Thursday Highlights

Good morning.

  1. Unthinkable, means the opposite of what you expect. For example, borrowing from Hofstadter, it doesn’t typically mean for example, “How would that (scene/play/argument/event) have looked if 13 wasn’t a prime number?” Or “How would have been if instead of people in Nations on Earth, but instead we were tri-sexual liquid hydrogen breathing cephalopodoid creatures swiming in the seas of a gas giant?” That’s a little more unthinkable.
  2. Jesus and the bomb.
  3. Read. The. Book. More here. That media bias thing. Settled, with some surprises, like that the WSJ is more liberal (in the news sections) than the NYTimes.
  4. Libya and a bounce? On paper the Libyan exercise was done for humanitarian reasons, to prevent Quaddafyi from retaliating and killiing hundreds or thousands. We shall see how the reprisals go in the upcoming months … and whether the rebels, once victorious are kinder and gentler. If not, what impact on the humanitarian argument might that have?
  5. A question that makes little sense. The priest is the ikon/icon of Christ. Jesus was, you know, male. Would you complain about watching King Lear, where the King was a gal and not complain about having a woman doctor? Almost unthinkable, eh?
  6. Poking at print journalism.
  7. So, if you see the term “Dominionism” used, it’s basically used by liberals in the same way that “Sharia” is used in the context of US political dialog.
  8. In which the term “Lost”, alas, doesn’t mean unable to find its way home because of unfamiliar landmarks.
  9. Apparently Mr Biden is a consequentialist. That is, if it didn’t have unfortunate unintended consequences then coerced sterilization and abortions would just fine. What a fine set of gentlemen we have in the White House.
  10. Grrr.
  11. Good idea or not?
  12. On dealing with slander.
  13. Not proto-Krugman, pseudo-Krugman.
  14. Two men, at age 22.
  15. A serious scientific problem for AGW/climate models.

21 Responses to Thursday Highlights

  1. Jesus was, you know, male.

    Jesus was a lot of things! Ethnically Jewish, young, born in Israel, possibly fictitious, etc. etc. Why single out “male?” Or are you just looking for an excuse to hang your sexism on?

    So, if you see the term “Dominionism” used, it’s basically used by liberals in the same way that “Sharia” is used in the context of US political dialog.

    Wait, I’m confused. I thought you supported the way “sharia” is used in the context of US political dialog.

    Two men, at age 22.

    Pretty powerful juxtaposition. I’m pretty sure my emotional reaction to it is pretty much the mirror image of yours.

    Perry will have a hard time using it to his advantage, given he already has a huge “I remind you of George Bush” problem. The last military pilot we had was something of a disaster, I don’t know if you remember.

  2. JA,
    So, King Lear has to be a late middle aged to elderly English male, can’t be young, can’t be Black (or Japanese -> Ran). Queen Lear on the other hand is just exactly the same sort of change. Gotcha.

    Wait I’m confused, I thought you critiqued it? Heh.

    Let’s see military service and Presidents … this is interesting.

  3. JA,
    Perry will only have a hard time using his military service in liberal land where the military calling is viewed in a negative fashion. The rest of the country honors military service.

  4. military service in liberal land where the military calling is viewed in a negative fashion

    Right wing victimization mongering is tiresome. The only record of bashing a Presidential candidate for his military service has come from the right wing (against John Kerry in 2004, against McCain when he was running against Bush in 2000).

    So, King Lear has to be a late middle aged to elderly English male, can’t be young, can’t be Black (or Japanese -> Ran). Queen Lear on the other hand is just exactly the same sort of change. Gotcha.

    I suppose this makes a bit of sense to me. The Priest is like an actor playing ‘the role’ of Jesus. If you were casting a movie about Jesus, you’d probably seek out a male actor who looks like a young Jewish man from Israel circa 0 AD or so. But this ‘performance’ is put on by thousands of Churches around the world and there is a lack of actors who fit all those parts but just about anywhere you go approximately 50% of the population is male so you can almost always use that as a requirement.

