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Thoughts Online Magazine
Collected Articles on Culture & Politics
Current Thoughts 
5th-Apr-2016 12:05 pm - My tweets
Inspiration
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4th-Apr-2016 12:05 pm - My tweets
Inspiration
10th-Mar-2016 12:05 pm - My tweets
Inspiration
9th-Mar-2016 12:20 pm - Publisher's Backlist
Inspiration
Publishers generally have a backlist of books that they think will take off, and they've got the printing sufficiently automated that they can do a short run, stock the wholesalers' warehouses, and wait. Shakespeare makes a good one. Just redo the cover every decade or so, and it has a bump in sales.

But then there are books which so perfectly don't fit when they are published, and so perfectly fit the situation 40 years later that...

The book is The Camp of the Saints by Jean Raspail: a book only praised by the French and American conservatives, and therefore not worth reading. It stayed on the backlist, finding different republication rights in different decades, unitl 2011, when it hit the best seller list, and stayed close to it ever since.

Why?

Because it fits what is going on in Europe now, and what the political establishment wants to happen to the US now. They want a more biddable electorate, not as independent, not as well paid. And they're getting one.

And they're getting one.

And you wondered why Trump and Cruz had an impact.
9th-Mar-2016 12:04 pm - My tweets
Inspiration
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1st-Mar-2016 12:05 pm - My tweets
Inspiration
26th-Feb-2016 04:16 pm - Markers
Inspiration
The God of this world has characteristic ways of acting and moving, and the motivations he uses have been long known: force, greed, selfishness, ambition and pleasure.

I think it's easier to note that there are characteristic ways of persuading, and look for those.

1. Encouragement to dream, to escape from the limits of the world as it is, and the consequences that might deter you.

2. Justify failures, so that "it's not my fault".

3. Allay fears, so that you don't expect consequences.

4. Confirm suspicions, so that it's someone else's fault.

5. He'll help you throw rocks at people you should be listening to.

That's the pattern of a lot of persuasion in the world, But then, you'd expect that the god of the world would set patterns, right?
20th-Feb-2016 12:03 pm - My tweets
Inspiration
19th-Feb-2016 05:51 pm - My tweets
Inspiration
26th-Jan-2016 12:03 pm - My tweets
Inspiration
  • Tue, 08:24: Freedom is important: without it, we cannot work, play or live at our best. 1/3
  • Tue, 08:24: Despite the counsels of cowards, what happens when people are under surveillance is not freedom, but its opposite. 2/3
  • Tue, 08:26: And the promises of safety generously offered by the people with the guns waiting for a summons to act ... 3/4
  • Tue, 08:26: from those who surveil are equally bogus.4/4
25th-Jan-2016 04:06 pm - My tweets
Inspiration
21st-Jan-2016 12:03 pm - My tweets
Inspiration
20th-Jan-2016 12:04 pm - My tweets
Inspiration
19th-Jan-2016 08:25 pm - My tweets
Inspiration
15th-Jan-2016 04:51 pm - My tweets
Inspiration
13th-Jan-2016 11:39 am - My tweets
Inspiration
31st-Dec-2015 12:08 pm - It is difficult to imagine
Inspiration
It is difficult to imagine that there is a field of study more useless than "bioethics", but unlike other useless fields, this is well paid. It's a field whose whole job it is to imagine reasons that something whose basis is undescribed and intellectually incoherent might be harmed if something is done, without consideration of what happens if something is left undone.

Here is the latest in this series.

Standing athwart science, yelling "whoa,"* often appears to be the favorite default activity of many folks who get involved with bioethics. Today the New York Times has published an op-ed in this genre of bioethical handwringing. It's by Rebecca Skloot, author of the best-selling The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. In her book, Skloot details the how cells taken in 1951 from a tumor that eventually killed Baltimore resident Henrietta Lacks became the first immortal human cell line and one of the most widely used in biomedical research. Lacks nor any of her relatives were asked for permission to use the HeLa cells derived from her cervical cancer for research.

Which leads to the question, "why would she, or her family, be so possessive of the cancer cells that killed her?" I might understand if they were so driven by vengeance that they wanted to burn everything associated with it. Not condone, but understand. Sadly, that's not how bioethics works. Read the article for the depressing conclusion.
11th-Oct-2015 07:55 am - Medical ethics strike again.
Inspiration
Mysteriously, this article refers to bioethicists as if they have a contribution to make to any discussion.

Long time readers of this blog will know medical ethics better, and will wonder why they haven't been employed as road sweepers or coal miners.
1st-Sep-2015 12:03 pm - My tweets
Inspiration
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31st-Aug-2015 12:03 pm - My tweets
Inspiration
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30th-Aug-2015 12:02 pm - My tweets
Inspiration
29th-Aug-2015 12:03 pm - My tweets
Inspiration
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28th-Aug-2015 12:03 pm - My tweets
Inspiration
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27th-Aug-2015 12:03 pm - My tweets
Inspiration
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26th-Aug-2015 12:03 pm - My tweets
Inspiration
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