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Tag Archives: Philosophy of Freedom

Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 540 of the final (2016) volume – Bourgeois Equality – of Deirdre McCloskey’s soaring trilogy on the essence of bourgeois values, on their transmission, and on their essential role in modern life: The trouble with a liberal society is that it has few defenses against the worst of left or right dogma, because its leading principle is pluralistic nondogmatism. Comments

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Some Covid Links

Wall Street Journal columnist James Freeman is pessimistic about our prospects of being released from the tyranny of hygiene socialism. A slice: Those of us who hoped that at some point a reasonable consideration of costs and benefits might somehow find its way into political deliberations on the virus have of course been disappointed. For the most costly of the Covid rules, the search continues for a way to confirm the benefits. In a new study researchers at Stanford University review...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 27 of Lionel Trilling’s Winter 1948 Kenyon Review essay titled “Manners, Morals, and the Novel“; I learned of this quotation – and of the essay in which it appears – from reading the late Gertrude Himmelfarb’s 1994 volume, On Looking Into the Abyss, where she herself uses this quotation on page x: Some paradox of our natures leads us, when once we have made our fellowmen the objects of our enlightened interest to go on to make them the objects of our pity, then of our...

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Some Links

George Will recognizes that members of today’s “woke” crowd display many of the same characteristics that they criticize in Donald Trump. A slice: Postmodernists say, with Nietzsche, that there are no facts, only interpretations — alternative “narratives” about reality. As Andrew Sullivan writes at Substack, to be “woke” is to be awake to this: All claims of disinterestedness, objectivity and universality are bogus. So, reasoning is specious, and attempts at persuasion are pointless....

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Some Covid Links

Daniel Hannan nicely summarizes the reason why pessimism about humanity’s future – now that most of us have been infected with Covid Derangement Syndrome – is justified. Two slices: Will coronavirus deaths be treated like stroke or cancer deaths – an ugly reality in an imperfect world? Or will they become the medical equivalent of terrorist fatalities, blamed on state policy? Early signs point to the latter. For a year, now, the world’s media have exaggerated the impact of human agency...

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Let’s Not Join the Mob

Here’s a letter to an e-mail correspondent: Mr. R___: You accuse me of being “late to the game” when I oppose the application of First Amendment prohibitions to tech firms that deny platforms to certain people. Your case rests on the fact that “for decades government has overridden private business decisions by denying them the right to discriminate along lines of race, etc.” You’re correct that such anti-discrimination legislation violates the principle that I wish to uphold – namely,...

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The Reason of Rules

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal: Editor: Kimberly Strassel might be right in predicting that actions by tech firms to silence Donald Trump and other conservative voices will give rise to successful efforts to treat tech firms as arms of government – and, hence, subject, as is government, to the First Amendment (“Big Business’s Sharp Left Turn,” Jan. 15). But Reaganite conservatives and classical liberals should fervently hope that she’s proven wrong. A core characteristic of...

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Some Links

Amelia Janaskie and Micha Gartz survey what was said prior to 2020 about using lockdowns in response to a lethal and contagious pathogen. George Will exposes the appalling lust for power and laughable-if-it-weren’t-so-lethal economic ignorance of Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO). A slice: If Hawley, Rubio and Graham squint, they can see a silver lining on the dark cloud of Democratic control of the Senate: Majority Leader Schumer will soon give them an opportunity to vote for...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from pages 220-221 of my late Nobel-laureate James Buchanan’s “Morals, Politics, and Institutional Reform: Diagnosis and Prescription,” which is chapter 5.1 in James M. Buchanan and Richard A. Musgrave, Public Finance and Public Choice: Two Contrasting Visions of the State (1999): This terrible century has done much more than bear witness to the tragic failures of collectivist control over personal lives. In the process of those failed experiments, valuable social capital was...

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Please Let’s Not Go Further Down the Road Toward Complete Politicization of Society

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal Editor: Vivek Ramaswamy and Jed Rubenfeld correctly decry the practice of government officials threatening tech companies with penalties if those companies don’t control content in ways demanded by government officials (“Save the Constitution From Big Tech,” Jan. 12). But these authors incorrectly conclude that these threats, along with Section 230 immunity, render tech companies state actors whose content decisions should be subject to First...

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