Monday assorted links


3. Entirely reasonable.

And related to Nozick’s water hole and impact:

"Americans who drink water solely from plastic bottles consume 86,000 more microplastic particles annually than those who drink only tap water, according to a new study."

But hey, money to be made. Maybe now and 40 years from now in interesting cancer treatments. Bottled water kids.

What percentage of Americans get their water “solely” from water bottles?

The nice thing about "solely" is that it's easy math from there to your personal consumption.

While I am not in favor of consuming any microplastic-particles you do realize that you shit them out, right? It's kinda like the dirt found on vegetables and in salads that isn't quite washed off. You don't want to think about it but no worries it travels right through you.

You poop out the remainder.


Meanwhile, tap water is fortified with iron and other essential metals. What's not to love?

2. Do you photoshop your family and friends who are with you onto the photos too?

I have never regretted taking a travel photo. I usually take about 15 per day when in a new city for a total of a about 1 minutes worth of work.

They don't have to be "insta quality" so I don't spend a lot of time on them. I never post them anywhere. I don't even have any social media accounts.

I always take a photo of my food. Unless I am a high end resturant.

And I always rediscover a moment from my picutures when I revisit them. Something that would have been forgotten had I not taken a photo.

I agree. Except for the high end restaurant. I conflate "high end" with "expensive" and it doesn't fit my budget.

4 -
"In 2018 in France, the home of liberal Christianity, 60 percent of Catholic dioceses failed to ordain a single priest or deacon. In Europe more generally, whatever people do on Sunday, they don’t go to church."

Not sure why this is a sign of "liberalism" failing

Who elected France "Home of liberal Christianity"?

Yes, I chortled too. The Albigensian Crusade and the St Bartholomew's Day Massacre really speak to liberal christianity, don't they?

"60 percent of Catholic dioceses failed to ordain a single priest or deacon."
So somebody has thought of the children.

Yeah, for further child protection, let's fire most scout masters and shut down most public schools.

"The reader is told that British and Scottish thinkers such as John Locke, Adam Smith, and John Stuart Mill ..." Oh for heaven's sake! Two of them were British, one and a half were Scottish, and one and a half English. The usual short way to cover the case would be to call them all British.

True, the Saxon allow the Scots pretend they have a country.

#1 "The speed at which information is transmitted and the images it sends to us have provided the impression that danger, death, and suffering half a world away and perhaps not concurrent is closer than ever. In ancient times this information came very slowly to your corner of the world or not at all."

- Eugene Weber, UCLA

They still use images from the Biafran War to coax money for hunger campaigns in Africa. I am prepared to believe this is true, especially when not watching and/or reading the news.

#4 Exactly. That's why President Captain Bolsonaro's motto is "Brazil above everything. God above everyone". I thank President Captain Bolsonaro for his leadership.

But despite this Brazil is one of the most corrupt states in South America (itself a low bar):

America could do better, too bad the libertarians shout "no regulation!"

Mistakes have been made. In Brazil, however, crimianls are punished. Former president Mr. Lula is behind bars. So is famous fotmer Rio de Janeiro State governor Mr. Cabral. Most living former presidents are under federal investigation. Has Trump locked her up? Or wad it a ruse to fool the rubes?! Prseident Captain Bolsonaro has kaunched an anti-crime/anti-corruption offensive.

@Mulp, prior, anon, shrug, bear, McMike, Rayward, Bill.

You will see from Thiago above how to properly commit to the bit. If your goal is to increase your MR Character rating, then Thiago should be your role model.

Ah, but virtue requires more.

What else?

A lot of us are doing that already. We just substitute President Mr. Trump for President Captain Bolsonaro.

4. Mostly correct, but with some category error.

I am a great fan of virtue, and I learned a lot about moral philosophy in a Lutheran church. But Lutherans aren't the only religion to teach moral virtue. I know it's a shocker, but some non-Western religions do too.

And of course not all religions, Christian or otherwise, really focus on moral responsibility, or especially personal searches for truth. Some, ranging from what I might call orthodox to fundamentalist, are about rigid templates and obedience. Those sects, no matter their overarching category, are a danger to liberalism and democracy.

It sure ain't Christians good, everybody else bad.

This is a category error: the battle is between Christianity (for which you can read religious belief if you need to) and modern atheistic rationalism, i.e. a post Christian liberalism.

