31 January 2008

RSS Link Dump

I've only recently started using an RSS reader (because I'm an old fogie stuck in the twentieth century) but I've instantly come to love it. There's something about just having all of my blogs and comics and everything jumbled together on my Google Reader page that just seems... fitting. All of life on one little page.

That said, there are a lot of links that I've been saving up to talk about, and unfortunately don't have time to do a full post on. So let me just link them here and just give them a line or two.

How to Recognize a Good Programmer, via Slashdot. It's really just a list of "stereotypes about super-kewl-d00ds who become hawt hackers" that assumes that any really good programmer will spend all of his (never her, keep that in mind) time dreaming about technology is general and code specifically. Do we expect accountants -- even the brilliant ones who would go to work for a start-up -- to have started dreaming about numbers and line items in the fifth grade? There are plenty of great programmers that have lives that take them away from the computer screen once in awhile.

Mark Thoma of the Economist's View links to a Michael Kinsley essay entitled "Libertarians Deserve a Listen". He says, in part:
Extreme libertarians believe [government-mandated income redistribution] is immoral or even unconstitutional, and even moderate libertarians disapprove of social welfare programs as an infringement on the freedom of taxpayers. But freedom is only one of the two core values our nation was built on. The other is equality. Defining equality, libertarians tend to take a narrow view, believing that it means only political equality with no financial aspects. Defining freedom, by contrast, they take a broad view, and see a violation in every nickel a citizen is forced to spend.

It's an interesting essay, and it highlights a lot of the strengths and weaknesses of the libertarian position. Of course, one of the weaknesses of the libertarian position is that they never seem to realize that there are weaknesses in the libertarian position, but I digress....

Orcinus linked to a 1941 essay by Dorothy Thompson entitled "Who Goes Nazi?" It's brilliant and insightful, and scarily apropos of today's political realities.
.... Kind, good, happy, gentlemanly, secure people never go Nazi. They may be the gentle philosopher whose name is in the Blue Book, or Bill from City College to whom democracy gave a chance to design airplanes–you’ll never make Nazis out of them. But the frustrated and humiliated intellectual, the rich and scared speculator, the spoiled son, the labor tyrant, the fellow who has achieved success by smelling out the wind of success–they would all go Nazi in a crisis.

Believe me, nice people don’t go Nazi. Their race, color, creed, or social condition is not the criterion. It is something in them.

Those who haven’t anything in them to tell them what they like and what they don’t-whether it is breeding, or happiness, or wisdom, or a code, however old-fashioned or however modern, go Nazi. It’s an amusing game. Try it at the next big party you go to.

Read the whole thing. It's remarkable.

Sandefur linked to this bit from the Objective Standard that excoriates universal health care. It's useful for being a place where nearly all of the arguments against UHC are collected in one place (I even agree with most of it), but it's notable also for what's not said. The word "France" is to be found nowhere in the essay. I wonder why that is....

That's it for now. I'll keep posting these a few at a time until I get everything cleared out.

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