Category Archives: Philosophy

How Republics Die

My thoughts on the most recent judicial atrocities, over at PJMedia.

[Update later afternoon]

Some thoughts from Randy Barnett on “judicial restraint” and Republican judicial appointments.

I know it sounds crazy, but I want judges to follow the Constitution, not the tyrannical majority. I also want them to overturn crap decisions. Stare decisis my ass.

[Update a little while later]

Should we make Justices accountable to the voters?

It seems like a bad idea to me. I agree with Cruz’s diagnosis of the problem, but not his remedy. I think that one of the reasons that impeachment is so toothless is the original wording: “High Crimes and Misdemeanors.” The Founders had a very clear view of what that meant, but most people today do not, as we discovered during the Clinton impeachment trial. The only successful impeachments and removals I can think of occurred in the context of gross and blatant corruption (Alcee Hastings, who was later re-elected), or actual criminality. The other part of the problem is that, while they were adamantly opposed to political parties and made no Constitutional provision for them whatsoever, they perhaps didn’t anticipate how difficult they would make impeachment (even though court appointments are in theory non-partisan).

I think a better solution might be to amend the Constitution to simply modernize the grounds for impeachment. For instance, “…or, in violation of their oath of office, persistent indifference to the Constitution and the rule of law.”

Who could argue with that? It would be quite entertaining to watch Democrats attempt to argue that office holders shouldn’t have to uphold their oath of office. And if it passed, it would force impeachment trials to actual discuss those arcane concepts.

[Update a few minutes later]

This is sort of similar to proposals to rein in the government by adding the words “and this time we really mean it” to the 9th and 10th amendments against encroachments by the flawed interpretations of the Commerce Clause. It would be a “this time we really mean it” to simply following the Constitution and the rule of law.

The Era Of Big Progressivism

is over.

As I’ve often noted, these people are neither liberal, or progressive. They don’t believe in freedom of expression, they don’t believe in freedom of contract, they don’t believe in freedom of conscience, they don’t believe in liberty, period. They are racist fascist leftists, as they’ve always been, and I will continue to fight to take back the language.

[Update a few minutes later]

Here’s a great example: “Shut up,” he explained.

The Airbag Recall

News you can use: Everything you need to know, including affected vehicles. Including our 2000 323i. Actually, the driver airbag in the car hasn’t worked for years, because the seat sensor is broken. I guess its possible that if we take it in for the recall, they’ll fix that as part of the job, but I don’t want to pay to do it. I’ve never been a big airbag fan.

There are two approaches to safety: Preventing accidents, and mitigating the harm from them. Airbags are primarily for people who don’t use seat belts. I’ve never liked the idea of having ordnance in my dashboard. If I could order a car without them, I would.

“Skeptics”

Why they hate climate skeptics:

As described above there were a number of factors and incidents that brought the skeptics movement to where it is today. Under different circumstance skeptical heroes might have included Freeman Dyson, Michael Crichton, Matt Ridley, Bjorn Lomborg, and Michael Fumento instead of Carl Sagan, Michael Mann, Bill Nye, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

The forces for group cohesion can be powerful. Within the skeptic community voices that dissented in any way (or even just said “I don’t know”) tended to become more and more marginalized. Those who might dissent now have for the most part left, shut up or deferred to “science” and their places have been taken by those who believe. I once asked on a skeptical forum, why the group responded so harshly to any statements challenging climate fears, but no one ever commented or challenged any statements no matter how ridiculous exaggerating climate fears. I was told that false statements against the climate understandings represented real threats, but little harm could come from overstatements of climatic risk. No one on that forum took issue with that position and that’s when I figured I could not learn much more there. This is a group on a mission that is not accepting of distractions.

I subscribed to the Skeptical Inquirer back in the eighties, but I quit when Schermer took over, it started to veer left, and to a dogmatic atheism.

Thoughts On “Punching Down”

Don’t let the wookie win:

There are no innocent depictions of Muhammad. The concept itself is out of bounds. That is fine for Muslims. But non-Muslims are under no obligation to acquiesce. McDonald is right that one ought not needlessly belittle or be wantonly cruel. But this notion of fair play, when coupled with knowledge of the consequences should one violate it, easily becomes a justification for an exaggerated cautiousness and wariness. It metamorphoses into a conviction that it is better to be safe than sorry, that even if offense isn’t intended one must refrain from saying something lest offense be taken, and those offended react badly.

That is, they may try to kill you because the very act of speaking on the subject is insulting. Not the content or substance of the speech, nor its tenor, but the existence of the words themselves. “[N]obody worries about upsetting a droid.” And quite rightly. But what about all the Wookiees out there?

The dread that “Here be Wookiees” underpins the Argument from Provocation. It is palpable in three of the most egregious responses to the attack on the Geller event, all of which essentially hold her responsible for the assassins’ failed gambit to kill her.

It’s long, but worth the read.

Neil Stephenson

Discusses his new novel, and the role of science fiction.

He is one of the few authors whose books I always look forward to reading, though I was a little disappointed with Anathem. But this looks like a fun read.

I should also note that one of the points I make in my book (and in op-eds) since, is that our unwillingness to use the hardware we have on hand to get into space is an indicator of how utterly unimportant human spaceflight is (a point that is accentuated by the relatively poor sales of a well-reviewed book). Stephenson describes a scenario in which it suddenly becomes very important to become as spacefaring as possible, as soon as possible, and how society reacts.

Space Settlement

Rick Tumlinson says the concept is taking hold within the space community.

Meanwhile, the Center For American Progress is having a symposium on the past and future of human spaceflight. Interestingly, as Jeff Foust notes on Twitter, NASA isn’t involved. Interesting also that it’s sponsored by a lefty institution. I suspect that this topic may set off a civil war on that side of the spectrum.