I’m thinking about ranting in a longer entry about how my local public library has the most pathetic collection of classical texts (you can barely get any Plato or Aristotle to start with), and some other very out-of-date and fairly useless philosophy books (my personal collection, at this point, is pretty good. I just picked up a copy of Plato’s Symposium, trans. Benardete for $7, and it’s in great shape. But I’m always keeping my eyes open for what I need). Of course, this critique is going to extend to all public libraries, which emphasize fiction to a degree unheard of in any age. The argument for classics/philosophy is not that a large number of people will read them. The argument is that if there’s one capable student who wants to learn more, or one person who merely wants to explore the past in a scholarly manner, they shouldn’t be denied the right to the sort of education that the Founders had 200 years ago.
Anyway, a few things worth reading:
- Megan McArdle, “No Easy Way to Fix Social Security” – from the article: I am strongly in favor of generous progressive programs to care for the indigent and disabled. But surely it’s at least arguable that there are better ways to provide for most peoples’ old age than a massive government-run system whose PAYGO structure would be criminal fraud if it had been implemented by a private firm?
- Gawker, “How Bad is M. Night Shyamalan’s New Movie? (Really Bad.)” – from Kenneth Turan, LA Times: In fact, if there is anything that is intended to resonate with adults, at least parents of the New Age persuasion, it is the philosophical truisms that dot the dialogue, lines like “water teaches us acceptance,” “you must let anger go,” “there is no love without sacrifice” and the ever-popular, “is there a spiritual place where I can meditate?”
- Bill Roggio, “The ‘only 50 to 100’ al-Qaeda in Afghanistan fallacy” – from the article: Unfortunately, the top tiers of US intelligence continually underestimate al Qaeda’s strength and overestimate the US’ ability to degrade the network.