John Kenneth Galbraith, RIP
The author of The Affluent Society has passed away. I'll leave it to Jeremy to say a bit more.
Whack fol me darn O, dance to your partner
Whirl the floor, your trotters shake
Wasn't it the truth I told you
Lots of fun at Finnegan's Wake?!!!
The author of The Affluent Society has passed away. I'll leave it to Jeremy to say a bit more.
[T]he ontological arguer who says that his world is special because his world alone is the actual world is as foolish as a man who boasts that he has the special fortune to be alive at a unique moment in history: the present...
In The American Religion, Bloom says that as a religious critic he has tried to follow something uttered by his secular deity, William Blake, that "Everything Possible to be Believed is an Image of Truth." One would need such an aphorism to avoid breaking out into derision at the Mormons, the Christian Scientists, and the fundamentalists. It looks like one of Blake's sillier lines, itself an image of untruth; unless, of course, Blake actually meant that everything possible to be doubted is an image of truth--that every doubtful thought contains a truth. Harold Bloom, aloft on his sublime religion of art, has never been much enamored of doubt. The hint of it at the end of his book gives his writing a new, and decidedly belated, energy.
Here's a very interesting book review by Jacob Heilbrunn of Darthmouth prof Jeffrey Hart's new book on "The Making of the Conservative Mind." Hart is a longtime contributor to National Review, the newest anti-bush con, and has written a sort of intellectual history of 1950'sff. conservatism, from the non-neo-con, non-evangelical-perspective. Nevertheless, the best graph in the article, which has already been tagged by wash monthly's kevin drum is Heilbrunn's response to a lot of the aristocratic handwringing: In reality, though, conservatism hasn't really changed all that much. The Christian right has certainly infused it with moralism and anti-Darwin mumbo-jumbo, but what's more striking about the GOP over the past 100 years or so is its continuity. The party's main, almost sole, purpose has been to ensure that as much money as possible goes to those who need it least and that as little as possible goes to those who need it most. In a party of moneybags, Theodore Roosevelt was the exception, not the rule. Whether Bush manages to extricate the United States from Iraq or not, his avalanche of tax cuts has already justified the main reason that Republican pooh-bahs selected him to become their candidate for president.The failure of Iraq, our status of non-declared semi-illegal war, and the looming threat of our response to Iran are the crucial issues of the moment. Nevertheless, that these issues are crucial is still somewhat of a successful by-product of a militarist agenda that cannot be sustained but by a governing economic ideology. And contra the bandwagon jumping foreign policy critique that has now become de rigeur among the somewhat brighter lights of a dim intellectual candelabra, the economic critique is the one that has always been most obvious and most needing to be made.
Okay Peter, just because I let you off easy once doesn't mean that this aggression will stand. What aggression? After about 500 words of throat-clearing, in two and a half newspaper-sized paragraphs, Johnston proves substance dualism to be true, that we have free will, and that God exists. Problems solved, time for philosophy departments to pack up and go home. Take a gander:
I have not given my mom a phone call for a month and have no legitimate excuse. Such an excuse would be nice for me; if it were impossible that I call my mom, I would not have to take responsibility for my actions. Determinism is so useful! Unfortunately, when I explain to my mom the mass of forces of this fatalistic universe conspired to coerce me into not calling her for a month, she is generally unlikely to buy it. I am responsible for my inappropriate action because I was free to do otherwise. I have the capacity of free will.Got that? There's going to be more. Actually, this abortion of a column is only leg two of a triathlon which began with this philistine piece on "ideological evolution" [sic] and will culminate with---I shudder to think what with. As a colleague of mine put it, Johnston deserves a commemorative plate or something for the three-fer.
But we know material forces act according to natural laws and the velocity of every atom is an effect with a proportionate cause. The human body and brain are made of atoms. If the human body constitutes the human being, it is materially determined.
I have established that I have the capacity of uncoerced action. All of us experience freedom. The human body, then, must not constitute the entirety of the human being. In addition to this facet, the human being must also have a non-material facet. I will call this the soul. I know this soul is non-material and enables the capacity of uncoerced action. But I know I, as a human, have an origin. Thus, my soul must have had an origin. My soul must have been created by something. No material thing could have created my soul, for the effect would have been greater than the cause.
There must be a non-material thing that created my soul. I will call this God. I will explore the consequences of this and define my position in a column next week.
(1) We have free will.(4) is simply an instance of the law of the excluded middle. If you're prepared to deny (4)...you're not actually prepared to deny (4), whatever your protestations. You live by assuming the law of the excluded middle.
(2) If the universe is deterministic, we don't have free will.
(3) If the universe is indeterministic, we don't have free will.
(4) The universe is either deterministic or indeterministic.
You cannot disprove a belief unless you disprove its content. If you believe that you can disprove it any other way, by describing its origins or by describing its consequences, then you do not believe in reason.The context is a scorched-earth review of Daniel Dennett's new book that manages to commit errors a freshman in an introductory lecture course in philosophy wouldn't be able to get away with. Wieseltier attempts to convict Dennett of genetic fallacy, hence the quoted tangle. Now, while it's quite correct that the only way to show that ~p is to show that ~p, there is nothing fallacious about questioning the grounds for belief in p. For example, some people believe that God exists because the Bible says so and God wrote the Bible. But if you were to show them that people wrote the Bible that says that God exists, you would not have proven that God does not exist, but you would have removed one of their reasons for believing that God exists. And if they have no other reason for believing, then they have an epistemic obligation to suspend belief. It's not disproof, it's disillusion.
I mean, our government's not planning nuclear strikes against Iran, is it?