It's very funny, but the majority of values of the left (charity being valued, truths being universal, treating people the same regardless of background) came from Christianity. While Christianity is viewed as the traditionalist religion of the west, its universality makes it far different than older pagan religions, its single standard for all of humanity make it different than Judaism, and its encouragement to its followers to be peaceful and to submit to oppression set it apart from Islam. Before Chritianity, polygaism, temple prostitution, and infaticide were commonplace in the west.

As the left moves away from Christianity, it will be more about expanding lifestyle choices and individual autonomy than creating laws and programs to help the poor, sick, and weak. It will be a semi libertarian ideology for upper middle class Brooklyners who do not want to be ashamed about polyamory and abortion

>As the left moves away from Christianity...


They fled it, screaming, about fifty years ago.

Pick up a paper, Bob.

"and its encouragement to its followers to be peaceful and to submit to oppression set it apart from Islam."

Someone should have told some nobles and popes that. And the Founding Fathers. And Cromwell's Puritans.

"As the left moves away from Christianity, it will be more about expanding lifestyle choices and individual autonomy than creating laws and programs to help the poor, sick, and weak."
Because evidently the Religious Right is about those things.

When we assume room temperature, Jesus will ask, "What did you do for the least of my brethren?" [See Matthew 25] Will you answer, "I voted for Hillary!"?

The dead liberalism the article laments is not the liberalism of 21st century Americans. That fake liberalism is not motivated by charitable, humanistic, or religious precepts, but abortion, aggressive atheism, control, gender dysphoria, money, power, racism, and sodomy. Not that there is anything wrong with any of that.

This is the worst ideological Turing test fail I've seen since I've been on the force. Gonna have to bring you in, son.

Kick a liberal in the balls and a Nazi screams.

They scream "take that Jewish liberal scum!!"

Is your real name Ilhan Omar, Linda Sansour, or Rashida Tlaib?

Is yours Richard (Dick) Spencer?

Mine is spelled D-e-p-l-o-r-a-b-l-e.

"Will you answer, 'I voted for Hillary!'"
Apparently, many Evangelicals decided that "I voted for/supported Trump" was what their version of Christianity demanded. Ideas have consequences. Sometimes political consequences.
"See Matthew 25"
Maybe the wall should be ornamented with this verse. I mean, properly amended to read, "What did you do for the least of my White, American, Protestant brethren" of course. We don't want to invite Pat Robertson's wrath.

Pat who?

The face of American conservative Christianity.

God works in mysterious ways, but it being not Hillary isn't a shocker.

It being Trump is.

The orange narcissist Trump doesn’t have to be God, a job he’s spectacularly ill suited for anyway. All he has to do, in order to be an effective, successful and even memorable Potus is to not be Hillary. In this regard, he’s already been fine: he has challenged PC thought, has appointed non progressive judges, has forced us to think about the human wave of illegals from the South, which even if one is generally well disposed (as I am and most Americans are) towards immigration seems flawed in allowing people in when they aren’t true asylum seekers and who are encouraged by the system to become scofflaws, and has defined and defended basic national interests re: trade and international relations (this includes challenging naive globalization).

He’s also allowed the great economic recovery, which Obama jumpstarted, to proceed without too much interference. (To think that AOC and Bernie Sanders and others want to destroy the sainted Obama’s free market legacy!)

It is amazing to me that DJT didn't get us into a war with Iran or North Korea by this point, and that moving the embassy to Jerusalem didn't end up inspiring another war in the Middle East. The Israelis have the Palestinians under their thumbs nowadays better than could ever be predicted. But, back to the American President: The tax cuts were a joke of fiscal policy, the trade war has been disastrous and continues to be risky, and environmental policy (or lack thereof) has been literally sickening, but you gotta hand it to the administration. Even with an idiot like DJT at the helm, they still managed to continue world peace and keep the economic growth engine running... for now. That's highly commendable and perhaps even outweighs the damage done in the meantime. For that, the deplorables deserve at least some applause.

Many pagan religions were universalistic and able to peacefully absorb gods from other cultures into their own pantheon; there were no religious wars inspired by Zeus. Buddhism and some similar Asian religions are also more universalistic than Christianity in that they extend compassion to animals.

