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Quotes for gearing up for the next adventure

I offer these nine short quotes so sum up my emotions this morning. I’ve recently concluded a rather intense and unsuccessful foray into public interest law. Down but not out. It’s time to turn my energies to a new project, not to cloister myself:

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Do the next right thing.”
Dale Irwin (A Kansas City consumer attorney, a friend of mine, who I hold in the highest esteem)

“If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough.”
― Mario Andretti

There is no such thing as a disembodied mind. The mind is implanted in the brain, and the brain is implanted in the body.
Antonio Damasio (Neuroscientist)

“I will keep constant watch over myself and – most usefully – will put each day up for review… Let us balance life’s books each day…” – Seneca

Many People Die at 25 and aren’t buried until they are 75.
Benjamin Franklin

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”
Voltaire.

“To understand everything is to forgive everything.”
― Buddha

“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”
― William Wilberforce

December 10, 2017 | By | Reply More

A history of the female nude in art

This excellent article by Jesse Prinz surveys than 4,000 years of the female nude in art.  The website is Artboullion and the article is “Venus Stripped Bear: A History of the Female Nude.”

December 10, 2017 | By | Reply More

John Cleese Speaks Out on Political Correctness

John Cleese argues that if we don’t reign in political correctness, we will drain our society of humor, all of which challenges, and is critical. If allowed to an extreme, political correctness drives us not toward something useful, but to something Orwellian.

December 10, 2017 | By | Reply More

Trump’s Three Main Techniques for Avoiding Honest Communication

I have a difficult time even wanting to think about the man who is further degrading the Presidency every day, but it is important that we cut through the noise and work hard to understand how he convinced so many people to vote for him.

John Oliver identifies three specific techniques Donald Trump uses to avoid meaningful communication:

  • Delegitimizing the Media
  • Whataboutism
  • Trolling

This video is filled with video illustrating these problems. This video is one month old, but very worth watching for its precise analysis of these problems.

December 10, 2017 | By | Reply More

America Retreats to Tribalism

At New York Times, Timothy Egan notes that Americans are retreating to tribalism, and this is not a good thing. Here is an excerpt from Egan’s article, “The National Crackup.”

The American experiment [is the] the audacious idea that people from all races, ideologies and religious sects would check their hatreds at the door after becoming citizens is our sustaining narrative.

Within our borders, Protestants don’t fight Catholics, Sunnis don’t go after Shiites, Armenians share neighborhoods with Turks, and a family that can trace much of its ancestry to slavery occupied a White House built in part by slaves.

But that tenuous construct is breaking apart. We are retreating to our tribal, ethnic and primitively prejudicial quarters. Everything is about race and identity. We come from privilege, or oppression. We choose politicians based on whether they help our tribe or hurt People Like Us.

Stupidly, the left is playing its part in this crackup, perhaps ensuring that Trump will stay in office. When people shout, “Check your privilege” at a speaker at a public event, what they’re saying is, “Shut up, your opinion doesn’t matter because of the color of your skin.”

October 30, 2017 | By | Reply More

What Happened at Yale regarding the Halloween Costume Email?

An explosion of victimhood/censorship at Yale regarding a Halloween Costume email is often referenced. This article in Atlantic spells out many of the details.

October 28, 2017 | By | 1 Reply More

On Raising Fragile Children

Lenore Skenazy (an early critic of helicopter parenting) and Jonathan Haidt have written a detailed article describing the problem that modern paranoid parenting is producing fragile children. “The Fragile Generation” published by Reason.com, is an excellent read. Because I grew up in the 60’s where free play was ubiquitous, this passage on free play especially resonated with me . . .

October 27, 2017 | By | 1 Reply More

The Effect of Concepts Creeping to the Left

In this paper titled, “Why Concepts Creep to the Left,” Jonathan Haidt supplements Nick Haslam’s paper titled “Concept Creep,” in which concepts such as bullying, trauma and addiction morph over time. And there are newish terms that have become prominent and expansive in recent years, “trigger warnings” and “microaggressions.” But these concepts don’t merely change. They change to the whims of the political left. And they especially change for current students and young adults rather than those over 40. In his article, Haidt asks why there is a direction to that change. Haidt writes:

These terms are part of a new conceptual package that includes all of the older concepts long referred to as “political correctness” but with greatly expanded notions of harm, trauma, mental illness, vulnerability, and harassment. These concepts seem to have expanded in just the way that Haslam (2016) describes — horizontally, to take in new kinds of cases (such as adding the reading of novels to the list of traumatizing activities) and vertically, to take in ever less extreme versions of older cases (as is made explicit by the prefix “micro” in the word “microaggression”). In this conceptually augmented political correctness, the central idea seems to be that many college students are so fragile that institutions and right-thinking people must all work together to protect vulnerable individuals from exposure to words and ideas that could damage them in a lasting way. If this protection requires banning certain speakers from campus, or punishing student newspapers that publish opinions that upset the dominant campus sensibility, then so be it.

What are the reasons for this expansion of these concepts to the left. Haidt explores several possibilities . ..

October 24, 2017 | By | 3 Replies More

Mob behavior and threats to free speech described and discussed by Nicholas Christakis

I recommend this excellent discussion by Nicholas Christakis on the topics of mob behavior, moral panics, and current threats to free speech. Illiberal behavior is destroying our ability to talk with each other, notably on the places where we would most expect vigorous exchanges of ideas: college campuses. Christakis is a sociologist and physician who conducts research in the area of biosocial science, investigating the biological predicates and consequences of social phenomena. He directs the Human Nature Lab at Yale University. Sam Harris presents this discussion on his Waking Up podcast.

At the tail end of the podcast, Christakis and Harris mention the work of Greg Lukianoff, President of FIRE, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

The mission of FIRE is to defend and sustain individual rights at America’s colleges and universities. These rights include freedom of speech, legal equality, due process, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience—the essential qualities of individual liberty and dignity. FIRE’s core mission is to protect the unprotected and to educate the public and communities of concerned Americans about the threats to these rights on our campuses and about the means to preserve them.

FIRE has achieved long successful string of legal victories through its Speech Litigation Project. 

October 11, 2017 | By | Reply More