Best of Blogs: Friday, February 3
EDITED BY PIERRE TRISTAM/Candide's Notebooks
Today's specials: Still more on Cartoongate and State of the Union fabulism, plus views from the Subcontinent and Africa. Non-disclaimer: We're liberal to the core, but that means keeping an open mind as much as seducing closed ones. And so from the left, the right, the in-between, we include in this daily blog review the political, the social, the cultural and the undefinable. We browse all over the globe. And we're suckers for good writing regardless of ideology. Clicking the link will take you to the original post.
Featured Blog I: Game Theory
FALStaff /January 31, 2006
"You're not going to believe what I learnt in class today."
" You know how we're always arguing over what to do over the weekends? Like last week, when I wanted to catch that special Antonioni retrospective and you wanted me to take you shopping?"
" I DID NOT argue. You promised that we would go to the sale, and then backed out at the last minute. I mean, you don't even like Antonioni for god's sake, and...."
" Ya, ya, okay. It was a once in a lifetime event and I didn't know about it when I promised, but okay, so it was my fault. The point is you know how we always have trouble deciding? Well, I discovered in class today that there's this game called the Battle of the Sexes which looks at exactly that problem. It's really cool."
"You were sitting around in class playing games?"
"No, no, it's Game Theory. It's like this uber-cool branch of economics. So listen. It turns out that there's something called a mixed strategy equilibrium that provides a better answer to the problem than just having one person give in to the other."
"Really? That's interesting. How does it work?" Read the answer at 2x3x7
Featured Blogger II: Victim Culture
How Right-Wingers Talk Responsibility While Whining Up a Storm
Bjørn Stærk /January 22, 2006
Political activism can do horrible things to a cause. Many think only bad causes get corrupt, but it's almost inevitable that it happens to all of them. Activists compete for media attention. They dedicate their lives to one cause. How can this not lead them to exaggerate their claims, hush down nuances, and pretend that their cause is more important than all the others? Show me an activist who is always honest and keeps everything in the right perspective. I'll show you Santa Claus, the Sandman and the Tooth Fairy. We need activists, they've done useful things. We also need politicians and journalists, but that doesn't mean we pretend they can be trusted, or that these professions generally reward honesty and intelligence. We hear often enough about the problems of activism on the "left". I don't even have to list any examples, you're already making a list in your mind as you read this. Instead I'm going to talk about something closer to home: The way political activism on the right can turn people into victims, and make freedom a gift from the state. If you ask a right-winger to explain their worldview, they'll say that people are naturally free, that we should take responsibility for our own lives, and that the state should take care not to turn people into victims and clients. A message of responsibility and the natural worth of the individual. So why is it that when right-wing activists (thinkers, pundits, bloggers, whatever) open their mouths, it is usually to complain about how horribly they're being treated? "Feel sorry for me, the state takes all my money!" "Those horrible bureaucrats always stand in our way!" "The leftists will ruin everything!" "The media is against us!" "Look how the government wastes our money!" "If only there weren't so many regulations .." "Goddamn nanny-statists telling us how to live .. makes me so angry!" Whine, whine, whine. Read the rest...