Showing posts from July, 2008

The Perfect Rationality of Irrationality, Erratum

Whoops, I blew it in my last blog post. This morning I blogged on how everything everyone does is rational, everything. There is nothing that is irrational, not a single thing. Then I made a mistake that belied my claim, and I wanted to clear it up here. First, read that post, just below this one, and see if you can spot the error in my logic. Oh, it is a perfectly rational error, and I'll explain that momentarily. Halfway through that post I cited one of those questions asked through the ages. That question was: What is it that is reasonable, and how does one know that? If my premise is true that everything is rational--which I firmly believe that it is true and any discussion about it would certainly bear that out--then guess what? Everything is reasonable, so the question "What is reasonable?" implies that something is unreasonable, a meaningless proposition given the premise. The question should be "What is it that is righteous ?" In the context of the blog

The Perfect Rationality of Irrationality

A relatively new book by MIT professor Dan Ariely has caught my fancy. It is another of those "Freakanomics" type economics exposes where everything about why people decide to do what they do is thoroughly explained in an easy-to-read way. This particular treatment is called Predictably Irrational , and with it Ariely tries to share how so many things we do are irrational and by gosh why on earth would we do such irrational things? The answer is that we don't . Nothing we do is irrational. Not a single thing. In fact Ariely, when trying to say "Here's an irrational thing look how irrational!" actually shows how perfectly and, yes, predictably rational every single thing any given individual does. The real question is this: Is any particular decision any given individual makes righteous? The reason no one ever asks that question is because that would require some kind of moral judgment, and that, as we all know, is absolutely prohibited. That would mean

So Who Is It Then? Who Stores Your Value? It Is Someone...

Peeked at The Newshour tonight on PBS and saw Judy Woodruff interview Fannie Mae CEO Daniel Mudd. She asked some pressing questions to a bubbly financial exec who seemed to be going out of his way to distance himself from his company's abysmal performance. Of course none of Woodruff's questions were of any consequence since she herself is a masterful World mouthpiece for further devotion to Caesar. The mere practice of addressing Mudd with such deep concern-- squinting those eyes to sear his soul, turning her head for that penetrating inquiry, jabbing that pencil in the air in front of her-- announces to all World inhabitants that this is serious business, this management of their sin. A telling part of this fact was in one question I want to share here. It was something like, "Has Fannie Mae for some time set itself up to evade regulation? How do you answer that?" Mudd effervescently responded by saying that he was all for the new regulation that Congress was puttin

So Who Stores Your Value? Part II

An addendum to the folly that is the banking "crisis" addressed in the last post: Today Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson testified before Congress to explain his announcement that the federal government has an unlimited line of credit available for banks, especially those teetering on the brink of insolvency. When asked why he won't declare some quantifiable figure for that amount, he said if he gave a figure it would be completely tapped, but if he just left it as "indefinite" then it won't be. He actually used the analogy of a squirt gun versus a bazooka. If he announces he has a squirt gun, he may have to use it. But having a bazooka will mean he's less likely to have to pull it out. Interesting metaphor, using weapons to make his point. As they said in Rome, Tam Marte quam Mercurio, or "As much by Mars (war) as Mercury (business)." The key is how it is that Paulson can say the feds have an unlimited line of credit. Unlimited ? Well not exac

So Who Stores Your Value?

Yesterday a pretty decent size bank was taken over by federal regulators. It was IndyMac, and right after I'd heard the news I thought about the branch on the corner of a quaint downtown area in a community near where we live, and the advertisement I'd seen on the side of the building just a couple weeks ago. The ad said, "We want to be your one and only." Next to these words was a nicely drawn picture of a big heart covering someone holding that heart out. I actually thought at the time, "How nice, that they'd use such impassioned language to promise they'd do a good job." Now that the truth about IndyMac's insolvency has come out, that approach sounds quite a bit like that homely person who vies desperately for your affections and must plead in such a way to try to get your commitment. "Please be mine." "Would you say 'Yes?'" "Tell me you love me." What really makes me very sad is that you will hear nothing

Empire of Tolerance

Been looking a bit at Yale professor Amy Chua's new book Day of Empire , a breezy textbook on the history of empires. Her premise: It is a sustained policy of toleration that augments an empire's power, and abandonment of that policy sinks it. About half-way through the book she asks a provocative question, indeed it is one of the questions serious historians have asked through the ages, at least in some form. That question: Is it possible for a world-dominant power to be genuinely tolerant in the modern, "enlightened" sense? She asks this under the pretext of how much nations have or haven't tolerated the people of other cultures, races, or mores. Toleration in the "modern, 'enlightened'" sense certainly means affording civil protections or even privileges to those outside the provincially mainstream social norms and who are residing within the purview of the nation if not wholly within its borders. The assumption behind asking the question to b

The Prescribed Fourth of July Pap: It's Also Heard Every Sunday in Your Local Church

Just wanted to share a link to a terrific piece about the way the church is infected so virulently with the World, is sucked so fiercely into the culture war. Much of that is because they've allowed themselves to be deceived by World operatives, to remain in a state of law-abiding, and therefore to become incorporated subdivisions of the System by the contracts they themselves sign with that World. Russell Moore here gives a fine account of the fruit of that condition. And the title of the piece, how about this: "The Messiah Channel." Just get me entertainment featuring my Straw-Man Jesus and I'm good.

The Prescribed Fourth of July Pap: It's a Wholesome American Tradition

Yesterday (July 3) the Los Angeles Times opinion page had four pieces all having something to do with the holiday season, this time of year when we are all supposed to give a cheer for that one thing that wraps us all up in red white and blue. (Got warm star-spangled fuzzies yet? Visions of ferocious Samual Adams orations dancing in your head?) That thing is, of course, freedom. Freedom? Are you kidding? That thing is Tyranny. Huh? Don't we all wave the little toy versions of the star and strips in the parade for not- tyranny? Anti- tyranny? Vomit-from-our-very-being-the-very-spittle-of -tyranny ? First from the LA Times there was Timothy Garton Ash, Oxford professor and someone who seems to be getting quite a bit of newspaper space these days. He bemoans U.S. imperialism, but has nothing new to offer about it. Essentially, "Come on, we just don't have to do the Iraq thing with every country. Here's what let's do instead..." His four things, condensed a bit

Knowledge is Power... Kind of

One of the most pronounced of the Gnostic creeds is "Knowledge is power." Those in the World trudge along by this, trying harder and harder to know in order to find their salvation. Salvation for those in the Kingdom--and along with it, genuine power--comes from one source, the Creator of the entire universe, Jesus Christ. I thought about that for a moment, and thought, couldn't one feasibly ask, "What about knowledge of Christ? Couldn't it be the case that one must have knowledge of this One Who Saves? Wouldn't he then derive his 'power' from the knowing of that One? And isn't that then the result of some effort put forth by the know- er , making it just as much a Gnostic endeavor as anything?" Wow. That's a fine challenge, and I'm sure one that has been considered before many times by many others in many ways. My answer may also be one that's been previously considered, but I really don't hear it much because the World i