Issue CXXXVII - December 29, 2007 - January 2, 2008

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Atheism
An Atheist's Response to Pascal's Wager:
G. Stolyarov II
December 31, 2007
Pascal’s Wager is one of the more respectable arguments in favor of religion. As an atheist, Mr. Stolyarov is nonetheless sympathetic to this argument, because it attempts to use reason to actually persuade people to believe in God, rather than circularly using the Bible as a reason to believe in the truth of the Bible. Of course, as an atheist, Mr. Stolyarov also believes that Pascal’s Wager is a mistaken argument. But here he will give it the consideration it deserves.

Economics
David Frum on the Gold Standard:
Robert P. Murphy
December 31, 2007
David Frum is on the warpath. In a National Review Online blog post, then an NPR commentary, and most recently in a National Post article, Frum has mercilessly ridiculed the gold standard. But as with most modern critiques of the "bad old days" of the laissez-faire 19th century, Frum's analysis is fraught with theoretical and historical problems. Dr. Robert Murphy explains.

Epistemology
Emotions:
Leonid  Fainberg
December 29, 2007
Sensations are inputs of our sensory organs. They are innate, self-evident, irreducible primaries. We have no choice about to feel or not to feel pain as long as our neural system is intact. Emotions are different cup of epistemological tea. But our language falsely classifies both sensations and emotions under the same label, "feelings." Leonid Fainberg explains the necessity of recognizing the difference between emotions and sensations.

Literary Analysis
A Review of John F. Landrum's The Jonkheer's Wife:
G. Stolyarov II
December 31, 2007
The Jonkheer’s Wife by John F. Landrum is an excellent work of historical fiction that goes beyond simply telling an engaging World War II story; this work explores the philosophical issues surrounding the war and the mentalities held by those who lived through it. The Jonkheer’s Wife immerses readers in a rich, multifaceted world where intellectual discoveries are skillfully conveyed through the lives and actions of the characters. Mr. Stolyarov reviews this novel.

Politics
Terrorists? Not Us, Say Muslims:
Alan Caruba
December 29, 2007
After the assassination of Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto, it is necessary once again for those in the West to gain some insight into the culture of Islam and, in particular, of the Middle East. What can be easily observed, writes Alan Caruba, is the abject refusal to take any responsibility for anything done in the name of Islam.

The Church of Huck: Growing Government in the Name of Religion:
Selwyn Duke
December 29, 2007
There is a candidate in the presidential race who has a serious religion problem.  No, it’s not Mormon Mitt or recently-religious Rudy.  It is Mike Huckabee. To that enormous secular conservative voting block out there, Selwyn Duke will say, be not afraid.  It’s not that Huck would impose religion through government.  No, his actions would truly offend you. He would impose statism in the name of religion through government.

Dulce et Decorum Est - If Someone Else Has to Do It:
Fred Reed
December 29, 2007
Fred Reed has just received the November issue of the magazine of the American Legion, in which he discovered an article by one Ralph Peters. The piece is entitled “Twelve Myths of 21st Century War.” A better title might be, “A Pedestrian Compendium of Agonizingly Cliched Jingoism.” Peters believes that Americans have become too comfortable, have lost their taste for war, no longer want to pay the butcher’s bill. He is for war. Not much for history, though.

The Challenge of 2008 and Beyond:
Alan Caruba
December 31, 2007
The beginning of a new year is a good time to consider the many things that differentiate this new century from the last. Alan Caruba writes that while there is much for which to give thanks, given the progress of the previous century, there is much to fear that such progress will be either reversed in a global holocaust or that massive governmental institutions will strangle it in favor of exercising authoritarian power over the lives of everyone on earth.

Insist on Being Treated Like an Adult: Support Ron Paul:
G. Stolyarov II

January 2, 2008
What separates an adult from a child? It seems an elementary question, yet few have pondered it in depth or developed a coherent response. But, no matter your age, your future depends on the answer. It is time to end the infantilization of the American people. You are autonomous individuals, not wards of the state, and Mr. Stolyarov thinks that it is time for you to insist on your right to be treated as such. Support Ron Paul in the upcoming primaries and in the 2008 Presidential election and let him help you reclaim your adult prerogatives.

On the Omnibus Spending Bill:
Ron Paul

January 2, 2008
Last week Congress finished work on its final spending package for the year.  This "Omnibus" bill contains many of the spending bills that did not get passed throughout the year.  Last minute changes made by the Senate mean President Bush is likely to sign the legislation into law.
What this bill means is lots more of Washington spending your money.  And, with a year of talking and fighting about earmarks, we did not see a significant change in that area either. Rep. Ron Paul comments on this regrettable development.

Videos
My Endorsement of Ron Paul for President - Video: Part 1:
G. Stolyarov II
December 29, 2007

My Endorsement of Ron Paul for President - Video: Part 2:
G. Stolyarov II
December 29, 2007

My Endorsement of Ron Paul for President - Video: Part 3:
G. Stolyarov II
December 29, 2007

Socialized Healthcare: When Money Trumps Life - Video:
G. Stolyarov II
December 29, 2007

Why the Government Should Regulate the Weather -Video:
G. Stolyarov II
December 29, 2007

An Atheist's Response to Pascal's Wager -Video:
G. Stolyarov II
December 31, 2007

Insist on Being Treated Like an Adult: Support Ron Paul -Video:
G. Stolyarov II
January 2, 2008


"An existing power asymmetry will grow over time unless acted on by an outside force." 
~ G. Stolyarov II, "Power Symmetries and Asymmetries"