Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Friday, December 25, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Thought for the day

Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects of you. Never excuse yourself. Never pity yourself. Be a hard master to yourself - and be lenient to everybody else.
- - Henry Ward Beecher

Friday, December 18, 2009

The moral sentiments updated. Adam Smith was right about a lot of things

The blog site known as Knowledge Problem tackles Mark Hauser's thesis that biology not religion is responsible for our morality.
What I found particularly striking is the consistency of his analysis with arguments made over 200 years ago, by David Hume and Adam Smith. Both Hume and Smith argued that our morality is grounded in our human nature in the form of our “sentiments”, and that in many ways these sentiments transcend the specifics of religion or culture.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Paul Samuelson has died

The old master of the economic textbook sweepstakes, Paul Samuelson has died. He is famous for saying: 'I don't care who writes a nation's laws, or crafts its treatises, if I can write its economics textbooks.'"

R.I.P.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Obama strikes the right notes. Bravo!

The Volokh Conspiracy » Three cheers for President Obama!: "It is true that Obama administration has not always fully lived by these noble words. But at least today, the words themselves are what matters. The President’s Nobel Prize Speech was no apology tour, no bow to a foreign monarch. Like his speech at West Point, the Nobel speech was a strong continuation of the bipartisan Kennedy-Reagan foreign policy based on military strength, support for human rights, readiness to negotiate, and realistic idealism. Today, our President made me especially proud to be an American.

Here's the Obama passage that made David Kopel, on this day, a believer.
I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler’s armies. Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda’s leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force may sometimes be necessary is not a call to cynicism — it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.

I raise this point, I begin with this point because in many countries there is a deep ambivalence about military action today, no matter what the cause. And at times, this is joined by a reflexive suspicion of America, the world’s sole military superpower.

But the world must remember that it was not simply international institutions — not just treaties and declarations — that brought stability to a post-World War II world. Whatever mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this: The United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms. The service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform has promoted peace and prosperity from Germany to Korea, and enabled democracy to take hold in places like the Balkans. We have borne this burden not because we seek to impose our will. We have done so out of enlightened self-interest — because we seek a better future for our children and grandchildren, and we believe that their lives will be better if others’ children and grandchildren can live in freedom and prosperity.
The Nobel Committee thought it would get the usual refrain that typified the Obama apology tours. Instead, it got a real shot of American exceptionalism of the kind that has enabled the comfort of their convictions. And it was Obama who delivered the singe. I'm sure it was not what they expected.

Martha Coakley's dubious history

Ann Coulter rips into Martha Coakley, our putative next U.S. Senator.

However, will this be an issue?