4. Stuart notes "Auguste Comte is not mentioned in the book, but his 'religion of humanity' probably should have been."

If Comte was not mentioned once in Rosenblatt's book, perhaps he merited not only mention but an entire chapter.

As founder of sociology and his dotty "religion of humanity" (evangelized, preached, and promulgated to this day, mutatis mutandis, by pious sociologists, social media devotees, and academic hierophants), the sociology of Comte lives today as "a new religion" and "rational" successor to Christianism.

Whether or how this "old religion of humanity" comes to be merged with emerging enviromaniacal hysteria remains to be seen, but a distinctly religious enviromaniacal dogma coupled with compulsory sociological zeal could well become High Religious Fashion in a matter of only years, to judge from the quick, uncritical acceptance of social media by unsuspecting, untutored humanity.

Exactly. Monsieur Comte inspired Brazil's 1889 Revolution. Brazil's motto, Order and Progress, was inspired by his teachings.

N2. I was in Israel last week. Food was amazing everywhere.

The highlight was the feast of Eid in the house of an Arab friend

4. "With the waning of liberal Protestantism, western countries increasingly find themselves once more in need of help to produce virtuous citizens fit for republican self-rule. Now, more than ever, liberal societies need a vibrant, orthodox Christianity—even, or perhaps especially, one that is not tame." That's the end of the linked essay. I'm not sure how "orthodox Christianity" can solve the world's problems, much less restore virtue. After all Donald Trump, the most unvirtuous of presidents, finds his strongest support among orthodox Christians. What the author opposes, what the Austin Institute (known as the Witherspoon Institute of the South) of which he is a part opposes, is gay marriage and abortion in particular but more generally the decline of patriarchy and the rise of the (devine) feminine. The religious right's obsession with sex and sexual practices, especially anal sex, makes one wonder where they find their virtue. Christopher Hitchens, that well-known atheist, once remarked that anal sex was overrated. I's suggest that the Austin Institute recruit Hitchens for its next video on virtue and sex but Hitchens is dead.

(divine) feminine

Moreover, there already is an Orthodox Christianity, and it's all about weird beards and hats.

The thing I like most about Orthodox Christianity is the hats.

2. I disagree with this:

"...whenever I end up with a famous landmark in front of me I'm in the habit of snapping the same predictable pictures as any other traveler. These photos do just diminish the experience of seeing the thing with no real upside, so in the future I will be more intentional to restrict myself to taking photos that I think i'll only get if I myself take them."

Even when it's true that your photo won't be particularly original -- do you want a photo of the famous scene in your batch from the trip or not? If yes, is it really easier to go hunt up somebody else's image online and add it to your stream (like some travelers from decades ago who bought slides from the gift shop to insert in their deck)? Isn't it actually easier to just take your own damn photo? And isn't that photo (taken from right where you were standing, at the same time of year, in the same weather and lighting) a better memory trigger than anybody else's would be?


This is my photo. There are many like it but this one is mine.

My wife says the same about me. There are many like me, and even more that surpass me, but I’m hers.

Sometimes you see a TV news video of some brief impromptu public appearance by a famous figure, post-presidency Obama for example, surrounded by a crowd of mostly young people who are seeing him in person for the first and perhaps only time in their lives.

And most of the crowd has their iPhones out and they're staring intently at the tiny screen that they are recording, instead of looking at the man himself, standing maybe twenty feet away.

When they watch that shaky low-quality video later, it won't merely trigger memories of their original viewing experience. Rather, it will precisely reproduce it.

What does that have to do with travel photos? Not much. But I think about over-documentation and runaway social-media culture, and traveling or not, the phone almost always stays in my pocket. Sometimes it's best to apply the "right to be forgotten" to yourself.

Well, there is a big difference between snapping a photo or two which occupy a tiny fraction of time during an event vs videoing the entire thing. I've seen people miss out on experiences (and annoy others) by obsessively trying to record everything (elementary school class musical performances immediately come to mind). I agree -- don't do that. But, at the same time, don't skip taking a few photos simply because 'lots of other people have already taken a photo of the same thing'.

