Archive for January 17th, 2010


Agent of Chaos

January 17, 2010

Curious George is a favorite around my house. I think I’ll spare my son, Jasper, the following annotation from Werner Herzog…but you might like it:

Me? I’m holding out for Marlon Brando reads Babar — because, that, my friends, is one seriously psychedelic children’s tale.


Good News Bears

January 17, 2010

Brian Leiter directs our attention — somewhat hyperbolically, I think — to this startling bit of wingnuttery from Charles Rowley, a professor of economics at George Mason University.

Given the closing quote, Leiter suggests that Rowley is calling for the assassination of the president. That’s a terrible thing to call for, of course, and it is maybe even true that Rowley is calling for that, but I’m here to rescue readers of Rowley’s ramblings from any such absurd conclusion.

Namely, Rowley’s logic is so manifestly abominable that even a merely moderately astute reader should ascertain that the concluding remarks are only randomly tacked on, and that the substance of the argument doesn’t affix to the concluding remarks.

Rowley uses this clever device to suggest that the current health care legislation signals a descent into tyranny:

Suppose, dear reader, that, while residing legally in the United States, you choose  not to purchase a daily newspaper.  Perhaps your choice is determined by a concern that all newspapers varnish the truth, perhaps by budgetary constraints.  Suppose that you choose not to outlay your monies on an annual vacation, perhaps because you believe that ‘your nest is always best’, perhaps because of budgetary constraints.  Suppose  that a bigot is elected to the presidency and ‘persuades’ Congress to require you to purchase a newspaper, or  to fine you for not so doing ; to require you to take an annual vacation, or to fine you for not so doing.  Would you not be alarmed, dear reader, by such an invasion of your liberty to engage or not to engage in specific market activities? Would you not view such an intervention as an act of tyranny much more serious than the eighteenth century interventions by King George III merely to tax certain kinds of consumption while yet leaving  his colonists  free to purchase or not to purchase the affected items?

Okay, suppose…

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