Some Goodies

 Posted by on 22 January 2007 at 10:14 pm  Religion
Jan 222007

Here are some goodies that I’ve recently found:

  • First and foremost, Noumenal Self has two blog posts on Robert Tracinksi’s “What Went Right” series — so far. Both essays (essay #1 and essay #2) are very good. If you are interested in this ongoing debate about the role of philosophy in the culture, they are a must-read.
  • Software Nerd has some interesting comments on the fact that well-educated Indians are starting to return to India to work — and the reasons why.
  • I believe it was Gus Van Horn who pointed me to this interesting article on the psychological origins of procrastination.
  • This commentary on Ayn Rand’s philosophy is absurd empiricism, then egalitarian Rawlsianism:
    I’m no socialist, and [Atlas Shrugged] was written in a time when socialism was being tested empirically. There was evidence that it might even be working. Now we know differently. But we didn’t then, which may explain why Rand felt the need to write it: to justify her own belief that socialism was a mistake. She was right about that.

    Other aspects of her ideology, though, are much more offensive to me, such as the idea that some people are better than others–whether by virtue of culture (a “strong work ethic”) or innate differences (IQ). Even if there are such differences, and they matter, they aren’t under individual control. It’s called luck: if you’re born smart or with the ability to focus on long term goals, you prosper. If not, you don’t.

    But why does this idea persist, that some people are “better” than others?

    Yup, Ayn Rand’s rejection of socialism was just a lucky guess. Her knowledge of human nature, economics, and even her experience in Soviet Russia couldn’t have been relevant. And sheesh, even her capacity to write Atlas Shrugged was also a matter of luck, since she was born with the “ability to focus on long term goals.” How could it be otherwise, since we’re all just equal bundles of good and bad luck?

  • Mike M. of Primacy of Awesome has some interesting thoughts on Christian Reconstructionism. (Like him, I’ve read a bit about that lately.) He accurately summarizes it as follows:
    The basic thrust of Reconstructionism is that the United States should be remade according to biblical law in preparation for the second coming of Christ. So, Reconstructionists are famous (infamous) for advocating the death penalty for homosexuality, adultery, and witch craft, among other “crimes.” Now, lest you think this is some fringe movement of the fringes of the Christian fringe, I’ll simply state that Reconstructionism is a driving force in the religious right, ask you to do your own research, and leave it at that…

    He then comments a bit about the embrace of Christian Reconstructionist Gary North by some libertarians. It’s good stuff.

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