Friday, September 30, 2005

(click to enlarge)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Partial transcript, Student Panel on Diversity, UPC Lunchtime Lounge

Panel Member 3: ... and diversity with the inclusion of minorities.

Moderator: Next question. Do you think K-State Has a Diverse Campus?

Panel Member 1: Well, diversity and inclusion of multiculturalism diversity "Other" think outside the box Leadership Studies.

Panel Member 2: I agree, partly, except tolerance stereotypes harmony with the integration of inclusion.

Panel Member 3: Diversity.

Moderator: Okay, next, how far do you think we are on the journey toward inclusion?

Panel Member 4: Well, I think culture tolerance diversity privilege discrimination of the challenging assumptions and multilingual bilingualism.

Panel Member 5: To pick up where he left off, I would just say that the diversity tolerance community out of the closet and equality with the media images of minorities.

Panel Member 1: She makes a very good point. Society should be diversity harmony of the multicultural inclusion feeling welcome increasing enrollment for minorities and African-American diversity tolerance harmony inclusion diversity tolerance diversity diversity diversity.

Panel Member 3: Well said. I would just add diversity Leadership studies diversity.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Interesting Statistic

I was doing research for my column *pause for laughs* and I stumbled across this statistic: out of all the cases of abortion, only 2.8% of them are performed for reasons of maternal health.

And yet this is put front and center as the reason for keeping abortion legal.



Saturday, September 24, 2005

Meh, seems about right

You are a

Social Liberal
(63% permissive)

and an...

Economic Conservative
(88% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid

Update: Socialist!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Human Nature vs. Feminism Mud Wrestling Grudge Match


Human Nature: 1

Feminism: “Sexist!”

At Yale and other top colleges, women are being groomed to take their place in an ever more diverse professional elite. It is almost taken for granted that, just as they make up half the students at these institutions, they will move into leadership roles on an equal basis with their male classmates.

There is just one problem with this scenario: many of these women say that is not what they want.

Many women at the nation's most elite colleges say they have already decided that they will put aside their careers in favor of raising children. Though some of these students are not planning to have children and some hope to have a family and work full time, many others, like Ms. Liu, say they will happily play a traditional female role, with motherhood their main commitment.


For many feminists, it may come as a shock to hear how unbothered many young women at the nation's top schools are by the strictures of traditional roles.

"They are still thinking of this as a private issue; they're accepting it," said Laura Wexler, a professor of American studies and women's and gender studies at Yale. "Women have been given full-time working career opportunities and encouragement with no social changes to support it.

"I really believed 25 years ago," Dr. Wexler added, "that this would be solved by now."

How dare these women choose to reinforce phallocentric norms of childrearing by consciously submitting to a life of Stepford Wifedom. Surely there must be some law we can pass, some freedom we can restrict, SOME sort of social engineering we can institute that will stop these selfish twits from wanting to raise their own children.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Galloway/Hitchens Debate

As you may know if you've read this site in the past, I'm a big fan of the "drink sodden" Christopher Hitchens. This man knows how to orate.

A couple of days back, Hitchens took on the vile George Galloway in debate. I say vile with no reservations--this man is objectively, even outgoingly, pro-fascist. He is a cheerleader for the insurgency in Iraq, and, well, just a vile man.

You can download the audio or video for this debate in the right sidebar here. Hitchens just destroys Galloway, mercilessly. If one wants to know how to debate, they could do worse than studying Hitchens performance here. Alas, his opponent, Galloway, rarely rises above colorful ad hominems delivered in a overbearingly loud, staccato tone reminiscent of a spittle-spewing Hitler.

A Run-down of the debate can be found here. And here is Hitchens take on it.

"I'll have the Buddha Blast, with Extra Fudge"

Via Protein Wisdom, I found this tasty tidbit in the Scotsman:

THE fast-food chain, Burger King, is withdrawing its ice-cream cones after the lid of the dessert offended a Muslim.

