We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Thursday, May 8. 2008
Donald Boudreaux considers his colleague Bryan Caplan's much-discussed book, The Myth of the Rational Voter. One quote:
Indeed, people are only sometimes rational, and even less often rigidly logical. We are not computers, or Mr. Spocks. In most things humans do, we engage our souls, hearts and our minds, and it is the challenge of adulthood to monitor, critique, and to balance those things in ourselves. For example, were it not for our hearts and souls, it might make sense for us to vote for a thoroughly pragmatic, efficient, and logical Brave New World.
Wisdom is not the same thing as logic, and logic is not the same thing as virtue.
Therefore I am in favor of a degree of irrationality in voting. And, anyway, who is the Grand Arbiter who gets to define "rational voting"? People like Thomas Frank, who believe that it is "rational" to vote yourself other peoples' money? Or "values voters" like me? Politics, government - and life itself -is messy and complicated, and even more so with freedom.
Books that need to be written:
"The Myth of the Rational Human" (well, Freud covered a lot of that ground already)
"The Myth of the Rational and Virtuous Government"
"The Myth of the Rational and Virtuous Politician"
"The Myth of the Rational and Virtuous Bureaucracy"
"The Myth of the Rational Expert"
Editor's Comment: Great blog minds think alike. Bainbridge today on The Imperfectibility of Human Institutions. He quotes:
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You know, this is a substantial and significant post. It took me seven tries to look past the illustration, however.
I'm the first commenter after this thing's been up what, three hours? There's a reason for that, you know.
I'm not complaining. But I keep thinking about Chris Rock's routine about clear heels. When did the women get together and say, 'We've gotta figure out something REALLY slutty to wear. I know! Clear Heels!' I mean, I never would have made that logical leap. Do women have a special part of the brain devoted to this sort of thing?
Sorry I didn't notice she had on clear heels until you mentioned it.
I echo Mr. Snitch. I read the post in uh, never mind.
I really want it to be other people who hold their beliefs irrationally.
hah.... I read Mr. Snitch's and AVI's comment after reading the article and had to scroll back up to see what the picture was. I didn't even notice.
The word 'enjoy' bothers me in the Boudreaux piece. 'Enjoy' implies active thought, and it bothers me to think there are people who actively get pleasure out of thinking about taking rich people's money. That seems so utterly petty and moronic.
I do understand faithful enjoyment of a favorite team, but cannot grok a celebratory wiggle each time taxing the rich comes up.
In your books that need to be written. Most all of the topics you mentioned have been covered by the great writers in history from Aristotle to Thomas Sowell.
I think you could roll all of those notions into Antonio Damasio's Descartes' Error. Rationality is second to emotion. Descartes should have declared, I feel, therefore I think, therefore I am.
That book happens to be sitting on my desk at this very moment. I was going to post some quotes from it.
Good thought, Jephnol. I was just toying with what you said, and came up with a shorter version: "I feel, therefore I'm still alive." I have no argument with yours. I just got to thinking about fear and how it is that which keeps us alive. Thinking has naught to do with fear, so it really could be, "I feel, therefore I am."
Just musing here. Emotion is the power source, and the thinking does come second. oh... Okay: Feeling is what you get for thinking the way you do. But I'm talking about the emotional burst of fear that saves us when sitting around cogitating some scary thing might do us in.
For what it's worth I believe Decartes was one of a very few preeminent scholars in world history. That might make for a good thread..each poster nominating three or four of their favorites and briefly why.
What a brain.
Challenging psychology for decades has been on e of it's own, Dr. Thomas Szasz..
Here is a short Youtube (3 minutes) on some of his thoughts. I have read a number of his books and they are both thought provoking and challenging. Most psychologists hate him for his saying what many believe.
Szasz has some good points about not defining socially unacceptable behaviors as illnesses for treatment. Extending that idea to the belief that Schizophrenia, BPAD, Autism, etc are societally defined is simply ludicrous. When You hear the reports about the untreated mentally ill having the freedom to be tormented, homeless, and miserable, think Thomas Szasz.
Descartes thought animals didn't feel pain. Kind of robots. Or good actors. If you are ever called up on animal cruelty charges, try the ol' Rene Descartes defense, see how far it gets you. Make 'em prove you really caused the animal pain. Make 'em really prove it.
Speaking of animals and philosophy, I had a horse who could read philosophy if you held a book in front of him. But he refused to read Descartes. I suppose that proves you can't put Descartes before the horse.
Thank you, thank you very much. I'm here all week.