Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Few Random Musings

It has been a hectic couple of weeks.

Musing one: This Ross Douthat column about the workplace is somewhat provocative:
There is a certain air of irresponsibility to giving up on employment altogether, of course. But while pundits who tap on keyboards for a living like to extol the inherent dignity of labor, we aren’t the ones stocking shelves at Walmart or hunting wearily, week after week, for a job that probably pays less than our last one did. One could make the case that the right to not have a boss is actually the hardest won of modern freedoms: should it really trouble us if more people in a rich society end up exercising it?
The answer is yes — but mostly because the decline of work carries social costs as well as an economic price tag. Even a grinding job tends to be an important source of social capital, providing everyday structure for people who live alone, a place to meet friends and kindle romances for people who lack other forms of community, a path away from crime and prison for young men, an example to children and a source of self-respect for parents.
Frankly, I have a pile of books I want to read, and I want to make homemade pastas better than I do now; I also want to learn how to make homemade sausage that tastes like the stuff my grandfather made, so a world without work sounds appealing.

Spending the past week asking for people to help judge public forum at the state debate tournament involved asking a lot of co-workers to ask their friends and family to help out, so Douthat's point about social capital is not without merit even if he too blithely dismisses drudge work that does not provide a living wage.

Musing two:  I heard my favorite response to the school pistolier bill. The bill is an effort to solve any problems in the state retirement system by giving more teachers guns and hoping they will commit suicide. Maybe I have been reading too many Steve Sibson comments on Madville, but it sort of makes sense in a tinfoil hat sort of way.

Musing three: I wish people would use the phrase "bet the question" properly. For example, "With Hagel now confirmed, it begs the question - was the Republicans' anti-Hagel crusade worth it? The Hagel fight prompts the question. Begging the question is a logical fallacy:
The fallacy of petitio principii, or "begging the question", is committed "when a proposition which requires proof is assumed without proof"; in order to charitably entertain the argument, it must be taken as given "in some form of the very proposition to be proved, as a premise from which to deduce it".[5] One must take it upon oneself that the goal, taken as given, is essentially the means to that end.

1 comment:

Troy Jones said...

I agree. "Beg the question" has become so misused that it needs to just go away.

Another one is "sound as a dollar" but that is because the dollar has been so abused.

And, "three dog night" as everyone thinks it has to do with a song.

Finally, "don't have a prayer" because they drop off "in Hades."