New AND column

On the claims that the Constitution is a dangerous document and that we can only protect our country by ignoring it.
In other news:
E.O. Wilson, expert on ants and biodiversity and also the founder of sociobiology, argues that “We are a Star Wars civilization. We have Stone Age emotions. We have medieval institutions — most notably, the churches. And we have god-like technology.” And that we’re therefore unprepared for the technology.
In the first place, as the author of Adapting Minds points out, our emotions may be much more recent than that: The assumption are minds were frozen in the Neolithic (or whenever) is based on little evidence.
In the second place, while that sounds deep, I’m not sure it has any depth to it at all. What exactly does Wilson think 21st century emotions would look like? Does he imagine us becoming all rational and logical like big-brained super-evolved humans in old pulp SF? Why is emotion a problem rather than misperceptions in logic (as Nicholas Taleeb points out in Fooled by Randomness, we often neglect how much luck plays a role)?
•From 1958, Reinhold Niebuhr, Catholic theologian, on the separation of church and state. In essence: We don’t want bad government to have the power to control good religion, but we also don’t want bad religion to impose its views on good government.
•The church’s issues with American nuns have been simmering for a while.
•A new book argues that the basis of conservative economics is the myth that the rich got their without any help from government.
This is a real axiom for many free-market fans: Columnist Tibor Machan once devoted an entire article to finger-wagging at Bill Gates for saying he wanted to “give back” to the community: He did it all by himself so it’s completely un-PC (libertarian PC version). For an explanation of why Machan is wrong, check out Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers.
And here’s an article making a similar point: Talking about “equality of opportunity” often ignores that if you grow up rich or privileged, you start with unequal opportunities. As Mighty God King pointed out, some writers define equality of opportunity to the effect that if you’re poor and black and have to work 60 hours and week and get incredibly lucky to have the same opportunities as a middle-class slacker, then hey, the system works!
•The origin of original sin.
•New fun for job-seekers: Some employers are asking for proof of their previous salary and basing salary offers on it.
•You’ve probably heard about Stand Your Ground laws from the Trayvon Martin case. Astonishingly (or maybe not) they didn’t stop a Florida court from sending a woman to jail for shooting at her abusive husband. Among the arguments against dismissing her case: Well, she could have run instead of standing her ground, couldn’t she?
•Forty-two years ago, the National Guard shot down four protesters at Kent State University. An astonishing number of people in authority stated this was the right thing to do.
•The FBI wants even more Internet surveillance power. As Glenn Greenwald says, it says a lot that the government isn’t asking the voters for support, just the telecom and Internet executives.
•The top 10 reasons men should not be ordained.
•Right bloggers obsess over Obama’s Dreams of my Father, but even more so about his support for gay marriage.
•What to say to God on National Prayer Day.

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Filed under economics, Politics

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