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Archive for April, 2011

Onion: Romney haunted by helping sick get health care

April 21, 2011 1 comment

My favorite part:

“The major strike against Mitt Romney is that he not only tried to help people get medical care, he actually did help people get medical care,” conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg said. “No other Republican in the field has that type of baggage. And in the end, in order to defeat President Obama, the GOP needs someone who has a track record of never wanting to help sick people.”

via Mitt Romney Haunted By Past Of Trying To Help Uninsured Sick People | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source.

Like a lot of good Onion stories, it’s funny because it has a grain of truth to it.

Whether Romney suffers in the 2012 primaries because he worked some pragmatic utilitarianism into his policies as governor will be the big test for the GOP. Does the party truly care about governing? Or just putting down “liberals”?

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Categories: politics Tags: ,

John Locke: Not lost in dogma but full of practical thought

April 18, 2011 Leave a comment

Pardon the pun, but seriously — I didn’t even watch “Lost,” and I knew there was a character named after this great philosopher.

In any case, this is the start of a promising series at Bleeding Heart Libertarians, perhaps because Locke’s libertarian streak is far less rigid and unkind than Rand et al.

A Bleeding Heart History of Libertarian Thought – John Locke – Bleeding Heart Libertarians.

Categories: philosophy, politics Tags:

Libertarian hearts bleed … for themselves

April 15, 2011 2 comments

The Bleeding Heart Libertarians blog continues to disappoint. Today, it’s a whiny post that suggest that if Ayn Rand had just been left-wing, she’d be recognized as brilliant. Oh, woe is us.

The commenters, thankfully, have hit this softball over the fence. (Yes, I chimed in.)

Come on, guys — if you’re not going to present the unique nonpartisan point of view you were promising, give it up. So far, this isn’t “bleeding heart” libertarianism. It’s just “frat boy” libertarianism, using renegade academics to excuse a selfish lifestyle.

Two Hypotheses Concerning Ayn Rand – Bleeding Heart Libertarians.

UPDATE: The post disappeared. Fortunately, I have it cached:

1. If Ayn Rand’s novels had exactly the same feel, tone, and style, but were left-wing rather than whatever-wing she is, she would be considered one of the world’s greatest novelists by the literati who right now hate her writing.

2. If Ayn Rand’s novels had been left-leaning, the literati who now hate her as a person would excuse most of her moral faults (manipulativeness, drug-addiction, etc.) rather than condemn her as a bad person.

By the way, I don’t intend 1 and 2 to be a defense of Rand so much as a criticism of others.

For some evidence in favor of 1 and 2, see this study by Drew Weston.

If the post comes back up, let me know, and I’ll take down the re-creation. Utilitarians are happy to abide by reasonable copyright restrictions.

UPDATE 2: The post has been clarified and reposted. I think my comment is still valid, though perhaps the “frat-boy libertarianism” comment is a little harsher than it should be. The rest of the comments under the new post are frankly better than mine. Consensus: Rand was a mediocre writer who rose to fame because she had a unique view of the world.

That said, Mill isn’t exactly a fun read. At least Rand tried to do something unique.

Categories: philosophy, politics

Pass the potatoes? That would violate my duty to self!

April 6, 2011 1 comment

Surely most Rand disciples don’t apply her philosophy so rigidly to the dinner table. Right?

Our objectivist education, however, was not confined to lectures and books. One time, at dinner, I complained that my brother was hogging all the food.

“He’s being selfish!” I whined to my father.

“Being selfish is a good thing,” he said. “To be selfless is to deny one’s self. To be selfish is to embrace the self, and accept your wants and needs.”

It was my dad’s classic response — a grandiose philosophical answer to a simple real-world problem. But who cared about logic? All I wanted was another serving of mashed potatoes.

via How Ayn Rand ruined my childhood – Real Families – Salon.com.