The man claimed the design resembled the Arabic inscription for Allah, and branded it sacrilegious, threatening a "jihad".

The chain is being forced to spend thousands of pounds redesigning the lid with backing from The Muslim Council of Britain. It apologised and said: "The design simply represents a spinning ice-cream cone." The offending lid was spotted in a branch in Park Royal last week by business development manager Rashad Akhtar, 27, of High Wycombe.

He was not satisfied by the decision to withdraw the cones and has called on Muslims to boycott Burger King. He said: "This is my jihad. How can you say it is a spinning swirl? If you spin it one way to the right you are offending Muslims." A Muslim Council spokesman said: "We commend the sensitive and prompt action that Burger King has taken."

Swirling Ice Cream cones resemble allah? The theological implications are delicious! I especially like the portion, "The offending lid was spotted in a branch in Park Royal last week by business development manager Rashad Akhtar, 27, of High Wycombe." Did he apprehend the lid, perform a citizens arrest? Or did he just get all indignant and demand a free double-dipped strawberry ice cream cone? 'Cause I know which way I would go.

And, really, isn't this hilarious? A Jihad on Burger King? How much more can a religion parody itself?

See a graphic comparison here.

A Progressive Responds

I recieved the following reply in the comments to my essay posted below, by "Scarlett." Her comment (bolded) and my reply (unbolded) are below.

1.If order can rise spontaneously then why do capitalists have strict rules and structure? Go to a bank and get a loan by telling the lender you're just going to sponstaneously start a business and see what happens.

Of course capitalists have strict rules and structures; their actions aren’t entirely random. They have one motive that moves them to adopt structures: the profit motive. Any structure that helps them increase their profits will be adopted, and innovators will come up with new structures, or improvements on old structures to try to increase this profit. This directly parallels biological evolution, where mutations modify or create structures, which are then perpetuated or discarded through a process of survival of the fittest.

Banks have certain procedures which they have adopted because they most help create profits. The procedures that banks have are the result of an evolutionary process. These procedures have changed and developed over thousands of years weeding out inefficient procedures. That is spontaneous order. The institution of the “bank” wasn’t created wholesale one day; it arose, gradually, to fill a human need. That is the beauty of evolutionary theory.

2You're a student, have you never heard of entropy? How could an institution or tradition BEGIN in a state of disorder? Name a tradition that begin in disorder and evolved into order without guideance?

Entropy, in one sense, is a purely scientific concept, dealing with thermodynamics and heat. There is no reason why it should directly translate into the social realm, except maybe as an explanatory metaphor. If this is how you meant to use it, please elucidate.

But let me rephrase your question, to show where I’m coming from: “How could a human being BEGIN in a state of disorder? Name a species that began in disorder and evolved into order without guidance?” This is intelligent design theory, a theory that has rightly been castigated in the scientific realm, to assume that order requires an orderer.

But, to answer your question, language for one, and religion, have evolved. These were both beget by an evolutionary process of gradual change due to selection for fitness. I can see where your disbelief stems from, though. It IS hard to perceive how something as magnificently as our civilization could be ordered free from an ordering mind. But this is at the crux of evolutionary theory, and I accept it.

3I am a progressive and I don't distrust traditions. For instance I believe we should have presidential elections and not allow the Supreme Court to appoint the POTUS. I also believe that the person who sits in the White House should be qualified to be there and I don't mean having a rich family qualifies you. The POTUS should at least have a command of English. If we don't have intelligent guidance in this area things could deteriorate rapidly.

“Tradition” is a vague word, like “culture,” so I must plead guilty to lexical ambiguity. The tradition you mention, democracy, is important. I don’t want to mire this interesting discussion in a dispute about Florida ballots and whether the Supreme Court should’ve stepped in, and, of course, I’m not pleading for idiotic leadership.

As an Evolutionist, I would say that centralized power, like the presidency should be EXTREMELY circumscribed and VASTLY reduced. Order should very rarely be imposed from above, by a president or other governing authority. Why? Simply because one leader, or a small body of leaders, can only know a miniscule amount of the facts that are available to all the population (including relativized facts of each instant, such as whether you are tired now, or hungry, or need something).

