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May 18, 2006

Comments

Oy, still with the Mallomars?

How about the fact that, as Mark Kleiman puts it, "any citizen is now subject to being "disappeared," without any recourse, at the unreviewable whim of the Executive Branch"?

I think that all of us, with the possible exception of Jackmormon, would agree that the "state secrets" doctrine poses a much greater threat than Mallomars do.

I wasn't kidding here.

Okay, make that Jackmormon and Rilkefan.

Can we really wait for the Mallomar threat to become a mushroom cloud? Or is that a marshmallow cloud?

Snark off.

Yes, by all means, we could stem the Darfur crisis and pay off the effing deficit if we gave up spending money on Mallomars, that gunk that cleans the whitewall tires on cars, breast implants, penile implants, romance novels, the electronic thingeys that turn on Brad Pitt's stereo, adjust his blinds, and currycomb his cat with the push of a button, designer brusselsprouts on the Iron Chef, printing the crappy newspapers and magazines clogging the checkout lines at the supermarket, and the Red Stripe I'm drinking just now.

I'm serious, the three remaining Red Stripes notwithstanding.

This should be in the Democratic platform. It might peel off a few of the moral aesthetes in the Republican Party plus it would be fun to hear the whining from Americans as diverse as Barbara Streisand, Larry Kudlow, your favorite cab driver, and Hunter over at Red State.

Won't happen. Plus it would lose big at the polls. But I'm thinking billboards, say, in Darfur, listing the stuff we can't jettison to help them, would be instructional.

Not guilt-inducing. Who cares about that? Instructional.

Brad Pitt can electronically currycomb his cat? Wow, I gotta get one of those!

--Oh, right. Darfur. Luxuries bad. Sorry.

(Psst ... post the link for the currycomb thingie, wouldja?)

rilkefan, are you saying that no money or other resources should be spent on anything other than bare necessities until everyone in the world has food and shelter enough? Or are you drawing a line somewhere that happens to stop short of Mallomar purchases? And if the latter, where do you draw the line and how do you justify it?

kenB, that was part of my continuing intellectual argument with hilzoy about morality, if there is such a thing - I personally am a nihilist, so as far as I'm concerned you can set your money on fire if that does it for you. Certainly I can't see any good moral argument for maintaining any but the bare essentials for a maximally productive life. From a Rawlsian perspective, if you didn't know whether you were going to be born in Mogadishu or Manhattan, where would you set the US mallomar expenditure level?

That I happen not to like most sweets is not relevant to the above view.

I don't recall that discussion (well, I vaguely recall it, but at this moment I'm not sure whether that recollection is real or induced) -- do you have a link?

I have a lot of scattered thoughts on the topic, but before I can attempt to bring any sort of order to them, I'd need to better define the domain of the discussion -- are we talking about an appropriate moral code for you or me as individuals living in the culture that we have now, or a moral code for the entire culture? Are we talking about a ideal morality for ideal humans, or a practical morality for the weak and fallen people that we are?

If we're talking about a code for ourselves to follow in the present society, I'd distinguish between a "heroic" morality (that only a few of us could ever hope to live up to) vs. a "good-enough" morality (that we could reasonably expect most people to be able to follow). Giving up all your luxuries while living among people who continue to enjoy theirs is a very difficult thing to do.

If we're talking about the ideal morality to enforce on the entire culture at once, then the question turns to whether we're dealing with human nature as we know it or a perfected version of it. Having a moral stricture against excessive possessiveness is easier to imagine in a society of arhants than the society we have now.

Also re the ideal vs. real plane, if I personally didn't know where I would be born, I would probably want the distribution of wealth to be as flat as possible; however, the ability of individuals to generate and retain wealth (and thus create income disparity) has some happy economic benefits. So, if my universal moral code stipulates that everyone should give away their excess wealth to those who have less, that would seem to disincentivize people from working, unless we're talking about idealized people who will continue to work just as hard even though they won't personally enjoy the fruits of their extra labor.

I'll conclude my late-night rambling by confessing that I haven't read Rawls and thus am unable to see anything from his perspective. No, actually, I'll conclude it by asking what kind of freak of nature you are that you don't like sweets, and then asking if you would keep my address on file just in case someone ignorant of your tastes happens to give you a box of See's for Christmas.

kenB, it's been more occasional sniping on my part than an argument, here and at Philosoraptor's blog. No doubt your questions are good ones, but I'm really not the one to answer them, since I think things incompatible with such questions making sense.

Anyway, check out the difference principle, which you've probably already arrived at. I was talking about the veil of ignorance.

Yeah, one can't put sriracha on See's, or not reasonably - but Mrs. R. likes candy.

Yeah, one can't put sriracha on See's, or not reasonably...

And why not? I mean, sure it's a violation of nature and all that... but you're just the guy to try it!

"Gary: drinking two liters of water per day and eating 300 grams of vegetables a day is a good start for most people... as is replacing cream with cottagecheese in most recepies."

I actually do that stuff.

http://washingtontimes.com

Mr. Mollohan, the ranking Democrat on the ethics committee, was forced to resign that post under pressure from party leaders.

It's a shame this wasn't a Republican. Hilzoy would have written 3 long and detailed posts by now. She could have described how corrupt the Republican's have become under Bush and how we need to throw the bumbs out. But it's a Democrat... so only silence.


Excuse the spelling. In a rush to post. Bumbs are really just bums.

But it's a Democrat... so only silence.

maybe she's busy. you'll note she hasn't posted anything on this thread since the 18th.

nah. couldn't be.

it's probably because she's so riddled with shame over her inability to post things that put Democrats in a bad light that she's hiding in the closet until this story blows over.

Hilzoy did include the bit about Mollohan in her "Heavens Roll Up" post (the one right before this one). Perhaps that would have been a more appropriate place to complain about her ignoring it.

tblu: "Excuse the spelling. In a rush to post. Bumbs are really just bums."

So! That's what a "bum rush" is!

Or maybe a "bumb rush" ;)

Better than a bum rash.

But not better than a rum bash.

...and that's the tram duth!

Ok. Now we're just bumbling.

better than rumbling, i suppose...

I actually do that stuff.

Ah, darn, than it needs serious dieting I'm afraid, which is much harder.

Congrats Cleek! I hope to lose the last 30 this year, but am bad at resisting temptation so have a hard time with following a very strict regime :)
But the reward is sooo..... eh.... rewarding :)

Since this is an open thread, I think it's high time we stopped lauding Dan Brown for the Da Vinci Code -- if indeed we ever were -- and gave credit to Geoffrey Chaucer for his original poem, The Cipher Of Leonardo.

Congrats Cleek!

ah. i think i was too subtle.

no, i didn't lose 100lbs - that's practically 2/3rds of my weight! i was just tossing in a meaningless post for #100 on the thread. :)

lol @ cleek

I think it's high time we stopped lauding Dan Brown for the Da Vinci Code

Ick. Well, I have to say that Dan Brown has probably set a new record for the most sales from the least writing ability. Although, to be fair, I managed to make it all the way through The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons without once horking up. I'm putting him right up there in the writing hall of fame with Dale Brown and Sandra Brown.

Well, I have to say that Dan Brown has probably set a new record for the most sales from the least writing ability.

Steven King's gonna be pissed

Steven King's gonna be pissed

Stephen King can actually write, though. He may not do it all that much, but when he's got a mind? Yowza.

I liked the beginning of the DaVinci Code, but got rather dissappointed towards the end. My mother in law bought me a set of his books - but I can't find the time to start reading them. Plenty of other books, most of them not really high level - but Dan Brown.... hmmmmm

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