Thursday, May 11, 2006


Cross-Posted from Gus Van Horn

Jennifer Snow on Writing

Jennifer Snow explains why literate people write.
... You can't just have input. Healthy, sane people cannot tolerate living their lives as a sponge soaking up input: at some point they reach "critical mass" and they have to take what they've learned, thought, or realized and turn it into some sort of output. I read like an alcoholic drinks. I think if I didn't write I might very well explode from the unrelieved pressure.

My only problem is working on the quality of my writing so that I don't have to endure winces when I invariably inflict my efforts on other people.
That last line made me laugh, but not because I have ever winced when visiting Literatrix.

And speaking of writing, Toiler has a "birth announcement" up over at his blog, Acid Free Paper!

Two on The Da Vinci Code

Alexander Marriott comments on Dan Brown's work as a novel and in the process offers his take on its religious aspects.
The book is an affirmation of everything of any import to Christianity. It does not question Christian ethics, divinity, origins, death, etc., etc., etc. Also, goofy organizations like Opus Dei deserve ridicule even if they don't send out psychotic albinos to perpetuate elaborate coverups. Certainly this is not a moment for Atheists and friends of reason to rejoice, not for this book and movie.

At some level, even if Brown's theories within the novel, which have been published in other books of non-fiction, were true it's irrelevant. Religious people are not at their core concerned with evidence. People who buy into religions believe (depending on the variety) that dead people can come back to life, that the dead will be reborn (perhaps as a different species), that one man can carry an unmovable boulder a hundred miles, that a person can leave their body if they empty their heads for long enough, that they are eating human flesh and drinking human blood but not cannibals, that forgiving those who injure them makes them superior, that mutilating male genitalia is a sign of a compact with an invisible menace in the sky, that worshipping dead relatives will have an impact on the present, that every object has a spirit, that one can effect reality through wishes and hopes alone, etc. etc. The point here is that if evidence and reason actually meant anything fundamental to those who belong to religions there would not be any religions to plague mankind's existence.
Amen. For precisely these reasons I find it absurd -- on first glance -- that this book has the Catholic Church in such a tizzy.

On that point, a Capitalism Magazine column by Nick Provenzo explains what the hubbub is really about: a desire to control what is said about religion.
[Francis Cardinal] Arinze is not calling for religious liberty--he is not calling for his right to argue for his philosophy free from coercion. Instead, he holds that his faith gives him the right to silence others. So much for the oft-repeated notion that Christianity begat freedom. Arinze, just like the Islamists who demand that no one blaspheme their prophet, is calling for nothing less than the (re)instillation of religious tyranny.
Read it all.

Also, Nick is to be congratulated for his Rule of Reason, one of my favorite blogs, recently joining the 100,000 Club!

Reich on Religion

Gideon Reich posted on the same Dennis Prager column I briefly discussed yesterday. He's more generous to Prager than I was, but made some excellent points nevertheless.

In another post, Reich points to an excellent book review in the New York Times which discusses the religious views of some of the founding fathers. Here's a teaser.
"Were George Washington living today," [Tim] LaHaye [co-author of the "Left Behind" series] has said, "he would freely identify with the Bible-believing branch of evangelical Christianity that is having such a positive influence on our nation." Yet as Peter R. Henriques documents in "Realistic Visionary," Washington never referred to Jesus in any of his letters. Not once during his death ordeal did he call for a minister, ask for forgiveness or express belief in an afterlife. Washington "is better understood as a man of honor than as a man of religion," Henriques concludes.
I agree with Gideon. Read it all.

Blogroll Addition

Thanks to Diana Hsieh, I have learned that The Objective Standard has just launched its blog with a post by John Lewis on "The Social Worker and the President"! Somehow, I suspect that I'll be stopping by there regularly, even if the name is boring. Perhaps a "name that blog" contest might generate some fanfare and a well-deserved increase in readership for the parent publication.

And I congratulate the Hsiehs on their seventh year of wedded bliss!

Leave the U.N., Parts 8,001 and 8,002

The Commissar reports that Cuba, Saudi Arabia, and China are all on the United Nations "human rights" council. But then, what can one really expect when a valid concept like "individual rights" is package-dealt with socialism under the rubric of "human rights"? I suppose that if you want people to buy into the concept of the fox guarding the henhouse, it does help to rename the henhouse first.

And "Captain" Ed Morrissey notes yet another delay in the United Nations with regards to Iran. I'm glad he pointed this out, but I beg to disagree very strongly with his last line. Iran has never been serious about negotiations, except as a stalling tactic, and will not be until it is convinced via overwhelming American firepower to negotiate an unconditional surrender and a complete renunciation of jihad.

The United Nations is failing to perform its alleged mission of promoting peace. It has instead plainly become little more than a way for tyrants to buy time and the veneer of respectability for their evil plans. We should end this farce by quitting it permanently. Now.

Mike's Eyes on Rupert Murdoch

I, too, noticed this story (scroll down) yesterday....
I see via DRUDGE that Rupert Murdoch will be holding a fund raiser for Hillary this summer. Why am I not surprised? I never had Mr. Murdoch pegged as a conservative anyway. IMO, he backs Fox because it is a money maker, not because it has conservative leanings. If Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly stop making money, they'll be gone faster than his previous disdain for Hillary. As far as Hillary is concerned, she is a power luster extraordinaire. She stayed with Bill through the Monica scandal to play the "stand by your man" theme to the hilt. (Where was the outrage from the feminists?) Now she is trying to tell conservatives and moderates whatever they want to hear. Some are falling for it.
In light of the fervent desire in some quarters to shut down conservative media outlets -- like Fox News -- this is a classic case of a businessman aiding his own destruction.

Life in the Metal Cigar

It is a common joke among those in the submarine service to compare life on a submarine to life in prison. Submarine blogger Vigilis compares this "lifestyle" to a Colorado's ADX SuperMax prison. And Bothenook discusses how men keep their sanity while underway.




Andy tells us where to get the scoop on John Kenneth Galbraith over at The Charlotte Capitalist. Money quote from George Reisman:
What is Galbraith saying? Stripped of the veneer of pseudo-scientific disinterestedness, he is blatantly arguing for the institution of a modern brand of Prussian feudalism!