Ordinary World for 13 Oct 2018

Ordinary World for 13 Oct 2018

Ordinary World for 10 Oct 2018

“(Yosemite is)…full of God’s thoughts, a place of peace and safety amid the most exalted grandeur and enthusiastic action, a new song, a place of beginnings abounding in first lessons of life, mountain building, eternal, invincible, unbreakable order; with sermons in stone, storms, trees, flowers, and animals brimful with humanity.”
– John Muir

*As always, these links are to be read, discussed, and decided on by the reader, not listed as endorsements of the views they offer.

Religion:

[Re1] Why we need “blue laws,” the religious tradition that sanctifies life outside of work By Lyman Stone: ” In other words, blue laws are also a way that the state enshrines a special time for citizens to exercise rights to assembly, religious and secular. Assembly requires that people have time off together, so it doesn’t work to simply mandate that businesses close for any random 24-hour period, because that doesn’t ensure that people have time off together. The state cannot force you to go to church or a community meeting or spend time with loved ones, but it can force your employer to close up shop, raising the odds that you’ll invest in social and civic capital instead of paid labor.”

[Re2] Politics as the New Religion for Progressive Democrats by Emma Green: “Whoever is in the losing party tends to be more energized,” said Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, the director of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University. “They have something to win back.” It’s the segment that’s surprising: Religiously unaffiliated voters, who may or may not be associated with other civic institutions, seem most excited about supporting or donating to causes, going to rallies, and expressing opinions online, among other activities. Political engagement may be providing these Americans with a new form of identity. And in turn, they may be helping to solidify the new identity of the Democratic Party.”

[Re3] Raising Kids With Religion Or Spirituality May Protect Their Mental Health by Alice G. Walton: “Previous studies have suggested similar connections—for instance, that people who are more religious are often happier, and that people who believe in something greater than themselves are more resilient to stress. Other work has shown that in meditation and in prayer, the “me” centers of the brain—those that are active when you’re thinking self-referential worry-based thoughts—quiet down, and areas involved in perceiving the external world as “other” also deactivate. This might suggest that at least one way in which religion/spirituality benefits mental health is to reduce our tendency to think about ourselves and at the same time dissolve our sense of separateness.”

[Re4] Why religion steps in when the state steps back by Sriya Iyer: “Our findings show that as income inequality is increasing in India, members of all religious groups are demanding more education, jobs, healthcare, food distribution, and other services that are affordable and of good quality. Such services may not be adequately provided in all states by the government, and that is where non-state entities step in. Religious organizations are such entities. This pattern is not unique to India. As much research on other developing and developed countries has shown, in the presence of a welfare state, the demand for services provided by religious organizations is reduced, and in some countries, as public services have increasingly been provided over time, the in?uence of religion has weakened.”

Environment:

[Ev1] In Defense of Politicizing Hurricanes – There’s nothing wrong with tying unfolding tragedies to climate change By Emily Atkin: “Climate change is indeed a politically risky topic, owing to years of Republican claims that it’s not an existential threat to the planet, but a liberal conspiracy to regulate big industries out of business. Democrats in swing or conservative-leaning districts are understandably shy about calling Republicans liars, so instead they ignore the issue. It’s simply not worth taking the risk—especially on a topic that historically hasn’t even motivated liberal voters.”

[Ev2] Tax Cuts 2.0 or A Carbon Tax – Why Not Both? by Alex Muresianu: “I suggested the GOP make another round of tax reform revenue-neutral by removing distortionary deductions, such as capping the exclusion for employer-sponsored health insurance, which favors non-monetary over monetary employee compensation. That would be an ideal reform. But that exclusion is notoriously difficult to curb politically, and the TCJA already significantly reduced many major itemized deductions, such as the deductions for state and local taxes and mortgage interest, so even if some of those other deductions were eliminated, that might not be enough to make the tax reform revenue-neutral. Enter the carbon tax.”

