Closing the books

by Daniel on January 4, 2008

I have a minor annual tradition (as in, I did it once) of beginning the year with a short list of arguments that I am no longer going to have. As I said when I produced the first such list, while not necessarily claiming to have the definitive truth on these subjects, my views

“Are no longer up for argument, pending absolutely spectacular new evidence. I’ve had a number of arguments on all of these points over the last year; I’ve heard all sides, and I’ve made up my mind. If anyone has an argument which they genuinely believe to be new, go ahead, but don’t expect much. Please note also that I am no longer interested in methodological debates over the merits of statistical studies which purport to prove the matter one way or another on any of these propositions.”

It’s basically a way of clearing the decks of old pointless arguments, leaving room for new pointless and bitter arguments (I hope to post next week a short list of things that I plan to argue about a heck of a lot more, being a list of tacit assumptions made by other people that I regard as highly questionable). If you want to have a last go on any of the short list below, now’s the time, but otherwise it is books closed, I’m afraid; I have made a reasonable donation to the Grice United Fund which ought to cover any genuinely deserving intellectual charity cases. So here’s the list – it’s actually shorter than previous years.
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Brooks v. Tomasky

by Henry on January 4, 2008

“David Brooks”:http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/04/us/politics/04elect.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin interprets Mike Huckabee’s win last night as the harbinger of a populist sea-change in the Republican party.

Some people are going to tell you that Mike Huckabee’s victory last night in Iowa represents a triumph for the creationist crusaders. Wrong. … Huckabee won because he tapped into realities that other Republicans have been slow to recognize. … First, evangelicals have changed. Huckabee is the first ironic evangelical on the national stage. … He’s funny, campy … and he’s not at war with modern culture. … Second, Huckabee understands much better than Mitt Romney that we have a crisis of authority in this country. … he sensed that conservatives do not believe their own movement is well led. He took on Rush Limbaugh, the Club for Growth and even President Bush. The old guard threw everything they had at him, and their diminished power is now exposed. … Third, Huckabee understands how middle-class anxiety is really lived. Democrats talk about wages. But real middle-class families have more to fear economically from divorce than from a free trade pact. … Huckabee’s victory is not a step into the past. It opens up the way for a new coalition. … A conservatism that recognizes stable families as the foundation of economic growth … A conservatism that loves capitalism but distrusts capitalists … A conservatism that pays attention to people making less than $50,000 a year … Huckabee probably won’t be the nominee, but starting last night in Iowa, an evangelical began the Republican Reformation.

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Sharpen your vocabulary for a good cause

by Eszter Hargittai on January 4, 2008

Time Sink!

I haven’t posted one of these in a while. The twist: this one has a worthy cause attached to it.

Free Rice

Test your vocabulary skills and donate rice at the same time.

It’s interesting to note which countries have already fulfilled their pledge in international aid to address world hunger, and which countries haven’t taken any concrete steps. Can you guess?