Friday, April 29, 2016

Preston Sprinkle on Good Guys With Guns

The last time I wrote a critique of Preston Sprinkle's pacifist argument was a couple years ago, regarding his book on the issue.  Now Preston is taking on gun ownership and gun control, so perhaps it's time to dust off the old critical canon and fire off a blog post or two.

The latest is an exchange with Doug Wilson (I know nothing about Mr. Wilson other than what is posted in the exchange).  I think Sprinkle is on more solid ground than Wilson with respect to some of the Biblical passages discussed, e.g., the sword passage in the Bible described here, though I think Sprinkle ultimately has an unseemly dispensationalist view on killing and violence when dealing with the Old Testament.  At any rate, I don't have much to say about that post on Bible passages other than this. As with science, so with Biblical exegesis: theory is underdetermined by data.  What that means in science is that there is always more than one possible explanation for the data.  Determining the best explanation cannot be done solely by looking at the data.  The same is true with Scriptures.  Doctrine cannot simply be read off of Scripture.  Rather one has to take all of one's available evidence including evidence for how one ought to interpret Scripture.  Sprinkle does this in practice, in fact, appealing to law enforcement officers and FBI statistics elsewhere to make his case.  Yet he hasn't engaged in many philosophical critiques of pacifism.

I do have a few things to say on this post on good guys with guns stopping bad guys with guns which goes beyond the Biblical data.  It's short, so the interested reader should read the whole thing first.  Commentary below the fold.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

"Desiring Young Les(bi)an Visionaries in the Archive"

Feminists get turned on in archive and write a paper about it:

This paper presents a critically reflexive account of the experiences of a group of researchers at the Canadian Women's Movement Archives. Drawing on the work of Sara Ahmed, Claire Colebrook, and Victoria Hesford, it argues that the researchers shared intensely embodied and emotional encounters with the archival record of lesbians’ struggles to create and define community. These encounters encouraged the researchers to explore the potential of their own sexual subjectivities. Their deepened understanding of the complex lesbian and feminist past provided them with the desire to reconsider the collective promise of ‘lesbian’ and ‘bisexual’ for their own future community.

Read the whole thing for $41.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Why I Don't Care As Much About Immigration and The Wall

A few weeks ago I talked with a federal prosecutor, a former Democrat turned Republican because of this issue.  Without getting into too many details, things are worse than I thought.

Still, what occurred to me is that there is no long term solution to illegal immigration, in part because there is no long term solution to most anything in politics.  This is why I care about Supreme Court justice appointments more than most issues.  A court packed with conservatives does offer longer term solutions.  Those for whom immigration is the number one issue and think Trump building a wall offers a long term solution are misguided.

Why?  Because any future president can opt to apply a "catch and release" mandate to border control officials just as Obama has done.  According to the federal prosecutor with whom I talked, most of the illegals now simply walk up to the border entrance, claim amnesty (which, in order to thoroughly vet takes months of investigation and plenty of money) and walk right in.  Most, that is, walk through the open door.  What is a wall going to do if one can walk in simply by claiming amnesty?

So any longer term solution will take Supreme Court action or a large groundswell of ideological change.  In that case, if a long term solution to immigration is what you are hankering for, Cruz and not Trump is your man.

More on Trump's wall

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Opium of Redistributionists

The Maverick reproduced in toto:

If religion is the opium of the masses, then OPM is the opium of the redistributionist.

Bernie Sanders, the superannuated socialist, "and his wife, Jane, paid an effective tax rate of 13.5 percent, or $27,653 in federal taxes on an adjusted gross income of $205,271." This is for 2014.  That is less than Mitt Romney paid, percentage-wise, in 2011.  But Romney paid more dollars and thus did more good than Bernie, if you assume that Federal taxes do good for 'the people' and not just for state apparatchiki.

