Monday, October 19, 2009

This battle has just begun

I spend a lot of time on the internet. I get almost all of my news there (aside from the occasional edition of the Wall Street Journal purchased outside my favorite diner and the occasional bored venture onto primetime news networks), my blog rounds include upwards of 150 blogs ranging from current events to politics to economics to news analysis to philosophy to sports. I have to know what's going on in the world and in my fields (philosophy and history), so I try to keep up. But sometimes some of the sites usually on my regular rounds fall by the wayside (this happens to The New Clarion all the time--I don't know why I keep spacing them out). One of those that has fallen out of my regular rotation lately is Brian Leiter's blog. It happens.

For those of you who don't know, Leiter's blog is predominantly reporting news about the academic profession of philosophy: who left where to teach where, who died, etc., with a bit of reporting on the intellectual culture in general thrown in. Leiter is a philosopher and legal scholar at the University of Chicago and also is the editor of The Philosophical Gourmet Report, a ranking (often controversial) of philosophy graduate schools in the English-speaking world. 

Well, I stopped by Leitner's place again today and saw this. If you don't know who Donald Hubin is, don't worry. His contribution to philosophy is 30-odd years of poorly reasoned and wholly uninfluential articles on justice, paternity, rights, values and sundry other topics in ethics. 

These are the people young Objectivists (especially philosophy majors) will encounter in universities. Someone who thinks of his job not as teaching young people how to think rationally about philosophical issues, but as disabusing the poor little lemmings of their nonsense dogmas. And that's if you're lucky. Many of them are openly hostile. Trust me, I've seen them all.

And to include Rothbard in the same category as Rand, or even someone like Nozick, is just insulting. I'm sorry, but libertarians are going to have realize that Rothbard was a piss-poor thinker. 

Look, I've dealt with these cats for five years. I'm in it for the long haul: PhD. Don't let them break you down. And they will try to break you down like you're an alcoholic at an intervention. Stand your ground, be respectful (as long as they deserve it) and, above all, know your material. Know it backwards and forwards. Not only Objectivism but whoever you are studying. If you have to know Schopenhauer's opinion of Kant's transcendental aesthetic, know it thoroughly. If you have to know Schumpeter's criticism of Keynes' "general theory", know it thoroughly. If you have to know the influence of classical teachings on the Founding Fathers, know it thoroughly. 

If you know your material, know how to rationally integrate that knowledge and can articulate it eloquently, they have nothing on you.


Saturday, October 17, 2009


It's looking more and more like I may owe Josh McDaniels an apology.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Don't act surprised.

Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize.

This was going to happen at some point during his presidency. Might as well get it out of the way now, when he is merely promising universal prosperity and world peace, then when his nonsense collapses all around him.

I'll say nothing else except to point you to the list of recipients of this Oslo trinket and ask whether you think it should really be such an honor to be in that company.