Thanksgiving 2015


To all my friends here, old and new: The best Thanksgiving Day to you! Perhaps you’ll join the great repast And then, recovering, will fast… […]

Natural Law, Natural Allies


From time to time, I mention in these writings that I am non-religious. This has always been true of me; I am not a “converted” or “lapsed” or “apostate” anything. But many of my fellow conservatives are indeed deeply religious, and sometimes express disbelief or even disdain that a non-theist could support American conservative beliefs.




I’d really hoped that this was satire. That, perhaps, what is celebrated as April Fool’s Day in the US is early May in Australia. But no, the commenters (most of whom were similarly puzzled and astounded) were also commenting about the “April Fool’s Day” aspect of the piece.


Sunday Verse 6: Two Worlds


One rather famous verse in the synoptic Gospels (such as in Matthew 21) includes this line: “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” The same chapter contains many other recognizable phrases, and it has long intrigued me how many different Biblical expressions have made it to English conversational or literary use. For example, in this chapter are found the expression “Many are called, but few are chosen” and “Show me the money!” (often translated as “show me the tribute money” or “show the the tribute coin”). […]

Is Altruism Batty?

This creature is perhaps an unlikely representative of altruism:

The nightmarish vampire bat might not seem like a team player, given that it’s a parasite and all, but in fact it demonstrates some pretty advanced social intelligence. It’s in the best interest of a small animal like the bat to maintain a healthy and […]

Sunday Verse 5: Mammon and Rewards


I’ve been enjoying recent re-visits to Ayn Rand’s work, and my own Lady Anne has just re-read the full text of Atlas Shrugged and is plowing through Rand’s non-fiction work now. This makes for enjoyable discussions (but I confess a bias toward always considering discussions with my Lady to be enjoyable). Along the way (and spurred by Rand’s The Virtue of Selfishness available here as a .PDF file), some lively and surprisingly vehement discussions about definitions of “selfishness” and “self-interest” and “altruism” have taken place, and I have another post on that topic coming soon. But for my purposes at the moment, in this discussion of thought-provoking Bible verses pursuant to the Food for Thought award based on Citizen Tom’s rather flattering nomination, I’m going to look at Biblical treatments of wealth, and a slightly different take on altruism. […]

Denoting Bertrand Russell, “Red Emma” Goldman, Thomas Jefferson


(This wound up being something of a scattered ramble on different philosophers in history.) I mentioned recently Ayn Rand’s definition of selfishness, as “concerned with one’s own interests.” It’s straightforward enough. In the ensuing discussion, I described this as less opaque than some of the definitions of Bertrand Russell. (I had miswritten his first name […]

Altruism and Religion


Citizen Tom has a series of posts discussing altruism (as seen by Ayn Rand) and Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism. I’m in the odd position of largely agreeing with him, ​and ​with Ayn Rand — despite his objecting to Rand’s writings. He describes well the dangers of enforced “altruism”: […]