I’m going to post one final link round-up of things that I would have blogged if I hadn’t taken so much time off:
Here’s Joseph on America’s slave mentality: "My life abroad has emboldened me into saying things that I could/would never say in America. I suspected I was already past the point of no return. Now I have no desire to return whatsoever."
Has someone at Discover Magazine been reading The Bell Curve: "According to a new report in Discover Magazine, the human brain, which has expanded for most of our biological history, has begun to shrink"? They can’t think of a reason why this might be happening. I would like to suggest that stupid people are breeding faster than smart people.
Here’s a post from Matthew Yglesias in which he’s apparently being provocative about education. If someone could tell what the provocative part is supposed to be, I would be grateful.
A concise summary of Whig history:
Most people today believe that the prominence of rights is the almost-inevitable conclusion of a long process of moral development. Originating in Greco-Roman philosophy and Judeo-Christian religion, so the story goes, the idea of human rights expressed a cosmopolitan vision of universal humanity, which went on to find expression in modern times in the English Civil War, the French and American Revolutions, various antislavery movements, the Second World War, and the struggles against colonialism and racism. The history of the West is a continuous unfolding of this majestic idea, and if contemporary Western societies are superior to others, past and present, it is because of their respect for personal liberties.
The article goes on to criticize this focus on rights:
IT IS partly the loss of the insight that human rights can only be secured by an effective state that explains the failure of the regime-change policies promoted by neoconservatives and liberal hawks over the past decade. If rights are what humans possess in the absence of a repressive regime, all that needs to be done to secure human rights is to remove the despot in question. But if rights are empty without the state to protect them, then the nature of the government that can be reasonably expected to emerge when tyranny has been overthrown becomes of crucial importance. . . .
A willed ignorance of history was also at work. If rights are universally human, embodying a kind of natural freedom that appears as the accretions of history are wiped away, the past has little significance. But if human rights are artifacts that have been constructed in specific circumstances, as I would argue, history is all-important; and history tells us that when authoritarian regimes are suddenly swept aside, the result is often anarchy or a new form of tyranny—and quite often a mix of the two.
Aretae seems to think that effort trumps IQ. It’s been 7 years since I was in school, but as I remember it, the smart kids did homework because they took classes that actually required them to do homework. The dumb kids didn’t do homework because their teachers weren’t stupid enough to actually believe that they would do homework if they were assigned any. A kid with a low IQ is simply not going to spend 120 minutes a day doing homework.
You hear a lot of bad things about Russia these days, but Bruce Charlton reminds us that – unlike Western nations – Russia is no longer committing suicide.