    This, though, only would seem to work for the sacraments. Confessing is the priest playing the role of Jesus fogiving sins. Communion is the priest playing the role of Jesus at the last supper. I don’t think Jesus ever Baptised or Married anyone but let’s toss that in too while we are at it. That doesn’t explain, though, why ‘male casting’ is required for non-sacramental duties. Bishops. theologians, and others in the Church’s ‘power structure’ are not there to perform sacrements.

  5. So, King Lear has to be a late middle aged to elderly English male, can’t be young, can’t be Black (or Japanese -> Ran). Queen Lear on the other hand is just exactly the same sort of change. Gotcha.

    In what way is Jesus’s gender relevant to his role??

    Perry will only have a hard time using his military service in liberal land where the military calling is viewed in a negative fashion. The rest of the country honors military service.

    Liberal land honors military service too, they just don’t fetishize it the way the chickenhawks and others on the right do. Just because I honor the service doesn’t mean that I believe a former fighter pilot is automatically a better candidate for president than someone who was more of a freethinker in his youth.

    Anyway, you completely missed my point. I said he’d have a hard time using THAT PICTURE because it will remind voters of Bush.

  6. Anyway, I’d be interested in seeing a Queen Lear. Why does EVERY performance have to be exactly faithful to the original genders?

  7. JA,
    That wasn’t the point. The point was asking which was a bigger stretch … a Japanese elderly/young King Lear or a Queen Lear. You imply with your sexist comment that they are basically equivalent narrative distances.

  8. So we’re already at a sloppy metaphor and we’ve shifted the argument to “bigger stretch.” Is there some way to quantify how big the stretch can be so that a Japanese priest/Lear is okay but a female is totally out of bounds? I don’t think this line of reasoning is going anywhere.

    We both know that if your argument failed, not that in practice you’d ever admit to such a thing, but let’s say you did, you’d come up with some other rationalization for why priests can only be men. What matters is that priests have to be men. The reasoning is secondary.

  9. I’m thinking the error here is reasoning by analogy. No one really objects to Mel Gibson not considering female actresses when he was seeking to cast a Jesus for his Passion movie. For that matter, no one gets mad at him for not considering Japanese actors either.

    But Priests are not actors performing plays.

  10. Boonton,
    That’s right, they are not actors but icons.

  11. This brings you back to JA’s point/question.

    “Byzantine iconogaphy, then, is not to be condemned for not being naturalistic, realistic, or for not reproducing faithfully the external world. For its aim is something very different. Byzantine iconography has a religious function. It seeks to express spiritual things in order thereby to help man rise to a higher level of being, to lift his soul to the blessedness of God.”

    The question then is why is gender required to be ‘realistic’ when it concerns an icon but other features do not? For example, a 70 yr old priest is unrealistic in the sense that the human Jesus during his ministry was probably somewhere in his 30′s. That, though, appears to be considered unimportant in terms of iconography. What makes gender on aspect that must be ‘realistic’?

    Also terminology wise let’s be technical here, JA didn’t make a sexist comment but your position basically is. Your position is that, in this area at least, sex makes a material difference….hence ‘sex matters’ hence this position is ‘sexist’. What I think you want to say is that this is one area where sexism is justified or makes sense. Why, though, I’m not clear on.

  12. 9.Apparently Mr Biden is a consequentialist. That is, if it didn’t have unfortunate unintended consequences then coerced sterilization and abortions would just fine. What a fine set of gentlemen we have in the White House.

    Strike 3 Mark. Strike 3 with Biden. The question is are you incapable of being honest here or incapable of seeing the truth? More importantly, is there a difference between the two?

  13. 13.Not proto-Krugman, pseudo-Krugman.

    1. It’s interesting that the anti-Krugman obsessors can’t actually attack Krugman himself. They set up a fake page purporting to be Krugman and have to bash that. When the truth comes out, they take the line the lie doesn’t matter because Krugman has said things like that. Errr, then why not just cite Krugman saying that? Why the need for deception?

    2. Krugman has NOT said that diasters, wars, etc. are good for the economy. http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/24/fake-me/ , for example, gets at the truth. The model is challenging to understand, but Austrian economics is harder. The very intelligent guys at coordinationproblem should be able to speak intelligently about it even if they disagree.

