Phil:Blog

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Happiness==Self-Interest?

Do you consider the "pursuit of happiness" to be a legitimate aspect of self-interest? I mean, would you consider it self-interest for someone to do something for no external benefit, but merely internal ones?

My feelings on this seem to be at the root of how I mix my more Randian and Heinleinesque views on how things should be in the world, with my spiritual convictions. Objectivists would see this as heresy, but I see many of the ideas from Atlas Shrugged as not incompatible with an LDS understanding of the gospel, as long as one concedes that self-interest can be something realized internally by benefitting the spirit even if there is no apparent physical gain or even indeed physical loss. I'm just turning over such thoughts, so don't hesitate to comment, even/especially if what I am saying seems to make no sense.

Ego, ergo mal sum

Buried in this bloggingheads about Ann Althouse and the discussions she's stirred up lately is an interesting comment or two about the hypocrisy of condescending towards egotism in a society that is largely designed around principles of acting in self-interest. I think it is a fascinating dichotomy, one I wish had been touched on a bit longer. Is it something out of our nation's Puritan roots that makes us need to put down the aspects of our society that have made and continue to make us successful?

We seem to be constantly led to feel guilty for the very things that have benefited not only us directly but the others indirectly. The fact that we reap the benefits more than they being the damning evidence against us.

BTW, I had seen the Garance/Althouse clip but not caught any of the backstory on the issue, I found the rest of the episode more interesting for the side issues raised while discussing the main topic than the topic itself, which seems like more than just one person stirring tempests into a teapot.

Maybe just bad luck

But unseasonable weather isn't evidence for or against human climate change, at least not on cold days.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Will we come up short of coming up short?

The shrinking trade deficit? Although I never set too much stock by the whole trade deficit thing anyway. After all, the trade deficit between me and my grocer is horrendous. I'm pretty sure he buys very little ESL software. On the other hand, maybe I'm closer to breaking even when I eat at Costa Vida.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Why don't they read Atlas Shrugged in high schools?

Yup. This is probably why. Universities aren't the only places that there is only one right way to be open-minded. Our educational system is riddled from with it from the ground up.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Makes you wonder if we won't survive ourselves too

Nature takes a licking and keeps on ticking apparently. Somethings just beat all the odds. Or as Ian Malcolm would say, "How do you explain *that* Velociraptor then?"

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Rioting against Free Speech

Very, VERY occasionally I am *almost* glad that I went to a school where the Student Government was just a meaningless rubber stamp for University policies. Of course a rational, and adult middle ground would be preferable to either childish extreme.

Mitt Romney: A Real Contender?

I haven't decided yet whether I think Mitt Romney is actually electable, and if he is whether it would be a good thing if he was elected. However, it is reassuring as a Latter-day Saint to see that conservatives beyond the LDS sphere at least would like to see him as a serious contender. I hope to have time to at least skim this book if there is a copy in the library in Provo anytime I am there.

Tonight's bowling scores

78 and 80. Not horrible for me, but not fantastic either. It was fun though, and gave me a chance to see the end of the VCU-Duke game and part of the BYU game while not just sitting around.

This is gonna throw a few brackets off

I'm not a huge follower of basketball, although I do enjoy watching college games much more than pro, or a huge VCU fan but this has to feel pretty good and I'm a proud Richmond, Virginian tonight. It is always nice when someone hands it to one of the big boys, and if they happen to be from your hometown so much the better. No matter how little you have to do with it. Thus goes the illogical world of sports.

And what exactly would they have done to George?

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is correct that had the British captured George Washington "for sure they would consider him enemy combatant." The result of this--particularly as they also would have considered him a British citizen and therefore a traitor to the crown--is that they would have tried and summarily executed him. He would have died either by firing squad or hanging.

The question is what to do with Mohammed, since despite his statement that, "I don’t like to kill children and the kids," it is hard to find examples of George Washington planning and ordering the same massacres of civilians that Khalid seemed to have no problem with before he was captured. Washington fought against tyranny and accepted the risks of death on the battlefield or if he was captured or failed, time and time again. He is a hero however because of the ideals of freedom and equality he was fighting for. Khalid sent other men to their deaths to fight against that same freedom and equality. What does he expect now that he has been captured and called to account for his actions? Some sort of sympathy or respect for his plight?

I have no problem with the labeling of Mr. Mohammed as an enemy combatant, or the idea of executing him for his actions to indiscriminately kill in order to influence others by fear. It is however a bit saddening to see that in some of the media at least, the tactic has worked.


Wednesday March 14, 2007

Yes, but could he have done it blindfolded underwater?

If you can't keep up with this kid, don't feel too bad, neither can the Jones' I bet. More about him here.

On the post-Saddam Iraq War

I don't know anything about who Pamela Hess is, but I agree with this perspective on the War in Iraq as it stands now. (ht Mudville Gazette)