Leaders must use the miniscule amount of knowledge available to them to reason for a whole society. Would you agree that if there was a way to harness all the knowledge of all society, that this would be a better way of creating order than by the imperfect ordering of but a few minds? Evolution is this process of harnessing all the facts of every mind in society, and the free market is how this process manifests itself in civilized society. If this doesn’t make sense, or seem convincing to you, read this essay, “The Use of Knowledge in Society” by Friedrich Hayek, a Nobel Prize winning economist.

4Could you please name one tradition that progressives are attempting to destroy and therefore "decreasing" our numbers???? I don't even know what you're talking about.

I don’t want to assign malicious motives to progressives. I’m very sure that they, and you, are not trying to “destroy” anything. Indeed, they act from the best of intentions, trying to create a better society, which necessitates modifying certain traditions. Nevertheless, it is my contention that this better society cannot be created—indeed, such thinking is dangerously Utopian—because of the limited amount of knowledge available to any one mind. So, when progressives begin to act as social engineers, through welfare, minimum wage laws, anti-discrimination laws, gay marriage advocacy, social security, proposing universal healthcare, they are trying to impose an order from above onto the evolutionary mechanism that is the free market. They are using the miniscule amount of knowledge available to their few minds to impose an order over and above the order created by free human interactions (which can take into account MUCH more knowledge than "Intelligent Design" by enlightened rulers, and incorporates ALL minds). I’m sure you disagree with this, as the above types of social engineering mentioned are very dear to progressives, but they represent only a slice of the “Intelligent Design” progressives would impose on society. I’ll leave it at that, for now, although much more could, and probably should, be said.

5In your fifth paragraph - how did progressives suddenly "evolve" into one single mind? Name which tradition Progressives are affecting by intellectually controling it.

You, Scarlett, are only one mind. Any leader can only be one mind. A group of leaders can represent a very small subsection of the available minds in society, and so can know only a small number of facts. When they try to modify society, through the types of social engineering mentioned above, they harness one, or only a small cadre, of minds, to impose an order on ALL MINDS (that is, the entire US population.)

Now, as I mentioned earlier, wouldn’t it be better if all minds could create order, rather than having it be imposed by one mind (such as President Bush)? This is the free market. And, to head off your critique, democracy does not represent the harnessing of all minds to create order. It represents the harnessing of all those that choose to vote (a very small subsection of the population) to SELECT one person, who will act, in their stead, as the ordering mind.

6The free market is a tradition? Really? Didn't the US government bail out the airlines after 9-11? Didn't the US government bail out the auto-industry during the 70s? Isn't the taxpayer making the current investment in the middle east and are the oil compaines and the military/industrial complex and others in the private sector not taking all the profits? Is that your idea of a free market? Didn't Haliburton get the contract in Iraq without having to bid for it and wasn't Haliburtion given the contract to rebuild New Orleans and MS and AL? Is that your idea of competition and allowing the market to work. What chance were entraprenures given and how could they compete with Haliburtion?

Your absolutely, 100% right. Our government DOES have a shitty record when it comes to the free market. I agree wholeheartedly. But this is no reason to INCREASE the control of the government over the free market, such as through universal healthcare or other Orders imposed from above by one mind, through a mistaken belief in Intelligent Design. I am all for radically reducing the size of government and its influence, and privatizing all that can be (basically, most everything but the courts, the police and the army).

Our forefathers didn't believe in corporations. google Jefferson's comments about them. As a progressive I would be more then happy to let the markets work and I would also be happy to get the damn corporations off the government teat. Republicans call it socialism if poor people get tax dollars but when businesses live off of the taxpayers while paying no taxes on their wealth its called a free market.

I’m glad you would be glad to let the markets work. Then we agree. End all minimum wage laws, labor laws, subsidies, etc. Poor people shouldn’t live off the taxpayers, and neither should businesses. Yeah, I should warn you, you don’t wan to confuse me with your proto-typical Republican.

