Friday, March 20, 2009

Some Of The Stuff Around Me.

I have a few tabs open on my firefox that I dont want to write them as full posts. A lot of bloggers do their weekly round up's and stuff -- I think I understand why now.

Anyway, here is some of the stuff around me and some interesting reads I've read in the past week--

1. One of my friends participated in the Moot Court whose problem I had mentioned about earlier. I usually don't participate in these competitions because they simply don't really interest me. I mean, its the same environmental law or international law they teach in classrooms. You only just have to be polite to the Judges and that's that. For instance, take a look at my friend's story: He quoted a verse from the Quran that says that Jihad is the duty of Muslims to prove one of his points about extradition of a terrorist from an Islamic country to a civilized country. The Judges immediately jumped down this throat screaming about civilian rights and the like. In short, islamic appeasment. Anyway, what I thought was funny about the whole incident was the million dollar look on their face when my friend called out the equivalent of "the Emperor has no clothes!" in reaction to Islam. Heh!

2. I am still delving into Objectivism with the seminar and Objectivism is still quite new to me. Whatever I've read and understood so far, I completely agree with. On the net, there a few great posts that I have treated myself to which made me all the more curious about Objectivism. One of them is Greg Perkin's, D'Souza versus The New Atheists series explaining the Objectivist viewpoint on atheism. The series is one that I recommend to almost every atheist I meet in India. The post has served as a cornerstone in my understanding.

I just found another gem last night. The wider part of it was that although I had subscribed to The New Clarion, I hadn't quite taken to reading to it as frequently I do to read NoodleFood. How wrong could I be? They have put together a few of the finest writers. If you haven't heard of them already, be sure to check them out.

I just read the post "A More Fundamental Problem" by Inspector on New Clarion and am all praise for it. It clearly lays down a tough idea in simple terms why pragmatism (the theory that priciples dont matter) is irrational. I am still working my way through the chapter Reason (OPAR) in the seminar and with this read under my belt, I have a head start. Talking of the allged "moderates", the peice began by how people imagined that harm in to a certain degree was ok but a greater degree or "extreme" harm was wrong. Here's my favorite part:

"The thief may be acting on the principle of murder, but he can get away with it in his own mind because, as a Pragmatist, he doesn’t concern himself with principles. If confronted with the consequences of his actions, a Pragmatist - just like the thief that ends up killing a man in the course of a robbery - will scream that he didn’t mean it, and he couldn’t have foreseen that things would come to this. He’s right, in a twisted way: without principles, he can’t foresee what anything he does will come to.

In their blind terror, the only thing Pragmatists can do is to run screaming from any consistency at all. They know, deep down, that the only difference between themselves - the thieves - and the bloody murderers of the world is that the latter are consistent. The problem is that virtuous, principled men are consistent, also. But the pragmatist makes no distinction between the two. Without principles, he is incapable of such distinctions - he knows only that consistency, for him, is the road to a dark place he dare not visit. He is thus trapped - his only defense mechanism is also the very thing that pulls him constantly toward, and work in the service of, what he knows on some level to be evil." [Bold Added]

3. I was recently thinking about why a few of my favorite writers like Thomsa Sowell, Robert Spencer and Ayaan Hirsi Ali never took note of Objectivism even though they were sympatetic to the notion of individual rights. I did a search in my Google Reader and I found a post by Gus Van Horn that totally nailed the issue down. Here's the heart of it, I think:

"His error is a common one, in which he treats an implicitly rational, reality-oriented philosophical outlook as a given, rather than as an implicit example of just another possible ideology. My last would doubtless strike many, probably including Sowell himself, as moral relativism at first blush, but it is not. For if the rational, "adult" ideology that Sowell implicitly favors can be judged as an ideology, so must all other ideologies be examined under the cold light of reason, and compared against the facts of reality, which include the requirements for man's survival."[Bold Added]

3. Two of the other threads I am following on NoodleFood are Greg Perkin's "Challenging What Everybody Knows" and Diana's "Laws Versus Regulations".

Whew, that concludes my first "Some Of the Stuff Around Me". Weird name, huh?

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