Friday, 16 May 2008

Barack Hussein Obama

I leave you this fine evening with a column by Michael Goodwin. Have a great weekend!


It’s decided, then. In my next life, I’m Angus Young.


John McCain will win Texas easily this fall, so my vote won’t matter. Hell, it wouldn’t matter even if the race were expected to be close. I cannot in good conscience vote for McCain, whose views on immigration and other matters turn my stomach. Unless Ralph Nader‘s name appears on the ballot, therefore, I’ll refrain from voting for a presidential candidate in 2008. How will you vote?

Addendum: George W. Bush beat John Kerry, 61% to 38%, in 2004.

Curro Ergo Sum

How many of you think this man’s artificial legs give him an advantage over his rivals?

Homosexual “Marriage”

One of the lesbians quoted in this New York Times story says that all she wants is “the same rights that a 14-year-old girl in Arkansas has.” She already has such a right: to marry a man. What she doesn’t have is the right to marry her dog, her cat, her brother, her father, her car, her child, two adults, or a woman.

Disjunctive Syllogism

1. Either we forbid the watering of lawns or we turn sewage into drinking water.
2. We mustn’t forbid the watering of lawns!
3. We turn sewage into drinking water.


Here is a scene from today’s stage of the Giro d’Italia.

A Year Ago



Would somebody please break up the Cubs?


Here is Peggy Noonan’s latest column. Here is Peg Kaplan’s latest post.

Ronald Wilson Reagan (1911-2004)

Oh. My. God. Progressives are not going to tolerate one of their own (Princeton history professor Sean Wilentz, who opposed Bill Clinton’s impeachment) saying good things about Ronald Reagan. The poor man is going to be vilified.

Addendum: Here is Wilentz’s essay about Barack Obama.

John Stuart Mill’s Autobiography, Paragraph 44

Among the works read in the course of this year, which contributed materially to my development, I ought to mention a book (written on the foundation of some of Bentham’s manuscripts and published under the pseudonym of Philip Beauchamp) entitled “Analysis of the Influence of Natural Religion on the Temporal Happiness of Mankind.” This was an examination not of the truth, but of the usefulness of religious belief, in the most general sense, apart from the peculiarities of any special Revelation; which, of all the parts of the discussion concerning religion, is the most important in this age, in which real belief in any religious doctrine is feeble and precarious, but the opinion of its necessity for moral and social purposes almost universal; and when those who reject revelation, very generally take refuge in an optimistic Deism, a worship of the order of Nature, and the supposed course of Providence, at least as full of contradictions, and perverting to the moral sentiments, as any of the forms of Christianity, if only it is as completely realized. Yet, very little, with any claim to a philosophical character, has been written by sceptics against the usefulness of this form of belief. The volume bearing the name of Philip Beauchamp had this for its special object. Having been shown to my father in manuscript, it was put into my hands by him, and I made a marginal analysis of it as I had done of the Elements of Political Economy. Next to the Traité de Législation, it was one of the books which by the searching character of its analysis produced the greatest effect upon me. On reading it lately after an interval of many years, I find it to have some of the defects as well as the merits of the Benthamic modes of thought, and to contain, as I now think, many weak arguments, but with a great overbalance of sound ones, and much good material for a more completely philosophic and conclusive treatment of the subject.

Note from KBJ: Do you suppose Mill knew that this pseudonymous work was by Bentham? I can’t believe he didn’t know, in which case he was being coy in this paragraph. By the way, the question of the usefulness of religious belief is separate from the question of its truth. One can ask of any belief, including the belief that 2 + 2 = 4, whether it is useful. The answer has no bearing on whether the belief is true. There can be true and useful beliefs, true but useless beliefs, false but useful beliefs, and false and useless beliefs. To a philosopher, the only question is whether religious belief is true. Psychologists are interested in the causal antecedents and consequents of religious belief. Moralists such as Bentham are interested in the usefulness of religious belief. Some people, such as Brian Leiter, conflate the three inquiries, which shows that they lack philosophical aptitude.


What’s the best movie you’ve ever seen, and why?

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Raspberry for Barry,” by Maureen Dowd (column, May 14):

Appalling as they are, the racist attitudes expressed by some voters in West Virginia before the Democratic primary there should come as no surprise.

On the other hand, they should also not be used as a convenient explanation for Barack Obama’s crushing defeat there.

Racism has been used as a handy excuse everywhere Senator Obama hasn’t won—indeed, everywhere he hasn’t won by a wide margin. It’s as if there’s a presumption that triumph for Mr. Obama is the natural order of things, and that when it doesn’t happen, evil has been afoot.

But surely there are other reasons a candidate who has not finished even a single Senate term, who speaks in glowing generalities and who has been tied to an assortment of embarrassing figures might lose badly at least some of the time, especially in states where a key demographic group whose support he essentially monopolizes is thin on the ground.

Eric B. Lipps
Staten Island, May 14, 2008