Monday Highlights

Ok. Back to it, after all, I haven’t stopped reading and saving links, just reporting them. So, what’s in the backlog.

  1. Here’s a x-mas suggestion for the old-calendar practitioners who haven’t gotten anything yet. (For those who don’t know, much of the Easter Orthodox are still on the Julian calendar 13 days later than the Gregorian until the end of the century. This is why the Orthodox Easter/Pascha is so wildly different from the West, as both are based on the full moon after the spring equinox, but … when that equinox is changes by 13 days).
  2. Mr Degrasse’s 8 “books everyone should read“. Yikes.
  3. I haven’t a clue whether Mr Schraub disapproves or approves but, geesh, anyone who holds Israel and ISIS as morally equivalent is ethically blind and should be regarded functionally as a psychopath.
  4. Here is another equivalence, possibly slightly less morally suspect.
  5. Yet again, repeat ad infintum, the argument against torture is not gotten via consequentialism.
  6. I’m not up to speed on hate speech and the legal status of same, but as a layperson one would be lead to suspect that “hate speech” should involve in some way, you know, actual hate or even mild dislike.
  7. Speaking of which, there are plenty of liberals who clearly hate conservatives. I wonder if their hate-speech microscope will be turned on themselves in this regard?
  8. Union labor and why it sucks so often.
  9. Very cool.
  10. Graft and equalite, liberte, fraternite (and buckets of blood).
  11. A gun (which is sort of on my wish-I-had-one list)

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  1. Boonton says:

    Mr Degrasse’s 8 “books everyone should read“. Yikes.

    Currently reading Give War and Peace a Chance by Andrew Kaufman and just finished How Star Wars Conquered the Universe by Chris Taylor .

    re #5, at yet consequentialism holds as a first principle. If torture doesn’t accomplish something useful for you, debating its larger morality is basically an academic exercise. And the fact is despite engaging in quite enough torture, not a single validated example of extremely useful information gained from torture has been presented. We do know, however, that torture defenders had worked hard to lie about how useful torture has supposedly been (for example, working to insert torture as essential to finding Bin Laden in the movie Zero Dark Thirty)…perhaps their conscience is causing some feeble attempts here at rationalizations.

    Anyway the fact that torture *may* work to extract useful information is a very different statement than saying torture will work. There’s a world of difference between saying “this chemotherapy will cure your cancer” and saying “this chemotherapy may cure your cancer”. The failure of the US to gain clear benefits from torture while clearly suffering negative consequences for its engaging in torture makes for a pretty good consequentialist based argument against torture.

  2. Mark says:


    The failure of the US to gain clear benefits from torture while clearly suffering negative consequences for its engaging in torture makes for a pretty good consequentialist based argument against torture.

    No. The first Apollo rocket blew up on the stand. A clear consequentialist based argument for not sending men to space. The problem with arguing against torture via consequentialism is that it certainly has worked in the past and that if in the future somebody else “does it better” then woops your justification against it just fell apart. “It doesn’t work” is not the reason not to do it. It is unethical, on the other hand is.

  3. Boonton says:

    You are attempting to argue that just because torture failed to work for the US, it might if the US made an effort to get better at it. But then what steps would be required of the US to get better at torture and what consequences would they carry? You cannot assume the pros at the end of the day will ever outweigh the cons.

  4. Mark says:

    Uhm, torture has worked in the past. Just because it (allegedly, not well investigated apparently) didn’t work here doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. Do you think in regimes where torture was used effectively that it was ethical and moral in those instances?

  5. Boonton says:

    How about presenting us with some examples of regimes that used torture and both demonstrated it both ethical and effective?

  6. Mark says:

    Uhm. Why? I argue it isn’t ethical ever. You’ve argued that it can be ethical if “it works”. I disagree. It’s unclear why you think “ethical+effective” need be supplied.