Thursday, February 17, 2011

HOT5 Daily 2/17/2011

1. "THE VIRTUE OF INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM" An excellent article on the difference between freedom and democracy, two things some tend to conflate.

Representative Sample: This reality must be understood and the mindless worship of "democracy", which is no guarantee that liberty and freedom for all will prevail, must cease. Unless the power of government, even a "democratically elected" government, is constitutionally limited so that the freedoms of even the smallest minorities (i.e., individuals) are protected from the majority, tyranny is likely the only thing that will prevail.

2. "Egypt's Chance" Pipe's is surprisingly optimistic on Egypt.

Representative Sample: A leaderless mass movement galvanized large numbers of ordinary citizens, as in Tunisia days earlier. It did not rage against foreigners, scapegoat minority Egyptians, nor endorse a radical ideology; instead, it demanded accountability, liberty, and prosperity. Reports reaching me from Cairo suggest a historic turn toward patriotism, inclusion, secularism, and personal responsibility.

3. "Rational Debating" An outstanding guide.

Representative Sample: It's a flow chart.

4. "Republicans: Go Boldly" Good advice.

Representative Sample: Republicans seem hesitant to take the President on–he’s still popular enough and he has the bully pulpit and he’s already shown a willingness to cynically invoke the trauma to women, children and the elderly.

5. "Iranian Navy Exposes a US Navy Weakness" Pitifully weak Iranian ships somehow cause a rise in oil prices despite the influence and presence of mighty U.S. naval forces in the region.

Representative Sample: How do we reconcile the ability of an Iranian corvette half way around the world to influence a US economic market with the rhetoric by the United States Navy leadership who attempts to link US naval power with US economy? How can observers not draw the conclusion that investors in this country have lost all association with American naval power and the sustainability of regional peace when an Iranian corvette can make this kind of economic impact while operating right next to a US aircraft carrier strike group?

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  1. I didn't much like the guide to rational debating. If you followed it for things beyond religion, life would get pretty dull. Have you ever seen a political pundit change his mind on something? I can't recall a case. An economist? A social scientist? A global warming alarmist? Will any new evidence convince them?

  2. I took that point to mean that you have to be at least open to changing your mind -- at least in theory -- if presented with convincing evidence, as opposed to considering your belief absolute truth. Obviously there is going to be an extremely high bar for what constitutes convincing evidence on strongly-held positions.