applying this system to other disciplines would constitute real health care reform.

Why won’t any of the candidates discuss a real solution to our health care mess? Health care is not a right—dermatology gets along quite well with little or no involvement of government or insurance (also known as getting someone else to pay).

Tom Burns
Berkeley, Calif., March 19, 2008

Note from KBJ: With reference to the second letter, how does this show that “the free marketplace does not work when it comes to the field of medicine”?

R. M. Hare (1919-2002) on the Objectivity of Values

Perhaps the most embarrassing question that a philosopher can be asked by a non-philosopher is, whether he thinks that values are objective. It is embarrassing for two reasons. The first is that, in common with most other philosophical questions, it admits of no straight answer, but only of a lengthy explanation of the points at issue. The second is that there is popularly supposed to be only one respectable answer to this question, viz., that values are objective, and that anybody who hesitates about giving this answer is to be suspected of subverting morality, corrupting the youth, and even of personal moral laxity. And so the natural reaction of many philosophers, when asked this question, is one of irritation that the questioner should not know that it is not a simple question, coupled with an inclination to reach for their dialectical guns and defend their virtue grimly.

(R. M. Hare, “The Objectivity of Values,” Common Factor 1 [1964]: 3-5, at 3 [italics in original])

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