For Sanders, a legitimate function of government is wealth redistribution so that the government can do good with other people's money (OPM).  So why did Bernie take so many (legal) deductions?  Why didn't he pay his 'fair share,' say, 28% of his AGI? Why didn't he fork over 50%?  Surely an old man and his wife can live on 100K a year!  Why doesn't Bernie practice what he preaches?

Because he smokes the opium of OPM: it is the other guy's money that is to be confiscated, not his.  By any reasonable standard, Sanders is a 'fat cat.'  But he doesn't see himself as one.  And no doubt he thinks he earned his high senatorial salary when he produced nothing, but merely spouted a lot of socialist nonsense while acting the pied piper to foolish and impressionable youth.

Monday, April 18, 2016

On Gender, Chinese, Grade, Height IDENTITY

"If I wanted to enroll in a first grade class, should I be able to?"

College Student #1: "Uhhh...ummm.......proooobbably not....I guess..."
College Student #2: "If that's where you feel like, mentally, you should be, I feel like there are communities that would accept you."

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. So I'll do as a good free-thinking Stoic would do when faced with such options.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

A YUUUGE Reason Not to Vote for Trump

There are many reasons why Trump would make a terrible Republican nominee.  But here is another.  Trump has promised again and again that he will appoint the best and the brightest to solve all of the problems in the U.S. (another area where he proves his Democratic credentials)  Yet against this we have some very good inductive evidence that he will not: ge has failed miserably and embarrassingly in appointing people to ensure that he has loyal delegates voting for him after a first vote in the convention.  On this score Cruz has proved his political brilliance far surpasses Trump's arrogant bravado.  Yet another example of the aphorism that actions speak louder than words.

Arkansas is the latest.

73% of Felons Vote Democratic

Based on a study of three states, but who doubts that these numbers don't hold steady across the U.S.  The Democrats own the felon and dead person vote.

NY: 61% Democrat, 9% Republican
NM: 52% Democrat, 10% Republican
NC: 55% Democrat, 10% Republican

Obviously what we have here is a case of political profiling by the police....

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Conservative Call to Arms

Steven Hayward speaking at the David Horowitz Freedom Center:

[E]vents of just the last 10 days should remind us once again that our politics have become all out war—a fact that conservatives, and their weak vessel, the Republican Party, do not like to recognize. Conservatives like order and moderation (in the Aristotelian sense), and recoil from the idea of political warfare, because when things reach that stage, it means things are out of hand. But avoiding the unpleasantness of political life—and avoiding confronting it directly—will not make it go away, but instead guarantee that it grow worse.
One lesson of the Trump phenomenon is that it has revealed that conservatives have been way too timid or conciliatory in confronting the Left—that the latitude for effectively confronting political correctness is much greater than we thought. It ought to be a matter of supreme embarrassment and shame that the most forceful and cogent response to the irresponsible demagoguery of Black Lives Matter has come from Bill Clinton. Never mind that he walked it back yesterday—that’s his problem. Our problem is no public figure on our side has spoken out as forcefully and as plainly as Clinton did.
In this regard, if we can’t win the Bathroom Wars, we might as well load up the lifeboats right now and become the refugees from our own country that the Left longs for us to be. And the most outrageous part of the recent controversy over bathrooms in North Carolina is the role played by big business, which is the most potent force in forcing states like North Carolina to back down from a common sense understanding of human nature. Why have big corporations become adjuncts to leftist identity politics? I suspect a study of corporate HR departments will find they are a hotbed of graduates with degrees in gender and ethnic studies, etc.
Likewise, our response to the latest outbreak of radicalism on campuses is weak. The new mob of the campus Left says: racism, homophobia, sexism, oppression, and patriarchy. To which we have responded—free speech and academic freedom! This response is wholly inadequate. It concedes the premise of the Left: are we really for free speech on behalf of racism? Of course not, but we need to take the next step and throw back in their faces that their narratives of oppression are completely wrong, contemptible, and not to be taken seriously. That and a few expulsions (and more firings of many more professors like Melissa Click) might do the trick.
In summary, the central point of my remarks is to vindicate what I’m going to call the Horowitz Heuristic, or “David’s Desideratum.” For as long as I have known David, he has been saying that conservatives, and their defective organizational vehicle—the Republican Party—has not been vigorous enough in recognizing that the Left is conducting political warfare, and that it can only be beaten back by engaging in political warfare in return. Maybe a few more people are starting to figure out what David has understood all along. Is it too late? As Lincoln said about a real war, “Wars are not won by blowing rosewater through cornstalks.”