And I’m putting forward a normative argument—I don’t care what our forefathers believed (well, that’s not entirely true), but I would think if they saw the size of government now, their essentially libertarian sensibilities would be offended.

We could have had universal health care for the American people but the pharmacuical companies bought and paid for our legislators so I wouldn't exactly call that a free market. The taxpayer pays for research to develop new drugs and then turns the results over to big corporate pharmacuicals who then goug the consumer - thats your idea of a free market?

No, no it isn’t. We don’t have a free market in existence right now—far from it. Much change needs to be made. Big companies will ALWAYS try to buy legislators (and they will always succeed). But does this mean we should hand our legislators MORE power, such as through the creation of universal healthcare? Or that we should RADICALLY RESTRICT the power of legislators? I say the latter—government IS the problem.

Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely, as Lord Acton put it. So, we can hand over the job of ordering society to these few, corrupt, governmental minds, or we can hand it over to ALL minds, via the free market. I choose the latter, and it sounds as if you are almost in agreement.

When the US and the CIA attempts to overthrow Chavez of Argentina because he won't privatize the oil resources that are currently owned by the people of Argentina does that not make you aware of the role the government and the taxpayer play in the so called "free markets"? Are you not aware that the CIA staged coups in South America and in the middle east and took out fairly elected leaders and installed dictators friendly to US business? Whats "free" about that? I'd say that is anything but allowing tradition to proceed without intelligent guidance.

Again, I don’t want to defend US actions in the past—your right, we haven’t always defended free markets. But that’s no argument against giving them a chance now. In fact, that’s an argument FOR giving them a chance. Or leaders are corrupt. We need to get rid of their power over us. We need to utilize the free market. (But, and this is quite aside from the evolutionary argument I’m making and so needn’t be accepted for you to accept the rest, let me just say that Chavez is a brutal despot, and, IMO, should be overthrown, and that our actions in the past, vis-à-vis dictators were necessitated by the struggle against communism—the ultimate enemy of the free market, and, indeed, all free peoples).

The USA enjoys a high standard of living because we subjugate workers in third world countries and we gain our wealth on the backs of these people. Do you know what "petro dollars" are?

We do not “force” people in other countries to work for us. Companies go over their, and the people choose to work for them, because they are quite better off working for US companies than working on some hovel of a farm. We simply do not go around with guns and round up workers. They choose it of their own volition. And, usually, they make insanely high wages relative to the country they live in, when they do. See here. People live BETTER when they work for US companies—and they choose to do so of their own free will.

You think there is traditional morality in all of this? Perhaps the progressives should have played a greater role in your education rather then allowing our public school system to descend into disorder.

The Public school system is a CREATION of the progressives. And your right, public schools suck. Progressives have failed us. I say, privatize the schools. Make them accountable to the people. Get. Government. Out.

your last paragraph - Morality is what it is - it can't change or it wouldn't be moral any more. I don't even know what you're talking about when you say it shouldn't be decided from the "top down".

When I say that it shouldn’t be decided from the top down, I’m merely saying that decisions should be made by the individual not imposed by the government, such as by the raft of social engineering policies mentioned earlier. Minimum wage laws are EXPLICIT legislations of morality. Progressives are all about imposing what they think is right upon other people.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Those anti-smoking commercials

They make me want to smoke. Right then, while viewing. Irresistibly. Or chug a glass of tar. Whatever. I just can't stand those self-righteous kids, all indignant, like they're some revolutionary, speaking truth to power.

Dude, we know cigarrettes aren't exactly healthy--friggin' King James knew it, back in the day. And, what revelation is this?, you mean tobacco companies were trying to *gasp* market their product to people. It's almost as if they expect to turn a profit!

