Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Two Kinds of Humor

Let some slapstick comedy flash before your mind momentarily and then, consider two ways of laughing at Man.

The first kind revels in his humiliation and destruction. It arises from frustration and resentment. It is nihilistic.

The second kind laughs at Man as a fool, a player in a comedy produced by God and meant for his entertainment, yet a a dear fool who must resolve to play his part to the best of his abilities and without taking himself too seriously.

It's important to know the difference. It's important to avoid the first kind and to indulge in the second.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Some Self-Evident Truths

A "self-evident" proposition is one that is obviously true to anyone who understands it. These truths are self-evident:

1. To support a free market does not mean to oppose the regulation of commerce. On the contrary, the concept of a free market without the rule of law hardly makes any sense.

2. It is not theocratic to argue that abortion ought to be as illegal because it is the wrongful killing of a human being. The civil rights movement, as deeply Christian as much of it was, was not theocratic. It is not obvious that the current moral support for abortion is not as foolish and wrongheaded as the moral support for slavery was in the early 19th Century.

3. To argue that big government welfare destroys self-reliance and prosperity and makes national bankruptcy inevitable should not be confused with arguing that one should not offer assistance to the poor.

4. There is a wide array of values we have inherited: liberty, hard work, justice, limited government, courage, charity, involvement in civil society, etc. It makes no sense to raise equality in property above these values.

5. It is not clear that equality in property is ever preferable to liberty, hard work, team work, charity, and self-reliance. It is not clear what would count as a good reason to say that a society in which liberty, hard work, team work, charity, and self-reliance were flourishing would be even better if the the government decreased the achievement of those values so that equality in property could be increased. For this reason it is not clear that equality in property is even a value at all.

6. It is hypocritical for a wealthy person to maintain his great wealth while advocating equality in property and holding that it is unjust for some to be rich while others are poor.

7. To advocate a system in which a small group of leftwing leaders and their technocratic experts maintain enormous political power and wealth while they keep the overwhelming majority of people in society relatively powerless and poor is to advocate kleptocracy and totalitarianism, not to take any sort of moral stance at all.

8. Leftism and totalitarianism both advocate the government's having great control over individuals' economic endeavors and property. If all the preceding truths are self-evident, then it is not clear how a leftwing government can maintain power without controlling speech and thought in order to stop those truths from being communicated, explained, discussed, and understood. If that is true, it is not clear how a leftwing government can avoid full totalitarianism if it is to maintain power.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Health Insurance

Yesterday, I received a letter from a health insurance company. It said that my policy would be cancelled in 2014 because it will not be acceptable under the new federal law. The deductible is too high, you see.

As we watch the debacle unfold, let us mull over alternatives. We could do some or all of the following:

1. Break up the hospital cartels. The feds break up other cartels and monopolies, but why not the hospital cartels?

2. Allow the purchase of health insurance across state lines. That this needs saying is deplorable.

3. Remove the coverage requirements placed on policies by state governments.

4. Encourage the purchase of actual major medical insurance instead of very low-deductible policies which are in effect pre-paid medical care services.

Monday, March 04, 2013


There is a curious twist in the mind of some liberals. I spoke with a private school history teacher today. He said that the liberal should be able to notice that, surprisingly, Soviet government was actually conservative. Because it was totalitarian, you see, enforcing government control of speech, thought, and so forth. It is truly incredible how tenaciously the human mind can embrace a manifest contradiction.

The mind does this when it turns in horror from the mirror, when it can't bear to look at itself. The deep tendency toward totalitarianism of people on the left is merely grotesquely exaggerated by Soviet government, rather than opposed by it. Right before this teacher's face are hoards of conservatives fighting the growth of government and the movement toward totalitarian control and espousing a return to limited government as stipulated by the U.S. Constitution. Yet, he cannot see.

This evening I was also told, yet again, that Americans conservatives wish to institute a kind of theocracy. What tangled webs we weave when we practice to deceive ourselves.

A Possible Theodicy

By "theodicy" I mean a theory intended to reconcile the fact that there is evil with the existence of God, the argument from evil being one of the most powerful arguments against the existence of God.

Consider this theodicy:

P1: It is psychologically impossible for any logically possible living being to understand the value of any possible world and feel appropriate gratitude for the existence of that world unless that world is tainted by severe and pervasive evil.
It would follow from this that if [P2] the best possible world entails the possibility for living beings to understand the value of that world and to feel appropriate gratitude for it, then [C:] the best possible world must be tainted by severe and pervasive evil.

As I have suggested in previous posts, the aforementioned understanding and gratitude is the point of meditation and prayer, and gratitude is a cardinal virtue. But, possibly, this gratitude cannot be achieved by any logically possible living being unless that living being must cope with severe and pervasive evil. In other words, no one, not even God, could design a living being which would have the psychological capacity to achieve it in a world of little or no evil.

Whether or not the premises (P1 and P2) of this theodicy are true, the argument appears to be valid. Are the premises true?