Sunday, November 27, 2005


We're all grateful for food, family, and friends; but let us also give thanks (to Ian this time) for the latest Philosopher's Carnival! A bountiful harvest indeed – check it out!

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Well, Aristotle hell is over, only to be replaced by Hellenistic hell. (Is Stoic hell even possible? After all, that pain is bad is a pathos, a mistaken value judgment about that to which we should be indifferent. Stoic Schultz: "I feel nossinkk!") Looks like substantive philblogging must wait until the post-Augustinian era. In the meantime, here's something I saw in the latest issue of Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association, which sometimes runs obituaries ("Memorial Minutes") of departed philosophers, often with anecdotes documenting our man's cleverness. Craig Staudenbaur, previously unknown to me, "was an expert on the Cambridge Platonists, especially Henry More" (also previously unknown to me, as it happens). Let me turn the floor over to Professor Staudenbaur's Michigan State colleagues Charles McCracken and Ronald Suter:
[W]hen he wrote a review of a book by a French scholar that purported to show strong affinities between theosophy and Henry More's philosophy (a thesis Craig thought without merit), he began the review by saying, "This book fills a much-needed gap."
Oh, that's good. (I had to read that twice.) It seems that Professor Staudenbaur had many talents, having written a novel called Cosmos Lycanthropos: Planet of the Man-Wolf. I'm afraid I won't have time for that one any time soon (see above).

Friday, November 04, 2005

Goobernatorial cornucopia

Election Day will soon be upon us, and with it, I hope and pray, blessed respite from those insufferable campaign ads (“In 1970, my opponent kicked a cute, helpless puppy; oh, and, uh, he’ll raise your taxes” and so forth). Recently New Jersey residents received our ballot facsimiles, complete with official statements from ten candidates for governor. And a wonderfully diverse lot they are. Leading off we have the two major-party candidates. One tells us that
it’s time to take back New Jersey from the politicians and power brokers who have raised our taxes and turned a blind eye to corruption, and return New Jersey to the people.
(This candidate’s party is not currently in the statehouse.) From the other one, we have this:
I pledge to cut waste, increase efficiency, and reform the budget process. Common sense tells us that we should grow our economy, instead of increasing taxes. We must replace the failed practice of ‘tax, borrow, and spend’ with a new strategy of ‘invest, grow, and prosper.’
At the moment, he’s ahead in the polls.

Judging by these two, you might think that all New Jerseyans are boring. Not so! For instance, we have not one but two Socialist candidates. The Socialist Workers Party candidate is a traditional socialist, with the traditional socialist love for the imperative mood (“fight cop brutality”), capital letters (“IT’S NOT WHO YOU’RE AGAINST. IT’S WHAT YOU’RE FOR!”), and exclamation points (“U.S. hands off Venezuela!”). The Socialist Party USA candidate, on the other hand, is more lyrical: “We need to dawn a new day; we must usher in a era of new hoe and restored aspirations.” He also has a laundry list, but by the end of it he’s just as concerned with taking digs at other parties as with explaining himself:
A lottery similar to Spain’s Christmas Lottery and Japans Quarterly (High Annuity). The Green agenda and way of life is only a ad-hoc liberal come socialist program. Socialist achieved world wide which the Greens credit themselves for. The Socialist Parties are the Parties whom people in many lands turn to for change. In the Socialist Party USA we stand on our History and Accomplishments. We where once America’s Alternative, Third Party and will be again.
Moving on. The Green Party candidate is either oblivious to the slight from his SPUSA opponent, or he takes the high road, asking simply “When will we, the people, say ‘ENOUGH!’?” Similarly, the One New Jersey candidate concentrates his fire on the major parties:
My fellow New Jerseyan’s, you DO have a choice.
You can waste your vote on the Democrat or Republican, or vote for me.
So when your tax bill goes up again, remember, you made that choice.
The bottom line is we’re ALL New Jerseyan’s FIRST.
I assume the ambiguity in the third line is unintentional. (If not, he’s a sly one.)

Skipping over Libertarian, Independent, and Education Not Corruption candidates, each of whom is more boring than the other ones (and you thought the more-boring-than relation did not allow this!), let us turn at last to the cream of the crop: the Legalize Marijuana candidate. I’m tempted to reproduce his entire statement, but I will content myself here with some of the choicer excerpts. He is running, he tells us, not to win (demonstrating his sure grasp of political reality), but instead
to give the “FINGER” state-wide to our Demo-publican party politicians who wage their LIE based “WAR on US”. […] I personally chose to use the “GOD GROWN HERB MARIJUANA” so I fight our governments war on it’s “POT-FRONT”. The fact that I can obtain marijuana any day of the week I chose is testimate to the failure of our governments racist war on drugs.
You see, it’s a free speech and free-exercise issue:
In our Governments 21st century drug war ‘RASTAFARI’ is as illegal a religion to practice in America as Quakerism was in England in 1690, or Faluan Gong is in China or Christianity is in Saudi Arabia today.
Naturally, he’s not simply speaking in the abstract; it has affected him personally:
While I’ve also denied the Right to change my own name to NJWEEDMAN.COM.
After a ringing peroration (“we in America today have more reason to revolt than the colonist did in 1776”), he leaves us with:
(Quotes in original.) So I’m to bring a bag to the polls with me. Not sure what the point of that would be. It’s too bad he’s not running to win – if he did win I’d be sure to read the paper more often. I can just see it now:
Governor NJWEEDMAN.COM Blows Smoke at Legislature

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Ooooh - that's scary!

Philosophers carnivalling, that is. Chill your bones here.