2. I grew up in a tourist attraction, where the tourists took photos of, well, anything, even me (because I lived there and was a novelty, I guess). I don't understand the obsession with taking photos. I watch golf on television. When Tiger is playing, the fans lining the tee boxes, fairways, and greens take photos of every shot Tiger hits. What the heck! When my family gathers for a holiday, someone will take a group photo, and I am glad I have them (because some of the family members are now gone). People taking stupid photos of everything they see on vacation reminds me of the 1960s comedian Jackie Vernon, who would pretend to show slides of his vacation - there were no slides, just a click and his narration of what we were "looking" at. It was stupid, and funny (for awhile). Who would have guessed that Jackie Vernon was a soothsayer, predicting a cultural phenomenon many years hence.

A friend of mine keeps everything, including the hundreds of slides she made of her Rotary Club-sponsored year as an exchange student in a South American country. I've told her we'd actually like to see them; someday we will have that as an evening's kitschy entertainment after dinner. She said when she returned home she was asked to make a presentation to the local Rotarians who had made her trip abroad possible, so she showed her slides. All of them, click, click, click, without much in the way of interesting commentary (she was a teenager after all). She was mortified when the lights came back on and most of the businessmen were fast asleep.

Take some good vacation shots of yourself and your spouse while you both are relatively young and attractive -- so decades later you have an answer to the question, "What the hell was I thinking?"

4. Is political theory failing because it's onanistic?

#4...Perhaps because Trump exaggerates everything he does, a modern day Joe Isuzu, he's infecting the country with a strain of bluster and pomposity. The exaggerated demise of liberalism and exaggerated fear of what Trump can actually accomplish, are embarrassing to behold. In 1974, during a rough patch in our country's history, Russell Kirk wrote the following....

"The higher kind of order, sheltering freedom and justice, declares the dignity of man. It affirms what G. K. Chesterton called “the democracy of the dead”—that is, it recognizes the judgments of men and women who have preceded us in time, as well as the opinions of people living at this moment. This higher kind of order is founded upon the practical experience of human beings over many centuries, and upon the judgments of men of vision and intellect who have preceded us in time."

"Against this higher kind of order, there contend in our age various ideologies—fanatic political creeds, often advanced by violence. By definition, “ideology” means servitude to political dogmas, abstract ideas not founded upon historical experience. Ideology is inverted religion, and the ideologue is the sort of person whom the historian Jacob Burckhardt called the “terrible simplifier.” Communism, fascism, and anarchism have been the most powerful of these ideologies. The simplistic appeal of ideological slogans continues to menace the more humane social orders of our time."

"The American order of our day was not founded upon ideology. It was not manufactured: rather, it grew. This American order is not immutable, for it will change in one respect or another as the circumstances of social existence alter. American laws are not like the laws which Lycurgus gave to the Spartans, never to be altered at all. Nor do we Americans emulate another people of old Greece, the Locrians—whose magistrates put a rope around the neck of any citizen who proposed a change in the laws. (If the reformer convinced the people of his wisdom, honors were heaped upon him; but if he did not persuade them that his proposals were desirable, he was hanged by the neck until dead.) As Edmund Burke said, change is the means of our preservation."

"But also we must have permanence in some things, if change is to be improvement. Americans generally retain a respect for their old moral habits and their old political forms, because those habits and forms express their understanding of order. This attachment to certain enduring principles of order has done much to preserve America from the confused and violent change that plagues most modern nations."

"No order is perfect: man himself being imperfect, presumably we never will make our way to Utopia. (If ever we arrived at Utopia, indeed, we might be infinitely bored with the place.) But if the roots of an order are healthy, that order may be reinvigorated and improved. If its roots are withered, “the dead tree gives no shelter.” Permanence and progression are not enemies, for there can be no improvement except upon a sound foundation, and that foundation cannot endure unless it is progressively renewed. The traveller in the wasteland seeks the shelter of living order.2 This book is meant to water roots, for the renewing of order and the betterment of justice and freedom. What Patrick Henry, in 1776, called “the lamp of experience” is our hope of order refreshed."

Take a breath, please.

Comment of the year? In the running for sure.

Sounds like just another few paragraphs of Russel Kirk confusing himself.

#6. How did this not happen in America first?

Look up Aeron office hockey.

#1 - This assumes peoples' self-evaluations of happiness are more accurate than their evaluations of others' happiness. I'm inclined to believe the opposite, that people systematically over-estimate their own happiness and correctly estimate others. Or ya know, somewhere in between.