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Obama AGAIN on the Gender Wage Gap

The Feckless One tweets:

There's no evidence that unjust discrimination explains the so-called gender wage gap.  This is well documented on this blog and elsewhere.  Of course, Obama has enough education to be aware of this.  It makes one wonder why he keeps saying things like he does above.  Even "Freakonomics" (comprised of a Democratic journalist and libertarian economist) recently did an episode on the issue

Going to a Trump Rally!

A reader reports about his trip to a Donald Trump rally:

At around midnight on Friday, I RSVP'd for a ticket to today's Trump rally in _______at the airport. I drove down to the airport, and it was pretty wild. There were tons of state police and sheriff officers, and the road was lined with people selling Trump merchandise (many of the sellers were black, I noticed).

I was parked and at the gate over a half hour before the event started, and they were already turning people away. I never made it inside. One of the sheriff officers said that the Trump campaign made 25,000 tickets available, but the airplane hanger could only fit about 6,000 people. What a douchey thing to do!

So, I hung outside the gate for a while with disappointed Trumpsters. Some of them hoped that Trump would hear word of his people getting turned away and would get them in. Across the street, protesters lined up and shouted at those of us on the Trump side of the street. I took a bunch of videos on [my wife's] old de-commissioned iPhone, but, I haven't figured out a way to get those videos uploaded to anything yet.

Basically, the protesters were almost all college aged kids, 2/3 of them were white, 1/3 were black, and they were morons. Many of them had signs that said, "Trump's a fascist", with pictures of Hitler, "Bigots", and "Fuck Trump" etc. They were fairly aggressive with the verbal insults toward the Trumpsters, who were mostly there just to see the rally, and weren't interested in being made into news items. But at the same time, they were Trumpsters, and some of them could not suffer the protesters calling them racists. I heard several shout things like "This is the only real job you've ever had!" [TB: Nice one!]  "Fuck you!" "Go to a socialist country ya buncha socialists!" All entertaining stuff.

At one point, the crowd started chanting "Trump, Trump Trump!" and the protesters chanted back "Bernie, Bernie, Bernie!" Many of them held Bernie signs. The Trumpsters then started the "USA!" chant, and the protesters chanted "USA!" back across the street. I stuck around for a few more minutes and then left. I'll definitely watch the local news tonight. A guy a couple feet away from me was interviewed by a local channel.

One observation I made, however, was that these protesters were definitely the instigators. I'm now more sure that most of these fights happening at Trump rallies were probably started by aggressive protesters.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Negative Income Tax

