Observations

Not from the Benevolence of the Pilot

Every time I have doubts about how safe flying is, I think to myself: It is not from the benevolence of the pilot that I expect not to die after crashing into a mountain, but from the pilot’s regard to his own interest. It amazes me how this line of reasoning seems to never enter […]

The Value of Ideas

An 2005 article by Derek Sivers, entitled “Ideas Are Just a Multiplier of Execution,” has been making its way through programming blogs lately. In regard to software design, I think the article is very accurate: ideas are worth very little and execution is enormously more important. The most profitable software in the world is not […]

Progressive Denmark

What strikes me as so absurd about the word progressive and its use when speaking of, say “progressive Denmark”, is the arrogant presumption that we know what events represent progress.

Democracy’s Failings Take 26355

There are two recurrent complaints about American democracy that have been on my mind lately: the inability of most Americans to name their representatives and the ever-increasingly central role of the president. Both of these strike me as the inevitable result of our government’s structure. There simply are too many representatives to keep track of. […]

Usury Condemned

On Amateur Economists, I just read the following words: McCain chastises “speculators” and says he wishes interest rates could be 0%.1 Is this claim true? Has McCain really said something like this? I was aware that McCain likes to emphasize traditional Christian values, but this is a throwback to the most ancient sort of Christian […]

The Moral Quality of Swingers

Whenever someone wonders why people are dubious about the moral quality of swingers, remember this. When lust is too readily indulged, evil follows.

Comedy’s Value

I think the secret to comedy’s didactic value is to be found in the speech of mothers to their infants. By exaggerating the inconsistencies of daily life to the point of absurdity, comedy teaches to focus on the salient features of argument.

Pennies and Sense

While walking to work this morning, it struck me that the questions being lumped together under the moniker of neuroeconomics should be a source of fascination to everyone who is amazed by the fact that the continued existence of the penny makes every single American factually poorer, but is continued because it makes a majority […]

Two More Passages from Hayek

Two other passages from Hayek’s “The Counter-Revolution of Science” that seemed worth quoting, ironically because of their fundamental importance for psychology. It is that not only those mental entities, such as “concepts” or “ideas,” which are commonly recognized as “abstractions,” but all mental phenomena, sense perceptions and images as well as the more abstract “concepts” […]

Self-Willed

Much that today is thought of as a sign of being a “liberated” person would once have rather been considered proof that one is merely “self-willed.” And so it is that Houellebecq’s books are worth something to our age: they are among the few that explore the ways in which we deceive and betray ourselves […]