Get off my TV. Now. And take your social consciousness with you it smells like marijuana smoke. Which, you know, is like calisthenics for the ol' lungs.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Hurricane Goldstein

I've been remiss in not linking Jeff Goldstein's commentary on Hurricane Katrina. Quite simply the best I've read, or heard, on the whole subject. Check out this post, and be sure to click through the self-referential hyperlinks for a commonsense, yet incredibly insightful, take on Hurricane Katrina.

A Short Essay

Society is divided and evolution is the fault-line. There are those who believe in intelligent design, denying order can arise independent of an orderer. Opposite them stand evolutionists, who realize that order can arise spontaneously, free from conscious direction.

Progressives inhabit the first, dogmatically ignorant class. They don’t believe in evolution, cannot fathom how society could order itself apart from their all-knowing guidance, and won’t acknowledge that traditions are evolutionary adaptations which we deface at our own peril.
I’m not speaking primarily of biological evolution, but of the traditions and institutions which evolve, quite like organisms, from a state of disorder to a state of order, without intelligent guidance, leaving civilization in their wake.

This bothers Progressives.

They believe society should be a grand construct of reason alone, not guided by mindless evolutionary forces. Progressives distrust traditions as irrational.

But, as the economist Friedrich Hayek showed, traditions are evolutionary adaptations. Groups following certain irrational traditions increase in number, groups following others disappear. Evolution selects for certain traditions, just as it selects for certain types of locomotion. The traditions that have been passed down are those that have allowed our population to increase to its current size. Flippantly modifying these traditions means changing the circumstances which daily allow us to sustain our current numbers. However irrational these traditions may be, it’s indisputable that, as adaptations, they’re part of what keeps us alive. Decreased productivity, crime, societal unrest, anomie—these are the fruits of rationalist progressivism.

I’m not opposed to rationality per se—just the arrogant rationality of progressives. Real rationality means realizing the limits of one’s knowledge, knowing that thousands of years of trial and error evolution are superior to one, imperfect mind.

To declare a tradition irrational is like viewing a puzzle piece in isolation of the puzzle. The jagged edges offend the rationalist’s sense of symmetry. But these jagged edges are the interconnections with a society that has evolved concurrently. They’re infinite in number, and knowable to none but the omniscient. Progressives claim this title and cut the jagged edges.
Progressivism’s anti-evolutionary stance is even more apparent in its views toward another tradition, the free market. Capitalism is an evolutionary mechanism; millions of entrepreneurs try to “survive,” with the fittest earning the most money and thereby multiplying in number with imitators. Fittest, here, means satisfying the most wants. So, through capitalism, man satisfies his own wants by satisfying the wants of others.

As an evolutionary mechanism, capitalism generates order from disorder. Progressives, like their religious Intelligent Design counterparts, are reduced to claiming society is “irreducibly complex,” and cannot be self-generated through the free interactions of people. Instead, it requires a creator and overseer—them, natch.

Perhaps it’s possible to believe in evolution, yet still oppose leaving society as a self-generating mechanism modulated by the evolutionary adaptations of tradition. However, if you acknowledge the possibility of spontaneous organization, yet would restrict these orderings according to your perceived enlightened rationality, you are an enemy of freedom. You might idealize fraternity or equality, but not liberty. Evolution, traditional morality, capitalism, freedom—all are intimately related.

A society which respects these, leaves the free associations of men to self-generate order using evolution. “Experiments in living,” as Mill called them, proliferate, and those that achieve success in the free market evolutionary mechanism are carried ever higher.

In this way, traditional morality is open to change, even as it’s free from top-down dictations.
Society need only remember Giambattista Vico’s admonishment, “Homo non intelligendo fit omnia”—Man became all he is without understanding it. And on this path he will continue.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Regular posting will resume in 5...4...


update: 2...

update 2: 1...

update 3: 0...

update 4: see previous update. There's really nowhere to from there. I mean, I just really wrote myself into a corner there.

Hey, how about we bring in the old Deus ex machina, and say it was all a dream, and then, you like wake up, and nothing's the way it seems. And that lady you thought you knew? Totally a robot.