City-Journal has a nice article on Milton Friedman's "Negative Income Tax," NIT.  It makes too much sense, thus it'll never happen.  Excerpt:
The NIT is easy to describe. “The basic idea,” Friedman wrote in a 1968 Newsweek column, “is to use the mechanism by which we now collect tax revenue from people with incomes above some minimum level to provide financial assistance to people with incomes below that level.” Already, he pointed out, no one pays taxes on the first few thousand dollars of income, thanks to personal exemptions and deductions. Most earners pay a fraction of their “positive taxable income”—that is, the amount by which their earnings exceed that first few thousand dollars. In Friedman’s plan, the poor would similarly receive a fraction of their “negative taxable income”—the amount by which their earnings fell short of that level. This direct cash grant would replace all other welfare programs for the poor, which, Friedman rightly observed, were generating a huge bureaucracy and extensive welfare dependency.
But wouldn’t the NIT—in effect, a government-guaranteed income—still be a disincentive to work, just as no-questions-asked welfare benefits were before being reformed in the 1990s? “Any state intervention, any income redistribution, creates disincentives and distortions,” admits Gary Becker, a University of Chicago economist and Friedman disciple. “But if society decides that a certain level of redistribution must take place, the NIT is the best, the most minimally distorting, solution ever devised.” To limit the disincentive, Friedman argued, the NIT should be progressive. Say the government drew the income line at $10,000 for a family of four and the NIT was 50 percent, as most economists recommend. If the family had no income at all, it would receive $5,000—that is, 50 percent of the amount by which its income fell short of $10,000. If the family earned $2,000, it would get $4,000 from the government—again, 50 percent of its income shortfall—for a total post-tax income of $6,000. Bring in $4,000, and it would receive $3,000, for a total of $7,000. So as the family’s earnings rise, its post-tax income rises, too, preserving the work incentive. This is very different from many social welfare programs, in which a household either receives all of a benefit or, if it ceases to qualify, nothing at all. The all-or-nothing model encourages what social scientists call “poverty traps,” tempting the poor not to improve their situations.

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Fatal Charm of National Repentance

Men fail so often to repent their real sins that the occasional repentance of an imaginary sin might appear almost desirable.  But what actually the youthful national penitent is a little more complicated than that.  England is not a natural agent, but a civil society.  When we speak of England's actions we mean the actions of the British Government.  The young man who is called upon to repent of England's foreign policy is really being called upon to repent the acts of his neighbour; for a Foreign Secretary or a Cabinet Minister is certainly a neighbour.  And repentance presupposes condemnation.  The first and fatal charm of national repentance is, therefore, the encouragement it gives us to turn from the bitter task of repenting our own sins to the congenial one of bewailing--but, first, of denouncing--the conduct of others.  If it were clear to the young penitent that this is what he is doing, no doubt he would remember the law of charity.  Unfortunately the very terms in which national repentance is recommended to him conceal its true nature.  By a dangerous figure of speech, he calls the Government not 'they' but 'we'.  And since, as penitents, we are not encouraged to be charitable to our own sins, nor to give ourselves the benefit of the doubt, a Government which is called 'we' is ipso facto placed beyond the sphere of charity or even of justice.  You can say anything you please about it.  You can indulge in the popular vice of detraction without restraint, and yet feel all the time that you are practicing contrition.  ~C.S. Lewis, "Dangers of National Repentance"  

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Bernie Sanders Against Charity

''I don't believe in charities,'' said Mayor Sanders, bringing a shocked silence to a packed hotel banquet room. The Mayor, who is a Socialist, went on to question the ''fundamental concepts on which charities are based'' and contended that government, rather than charity organizations, should take over responsibility for social programs.
It's not surprising.  Republicans are very generous and give more money away at all levels of income than Democrats.

Friday, April 1, 2016

My Philosophical Family Tree

Below is a chain of dissertation directors/advisers starting with my own, Jeff Brower, his, Scott MacDonald, etc.  Source.

Turns out Copernicus is my Great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather of philosophy.  I decided to stop at Copernicus.  I also only tracked a single familial line; that is, I omitted other branches where there were co-directors/advisers.

1. Jeffrey Brower
2. Scott MacDonald
3. Norman Kretzmann
4. Albert Hammond
5. Arthur Lovejoy
6. Josiah Royce
7. George Sylvester Morris
8. Friedrich Adolph Trendelenburg
9. Karl Reinhold
10. Immanuel Kant

11. Martin Knutzen
12. Christian Wolff
13. Gottfried Leibniz

14. Erhard Weigel
15. Philip Muller
16. Christoph Meurer
17. Moritz Valentin Steinmetz
18. Georg Joachim von Leuchen Rheticus
19. Nicolaus Copernicus