Steve Sailer, who used to comment here often, once explained something that I had understood, but had never articulated:

"French people wake up every day happy that they are French".

This is true of almost all groups of people. Most women are happy that they are women, ditto for men, most skinny people and most slightly overweight people are happy that they are skinny and slightly overweight, and so on. Africans are happy to wake up on the African continent, geniuses (I have known five or six in my life) are generally happy to be geniuses, and people who are not troubled by philosophical doubt are happy to be untroubled by philosophical doubt - I could go on .....

Why should "millennials" be different?

Of course if we define people by their afflictions (something I never do, but as an amateur faith healer who never ever ever would take a single cent for my modest efforts to heal the afflicted people whom I meet, every once in a while, and who ask me to pray for them ---- though I would never take a single cent for my prayers and the offering up of my sufferings - you have no idea how much credit I have on that ledger (!) or perhaps you do, you too are a human in a world not made for humans, well not since long long ago (I remember) ----- well I would never define someone by the problems they have in life but when we pray for others we necessarily pray that such problems be alleviated by the Grace of God through the working of the Holy Spirit: it is difficult, in this world, to understand the troubles of others, but God does not want us to be unjoyful merely because of difficulties)

Of course if we define people by their afflictions we are going to think that people are not all that happy, let us define them by their possibilities.

It is no small thing to pray that someone repents of their cherished faults (millions of Christians pray, for example, that poor Bergoglio will repent of his addiction to insulting people with what he thinks are "popular" phrases but which are merely ugly and sad trite expressions of unchristian contempt - that is an example from the Roman Catholic sphere. Such examples occur in almost all spheres, among the wonderful Mormons, the Muslims, the gentle Bahai and Jain, the passionate Confucians and the pure Buddhists - you know what I am saying):

and I can say this: there is nobody alive on the face of this earth who has not, at least once in a while, been invited to fully understand that God loves that person, and wants that person to never ever treat another person badly, and wants that person to always remember that one moment, or to remember those many moments, when God spoke to that person, as a friend speaks to a friend (Cor ad Cor loquitur)

Feliz Lunes .

Long long ago this world was a world made for humans.

Try and remember, if you can, and if you can't, read some Milton or some Peguy (Paradise Lost, by Milton, with Eve as a main character, or the epic poem Eve by Peguy, with Eve, of course, as a character described therein)


"God has a hard on for the Marines ... we keep heaven packed with fresh souls."

That was a movie Marine.

... and I can say this, there is nobody alive on the face of this earth who hat not, at least once in a while, been invited to fully understand that God loves you, whoever you are, and wants you to never ever treat another person badly, and wants you to remember that one moment, or to remember those many moments, where God spoke to you, personally, as a friend speaks to a friend (COR AD COR LOQUITUR)

or alternatively turn away from these words and say to yourself that the person who wrote them was just one of those simple-minded people with an "imaginary friend" in the sky

I assure you that if your reaction is to think such disparaging thoughts, you are not trying hard enough to understand. Try harder. Don't be inveigled by mean spirited or silly and proud people. God created you as a creature with as much or more dignity than the famous atheists and doubting philosophers who were so famous in your youth, among the intellectuals who were so easily swayed .... Sad!

God loves us all. Don't ever let some rich professor with his or her sad desire for a factitious Nobel Prize tell you otherwise.

Memorize Proverbs 8, whether you agree with me or not.
God loves us all.

Feliz Lunes, hoy esta la primera día de la Octava de SHAVUOT

#1: They say that one of the best ways to predict who will win an election is asking people who they think will win; perhaps asking people how happy they think other people gives a better estimate of happiness than asking people to self-report.

Re #4 I am convinced that TC's opinion that religious thinkers are the most underrated thinkers is a joke on all of us. The stuff that gets posted here (e.g., #4 and everything Douthat) is not particularly sophisticated or interesting and pretty consistently moves me in the opposite direction. The Witherspoon Institute actually showcases some coherent and worthwhile thinkers so I'm at a loss as to why this one was linked

#4. Now do "Is Christianity failing because it rejected liberalism?"

On #1, I still wonder if the estimated percentages of happiness are closer to the truth than the self-reported percentages. It has to be difficult to admit that you are not happy, even to a survey. Could certainly see that inflating the self-reported percentages. But since we don't have any way of objectively assessing happiness that's hard to test...

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