Brent Scowcroft on Iran:
This'll be my last column in the Yale Daily News, at least for the time being. I think this is a good note to sign off with (for those not around here: the backstory is, some Crazzzy Christers held an "I agree with Adam" festival last week, wherein attempts at missionary work were made and rejected. The whole thing was creepy and culty, but that hasn't ever stopped Christers in the past):
A fragment of a Lost Gospel, recovered from the banks of the Quinnipiac and translated into English from Ugaritic in the Year of Our Lord the Two Thousand and Sixth:...
"Indeed, if I may quote the Book of Ecclesiastes, 'There is nothing new beneath the sun.' The first coming of Adam at Penn State in 2000 was heralded several months earlier by a reborn John the Baptist, a sophomore (of course) at the University of Arizona named Dave Goffeney, who was the focus of his very own 'I agree with Dave' week. (Naturally is Adam descended from Dave, for was it not foretold that the Savior will be of the line of David?) The earthly ministry of Dave, in turn, was rooted in the teachings in the mythic past (1998) of the great lawgiver Tom Rickstren of the Humboldt State University Campus Crusade for Christ in California.
"Proclaiming an 'I agree with Tom' week, which he aptly described as a 'supernatural experience,' the prophet donned an 'I am Tom' shirt, no doubt in keeping with the revelation of God that he received atop Mount Shasta, California, known in all the lands as a mountain of mystery and terror. The Tablets of Tom are the Law of the Campus Crusade for Christ International, consisting in Four Commandments: '1) God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life. 2) Man is sinful and separated from God. 3) Jesus Christ is God's only provision for man's sin. 4) We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.'
"Behold, Adam comes not to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it: He believes 'There is a God who loves us.' He believes 'that every person … thinks and behaves in a way hostile to God, and this hostility separates us from Him.' He believes that Jesus Christ 'rose back to life, defeating death and making it possible for humanity to be reconciled back to God.' And He believes that it's 'up to us whether or not we accept this gift of reconciliation through Jesus.' It is a wicked and faithless man who would attribute the almost perfect resemblance between Adam's creed and the CCCI's Old Dispensation to dumb chance. As Jesus tells us in Luke 16:17, 'It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for one little stroke to drop out of the Law.'
You Tube got the caption wrong on this one. I fear for my country.
Congratulations to Al, who can now afford to do more Delino posts. As always, TV will answer the pressing questions, namely --- how did Mike Sexton analyze his play? and --- what nickname did Vince van Patten give him?
The Actual Rod's blog may be all but dead, but here he is, in the flesh, at a Ned Lamont rally at Naples yesterday (link via Atrios).
no, let us rather choose
Nothing is more vital in our justice system than the idea that an accused is innocent until proven guilty, and I am not trying to violate this idea. However, the penultimate paragraph of this NYTimes piece is noteworthy:The police affidavit says the woman was examined by a forensic sexual assault nurse and a physician shortly after the attack took place. "Medical records and interviews that were obtained by a subpoena revealed the victim had signs, symptoms and injuries consistent with being raped and sexually assaulted vaginally and anally," the affidavit said.
The link is to an open letter former Yale dean and current Duke President Dick Brodhead wrote addressing the men's lacrosse rape charges. I think it's about as good a document as could have been produced at the moment, with the police investigation still ongoing. Thoughts?
Josh Eidelson sends along this press release from Senator Feingold's office:
FEINGOLD OPPOSES DISCRIMINATORY AMENDMENT; SUPPORTS MARRIAGE EQUALITY
April 4, 2006
Washington, D.C. - Responding to a question posed at his Kenosha County listening session over the weekend, U.S. Senator Russ Feingold said he strongly opposed the proposed civil unions and marriage ban facing Wisconsin voters this November. He also expressed his support for the right of gays and lesbians to marry. Feingold holds listening sessions in each of Wisconsin’s 72 counties every year. Later this year, Feingold will hold his 1000th listening session as a U.S. Senator.
“The proposed ban on civil unions and marriage is a mean-spirited attempt to divide Wisconsin and I indicated that it should be defeated,” Feingold said. “It discriminates against thousands of people in our communities – our co-workers, our neighbors, our friends, and our family members. It would single out members of a particular group and forever deny them rights and protections granted to all other Wisconsin citizens. It would also outlaw civil unions and jeopardize many legal protections for all unmarried couples, whether of the same or the opposite sex. We shouldn’t enshrine this prejudice in our state’s Constitution.”
At the listening session, held at the Village Hall in Paddock Lake, Wisconsin, Feingold also expressed his support for the right of gays and lesbians to marry.
“As I said at the Kenosha County listening session, gay and lesbian couples should be able to marry and have access to the same rights, privileges and benefits that straight couples currently enjoy,” Feingold added. “Denying people this basic American right is the kind of discrimination that has no place in our laws, especially in a progressive state like Wisconsin. The time has come to end this discrimination and the politics of divisiveness that has become part of this issue.”
Feingold noted that removing the prohibition against gay marriage would not impose any obligation on religious groups. He indicated that no religious faith should ever be forced to conduct or recognize any marriage, but that civil laws on marriage should reflect the principle of equal rights under the law.
If the song is about you, you're not vain, just accurate. And if it's not about you, you're not the referent of 'you'.
Has there ever been a worse poet than Henry Wadsworth Longfellow? I doubt it:
By the shores of Gitche Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,
Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.
Dark behind it rose the forest,
Rose the black and gloomy pine-trees,
Rose the firs with cones upon them;
Bright before it beat the water,
Beat the clear and sunny water,
Beat the shining Big-Sea-Water.