Archive

Archive for June, 2011

Tomorrow, Tomorrow

…I will go to work in the morning on too little sleep. It’s my own fault.

I will also begin a study of John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice, to be posted for discussion on the blog. Reading Rawls’ book will serve as the necessary preliminary to understanding G.A. Cohen’s Rescuing Justice and Equality which is largely a critique of Rawls’ book. Sounds fun! Pray that God gives me the time to dedicate to this study.

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Categories: Personal

A Day to Relax.

Today has probably been my first real day off in, probably over a year. No work, no errands, no homework or classes, no obligatory social engagements. I was thinking to myself I ought to pounce on this opportunity to do some intense studying and writing. After deciding that option sounded fanatical, I decided to literally do nothing today. …Okay, so literally nothing may be metaphysically impossible, and I did wind up reading while lying around all day, but for the first time in a really really long time I just read to read, rather than take notes etc. I decided not to write a blog either. So while I’m enjoying a day of freedom, here’s a video recording of G.A. Cohen, one of those rare philosophers able to retain a sense of humor., on the “German idea of freedom.” Enjoy.

Categories: G.A. Cohen, VIdeos Tags: , ,

Some Points from Chomsky’s Talk at University of Oregon

In the midst of a global economic crisis, at the heart of which lies the second major failure of American capitalism in less than a century, people have begun to question the confident assumptions that constitute the conventional wisdom about the American economic system. After the $144 billion in tax dollars paid in bailouts to some of the richest corporations in the US (most of which have evaded contributing anything in taxes themselves) people must also begin to seriously criticize the ties between corporations and the government. These ties were the focus of a recent talk given by Noam Chomsky at the University of Oregon, entitled “Global Hegemony: The Facts, The Images”. My girlfriend and I made the two-hour drive down to Eugene to catch the talk, but were disappointed to see the four-city-block-long line of people waiting to be admitted. Across campus we could see that the line for overflow seating was no better. No surprise, we didn’t get in, but we stuck it out and were able to listen on the P.A. System that campus security brought out for those of us who were left outside.

Chomsky’s talk drew attention to the way that the economic interests of a small minority of the population, the extremely wealthy, directly steer the way that policy is made in the U.S., which in turn benefits the rich at the cost of working class. Chomsky began with a critical insight of political economist Adam Smith who, over 200 years ago, noted the tendency of free-market practice to compromise democratic values. It was clear in Smith’s time, as it is clear now, that those who control the majority of society’s wealth (those who he referred to as the “master’s of mankind”) will inevitably gain significant control over legislation, too. And they will pursue this end against the interest of the rest of society. These so-called “masters of mankind” are guided by a principle, dubbed by Smith as their “vile maxim”, which, put simply, says: “all for us, nothing for anyone else.” In Smith’s day the “masters of mankind” included merchants and manufacturers. Today it is primarily financial institutions and multinational corporations. But the principle remains the same. The masters of mankind still pursue their “vile maxim,” without regard to the effects it may have on anyone else. Read more…