Monday, September 28, 2015

Quote of the day

"Wherever they burn books they will also, in the end burn human beings." - Heinrich Heine (1820)

Heine's works were among those burned by the Nazis in 1933.

via Hitler's Philosophers by Yvonne Sherratt

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Excerpt of the day

From Half a Crown by Jo Walton

"As soon as she's told them whatever it is they think she's holding out on, she'll be back with you ... She'll tell them soon. You've approved the [interrogation] methods at Finsbury yourself."

Carmichael wanted to say that he hadn't approved them for Elvira, for an innocent girl, but the words wouldn't come out of his mouth. He had approved them, and if he had approved them he had approved them for her, for anyone, for everyone.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Quote of the day

"[A]ny man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind." - John Donne, Meditation XVII

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Kim Davis and moral false equivalence

"This is like saying that Rosa Parks refusing to sit in the back of the bus and the bus driver refusing to let black people on the bus would be morally equivalent, which is clearly false." - Ed Brayton, on those claiming Kim Davis is a hero of conscience

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Quote of the day

"Think like philosophers. Pursue excellence, in this as in all things." - Jo Walton, The Philosopher Kings

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Excerpt of the day

From Abaddon's Gate by James S.A. Corey

"This isn't about good guys and bad guys," Anna said. "Yes, we've picked sides now, because some of the actions they are about to take will have serious consequences for us, and we're going to try to stop them. But what you're doing is demonizing them, making them the enemy. The problem with that is that is that once we've stopped them and they can't hurt us anymore, they're still demons. Still the enemy."

"Believe me," Tilly said, "when I get out of here, it will be my mission in life to burn Cortez to the ground for this."


"What do you mean, why?"

"He won't be on a ship trying to destroy the Ring anymore. He won't be supporting Ashford anymore. All of the circumstances that made him your enemy will be gone. What's the value in the clinging to the hate?"

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Quotes from The Just City

From The Just City by Jo Walton (click here for a review of this excellent sci-fi/fantasy/philosophy book.)

  • "You can't trust everything that ass Plato wrote," Sokrates said.
  • Sokrates, of course, didn't ever see what he expected to see, he saw what was there and examined it.
  • "Plato didn't have as much experience of humanity as he needed to write a book like the Republic," Sokrates said. "Perhaps nobody does."
  • "There isn't an endpoint to excellence where you have it and you can stop. Being your best self means keeping on trying."

Monday, February 23, 2015

The difference

Tom Scocca, on why Brian Williams suffered for his false war correspondence claims, while Bill O'Reilly will suffer none for his

The reason why Brian Williams got into deep trouble for lying about his war experience while Bill O'Reilly hasn't is that Williams and O'Reilly have different jobs, for different employers. Brian Williams was paid to sit in front of a TV camera and give viewers an ostensibly neutral, agreeable account of current events. When people began disagreeing with Brian Williams about his presentation of facts, loudly and in public, it hurt his ability to perform those duties for NBC.

Bill O'Reilly is paid to go on television for Fox News and say things that get the viewers upset, even if those things are false or nonsensical. So what if his experience in the Falklands war was bogus? So is his experience in the War on Christmas. The fact that people are calling him dishonest simply proves, from Fox's point of view, that he's doing his job.