[Ev3] The Capitalists vs. the Catastrophists by Noah Rothman: “These activists have done a great public service by boiling down the public-policy debate around mitigating the effects of climate change to its most elementary level. If the climate debate becomes about the value of market economics and entrepreneurial dynamism, it’s a debate the capitalists will win. One of the IPCC’s most sensible recommendations to the threat posed by excessive carbon emissions is to popularize the use of “smart thermostats” in homes. But the biggest draw for consumers who purchase relatively expensive Internet-connected devices like those isn’t the marginal contribution they will make to atmospheric stability but the downward pressure they put on the average home’s heating and air conditioning bill. Market forces, economic incentives, and maximum personal benefit are still the most powerful influences affecting mankind.”

[Ev4] The Racism of “De-Growth” or “Anti-Growth” Environmentalism by Andrew Damitio: “In short, economic growth is not a zero-sum game. Improved efficiency can result in improved environmental protection. From an ecological standpoint, it’s a way for humans to increase the carrying capacity of the planet. While it is naive to believe that all environmental issues can be solved through improved technology, opposition to growth completely ignores the technological solutions to some environmental issues, and treats all economic growth as a zero-sum game between progress and the environment, which is simply not the reality.”

Archive:

[Ar1] Why did the Occupy Wall Street protests turn violent and not the Tea Party protests? by Vikram Bath: “Sometimes, it is best to not ask a question. If you’ve ever been around when a kid sees someone in a wheelchair for the first time, you know what I am talking about. We quickly and apologetically explain that there are things we can freely ask questions about and other questions we should keep to ourselves. As adults, we’ve honed this skill of suppressing our curiosities when it is likely to cause discomfort. It is with considerable discomfort that I ask this question:”

[Ar2] Can Anything Stop Internet Mob Justice/Anger? by Saul DeGraw: “The Internet Mob in this case probably did not wait for the wheels of Justice to turn as slowly and imperfectly as they often do. They did not want Palmer to hide behind a lawyer whose legal and ethical responsibility would require him or her to get an optimal outcome for this semi-cowardly hunter even if that means complete acquittal. The problem is that the mob produces a lot of collateral damage as a result.”


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Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire.

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21 thoughts on “Ordinary World for 13 Oct 2018

  1. Re3: I wonder how much the benefit depends upon how the religion or spirituality is presented? Is there a difference between R/S as peace/zen vs fire and brimstone and wrathful?

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    • It’s a great question, and I think that starts getting into overall environment as much as religious upbringing. Fire and brimstone would probably be a part of a very strict household, where religious things like prayer for example are probably more regimented in nature. A more new age/eastern type zen home would be pre-disposed to quiet and calm and meditation anyway.

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  2. Re1: I still have strong problems with the ideas of blue laws because I think they inevitably enshrine a Christian concept. Blue laws are almost always on a Sunday.

    Observant Jews are not supposed to carry cash at all on Saturdays or shop. So how are they suppose to get their errands done?

    The assumption of Lyman Stone is also around everyone being married with children. What about unmarried people want to get brunch with friends? Or go to a movie? Or a sporting event?

    I am all for giving everyone a four day work week because it is civilized and relaxing. I am not for a concept of blue laws where everything just convienently shuts down on the Christian sabbath and conservatives do backflips to justify how this isn’t religiously motivated.

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  3. Re1: Besides what Saul said, most people don’t want their time off from work to be devoted to Sabbath levels of observance. We are much too secular for that. What people want is to have a good time. A total commerce ban will prevent this for many people. Even when Blue Laws were at their height, there were debates about whether people should be allowed to pursue cultural or leisure activities during Sunday since it was there only day off. Many advocates of Blue Laws said no because they wanted people in church, not at an art museum, watching a movie, or playing golf.

    Ev3: We are always going to have people that want to totally transform human life. Many people are really not consumerist/materialist, think that what most people want are bad things, and don’t bring happiness. They believe life would be better in all aspects if people were more austere in how they lived.

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  4. I really enjoyed the archived pieces again Andrew! There’s so much good stuff on here it’s nice to get a chance to read some of it. Much appreciated (and to Vikram and Saul too)

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