Quote of the Day

Seems [person 1] does not take sides. [Person 2] makes discussions seem a matter of taking sides.

(From a Usenet discussion.)

Angie’s Law

In the spirit of Patca’s Law, I now propose Angie’s Law:

In my experience, people who tell me to read, learn, or think are almost invariably less well-informed than I am.

There is also Jonathan’s Corollary to Angie’s Law:

People who argue a political point by telling me to read an article or book that they link to are generally not worth arguing with.

Dog Language and Political Language

(I posted this on Photon Courier in 2004–it seems appropriate for the current political season)

When you talk to a dog, you don’t have to worry a lot about using syllogisms, complete sentences, good analogies, or crisply-argued chains of logic. What he’s looking for is keywords…particular words and short phrases…like “nice doggie” or “here” or, especially, “dinner.”

It strikes me that, increasingly, the way in which politicians address the American people is very similar. It’s enough to say the words that are supposed to elicit the conditioned responses…”jobs” or “health care” or “education.” There is increasingly little effort to specify exactly what cause-and-effect relationship will cause these good things to come to pass, and why one approach might be better than alternative approaches. This behavior is most noticeable among Democrats, but is by no means totally absent among Republicans.

Quote of the Day

The problem is not and never has been that having good manners must interfere with acknowledging the truth. By suggesting that it is, one is pandering to the cretinous lack of judgment that falls into confusion or rage at social rules about “a time and a place for everything”. Thus the “love of truth” is mixed with and debased by the preening thuggery of “keepin’ it real”, as if Larry Summers’s attempting to open inquiry on the subject of sex differences in scientific aptitude is of a piece with some talk-radio boor’s trash-talk. Klavan is correct to say that there are things “greater than courtesy”. But if both Summers’s speculations about women in science, and insulting comments about someone’s appearance, accurately illustrate your definition of “discourtesy”, you’ve been spending too much time in lefty charm school.
I don’t think we’re going to advance the battle for “the preservation of Western rationalism and liberty” by accepting the “bad guys” confusion of courtesy with obsequiousness, with its concomitant confusion of real debate with consensus-seeking.

Moira Breen