Knowledge vs. utility

Gary Wolf’s article describing the New Atheism movement and Khalid Mir’s post on the value of intuition have prompted me to consider the difference between a belief system’s validity and usefulness.

One such ‘use’ is morality. Is morality superior to knowledge? To make an extreme case: I’d rather live among friendly and fun imbeciles than I would mean and murderous intellectuals. Or as Trey Parker explained it in Reason Magazine’s article, South Park Libertarians:

If a religion’s going to take over the world, and the one that really believes “just be super nice to everyone” takes over, that’s all right with me. Even if it’s all bullshit, that’s OK.

Parker is forgetting all the other things that come attached to religion. Though some beliefs in themselves might be useful or even true, the beliefs in the remainder of a belief system might not be.

[to be continued]

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Resistance to diversity is resistance to freedom

Inspired by Brad Richert’s recent post.

The American people need to learn the difference between choosing for themselves and choosing for others. When voting, the options are mutually exclusive, so we must empower the former by treating the latter liberally.

Freedom is having the right to do whatever it is you want to do as long as it doesn’t violate anyone else’s freedom. Laws are made precisely to enforce that principle. But what I see when I watch other Americans decide how they’re going to vote on an issue is a narrow-minded considering of their own personal beliefs. Voting on what you believe is right for yourself and your preferred way of life is not a vote for freedom.

Same-sex marriage again serves as an appropriate example. Allowing gay couples to marry in no way affects the marriages of heterosexual couples. No one’s rights are being infringed.

People can disagree. They can voice their opinions, criticize, complain, or march down the streets in opposition. But the moment they vote to deny gay couples to marry, they are impeding freedom by selfishly forcing their opinions on others.

[to be continued]

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A nation is not a business

Why then do so many politicians have business backgrounds? How does that qualify them as leaders of free people?

Prevalent business models are the antitheses of democracy. Oligarchy, aristocracy, plutocracy, or even tyranny—these forms of government more accurately portray big business. Corporations constitute nearly 100% of all business. They are bound by law to put the financial interests of their stockholders above the public interest, and incidentally above the interests of their employees. Is this how a nation should be governed?

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A better school system, a better social system

Sometime around 1992, Amherst built their own high school. Before that, the Amherst kids attended Milford Area High School. After the development, MASH—as it was called—dropped the A to become MHS, where I served four years of hard time.

Many of my friends were from Amherst, New Hamsphire. There was a day that MHS had off (probably a teacher’s meeting or something) and Amherst didn’t. The geek that I am, I went to AHS for a day.

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