Tuesday, 17 June 2008


I leave you this fine evening with a column by law professor John Yoo.


Here is a scene from today’s stage of the Tour of Switzerland. Here is tomorrow’s stage. Does anyone besides me miss Jan Ullrich? Check out this attack.


Why, when baseball players do something bad, do they scream “Fooey”?

Bush-Hatin’ Paul

Bob Hessen drew my attention to this.

Jan Narveson on Moral Vegetarianism

What the utilitarian who defends human carnivorousness must say, then, is something like this: that the amount of pleasure which humans derive per pound of animal flesh exceeds the amount of discomfort and pain per pound which are inflicted on the animals in the process, all things taken into account. Is this plausible? I am not persuaded that it isn’t, as far as it goes. But it should be noted that this is only a leading premise, as it were, of a complete argument on the issue. For we must realize that the question is whether this justifies the eating of animals in comparison with alternatives. And there are two relevant kinds of alternatives here: one is treating the animals better before we eat them, the only disadvantage of which is that it would make meat considerably more expensive. And the other is taking up vegetarianism. Utilitarians persuaded of the leading premise here should, I think, be willing to pay the higher prices, and to plump for protections of animals of the kind in question. But what about the vegetarian alternative? Here what one needs to do is calculate the pleasure, interest, satisfaction, etc., by which animal diets exceed vegetable diets for us. And most of us, of course, just don’t know about this. How do we know but what, once we got used to a vegetarian diet, we would find that our pleasure is scarcely diminished at all? Human ingenuity is great, and undoubtedly a skilful vegetarian cook can come up with quite a panoply of delicious dishes. It would remain true, of course, that the vegetarian diet is more limited, since every pleasure available to the vegetarian is also available to the carnivore (not counting the moral satisfactions involved, of course—which would be question-begging), plus more which are not available to the vegetarian so long as he remains one. But unless we attach a high intrinsic value to greater aesthetic variety in our diet (and some of us do; but most of us, perhaps, do not), this won’t be a decisive consideration.

Once one bears in mind that it is this comparative assessment that is required, then it seems to me there will be a strong case (1) for Humane Slaughter, and humane treatment prior to slaughter, and (2) insofar as really painless and comfortable animal-raising is not attained or attainable, giving vegetarianism a try, at least. In present circumstances, the following would seem to be indicated. Depending on the time and energy available, utilitarians persuaded of the foregoing should try a period of vegetarianism, at least, in order to see how they get on, and perhaps as a weapon in the form of boycotting such meat and dairy products as are produced in excessive disregard for the comfort of the animals in question: a much milder program than the one Singer and Regan call for, but one giving more to the animals than we usually do, and leaving our consciences rather less comfortable than they perhaps typically are.

(Jan Narveson, “Animal Rights,” Canadian Journal of Philosophy 7 [March 1977]: 161-78, at 173-4 [italics in original])

Things I Don’t Understand

1. Shorts that aren’t short.

2. Baseball hats worn backward.

3. Facial hair.

4. Sagging pants.

5. Speed metal.

6. South Park.

7. Makeup.

8. The appeal of NASCAR.

9. The appeal of golf.

10. Cats.

A Year Ago


From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “South Koreans Assail U.S. Pact, Shaking Leader” (front page, June 11), about the large demonstrations in Seoul:

In October 1989, six Korean college students broke into the American ambassador’s residence in Seoul and did $35,000 worth of damage before being arrested by the Korean police. I was the ambassador, and the issue was beef.

Modern Korean society still has deep roots in its agricultural traditions, and Koreans can get very defensive about any issue that seems to threaten the livelihood of “grandpa and grandma” back on the farm, even if this causes them to pay twice as much for inefficiently produced Korean beef as they would for foreign imports.

This is a delicate issue that needs to be handled with sensitivity by leaders in Seoul and Washington, so that the question of beef does not derail the important free-trade agreement with South Korea being considered by Congress.

This issue also needs to be placed in a broader context. South Korea is a tremendous ally of the United States. It sent more than 300,000 troops to help us in Vietnam, was a quick and generous supporter of Desert Storm in 1991, and for several years had the third-largest deployment of troops in Iraq, following our invasion of that country five years ago.

Without our strong alliance with South Korea, our influence in Asia would be vastly diminished. Let us keep that fact clearly in mind, as we deal with the fractious beef issue.

Donald Gregg
Chairman, Korea Society
Armonk, N.Y., June 12, 2008

Note from KBJ: If South Koreans were truly concerned with their health, they wouldn’t be eating beef in the first place.


If this isn’t the best album ever made, then conservatives are happy with John McCain.

Addendum: Savor it.


Willie Randolph has been fired as manager of the New York Mets. He won 54.4% of his games (302-253) during his four-year tenure, which comes to 88.1 per year. That’s a lot of victories, but then, his team spends a lot of money on players. Is the Mets’ poor performance this year (34-35) his fault? From afar, it appears that some high-paid players haven’t been performing.


If you care about universities, you’ll like this site. I’ll add it to the blogroll.