Tuesday, 3 June 2008


Here is your entertainment for this Tuesday evening. There is no way in hell that you’re worthy of it, but I’m in a generous mood today.

Addendum: The boys have aged well, wouldn’t you say?


I am sick to death of so many Yankees and Red Sox starting the All-Star game. The first five hitters in the Texas Rangers’ lineup deserve to start this year’s game: Ian Kinsler (second base), Michael Young (shortstop), Josh Hamilton (outfield), Milton Bradley (designated hitter), and David Murphy (outfield). Don’t shoot off your mouth. Check the statistics.

Addendum: Kinsler is first in the league in runs scored, second in hits, seventh in batting average, and 11th in doubles. Young is second in runs scored and third in hits. Hamilton is first in hits, first in home runs, first in runs batted in, first in batting average, first in slugging percentage, third in runs scored, fifth in doubles, and 11th in on-base percentage. Bradley is first in on-base percentage, third in slugging percentage, fifth in doubles, and sixth in batting average. Murphy—a rookie!—is first in doubles, seventh in runs batted in, and 10th in hits. Q.E.D.

From the Mailbag

Hi Keith,

As a conservative, a philosopher (in training) and a lover of all things baseball, I thoroughly enjoy your blog. I am, however, a little surprised by your moral vegetarianism—a position I usually associate with liberals and poor thinking (but I repeat myself). A question I have always wanted to ask of someone who has seriously considered this position is: What is the basis for distinguishing between animals and plants? The only things that capture the difference between (nearly) every member of each class (e.g. plants have cell walls, most animals have locomotion) seem to be morally irrelevant. The only other route that I can think of is a like-us-ness that would have quite a few problems as well. If you have written anything on this, or if you know an article that you think gets this right, could you please point me to it?



Note from KBJ: Animals can suffer. Plants cannot. See here.


This is getting silly. I think journalists are so tired of covering the Democrat contest that they’re trying to influence it.

Twenty Years Ago

6-3-88 . . . Let me return to something I touched on yesterday—namely, my students’ capitalistic leanings. As someone who sees much evil in capitalism, I’m surprised at how unwilling my students are to even consider an alternative society or economic system. Many of them, I suspect, are on the verge of lucrative careers in business, management, engineering, law, and medicine. They wouldn’t be in college unless they were highly motivated and reasonably intelligent. For some of them, there is nothing whatsoever wrong with this society. It rewards precisely the traits that they already have: ambition, hard work, and discipline. In many discussions with students over the years, I sense a genuine antagonism to anything but a meritocracy. Affirmative action programs are frowned on. There’s a feeling that only merit should be used as a criterion for employment and education. It’s easy to see self-interest behind these attitudes, but I suspect that many of them could defend capitalism by argument. In a way, I’m disappointed in my students for being so passive and accepting; they accept the society that they’ve been given. But it’s also nice to be on the other side of the fence, so to speak. College professors need to be critical of existing social and economic institutions. If we’re not, who will be?

A Year Ago


From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

It’s easy to understand the disappointment and anger that many of the Clinton supporters had both on the street and in the hall at the Democratic Party rules committee’s attempt to broker a compromise with the disputed primary results in Florida and Michigan. What is not easy to understand is their outraged chants that they would vote for John McCain in the November election.

These are the same people who feel fervently about the reproductive rights of women, anti-discrimination in the workplace and a host of other social issues. And Senator McCain has already announced that he will appoint judges to the federal courts who will oppose these very issues when he said that his models would be Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.

Let us hope that by the time the election comes in November, these disappointed supporters urged by Hillary Rodham Clinton will vote in their self-interest.

Morton Lebow
Washington, June 1, 2008

Note from KBJ: I expect Democrats to come together after the bitter nomination battle. A few disgruntled feminists may stay home, although I can’t imagine many of them voting for John McCain.


The editorial board of the New York Times continues to cry crocodile tears for the illegal aliens in our midst. Key paragraph:

The restrictionist message is brutally simple—that illegal immigrants deserve no rights, mercy or hope. It refuses to recognize that illegality is not an identity; it is a status that can be mended by making reparations and resuming a lawful life. Unless the nation contains its enforcement compulsion, illegal immigrants will remain forever Them and never Us, subject to whatever abusive regimes the powers of the moment may devise.

The restrictionist message is indeed brutally simple: If you’re here illegally, get out. If you don’t get out voluntarily, we will track you down and deport you.

Peter Singer on the Wrongness of Killing Animals

In setting out to write this paper, my intention was to fill a gap in my book Animal Liberation. There I argued that the interests of animals ought to be considered equally with our own interests and that from this equality it follows that we ought to become vegetarian. The argument for vegetarianism is not based on any claim about the wrongness of killing animals—although some careless reviewers read this claim into my book, no doubt because they assumed that any moral argument for vegetarianism must be based on the wrongness of killing. Instead the argument for vegetarianism is based on the suffering that is, and as far as I can see always will be, associated with the rearing and slaughtering of animals on a large scale to feed urban populations. I explicitly avoided taking a position on the wrongness of killing animals, for I wanted the book to reach non-philosophers, and the issue of killing cannot be dealt with briefly and simply.

(Peter Singer, “Killing Humans and Killing Animals,” Inquiry 22 [summer 1979]: 145-56, at 145 [italics in original; endnote omitted])