You seem to believe that disclosing diplomatic conversations will not have a dangerous chilling effect on the diplomats’ work. But are you willing to have your internal editorial discussions published? To have others decide what will and what won’t compromise your news-gathering methods? Would that not chill your ability to work?
We’ll know the answers when WikiLeaks publishes a trove of secret New York Times documents.
11-29-90 . . . The Fall 1990 issue of The Public Interest contains an exchange between Donald Kagan, a Yale history and classics professor, and George Will, a columnist who happens to hold a Ph.D. degree in political theory [from Princeton University]. [Donald Kagan, “George Will’s Baseball—A Conservative Critique”, The Public Interest (fall 1990): 3-20; George F. Will, “The Romantic Fallacy in Baseball—A Reply”, The Public Interest (fall 1990): 21-7.] The topic, of all things, is baseball. Several months ago Will published a book entitled Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball, in which he discussed the various ways baseball players try to improve their game. He picked a manager (Tony LaRussa) and three players (Cal Ripken Jr, Tony Gwynn, and Orel Hershiser) as his subjects. I haven’t read the book. Now Kagan comes along to criticize Will for “reducing” baseball to a craft or science. This, Kagan thinks, takes the romance and heroism out of the sport. He obviously despises many of the changes that have taken place in baseball during the past two or three decades, including the emphasis on baserunning. Kagan’s favorite baseball event appears to be the three-run homer. Will, in response, accuses Kagan of committing “the romantic fallacy”. All he means by “craft”, he says, is “discipline, a set of physical and mental skills subject to constant refinement on the basis of cumulative knowledge” (page 22). Both essays are written in a tone of mock seriousness. For example, Kagan points out that Will is a Chicago Cub fan and that the Cubs haven’t won a World Series “since Teddy Roosevelt was president; no doubt such lengthy frustration makes a man disgruntled and causes him to lose his judgment” (9). Will responds in kind, as when he addresses Kagan’s claim that baserunning skills have supplanted the skills of hitting:
The running game is not a substitute for hitting, it is a substitute for standing around and waiting for someone to hit the ball hard enough to wake up the Kagans who are dozing in the stands, uninterested in anything more subtle than a three-run home run (24).
Touche! I laughed as I read the essays this morning. Kagan and Will put on a great show: two adults fighting in public about a kid’s game. One thing is clear: Disagreement about the value, point, and meaning of baseball will always be with us; it’s part of the attraction of the sport.
I view libertarianism as a subset of classical liberalism, and on these following five points all or most classical liberals agree. First, libertarians recognize the existence and value of individual persons. Second, libertarians place value on the ability of all persons to live and pursue happiness. Third, libertarians use the phrase "pursuit of happiness" because they believe that only the protection of actions, rather than a guaranty of results, can potentially be afforded to everyone and that, in any event, no identifiable set of results would provide happiness for everyone. Fourth, libertarians recognize that people live in society with others and that the actions of one may have both positive and negative effects on others. Fifth, libertarians maintain that it is possible to find conditions, or ground rules, that would provide all, or nearly all, persons living in society the opportunity to pursue happiness without depriving others of the same opportunity.
Note from KBJ: There is nothing in this list of five points (with the possible exception of the third) that an egalitarian such as John Rawls or Ronald Dworkin need deny, in which case it fails to identify what is distinctive of libertarianism.
As “The Empty Earmarks Pledge” (editorial, Nov. 17) correctly reports, Tea Party activists can now claim their first victory: pledges by Congressional leaders and President Obama to end the earmarking of federal spending to finance specific projects within their home constituencies.
However, and not surprisingly, those wishing to “get the government off their backs” have gotten it backward. Removing selection of local tasks like widening crowded roads, improving harbors, purchase of police, fire and school equipment, from input by representatives and senators who know the area best and transferring that decision-making authority to bureaucrats in Washington is the absolute antithesis of Tea Party objectives.
When you simplistically live by the bumper sticker, you die by the bumper sticker.
Arthur L. Yeager Edison, N.J., Nov. 17, 2010
Note from KBJ: This letter is a perfect example of motivated ignorance. It has never occurred to the letter writer that members of the so-called Tea Party might be acting on the basis of principle rather than self-interest.
Here is the latest BCS ranking. There are three unbeaten teams remaining: Auburn, Oregon, and TCU. TCU has completed its schedule. Auburn and Oregon play their final games Saturday. Oregon should have no trouble beating in-state rival Oregon State, but Auburn could easily lose to South Carolina in the SEC Championship game. Should that happen, it'll be Oregon and TCU in the BCS title game in January, and won't that cause a howl across the land?
Yankee haters (which is to say anyone with a brain) are having fun with this. My sense is that the Yankees don't want Derek Jeter anymore. Oh, sure, they'd keep him at a much reduced salary; but he'll never accept that. I'm thinking that Jeter would look good in a Red Sox uniform.
William Jacobson now thinks that Sarah Palin should be the 2012 Republican presidential candidate. I agree. I voted for Palin in 2008 and will happily do so in 2012, when she is on the top of the ticket. By the way, the more Palin is smeared by progressives, the more she appeals to ordinary Americans, who view progressives (especially those in academia) as alien presences. Keep it up, progressives.
Greek Ethics generally was dominated (I believe rightly and sanely) by the idea of the good or value inherent in things, including conduct and character, as that towards which life is oriented and which makes it worth living.
(John H. Muirhead, Rule and End in Morals, Select Bibliographies Reprint Series [Freeport, NY: Books for Libraries Press, 1969], 22 [first published in 1932])
In “Let’s Rescue the Race Debate” (column, Nov. 20), Charles M. Blow cites a mound of evidence of discrimination against minorities and denies the existence of a “comparable mound” to document discrimination against whites.
But our organization has for years provided just such documentation regarding the use of racial and ethnic preferences in admissions to dozens of universities. There can be no serious doubt that whites face more racial discrimination in this context today than do African-Americans, and the evidence is that Asians are discriminated against at least as much or even more.
What’s worse, the discrimination against whites and others in university admissions (and in government contracting, to give another example) is overt, while discrimination against African-Americans has for years now been legally and socially unacceptable.
In these contexts, it is indeed the case that “today discrimination against whites has become as big a problem as discrimination against blacks,” as a majority of white Tea Party members, Republicans and independents said in a recent poll cited by Mr. Blow.