  14. Boonton,
    I was struck by the hypothesis that those churches (protestant liberal for the most part) that have women pastors and/or push for women priests have internalized a notion of a non-gendered eschaton. That is they would think “in heaven sex/gender goes away”. This is not orthodox (or for that matter Orthodox) eschatology. But it may be where they get the notion that gender of the priest is unimportant.

    I’ll see what I more I can find on justification for the sexism.

  15. Boonton,
    I’m not “incapable of being honest” we were in a conversation, I haven’t been convinced by your argument. You haven’t answered point (except saying the analogy was strained) in the mobster piece in which the question was pointed out “how would those sympathetic to the victims” feel about the “bridge building” project using this sort of rhetoric. And for that matter I’m not so sure the bridge building in this clumsy fashion would be taken in a sympathetic fashion by anyone, i.e., the intended audience as well.

    Are you disagreeing then that the argument is consequentialist?

  16. That is they would think “in heaven sex/gender goes away”. This is not orthodox (or for that matter Orthodox) eschatology. But it may be where they get the notion that gender of the priest is unimportant.

    Possibly but I don’t think this really applies here. If I’m following you you’re saying the Priest is an ICON of Jesus. But as JA pointed out, the human Jesus had a lot of traits beyond his gender but why is his gender the one trait that has to be ‘realistic’ for purposes of a ‘living icon’ in the form of a priest?

    For example, consider youth. It’s very important that Jesus’s sacrifice came not as an old man in his 70′s but as a young one….in fact at a time when the typical man is at his peak in terms of worldly powers. Why then not require that ‘living icons’ be somewhat young. Say 45 or younger thereby symbolizing the fact that the human Jesus gave up the his life in his prime? Certainly you’d agree the story of Jesus’s sacrifice of his life would have been quite different if he was a 70 yr old man who challenged both Jewish and Roman authority after living a full life. You could split the teaching aspect of the priest from the iconic role he plays in the mass. The ‘retired’ 45 yr old priest could continue to write and teach just not serve mass.

    Are you disagreeing then that the argument is consequentialist?

    In order for an argument to be consequentialist one has to have a ‘because’. Hence:

    “The Obama Administration strongly opposes all aspects of China’s coercive birth limitation policies, including forced abortion and sterilization,” Biden’s spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff told The Daily Caller in an email. “The Vice President believes such practices are repugnant.”

    “He also pointed out, in China, that the policy is, as a practical matter, unsustainable,” Barkoff added. “He was arguing against the One Child Policy to a Chinese audience. ”

    1. The argument cannot be consquentialist unless the evaluation of it as good or bad is based on its consquences. In the above, it has to be deemed ‘repugnant’ because it is “as a practical matter, unsustainable”.

    2. As an independent sentence “such practices are repugnant”, the VP’s spokesman is aserting the opposite of consquentialism. He is asserting that the policy simply has the trait of being repugnant. This would mean that the trait attaches to the policy regardless of what consquences one could link to it. For example, you linked ‘positive consquences’ of ‘better mental health’ and ‘ecology’ to the one-chile policy. Even if we deemed that correct, even if we deemd that positive to be more worthwhile than the negative Biden identified, it wouldn’t challenge the validity of the assertion “such practices are repugnant”. Why? Because the statement detaches itself from consequentialism.

    3. One does not have to embrace consequtionalism to conclude that a policy that is wrong also has negative consquences. For example, not too long ago you and a bunch of other right wingers were getting all aflutter over a book that argued that abortion in Asia has caused a large gender imbalance due to the fact that parents would rather have boys than girls. This is bad consquence is even worse in China where families do not have the option of resolving perferences by having one of each. At no time did you have to add a special disclaimer that reserved your right to rule on the policy by non-consquentialist reasons. In fact when it comes to religion, morals and ethics, consequentials are tossed out all the time. How many times have you heard people hawking lines about prayer lowering illness rates, abortion linked to depression, porn linked to bad marriages etc.? Holding you to the standard you would hold Biden, then, would require use to toss out you and a most religious advocates on grounds that they are just shoddy hawkers of curde consequentialism.

