Thursday, 27 March 2008

Compassionate Conservatism

I leave you this fine evening with a column by George Will.

Global Warmism

Here is an essay that Al Gore does not want you to read.

A Year Ago


From the Mailbag

Frank Miele describes a study of the behaviorial differences in four breeds of dogs: beagles, wire-haired fox terriers, Shetland sheepdogs, and basenjis.

Behaviorial differences were also found in human newborns, as reported in “Behavioural Differences Between Chinese-American and European-American Newborns.” When a similar study was carried out on Navajo neonates, were the Navajo babies more Chinese-like, or more European-like?

The same drugs can have different effects on different breeds, in both veterinary and human medicine.

Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)

P.S. Why do we say “breeds” when speaking of dogs, but “races” when speaking of humans? Maybe for purely historical reasons, similar to why we say “catalyst” when speaking of chemistry but “enzyme” when speaking of biology. The chemical itself doesn’t know whether it’s a catalyst or an enzyme, and doesn’t care.

The Laws of War

Shortly after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, the United States Department of Defense sought a legal opinion from the Department of Justice “concerning the effect of international treaties and federal laws on the treatment of individuals detained by the U.S. Armed Forces during the conflict in Afghanistan.” John Yoo and Robert J. Delahunty, who worked in the Department of Justice, prepared a draft memorandum that was subsequently made public. (I don’t know the details of how this happened.) Parts of the memorandum are reprinted in the textbook I’m using in my Philosophy of Law course. My students and I discussed it today. If you’d like to read it, click here.

Addendum: Here is a Power Line post about the controversy generated by this memorandum.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

The Long Defeat,” by David Brooks (column, March 25), reminds us of the damage being done to the Democrats’ election prospects in November by the sniping between the Clinton and Obama campaigns. So why not call a truce and have the two candidates campaign against John McCain for a while?

That way, we could see who will be the more effective candidate to represent the party in the general election. After all, the object of all of this electioneering is to win the presidency for the Democrats—or is it? I am beginning to wonder.

Alan Cope
Pittsburgh, March 25, 2008

Note from KBJ: The letter writer thinks Hillary Clinton has the following preference ordering:

1. Hillary Clinton
2. Barack Obama
3. John McCain

In fact, she has this preference ordering:

1. Hillary Clinton
2. John McCain
3. Barack Obama

You don’t get to the United States Senate without burning ambition, and you can’t shut ambition off at will.

Animal Ethics

Here is Mylan Engel’s latest post.

David Stove (1927-1994) on Karl Marx (1818-1883)

It need hardly be said that Marx‘s theory will not survive five minutes’ scrutiny. His distinction between the economic “base” and the ideological “superstructure” just will not stand up, and his idea of “relations to the means of production” is embarrassingly vague. But Marx did have the great merit of perceiving that his utopian predecessors and rivals had no mechanism at all to suggest. They just thought, like Russell, that it would be much nicer if everything were much nicer, and that there is nothing, after all, to stop us making everything much nicer, since all that is needed is for us all to be much nicer: more reasonable, kinder, etc. This is, of course, the logic of dreams and of childish religion. In The Pilgrim’s Progress, for example, Christian, after being long imprisoned in Doubting Castle by the Giant Despair, wakes up one morning and suddenly realizes that he has had the key to his prison in his pocket all along.

(David Stove, “Righting Wrongs,” Commentary 85 [January 1988]: 57-9, at 58 [italics in original])

Note from KBJ: It’s hard to read this passage without thinking of Barack Obama and “the audacity of hope.”

Note 2 from KBJ: For background on Stove, see here.


If this isn’t the best album ever made, then there is no best album ever made.

Addendum: Check it out.

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