Gulf

It’s surprising that Scott Alexander of Slate Star Codex and Father Dwight Longenecker reach related conclusions: The Catholic Priest in When the Benedict Option Is the Only Option; The practicing psychiatrist Neutral vs. Conservative: The Eternal Struggle.

Or maybe their conclusions aren’t all that similar. Anyway, it’s interesting to read one after the other and consider both.

I think there is a big divide in society between people who use reason and argument to find out what is true, and people who use the trappings of reason to win arguments. These two men are on the same side of that divide.

UPDATE: I took the time to read Stanley Fish’s Why Can’t We All Just Get Along, and Joseph Moore’s blog post about Fish’s article. It was time well spent.

Three claims

If you set God and reason in opposition, you get either Islam or far-left progressivism.

Alex Jones isn’t a conspiracy theorist; he just plays one on the radio.

You can’t have both the right to choose your career and the right to a living wage.

And one question answered

How come flag burning isn’t hate speech? To paraphrase a quote I saw somewhere and can’t now find: The violence of the left is speech, and so must be protected. The speech of the right is violence, so violently preventing it is justified self-defense.

Hunger strike at Yale?

The graduate students at Yale are on a hunger strike: they won’t eat until they get hungry. On the one hand, that’s not a bad habit to form. On the other hand, what a bunch of wimps.

It reminds me of the (no doubt embellished) story of the Irish monks back in the day (800 AD?) who competed in advanced asceticism. The monks on the hill announced they’d fast for so many days. The monks in the valley said they’d fast for one day longer than their brothers up on the hill. One group sent a provocateur over the the other to say the brothers had broken their fast early. So the hungry monks broke their fast. Then the provocateur let it be known they hadn’t really broken their fast, and so had won.

Meanwhile, the Yale College Republicans had a barbeque.

One might say Yale isn’t making their graduate students miserable; the graduate students are making Yale miserable. But nobody’s really all that miserable, just irritable and a bit peckish, except for the Republicans.

Flying, United and others

The last time we flew on United, one of their employees at the gate was absolutely obnoxious; another was polite and helpful, which is really the least any employee should be. The flight was miserable, largely because the flight attendants seemed to be deliberately acting to make it so. At two o’clock in the morning, nobody wants the lights on, nobody wants coffee, and nobody wants the attendants running up and down the aisle asking if you want anything. The attendants know this, because they were not doing any of that in first class, where the lights were out and everyone asleep. I suspect United has policies to make coach miserable, to incentivize customers to buy an upgrade.

Other airlines we’ve flown on over the last year have been less unpleasant. American was okay; Virgin and Southwest were very nearly good.

The TSA at one end was obnoxious; at the other end they were not obnoxious, which is as close to good as they ever get. There’s little to be done about that.

Often I consider buying from a business that has just sustained a big customer-service black eye, on the theory that they’ll be exerting themselves to do well, and their prices will be a little lower as customers chose their competitors. In the case of United, I won’t be doing that. Their obnoxious employee at the gate, the (I think deliberately bad) service on the last flight, and other incidents like this make me think that this is their business model, and will remain so until they come up with another model — no easy task. Also, the president of United gives the impression of being a lying weasel who can’t figure out what lie to tell. It’s hard to imagine him fixing things. So I won’t be flying United, and their CEO’s apology tour isn’t going to change that.

Arma virumque cano

Now, a reminiscence. In the early eighties I went to an Army recruiting station to enlist. I’d called the recruiter first, and he seemed quite keen for me to come in. When I got to the office, the recruiting sergeant said to a young man who was sitting there being recruited, “Get up and let Mister _____ sit down.” Welcome to the Army, kid. He got up, and I sat down, initially thinking this looked like a pretty sweet deal. On later reflection, I suspected what was done for me today would be done to me tomorrow, and I was right.