December 28, 2004

Posner on Religion and Public Policy

See here, and his response to comments here.  Some highlights:

  1. "I do not think we would do better to have a government run by academics, which is the implicit model of government held by political philosophers, law professors, and the like. Would we really have done better over the last half century with Presidents Stevenson, Humphrey, a second-term Carter, Mondale, and Dukakis? And haven't the universities, in their overwhelmingly liberal orientation (in most fields relating to public policy), forgotten John Stuart Mill's dictum that ideas become flabby and stale when they are not exposed to vigorous challenge?"
  2. "What is true about the United States is that certain issues agitate our legal system for religious reasons, such as abortion, stem-cell research, gay marriage, pornography, prayer in the public schools, public recognition of the Ten Commandments, financial support of parochial schools (as by means of a voucher system), the teaching of evolution. Yet as a result of the Supreme Court's rather heavy-handed enforcement of the Constitution, most of these issues when they get into court as so often they do are resolved as they would be by the ordinary political processes in more secular nations. The startling result is that the most salient difference, so far as the intersection of religion and public policy is concerned, between the United States and the more secular nations is that many of them have established churches! (Hume favored established churches because he thought they would deaden religion belief. He was right, at least in the Western European context.)"
  3. "When a brilliant philosopher like Rawls gets down to the policy level and talks about abortion and campaign financing and the like, you recognize a perfectly conventional liberal and you begin to wonder whether his philosophy isn't just elaborate window dressing for standard left liberalism."

Posted by Old Benjamin at 02:11 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

November 27, 2004

The Dowds

Finally, a Maureen Dowd column I can stomach.  It's a bit different from her usual stuff, as you'll see.

Posted by Old Benjamin at 10:50 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

Social Security Reform

A very informative article.

Posted by Old Benjamin at 10:32 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

August 11, 2004

Reagan Library

Looks like Professor Bainbridge went on a field trip.

Posted by Old Benjamin at 09:14 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

July 30, 2004


The Anal Philosopher knows liberals better than they the know themselves:

Not only are liberals not entitled to govern; they don’t deserve to govern. They need to grow up, develop a more holistic view of the person, develop a more realistic view of human nature, and cultivate a sense of patience. They need to stop patting themselves on the back for being benevolent, compassionate, caring, and sympathetic. Benevolence is neither necessary nor sufficient for acting rightly. Caring, far from being a synonym for justice, is often an impediment to it. It’s not for nothing that we say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Liberals prove it every day.

There's more where that came from.

Posted by Old Benjamin at 09:59 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

July 19, 2004

Girlie Men

Arnold is working over his Democratic opponents in California. Good stuff.

Posted by Old Benjamin at 11:44 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

July 13, 2004

White House Salaries

Someone leaked the salary list for the White House staff. I wonder what the motivations of the leaker were. Anyway, now we all know what everyone makes.

The WaPo (and Dana Milbank in particular) thinks the story is that the highest paid staff are mostly male. How predictable. I think the story is that these folks, many of whom could be earning many multiples of their current government salaries, are willing to serve -- and work tirelessly -- for so little compensation.

Posted by Old Benjamin at 08:23 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

June 23, 2004

Leading Democrats Sanction Propagandist

WASHINGTON - Michael Moore introduced his Bush-bashing documentary, "Fahrenheit 9/11," to the nation's capital on Wednesday in a private screening for a nearly all-Democratic audience.

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota and California Sen. Barbara Boxer were among the 800 invited guests.

Have they no shame?

Posted by Old Benjamin at 07:43 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

June 21, 2004

Moral Standards

A couple of Victor Hanson Q&As:

Q: Why do you think is the Bush administration so reluctant to publicly call out the U.N. on the humanitarian crisis in the Sudan? Why is there no major media attention to this disaster?

Hanson: They tried. But look, the world cares not about the dead, but whether the United States or Israel can be blamed for them. India built a brutal $1 billion fence to cut off Bangladesh; the world snored. Muslims kill thousands in Africa; the world sleeps until the IDF kills 2-3 Hamas leaders. That is just the way it is—the UN, the EU, the Arab League these are all associations of morally inept and opportunistic elites who care very little for lives per se, but very much for the attention—both public and psychic—garnered by selectively damning the United States. Why we subsidize it all I don’t know—but perhaps this censure serves some deep psychic need within ourselves to welcome blame and rebuke.

Q: Could you address how organized crime and the subsequent corrosive effect it has on the fabric of a society may have led to the demise of a great many civilizations?

Hanson: Well, when such crime permeates down to the mundane—bribes for traffic tickets, pay-offs for insurance fraud, cash for favors at school or sports—then a society is about through. So far we have stopped organized crime from strangling our daily commerce and undermining all respect for the law. But we are fraying, and there are towns in California right now where the police, city council, and schools are neither transparent nor even honest. And it is something that weighs on us a great deal. Given the education of the past decades with its emphasis on situational ethics and moral equivalence, it will be hard to determine whether this next generation is up to enforcing codes of decorum that they themselves grew up with and expected. Throughout history a terrible problem has been a generation’s failure to be vigilant and maintain the standards handed them.

Posted by Old Benjamin at 08:30 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

June 15, 2004

Reagan-Thatcher Correspondence

The Margaret Thatcher Foundation has published on its website over 100 declassified letters between Reagan and Thatcher.

Posted by Old Benjamin at 12:40 AM | Permalink | TrackBack