  17. That is they would think “in heaven sex/gender goes away”. This is not orthodox (or for that matter Orthodox) eschatology. But it may be where they get the notion that gender of the priest is unimportant.

    But is the reverse part of orthodoxy? In other words maybe its not orthodox to assert gender ‘goes away’ in heaven but is it orthodox to assert that we know ‘gender stays’? I do believe Jesus’s response to the question about whether a married couple remains married in heaven doesn’t prove but seems somewhat consistent with the ‘gender goes away’ theory you decry.

    Either way, I’m unclear what relationship this would have with ‘women preachers’. If you feel women can’t be preachers, but gender still ‘goes away’…..well then you’ll have no women priests because gender is here in the now. But even if you feel gender doesn’t ‘go away’, why is the practical matter of teaching and preaching formally excluded from women? As a practical matter, most people are introduced to their religion through female teachers. In the Catholic Church, for example, nuns have long done the heavy lifting of teaching religion with the priest swinging in for a weekly talk at mass.

    I suspect you could split the priest into an ‘iconic’ role as performing the sacrifice at mass versus ‘teachers’ who may or may not be priests. This would make the priest more of an actor who may be qualified for the role of ‘living icon’ but may not be the best teacher. Just as I’m sure the Orthodox Church doesn’t consider the artists who create icons infallible priests simply by the fact that they make icons.

  18. Boonton,

    Regarding Krugman … you mean like this:

    That means it was Real Krugman who wrote, on Sept. 14, 2001, that the terrorist attacks three days prior could “do some economic good” because “all of a sudden, we need some new office buildings,” and “rebuilding will generate at least some increase in business spending.” And it was the Real Krugman, as we noted in September 2010, who described World War II as “the miracle of the 1940s” because it entailed “government activism” that spurred an economic recovery.

    On the other hand, since Fareed Zakaria’s show is on CNN and not the Times website, it must’ve been Fake Krugman who told Zakaria earlier this month: “If we discovered that . . . space aliens were planning to attack and we needed a massive buildup to counter the space alien threat and really inflation and budget deficits took secondary place to that, this slump would be over in 18 months.”

  19. The key commonality to both the 9/11 quote and the fanciful alien threat was that total spending increased more than total destruction. While horrific, the 9/11 attacks destroyed a trivial portion of NYC office space. Likewise its the *threat* of an alien attack that spurs increased spending and economic recovery in the other hypothetical. The ideal case would then be a mass fear of an alien attack that never pans out. Of course if the aliens rain down hell on us, ala Will Smith in Independence Day then all bets are off.

    WWII is interesting in that in terms of the US domestic economy it is most like the alien threat and a wickedly good test of Keynesian versus Austrian predictions. In terms of physical destruction, the US suffered relatively little compared to other allied and axis countries. The massive spending on arms and retooling for war production would, from a Keynesian model, result in full employment during the war and probable full employment after. In the Austian model, while the war spending might have been unavoidable, the post-war result should be a massive depression as the economy struggles to shake off the massive ‘malinvestment’ caused by the gov’t running the economy and nearly all major production being for US gov’t goods rather than consumer ones.

  20. Boonton,
    What alien invasion movies do you watch. The one’s I’ve ever seen aren’t like that, there is no “increased spending” dwarfing total destruction. Typically they don’t involve an industrial buildup to engage in a strategic war which affords the time for an industrial re-tool and capacity increase to meet an invasion force. Which one looks like that? Most of them are more like the Independence Day/War of the Worlds themes. Oops. Remind me of the industrial expansion to meet the 9/11 threat, or do you mean the regulatory costs of the TSA expansion?

  21. Mark,

    Krugman specifically said in his hypothetical the stimulative effect would work best for a feared alien invasion that ends up not happening.

    Secondarily, stimulation works when the economy is under full employment, not at or near it. Post 9/11 spending did effectively counter a small recession that happened either due to the dot com bust or the 9/11 attacks themselves. On a per year basis, though, we are in a depression with a GDP shortfall of $1-$2T. Tossing in the war spending we are talking about maybe $200B a year. So yes the stimulative effect is there but its a sandbag against the ocean. (And we’re taking sand out of it as overseas military spending has been falling as Iraq and now Afghanistan wind down).

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