31 May 2017

Random observations for May 2017

All the great atrocities of history would have been impossible without obedience.

o o o o o

The environment is not a subset of the economy.  The economy is a subset of the environment.

o o o o o

Evolution moves in mysterious ways.  The human propensity for manipulating objects, and our development of spoken language, have given us extremely fine-tuned control over our hands and mouths -- which has revolutionized sexuality.

o o o o o

Casual profanity has become a tired cliché, and boring.

o o o o o

One odd little quirk of US politics is the right's obsessive belief that the left follows the teachings of a person named "Saul Alinsky".  In all my years of following politics, I've never seen any left-wing person mention Alinsky unless they were quoting or replying to a right-winger who had brought him up.

o o o o o

The stupidest argument of the global-warming denialists is that since carbon dioxide is necessary for life, it "cannot be a pollutant".  By this logic, since water is necessary for life, floods and tidal waves can't do any harm.

o o o o o

If you claim to support free expression even for people you disagree with, but in every actual specific case that comes up you find some excuse for doing otherwise (calling it "incitement" or "hate speech" or whatever), then you are not a supporter of free expression.

o o o o o

There are hundreds of Christian sects with slightly (or sometimes sharply) different beliefs about marriage, divorce, homosexuality, women's place in society, whether Genesis should be taken literally or not, what you need to do to avoid Hell, whether Hell even exists, how to treat non-Christians, whether clergy can marry, what happens during the End Times, and on and on.  Many Christians claim they have an absolute truth about the universe that everyone should adopt, but in 2,000 years they've never even been able to agree among themselves on what that truth is.

o o o o o

There is a certain type on the left for whom everything is about racism.  They will never entertain any other explanation of any problem, so long as there is any even remotely plausible way to invoke racism.  In its own way it's as bad a form of tunnel vision as the Sandersite (or Marxist or libertarian) insistence on treating all problems as essentially economic.

o o o o o

Do you believe in Heaven and Hell?  If you're like most people, you have at least one family member or close friend you care about, who does not meet your religion's criteria for getting into Heaven.  If you did actually go to Heaven after your death, would you be able to be happy there knowing that someone you cared about was suffering eternal torment in Hell?

[For previous random observations, see here.]


Blogger Donna said...

LOVE this!

31 May, 2017 05:50  
Blogger Rational Nation USA said...

Great list!

31 May, 2017 19:41  
Blogger Pinku-Sensei said...

"The environment is not a subset of the economy. The economy is a subset of the environment."

You got that right. I add an extra level, society. Here's what I wrote about the relationship among the three six years ago.

"[E]conomy is dependent on society, which is in turn dependent on the environment. Without an environment, there is no society. Without a society, there is no economy. Those relationships put sustainability into perspective. They also show that the emphasis on economy above all is exactly backwards. No wonder we're in trouble."

31 May, 2017 19:57  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

"The environment is not a subset of the economy. The economy is a subset of the environment."

Is there any way to get someone to fly a banner with this message over the WH? Or perhaps get a Russian to whisper it in one of Trump's ears, provided that it doesn't leak out the other one?

01 June, 2017 04:20  
Blogger Kevin Robbins said...

I have a golden idol of Saul Alinsky that I pray to every morning. At least I think it's Saul Alinsky.

01 June, 2017 10:07  
Anonymous Zosimus the Heathen said...

I remember once seeing an attempt by a Catholic apologist to address the problem raised by your last reflection. In response to someone asking him how a mother could be happy in Heaven knowing her son was burning in Hell, he basically said, "Well, God loved the son even more than his own mother did, and He's not going to be bothered by his damnation!" At the time, I was actually sort of impressed by his "logic", as cold as it was (in all fairness, I was probably only about 12 or 13), but now I realize that his response didn't provide a satisfactory answer to the other person's question at all!

02 June, 2017 06:18  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Donna/Rational: Thanks!

Pinku: Good point. Libertarians / Marxists think the abstract concept of "the economy" is more real than the physical world or cultural relationships whose persistence demonstrates their durability.

Shaw: I'm not sure he understands words with that many syllables.

Kevin: That's odd -- golden idols are normally of Ayn Rand.

Zosimus: That's because there is no satisfactory answer to that question. The best they can do is say something that sounds superficially reasonable for the time it takes them to move on.

02 June, 2017 06:29  
Blogger Kevin Robbins said...

Oh no, Bromberg is a Randian!

02 June, 2017 12:18  
Blogger mendip said...

A nice list! I was amused and surprised to hear about Saul Alinsky's continuing ability to instill fear and hatred amongst the yahoos. I'm sure he'd be quite amused, and quite proud as well, (I'd guesstimate the high point of his career being back in '72, with the McGovern candidacy, (and also the year he died)).

02 June, 2017 13:49  

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