What I Stole Today…

I took a day off from all other concerns and spent my time spinning around the internet, reading blogs.  And, here, to prove it, are a few of the nice shiny things I stole from some of the blogs I read:

I am as much as a citizen of the world and humanity as I am an American.

Curmudgeon, from It’s a Curmudgeon’s Life

(Curmudgeon’s statement reminds me of something the Emperor Marcus Aurelius said, “We should not say ‘I am an Athenian’ or ‘I am a Roman’ but ‘I am a citizen of the Universe’.”)

[Ron Paul is] someone who has forgotten that, even though he’s very smart and has a flexible intellect, he can still be colossally wrong about something.

Cujo, from Slobber and Spittle

(I believe what Cujo says of Ron Paul should be taken to heart by any reasonable person — for most us, no matter how smart we are, are too often forgetful that we can at times be not merely wrong, but colossally wrong.)

It has been documented that, similar to many men in modern times, at least one man in the Old Testament had a talking ass.

Cognitive Dissenter, from The Cognitive Dissenter

(It seems to me, CD has one of the best written and wittiest blogs that I’ve yet managed to find on the net.)

The thing is that the Internet is full of people discussing every topic you could possibly imagine….  Given the infinite selection and finite amount of time — why take the time to read the ones you find uninteresting and post comments telling them how uninteresting you find them?

Chanson, from Letters From a Broad

(I can understand why someone might spend time to dispute an issue, but, like Chanson, I find it hard to fathom why someone would spend time to be bored by an issue.  Are they all masochists?  Somehow, the folks who read something that bores them remind me of a person I heard about many years ago.  He had inherited a fortune, and retired to play the stock market.  Only his interest was not in making money.  He real interest was in losing money.  As it happened, he took great pleasure in complaining.  Consequently, he would willingly lose money on the market during the day in exchange for going to his neighborhood bar in the evenings to whine about his losses.)

I’m fascinated by the minds of people who worry about the economic effects of global climate change mitigation. They’re worried that alternative energy and various lifestyle changes might hurt economic growth (even though new technologies have a pretty good track record of expanding economies). What do they think flooded cities, the collapse of oceanic fisheries, expanding desertification of arable land, water shortages and droughts, and unprecedented refugee problems will do to the economy?

Decrepit Old Fool, from the Decrepit Old Fool Blog

(One word: Indeed!)

Remember the Republican’s oft repeated talking point that they “hate us for our freedoms”? If that’s true then why did we so readily give so many of those freedoms up as a result [of the terrorist attacks of 9/11]?

Les, from the Stupid Evil Bastard Blog

(It seems to me the two excuses that are most frequently used to deprive a people — any people on earth — of their liberty are first, “security”, and second, “for the sake of the children”.)

The world does not need it, but there shall soon be a patron saint of child rape.

Dale, from Faith in Honest Doubt, on the beatification of Pope John Paul II.

(I confess that, even at 54, I have not entirely distanced myself from my naive childhood expectation that religious leaders should be somewhat better people than are, say, the vast majority of the world’s mere politicians.  So, the extent to which the hierarchy of the Catholic Church covered up and condoned the sexual abuse of tens of thousands of children still has the power — in unguarded moments — to astound me.  How can people who probably began their lives idealistically intent on doing so much good in the world end their lives facilitating so much evil?  I do not mean for a moment to make less of the crimes of those people, but the course of their lives seem to speak to some greater fact: That is, the ancient Greeks were right — we are inevitably a tragic species.)

…I saw that my belief that it was impossible to fully and truly love more than one person was based in my personal bias, because of my personal preference and inclinations. It’s not that nobody can love more than one person; it’s just that that’s not who I am. I couldn’t be happy in a polyamorous relationship any more than I could be happy in a same-sex relationship, because I am neither poly nor a lesbian.

Macha, from Life as a Reader

(How often do any of us humans recognize that our own tastes and inclinations are not the laws of nature — to very roughly paraphrase Shaw?  Do we often enough recognize that?)

I’m at a supermarket, and I want bacon. There’s Danish or British, streaky or back, smoked or unsmoked. My quest for bread leads to a choice between white, brown, seeded, malt, thick-sliced or thin-sliced. Lettuce: romaine, gem, iceberg. Tomatoes: cherry vine, classic, baby plum, organic.

It should not be this complicated to assemble a BLT.

People in Western countries drown in choice. Want a T-shirt? Thousands of alternatives await you. Want some toothpaste? Sit down, we could be here a while. Many people see these options as a good thing – they’re a sign of our independence, our freedom, our mastery over our own destinies. But these apparent positives have a dark side.

Krishna Savani from Columbia University has found that when Americans think about the concept of choice, they’re less concerned about the public good and less empathic towards disadvantaged people. His work supports the idea that endless arrays of choice focus our attention on individual control and, by doing so, they send a message that people’s fates are their own concerns. Their lives are not the business of the state or public institutions, and if they fail, it is their own fault. With choices at hand, Americans are more likely to choose themselves.

Ed Yong, from Not Exactly Rocket Science

(I wonder if thinking about the concept of choice would have a different effect than the one Ed outlines if so many of us did not confuse choice with free will?  That is, assuming so many of us do indeed confuse choice with free will.)

I dropped by a number of other blogs to read today, and I found many more shiny bits of fact and wisdom to make mine than I have the space for here.  It was a good day and a good haul.

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