We are at a particularly contentious point in American politics. In all of it, there is a lot of finger-pointing. We blame the party bosses, the media, big money, lobbyists, extremists, and our own elected officials. Oh, and partisan politics: the worst bastards that every walked the Earth are our beloved fellow American sitting across … [Read more…]
In high school it was a great surprise for me to discover that the United States is overwhelmingly protestant. Living in Cajun country, I had simply assumed that most of the country was Roman Catholic. There are so many fascinating quirks and oddities that living in a ‘foreign’ culture offers. There are the differences of … [Read more…]
In one of the recent presidential debates, a panelist asked Ben Carson what he would do about ‘grey’ drugs, life-saving medicines that have recently seen astronomical price inflation. My ears perked up. For some time I have wondered about how we might resolve the tension, and where the balance point lies, between the considerations of … [Read more…]
We think that prejudice, in and of itself, is a problem. But we, all of us, are constantly prejudiced about what is going on in the world around us, not just about people but about business, technology, and government. If we were not ‘prejudiced’, if we did not expect certain patterns, we could not function.
The real problem is that when our initial impression – our prejudice – becomes our only impression. The problem isn’t prejudice; the problem is closed-mindedness.
One of the problems I see in so much of human activity is that we tend to conflate value with perfection. Too often, we think that ‘good’ means ‘flawless.’ I see this in medicine and biology, where some of my colleagues speak in hushed tones about the earlier scholars who generated fundamental ideas. It’s hero … [Read more…]
In previous posts we have been looking at functional definitions of liberal and conservative: not which is right or wrong, but when they are right or wrong. Part of our problem is hammer thinking: when you’re a hammer the whole world looks like a nail or worse, it looks like a game of ideological Whack-A-Mole. … [Read more…]
For the sake of conversation, let’s say the human brain is like an automobile, and there are three basic models: the Corvette, the Silverado, or the amphibious Max IV 6-wheeler ATV. You get to choose. The Corvette is the sexiest, the social elite; as a mind, it’s the equivalent of, say, Carrie Fisher, easily one of … [Read more…]
New Orleans Mardi Gras is a massive IED, always a half-Kelvin away from detonation. The policemen know that everyone in the crowd is in constant danger from a potential riot, and strict control has to be maintained.
So will normal police procedures work in such a situation? And do we really want to find out?
Free speech does not permit us to yell ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theatre; but what if we are only yelling ‘Firetrap!’? Free Speech Limits I have noted before that anger sells. I have no data, but I would guess that anger also sells any merchandise which accompanies the anger; that, while the carny is pushing … [Read more…]