Friday, April 25, 2014

Philosophy

Ten Books for Conservatives (podcast)

From Accuracy in Media, in a podcast Don Irvine talks with Dr. Benjamin Wiker, author of 10 Books Every Conservative Must Read: Plus Four Not to Miss and One Impostor; 10 Books That Screwed Up the World: And 5 Others That Didn’t Help; The Darwin Myth: The Life and Lies of Charles Darwin (reviewed here); and Answering the New Atheism: Dismantling Dawkins’ Case Against God. Audio only: 21 minutes 28 seconds. Some of the people he discusses include Plato, the Anti-Federalists, and Ayn Rand, who we learn hated Ronald Reagan and conservatives in general. Amazon.com lists the works Wiker covers …continue reading

‘Alternating Worlds’—Gary Wolf and the Definition of Humanity

Alternating Worlds by Gary Wolf iUniverse, Inc. ISBN-10: 0-595-34002-4 ISBN-13: 978-0595340026 December 2004 182 pages Trade paperback: $13.95 at Amazon.com “Everything you touch turns to gold. You could afford to retire in the grandest style and engage in any pursuit. Yet you become embroiled in the petty quarrels of a fallen civilization.” “Fiction,” according to Jessamyn West, “reveals truth that reality obscures.” The same could go for fiction’s inchoate and obstreperous offspring, science fiction (SF). Gary Wolf just keeps on putting the fiction—as defined by Jessamyn West—back into science fiction. For a generation that defines SF as Star Wars shoot-’em-up …continue reading

A Lesson about the Second Amendment for Young Gun Owners

With My Rifle by My Side: A Second Amendment Lesson by Kimberly Jo Simac, with illustrations by Donna Goeddaeus Nordskog Publishing, Inc. ISBN: 978-0-9827074-4-9 June 2010 48 pages Hardcover: $18.95 at Amazon.com Unlike today’s ruling elites, the Founding Fathers held firearms in high regard, not simply as a means of obtaining food but also of ensuring freedom. While customs and technology may have changed in the intervening centuries, the tendency of governments towards tyranny has not, and the need to school children in the safe and responsible use of guns is as vital as ever. An example of the Founders’ …continue reading

‘Avatar’—A “Push for a Return to Neo-pagan Animism/Pantheism”

In his January review of James Cameron’s latest effort, “Avatar and the ‘New’ Evolutionary Religion,” Christian author Carl Wieland offers a thoughtful response to a recent film: Movies, no less than painting, literature, and other expressions of popular culture, both reflect and influence the worldview of the age and society that produces them. Films in particular (especially box-office hits, as Avatar will doubtless be) can have considerable power to further shape a society’s worldview—a set of beliefs and assumptions that are widely held as ‘givens,’ even if subliminally so. To be most effective at this, a film should not depart …continue reading

DNA, Nature’s God, and America’s Political Freedom

On the Discovery Institute’s Evolution News & Views weblog, Stephen C. Meyer unites science, religion, and politics: Is [Thomas] Jefferson’s belief ["asserting the inalienable rights of human beings derived from 'the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God'"] still credible in light of current science? The decades following Darwin’s publication of Origin of Species saw the rise of “social” Darwinism and eugenics, which suggested that the Jeffersonian principle of intrinsic dignity had been overturned. Taken to heart, Darwin’s view of man does undermine the vision of the Founders. As evolutionary biologist George Gaylord Simpson explained, Darwinism denies evidence of design …continue reading

Thoughts for Independence Day (10)

From John Hancock (after signing the Declaration of Independence): There, I guess King George will be able to read that. From George Bernard Shaw: Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it. From Edward Abbey: A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government. The tank, the B-52, the fighter-bomber, the state-controlled police and military are the weapons of dictatorship. The rifle is the weapon of democracy. Not for nothing was the revolver called an “equalizer.” Egalite implies liberte. And always will. Let us hope our weapons are never needed—but do not forget what …continue reading

The World of ‘Nineteen Eighty-four’—George Orwell’s Unhappy School Days Writ Large

In a recent article (also available as a podcast), “The Brilliant but Confused Radicalism of George Orwell,” Jeff Riggenbach at the libertarian Ludwig von Mises Institute alerts us to the early childhood experiences of Orwell (real name: Eric Blair) in an English prep school, St. Cyprian’s—events which Riggenbach and other commentators maintain ultimately led to the grim, blighted, and sadistic world of his magnum opus, Nineteen Eighty-four:      But worse than the pedagogical limitations of the place — in Orwell’s memory, at least — were the cruelties and brutalities it employed and encouraged among its students. Orwell remembered his years at …continue reading

Thoughts for Independence Day (9)

From Ralph Waldo Emerson: America is another name for opportunity. Our whole history appears like a last effort of divine providence on behalf of the human race. The true test of civilization is, not the census, nor the size of the cities, nor the crops—no, but the kind of man the country turns out. From Aesop: Better to starve free than be a fat slave. From Marilyn vos Savant: What is the essence of America? Finding and maintaining that perfect, delicate balance between freedom ‘to’ and freedom ‘from.’ From Calvin Coolidge: Patriotism is easy to understand in America; it means …continue reading

Thoughts for Independence Day (8)

From John Adams: I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in Providence, for the illumination of the ignorant and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth. Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean of the characters and conduct of their rulers. I am well aware …continue reading

Thoughts for Independence Day (7)

From Benjamin Franklin: Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote! They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. Where liberty dwells, there is my country. Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. All Wars are Follies, very expensive, and very mischievous ones. When will Mankind be convinced of this, and agree to settle their Differences by Arbitration? Were they to do it, even by the Cast of a Dye, it would be better than …continue reading