Wednesday, 26 March 2008


I leave you this fine evening with a column by Dick Morris.

Libertarianism as Progressivism

Those who wonder why I classify libertarianism as a species of progressivism (which is the opposite of conservatism) should read this.

Curro Ergo Sum

The 10K (6.214 miles) is probably the most common race distance in the world. Just imagine how many millions of people have raced this distance. Here is the fastest 10K ever run. If it doesn’t give you chills, you’re not alive.


Here is your entertainment for this Wednesday evening.

Addendum: If there are any U.K. fans out there, this will blow your mind.

A Year Ago


From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

I applaud your article, as it is really important for people to realize that 4,000 is not just a number. Very simply, the best thing that we as a nation can do to honor their memory is to end this war.

Ellyn S. Roth
New York, March 25, 2008

To the Editor:

The number 4,000 is no more significant than was No. 1 or 3,999 or any in between. Each one reminds us of our solemn duty to finish what they started, so that their deaths not be in vain.

Daniel Waun
Lansing, Mich., March 25, 2008

Note from KBJ: The letter writers appear to be having a disagreement. There are three types of disagreement: factual (about how things are), evaluative (about how things should be), and conceptual (about the nature of a concept). What sort of disagreement are the letter writers having?

Retronym Alert

First, there was life; then there was online life; and now there is offline life.

Hall of Fame?

Lee Smith. (For an explanation of this feature, see here.)

Ends and Means

Jeffrey Ellis has a thoughtful post about ends and means.

What I’m Reading

You can tell a lot about a person by what—and how—he or she reads. I read several books at once, a bit each day. Here is what I’m reading as of today:

1. Borchert, Donald M., ed. Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2d ed. Farmington Hills, MI: Macmillan Reference USA, 2006.

2. Copi, Irving M., and Carl Cohen. Introduction to Logic. 13th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2009.

3. Dinwiddy, John. Bentham. Past Masters, ed. Keith Thomas. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.

4. Boghossian, Paul A. Fear of Knowledge: Against Relativism and Constructivism. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2006.

5. Salt, Henry S. The Logic of Vegetarianism: Essays and Dialogues. London: The Ideal Publishing Union, 1899.

Why am I reading these items? I’m reading item 1 as part of a long-term project. Each day, I read two pages. It’s going to take 10 years to read the 10 volumes. I’m reading item 2 because it’s the new edition of the logic textbook I use every fall. I’ve read the book several times over the past quarter century, but I always learn something (if only about how to present the material) when I read it. When I’m done, I’ll send a list of corrections and suggestions to Carl Cohen. I’m reading this book at the rate of four pages per day. I’ll be done in late July, a month before the fall semester begins. I’m reading item 3 because I’m interested in Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), who is one of the most fascinating human beings to have lived. I’m reading item 4 because I’m interested in relativism and because Boghossian discusses the crucial distinction between causes of belief and reasons for belief. Conflating causes and reasons is a source of many fallacies, especially in connection with religious belief. I’m reading item 5 to fill in my knowledge of the history of animal rights. I have a huge stack of books and articles on animal rights in my library, in chronological order. I’m working my way through it. What are you reading, and why?

Addendum: I neglected to mention a sixth book I’m reading: Peter Singer, One World: The Ethics of Globalization (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002). This book is in my office at school. I read it during office hours when no students are visiting.

The Shotgun Blog

Here is Grant Brown’s latest post.


Which MLB team
Is a disgrace to the game?
The New York Yankees

From the Mailbag


I hope you told them about the stuff the media is suppressing, like the Al Qaeda/Yankee nexus and the jihadi backgrounds of a number of the Yankees. These are bad people and without you hitting on them, there is no telling what they might do.

There is a clear path to Yankee victory in the American League east this year. They just have to manage to keep the Red Sox in Japan.


Note from KBJ: This letter proves that, to Yankee fans, the end justifies the means.

Best of the Web Today


John Stuart Mill’s Autobiography, Paragraph 40

Chapter 3, Last Stage of Education and First of Self-Education

For the first year or two after my visit to France, I continued my old studies, with the addition of some new ones. When I returned, my father was just finishing for the press his “Elements of Political Economy,” and he made me perform an exercise on the manuscript, which Mr. Bentham practised on all his own writings, making what he called, “marginal contents”; a short abstract of every paragraph, to enable the writer more easily to judge of, and improve, the order of the ideas, and the general character of the exposition. Soon after, my father put into my hands Condillac’s Traité des Sensations, and the logical and metaphysical volumes of his Cours d’Etudes; the first (notwithstanding the superficial resemblance between Condillac’s psychological system and my father’s) quite as much for a warning as for an example. I am not sure whether it was in this winter or the next that I first read a history of the French Revolution. I learnt with astonishment, that the principles of democracy, then apparently in so insignificant and hopeless a minority everywhere in Europe, had borne all before them in France thirty years earlier, and had been the creed of the nation. As may be supposed from this, I had previously a very vague idea of that great commotion. I knew only that the French had thrown off the absolute monarchy of Louis XIV. and XV., had put the King and Queen to death, guillotined many persons, one of whom was Lavoisier, and had ultimately fallen under the despotism of Bonaparte. From this time, as was natural, the subject took an immense hold of my feelings. It allied itself with all my juvenile aspirations to the character of a democratic champion. What had happened so lately, seemed as if it might easily happen again: and the most transcendent glory I was capable of conceiving, was that of figuring, successful or unsuccessful, as a Girondist in an English Convention.

Note from KBJ: Like Mill, I know more about the distant past than the recent past. I know comparatively little about World War II, for example. I know much more about the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.